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Hamlet - Act 4, scene 2
Last updated: Tue, Jun 02, 2020
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Navigate this workHamlet - Act 4, scene 2
Act 4, scene 2
Hamlet refuses to tell Rosencrantz and Guildenstern where he has put Polonius’s body.⟨Enter Hamlet.⟩
HAMLET 2723 Safely stowed.
⟨GENTLEMEN, within 2724 Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!⟩
HAMLET 2725 But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet?
2726 O, here they come.
Enter Rosencrantz, ⟨Guildenstern,⟩ and others.
2727 5 What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
2728 ⟨Compounded⟩ it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.
2729 Tell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence
2730 And bear it to the chapel.
HAMLET 2731 Do not believe it.
ROSENCRANTZ 2732 10Believe what?
HAMLET 2733 That I can keep your counsel and not mine
2734 own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge, what
2735 replication should be made by the son of a king?
ROSENCRANTZ 2736 Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
HAMLET 2737 15Ay, sir, that soaks up the King’s countenance,
2738 his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
2739 King best service in the end. He keeps them like ⟨an
2740 ape⟩ an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed,
2741 to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have
2742 20 gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
2743 shall be dry again.
ROSENCRANTZ 2744 I understand you not, my lord.
HAMLET 2745 I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a
2746 foolish ear.
ROSENCRANTZ 2747 25My lord, you must tell us where the
2748 body is and go with us to the King.
HAMLET 2749 The body is with the King, but the King is not
2750 with the body. The King is a thing—
p. 195GUILDENSTERN 2751 A “thing,” my lord?
HAMLET 2752 30Of nothing. Bring me to him. ⟨Hide fox, and
2753 all after!⟩