Act 4, scene 2

Act IV, Scene 2

Elsinore. A passage in the Castle.


Enter Hamlet.

  • HamletBut soft! What noise? Who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.

Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

  • RosencrantzWhat have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
  • HamletCompounded it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.
  • RosencrantzTell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence
    And bear it to the chapel.
  • HamletThat 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?
  • HamletAy, 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, in the corner of his jaw;
    first mouth’d, to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have
    glean’d, it is but squeezing you and, sponge, you shall be dry
  • HamletI am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
  • RosencrantzMy lord, you must tell us where the body is and go with us to
    the King.
  • HamletThe body is with the King, but the King is not with the body.
    The King is a thing-