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?
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.
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!
[Re-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 poison’d shot,—may miss our name,
And hit the woundless air.—O, come away!
My soul is full of discord and dismay.
Scene II. Another room in the Castle.
Ros. and Guil.
[Within.] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
What noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.
[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]
What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
Compounded it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.
Tell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence,
And bear it to the chapel.
Do not believe it.
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?
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, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to be last swallowed: when he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
I understand you not, my lord.