Hamlet: Act 3, Scene 4
Enter [QUEEN] GERTRUDE
and POLONIUS. Full Summary
1 'A will come straight. Look you lay home to him:
2 Tell him his pranks have been too broad to bear with,
3 And that your grace hath screen'd and stood between
4 Much heat and him. I'll sconce me even here.
5 Pray you, be round with him.
5 Mother, mother, mother!
8 Now, mother, what's the matter?
9 Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
10 Mother, you have my father much offended.
11 Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
12 Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
13 Why, how now, Hamlet!
13 What's the matter now?
14 Have you forgot me?
17 Nay, then, I'll set those to you that can speak.
23 What, ho! Help!
24 How now! a rat? Dead, for a ducat, dead!
25 O, I am slain!
25 O me, what hast thou done?
26 Nay, I know not: Is it the king?
27 O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
30 As kill a king!
30 Ay, lady, 'twas my word.
31 Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell!
32 I took thee for thy better: take thy fortune;
33 Thou find'st to be too busy is some danger.
34 Leave wringing of your hands: peace! sit you down,
35 And let me wring your heart; for so I shall,
36 If it be made of penetrable stuff,
37 If damned custom have not braz'd it so
38 That it is proof and bulwark against sense.
40 Such an act
41 That blurs the grace and blush of modesty,
42 Calls virtue hypocrite, takes off the rose
43 From the fair forehead of an innocent love
44 And sets a blister there, makes marriage-vows
45 As false as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed
46 As from the body of contraction plucks
47 The very soul, and sweet religion makes
48 A rhapsody of words. Heaven's face doth glow
49 O'er this solidity and compound mass,
50 With tristful visage, as against the doom,
51 Is thought-sick at the act.
53 Look here, upon this picture, and on this,
54 The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
55 See, what a grace was seated on this brow;
56 Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
57 An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
58 A station like the herald Mercury
59 New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
60 A combination and a form indeed,
61 Where every god did seem to set his seal,
62 To give the world assurance of a man:
63 This was your husband. Look you now, what follows:
64 Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
65 Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
66 Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
67 And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
68 You cannot call it love; for at your age
69 The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
70 And waits upon the judgment: and what judgment
71 Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
72 Else could you not have motion; but sure, that sense
73 Is apoplex'd; for madness would not err,
74 Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd
75 But it reserved some quantity of choice,
76 To serve in such a difference. What devil was't
77 That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?
78 Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
79 Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
80 Or but a sickly part of one true sense
81 Could not so mope.
82 O shame! where is thy blush? Rebellious hell,
83 If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,
84 To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
85 And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame
86 When the compulsive ardor gives the charge,
87 Since frost itself as actively doth burn
88 And reason panders will.
96 A murderer and a villain;
97 A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
98 Of your precedent lord, a vice of kings,
99 A cutpurse of the empire and the rule,
100 That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
101 And put it in his pocket!
101 No more!
102 A king of shreds and patches
105 Alas, he's mad!
110 Do not forget: this visitation
111 Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
112 But, look, amazement on thy mother sits:
113 O, step between her and her fighting soul:
114 Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works:
115 Speak to her, Hamlet.
115 How is it with you, lady?
116 Alas, how is't with you,
117 That you do bend your eye on vacancy
118 And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
119 Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
120 And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
121 Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
122 Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
123 Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
124 Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
125 On him, on him! Look you, how pale he glares!
126 His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
127 Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
128 Lest with this piteous action you convert
129 My stern effects: then what I have to do
130 Will want true color; tears perchance for blood.
131 To whom do you speak this?
131 Do you see nothing there?
132 Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.
133 Nor did you nothing hear?
133 No, nothing but ourselves.
140 My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
141 And makes as healthful music: it is not madness
142 That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
143 And I the matter will re-word; which madness
144 Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
145 Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
146 That not your trespass, but my madness speaks:
147 It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
148 Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
149 Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
150 Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
151 And do not spread the compost on the weeds,
152 To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue;
153 For in the fatness of these pursy times
154 Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
155 Yea, curb and woo for leave to do him good.
156 O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
157 O, throw away the worser part of it,
158 And live the purer with the other half.
159 Good night: but go not to mine uncle's bed;
160 Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
161 That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat,
162 Of habits devil, is angel yet in this,
163 That to the use of actions fair and good
164 He likewise gives a frock or livery,
165 That aptly is put on. Refrain tonight,
166 And that shall lend a kind of easiness
167 To the next abstinence: the next more easy;
168 For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
169 And either master the devil, or throw him out
170 With wondrous potency. Once more, good night:
171 And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
172 I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,
173 I do repent: but heaven hath pleased it so,
174 To punish me with this and this with me,
175 That I must be their scourge and minister.
176 I will bestow him, and will answer well
177 The death I gave him. So, again, good night.
178 I must be cruel, only to be kind:
179 Thus bad begins and worse remains behind.
180 One word more, good lady.
180 What shall I do?
181 Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
182 Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed;
183 Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;
184 And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,
185 Or paddling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
186 Make you to ravel all this matter out,
187 That I essentially am not in madness,
188 But mad in craft. 'Twere good you let him know;
189 For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise,
190 Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib,
191 Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
192 No, in despite of sense and secrecy,
193 Unpeg the basket on the house's top.
194 Let the birds fly, and, like the famous ape,
195 To try conclusions, in the basket creep,
196 And break your own neck down.
200 I must to England; you know that?
202 There's letters seal'd: and my two schoolfellows,
203 Whom I will trust as I will adders fang'd,
204 They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way,
205 And marshal me to knavery. Let it work;
206 For 'tis the sport to have the engineer
207 Hoist with his own petard: and 't shall go hard
208 But I will delve one yard below their mines,
209 And blow them at the moon: O, 'tis most sweet,
210 When in one line two crafts directly meet.
211 This man shall set me packing:
212 I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room.
213 Mother, good night. Indeed this counsellor
214 Is now most still, most secret and most grave,
215 Who was in life a foolish prating knave.
216 Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you.
217 Good night, mother.