Act II, Scene 2
Elsinore. A room in Elsinore castle.
- Flourish. Enter King and Queen, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
- cum aliis.
Claudius1 - 18
- Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guildenstern!
- Moreover that we much did long to see you,
- The need we have to use you did provoke
- Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
- Of Hamlet’s transformation; so call it,
- Sith nor th’ exterior nor the inward man
- Resembles that it was. What it should be,
- More than his father’s death, that thus hath put him
- So much from th’ understanding of himself,
- I cannot dream of. I entreat you both
- That, being of so young days brought up with him,
- And sith so neighbored to his youth and havior,
- That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
- Some little time, so by your companies
- To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
- So much as from occasion you may glean,
- Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him thus,
- That, open’d, lies within our remedy.
Gertrude19 - 26
- Good gentlemen, he hath much talk’d of you,
- And sure I am two men there is not living
- To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
- To show us so much gentry and good will
- As to expend your time with us a while
- For the supply and profit of our hope,
- Your visitation shall receive such thanks
- As fits a king’s remembrance.
Rosencrantz27 - 30
- Both your Majesties
- Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
- Put your dread pleasures more into command
- Than to entreaty.
Guildenstern31 - 34
- But we both obey,
- And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,
- To lay our service freely at your feet,
- To be commanded.
- Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.
Gertrude36 - 39
- Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosencrantz.
- And I beseech you instantly to visit
- My too much changed son. Go some of you
- And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.
Guildenstern40 - 41
- Heavens make our presence and our practices
- Pleasant and helpful to him!
- Ay, amen!
- Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern with some Attendants.
- Enter Polonius.
Polonius43 - 44
- Th’ ambassadors from Norway, my good lord,
- Are joyfully return’d.
- Thou still hast been the father of good news.
Polonius46 - 52
- Have I, my lord? I assure my good liege
- I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
- Both to my God and to my gracious king;
- And I do think, or else this brain of mine
- Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
- As it hath us’d to do, that I have found
- The very cause of Hamlet’s lunacy.
- O, speak of that, that do I long to hear.
Polonius54 - 55
- Give first admittance to th’ ambassadors;
- My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
Claudius56 - 58
- Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
- Exit Polonius.
- He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
- The head and source of all your son’s distemper.
Gertrude59 - 60
- I doubt it is no other but the main,
- His father’s death and our o’erhasty marriage.
- Enter Polonius with Voltemand and Cornelius, the
Claudius61 - 62
- Well, we shall sift him.—Welcome, my good friends!
- Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?
Voltemand63 - 83
- Most fair return of greetings and desires.
- Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
- His nephew’s levies, which to him appear’d
- To be a preparation ’gainst the Polack;
- But better look’d into, he truly found
- It was against your Highness. Whereat griev’d,
- That so his sickness, age, and impotence
- Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests
- On Fortinbras, which he, in brief, obeys,
- Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine,
- Makes vow before his uncle never more
- To give th’ assay of arms against your Majesty.
- Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
- Gives him threescore thousand crowns in annual fee,
- And his commission to employ those soldiers,
- So levied, as before, against the Polack,
- With an entreaty, herein further shown,
- Giving a paper.
- That it might please you to give quiet pass
- Through your dominions for this enterprise,
- On such regards of safety and allowance
- As therein are set down.
Claudius84 - 89
- It likes us well,
- And at our more considered time we’ll read,
- Answer, and think upon this business.
- Mean time, we thank you for your well-took labor.
- Go to your rest, at night we’ll feast together.
- Most welcome home!
- Exeunt Ambassadors and Attendants.
Polonius90 - 100
- This business is well ended.
- My liege, and madam, to expostulate
- What majesty should be, what duty is,
- Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
- Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time;
- Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
- And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
- I will be brief. Your noble son is mad:
- Mad call I it, for to define true madness,
- What is’t but to be nothing else but mad?
- But let that go.
- More matter with less art.
Polonius102 - 119
- Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
- That he’s mad, ’tis true, ’tis true ’tis pity,
- And pity ’tis ’tis true—a foolish figure,
- But farewell it, for I will use no art.
- Mad let us grant him then, and now remains
- That we find out the cause of this effect,
- Or rather say, the cause of this defect,
- For this effect defective comes by cause:
- Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
- I have a daughter—have while she is mine—
- Who in her duty and obedience, mark,
- Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.
