Enter Hamlet and the Players.
Hamlet. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to
you, trippingly on the tongue; but if you mouth it as many of
your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.
Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus, but
use all gently; for in the very torrent, tempest, and, as I may
say, whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget
a temperance that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me
to the soul to hear a robustious periwig-pated fellow tear a
passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the
groundlings, who for the most part are capable of nothing
but inexplicable dumb-shows and noise. I would have such
a fellow whipped for o'erdoing Termagent. It out-Herods
Herod. Pray you avoid it.
1st Player. I warrant your honour.
Hamlet. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion
be your tutor. Suit the action to the word, the word to the
action, with this special observance, that you o'erstep not the
modesty of nature. For anything so o'erdone is from the
purpose of playing, whose end, both at the first and now,
was and is to hold as 'twere the mirror up to nature; to show
virtue her feature, scorn her own image, and the very age
and body of the time his form and pressure. Now this
overdone, or come tardy off, though it makes the unskillful
laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the censure of
the which one must in your allowance o'erweigh a whole
theatre of others.