scene 2

Scene II. Another room in the Castle.

[Enter Hamlet.]

Hamlet
Safely stowed.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
[Within.] Hamlet! Lord Hamlet!

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

[Enter Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.]

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

Hamlet
Compounded it with dust, whereto ’tis kin.

Rosencrantz
Tell us where ’tis, that we may take it thence,
And bear it to the chapel.

Hamlet
Do not believe it.

Rosencrantz
Believe what?

Hamlet
That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be
demanded of a sponge! – what replication should be made by the son
of a king?

Rosencrantz
Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

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

Rosencrantz
I understand you not, my lord.

Hamlet
I am glad of it: a knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

Rosencrantz
My lord, you must tell us where the body is and go with us to
the King

Hamlet
The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.
The king is a thing, -

Guildenstern.
A thing, my lord!

Hamlet
Of nothing: bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.

[Exeunt.]