Exeunt. Ophelia

Laer. Do you see this, you Gods? King. Laertes, I must common with your greefe, Or you deny me right: go but apart, Make choice of whom your wisest Friends you will, And they shall heare and iudge 'twixt you and me; If by direct or by Colaterall hand They finde vs touch'd, we will our Kingdome giue, Our Crowne, our Life, and all that we call Ours To you in satisfaction. But if not, Be you content to lend your patience to vs, And we shall ioyntly labour with your soule To giue it due content

Laer. Let this be so: His meanes of death, his obscure buriall; No Trophee, Sword, nor Hatchment o're his bones, No Noble rite, nor formall ostentation, Cry to be heard, as 'twere from Heauen to Earth, That I must call in question

King. So you shall: And where th' offence is, let the great Axe fall. I pray you go with me.


Enter Horatio, with an Attendant.

Hora. What are they that would speake with me? Ser. Saylors sir, they say they haue Letters for you

Hor. Let them come in, I do not know from what part of the world I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet. Enter Saylor.

Say. God blesse you Sir

Hor. Let him blesse thee too

Say. Hee shall Sir, and't please him. There's a Letter for you Sir: It comes from th' Ambassadours that was bound for England, if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.

Reads the Letter.

Horatio, When thou shalt haue ouerlook'd this, giue these Fellowes some meanes to the King: They haue Letters for him. Ere we were two dayes old at Sea, a Pyrate of very Warlicke appointment gaue vs Chace. Finding our selues too slow of Saile, we put on a compelled Valour. In the Grapple, I boorded them: On the instant they got cleare of our Shippe, so I alone became their Prisoner. They haue dealt with mee, like Theeues of Mercy, but they knew what they did. I am to doe a good turne for them. Let the King haue the Letters I haue sent, and repaire thou to me with as much hast as thou wouldest flye death. I haue words to speake in your eare, will make thee dumbe, yet are they much too light for the bore of the Matter. These good Fellowes will bring thee where I am. Rosincrance and Guildensterne, hold their course for England. Of them I haue much to tell thee, Farewell. He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet. Come, I will giue you way for these your Letters, And do't the speedier, that you may direct me To him from whom you brought them. Enter.

Enter King and Laertes.

King. Now must your conscience my acquittance seal, And you must put me in your heart for Friend, Sith you haue heard, and with a knowing eare, That he which hath your Noble Father slaine, Pursued my life

Laer. It well appeares. But tell me, Why you proceeded not against these feates, So crimefull, and so Capitall in Nature, As by your Safety, Wisedome, all things else, You mainly were stirr'd vp? King. O for two speciall Reasons, Which may to you (perhaps) seeme much vnsinnowed, And yet to me they are strong. The Queen his Mother, Liues almost by his lookes: and for my selfe, My Vertue or my Plague, be it either which, She's so coniunctiue to my life, and soule; That as the Starre moues not but in his Sphere, I could not but by her. The other Motiue, Why to a publike count I might not go, Is the great loue the generall gender beare him, Who dipping all his Faults in their affection, Would like the Spring that turneth Wood to Stone, Conuert his Gyues to Graces. So that my Arrowes Too slightly timbred for so loud a Winde, Would haue reuerted to my Bow againe, And not where I had arm'd them

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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