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Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest

And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done.

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Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter

As level as the cannon to his blank


Transports his poison'd shot, may miss our


And hit the woundless air. O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay. [Exeunt


Another room in the castle.

Enter Hamlet.

Ham. Safely stowed.



[Within] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet.

Ham. 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.

40-44. F. 1 omits these lines, and ends scene with the words"And what's untimely done. Oh, come away,

My soul is full of discord and dismay.”

Theobald proposed to restore the line by adding "for, haply, slander.” -I. G.

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. Aye, 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 swal- 20 lowed: 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. The king is a thing- 30 Guil. A thing, my lord?

Ham. Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide

fox, and all after.


19. "like an ape"; so Ff.; Qq., “like an apple"; Farmer conj. "like an ape, an apple"; Singer, from Q. 1, “like an ape doth nuts"; Hudson (1879), "as an ape doth nuts.”—I. G.

25. "A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear"; a sentence proverbial since Shakespeare's time, but not known earlier.-I. G.

32. cp. Psalm cxliv., “Man is like a thing of naught”; 32–33, “Hide fox, and all after," the reading of Ff.; omitted in Qq.-I. G.


Another room in the castle.

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 loved 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 offense. To bear all smooth and even,

This sudden sending away must seem

Deliberate pause: diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.

Enter Rosencrantz.

How now! what hath befall'n?

Ros. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord, We cannot get from him.


But where is he?


Ros. Without, my lord; guarded, to know your


King. Bring him before us.

Ros. Ho, Guildenstern! bring in my lord.

Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern.

King. Now, Hamlet, where 's Polonius?

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Kings & beggers

end up in the same place

Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: 20
a certain convocation of public worms are
e'en at him. Your worm is your only em-
peror for diet: we fat all creatures else to
fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots:
your 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 30
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

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 40
nose him as you go up the stairs into the

King. Go seek him there. [To some Attendants.
Ham. He will stay till you come.

[Exeunt Attendants.

21-23. There is a punning allusion to the Diet of Worms.C. H. H.

28-31. Omitted in Ff.-I. G.

29-30. Probably pure mystification.—C. H. H.

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King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve

For that which thou hast done, must send thee

With fiery quickness: therefore prepare thyself;

The bark is ready and the wind at help,

The associates tend, and every thing is bent 50
For England.




For England?

Aye, Hamlet.


King. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.
Ham. I see a cherub that sees them. But,
come; for England! Farewell, dear mother.
King. Thy loving father, Hamlet.

Ham. My mother: father and mother is man
and wife; man and wife is one flesh, and so,
my mother. Come, for England!

[Exit. King. Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed abroad;

Delay it not; I'll have him hence to-night: 60
Away! for every thing is seal'd and done
That else leans on the affair: pray you, make

[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught

As my great power thereof may give thee sense, 45. "this deed, for thine"; so Qq.; Ff., “deed of thine, for thine.” -I. G.

48. "with fiery quickness"; so Ff.; omitted in Qq.-I. G.

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