Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 2

Scene II. A hall in the Castle.

[Enter Hamlet and Horatio.]

So much for this, sir: now let me see the other;
You do remember all the circumstance?

Remember it, my lord!

Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting
That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
Worse than the mutinies in the bilboes. Rashly,
And prais'd be rashness for it, — let us know,
Our indiscretion sometime serves us well,
When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.

That is most certain.

Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Grop'd I to find out them: had my desire;
Finger'd their packet; and, in fine, withdrew
To mine own room again: making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio,
O royal knavery! an exact command, —
Larded with many several sorts of reasons,
Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life, —
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.

Is't possible?

Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou bear me how I did proceed?

I beseech you.

Being thus benetted round with villanies, —
Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play, — I sat me down;
Devis'd a new commission; wrote it fair:
I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service. Wilt thou know
The effect of what I wrote?

Ay, good my lord.

An earnest conjuration from the king, —
As England was his faithful tributary;
As love between them like the palm might flourish;
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
And stand a comma 'tween their amities;
And many such-like as's of great charge, —
That, on the view and know of these contents,
Without debatement further, more or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving-time allow'd.

How was this seal'd?

Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal:
Folded the writ up in the form of the other;
Subscrib'd it: gave't the impression; plac'd it safely,
The changeling never known. Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
Thou know'st already.

So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow:
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.

Why, what a king is this!

Continued on next page...

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