Another room in the castle.

Enter Horatio and a servant. Hor. What are they that would speak with me? Serv. Sea-faring men, sir. They say they have

letters for you. Hor. Let them come in.

[Exit Servant. I do not know from what part of the world s I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

Enter Sailors. First Sail. God bless you, sir. Hor. Let him bless thee too. First Sail. He shall, sir, an 't please him. There's

& letter for you, sir-it comes from the ambassador that was bound for Englandif your name be Horatio, as I am let to know

it is. Hor. [Reads. ] “Horatio, when thou shalt have over

looked this, give these fellows some means to the 15 King; they have letters for him. Ere we were

two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded them. On the instant they got clear of our ship, so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me like thieves of mercy, but they knew what they did. I am to do a good turn for them. Let the King have the letters I have sent, and repair thou to me with as

much speed as thou wouldest fly death. I have a
words to speak in thine ear will make thee dumb,
yet are they much too light for the bore of the
matter. These good fellows will bring thee where
I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their
course for England; of them I have much to tell 30
thee. Farewell.

"He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.” Come, I will make you way for these your

letters; And do 't the speedier, that you may direct

me To him from whom you brought them. 85



Another room in the castle.

Enter King and Laertes.
King. Now must your conscience my acquittance

And you must put me in your heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain

Pursued my life.

It well appears. But tell mes Why you proceeded not against these feats, So crimeful and so capital in nature,


As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,

You mainly were stirred up. King.

O, for two special reasons, 10 Which may to you, perhaps, seem much

But yet to me they're strong. The Queen

his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself-
My virtue or my plague, be it either which-
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his

I could not but by her. The other motive
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear

Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to

Convert his gyves to graces; so that my

Too slightly timbered for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,

And not where I had aimed them. 25 Laer. And so have I a noble father lost,

A sister driven into desperate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections. But my revenge will



King. Break not your sleeps for that. You must 30

not think That we are made of stuff so flat and dull That we can let our beard be shook with

danger And think it pastime. You shortly shall

hear more. I loved your father, and we love ourself, And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine— 35

Enter a Messenger with Letters. [How now! What news? Mess.

Letters, my lord, from Hamlet.] This to your majesty; this to the Queen. King. From Hamlet! Who brought them? Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not. They were given me by Claudio. He received 40

them Of him that brought them. King.

Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us.

[Exit Messenger. [Reads.] “High and mighty, You shall know I am set

naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes, when I shall, first 45 asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden (and more strange) return.

Hamlet." What should this mean? Are all the rest I come back?

Or is it some abuse, and no such thing? 50 Labr, Know you the hand?

King. 'Tis Hamlet's character. "Naked!”

And in a postscript here, he says "alone."

Can you advise me? 55 Laer. I'm lost in it, iny lord. . But let him come.

It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,

“Thus didest thou.” King.

If it be so, LaertesAs how should it be so? How otherwise?60 Will you be ruled by me? Laer. ;

Ay, my lord,
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
King. To thine own peace. If he be now

I returned,
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
And for his death no wind of blame shall

But even his mother shall uncharge the

practice And call it accident. Laer.

My lord, I will be ruled; 70 The rather, if you could devise it so

That I might be the organ. King.

It falls right. You have been talked of since your travel

much, And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality

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