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  • Title: Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright Internet Shakespeare Editions. This text may be freely used for educational, non-proift purposes; for all other uses contact the Coordinating Editor.
    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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    2743.1Enter Hamlet, Rosencraus, &c.
    Ham. Good sir whose powers are these?
    Cap. They are of Norway sir.
    Ham. How purposd sir I pray you?
    2743.5Cap. 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?
    2743.10Cap. 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
    2743.15A 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,
    2743.20This 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?
    2743.25Ham. 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:
    2743.30Sure 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
    2743.35Of 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
    2743.40To 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,
    2743.45Exposing 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
    2743.50When 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,
    2743.55That 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,
    2743.60My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth. Exit.