Act IV - Scene III

[Elsinore. A room in the Castle.]

Enter King, and two or three.

KING:
I have sent to seek him, and to find the body.
How dangerous is it that this man goes loose!
Yet must not we put the strong law on him.
He's loved of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;(5)
And where 'tis so, the offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are relieved,(10)
Or not at all.

Enter Rosencrantz and all the rest.

How now, what hath befall'n?
ROSENCRANTZ:
Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
We cannot get from him.
KING:
But where is he?(15)
ROSENCRANTZ:
Without, my lord; guarded, to know your
pleasure.
KING:
Bring him before us.
ROSENCRANTZ:
Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.

[Enter Hamlet and Guildenstern with Attendants.]

KING:
Now, Hamlet, where's Polonius?(20)
HAMLET:
At supper.
KING:
At supper? Where?
HAMLET:
Not where he eats, but where he is eaten. A certain
convocation of politic worms are e'en at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet. We fat all creatures(25)
else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for maggots. Your fat
king and your lean beggar is but variable service, two
dishes, but to one table. That's the end.
KING:
Alas, alas!
HAMLET:
A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a(30)
king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
KING:
What dost thou mean by this?
HAMLET:
Nothing but to show you how a king may go a
progress through the guts of a beggar.
KING:
Where is Polonius?(35)
HAMLET:
In heaven. Send thither to see. If your messenger
find him not there, seek him i' the other place yourself. But
indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall
nose him as you go up the stair, into the lobby.
KING:
Go seek him there.(40)
HAMLET:
He will stay till you come.
KING:
Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety—
Which we do tender as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done—must send thee hence
With fiery quickness. Therefore prepare thyself.(45)
The bark is ready and the wind at help,
The associates tend, and everything is bent
For England.
HAMLET:
For England?
KING:
Ay, Hamlet.(50)
HAMLET:
Good.
KING:
So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.
HAMLET:
I see a cherub that sees them. But come, for England!
Farewell, dear mother.
KING:
Thy loving father, Hamlet.(55)
HAMLET:
My mother! Father and mother is man and wife; man
and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England!

Exit.

KING:
Follow him at foot. Tempt him with speed aboard.
Delay it not; I'll have him hence tonight.
Away! for every thing is seal'd and done(60)
That else leans on the affair. Pray you, make haste.
And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught—
As my great power thereof may give thee sense,
Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red
After the Danish sword, and thy free awe(65)
Pays homage to us—thou mayst not coldly set
Our sovereign process, which imports at full,
By letters congruing to that effect,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectic in my blood he rages,(70)
And thou must cure me. Till I know 'tis done,
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun.

Exit.