Speeches (Lines) for Claudius
in "Hamlet"

Total: 102

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# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text

1

I,2,201

(stage directions). Flourish. [Enter Claudius, King of Denmark, Gertrude the Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes and his sister Ophelia, [Voltemand, Cornelius,] Lords Attendant.

Claudius. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
Th' imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with a defeated joy,
With an auspicious, and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message
Importing the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bands of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much for him.
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
Who, impotent and bedrid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
His further gait herein, in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions are all made
Out of his subject; and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltemand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway,
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the King, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow. [Gives a paper.]
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.


2

I,2,241

Cornelius. [with Voltemand] In that, and all things, will we show our duty.

Claudius. We doubt it nothing. Heartily farewell.
[Exeunt Voltemand and Cornelius.]
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit. What is't, Laertes?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane
And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?


3

I,2,259

Laertes. My dread lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark
To show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.

Claudius. Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?


4

I,2,264

Polonius. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laboursome petition, and at last
Upon his will I seal'd my hard consent.
I do beseech you give him leave to go.

Claudius. Take thy fair hour, Laertes. Time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son-


5

I,2,268

Hamlet. [aside] A little more than kin, and less than kind!

Claudius. How is it that the clouds still hang on you?


6

I,2,290

Hamlet. Seems, madam, Nay, it is. I know not 'seems.'
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected havior of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shapes of grief,
'That can denote me truly. These indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show-
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

Claudius. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father;
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his, and the survivor bound
In filial obligation for some term
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persever
In obstinate condolement is a course
Of impious stubbornness. 'Tis unmanly grief;
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unschool'd;
For what we know must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we in our peevish opposition
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd, whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
'This must be so.' We pray you throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
As of a father; for let the world take note
You are the most immediate to our throne,
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire;
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.


7

I,2,324

Hamlet. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

Claudius. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply.
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come.
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart; in grace whereof,
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
And the King's rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.


8

II,2,1084

(stage directions). cum aliis.

Claudius. 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 th' 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.


9

II,2,1118

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

Claudius. Thanks, Rosencrantz and gentle Guildenstern.


10

II,2,1130

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

Claudius. Thou still hast been the father of good news.


11

II,2,1138

Polonius. 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.

Claudius. O, speak of that! That do I long to hear.


12

II,2,1141

Polonius. Give first admittance to th' ambassadors.
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.

Claudius. 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.


13

II,2,1147

Gertrude. I doubt it is no other but the main,
His father's death and our o'erhasty marriage.

Claudius. Well, we shall sift him.
[Enter Polonius, Voltemand, and Cornelius.]
Welcome, my good friends.
Say, Voltemand, what from our brother Norway?


14

II,2,1173

Voltemand. 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 further shown,
[Gives 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.

Claudius. It likes us well;
And at our more consider'd 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 Ambassadors.


15

II,2,1225

Polonius. Good madam, stay awhile. I will be faithful. [Reads.]
'Doubt thou the stars are fire;
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, O 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.

Claudius. But how hath she
Receiv'd his love?


16

II,2,1228

Polonius. What do you think of me?

Claudius. As of a man faithful and honourable.


17

II,2,1250

Polonius. 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, repulsed, 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.

Claudius. Do you think 'tis this?


18

II,2,1255

Polonius. Hath there been such a time- I would fain know that-
That I have Positively said 'Tis so,'
When it prov'd otherwise.?

Claudius. Not that I know.


19

II,2,1260

Polonius. [points to his head and shoulder] Take this from this, if this be otherwise.
If circumstances lead me, I will find
Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.

Claudius. How may we try it further?


20

II,2,1270

Polonius. 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 he not from his reason fall'n thereon
Let me be no assistant for a state,
But keep a farm and carters.

Claudius. We will try it.


21

III,1,1683

(stage directions). and Lords.

Claudius. And can you by no drift of circumstance
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?


22

III,1,1709

Polonius. 'Tis most true;
And he beseech'd me to entreat your Majesties
To hear and see the matter.

