Act IV - Scene II

[Elsinore.]

Enter Hamlet, Rosencrantz, and others.

HAMLET:
Safely stow'd.
GENTLEMEN:

[Within.]

Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
HAMLET:
But soft! What noise? Who calls on Hamlet? O, here
they come.

[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

ROSENCRANTZ:
What have you done, my lord, with the dead(5)
body?
HAMLET:
Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.
HAMLET:
Do not believe it.(10)
ROSENCRANTZ:
Believe what?
HAMLET:
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?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?(15)
HAMLET:
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 mouth'd, to be last swallowed. When he
needs what you have glean'd, it is but squeezing you and,(20)
sponge, you shall be dry again.
ROSENCRANTZ:
I understand you not, my lord.
HAMLET:
I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
ROSENCRANTZ:
My lord, you must tell us where the body is and
go with us to the King.(25)
HAMLET:
The body is with the King, but the King is not with the
body.
The King is a thing—
GUILDENSTERN:
A thing, my lord?
HAMLET:
Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.(30)

Exeunt.