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As oft as any passion under heaven,
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry, --
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 judgment
I had not quoted him: I fear'd, he did but trifle,
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
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. [Exeunt.



A Room in the Castle.
Flourish. Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and

King. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern:
Moreover, that we much did long to see you,
The need we have to use you, did provoke
Our hasty sending. Something have you heard
Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it,
Sith nor th' 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 neighbour'd to his youth and haviour,
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, open'd, lies within our remedy.

Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you; .
And, sure I am, two men there are not living,
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you

67 Go,


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.

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

Than to entreaty. 68 Guil.

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

King. Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guildenstern.

Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz: And I beseech you instantly to visit My too much changed son.


you, And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.

Guil. Heavens make our presence, and our practices,
Pleasant and helpful to him!

Ay, amen!
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and some Attendants.

Pol. Th' ambassadors from Norway, my good lord ,
Are joyfully return'd.

King. Thou still hast been the father of good news. | 69 Pol. Have I, my

lord ? Assure you, my good liege,
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 us’d to do) that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

King. 0! speak of that; that do I long to hear,

Pol. Give first admittance to th' ambassadors;
My-news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.

[Exit POLONIUS. He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found 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.



Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. King. Well, we shall sift him. Welcome, my good friends. Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?

Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear’d
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack,
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness: whereat griev'd ,
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 th' assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee;
And his commission to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein farther shown, [Giving a Paper.
That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprize;
On such regards of safety, and allowance,
As therein are set down.

It likes us well;
And, at our more consider'd time, we'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business:
Mean time, we thank you for your well-took labour.
Go to your rest; at night we 'll feast together:
Most welcome home.

[Exeunt Ambassadors. I

This business is well ended.
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 time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,
And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,
I will be brief. Your noble son is mad:
Mad call I it; for, to define true madness,
What is 't, but to be nothing else but mad :
But let that go.

More matter, with less art.


Pol. Madam, I swear, I use no art at all. That he is mad, 't is true: 't is true 't is pity, And pity t is 't is true: a foolish figure;

But farewell it, for I will use no art. |
73 Mad let us grant him, then; and now remains,

That we find out the cause of this effect;
Or rather say, the cause of this defect.
For this effect defective comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.
I have a daughter; have, while she is mine;
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,
Hath given me this. Now gather, and surmise.

“To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified Ophelia, That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; “beautified” is a vile phrase; but you shall hear.

“In her excellent white bosom, these
Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?

Pol. Good Madam, stay awhile; I will be faithful. |
“Doubt thou the stars are fire,

[Reads. Doubt, that the sun doth move; Doubt truth to be a liar,

But never doubt I love. “O dear Ophelia! I am ill at these numbers: I have not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, 0 most best! believe it. Adieu. Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this machine

is to him, Hamlet.”
This in obedience hath my daughter shown me;
And more above, hath his solicitings,
As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.

But how hath she
Receiv'd his love?

Pol. What do you think of me?

King. As of a man faithful, and honourable.
I would fain prove so.

But what might you think,
When I had seen this hot love on the wing,
(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell you that,
Before my daughter told me) what might you,
Or my dear majesty, your queen here, think,


If I had play'd the desk, or table - book;
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb;
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;
What might you think? no, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus I did bespeak:
“ Lord Hamlet is a prince, out of thy star;
This must not be:” and then I prescripts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens. |
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repelled, a short tale to make,
Fell into a sadness; then into a fast;
Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness;
Thence to a lightness; and by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,
And all we mourn for.

Do you think 't is this?
Queen. It may be, very likely.

Pol. Hath there been such a time, I'd fain know that,
That I have positively said, “'T is so,"
When it prov'd otherwise?

Not that I know.
Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise.

[Pointing to his Head and Shoulder.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre. |

How may we try it farther?
Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours together,
Here in the lobby.

So he does, indeed.
Pol. At such a time I 'll loose my daughter to him:
Be you and I behind an arras, then:
Mark the encounter; if he love her not,
And be not from his reason fallen thereon,
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm, and carters.

We will try it.



Enter HAMLET, reading.
Queen. But, look, where sadly the poor wretch comes


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