Claudius. With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose on to these delights.


23

III,1,1715

(stage directions). Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Claudius. Sweet Gertrude, leave us too;
For we have closely sent for Hamlet hither,
That he, as 'twere by accident, may here
Affront Ophelia.
Her father and myself (lawful espials)
Will so bestow ourselves that, seeing unseen,
We may of their encounter frankly judge
And gather by him, as he is behav'd,
If't be th' affliction of his love, or no,
That thus he suffers for.


24

III,1,1740

Polonius. Ophelia, walk you here.- Gracious, so please you,
We will bestow ourselves.- [To Ophelia] Read on this book,
That show of such an exercise may colour
Your loneliness.- We are oft to blame in this,
'Tis too much prov'd, that with devotion's visage
And pious action we do sugar o'er
The Devil himself.

Claudius. [aside] O, 'tis too true!
How smart a lash that speech doth give my conscience!
The harlot's cheek, beautied with plast'ring art,
Is not more ugly to the thing that helps it
Than is my deed to my most painted word.
O heavy burthen!


25

III,1,1854

(stage directions). Enter King and Polonius.

Claudius. Love? his affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And I do doubt the hatch and the disclose
Will be some danger; which for to prevent,
I have in quick determination
Thus set it down: he shall with speed to England
For the demand of our neglected tribute.
Haply the seas, and countries different,
With variable objects, shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart,
Whereon his brains still beating puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?


26

III,1,1880

Polonius. It shall do well. But yet do I believe
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love.- How now, Ophelia?
You need not tell us what Lord Hamlet said.
We heard it all.- My lord, do as you please;
But if you hold it fit, after the play
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To show his grief. Let her be round with him;
And I'll be plac'd so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference. If she find him not,
To England send him; or confine him where
Your wisdom best shall think.

Claudius. It shall be so.
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go. Exeunt.


27

III,2,1975

Hamlet. They are coming to the play. I must be idle.
Get you a place.

Claudius. How fares our cousin Hamlet?


28

III,2,1978

Hamlet. Excellent, i' faith; of the chameleon's dish. I eat the air,
promise-cramm'd. You cannot feed capons so.

Claudius. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet. These words are not
mine.


29

III,2,2127

Hamlet. O, but she'll keep her word.

Claudius. Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in't?


30

III,2,2130

Hamlet. No, no! They do but jest, poison in jest; no offence i' th'
world.

Claudius. What do you call the play?


31

III,2,2156

Polonius. Give o'er the play.

Claudius. Give me some light! Away!


32

III,3,2277

(stage directions). Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.

Claudius. I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you.
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so near us as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.


33

III,3,2301

Rosencrantz. The single and peculiar life is bound
With all the strength and armour of the mind
To keep itself from noyance; but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depends and rests
The lives of many. The cesse of majesty
Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
What's near it with it. It is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.

Claudius. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.


34

III,3,2316

Polonius. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet.
Behind the arras I'll convey myself
To hear the process. I'll warrant she'll tax him home;
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege.
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed
And tell you what I know.

Claudius. Thanks, dear my lord.
[Exit [Polonius].]
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murther! Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will.
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent,
And, like a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed hand
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer but this twofold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murther'?
That cannot be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murther-
My crown, mine own ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain th' offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law; but 'tis not so above.
There is no shuffling; there the action lies
In his true nature, and we ourselves compell'd,
Even to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? What rests?
Try what repentance can. What can it not?
Yet what can it when one cannot repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engag'd! Help, angels! Make assay.
Bow, stubborn knees; and heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!
All may be well. He kneels.


35

III,3,2380

Hamlet. Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven,
And so am I reveng'd. That would be scann'd.
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
To heaven.
Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge!
He took my father grossly, full of bread,
With all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven?
But in our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him; and am I then reveng'd,
To take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and seasoned for his passage?
No.
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent.
When he is drunk asleep; or in his rage;
Or in th' incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't-
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven,
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays.
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days. Exit.

