Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 2

page Act 3 Scene 2 Page 15

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HAMLET

O wonderful son that can so ’stonish a mother! But is there no sequel at the heels of this mother’s admiration? Impart.

HAMLET

Oh, what a wonderful son, I can impress my mother! But what’s the upshot of her admiration? Do tell.

ROSENCRANTZ

She desires to speak with you in her closet ere you go to bed.

ROSENCRANTZ

She wants to have a word with you in her bedroom before you go to bed.

HAMLET

We shall obey, were she ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?

HAMLET

I’d obey even if she were my mother ten times over. Is there anything else I can do for you?

ROSENCRANTZ

300My lord, you once did love me.

ROSENCRANTZ

My lord, you used to like me.

HAMLET

And do still, by these pickers and stealers.

HAMLET

And still do, I swear by my hands.

ROSENCRANTZ

Good my lord, what is your cause of distemper? You do surely bar the door upon your own liberty if you deny your griefs to your friend.

ROSENCRANTZ

My lord, what’s wrong with you? You’re not doing yourself any good by refusing to tell your friends what’s bothering you.

HAMLET

305Sir, I lack advancement.

HAMLET

Sir, I have no future ahead of me.

ROSENCRANTZ

How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your succession in Denmark?

ROSENCRANTZ

But how can you say that, when the king himself says you’re the heir to the Danish throne?
Reenter the PLAYERS with recorders

HAMLET

Ay, sir, but “While the grass grows—” The proverb is something musty—Oh, the recorders! Let me see one. (takes a recorder) (aside to ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN ) To withdraw with you, why do you go about to recover the wind of me as if you would drive me into a toil?

HAMLET

Yes, eventually, but as the proverb goes,

“While the grass grows …”

The rest of the proverb goes, “…the horse starves.”

“While the grass grows …”
But that’s a tired old proverb. Oh, the recorders! Let me see one.(he takes a recorder and turns to GUILDENSTERN ) Why are you hovering so close, as if you want to ambush me?

GUILDENSTERN

O my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.

GUILDENSTERN

Oh, my lord, I’m sorry if I’m forgetting my manners. It’s just that I’m worried about you.