- Reads the salutation of the letter.
- “To the celestial and my soul’s idol, the most beautified
- That’s an ill phrase, a vile phrase, “beautified” is a vile
- phrase. But you shall hear. Thus:
- “In her excellent white bosom, these, etc.”
- Came this from Hamlet to her?
Polonius121 - 134
- Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful.
- Reads the letter.
- “Doubt thou the stars are fire,
- Doubt that the sun doth move,
- Doubt truth to be a liar,
- But never doubt I love.
- O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers. I have not art to
- reckon my groans, but that I love thee best, O most best,
- believe it. Adieu.
- Thine evermore, most dear lady,
- whilst this machine is to him, Hamlet.”
- This in obedience hath my daughter shown me,
- And more above, hath his solicitings,
- As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
- All given to mine ear.
Claudius135 - 136
- But how hath she
- Receiv’d his love?
- What do you think of me?
- As of a man faithful and honorable.
Polonius139 - 159
- I would fain prove so. But what might you think,
- When I had seen this hot love on the wing—
- As I perceiv’d it (I must tell you that)
- Before my daughter told me—what might you,
- Or my dear Majesty your queen here, think,
- If I had play’d the desk or table-book,
- Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb,
- Or look’d upon this love with idle sight,
- What might you think? No, I went round to work,
- And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
- “Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star;
- This must not be”; and then I prescripts gave her,
- That she should lock herself from his resort,
- Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
- Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
- And he repell’d, a short tale to make,
- Fell into a sadness, then into a fast,
- Thence to a watch, thence into a weakness,
- Thence to a lightness, and by this declension,
- Into the madness wherein now he raves,
- And all we mourn for.
- Do you think ’tis this?
- It may be, very like.
Polonius162 - 164
- Hath there been such a time—I would fain know that—
- That I have positively said, “’Tis so,”
- When it prov’d otherwise?
- Not that I know.
Polonius166 - 169
- Points to his head and shoulder.
- Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
- If circumstances lead me, I will find
- Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
- Within the center.
- How may we try it further?
Polonius171 - 172
- You know sometimes he walks four hours together
- Here in the lobby.
- So he does indeed.
Polonius174 - 179
- At such a time I’ll loose my daughter to him.
- Be you and I behind an arras then,
- Mark the encounter: if he love her not,
- And be not from his reason fall’n thereon,
- Let me be no assistant for a state,
- But keep a farm and carters.
- We will try it.
- Enter Hamlet reading on a book.
- But look where sadly the poor wretch comes reading.
Polonius182 - 185
- Away, I do beseech you, both away.
- I’ll board him presently.
- Exeunt King and Queen.
- O, give me leave,
- How does my good Lord Hamlet?
- Well, God-a-mercy.
- Do you know me, my lord?
- Excellent well, you are a fishmonger.
- Not I, my lord.
- Then I would you were so honest a man.
- Honest, my lord?
Hamlet192 - 193
- Ay, sir, to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man
- pick’d out of ten thousand.
- That’s very true, my lord.
Hamlet195 - 196
- For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good
- kissing carrion—Have you a daughter?
- I have, my lord.
Hamlet198 - 199
- Let her not walk i’ th’ sun. Conception is a blessing, but
- as your daughter may conceive, friend, look to’t.
Polonius200 - 204
- How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he
- knew me not at first, ’a said I was a fishmonger. ’A is far
- gone. And truly in my youth I suff’red much extremity for
- love—very near this. I’ll speak to him again.—What do you
- read, my lord?
- Words, words, words.
- What is the matter, my lord?
- Between who?
- I mean, the matter that you read, my lord.
Hamlet209 - 216
- Slanders, sir; for the satirical rogue says here that old
- men have grey beards, that their faces are wrinkled, their
- eyes purging thick amber and plum-tree gum, and that they
- have a plentiful lack of wit, together with most weak hams;
- all which, sir, though I most powerfully and potently
- believe, yet I hold it not honesty to have it thus set down,
- for yourself, sir, shall grow old as I am, if like a crab
- you could go backward.
Polonius217 - 218
- Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.—Will you
- walk out of the air, my lord?
- Into my grave.
Polonius220 - 225
- Indeed that’s out of the air.
