Act IV, Scene 4 A plain in Denmark.

Enter FORTINBRAS, a Captain, and Soldiers, marching

 

PRINCE FORTINBRAS Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;
Tell him that, by his licence, Fortinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promised march
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye;
And let him know so.
Captain I will do't, my lord.
PRINCE FORTINBRAS Go softly on.
  [Exeunt FORTINBRAS and Soldiers]
  [Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others]
HAMLET Good sir, whose powers are these?
Captain They are of Norway, sir.
HAMLET How purposed, sir, I pray you?
Captain Against some part of Poland.
HAMLET Who commands them, sir?
Captain The nephews to old Norway, Fortinbras.
HAMLET Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
Or for some frontier?
Captain Truly to speak, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name.
To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
HAMLET Why, then the Polack never will defend it.
Captain Yes, it is already garrison'd.
HAMLET Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will not debate the question of this straw:
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
Captain God be wi' you, sir.
  [Exit]
ROSENCRANTZ Wilt please you go, my lord?
HAMLET I'll be with you straight go a little before.
  [Exeunt all except HAMLET]
  How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good and market of his time
Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before and after, gave us not
That capability and god-like reason
To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on the event,
A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
And ever three parts coward, I do not know
Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
Witness this army of such mass and charge
Led by a delicate and tender prince,
Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason and my blood,
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tomb enough and continent
To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!
  [Exit]

 

Act IV, Scene 5 Elsinore. A room in the castle.

Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE, HORATIO, and a Gentleman

 

