Act 3, Scene 2 | Hamlet | Royal Shakespeare Company


O good Horatio, I’ll take the Ghost’s
word for a thousand pound. Didst perceive? Very well, my lord.
Upon the talk of the poisoning. I did very well note him.
Ah ha! Come, some music! Come, the recorders! Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Sir, a whole history. The King, sir –
Ay, sir, what of him? – is in his retirement marvellous distempered.
With drink, sir? No, my Lord, with choler.
Your wisdom should show itself more richer to signify this to the doctor, for me to put
him to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into more choler.
More choler More choler
Good my lord, good my lord, put your discourse into some frame and stare not so wildly from my affair.
I am tame, sir, pronounce. The Queen your mother in most great affliction
of spirit hath sent me to you. You are welcome.
Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right breed. If it shall please you to
make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother’s commandment. If not, your pardon
and my return shall be the end of business. My mother you said?
She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.
We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?
My lord, you once did love me. And do still, by these pickers and stealers.
Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty
if you deny your grievances to your friend. Sir, I lack advancement.
How can that be – O, the recorders! Let me see one.
Will you play upon this pipe? My lord, I cannot.
I pray you. Believe me, I cannot.
I do beseech you. I know no touch of it, my lord.
It is as easy as lying. Govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath
with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent music. Look you, these are the stops.
But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony. I have not the skill.
Why look you now how unworthy a thing you make of me: you would play upon me. You would
seem to know my stops, you would pluck out the heart of my mystery, you would sound me
from my lowest note to the top of my compass. And there is much music – excellent voice
– in this little organ. And yet cannot you make it speak. ‘Sblood! Do you think I am
easier to be played on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you fret
me you cannot play upon me.

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