EPISODE 65 - THE HYRCANIAN BEAST

TEXT:

HAMLET (continued)
One speech in it I
chiefly loved: 'twas Aeneas' tale to Dido; and
thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of
Priam's slaughter: if it live in your memory, begin
at this line: let me see, let me see…
'The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,'
it is not so: it begins with Pyrrhus:
'The rugged Pyrrhus, he whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smeared
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules; horridly tricked
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
Baked and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and damned light
To their lord's murder: roasted in wrath and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks.'
So, proceed you.

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

NOTES:
Hyrcania
Hyrcania was an ancient province of the Persian Empire, south east of what is now known as the Caspian Sea. In antiquity, it was called the Hyrcanian Ocean. The tigers for which the region is famed - more often known as the Caspian Tiger - died out in the 1970s. A famous specimen was to be seen in the Berlin Zoo until the end of the 19th century.

Hamlet and the Vision of Darkness
This book was recommended to me over the summer and I haven’t managed to get a copy until quite recently. It’s quite a heavy read, as Prof. Lewis is very erudite, but his insights are fascinating. You can get it here.

Arden Shakespeare
The Arden Shakespeare is perhaps my favourite imprint - always has been. The third edition is reaching its final volumes, and indeed the editors for the fourth edition have already been selected. There have been numerous Hamlet publications from the third edition, but the revised text by Ann Thompson and Neil Taylor is available here. It’s one of many editions that I use for the podcast, but it is certainly one of the best.

 The Caspian Tiger at the Berlin Zoo.

The Caspian Tiger at the Berlin Zoo.