Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: David Bevington
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Modern, Editor's Version)


[4.2]
2630
Enter Hamlet.
Hamlet Safely stowed.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern within Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
Hamlet But soft, what noise? Who calls on Hamlet? Oh, here they come.
2635
Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Rosencrantz What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
Hamlet Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.
Rosencrantz Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.
Hamlet Do not believe it.
2640Rosencrantz Believe what?
Hamlet 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?
Rosencrantz Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
2645Hamlet 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, like an ape an apple in the corner of his jaw, first mouthed to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but 2650squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.
Rosencrantz I understand you not, my lord.
Hamlet I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.
Rosencrantz My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us 2655to the King.
Hamlet The body is with the King, but the King is not with the body. The King is a thing--
Guildenstern A thing, my lord?
Hamlet Of nothing. Bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after!
Exeunt.