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    Act 4. Scene IV

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    Chapter 15
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    SCENE IV. A plain in Denmark.

    Enter FORTINBRAS, a Captain, and Soldiers, marching
    PRINCE FORTINBRAS
    Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;
    Tell him that, by his licence, Fortinbras
    Craves the conveyance of a promised march
    Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
    If that his majesty would aught with us,
    We shall express our duty in his eye;
    And let him know so.

    Captain
    I will do't, my lord.

    PRINCE FORTINBRAS
    Go softly on.

    Exeunt FORTINBRAS and Soldiers

    Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and others

    HAMLET
    Good sir, whose powers are these?

    Captain
    They are of Norway, sir.

    HAMLET
    How purposed, sir, I pray you?

    Captain
    Against some part of Poland.

    HAMLET
    Who commands them, sir?

    Captain
    The nephews to old Norway, Fortinbras.

    HAMLET
    Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
    Or for some frontier?

    Captain
    Truly to speak, and with no addition,
    We go to gain a little patch of ground
    That hath in it no profit but the name.
    To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
    Nor will it yield to Norway or the Pole
    A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

    HAMLET
    Why, then the Polack never will defend it.

    Captain
    Yes, it is already garrison'd.

    HAMLET
    Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
    Will not debate the question of this straw:
    This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,
    That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
    Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.

    Captain
    God be wi' you, sir.

    Exit

    ROSENCRANTZ
    Wilt please you go, my lord?

    HAMLET
    I'll be with you straight go a little before.

    Exeunt all except HAMLET

    How all occasions do inform against me,
    And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
    If his chief good and market of his time
    Be but to sleep and feed? a beast, no more.
    Sure, he that made us with such large discourse,
    Looking before and after, gave us not
    That capability and god-like reason
    To fust in us unused. Now, whether it be
    Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
    Of thinking too precisely on the event,
    A thought which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom
    And ever three parts coward, I do not know
    Why yet I live to say 'This thing's to do;'
    Sith I have cause and will and strength and means
    To do't. Examples gross as earth exhort me:
    Witness this army of such mass and charge
    Led by a delicate and tender prince,
    Whose spirit with divine ambition puff'd
    Makes mouths at the invisible event,
    Exposing what is mortal and unsure
    To all that fortune, death and danger dare,
    Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great
    Is not to stir without great argument,
    But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
    When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
    That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
    Excitements of my reason and my blood,
    And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
    The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
    That, for a fantasy and trick of fame,
    Go to their graves like beds, fight for a plot
    Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,
    Which is not tomb enough and continent
    To hide the slain? O, from this time forth,
    My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!

    Exit
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