Hamlet: Prince of Denmark
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Elsinore Castle: a chamber in the castle.

[Enter KING CLAUDIUS and Attendants.]

KING CLAUDIUS: I have sent to seek him, and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
He's loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes,
And where 'tis so, th' offender's scourge is weighed,
But never the offense. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,
Or not at all.


How now! what hath befallen?

ROSENCRANTZ: Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,
We cannot get from him.

KING CLAUDIUS: But where is he?

ROSENCRANTZ: Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

KING CLAUDIUS: Bring him before us.

ROSENCRANTZ: Ho! Bring in my lord.


KING CLAUDIUS: Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?

HAMLET: At supper.

KING CLAUDIUS: At supper? Where?

HAMLET: Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two dishes, but to one table. That's the end.

KING CLAUDIUS: Alas, alas!

HAMLET: A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.

KING CLAUDIUS: What dost thou mean by this?

HAMLET: Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress through the guts of a beggar.

KING CLAUDIUS: Where is Polonius?

HAMLET: In heaven. Send hither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i' the other place yourself. But if indeed you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.

KING CLAUDIUS: Go seek him there.

HAMLET: He will stay till ye come.

[Exeunt Attendants.]

KING CLAUDIUS: Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,
Which we do tender as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done, must send thee hence
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
Th' associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.

HAMLET: For England!



KING CLAUDIUS: So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.

HAMLET: I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for England! Farewell, dear mother.

KING CLAUDIUS: Thy loving father, Hamlet.

HAMLET: My mother--father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother. Come, for England!


KING CLAUDIUS: Follow him at foot. Tempt him with speed aboard.
Delay it not; I'll have him hence tonight.
Away! For every thing is sealed and done
That else leans on th' affair. Pray you, make haste.


And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught--
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe
Pays homage to us--thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,
And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.


NEXT: Act IV, scene iv

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