Home / Uncategorized / The Legally Annotated HAMLET – Act Four Scenes 1 – 5

The Legally Annotated HAMLET – Act Four Scenes 1 – 5

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by Mark Andre Alexander

Act One | Act Two | Act Three | Act Four | Act Five


Scenes 1 to 5 | Scenes 6 & 7

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Scene 1

Enter King,and Queene, with Rosencraus

and Guyldensterne.

King. There’s matter in these sighes, these profound heaues,

You must translate, tis fit we vnderstand them,

Where is your sonne?

Ger. Bestow this place on vs a little while.

Ah mine owne Lord, what haue I seene to night?

King. What Gertrard, how dooes Hamlet?

Ger. Mad as the sea and wind when both contend

Which is the mightier, in his lawlesse fit,

Behind the Arras hearing some thing stirre,

Whyps out his Rapier, cryes a Rat, a Rat, [10]

And in this brainish apprehension kills

The vnseene good old man.

King.                                 O heauy deede!

It had beene so with vs had wee been there,

His libertie is full of threates to all,

To you your selfe, to vs, to euery one,

Alas, how shall this bloody deede be answer’d?

It will be layd to vs, whose prouidence

Should haue kept short, restraind, and out of haunt

This mad young man; but so much was our loue,

We would not vnderstand what was most fit, [20]

But like the owner of a foule disease

To keepe it from divulging, let it feede

Euen on the pith of life: where is he gone?

Ger. To draw apart the body he hath kild,

Ore whom, his very madnes like some ore

Among a minerall of mettals base,

Showes it selfe pure, a weepes for what is done.

King. O Gertrard, come away,

The sunne no sooner shall the mountaines touch,

But we will ship him hence, and this vile deede [30]

We must with all our Maiestie and skill               Enter Ros. & Guild.

Both countenaunce and excuse. Ho Guyldensterne,

Friends both, goe ioyne you with some further ayde,

Hamlet in madnes hath Polonius slaine,

And from his mothers closet hath he dreg’d him,

Goe seeke him out, speake fayre, and bring the body

Into the Chappell; I pray you hast in this,

Come Gertrard, wee’le call vp our wisest friends,

And let them know both what we meane to doe

And whats vntimely doone, [40]

Whose whisper ore the worlds dyameter,

As leuell as the Cannon to his blanck,

Transports his poysned shot, may misse our Name,

And hit the woundlesse ayre, o come away,

My soule is full of discord and dismay.               Exeunt.

Scene 2

Enter Hamlet,Rosencraus, and others.

Ham. Safely stowd, but soft, what noyse, who calls on Hamlet?

O heere they come.

Ros. What haue you doone my Lord with the dead body?

Ham. Compound it with dust whereto tis kin.

Ros. Tell vs where tis that we may take it thence,

And beare it to the Chappell.

Ham. Doe not beleeue it.

Ros. Beleeue what.

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Ham. That I can keepe your counsaile & not mine owne, [10]

besides to be demaunded of a spunge, what replycation

should be made by the sonne of a King.

Ros. Take you me for a spunge my Lord?

Ham. I sir, that sokes vp the Kings countenaunce, his

rewards, his authorities, but such Officers doe the

King best seruice in the end, he keepes them like an

apple in the corner of his iaw, first mouth’d to be

last swallowed, when hee needs what you haue

gleand, it is but squeesing you, and spunge you

shall be dry againe. [20]

Ros. I vnderstand you not my Lord.

Ham. I am glad of it, a knauish speech sleepes in a foolish eare.

Ros. My Lord, you must tell vs where the body is, and goe

with vs to the King.

Ham. The body is with the King, but the King is not with

the body. The King is a thing.

Guyl. A thing my Lord.

Ham. Of nothing, bring me to him.               Exeunt.

Scene 3

Enter King, and two or three.

King. I haue sent to seeke him, and to find the body,

How dangerous is it that this man goes loose,

Yet must not we put the strong Law on him,

Hee’s lou’d of the distracted multitude,

VVho like not in their iudgement, but theyr eyes,

And where tis so, th’offenders scourge is wayed

But neuer the offence: to beare all smooth and euen,

This suddaine sending him away must seeme

Deliberate pause, diseases desperat growne,

By desperat applyance are relieu’d [10]

Or not at all.

Enter Rosencraus and all the rest.

