Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)


Enter Fortinbrasse with his Army ouer the stage.
2735Fortin. Goe Captaine, from me greet the Danish King,
Tell him, that by his lycence Fortinbrasse
Craues the conueyance of a promisd march
Ouer his kingdome, you know the randeuous,
If that his Maiestie would ought with vs,
2740We shall expresse our dutie in his eye,
And let him know so.
Cap. I will doo't my Lord.
For. Goe softly on.
2743.1
Enter Hamlet, Rosencraus, &c.
Ham. Good sir whose powers are these?
Cap. They are of Norway sir.
Ham. How purposd sir I pray you?
.5Cap. Against some part of Poland.
Ham. Who commaunds them sir?
Cap. The Nephew to old Norway, Fortenbrasse.
Ham. Goes it against the maine of Poland sir,
Or for some frontire?
.10Cap. Truly to speake, and with no addition,
We goe to gaine a little patch of ground
That hath in it no profit but the name
To pay fiue duckets, fiue I would not farme it;
Nor will it yeeld to Norway or the Pole
.15A rancker rate, should it be sold in fee.
Ham. Why then the Pollacke neuer will defend it.
Cap. Yes, it is already garisond.
Ham. Two thousand soules, & twenty thousand duckets
VVill not debate the question of this straw,
.20This is th'Impostume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breakes, and showes no cause without
Why the man dies. I humbly thanke you sir.
Cap. God buy you sir.
Ros. Wil't please you goe my Lord?
.25Ham. Ile be with you straight, goe a little before.
How all occasions doe informe against me,
And spur my dull reuenge. What is a man
If his chiefe good and market of his time
Be but to sleepe and feede, a beast, no more:
.30Sure he that made vs with such large discourse
Looking before and after, gaue vs not
That capabilitie and god-like reason
To fust in vs vnvsd, now whether it be
Bestiall obliuion, or some crauen scruple
.35Of thinking too precisely on th'euent,
A thought which quarterd hath but one part wisedom,
And euer three parts coward, I doe not know
Why yet I liue to say this thing's to doe,
Sith I haue cause, and will, and strength, and meanes
.40To doo't; examples grosse as earth exhort me,
Witnes this Army of such masse and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender Prince,
Whose spirit with diuine ambition puft,
Makes mouthes at the invisible euent,
.45Exposing what is mortall, and vnsure,
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Euen for an Egge-shell. Rightly to be great,
Is not to stirre without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrell in a straw
.50When honour's at the stake, how stand I then
That haue a father kild, a mother staind,
Excytements of my reason, and my blood,
And let all sleepe, while to my shame I see
The iminent death of twenty thousand men,
.55That for a fantasie and tricke of fame
Goe to their graues like beds, fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
Which is not tombe enough and continent
To hide the slaine, ô from this time forth,
.60My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth.
Exit.