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But I will delve one yard below their mines,
dragging in POLONIUS.
SCENE I. The Same.
Enter the King, the Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, and
GUILDENSTERN. King. There's matter in these sighs, these pro
found heaves : You must translate ; 'tis fit we understand them. Where is your son ? Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while.' –
[Exeunt Rosen. and GUILDEN. Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!
King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet ?
36 The foregoing part of this speech is wanting in the folio.
H. 1 This line is omitted in the folio; Rosencrantz and Guildenstern not being there introduced till the King calls them, at the place of their re-entrance. - In the next line, the quartos have, “ mine own lord," instead of “ my good lord.”
Queen. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both
contend Which is the mightier. In his lawless fit, Behind the arras hearing something stir, He whips his rapier out, and cries, “A rat! a rat !” 2 And in his brainish apprehension kills The unseen good old man. King.
O, heavy deed! It had been so with us, had we been there: His liberty is full of threats to all ; To you yourself, to us, to every one. Alas! how shall this bloody deed be answer'd ? It will be laid to us, whose providence Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt, This mad young man: but, so much was our love, We would not understand what was most fit; But, like the owner of a foul disease, To keep it from divulging, let it feed Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd;
King. O, Gertrude ! come away.
2 So reads the folio ; the quartos give the line thus : “ Whips out his rapier, cries, ' a rat! a rat!'” In the next line, also, the quartos have this instead of his.
3 Out of haunt means out of company.
4 Shakespeare, with a license not unusual among his contemporaries, uses ore for gold, and mineral for mine. Bullokar and Blount both define " or or ore, gold; of a golden colour.” And the Cambridge Dictionary, 1594, under the Latin word mineralia, will show how the English mineral came to be used for a mine. Thus also in The Golden Remaines of Hales of Eton, 1693: “Controversies of the times, like spirits in the minerals, with all their labour nothing is done."
But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Friends both, go join you with some further aid. Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain, And from his mother's closet hath he dragg’d him : Go, seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this. —
[Exeunt Rosen. and GUILDEN. Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends And let them know both what we mean to do, And what's untimely done: so, haply, slanderWhose whisper o'er the world's diameter, As level as the cannon to his blank, Transports his poison'd shot — may miss our name, And hit the woundless air. — 0, come away! My soul is full of discord, and dismay. (Exeunt.
SCENE II. Another Room in the Same.
Enter Hamlet. Ham. Safely stowed. Ros. and Guil. [Within.] Hamlet! lord Hamlet!
5 The blank was the mark at which shots or arrows were directed.
6 All this passage, after “untimely done,” is wanting in the folio. The words, “so, haply, slander," are not in any old copy, but were supplied by Theobald as necessary to the sense. The well-known passage in Cymbeline, Act iii. sc. 4, beginning, “No; 'lis slander," — will readily occur to any student of Shakespeare, as favouring the insertion.
Ham. But soft! - what noise ? who calls on Hamlet ? O! here they come.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.
dead body? Ham. Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin. Ros. Tell me where 'tis ; that we may take it
Ham. Do not believe it.
Ham. 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?
Ros. Take you me for a sponge, my lord ?
Ham. 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, as an ape doth nuts,' 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, sponge, you shall be dry again.
Ros. I understand you not, my lord.
Ham. I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
Ros. My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.
Ham. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing —
| The words, “ as an ape doth nuts,” are from the quarto of 1603. The other quartos merely have, “ like an apple ; " which Farmer and Ritson conjectured should be, “like an ape an apple.” The folio has, “like an ape,” only. % Hamlet is purposely talking riddles, in order to tease and
Guil. A thing, my lord ?
Ham. — of nothing : bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.
SCENE III. Another Room in the Same.
Enter the King, attended. King. I have sent to seek him, and to find the
Ros. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
But where is he?
puzzle his questioners. The meaning of this riddle, to the best of our guessing, is, that the king's body is with the king, but not the king's soul : he's a king without kingliness; “ a king of shreds and patches."
3 « Hide fox, and all after” was a juvenile sport, most probably what is now called hoop, or hide and seek ; in which one child hides himself, and the rest run all after, seeking him.