Hamlet: Act 4, Scene 2

           Enter HAMLET.

  1   Safely stowed.

  2    Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!

  3   What noise? who calls on Hamlet?
  4   O, here they come.


  5   What have you done, my lord, with the dead body?

  6   Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin.

  7   Tell us where 'tis, that we may take it thence
  8   And bear it to the chapel.

  9   Do not believe it.

 10   Believe what?

 11   That I can keep your counsel and not mine own.
12. demanded of: questioned by.
 12   Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! what
13. replication: reply.
 13   replication should be made by the son of a king?

 14   Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

15. countenance: favor.
 15   Ay, sir, that soaks up the king's countenance, his
 16   rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the
 17   king best service in the end: he keeps them, like
 18   an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to
 19   be last swallowed: when he needs what you have
 20   gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you
 21   shall be dry again.

 22   I understand you not, my lord.

23. a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear: i.e., an insulting comment will provoke no response from a fool too stupid to understand the insult.
 23   I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a
 24   foolish ear.

 25   My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go
 26   with us to the king.

27-28. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body: This an echo of a statement of the legal doctrine that kingly authority does not die when a particular king dies. Hamlet is mocking Rosencrantz's question about Polonius' body, and he is also implying that the current king, Claudius, does not embody true kingship.
 27   The body is with the king, but the king is not with
 28   the body. The king is a thing—

 29   A thing, my lord!

30. Hide fox, and all after.: Probably a cry in some game resembling hide-and-seek. Hamlet, after saying "bring me to him," suddenly changes his mind and runs away.
 30   Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.