- How pregnant sometimes his replies are! A happiness that
- often madness hits on, which reason and sanity could not so
- prosperously be deliver’d of. I will leave him, and suddenly
- contrive the means of meeting between him and my
- daughter.—My lord, I will take my leave of you.
Hamlet226 - 228
- You cannot take from me any thing that I will not more
- willingly part withal—except my life, except my life, except
- my life.
- Fare you well, my lord.
- These tedious old fools!
- Enter Guildenstern and Rosencrantz.
- You go to seek the Lord Hamlet, there he is.
- To Polonius.
- God save you, sir!
- Exit Polonius.
- My honor’d lord!
- My most dear lord!
Hamlet235 - 236
- My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah,
- Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do you both?
- As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guildenstern238 - 239
- Happy, in that we are not over-happy, on Fortune’s cap we
- are not the very button.
- Nor the soles of her shoe?
- Neither, my lord.
Hamlet242 - 243
- Then you live about her waist, or in the middle of her
- Faith, her privates we.
Hamlet245 - 246
- In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true, she is a
- strumpet. What news?
- None, my lord, but the world’s grown honest.
Hamlet248 - 251
- Then is doomsday near. But your news is not true. Let me
- question more in particular. What have you, my good friends,
- deserv’d at the hands of Fortune, that she sends you to
- prison hither?
- Prison, my lord?
- Denmark’s a prison.
- Then is the world one.
Hamlet255 - 256
- A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and
- dungeons, Denmark being one o’ th’ worst.
- We think not so, my lord.
Hamlet258 - 259
- Why then ’tis none to you; for there is nothing either good
- or bad, but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.
Rosencrantz260 - 261
- Why then your ambition makes it one. ’Tis too narrow for
- your mind.
Hamlet262 - 263
- O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a
- king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams.
Guildenstern264 - 265
- Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very substance of
- the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.
- A dream itself is but a shadow.
Rosencrantz267 - 268
- Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality
- that it is but a shadow’s shadow.
Hamlet269 - 271
- Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and
- outstretch’d heroes the beggars’ shadows. Shall we to th’
- court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.
Both Rosencrantz and Guildenstern272
- We’ll wait upon you.
Hamlet273 - 276
- No such matter. I will not sort you with the rest of my
- servants; for to speak to you like an honest man, I am most
- dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friendship,
- what make you at Elsinore?
- To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.
Hamlet278 - 282
- Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks—but I thank you,
- and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny.
- Were you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a
- free visitation? Come, come, deal justly with me. Come,
- come—nay, speak.
- What should we say, my lord?
Hamlet284 - 287
- Any thing but to th’ purpose. You were sent for, and there
- is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties
- have not craft enough to color. I know the good King and
- Queen have sent for you.
- To what end, my lord?
Hamlet289 - 293
- That you must teach me. But let me conjure you, by the
- rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by
- the obligation of our ever-preserv’d love, and by what more
- dear a better proposer can charge you withal, be even and
- direct with me, whether you were sent for or no!
- Aside to Guildenstern.
- What say you?
- Nay then I have an eye of you!—If you love me, hold not off.
- My lord, we were sent for.
Hamlet297 - 312
- I will tell you why, so shall my anticipation prevent your
- discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no
- feather. I have of late—but wherefore I know not—lost all my
- mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed it goes
- so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the
- earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent
- canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament,
- this majestical roof fretted with golden fire, why, it
- appeareth nothing to me but a foul and pestilent
- congregation of vapors. What a piece of work is a man, how
- noble in reason, how infinite in faculties, in form and
- moving, how express and admirable in action, how like an
- angel in apprehension, how like a god! The beauty of the
- world; the paragon of animals; and yet to me what is this
- quintessence of dust? Man delights not me—nor women neither,
- though by your smiling you seem to say so.
- My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.
- Why did ye laugh then, when I said, “Man delights not me”?
Rosencrantz315 - 318
- To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten
- entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted
- them on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you
Hamlet319 - 325
- He that plays the king shall be welcome—his Majesty shall
- have tribute on me, the adventurous knight shall use his
- foil and target, the lover shall not sigh gratis, the
- humorous man shall end his part in peace, the clown shall
- make those laugh whose lungs are tickle a’ th’ sere, and the
- lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall
- halt for’t. What players are they?
