Enter Claudius King of Denmarke, Gertrude the Queene, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, and his Sister Ophelia, Lords Attendant.
King. Though yet of Hamlet our deere Brothers death The memory be greene: and that it vs befitted To beare our hearts in greefe, and our whole Kingdome To be contracted in one brow of woe: Yet so farre hath Discretion fought with Nature, That we with wisest sorrow thinke on him, Together with remembrance of our selues. Therefore our sometimes Sister, now our Queene, Th' imperiall Ioyntresse of this warlike State, Haue we, as 'twere, with a defeated ioy, With one Auspicious, and one Dropping eye, With mirth in Funerall, and with Dirge in Marriage, In equall Scale weighing Delight and Dole Taken to Wife; nor haue we heerein barr'd Your better Wisedomes, which haue freely gone With this affaire along, for all our Thankes. Now followes, that you know young Fortinbras, Holding a weake supposall of our worth; Or thinking by our late deere Brothers death, Our State to be disioynt, and out of Frame, Colleagued with the dreame of his Aduantage; He hath not fayl'd to pester vs with Message, Importing the surrender of those Lands Lost by his Father: with all Bonds of Law To our most valiant Brother. So much for him. Enter Voltemand and Cornelius.
Now for our selfe, and for this time of meeting Thus much the businesse is. We haue heere writ To Norway, Vncle of young Fortinbras, Who Impotent and Bedrid, scarsely heares Of this his Nephewes purpose, to suppresse His further gate heerein. In that the Leuies, The Lists, and full proportions are all made Out of his subiect: and we heere dispatch You good Cornelius, and you Voltemand, For bearing of this greeting to old Norway, Giuing to you no further personall power To businesse with the King, more then the scope Of these dilated Articles allow: Farewell, and let your hast commend your duty
Volt. In that, and all things, will we shew our duty
King. We doubt it nothing, heartily farewell.
Exit Voltemand and Cornelius.
And now Laertes, what's the newes with you? You told vs of some suite. What is't Laertes? You cannot speake of Reason to the Dane, And loose your voyce. What would'st thou beg Laertes, That shall not be my Offer, not thy Asking? The Head is not more Natiue to the Heart, The Hand more instrumentall to the Mouth, Then is the Throne of Denmarke to thy Father. What would'st thou haue Laertes? Laer. Dread my Lord, Your leaue and fauour to returne to France, From whence, though willingly I came to Denmarke To shew my duty in your Coronation, Yet now I must confesse, that duty done, My thoughts and wishes bend againe towards France, And bow them to your gracious leaue and pardon
King. Haue you your Fathers leaue? What sayes Pollonius? Pol. He hath my Lord: I do beseech you giue him leaue to go
King. Take thy faire houre Laertes, time be thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will: But now my Cosin Hamlet, and my Sonne? Ham. A little more then kin, and lesse then kinde
King. How is it that the Clouds still hang on you? Ham. Not so my Lord, I am too much i'th' Sun
Queen. Good Hamlet cast thy nightly colour off, And let thine eye looke like a Friend on Denmarke. Do not for euer with thy veyled lids Seeke for thy Noble Father in the dust; Thou know'st 'tis common, all that liues must dye, Passing through Nature, to Eternity
Ham. I Madam, it is common
Queen. If it be; Why seemes it so particular with thee