Look, whether he has not turned his colour and has
tears in's eyes. Pray you, no more.
'Tis well: I'll have thee speak out the rest soon.
Good my lord, will you see the players well
bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for
they are the abstract and brief chronicles of the
time: after your death you were better have a bad
epitaph than their ill report while you live.
My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
God's bodykins, man, much better: use every man
after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?
Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less
they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty.
Take them in.
Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play to-morrow.
Exit POLONIUS with all the Players but the First
Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the
Murder of Gonzago?
Ay, my lord.
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?
Ay, my lord.
Very well. Follow that lord; and look you mock him not.
Exit First Player
My good friends, I'll leave you till night: you are
welcome to Elsinore.
Good my lord!
Ay, so, God be wi' ye;
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Now I am alone.
The Murder of Gonzago
There’s sadly no record of any play with this title - in choice Italian or any other language! I feel it’s fairly safe to assume that Shakespeare made it up. We will soon have to discuss more about The Spanish Tragedy, Thomas Kyd’s enormously popular revenge tragedy, which many believe was a major influence on Hamlet.
A minced oath is an expression formed by adapting a blasphemous or taboo word or phrase, in order to reduce the offence it might cause. Since Shakespeare was writing under the watchful eye of a censor, in a time when Puritans were gaining influence, he couldn't write the full versions of any curses or swearwords or expletives. As a result we have various items - sblood, zounds, and the very common 'Marry' - which is a contraction of 'By the Virgin Mary'. There's even an argument that the word 'bloody' as a curse word came into use as a contraction of 'By Our Lady'! Likewise in this episode we have ‘God’s bodykins’ - a rather cute way for Hamlet to swear at Polonius.