King. How now, what hath befalne?

Ros. Where the dead body is bestowd my Lord

VVe cannot get from him.

King. But where is hee?

Ros. Without my lord, guarded to know your pleasure.

King. Bring him before vs.

Ros. How, bring in the Lord.               They enter.

King. Now Hamlet, where’s Polonius?

Ham. At supper.

King. At supper, where.

Ham. Not where he eates, but where a is eaten, a

certaine conuacation of politique wormes are een at him: [20]

your worme is your onely Emperour for dyet, we fat all

creatures els to fat vs, and wee fat ourselues for

maggots, your fat King and your leane begger is but

variable seruice, two dishes but to one table,

that’s the end.

King. Alas, alas.

Ham. A man may fish with the worme that hath eate of a

King, & eate of the fish that hath fedde of that worme.

King. VVhat doost thou meane by this?

Ham. Nothing but to shew you how a King may goe a [30]

progresse through the guts of a begger.

King. Where is Polonius?

Ham. In heauen, send thether to see, if your messenger

finde him not thrre, seeke him i’th other place your

selfe, but if indeed you find him not within this

month, you shall nose him as you goe vp the tayres into

the Lobby.

King. Goe seeke him there.

Ham. A will stay till you come.

King. Hamlet this deede for thine especiall safety [40]

Which we do tender, as we deerely grieue

For that which thou hast done, must send thee hence.

Therefore prepare thy selfe,

The Barck is ready, and the wind at helpe,

Th’associats tend, and euery thing is bent

For England.

Ham. For England.

King. I Hamlet.

Ham. Good.

King. So is it if thou knew’st our purposes. [50]

Ham. I see a Cherub that sees thê, but come for England,

Farewell deere Mother.

King. Thy louing Father Hamlet.

Ham. My mother, Father and Mother is man and wife,

Man and wife is one flesh, so my mother:

Come for England.               Exit.

King. Follow him at foote, Tempt him with speede abord,

Delay it not, Ile haue him hence to night.

Away, for euery thing is seald and done

That els leanes on th’affayre, pray you make hast, [60]

And England, if my loue thou hold’st at ought,

As my great power thereof may giue thee sence,

Since yet thy Cicatrice lookes raw and red,

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A replication in legal parlance is an exception or answer made by the plaintiff to the defendant’s plea. Devecmon raised an objection to Shakespeare’s use of this term, claiming that Shakespeare misused it. To see his claim and the refutation, go here. Replication also has a common usage, meaning simply “to reply” that has a history going back to Chaucer.

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After the Danish sword, and thy free awe

Payes homage to vs, thou mayst not coldly set

Our soueraigne processe, which imports at full

By Letters congruing to that effect

The present death of Hamlet, doe it England,

For like the Hectique in my blood he rages,

And thou must cure me; till I know tis done, [70]

How ere my haps, my ioyes will nere begin.               Exit.

Scene 4

Enter Fortinbrasse with his Army ouer the stage.

Fortin. 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,

We shall expresse our dutie in his eye,

And let him know so.

Cap.                        I will doo’t my Lord.

For. Goe softly on.

Enter Hamlet, Rosencraus, &c.

Ham. Good sir whose powers are these?

Cap. They are of Norway sir. [10]

Ham. How purposd sir I pray you?

Cap. 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?

Cap. 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; [20]

Nor will it yeeld to Norway or the Pole

A 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,

This is th’Imposthume 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? [30]

Ham. 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:

Sure 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 [40]

Of 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

To 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, [50]

Exposing 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

When 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, [60]

That 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, o from this time forth,

My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth.               Exit.


Scene 5

Enter Horatio, Gertrard,and a Gentleman.

Quee. I will not speake with her.

Gent.                                       Shee is importunat,

Indeede distract, her moode will needes be pittied.

Quee. What would she haue?

Gent. She speakes much of her father, sayes she heares

There’s tricks i’th world, and hems, and beates her hart,

Spurnes enuiously at strawes, speakes things in doubt

That carry but halfe sence, her speech is nothing,

Yet the vnshaped vse of it doth moue

The hearers to collection, they yawne at it,

And botch the words vp fit to theyr owne thoughts, [10]

Which as her wincks, and nods, and gestures yeeld them,

Indeede would make one thinke there might be thought

Though nothing sure, yet much vnhappily.

