Speeches (Lines) for Rosencrantz
in "Hamlet"

Total: 48

# Act, Scene, Line
(Click to see in context)
Speech text



Gertrude. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you,
And sure I am two men there are not living
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To show us so much gentry and good will
As to expend your time with us awhile
For the supply and profit of our hope,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.

Rosencrantz. Both your Majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.



Polonius. You go to seek the Lord Hamlet. There he is.

Rosencrantz. [to Polonius] God save you, sir!



Guildenstern. My honour'd lord!

Rosencrantz. My most dear lord!



Hamlet. My excellent good friends! How dost thou, Guildenstern? Ah,
Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do ye both?

Rosencrantz. As the indifferent children of the earth.



Hamlet. Nor the soles of her shoe?

Rosencrantz. Neither, my lord.



Hamlet. In the secret parts of Fortune? O! most true! she is a
strumpet. What news ?

Rosencrantz. None, my lord, but that the world's grown honest.



Hamlet. Denmark's a prison.

Rosencrantz. Then is the world one.



Hamlet. A goodly one; in which there are many confines, wards, and
dungeons, Denmark being one o' th' worst.

Rosencrantz. We think not so, my lord.



Hamlet. Why, then 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good
or bad but thinking makes it so. To me it is a prison.

Rosencrantz. Why, then your ambition makes it one. 'Tis too narrow for your



Hamlet. A dream itself is but a shadow.

Rosencrantz. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality that
it is but a shadow's shadow.



Hamlet. Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs and outstretch'd
heroes the beggars' shadows. Shall we to th' court? for, by my
fay, I cannot reason.

Rosencrantz. [with Guildenstern] We'll wait upon you.



Hamlet. No such matter! I will not sort you with the rest of my
servants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am most
dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of friendship, what
make you at Elsinore?

Rosencrantz. To visit you, my lord; no other occasion.



Hamlet. Why, anything- but to th' purpose. You were sent for; and
there is a kind of confession in your looks, which your modesties
have not craft enough to colour. I know the good King and Queen
have sent for you.

Rosencrantz. To what end, my lord?



Hamlet. That you must teach me. But let me conjure you by the rights
of our fellowship, by the consonancy of our youth, by the
obligation of our ever-preserved love, and by what more dear a
better proposer could charge you withal, be even and direct with
me, whether you were sent for or no.

Rosencrantz. [aside to Guildenstern] What say you?



Hamlet. I will tell you why. So shall my anticipation prevent your
discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no
feather. I have of late- but wherefore I know not- lost all my
mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so
heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth,
seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the
air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical
roof fretted with golden fire- why, it appeareth no other thing
to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a
piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in
faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in
action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the
beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me what
is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me- no, nor woman
neither, though by your smiling you seem to say so.

Rosencrantz. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts.



Hamlet. Why did you laugh then, when I said 'Man delights not me'?

Rosencrantz. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten
entertainment the players shall receive from you. We coted them
on the way, and hither are they coming to offer you service.



Hamlet. He that plays the king shall be welcome- his Majesty shall
have tribute of me; the adventurous knight shall use his foil and
target; the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall
end his part in peace; the clown shall make those laugh whose
lungs are tickle o' th' sere; and the lady shall say her mind
freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't. What players are

Rosencrantz. Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the
tragedians of the city.



Hamlet. How chances it they travel? Their residence, both in
reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Rosencrantz. I think their inhibition comes by the means of the late



Hamlet. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the
city? Are they so follow'd?

Rosencrantz. No indeed are they not.



Hamlet. How comes it? Do they grow rusty?

Rosencrantz. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace; but there is,
sir, an eyrie of children, little eyases, that cry out on the top
of question and are most tyrannically clapp'd for't. These are now
the fashion, and so berattle the common stages (so they call
them) that many wearing rapiers are afraid of goosequills and
dare scarce come thither.



Hamlet. What, are they children? Who maintains 'em? How are they
escoted? Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can
sing? Will they not say afterwards, if they should grow
themselves to common players (as it is most like, if their means
are no better), their writers do them wrong to make them exclaim
against their own succession.

Rosencrantz. Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and the nation
holds it no sin to tarre them to controversy. There was, for a
while, no money bid for argument unless the poet and the player
went to cuffs in the question.



