Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 2

page Act 2 Scene 2 Page 8

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HAMLET

Excellent well. You are a fishmonger.

HAMLET

Of course. You sell fish.

POLONIUS

Not I, my lord.

POLONIUS

No, not me, sir.

HAMLET

Then I would you were so honest a man.

HAMLET

In that case I wish you were as good a man as a fish seller.

POLONIUS

Honest, my lord?

POLONIUS

Good, sir?

HAMLET

170Ay, sir. To be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.

HAMLET

Yes, sir. Only one man in ten thousand is good in this world.

POLONIUS

That’s very true, my lord.

POLONIUS

That’s definitely true, my lord.

HAMLET

For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a good kissing carrion— Have you a daughter?

HAMLET

Since if the sun breeds maggots on a dead dog, kissing the corpse—by the way, do you have a daughter?

POLONIUS

175I have, my lord.

POLONIUS

I do indeed, my lord.

HAMLET

Let her not walk i' th' sun. Conception is a blessing, but, as your daughter may conceive—Friend, look to ’t.

HAMLET

Then by all means never let her walk in public. Procreation is a good thing, but if your daughter gets pregnant … look out, friend.

POLONIUS

(aside) How say you by that? Still harping on my daughter. Yet he knew me not at first. He said I was a fishmonger. He is far gone, far gone. And truly in my youth I suffered much extremity for love, very near this. I’ll speak to him again.—(to HAMLET) What do you read, my lord?

POLONIUS

(to himself) Now, what does he mean by that? Still harping on my daughter. But he didn’t recognize me at first. He mistook me for a fish seller. He’s far gone. But when I was young I went crazy for love too, almost as bad as this. I’ll talk to him again.—(to HAMLET) What are you reading, your highness?

HAMLET

Words, words, words.

HAMLET

A lot of words.

POLONIUS

What is the matter, my lord?

POLONIUS

And what is the subject?

HAMLET

185Between who?

HAMLET

Between whom?