Hamlet: Act 4, Scene 1

           Enter KING and QUEEN with ROSENCRANTZ          
           and GUILDENSTERN.

1. matter: meaning.  profound heaves: heavy, gasping breaths.
  1   There's matter in these sighs, these profound heaves:
  2   You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them.
  3   Where is your son?

4. Bestow this place on us a little while: The Queen is politely asking Rosencrantz and Guildenstern to leave and give her and the King privacy.
  4   Bestow this place on us a little while.

           [Exeunt Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

  5   Ah, mine own lord, what have I seen tonight!

  6   What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?

  7   Mad as the sea and wind, when both contend
8. lawless: unrestrained.
  8   Which is the mightier: in his lawless fit,
  9   Behind the arras hearing something stir,
 10   Whips out his rapier, cries, "A rat, a rat!"
11. brainish apprehension: crazy notion or headstrong conception.
 11   And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
 12   The unseen good old man.

 12                                      O heavy deed!
13. It  . . .  there: i.e., I would have been killed, if I had been there. The King is using the royal "we." 14. liberty: being on the loose.
 13   It had been so with us, had we been there:
 14   His liberty is full of threats to all—
 15   To you yourself, to us, to everyone.
16. answer'd: i.e., satisfactorily accounted for.
 16   Alas, how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
17. It will be laid to us: i.e., I will be blamed for it.  providence: foresight. 18. short: on a short leash. out of haunt: away from other people.
 17   It will be laid to us, whose providence
 18   Should have kept short, restrain'd and out of haunt,
 19   This mad young man; but so much was our love,
20. We  . . .  fit: i.e., I failed to understand what was the best thing to do. 21. owner: i.e., victim.
22. To keep it from divulging: to prevent it from being revealed.
 20   We would not understand what was most fit;
 21   But, like the owner of a foul disease,
 22   To keep it from divulging, let it feed
 23   Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?

 24   To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
25. ore: vein of gold.
 25   O'er whom his very madness, like some ore
26. Among a mineral of metals base: within a mine of base metals. .  . . more 27. 'a weeps for what is done: he weeps for what he has done. — I think she is lying. Look at Hamlet's last words of the previous scene.
 26   Among a mineral of metals base,
 27   Shows itself pure: 'a weeps for what is done.

 28   O Gertrude, come away!
 29   The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch,
 30   But we will ship him hence; and this vile deed
31. our majesty: i.e., my political capital as king.
 31   We must, with all our majesty and skill,
32. countenance: tolerate.
 32   Both countenance and excuse. Ho, Guildenstern!


33. go join you with some further aid: i.e., go and get some others to help you. ...more
 33   Friends both, go join you with some further aid:
 34   Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
35. closet: private room, for sewing, reading, etc.
 35   And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him:
36. fair: courteously.
 36   Go seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
 37   Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.


 38   Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
 39   And let them know, both what we mean to do,
40. [for, haply, slander]: because, by chance, slander. Some words are missing. ...more 41. diameter: extent from side to side. 42. As level: with aim as good.  his blank: its target.
 40   And what's untimely done [for, haply, slander]
 41   Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
 42   As level as the cannon to his blank,
 43   Transports his poison'd shot, may miss our name,
44. woundless: incapable of being hurt.
 44   And hit the woundless air. O, come away!
 45   My soul is full of discord and dismay.