Speeches (Lines) for First Player
in "Hamlet"

Total: 8

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

II,2,1511

Hamlet. Why,
'As by lot, God wot,'
and then, you know,
'It came to pass, as most like it was.'
The first row of the pious chanson will show you more; for look
where my abridgment comes.
[Enter four or five Players.]
You are welcome, masters; welcome, all.- I am glad to see thee
well.- Welcome, good friends.- O, my old friend? Why, thy face is
valanc'd since I saw thee last. Com'st' thou to' beard me in
Denmark?- What, my young lady and mistress? By'r Lady, your
ladyship is nearer to heaven than when I saw you last by the
altitude of a chopine. Pray God your voice, like a piece of
uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring.- Masters, you are
all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at
anything we see. We'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a
taste of your quality. Come, a passionate speech.

First Player. What speech, my good lord?


2

II,2,1542

Polonius. Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good discretion.

First Player. 'Anon he finds him,
Striking too short at Greeks. His antique sword,
Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls,
Repugnant to command. Unequal match'd,
Pyrrhus at Priam drives, in rage strikes wide;
But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword
Th' unnerved father falls. Then senseless Ilium,
Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top
Stoops to his base, and with a hideous crash
Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear. For lo! his sword,
Which was declining on the milky head
Of reverend Priam, seem'd i' th' air to stick.
So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood,
And, like a neutral to his will and matter,
Did nothing.
But, as we often see, against some storm,
A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still,
The bold winds speechless, and the orb below
As hush as death- anon the dreadful thunder
Doth rend the region; so, after Pyrrhus' pause,
Aroused vengeance sets him new awork;
And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, forg'd for proof eterne,
With less remorse than Pyrrhus' bleeding sword
Now falls on Priam.
Out, out, thou strumpet Fortune! All you gods,
In general synod take away her power;
Break all the spokes and fellies from her wheel,
And bowl the round nave down the hill of heaven,
As low as to the fiends!


3

II,2,1576

Hamlet. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.- Prithee say on.
He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps. Say on; come to
Hecuba.

First Player. 'But who, O who, had seen the mobled queen-'


4

II,2,1579

Polonius. That's good! 'Mobled queen' is good.

First Player. 'Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the flames
With bisson rheum; a clout upon that head
Where late the diadem stood, and for a robe,
About her lank and all o'erteemed loins,
A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up-
Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd
'Gainst Fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd.
But if the gods themselves did see her then,
When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport
In Mincing with his sword her husband's limbs,
The instant burst of clamour that she made
(Unless things mortal move them not at all)
Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven
And passion in the gods.'


5

II,2,1610

Hamlet. Follow him, friends. We'll hear a play to-morrow.
[Exeunt Polonius and Players [except the First].]
Dost thou hear me, old friend? Can you play 'The Murther of
Gonzago'?

First Player. Ay, my lord.


6

II,2,1614

Hamlet. We'll ha't to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a
speech of some dozen or sixteen lines which I would set down and
insert in't, could you not?

First Player. Ay, my lord.


7

III,2,1895

Hamlet. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounc'd it to you,
trippingly on the tongue. But if you mouth it, as many of our
players do, I had as live 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 cars of the groundlings, who
(for the most part) are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb
shows and noise. I would have such a fellow whipp'd for o'erdoing
Termagant. It out-herods Herod. Pray you avoid it.

First Player. I warrant your honour.


8

III,2,1913

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 overdone 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 own 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 make the unskilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious
grieve; the censure of the which one must in your allowance
o'erweigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players that I
have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to
speak it profanely), that, neither having the accent of
Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so
strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of Nature's
journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated
humanity so abominably.

First Player. I hope we have reform'd that indifferently with us, sir.


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