Scene III. A room in the Castle.
[Enter King, Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern.]
I like him not; nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range.
Therefore prepare you;
I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England
shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may not endure
Hazard so near us as doth
Out of his lunacies.
We will ourselves provide:
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those
many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your majesty.
The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the
To keep itself from 'noyance; but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depend and
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
Dies not alone; but like a gulf doth
What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which,
when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boisterous ruin.
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this
Which now goes too free-footed.
Ros and Guil.
We will haste us.
[Exeunt Ros. and Guil.]
My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:
Behind the arras I'll convey
To hear the process; I'll warrant she'll tax him home:
And, as you said, and
wisely was it said,
$BC5(Bis meet that some more audience than a mother,
Since nature makes
them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege:
upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
Thanks, dear my lord.
O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse
A brother's murder!--Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
And, like a man to double business
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this cursed
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,--
Is there not rain enough in the
To wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage
And what's in prayer but this twofold force,--
To be forestalled ere we come
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
My fault is past. But, O, what form
Can serve my turn? Forgive me my foul murder!--
That cannot be; since I am
Of those effects for which I did the murder,--
My crown, mine own
ambition, and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the corrupted
currents of this world
Offence's gilded hand may shove by justice;
And oft 'tis seen the
wicked prize itself
Buys out the law; but 'tis not so above;
There is no
shuffling;--there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
to the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
what repentance can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one cannot repent?
state! O bosom black as death!
O limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
engag'd! Help, angels! Make assay:
Bow, stubborn knees; and, heart, with strings of
Be soft as sinews of the new-born babe!
All may be well.
[Retires and kneels.]
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't;--and so he goes
And so am I reveng'd.--that would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and
I, his sole son, do this same villain send
O, this is hire and
salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad
blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands, who knows save heaven?
But in our
circumstance and course of thought,
$BC5(Bis heavy with him: and am I, then, reveng'd,
take him in the purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent:
When he is drunk asleep; or
in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
At gaming, swearing; or about
That has no relish of salvation in't;--
Then trip him, that his heels may kick
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My
This physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
[The King rises and advances.]
My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to