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Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, and Guil
[To Rosencrantz and GuilDENSTERN, who
Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!
King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet ?
O heavy deed!
• Act IV.) This play is printed in the old editions without any separation of the Acts. The division is modern and arbitrary; and is here not very happy, for the pause is made at a time when there is more continuity of action than ip almost any other of the
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt,'
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath killd:
King. O, Gertrude, come away!
Enter RosenCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Friends both, go join you with some further aid: Hainlet in madness hath Polonius slain, And from his mother's closet hath he dragg’d 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, Transports his poison'd shot,-may miss our name, And hit the woundless air.–O come away! My soul is full of discord, and dismay. [Exeunt.
out of haunt,] i. e. out of company. Among a mineral -] Minerals are mines.
cannon to his blank,] The blank was the white mark at which shot or arrows were directed.
Another Room in the same.
Enter HAMLET. Ham. -Safely stowed,—[Ros. Sc. within. Hamlet! lord Hamlet!] But soft,—what noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.
Enter RosenCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. 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
Ham. Do not believe it.
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 service in the end: He keeps them, like an ape, 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: Aknavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
like an ape,] i. e. as an ape does an apple.
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. The king is a thing
Guil. A thing, my lord?
Ham. Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.
Another Room in the same.
Enter King, attended. King. I have sent to seek him, and to find the
body. How dangerous is it, that this man goes loose? Yet must not we put the strong law on him: He's lov'd of the distracted multitude, Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes; And, where 'tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh’d, But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even, This sudden sending him away must seem Deliberate pause: Diseases, desperate grown, By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
Or not at all.—How now? what hath befallen?
Ros. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord, We cannot get from him. King.
But where is he? Ros. Without, my lord; guarded, to know your
'-Hide for, &c.] There is a play among children called, Hide for, and all after.
King. Bring him before us.
Enter Hamlet and GuildENSTERN.
Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politick worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else, to fat us; and we fat ourselves for maggots: Your fat king, and
fat king, and your lean beggar, is but variable service; two dishes, but to one table; that's the end.
King. Alas, alas!
Ham. A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king; and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
King. What dost thou mean by this?
Ham. Nothing, but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.
King. Where is Polonius?
Ham. In heaven; send thither to see: if your messenger find him not there, seek him i'the other place yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
King. Go seek him there. (To some Attendants. Ham. He will stay till you come.
[Exeunt Attendants. King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial
-go a progress-) Alluding to the royal journeys of state, always styled progresses ; a familiar idea to those who, like our author, lived during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I.