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That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well

The death I gave him. So, again, good night!—
I must be cruel, only to be kind;

Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.—

But one word more, good lady.


What shall I do?

Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you do.
Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
Pinch wanton on your
cheek; call his mouse;
And let him for a pair of reechy kisses,


Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,

That I essentially am not in madness,


But mad in craft. "Twere good, you let him know;
For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,3
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despite of sense, and secrecy,

Unpeg the basket on the house's top,

Let the birds fly; and, like the famous ape,
To try conclusions, in the basket creep,


And break your own neck down.

Queen. Be thou assured, if words be made of


And breath of life, I have no life to breathe

What thou hast said to me.5


Ham. I must to England; you know that?

1 Mouse, a term of endearment formerly.

2 i. e. reeky or fumant. Reeky and reechy are the same word, and always applied to any vaporous exhalation.

3 For paddock, a toad, see Macbeth, Act i. Sc. 1; and for gib, a cat, see King Henry IV. Part I. Act. i. Sc. 2.

4 To try conclusions is to put to proof, or try experiments.

5 The quarto of 1603 has here another remarkable variation :

"Hamlet, I vow by that Majesty

That knows our thoughts and looks into our hearts,

I will conceal, consent, and do my best,
What stratagem soe'er thou shalt devise."

6 The manner in which Hamlet came to know that he was to be sent to England is not developed. He expresses surprise when the king mentions it in a future scene; but his design of passing for a madman may account for this.



I had forgot; 'tis so concluded on.

Ham. [There's letters sealed; and my two schoolfellows,1

Whom I will trust, as I will adders fanged,

They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way,
And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
For 'tis the sport, to have the engineer




Hoist with his own petar; and it shall
But I will delve one yard below their mines,
And blow them at the moon. O, 'tis most sweet,
When in one line two crafts directly meet.-]
This man shall set me packing.

I'll lug the guts into the neighbor-room.3
Mother, good night.-Indeed, this counsellor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish, prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good night, mother.

[Exeunt severally; HAMLET dragging in

1 This and the eight following verses are omitted in the folio. 2 Hoist with his own petar. Hoist for hoised. To hoyse was the old verb. A petar was a kind of mortar used to blow up gates.

3 Hamlet has purposely chosen gross expressions and coarse metaphors, throughout the interview with his mother, perhaps to make his appeal to her feelings the more forcible. The word guts was not anciently so offensive to delicacy as it is at present; the courtly Lyly has used it; Stanyhurst often in his translation of Virgil, and Chapman in his version of the sixth Iliad.


SCENE I. The same.

Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDEN


King. There's matter in these sighs; these profound


You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?

Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while.1—
who go out.

Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!
King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Queen. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both

Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, A rat! a rat!
And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
The unseen good old man.


O heavy deed!

It had been so with us, had we been there.

His liberty is full of threats to all;

To you yourself, to us, to every one.

Alas! how shall this bloody deed be answered?

It will be laid to us, whose providence

Should have kept, short, restrained, and out of haunt,3

This mad young man: but, so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;

But, like the owner of a foul disease,

To keep it from divulging, let it feed

Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?

1 This line does not appear in the folio, in which Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are not brought on the stage at all.

2 Quarto-Ah, mine own lord.

3 Out of haunt means out of company.

Queen. To draw apart the body he hath killed; O'er whom his very madness, like some ore, Among a mineral of metals base,


Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done.
King. O Gertrude, come away!

The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
We must, with all our majesty and skill,

Both countenance and excuse.-Ho! Guildenstern!

Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragged him.
Go, seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.

[Exeunt Ros. and GUIL. Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends; And let them know, both what we mean to do, And what's untimely done; [so, haply, slander,Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter, As level as the cannon to his blank,2 Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name, And hit the woundless air.3]-O, come away! My soul is full of discord and dismay.


SCENE II. Another Room in the same.



-Safely stowed,-[Ros. &c. within. Hamlet! lord Hamlet!] But soft! what noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.

1 Shakspeare uses ore for gold, and mineral for mine. Bullokar and Blount both define "or or ore, gold; of a golden color." And the Cambridge Dictionary, 1594, under the Latin word mineralia, will show how the English mineral came to be used for a mine. Thus also in The Golden Remaines of Hales of Eton, 1693 :-" Controversies of the times, like spirits in the minerals, with all their labor nothing is done."

2 The blank was the mark at which shots or arrows were directed. 3 The passage in brackets is not in the folio. The words " So, haply, slander," are also omitted in the quartos; they were supplied by Theobald. 4 "But soft!" these two words are not in the folio.


Ros. What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?

Ham. Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin. Ros. Tell us where 'tis; that we may take it thence,

And bear it to the chapel.

Ham. Do not believe it.

Ros. Believe what?

Ham. That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge!—What replication should be made by the son of a king? Ros. Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

Ham. Ay, sir; that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities.' But such officers do the king best services in the end. He keeps them, like an ape doth nuts,2 in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.

Ros. I understand you not, my lord.

Ham. I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

Ros. My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.

Ham. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.3 The king is a thing

Guil. A thing, my lord?

Ham. Of nothing; bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.1 [Exeunt.

1 Here the quarto 1603 inserts "that makes his liberality your storehouse, but," &c.

2 The omission of the words "doth nuts,” in the old copies, had obscured this passage. Dr. Farmer proposed to read " like an ape an apple." The words are now supplied from the newly-discovered quarto of 1603. 3 Hamlet affects obscurity. His meaning may be, The king is a body without a kingly soul, a thing-of nothing.'

4Hide fox, and all after." This was a juvenile sport, most probably what is now called hoop, or hide and seek, in which one child hides himself, and the rest run all after, seeking him. The words are not in the quarto.

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