What, have you given him any hard words of

late? Oph. No, my good lord, but, as you did command,

I did repel his letters and denied

His access to me.

That hath made him mad.
I am sorry that with better heed and judgement 110
I had not quoted him. I feared he did but

And meant to wrack thee; but beshrew my

By heaven, it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions
As it is common for the younger sort
To lack discretion. Come, go we to the King.
This must be known, which, being kept close,

might move
More grief to hide than hate to utter love.





A room in the castle.

Flourish. Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz,

Guildenstern, and Attendants. King. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz and Guilden

stern! Moreover that we much did long to see you,


The need we have to use you did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you

Of Hamlet's transformation; so call it,
Since not the exterior nor the inward man
Resembles that it was. What it should be,.
More than his father's death, that thus hath

put him
So much from the understanding of himself,
I cannot dream of. I entreat you both,
That, being of so young days brought up

with him
And since so neighboured to his youth and

That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time; so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures, and to gather
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether aught to us unknown afflicts him

thus, That, opened, lies within our remedy. Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talked of

you; And sure I am two men there are not living To whom he more adheres. If it will please

[merged small][ocr errors]


To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us a while
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks



As fits a king's remembrance. Ros.

Both your majesties Might, by the sovereign power you have of us, Put your dread pleasures more into command

Than to entreaty.

But we both obey,
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent 30
To lay our service freely at your feet,

To be commanded.
King. Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guild-

enstern. Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern and gentle Rosen

crantz, And I beseech you instantly to visit My too much changed son. Go, some of you,

And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is. Guil. Heavens make our presence and our

practices Pleasant and helpful to him! Queen.

Ay, amen! [Exeunt Rosencrantz, Guildenstern, and some Attendants.

Enter Polonius. Pol. The ambassadors from Norway, my good 40

lord, Are joyfully returned. King. Thou still hast been the father of good

news. Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good



I hold my duty as I hold my soul,
Both to my God and to my gracious king.
And I do think, or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure
As it hath used to do, that I have found

The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy. 50 King. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear. Pol. Give first admittance to the ambassadors.

My news shall be the fruit to that great feast. King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them

[Exit Polonius. He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he bath found 55 The head and source of all your son's

distemper. Queen. I doubt it is no other but the main,

His father's death and our o’erhasty marriage. King. Well, we shall sift him. Re-enter Polonius, with Voltimand and Cornelius.

Welcome, my good friends! Say, Voltimand, what from our brother

Norway? 60 Volt. Most fair return of greetings and desires.

Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies, which to him appeared
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack,

But, better looked into, he truly found 65 It was against your highness. Whereat

grieved, That so his sickness, age, and impotence Was falsely borne in hand, sends out arrests


On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys,
Receives rebuke from Norway, and in fine
Makes vow before his uncle never more
To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual


And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack; 76
With an entreaty, herein further shown,

[Giving a paper.
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprise,
On such regards of safety and allowance

As therein are set down. King.

It likes us well; 80 And at our more considered time we'll read, Answer, and think upon this business. Meantime we thank you for your well-took

labour. Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together. Most welcome home!

[Exeunt Voltimand and Cornelius. Pol.

This business is well ended. 85
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and

Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit 80


« VorigeDoorgaan »