My excellent good friends! How dost thou
My excellent good friends! How dost thou,
Guildenstern? Ah, Rosencrantz! Good lads, how do
Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is nothing
either good or bad but thinking makes it so.
As the indifferent children of the earth.
Happy in that we are not overhappy.
On Fortune’s cap, we are not the very button.
Nor the soles of her shoe?
Neither, my lord.
Then you live about her waist, or in the
middle of her favors?
Faith, her privates we.
In the secret parts of Fortune? O, most true!
She is a strumpet. What news?
None, my lord, but that the world’s
Then is doomsday near. But your news is not
true. Let me question more in particular. What
have you, my good friends, deserved at the hands of
Fortune that she sends you to prison hither?
Prison, my lord?
Denmark’s a prison.
Then is the world one.
A goodly one, in which there are many confines,
wards, and dungeons, Denmark being one o’
We think not so, my lord.
Why, then, ’tis none to you, for there is
nothing either good or bad but thinking makes it
so. To me, it is a prison.
Why, then, your ambition makes it one.
’Tis too narrow for your mind.
O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell and
count myself a king of infinite space, were it not
that I have bad dreams.
Which dreams, indeed, are ambition,
for the very substance of the ambitious is merely
the shadow of a dream.
A dream itself is but a shadow.
Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy
and light a quality that it is but a shadow’s shadow.
Then are our beggars bodies, and our monarchs
and outstretched heroes the beggars’ shadows.
Shall we to th’ court? For, by my fay, I cannot reason.
We’ll wait upon you.
No such matter. I will not sort you with the
rest of my servants, for, to speak to you like an
honest man, I am most dreadfully attended. But,
in the beaten way of friendship, what make you at
To visit you, my lord, no other occasion.
Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks;
but I thank you, and sure, dear friends, my thanks
are too dear a halfpenny. Were you not sent for?
Is it your own inclining? Is it a free visitation?
Come, come, deal justly with me. Come, come; nay, speak.
What should we say, my lord?
Anything but to th’ purpose. You were sent
for, and there is a kind of confession in your looks
which your modesties have not craft enough to
color. I know the good king and queen have sent for you.
To what end, my lord?
That you must teach me. But let me conjure
you by the rights of our fellowship, by the consonancy
of our youth, by the obligation of our ever-preserved
love, and by what more dear a better
proposer can charge you withal: be even and direct
with me whether you were sent for or no.
Rosencrantz, to Guildenstern
What say you?
Nay, then, I have an eye of you.—If
you love me, hold not off.
My lord, we were sent for.