Hora. Twere good she were spoken with, for shee may strew

Dangerous coniectures in ill breeding mindes,

Let her come in.

Enter Ophelia.

Quee. `To my sicke soule, as sinnes true nature is,

`Each toy seemes prologue to some great amisse,

`So full of artlesse iealousie is guilt,

`It spills it selfe, in fearing to be spylt. [20]

Oph. Where is the beautious Maiestie of Denmarke?

Quee. How now Ophelia?               shee sings.

Oph. How should I your true loue know

from another one,

By his cockle hat and staffe,

and his Sendall shoone.

Quee. Alas sweet Lady, what imports this song?

Oph. Say you, nay pray you marke,

He is dead & gone Lady, Song.

he is dead and gone, [30]

At his head a grasgreene turph,

at his heeles a stone.

O ho.

Quee. Nay but Ophelia.

Oph. Pray you marke.

White his shrowd as the mountaine snow.

Enter King.

Quee. Alas looke heere my Lord. Song.

Oph. Larded all with sweet flowers,

Which beweept to the ground did not go

With true loue showers. [40]

King. How doe you pretty Lady?

Oph. Well good dild you, they say the Owle was a Bakers

daughter, Lord we know what we are, but know

not what we may be. God be at your table.

King. Conceit vpon her Father.

Oph. Pray lets haue no words of this, but when they aske

you what it meanes, say you this.

To morrow is S. Valentines day,               Song.

All in the morning betime,

And I a mayde at your window [50]

To be your Valentine.

Then vp he rose, and dond his close,

and dupt the chamber doore,

Let in the maide, that out a maide,

neuer departed more.

King. Pretty Ophelia.

Oph. Indeede without an oath Ile make an end on’t,

By gis and by Saint Charitie,

alack and fie for shame,

Young men will doo’t if they come too’t, [60]

by Cock they are too blame.

Quoth she, Before you tumbled me,

you promisd me to wed,

(He answers. )

So would I a done by yonder sunne

And thou hadst not come to my bed.

King. How long hath she beene thus ?

Oph. I hope all will be well, we must be patient, but I

cannot chuse but weepe to thinke they would lay

him i’th cold ground, my brother shall know of it, [70]

and so I thanke you for your good counsaile. Come

my Coach, God night Ladies, god night.

Sweet Ladyes god night, god night.

King. Follow her close, giue her good watch I pray you.

O this is the poyson of deepe griefe, it springs

all from her Fathers death, and now behold,

o Gertrard, Gertrard,

When sorrowes come, they come not single spyes,

But in battalians : first her Father slaine,

Next, your sonne gone, and he most violent Author [80]

Of his owne iust remoue, the people muddied

Thick and vnwholsome in thoughts, and whispers

For good Polonius death : and we haue done but greenly

In hugger mugger to inter him: poore Ophelia

Deuided from herselfe, and her faire iudgement,

VVithout the which we are pictures, or meere beasts,

Last, and as much contayning as all these,

Her brother is in secret come from Fraunce,

Feeds on this wonder, keepes himselfe in clowdes,

And wants not buzzers to infect his eare [90]

With pestilent speeches of his fathers death,

Wherein necessity of matter beggerd,

Will nothing stick our person to arraigne

In eare and eare: o my deare Gertrard, this

Like to a murdring peece in many places

Giues me superfluous death.               A noise within.

Enter a Messenger. King.

Attend, where is my Swissers, let them guard the doore,

What is the matter?

Messen.                Saue your selfe my Lord.

The Ocean ouer-peering of his list

Eates not the flats with more impitious hast [100]

Then young Laertes in a riotous head

Ore-beares your Officers: the rabble call him Lord,

And as the world were now but to beginne,

Antiquity forgot, custome not knowne,

The ratifiers and props of euery word,

The cry choose we, Laertes shall be King,

Caps, hands, and tongues applau’d it to the clouds,

Laertes shall be King, Laertes King.

Quee. How cheerefully on the false traile they cry. A noise within.

O this is counter you false Danish dogges. [110]

Enter Laertes with others.

King. The doores are broke.

Laer. Where is this King? sirs stand you all without.

All. No lets come in.

Laer.                      I pray you giue me leaue.

All. VVe will, we will.

Laer. I thanke you, keepe the doore, o thou vile King,

Giue me my father.

Quee.                   Calmely good Laertes.

