"Hamlet: Poem Unlimited"
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~ Hamlet ~

Ophelia’s eyes flash fire at me;
though did she think me such a fool,
that her father and the king
could arrange for me to so conveniently find her,
where they might eavesdrop;
hoping, no doubt, to see me set aside
all pretense of madness in her company?
Well, they saw differently.
The queen laughs and smiles,
as if I cannot see through her pose.
Though I bid Horatio to watch the king
while tonight’s play unfolds,
I shall watch my mother as well;
the ghost did not say so,
but I would know if she is of such kind
that might kill a husband,
to change him for another.
But now the show begins in earnest!
Let your lines tell true, truer than you know.
The player king speaks:
“Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash and Tellus' orbed ground,
and thirty dozen moons with borrowed sheen
about the world have times twelve thirties been,
since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
unite commutual in most sacred bands.”
A pretty speech! And now, his queen:
“So many journeys may the sun and moon
make us again count over ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
so far from cheer and from your former state.
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
and as my love is sized, my fear is so:
where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
where little fears grow great, great love grows there.”
Oh, she speaks with constancy of heart.
But now she turns aside from him,
and speaks her true heart.
“Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
in second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second but who killed the first.
The instances that second marriage move
are base respects of thrift, but none of love:
A second time I kill my husband dead,
when second husband kisses me in bed.”
So, her king sleeps, all trusting.
Ah, my mother seems unhappy to view this.
I shall ask her opinion.
“Madam, how like you this play?”
“The lady protests too much, methinks.” she answers.
And now Claudius turns to me.
“What do you call the play?” he asks.
“The Mouse-trap.
This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna:
Gonzago is the duke's name; his wife, Baptista:
you shall see anon; it is a knavish piece of work.
But what of that?
Your majesty and we that have free souls,
it touches us not.”
But now we are to it.
The trusting king sleeps, and enters his murderer.
Begin, murderer;
pox, leave thy damnable faces, and begin.
Come: 'the croaking raven doth bellow for revenge.'
He speaks.
“Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
confederate season, else no creature seeing;
thou mixture rank, of midnight weeds collected,
with Hecate's ban thrice blasted, thrice infected,
thy natural magic and dire property,
on wholesome life usurp immediately.”
And so goes poison into the sleeper's ears.
I must not be silent now!
I must chat with my uncle-father and mother-aunt.
“He poisons him in the garden for his estate.
His name's Gonzago: the story is extant,
and writ in choice Italian:
you shall see anon how the murderer
gets the love of Gonzago's wife.”