Pol. How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter: yet he knew me not at first; he said I was a Fishmonger: he is farre gone, farre gone: and truly in my youth, I suffred much extreamity for loue: very neere this. Ile speake to him againe. What do you read my Lord? Ham. Words, words, words

Pol. What is the matter, my Lord? Ham. Betweene who? Pol. I meane the matter you meane, my Lord

Ham. Slanders Sir: for the Satyricall slaue saies here, that old men haue gray Beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thicke Amber, or Plum-Tree Gumme: and that they haue a plentifull locke of Wit, together with weake Hammes. All which Sir, though I most powerfully, and potently beleeue; yet I holde it not Honestie to haue it thus set downe: For you your selfe Sir, should be old as I am, if like a Crab you could go backward

Pol. Though this be madnesse, Yet there is Method in't: will you walke Out of the ayre my Lord? Ham. Into my Graue? Pol. Indeed that is out o'th' Ayre: How pregnant (sometimes) his Replies are? A happinesse, That often Madnesse hits on, Which Reason and Sanitie could not So prosperously be deliuer'd of. I will leaue him, And sodainely contriue the meanes of meeting Betweene him, and my daughter. My Honourable Lord, I will most humbly Take my leaue of you

Ham. You cannot Sir take from me any thing, that I will more willingly part withall, except my life, my life

Polon. Fare you well my Lord

Ham. These tedious old fooles

Polon. You goe to seeke my Lord Hamlet; there hee is. Enter Rosincran and Guildensterne.

Rosin. God saue you Sir

Guild. Mine honour'd Lord? Rosin. My most deare Lord? Ham. My excellent good friends? How do'st thou Guildensterne? Oh, Rosincrane; good Lads: How doe ye both? Rosin. As the indifferent Children of the earth

Guild. Happy, in that we are not ouer-happy: on Fortunes Cap, we are not the very Button

Ham. Nor the Soales of her Shoo? Rosin. Neither my Lord

Ham. Then you liue about her waste, or in the middle of her fauour? Guil. Faith, her priuates, we

Ham. In the secret parts of Fortune? Oh, most true: she is a Strumpet. What's the newes? Rosin. None my Lord; but that the World's growne honest

Ham. Then is Doomesday neere: But your newes is not true. Let me question more in particular: what haue you my good friends, deserued at the hands of Fortune, that she sends you to Prison hither? Guil. Prison, my Lord? Ham. Denmark's a Prison

Rosin. Then is the World one

Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many Confines, Wards, and Dungeons; Denmarke being one o'th' worst

Rosin. We thinke not so my Lord

Ham. Why then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison

Rosin. Why then your Ambition makes it one: 'tis too narrow for your minde

Ham. O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count my selfe a King of infinite space; were it not that I haue bad dreames

Guil. Which dreames indeed are Ambition: for the very substance of the Ambitious, is meerely the shadow of a Dreame

Ham. A dreame it selfe is but a shadow

Rosin. Truely, and I hold Ambition of so ayry and light a quality, that it is but a shadowes shadow

Ham. Then are our Beggers bodies; and our Monarchs and out-stretcht Heroes the Beggers Shadowes: shall wee to th' Court: for, by my fey I cannot reason? Both. Wee'l wait vpon you

Ham. No such matter. I will not sort you with the rest of my seruants: for to speake to you like an honest man: I am most dreadfully attended; but in the beaten way of friendship, What make you at Elsonower? Rosin. To visit you my Lord, no other occasion

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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