Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.