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Hamlet

by William Shakespeare

Act 4, Scene 3 Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Hamlet Act 4, Scene 3

Another Room in the Castle

Hamlet Act 4 Scene 3

Enter King CLAUDIUS and two or three attendants

Enter King CLAUDIUS and two or three attendants

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 loved of the distracted multitude,

distracted=easily moved

Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes.

in=with

judgment=brains

And where ’tis so, th' offender’s scourge is weighed,

scourge=punishment

But never the offense. To bear all smooth and even,

This sudden sending him away must seem

Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown

deliberate pause=the result of careful deliberation

By desperate appliance are relieved,

appliance=treatment

Or not at all.

 

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 loved of the distracted multitude,

Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes.

And where ’tis so, th' offender’s scourge is weighed,

But never the offense. To bear all smooth and even,

This sudden sending him away must seem

Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown

By desperate appliance are relieved,

Or not at all.

 

Enter ROSENCRANTZ

Enter ROSENCRANTZ

How now, what hath befall'n?

How now, what hath befall'n?

ROSENCRANTZ

Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,

We cannot get from him.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Where the dead body is bestowed, my lord,

We cannot get from him.

 

CLAUDIUS

But where is he?

 

CLAUDIUS

But where is he?

 

ROSENCRANTZ

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

guarded=under guard, waiting for your orders

 

ROSENCRANTZ

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

 

CLAUDIUS

Bring him before us.

 

CLAUDIUS

Bring him before us.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.

 

ROSENCRANTZ

Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.

 

Enter HAMLET and GUILDENSTERN

Enter HAMLET and GUILDENSTERN

CLAUDIUS

Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?

 

CLAUDIUS

Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?

 

HAMLET

At supper.

 

HAMLET

At supper.

 

CLAUDIUS

At supper where?

 

CLAUDIUS

At supper where?

 

HAMLET

Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain convocation of politic worms (referring to the Diet of Worms of 1521) are e'en (even now) at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet (ultimately, worms eat everything, including kings). We fat all creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots (we fatten ourselves so that maggots can eat us). Your fat king and your lean beggar is (are) but variable service (different kinds of food)—two dishes, but to one table (worms eat both kings and beggars equally). That’s the end.

 

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!

 

CLAUDIUS

Alas, alas!

 

HAMLET

A man may fish with the worm that hath eat (eaten) of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of (on) that worm.

 

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 you mean by this?

 

CLAUDIUS

What dost you mean by this?

 

HAMLET

Nothing but to show you how a king may go a progress (make a royal tour) through the guts of a beggar.

 

HAMLET

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

 

CLAUDIUS

Where is Polonius?

 

CLAUDIUS

Where is Polonius?

 

HAMLET

In heaven. Send hither to see. If your messenger find him not there, seek him i' th' other place yourself. But if indeed you find him not within this month, you shall nose him (smell him) as you go up the stairs into the lobby (main hall).

 

HAMLET

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

 

CLAUDIUS

(to attendants) Go seek him there.

 

CLAUDIUS

(to attendants) Go seek him there.

 

Exeunt some attendants

Exeunt some attendants

HAMLET

He will stay till ye come.

 

HAMLET

He will stay till ye come.

 

CLAUDIUS

Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety—

Which we do tender as we dearly grieve

tender=guard (just as much as we grieve)

For that which thou hast done—must send thee hence

With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.

fiery=as swift as light

The bark is ready and the wind at help,

bark=ship

wind at help=wind favorable

Th' associates tend, and everything is bent

tend=are waiting (attend)

For England.

 

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.

 

HAMLET

For England?

 

HAMLET

For England?

 

CLAUDIUS

Ay, Hamlet.

 

CLAUDIUS

Ay, Hamlet.

 

HAMLET

Good.

 

HAMLET

Good.

 

CLAUDIUS

So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.

 

CLAUDIUS

So is it, if thou knew’st our purposes.

 

HAMLET

I see a cherub (an angel, whose distinctive gift is knowledge) that sees them (Claudius’ purposes). But come, for England.

Farewell, dear mother.

 

HAMLET

I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for England.

Farewell, dear mother.

 

CLAUDIUS

Thy loving father, Hamlet.

 

CLAUDIUS

Thy loving father, Hamlet.

 

HAMLET

My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother.—Come, for England!

 

HAMLET

My mother. Father and mother is man and wife, man and wife is one flesh, and so, my mother.—Come, for England!

 

Exit HAMLET

Exit HAMLET

CLAUDIUS

Follow him at foot. Tempt him with speed aboard.

Delay it not. I’ll have him hence tonight.

Away! For everything is sealed and done

That else leans on the affair. Pray you, make haste.

else=everything else

leans=is connected with

 

CLAUDIUS

Follow him at foot. Tempt him with speed aboard.

Delay it not. I’ll have him hence tonight.

Away! For everything is sealed and done

That else leans on the affair. Pray you, make haste.

 

Exeunt all but CLAUDIUS

Exeunt all but CLAUDIUS

And, England (king of England), if my love thou hold’st at aught—

thou hold’st at aught=counts for anything

As my great power thereof may give thee sense,

Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red

cicatrice=wound

After the Danish sword and thy free awe

Pays homage to us—thou mayst not coldly set

set=set aside

Our sovereign process, which imports at full,

By letters congruing to that (this) effect:

congruing=charging

The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England,

present=immediate

For like the hectic in my blood he rages,

hectic=fever

And thou must cure me. Till I know ’tis done,

Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.

howe’er my haps=whatever happens to me

 

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

Exit

 

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