Act 4 - Scene 7
Another room in the castle.
Enter KING CLAUDIUS and LAERTES
Now must your conscience my acquaintance seal,
And you must put me in your heart for friend,
have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your noble father slain
Pursued my life.
It well appears: but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,
by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.
O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are
strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself
My virtue or my plague, be it either
She's so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not
but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my
And not where I had aim'd them.
And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms,
Whose worth, if praises may go
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections: but my revenge will come.
Break not your sleeps for that: you must not think
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
That we can
let our beard be shook with danger
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I loved your father,
and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine
Enter a Messenger
How now! what news?
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.
From Hamlet! who brought them?
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
They were given me by Claudio; he received them
Of him that
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