Act 4, scene 1

Act IV, Scene 1

Elsinore. A room in the Castle.


Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

  • GertrudeBestow this place on us a little while.
    [Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
    Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen to-night!
  • ClaudiusWhat, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
  • GertrudeMad 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.
  • ClaudiusO 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?
  • GertrudeTo 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.
  • ClaudiusO 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.