Hamlet. Do the boys carry it away?

Rosencrantz. Ay, that they do, my lord- Hercules and his load too.



Hamlet. Hark you, Guildenstern- and you too- at each ear a hearer!
That great baby you see there is not yet out of his swaddling

Rosencrantz. Happily he's the second time come to them; for they say an old
man is twice a child.



Hamlet. Very well. Follow that lord- and look you mock him not.
[Exit First Player.]
My good friends, I'll leave you till night. You are welcome to

Rosencrantz. Good my lord!



Claudius. And can you by no drift of circumstance
Get from him why he puts on this confusion,
Grating so harshly all his days of quiet
With turbulent and dangerous lunacy?

Rosencrantz. He does confess he feels himself distracted,
But from what cause he will by no means speak.



Gertrude. Did he receive you well?

Rosencrantz. Most like a gentleman.



Guildenstern. But with much forcing of his disposition.

Rosencrantz. Niggard of question, but of our demands
Most free in his reply.



Gertrude. Did you assay him
To any pastime?

Rosencrantz. Madam, it so fell out that certain players
We o'erraught on the way. Of these we told him,
And there did seem in him a kind of joy
To hear of it. They are here about the court,
And, as I think, they have already order
This night to play before him.



Claudius. With all my heart, and it doth much content me
To hear him so inclin'd.
Good gentlemen, give him a further edge
And drive his purpose on to these delights.

Rosencrantz. We shall, my lord.



Hamlet. Bid the players make haste, [Exit Polonius.] Will you two
help to hasten them?

Rosencrantz. [with Guildenstern] We will, my lord.



Hamlet. It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there. Be
the players ready.

Rosencrantz. Ay, my lord. They stay upon your patience.



Hamlet. Make you a wholesome answer; my wit's diseas'd. But, sir, such
answer as I can make, you shall command; or rather, as you say,
my mother. Therefore no more, but to the matter! My mother, you

Rosencrantz. Then thus she says: your behaviour hath struck her into
amazement and admiration.



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

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



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

Rosencrantz. My lord, you once did love me.



Hamlet. And do still, by these pickers and stealers!

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.



Hamlet. Sir, I lack advancement.

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



Guildenstern. We will ourselves provide.
Most holy and religious fear it is
To keep those many many bodies safe
That live and feed upon your Majesty.

Rosencrantz. 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 depends and rests
The lives of many. The cesse of majesty
Dies not alone, but like a gulf doth draw
What's near it with it. It is a massy wheel,
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortis'd and adjoin'd; which when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boist'rous ruin. Never alone
Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.



Claudius. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.

Rosencrantz. [with Guildenstern] We will haste us.



(stage directions). Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.

Rosencrantz. What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?



Hamlet. Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.

Rosencrantz. Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.



Hamlet. Do not believe it.

Rosencrantz. Believe what?



Hamlet. That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be
demanded of a sponge, what replication should be made by the son
of a king?

Rosencrantz. Take you me for a sponge, my lord?



Hamlet. Ay, sir; that soaks up the King's countenance, his rewards,
his authorities. But such officers do the King best service in
the end. He keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw;
first mouth'd, to be last swallowed. When he needs what you have
glean'd, it is but squeezing you and, sponge, you shall be dry

Rosencrantz. I understand you not, my lord.



Hamlet. I am glad of it. A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

Rosencrantz. My lord, you must tell us where the body is and go with us to
the King.



Claudius. I have sent to seek 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.
He's lov'd of the distracted multitude,
Who like not in their judgment, but their eyes;
And where 'tis so, th' offender's scourge is weigh'd,
But never the offence. To bear all smooth and even,
This sudden sending him away must seem
Deliberate pause. Diseases desperate grown
By desperate appliance are reliev'd,
Or not at all.
[Enter Rosencrantz.]
How now O What hath befall'n?

Rosencrantz. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
We cannot get from him.



Claudius. But where is he?

Rosencrantz. Without, my lord; guarded, to know your pleasure.



Claudius. Bring him before us.

Rosencrantz. Ho, Guildenstern! Bring in my lord.



Norwegian Captain. God b' wi' you, sir. [Exit.]

Rosencrantz. Will't please you go, my lord?

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