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reason and sanity could not so prosperously
that I will more willingly part withal,— 225 [Aside] except my life, except my life,
except my life. Pol. Fare you well, my lord. Ham. These tedious old fools!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Pol. You go to seek the Lord Hamlet? There 230
he is. Ros. [To Polonius.] God save you, sir!
[Exit Polonius. Guil. My honoured lord ! Ros. My most dear lord ! Ham. My excellent good friends! How dost 285
thou, Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good
lads, how do you both? Ros. As the indifferent children of the earth. Guil. Happy, in that we are not over-happy.
On Fortune's cap we are not the very button. 240 Ham. Nor the soles of her shoe? Ros. Neither, my lord. Ham. Then you live about her waist, or in the
middle of her favours? .... What's the news?
Ros. None, my lord, but that the world's grown
honest. Ham. Then is doomsday near. But your news
is not true. Let me question more in 250 particular. What have you, my good friends,
deserved at the hands of Fortune, that she
sends you to prison hither? Guil. Prison, my lord?
Ham. Denmark's a prison. 255 Ros. Then is the world one. Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many
confines, wards, and dungeons, Denmark
being one o' the worst. Ros. We think not so, my lord. 260 Ham. 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. Ros. Why, then, your ambition makes it one.
'Tis too narrow for your mind. 265 Ham. O God, I could be bounded in a nut-shell
and count myself a king of infinite space,
were it not that I have bad dreams. Guil. Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the
very substance of the ambitious is merely the 270 shadow of a dream.
Ham. A dream itself is but a shadow.
light a quality that it is but a shadow's shadow. Ham. Then are our beggars bodies, and our 275 monarchs and outstretched heroes the beg
gars' shadows. Shall we to the court? for,
by my fay, I cannot reason. Ros.
We'll wait upon you. Guil. S Ham. No such matter. I will not sort you with
the rest of my servants, for, to speak to you 280 like an honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friend
ship, what make you at Elsinore? Ros. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion. Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in 285
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, deal
justly with me. Come, come. Nay, speak. 200 Guil. What should we say, my lord? Ham. Why, any thing, but to the purpose. You
were sent for; and there is a kind of confession in your looks which your modesties have not craft enough to colour. I know the 295
good king and queen have sent for you. Ros. To what end, my lord? Ham. That you must teach me. But let me con
jure you, by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the obligation 300 of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with me, whether you were sent for or no!
305 Ros. [Aside to Guil.] What say you? Ham. [Aside.] Nay, then, I have an eye of
you.—If you love me, hold not off. Guil. My lord, we were sent for. Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipa
tion prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no feather. I have of late-but wherefore I know notlost 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 320 appeareth nothing to me but a foul and
pestilent congregation of vapours. 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,-no, nor woman neither, 330 though by your smiling you seem to say so. Ros. My lord, there was no such stuff in my
thoughts. Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said,
“Man delights not me”?
Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in 885
man, what lenten entertainment the players
you service. Ham. He that plays the king shall be welcome; 840
his majesty shall have tribute of me; the
for 't. What players are they?
delight in, the tragedians of the city. 350 Ham. How chances it they travel? Their res
idence, both in reputation and profit, was
better both ways. Ros. I think their inhibition comes by the means
of the late innovation. Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did
when I was in the city? Are they so followed? Ros. No, indeed, are they not. [Ham. How comes it? Do they grow rusty? Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted 360
pace; but there is, sir, an aery of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top of question, and are most tyrannically clapped for 't. These are now the fashion, and so