Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 3
A room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN
I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you;
commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you:
The terms of our estate may
Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies.
We will ourselves provide:
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies
That live and feed upon your majesty.
The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself
from noyance; but much more
That spirit upon whose weal depend and rest
The lives of many. The cease
Dies not alone; but, like a gulf, doth draw
What's near it with it: it is a massy wheel,
the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortised and
adjoin'd; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boisterous ruin. Never
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.
Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
goes too free-footed.
We will haste us.
Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
My lord, he's going to his mother's closet:
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,
To hear the process; and
warrant she'll tax him home:
And, as you said, and wisely was it said,
'Tis meet that some more audience
than a mother,
Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well,
I'll call upon you ere you go to bed,
And tell you what I know.
Thanks, dear my lord.
O, my offence is rank it smells to heaven;
It hath the primal eldest curse upon't,
A brother's murder.
Pray can I not,
Though inclination be as sharp as will:
My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent;
a man to double business bound,
I stand in pause where I shall first begin,
And both neglect. What if this
Were thicker than itself with brother's blood,
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens
wash it white as snow? Whereto serves mercy
But to confront the visage of offence?
And what's in prayer
but this two-fold force,
To be forestalled ere we come to fall,
Or pardon'd being down? Then I'll look up;
fault is past. But, O, what form of prayer
Can serve my turn? 'Forgive me my foul murder'?
be; since I am still possess'd
Of those effects for which I did the murder,
My crown, mine own ambition
and my queen.
May one be pardon'd and retain the offence?
In the corrupted currents of this world
gilded hand may shove by justice,
And oft 'tis seen the wicked prize itself
Buys out the law: but 'tis not so
There is no shuffling, there the action lies
In his true nature; and we ourselves compell'd,
the teeth and forehead of our faults,
To give in evidence. What then? what rests?
Try what repentance
can: what can it not?
Yet what can it when one can not repent?
O wretched state! O bosom black as death!
limed soul, that, struggling to be free,
Art more engaged! Help, angels! Make assay!
Bow, stubborn knees; and,
heart with strings of steel,
Be soft as sinews of the newborn babe!
All may be well.
Retires and kneels
Now might I do it pat, now he is praying;
And now I'll do't. And so he goes to heaven;
am I revenged. That would be scann'd:
A villain kills my father; and for that,
I, his sole son, do this same
O, this is hire and salary, not revenge.
He took my father grossly, full of bread;
all his crimes broad blown, as flush as May;
And how his audit stands who knows save heaven?
our circumstance and course of thought,
'Tis heavy with him: and am I then revenged,
To take him in the
purging of his soul,
When he is fit and season'd for his passage?
Up, sword; and know thou a more
When he is drunk asleep, or in his rage,
Or in the incestuous pleasure of his bed;
swearing, or about some act
That has no relish of salvation in't;
Then trip him, that his heels may kick at
And that his soul may be as damn'd and black
As hell, whereto it goes. My mother stays:
physic but prolongs thy sickly days.
Rising My words fly up, my thoughts remain below:
Words without thoughts never to heaven