Enter HAMLET and
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 passion, you must acquire and beget a
temperance that may give it smoothness. Oh, 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 Termagant. It out-Herods
Herod. Pray you, avoid it.
I warrant your honor.
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,
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
unskillful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve, the
censure of the which one must in your allowance
a whole theatre of others.