Claudius. [rises] My words fly up, my thoughts remain below.
Words without thoughts never to heaven go. Exit.


36

IV,1,2626

(stage directions). Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Claudius. There's matter in these sighs. These profound heaves
You must translate; 'tis fit we understand them.
Where is your son?


37

IV,1,2632

Gertrude. Bestow this place on us a little while.
[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen to-night!

Claudius. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?


38

IV,1,2639

Gertrude. Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries 'A rat, a rat!'
And in this brainish apprehension kills
The unseen good old man.

Claudius. O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there.
His liberty is full of threats to all-
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt
This mad young man. But so much was our love
We would not understand what was most fit,
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?


39

IV,1,2655

Gertrude. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd;
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure. He weeps for what is done.

Claudius. O Gertrude, come away!
The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
We must with all our majesty and skill
Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!
[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him.
Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you haste in this.
[Exeunt [Rosencrantz and Guildenstern].]
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends
And let them know both what we mean to do
And what's untimely done. [So haply slander-]
Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,
Transports his poisoned shot- may miss our name
And hit the woundless air.- O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.


40

IV,3,2708

(stage directions). Enter 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 lov'd of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And where 'tis so, th' offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
Or not at all.
[Enter Rosencrantz.]
How now O What hath befall'n?


41

IV,3,2723

Rosencrantz. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
We cannot get from him.

Claudius. But where is he?


42

IV,3,2725

Rosencrantz. Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.

Claudius. Bring him before us.


43

IV,3,2728

(stage directions). Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern [with Attendants].

Claudius. Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?


44

IV,3,2730

Hamlet. At supper.

Claudius. At supper? Where?


45

IV,3,2737

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.

Claudius. Alas, alas!


46

IV,3,2740

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.

Claudius. What dost thou mean by this?


47

IV,3,2743

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

Claudius. Where is Polonius?


48

IV,3,2748

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

Claudius. Go seek him there. [To Attendants.]


49

IV,3,2751

(stage directions). [Exeunt Attendants.]

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.


50

IV,3,2759

Hamlet. For England?

Claudius. Ay, Hamlet.


51

IV,3,2761

Hamlet. Good.

Claudius. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.


52

IV,3,2764

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

Claudius. Thy loving father, Hamlet.


53

IV,3,2768

(stage directions). Exit.

Claudius. Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed aboard.
Delay it not; I'll have him hence to-night.
Away! for everything is seal'd and done
That else leans on th' affair. Pray you make haste.
[Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern]
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. Exit.


54

IV,5,2903

Ophelia. [Sings]
Larded all with sweet flowers;
Which bewept to the grave did not go
With true-love showers.

Claudius. How do you, pretty lady?


55

IV,5,2907

Ophelia. Well, God dild you! They say the owl was a baker's daughter.
Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at
your table!

Claudius. Conceit upon her father.


56

IV,5,2918

Ophelia. Pray let's have no words of this; but when they ask, you what
it means, say you this:
(Sings) To-morrow is Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning bedtime,
And I a maid at your window,
To be your Valentine.
Then up he rose and donn'd his clo'es
And dupp'd the chamber door,
Let in the maid, that out a maid
Never departed more.

Claudius. Pretty Ophelia!


57

IV,5,2929

Ophelia. Indeed, la, without an oath, I'll make an end on't!
[Sings] By Gis and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fie for shame!
Young men will do't if they come to't
By Cock, they are to blame.
Quoth she, 'Before you tumbled me,
You promis'd me to wed.'
He answers:
'So would I 'a' done, by yonder sun,
An thou hadst not come to my bed.'

Claudius. How long hath she been thus?


