Hamlet: Act 4, Scene 4
Enter FORTINBRAS with his army
*over the stage. Full Summary
1 Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;
2 Tell him that, by his license, Fortinbras
3 Craves the conveyance of a promised march
4 Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
5 If that his majesty would aught with us,
6 We shall express our duty in his eye;
7 And let him know so.
7 I will do't, my lord.
8 Go softly on.
9 Good sir, whose powers are these?
10 They are of Norway, sir.
11 How purposed, sir, I pray you?
12 Against some part of Poland.
13 Who commands them, sir?
14 The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.
17 Truly to speak, and with no addition,
18 We go to gain a little patch of ground
19 That hath in it no profit but the name.
20 To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
21 Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
22 A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.
23 Why, then the Polack never will defend it.
24 Yes, it is already garrison'd.
25 Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
26 Will not debate the question of this straw:
27 This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
28 That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
29 Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
30 God buy you, sir.
30 Wilt please you go, my lord?
31 I'll be with you straight. Go a little before.
32 How all occasions do inform against me,
33 And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
34 If his chief good and market of his time
35 Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
36 Sure, He that made us with such large discourse,
37 Looking before and after, gave us not
38 That capability and god-like reason
39 To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
40 Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
41 Of thinking too precisely on the event,
42 A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
43 And ever three parts coward, I do not know
44 Why yet I live to say "This thing's to do,"
45 Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
46 To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
47 Witness this army of such mass and charge
48 Led by a delicate and tender prince,
49 Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
50 Makes mouths at the invisible event,
51 Exposing what is mortal and unsure
52 To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
53 Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
54 Is not to stir without great argument,
55 But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
56 When honor's at the stake. How stand I then,
57 That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
58 Excitements of my reason and my blood,
59 And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
60 The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
61 That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
62 Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
63 Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
64 Which is not tomb enough and continent
65 To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
66 My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!