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But I will delve one yard below their mines, And blow them at the moon: 0, 'tis most sweet, When in one line two crafts directly meet.-] This man shall set me packing.

I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room


Mother, good night.-Indeed, this counsellor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolish prating knave.
Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you :-
Good night, mother.

[Exeunt severally; HAMLET dragging in


SCENE I. The same.

Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUIL


King. There's matter in these sighs; these profound heaves :

You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them: Where is



39 It must be confessed that this is coarse language for a prince under any circumstances, and such as is not called for by the occasion. But Hamlet has purposely chosen gross expressions and coarse metaphors throughout the interview with his mother, perhaps to make his appeal to her feelings the more forcible. Something may be said in extenuation. The word guts was not anciently so offensive to delicacy as it is at present; the courtly Lyly has used it in his Mydas, 1592. Stanyhurst often in his translation of Virgil, and Chapman in his version of the sixth Iliad :—

in whose guts the king of men imprest His ashen lance.'

In short, guts was used where we now use entrails.



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Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while1.[To ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN, who go out.

Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!
King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Queen. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both
contend 3

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.


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?
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore,

1 This line does not appear in the folio, in which Guildenstern and Rosencrantz are not brought on the stage at all. 2 Quarto-Ah, mine own lord.

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Frequentia, a great

haunt or company of folk.' Thus in Antony and Cleopatra :'Dido and her Sichæus shall want troops,

And all the haunt be ours.'

And in Romeo and Juliet:

'We talk here in the public haunt of men.'

Among a minerals of metals base,

Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done.
King. 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 Ros. and GUIL.
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 6,

Transports his poison'd shot, may miss our name,
And hit the woundless air7.]-O, come away!
My soul is full of discord, and dismay. [Exeunt.

5 Shakspeare, with a licence not unusual among his cotemporaries, uses ore for gold, and mineral for mine. Bullokar and Blount both define or or ore, gold; of a golden colour.' And the Cambridge Dictionary, 1594, under the Latin word mineralia, will show how the English mineral came to be used for a mine. Thus also in The Golden Remaines of Hales of Eton, 1693 :'Controversies of the times, like spirits in the minerals, with all their labour nothing is done.'

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6 The blank was the mark at which shots or arrows were directed. Thus in The Winter's Tale, Act ii. Sc. 3:

"Out of the blank and level of my aim.'

7 The passage in brackets is not in the folio. The words' So haply slander' are also omitted in the quartos; they were supplied by Theobald. The addition is supported by a passage in Cymbeline :

No, 'tis slander,

SCENE II. Another Room in the same.


Ham. Safely stowed,-[Ros. &c. within. Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!] But soft1!-what noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.


Ros. What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?

Ham. Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin. Ros. Tell us where 'tis; that we may take it thence, And bear it to the chapel.

Ham. Do not believe it.

Ros. Believe what?

Ham. That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! -what replication should be made by the son of a king?

Ros. Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

Ham. Ay, sir; that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end: He keeps them, like an ape doth nuts3, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed to be last swallowed: When he

Whose edge is sharper than the sword, whose tongue
Out-venoms all the worms of Nile, whose breath
Rides on the posting winds, and doth bely

All corners of the world.'

1 But soft,' these two words are not in the folio.

2 Here the quarto 1603 inserts that makes his liberality your storehouse, but,' &c.

3 The omission of the words doth nuts,' in the old copies, had obscured this passage. Dr. Farmer proposed to read like an ape an apple.' The words are now supplied from the newly discovered quarto of 1603.

needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again 4.

Ros. I understand you not, my lord.

Ham. I am glad of it: A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

Ros. My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.

Ham. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body 5. The king is a thingGuil. A thing, my lord?

Ham. Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after".


SCENE III. Another Room in the same.

Enter King, attended.

King. I have sent to seek him, and to find the


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, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem

4' He's but a spunge, and shortly needs must leese, His wrong got juice, when greatness' fist shall squeese His liquor out.' Marston, Sat. vii. 5 Hamlet affects obscurity. His meaning may be 'The king is a body without a kingly soul, a thing-of nothing.' Johnson would have altered Of nothing' to Or nothing; but Steevens and Farmer, by their superior acquaintance with our elder writers, soon clearly showed, by several examples, that the text was right.

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6Hide fox, and all after.' This was a juvenile sport, most probably what is now called hoop, or hide and seek; in which one child hides himself, and the rest run all after, seeking him. The words are not in the quarto.

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