Rosencrantz326 - 327
- Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the
- tragedians of the city.
Hamlet328 - 329
- How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in
- reputation and profit, was better both ways.
Rosencrantz330 - 331
- I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late
Hamlet332 - 333
- Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the
- city? Are they so follow’d?
- No indeed are they not.
- How comes it? Do they grow rusty?
Rosencrantz336 - 341
- Ay, their endeavor keeps in the wonted pace; but there is,
- sir, an aery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the
- top of question, and are most tyrannically clapp’d for’t.
- These are now the fashion, and so berattle the common
- stages—so they call them—that many wearing rapiers are
- afraid of goose-quills and dare scarce come thither.
Hamlet342 - 347
- What, are they children? Who maintains ’em? How are they
- escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they
- can sing? Will they not say afterwards, if they should grow
- themselves to common players (as it is most like, if their
- means are no better), their writers do them wrong, to make
- them exclaim against their own succession?
Rosencrantz348 - 351
- Faith, there has been much to do on both sides, and the
- nation holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy. There
- was for a while no money bid for argument, unless the poet
- and the player went to cuffs in the question.
- Is’t possible?
- O, there has been much throwing about of brains.
- Do the boys carry it away?
- Ay, that they do, my lord—Hercules and his load too.
Hamlet356 - 360
- It is not very strange, for my uncle is King of Denmark, and
- those that would make mouths at him while my father liv’d,
- give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats a-piece for his
- picture in little. ’Sblood, there is something in this more
- than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
- A flourish for the Players.
- There are the players.
Hamlet362 - 367
- Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands, come
- then: th’ appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony.
- Let me comply with you in this garb, lest my extent to the
- players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outwards,
- should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are
- welcome; but my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceiv’d.
- In what, my dear lord?
Hamlet369 - 370
- I am but mad north-north-west. When the wind is southerly I
- know a hawk from a hand-saw.
- Enter Polonius.
- Well be with you, gentlemen!
Hamlet372 - 374
- Aside to them.
- Hark you, Guildenstern, and you too—at each ear a
- hearer—that great baby you see there is not yet out of his
Rosencrantz375 - 376
- Happily he is the second time come to them, for they say an
- old man is twice a child.
Hamlet377 - 379
- I will prophesy, he comes to tell me of the players, mark
- You say right, sir, a’ Monday morning, ’twas then indeed.
- My lord, I have news to tell you.
Hamlet381 - 382
- My lord, I have news to tell you. When Roscius was an actor
- in Rome—
- The actors are come hither, my lord.
- Buzz, buzz!
- Upon my honor—
- “Then came each actor on his ass”—
Polonius387 - 392
- The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy,
- history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral,
- tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral
- scene individable, or poem unlimited; Seneca cannot be too
- heavy, nor Plautus too light, for the law of writ and the
- liberty: these are the only men.
- O Jephthah, judge of Israel, what a treasure hadst thou!
- What a treasure had he, my lord?
Hamlet395 - 397
- “One fair daughter, and no more,
- The which he loved passing well.”
- Still on my daughter.
- Am I not i’ th’ right, old Jephthah?
Polonius400 - 401
- If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I
- love passing well.
- Nay, that follows not.
- What follows then, my lord?
Hamlet404 - 420
- “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 abridgement comes.
- Enter the Players, four or five.
- You are welcome, masters, welcome all. I am glad to see thee
- well. Welcome, good friends. O, 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’ 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
- falc’ners—fly at any thing we see; we’ll have a speech
- straight. Come give us a taste of your quality, come, a
- passionate speech.
First Player (Player King)421
- What speech, my good lord?
Hamlet422 - 451
- I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted,
- or if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember,
- pleas’d not the million, ’twas caviary to the general, but
- it was—as I receiv’d it, and others, whose judgments in such
- matters cried in the top of mine—an excellent play, well
- digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as
- cunning. I remember one said there were no sallets in the
- lines to make the matter savory, nor no matter in the phrase
- that might indict the author of affection, but call’d it an
- honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more
- handsome than fine. One speech in’t I chiefly lov’d, ’twas
- Aeneas’ tale to Dido, and thereabout of it especially when
- 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 th’ Hyrcanian beast—”
- ’Tis 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 th’ ominous horse,
- Hath now this dread and black complexion smear’d
- With heraldry more dismal: head to foot
- Now is he total gules, horridly trick’d
- With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons,
- Bak’d and impasted with the parching streets,
- That lend a tyrannous and a 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.
