Act 1 - Scene 2
A room of state in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LAERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS,
Lords, and Attendants
Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory be green, and that it us befitted
To bear our
hearts in grief and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe,
Yet so far hath discretion
fought with nature
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress to this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere with
a defeated joy,
With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
equal scale weighing delight and dole,
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which
have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
a weak supposal of our worth,
Or thinking by our late dear brother's death
Our state to be disjoint and out
Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
the surrender of those lands
Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To our most valiant brother. So much
Now for ourself and for this time of meeting:
Thus much the business is: we have here writ
Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists and full proportions, are all made
Out of his
subject: and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
delated articles allow.
Farewell, and let your haste commend your duty.
In that and all things will we show our duty.
We doubt it nothing: heartily farewell.
Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS
And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes?
speak of reason to the Dane,
And loose your voice: what wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be
my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?
My dread lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
show my duty in your coronation,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,
My thoughts and wishes bend
again toward France
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.
Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?
He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave
By laboursome petition, and at last
Upon his will I seal'd
my hard consent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.