58

IV,5,2935

Ophelia. I hope all will be well. We must be patient; but I cannot
choose but weep to think they would lay him i' th' cold ground.
My brother shall know of it; and so I thank you for your good
counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies. Good night, sweet
ladies. Good night, good night. Exit

Claudius. Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
[Exit Horatio.]
O, this is the poison of deep grief; it springs
All from her father's death. O Gertrude, Gertrude,
When sorrows come, they come not single spies.
But in battalions! First, her father slain;
Next, your son gone, and he most violent author
Of his own just remove; the people muddied,
Thick and and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers
For good Polonius' death, and we have done but greenly
In hugger-mugger to inter him; poor Ophelia
Divided from herself and her fair judgment,
Without the which we are pictures or mere beasts;
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France;
Feeds on his wonder, keeps, himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death,
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murd'ring piece, in many places
Give me superfluous death. A noise within.


59

IV,5,2959

Gertrude. Alack, what noise is this?

Claudius. Where are my Switzers? Let them guard the door.
[Enter a Messenger.]
What is the matter?


60

IV,5,2976

Gertrude. How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs!

Claudius. The doors are broke.


61

IV,5,2990

Laertes. That drop of blood that's calm proclaims me bastard;
Cries cuckold to my father; brands the harlot
Even here between the chaste unsmirched brows
Of my true mother.

Claudius. What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giantlike?
Let him go, Gertrude. Do not fear our person.
There's such divinity doth hedge a king
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will. Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incens'd. Let him go, Gertrude.
Speak, man.


62

IV,5,2999

Laertes. Where is my father?

Claudius. Dead.


63

IV,5,3001

Gertrude. But not by him!

Claudius. Let him demand his fill.


64

IV,5,3009

Laertes. How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil
Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation. To this point I stand,
That both the world, I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
Most throughly for my father.

Claudius. Who shall stay you?


65

IV,5,3013

Laertes. My will, not all the world!
And for my means, I'll husband them so well
They shall go far with little.

Claudius. Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge
That sweepstake you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?


66

IV,5,3019

Laertes. None but his enemies.

Claudius. Will you know them then?


67

IV,5,3023

Laertes. To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms
And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

Claudius. Why, now You speak
Like a good child and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensibly in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment pierce
As day does to your eye.


68

IV,5,3078

Laertes. Do you see this, O God?

Claudius. Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Or you deny me right. Go but apart,
Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,
And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me.
If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in satisfaction; but if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.


69

IV,5,3095

Laertes. Let this be so.
His means of death, his obscure funeral-
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite nor formal ostentation,-
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call't in question.

Claudius. So you shall;
And where th' offence is let the great axe fall.
I pray you go with me.


70

IV,7,3131

(stage directions). Enter King and Laertes.

Claudius. Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
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.


71

IV,7,3141

Laertes. It well appears. But tell me
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 stirr'd up.

Claudius. O, for two special reasons,
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are 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 sphere,
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 him,
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gives to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.


72

IV,7,3162

Laertes. And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desp'rate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections. But my revenge will come.

Claudius. Break not your sleeps for that. You must 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 lov'd your father, and we love ourself,
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine-
[Enter a Messenger with letters.]
How now? What news?


73

IV,7,3172

Messenger. Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your Majesty; this to the Queen.

Claudius. From Hamlet? Who brought them?


74

IV,7,3176

Messenger. Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not.
They were given me by Claudio; he receiv'd them
Of him that brought them.

Claudius. 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 asking your pardon thereunto) recount the
occasion of my sudden and more strange return. 'HAMLET.'
What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?


75

IV,7,3186

Laertes. Know you the hand?

Claudius. 'Tis Hamlet's character. 'Naked!'
And in a postscript here, he says 'alone.'
Can you advise me?


76

IV,7,3193

Laertes. I am lost in it, my 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.'

Claudius. If it be so, Laertes
(As how should it be so? how otherwise?),
Will you be rul'd by me?


77

IV,7,3198

Laertes. Ay my lord,
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.

Claudius. To thine own peace. If he be now return'd
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To exploit now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
And for his death no wind shall breathe
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.


78

IV,7,3209

Laertes. My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather, if you could devise it so
That I might be the organ.