Laer. That drop of blood thats calme proclames me Bastard,

Cries cuckold to my father, brands the Harlot

Euen heere betweene the chast vnsmirched browe

Of my true mother.

King.                   VVhat is the cause Laertes [120]

That thy rebellion lookes so gyant like?

Let him goe Gertrard, doe not feare our person,

There’s such diuinitie doth hedge a King,

That treason can but peepe to what it would,

Act’s little of his will, tell me Laertes

Why thou art thus incenst, let him goe Gertrard.

Speake man.

Laer. Where is my father?

King.                               Dead.

Quee.                                       But not by him.

King. Let him demaund his fill.

Laer. How came he dead, I’le not be iugled with, [130]

To hell allegiance, vowes to the blackest deuill,

Conscience and grace, to the profoundest pit

I dare damnation, to this poynt I stand,

That both the worlds I giue to negligence,

Let come what comes, onely I’le be reueng’d

Most throughly for my father.

King.                                  Who shall stay you?

Laer. My will, not all the worlds:

And for my meanes I’le husband them so well,

They shall goe farre with little.

King. Good Laertes, if you desire to know the certainty [140]

Of your deere Father, i’st writ in your reuenge,

That soopstake, you will draw both friend and foe

Winner and looser.

Laer. None but his enemies,

King.                                 Will you know them then?

Laer. To his good friends thus wide I’le ope my armes,

And like the kind life-rendring Pelican,

Repast them with my blood.

King.                                 Why now you speake

Like a good child, and a true Gentleman.

That I am guiltlesse of your fathers death,

And am most sencibly in griefe for it, [150]

It shall as leuell to your iudgement peare

As day dooes to your eye.               A noyse within.

Enter Ophelia

Laer.                                Let her come in.

How now, what noyse is that?

O heate, dry vp my braines, teares seauen times salt

Burne out the sence and vertue of mine eye,

By heauen thy madnes shall be payd with weight

Tell our scale turne the beame. O Rose of May,

Deere mayd, kind sister, sweet Ophelia,

O heauens, ist possible a young maids wits

Should be as mortall as a poore mans life. [160]

Oph. They bore him bare-faste on the Beere,               Song.

And in his graue rain’d many a teare,

Fare you well my Doue.

Laer. Hadst thou thy wits, and did’st perswade reuenge

It could not mooue thus.

Oph. You must sing a downe a downe, And you call him

a downe a. O how the wheele becomes it, It is the [170]

false Steward that stole his Maisters daughter.

Laer. This nothing’s more then matter.

Oph. There’s Rosemary, thats for remembrance, pray

you loue remember, and there is Pancies, thats for


Laer. A document in madnes, thoughts and remembrance


Ophe. There’s Fennill for you, and Colembines, there’s

Rewe for you, & heere’s some for me, we may call it

herbe of Grace a Sondaies, you may weare your Rewe [180]

with a difference, there’s a Dasie, I would giue you

some Violets, but they witherd all when my Father

dyed, they say a made a good end.

For bonny sweet Robin is all my ioy.

Laer. Thought and afflictions, passion, hell it selfe

She turnes to fauour and to prettines.

Oph. And wil a not come againe,               Song.

And wil a not come againe,

No, no, he is dead,

goe to thy death bed, [190]

He neuer will come againe.

His beard was as white as snow,

Flaxen was his pole,

He is gone, he is gone,

and we cast away mone,

God a mercy on his soule,

and of all Christians soules, God buy you.

Laer. Doe you this o God.

King. Laertes, I must commune with your griefe,

Or you deny me right, goe but apart, [200]

Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will,

And they shall heare and iudge twixt you and me,

If by direct, or by colaturall hand

They find vs toucht, we will our kingdome giue,

Our crowne, our life, and all that we call ours

To you in satisfaction; but if not,

Be you content to lend your patience to vs,

And we shall ioyntly labour with your soule

To giue it due content.

Laer.                         Let this be so.

His meanes of death, his obscure funerall, [210]

No trophe sword, nor hatchment ore his bones,

No noble right, nor formall ostentation,

Cry to be heard as twere from heauen to earth,

That I must call’t in question.

King. So you shall,

And where th’offence is, let the great axe fall.

I pray you goe with me.               Exeunt.

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Process generally means the writ of the court, but in this instance it is a technical metaphor referring to the order itself contained in the letters.

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