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Navigate this workHamlet
Act 4, scene 1
Gertrude reports Polonius’s death to Claudius, who sends Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to find Hamlet and recover the body.Enter King and Queen, with Rosencrantz and
2677 There’s matter in these sighs; these profound heaves
2678 You must translate; ’tis fit we understand them.
2679 Where is your son?
2680 [Bestow this place on us a little while.]
⌜Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.⌝
2681 5 Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen tonight!
KING 2682 What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
2683 Mad as the sea and wind when both contend
2684 Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit,
2685 Behind the arras hearing something stir,
2686 10 Whips out his rapier, cries “A rat, a rat,”
2687 And in this brainish apprehension kills
2688 The unseen good old man.
KING 2689 O heavy deed!
2690 It had been so with us, had we been there.
2691 15 His liberty is full of threats to all—
2692 To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
2693 Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answered?
2694 It will be laid to us, whose providence
p. 1912695 Should have kept short, restrained, and out of haunt
2696 20 This mad young man. But so much was our love,
2697 We would not understand what was most fit,
2698 But, like the owner of a foul disease,
2699 To keep it from divulging, let it feed
2700 Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
2701 25 To draw apart the body he hath killed,
2702 O’er whom his very madness, like some ore
2703 Among a mineral of metals base,
2704 Shows itself pure: he weeps for what is done.
KING 2705 O Gertrude, come away!
2706 30 The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch
2707 But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
2708 We must with all our majesty and skill
2709 Both countenance and excuse.—Ho, Guildenstern!
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
2710 Friends both, go join you with some further aid.
2711 35 Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
2712 And from his mother’s closet hath he ⟨dragged⟩ him.
2713 Go seek him out, speak fair, and bring the body
2714 Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
⟨Rosencrantz and Guildenstern exit.⟩
2715 Come, Gertrude, we’ll call up our wisest friends
2716 40 And let them know both what we mean to do
2717 And what’s untimely done. ⌜…⌝
2718 [Whose whisper o’er the world’s diameter,
2719 As level as the cannon to his blank
2720 Transports his poisoned shot, may miss our name
2721 45 And hit the woundless air.] O, come away!
2722 My soul is full of discord and dismay.