Polonius452 - 453
- ’Fore God, my lord, well spoken, with good accent and good
First Player (Player King)454 - 483
- “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 reverent 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,
- A roused vengeance sets him new a-work,
- And never did the Cyclops’ hammers fall
- On Mars’s armor 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!”
- This is too long.
Hamlet485 - 487
- 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 (Player King)488
- “But who, ah woe, had seen the mobled queen“—
- “The mobled queen“?
- That’s good, “mobled queen” is good.
First Player (Player King)491 - 504
- “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’er-teemed 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 clamor 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.”
Polonius505 - 506
- Look whe’er he has not turn’d his color and has tears in ’s
- eyes. Prithee no more.
Hamlet507 - 512
- ’Tis well, I’ll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.
- Good my lord, will you see the players well bestow’d? Do you
- hear, let them be well us’d, 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
- My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Hamlet514 - 517
- God’s bodkin, man, much better: use every man after his
- desert, and who shall scape whipping? Use them after your
- own honor and dignity—the less they deserve, the more merit
- is in your bounty. Take them in.
- Come, sirs.
Hamlet519 - 521
- Follow him, friends, we’ll hear a play tomorrow.
- Exeunt all the Players but the First.
- Dost thou hear me, old friend? Can you play “The Murder of
First Player (Player King)522
- Ay, my lord.
Hamlet523 - 525
- We’ll ha’t tomorrow night. You could for need study a speech
- of some dozen lines, or sixteen lines, which I would set
- down and insert in’t, could you not?
First Player (Player King)526
- Ay, my lord.
Hamlet527 - 529
- 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!
Hamlet531 - 588
- Ay so, God buy to you.
- Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
- Now I am alone.
- O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I!
- Is it not monstrous that this player here,
- But in a fiction, in a dream of passion,
- Could force his soul so to his own conceit
- That from her working all the visage wann’d,
- Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect,
- A broken voice, an’ his whole function suiting
- With forms to his conceit? And all for nothing,
- For Hecuba!
- What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
- That he should weep for her? What would he do
- Had he the motive and the cue for passion
- That I have? He would drown the stage with tears,
- And cleave the general ear with horrid speech,
- Make mad the guilty, and appall the free,
- Confound the ignorant, and amaze indeed
- The very faculties of eyes and ears. Yet I,
- A dull and muddy-mettled rascal, peak
- Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause,
- And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
- Upon whose property and most dear life
- A damn’d defeat was made. Am I a coward?
- Who calls me villain, breaks my pate across,
- Plucks off my beard and blows it in my face,
- Tweaks me by the nose, gives me the lie i’ th’ throat
- As deep as to the lungs? Who does me this?
- Hah, ’swounds, I should take it; for it cannot be
- But I am pigeon-liver’d, and lack gall
- To make oppression bitter, or ere this
- I should ’a’ fatted all the region kites
- With this slave’s offal. Bloody, bawdy villain!
- Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain!
- Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave,
- That I, the son of a dear father murdered,
- Prompted to my revenge by heaven and hell,
- Must like a whore unpack my heart with words,
- And fall a-cursing like a very drab,
- A stallion. Fie upon’t, foh!
- About, my brains! Hum—I have heard
- That guilty creatures sitting at a play
- Have by the very cunning of the scene
- Been struck so to the soul, that presently
- They have proclaim’d their malefactions:
- For murder, though it have no tongue, will speak
- With most miraculous organ. I’ll have these players
- Play something like the murder of my father
- Before mine uncle. I’ll observe his looks,
- I’ll tent him to the quick. If ’a do blench,
- I know my course. The spirit that I have seen
- May be a dev’l, and the dev’l hath power
- T’ assume a pleasing shape, yea, and perhaps,
- Out of my weakness and my melancholy,
- As he is very potent with such spirits,
- Abuses me to damn me. I’ll have grounds
- More relative than this—the play’s the thing
- Wherein I’ll catch the conscience of the king.