QUEEN GERTRUDE I will not speak with her.
Gentleman She is importunate, indeed distract:
Her mood will needs be pitied.
QUEEN GERTRUDE What would she have?
Gentleman She speaks much of her father; says she hears
There's tricks i' the world; and hems, and beats her heart;
Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt,
That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,
Yet the unshaped use of it doth move
The hearers to collection; they aim at it,
And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts;
Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures
yield them,
Indeed would make one think there might be thought,
Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.
HORATIO 'Twere good she were spoken with; for she may strew
Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds.
QUEEN GERTRUDE Let her come in.
  [Exit HORATIO]
  To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss:
So full of artless jealousy is guilt,
It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.
  [Re-enter HORATIO, with OPHELIA]
OPHELIA Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark?
QUEEN GERTRUDE How now, Ophelia!
OPHELIA [Sings]
  How should I your true love know
From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.
QUEEN GERTRUDE Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
OPHELIA Say you? nay, pray you, mark.
  [Sings]
  He is dead and gone, lady,
He is dead and gone;
At his head a grass-green turf,
At his heels a stone.
QUEEN GERTRUDE Nay, but, Ophelia,--
OPHELIA Pray you, mark.
  [Sings]
  White his shroud as the mountain snow,--
  [Enter KING CLAUDIUS]
QUEEN GERTRUDE Alas, look here, my lord.
OPHELIA [Sings]
  Larded with sweet flowers
Which bewept to the grave did go
With true-love showers.
KING CLAUDIUS How do you, pretty lady?
OPHELIA Well, God 'ild you! They say the owl was a baker's
daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not
what we may be. God be at your table!
KING CLAUDIUS Conceit upon her father.
OPHELIA Pray you, let's have no words of this; but when they
ask you what it means, say you this:
  [Sings]
  To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose, and donn'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber-door;
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.
KING CLAUDIUS Pretty Ophelia!
OPHELIA Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't:
  [Sings]
  By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't;
By cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promised me to wed.
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.
KING CLAUDIUS How long hath she been thus?
OPHELIA I hope all will be well. We must be patient: but I
cannot choose but weep, to think they should lay him
i' the cold ground. My brother shall know of it:
and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my
coach! Good night, ladies; good night, sweet ladies;
good night, good night.
  [Exit]
KING CLAUDIUS Follow her close; give her good watch,
I pray you.
  [Exit HORATIO]
  O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies
But in battalions. First, her father slain:
Next, your son gone; and he most violent author
Of his own just remove: the people muddied,
Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers,
For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly,
In hugger-mugger to inter him: poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts:
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering-piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death.
  [A noise within]
QUEEN GERTRUDE Alack, what noise is this?
KING CLAUDIUS Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
  [Enter another Gentleman]
  What is the matter?
Gentleman Save yourself, my lord:
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers. The rabble call him lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,
They cry 'Choose we: Laertes shall be king:'
Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds:
'Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!'
QUEEN GERTRUDE How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!
KING CLAUDIUS The doors are broke.
  [Noise within]
  [Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following]
LAERTES Where is this king? Sirs, stand you all without.
Danes No, let's come in.
LAERTES I pray you, give me leave.
Danes We will, we will.
  [They retire without the door]
LAERTES I thank you: keep the door. O thou vile king,
Give me my father!
QUEEN GERTRUDE Calmly, good Laertes.
LAERTES That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard,
Cries cuckold to my father, brands the harlot
Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow
Of my true mother.
KING CLAUDIUS What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?
Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person:
There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incensed. Let him go, Gertrude.
Speak, man.
LAERTES Where is my father?
KING CLAUDIUS Dead.
QUEEN GERTRUDE But not by him.
KING CLAUDIUS Let him demand his fill.
LAERTES How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be revenged
Most thoroughly for my father.
KING CLAUDIUS Who shall stay you?
LAERTES My will, not all the world:
And for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.
KING CLAUDIUS Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge,
That, swoopstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?
LAERTES None but his enemies.
KING CLAUDIUS Will you know them then?
LAERTES To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;
And like the kind life-rendering pelican,
Repast them with my blood.
KING CLAUDIUS Why, now you speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensible in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.
Danes [Within] Let her come in.
LAERTES How now! what noise is that?
  [Re-enter OPHELIA]
  O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt,
Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye!
By heaven, thy madness shall be paid by weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia!
O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits
Should be as moral as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love, and where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.
OPHELIA [Sings]
  They bore him barefaced on the bier;
Hey non nonny, nonny, hey nonny;
And in his grave rain'd many a tear:--
Fare you well, my dove!
LAERTES Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge,
It could not move thus.
OPHELIA [Sings]
  You must sing a-down a-down,
An you call him a-down-a.
O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false
steward, that stole his master's daughter.
LAERTES This nothing's more than matter.
OPHELIA There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray,
love, remember: and there is pansies. that's for thoughts.
LAERTES A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
OPHELIA There's fennel for you, and columbines: there's rue
for you; and here's some for me: we may call it
herb-grace o' Sundays: O you must wear your rue with
a difference. There's a daisy: I would give you
some violets, but they withered all when my father
died: they say he made a good end,--
  [Sings]
  For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy.
LAERTES Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,
She turns to favour and to prettiness.
OPHELIA [Sings]
  And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead:
Go to thy death-bed:
He never will come again.
  His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan:
God ha' mercy on his soul!
  And of all Christian souls, I pray God. God be wi' ye.
  [Exit]
LAERTES Do you see this, O God?
KING CLAUDIUS Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will.
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me:
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we can ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.
LAERTES Let this be so;
His means of death, his obscure funeral--
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation--
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.
KING CLAUDIUS So you shall;
And where the offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you, go with me.
  [Exeunt]

 

To view other scenes from the show:

Full Text Act III, Scene 2 A hall in the castle.
Act I, Scene 1 Elsinore. A platform before the castle. Act III, Scene 3 A room in the castle.
Act I, Scene 2 A room of state in the castle Act III, Scene 4 The Queen's closet.
Act I, Scene 3 A room in Polonius' house. Act IV, Scene 1 A room in the castle.
Act I, Scene 4 The platform. Act IV, Scene 2 Another room of the castle./Act IV, Scene 3 Another room of the castle.
Act I, Scene 5 Another part of the platform. Act IV, Scene 4 A plain of Denmark/Act IV, Scene 5 Elsinore. A room in the castle.
Act II, Scene 1 A room in Polonius' house. Act IV, Scene 6 Another room of the castle./Act IV, Scene 7 Another room of the castle.
Act II, Scene 2 A room in the castle. Act V, Scene 1 A churchyard.
Act III, Scene 1 A room in the castle. Act V, Scene 2 A hall in the castle.

 

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