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Scene Four 

A plainin Denmark

 

[Enter FORTINBRASa Captainand Soldiersmarching]

PRINCE FORTINBRAS

Gocaptainfrom me greet the Danish king

Tell him thatby his licenceFortinbras

Cravesthe conveyanceof a promised march

Over his kingdomYou know the rendezvous

If that his majesty would aught with us

We shall express our duty in his eye

And let him know so

Captain

I will do>tmy lord

PRINCE FORTINBRAS

Go softly on

[Exeunt FORTINBRAS and Soldiers]

[Enter HAMLETROSENCRANTZGUILDENSTERNandothers]

HAMLET

Good sirwhose powers these

Captain

They are of Norwaysir

HAMLET

How purposedsirI pray you

Captain

Against some part of Poland

HAMLET

Who commands themsir

Captain

The nephews to old NorwayFortinbras

HAMLET

Goes it against the mainof PolandsirOr for some frontier

Captain

Truly to speakand with no addition

We go to gain a little patchof ground

That hath in it no profit but the name

To pay five ducadefiveI would not farm it

Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole

A rankerrateshould it be sold in fee

HAMLET

Whythen the Polacknever will defend it

Captain

Yesit is already garrison'd

HAMLET

Two thousand soulsand twenty thousand ducats

Will not debatethe question of this straw

This is the imposthumeof much wealth and peace

That inward breaksand shows no cause without

Why the man diesI humblythank yousir

Captain

God be wi>yousir

[Exit]

ROSENCRANTZ

Wiltplease you gomy lord

HAMLET

I>ll be with you straight go a little before

[Exeunt all except HAMLET]

How all occasionsdo inform against me

And spurmy dull revengeWhat is a man

If his chief goodand marketof his time

Be but to sleep and feeda beastno more

Surehethat made us with such large discourse

Looking before and aftergave us not

That capability and god-like reason

To fustin us unusedNowwhether it be

Bestialoblivionor some cravenscruple

Of thinking too preciselyon the event

A thought whichquarter'dhath but one part wisdom

And ever three parts cowardI do not know

Why yet I live to say>This thing's to do>

SithI have cause and will and strength and means

To do>tExamples grossas earth exhortme

Witness this army of such mass and charge

Led by a delicateand tender prince

Whose spirit with divineambition puff'd

Makes mouthsat the invisible event

Exposing what is mortaland unsure

To all that fortunedeath and danger dare

Even for an egg-shellRightly to be great

Is not to stirwithout great argument

But greatly to find quarrel in a straw

When honour's at the stakeHow stand I then

That have a father kill'da mother stain'd

Excitements of my reason and my blood

And let all sleepwhileto my shameI see

The imminentdeath of twenty thousand men

Thatfor a fantasyand trick of fame

Go to their graves like bedsfight for a plot

Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause

Which is not tomb enoughand continent

To hide the slainOfrom this time forth

My thoughts be bloodyor be nothing worth

[Exit]


 

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