[Enter King, Queen, Polonius, Ophelia, Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.]
And can you by no drift of circumstance
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?
He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause, he will by no means speak.
Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
But with a crafty madness keeps aloof
When we would bring him on to some confession
But with much forcing of his disposition.
Niggard of question, but of our demands
You assay him to any pastime?
Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.
And he beseeched me to entreat your majesties
To hear and see the matter.
With all my heart, and it doth much content me
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose on to these delights.
[Exit Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and Lords.]
Sweet Gertrude, leave us too,
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may there
Her father and myself, lawful espials,
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge,
And gather by him, as he is behaved,
If't be th' affliction of his love or no
That thus he suffers for.
And for your part, Ophelia, I do wish
That your good beauties be the happy cause
Of Hamlet's wildness. So shall I hope your virtues
Will bring him to his wonted way again,
Ophelia, walk you here. [To Claudius] Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves. [To Ophelia] Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may color
Your loneliness. We are oft to blame in this —
'Tis too much proved — that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
I hear him coming. Let's withdraw, my lord.
[Exit Claudius and Polonius, as they conceal themselves. Enter Hamlet.]