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King. Thou still hast been the father of good news. Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege, I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,

Both to my God, and to my gracious king:
And I do think, (or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure

As it hath us'd to do,) that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

King. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to the embassadors;
My news shall be the fruit to that great feast.
King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.
[Exit Polonius.

He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found
The head and source of all your son's distemper.

Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main;
His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.



King. Well, we shall sift him.-Welcome, my good friends!

Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires.
Upon our first, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found.
It was against your highness: Whereat griev'd,-
That so his sickness, age, and impotence,

Was falsely borne in hand,-sends out arrests
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway; and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle, never more

To give the assay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee;
And his commission, to employ those soldiers,
So levied as before, against the Polack:
With an entreaty, herein further shown,

[Gives a paper.

That it might please you to give quiet pass
Through your dominions for this enterprize;
On such regards of safety, and allowance,
As therein are set down.


It likes us well;

And, at our more consider'd time, we'll read,

Answer, and think upon this business.

Mean time, we thank you for your well-took labour:

Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together:

Most welcome home!


[Excunt Voltimand and Cornelius.
This business is well ended.

My liege, and madam 36, to expostulate
What majesty should be, what duty is,

Why day is day, night, night, and time is time,
Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time.
Therefore, since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,-
I will be brief: Your noble son is mad:

Mad call I it: for, to define true madness,
What is't, but to be nothing else but mad:
But let that go.


More matter, with less art.

Pol. Madam, I swear, I use no art at all.
That he is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true, 'tis pity;
And pity 'tis, 'tis true: a foolish figure;
But farewell it, for I will use no art.

Mad let us grant him then: and now remains,
That we find out the cause of this effect;
Or, rather say, the cause of this defect;
For this effect, defective, comes by cause:
Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.

I have a daughter; have, while she is mine;
Who, in her duty and obedience, mark,

Hath given me this: Now gather, and surmise.

-To the celestial, and my soul's idol, the most beautified


That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase; beautified is a vile phrase; but you shall hear.-Thus:

In her excellent white bosom, these, &c.—

Queen. Came this from Hamlet to her?

Pol. Good madam, stay a while; I will be faithful.

Doubt thou, the stars are fire;
Doubt, that the sun doth move:

Doubt truth to be a liar;

But never doubt, I love.


O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art to reckon my groans: but that I love thee best, O most best, believe it. Adieu.

Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst this
machine is to him, HAMLET.
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me:
And more above, hath his solicitings,

As they fell out by time, by means, and place,
All given to mine ear.


Receiv'd his love?


But how hath she

What do you think of me?

King. As of a man faithful and honourable.
Pol. I would fain prove so. But what might you


When I had seen this hot love

(As I perceiv'd it, I must tell

on the wing,

you that,

Before my daughter told me,) what might you,

Or my dear majesty your queen here, think,

37 If I had play'd the desk, or table-book;

Or given my heart a working, mute and dumb;

Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;

What might you think? no, I went round to work,
And my young mistress thus did I bespeak;
Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy sphere;

This must not be: and then I precepts gave her,
That she should lock herself from his resort,
Admit no messengers, receive no tokens.
Which done, she took the fruits of my advice;
And he, repulsed, (a short tale to make,)


Fell into a sadness; then into a fast 58

Thence to a watch; thence into a weakness;

Thence to a lightness; and, by this declension,
Into the madness wherein now he raves,

And all we mourn for.


Do you think, 'tis this?

Queen. It may be, very likely.

Pol. Hath there been such a time, (I'd fain know


That I have positively said, 'Tis so,

When it prov'd otherwise?


Not that I know,

Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise:

[Pointing to his head and shoulder,

If circumstances lead me, I will find

Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed
Within the centre.


How may we try it further?

Pol. You know, sometimes he walks four hours


Here in the lobby,


So he does, indeed.

Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him;

Be you and I behind an arras then;

Mark the encounter: if he love her not,

And be not from his reason fallen thereon,

Let me be no assistant for a state,

But keep a farm, and carters.


We will try it.

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