This page contains the original text of Hamlet Act 4, Scene 2. Shakespeare’s original Hamlet text is extremely long, so we’ve split the text into one Scene per page. All Acts and Scenes are listed on the original Hamlet text page, or linked to from the bottom of this page.
ACT 4, SCENE 2. Another room in the castle.
[Within] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!
What noise? who calls on Hamlet?
O, here they come.
Enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?
Compounded it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.
Tell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence
And bear it to the chapel.
Do not believe it.
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?
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?
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 mouthed, to
be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
shall be dry again.
I understand you not, my lord.
I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a
My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go
with us to the king.
The body is with the king, but the king is not with
the body. The king is a thing–
A thing, my lord!
Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.