Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 2

HAMLET.
Denmark's a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ.
Then is the world one.

HAMLET.
A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and
dungeons, Denmark being one o' the worst.

ROSENCRANTZ.
We think not so, my lord.

HAMLET.
Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good
or bad but thinking makes it so: to me it is a prison.

ROSENCRANTZ.
Why, then, your ambition makes it one; 'tis too narrow for your
mind.

HAMLET.
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a
king of infinite space, were it not that I have bad dreams.

GUILDENSTERN.
Which dreams, indeed, are ambition; for the very substance of
the ambitious is merely the shadow of a dream.

HAMLET.
A dream itself is but a shadow.

ROSENCRANTZ.
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that
it is but a shadow's shadow.

HAMLET.
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretch'd
heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to the court? for, by my
fay, I cannot reason.

ROSENCRANTZ. and Guild.
We'll wait upon you.

HAMLET.
No such matter: I will not sort you with the rest of my
servants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most
dreadfully attended. But, in the beaten way of friendship, what
make you at Elsinore?

ROSENCRANTZ.
To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.

HAMLET.
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks; but I thank you:
and sure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear a halfpenny. Were
you not sent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free
visitation? Come, deal justly with me: come, come; nay, speak.

GUILDENSTERN.
What should we say, my lord?

HAMLET.
Why, anything — but to the purpose. You were sent for; and
there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties
have not craft enough to colour: I know the good king and queen
have sent for you.

ROSENCRANTZ.
To what end, my lord?

Continued on next page...

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