Claudius. It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say you shine, Your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.


79

IV,7,3217

Laertes. What part is that, my lord?

Claudius. A very riband in the cap of youth-
Yet needfull too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since
Here was a gentleman of Normandy.
I have seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback; but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't. He grew unto his seat,
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast. So far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.


80

IV,7,3232

Laertes. A Norman was't?

Claudius. A Norman.


81

IV,7,3234

Laertes. Upon my life, Lamound.

Claudius. The very same.


82

IV,7,3237

Laertes. I know him well. He is the broach indeed
And gem of all the nation.

Claudius. He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you. The scrimers of their nation
He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er to play with you.
Now, out of this-


83

IV,7,3250

Laertes. What out of this, my lord?

Claudius. Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart,'


84

IV,7,3254

Laertes. Why ask you this?

Claudius. Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too-much. That we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But to the quick o' th' ulcer!
Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?


85

IV,7,3272

Laertes. To cut his throat i' th' church!

Claudius. No place indeed should murther sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this? Keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home.
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together
And wager on your heads. He, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.


86

IV,7,3295

Laertes. I will do't!
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the moon, can save the thing from death
This is but scratch'd withal. I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

Claudius. Let's further think of this,
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape. If this should fall,
And that our drift look through our bad performance.
'Twere better not assay'd. Therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold
If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see.
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings-
I ha't!
When in your motion you are hot and dry-
As make your bouts more violent to that end-
And that he calls for drink, I'll have prepar'd him
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.- But stay, what noise,
[Enter Queen.]
How now, sweet queen?


87

IV,7,3342

Laertes. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears; but yet
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will. When these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord.
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze
But that this folly douts it. Exit.

Claudius. Let's follow, Gertrude.
How much I had to do to calm his rage I
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.


88

V,1,3605

Hamlet. Thou pray'st not well.
I prithee take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenitive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear. Hold off thy hand!

Claudius. Pluck them asunder.


89

V,1,3616

Hamlet. I lov'd Ophelia. Forty thousand brothers
Could not (with all their quantity of love)
Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?

Claudius. O, he is mad, Laertes.


90

V,1,3640

(stage directions). Exit.

Claudius. I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
[Exit Horatio.]
[To Laertes] Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.
We'll put the matter to the present push.-
Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.-
This grave shall have a living monument.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
Till then in patience our proceeding be.


91

V,2,3861

(stage directions). A table and flagons of wine on it.

Claudius. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.


92

V,2,3900

Hamlet. No, by this hand.

Claudius. Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?


93

V,2,3904

Hamlet. Very well, my lord.
Your Grace has laid the odds o' th' weaker side.

Claudius. I do not fear it, I have seen you both;
But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.


94

V,2,3910

Osric. Ay, my good lord.

Claudius. Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire;
The King shall drink to Hamlet's better breath,
And in the cup an union shall he throw
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
'Now the King drinks to Hamlet.' Come, begin.
And you the judges, bear a wary eye.


95

V,2,3930

Laertes. Well, again!

Claudius. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.
[Drum; trumpets sound; a piece goes off [within].]
Give him the cup.


96

V,2,3937

Laertes. A touch, a touch; I do confess't.

Claudius. Our son shall win.


97

V,2,3942

Hamlet. Good madam!

Claudius. Gertrude, do not drink.


98

V,2,3944

Gertrude. I will, my lord; I pray you pardon me. Drinks.

Claudius. [aside] It is the poison'd cup; it is too late.


99

V,2,3948

Laertes. My lord, I'll hit him now.

Claudius. I do not think't.


100

V,2,3957

(stage directions). [Laertes wounds Hamlet; then] in scuffling, they change rapiers, [and Hamlet wounds Laertes].

Claudius. Part them! They are incens'd.


101

V,2,3964

Hamlet. How does the Queen?

Claudius. She sounds to see them bleed.


102

V,2,3981

All. Treason! treason!

Claudius. O, yet defend me, friends! I am but hurt.


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