• Enter CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN

    CLAUDIUS

    I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
    To let his madness range. Therefore prepare you.
    I your commission will forthwith dispatch,
    And he to England shall along with you.
    5The terms of our estate may not endure
    Hazard so dangerous as doth hourly grow
    Out of his lunacies.

    GUILDENSTERN

      We will ourselves provide.
    Most holy and religious fear it is
    To keep those many, many bodies safe
    10That live and feed upon your majesty.

    ROSENCRANTZ

    The single and peculiar life is bound
    With all the strength and armor of the mind
    To keep itself from noyance, but much more
    That spirit upon whose weal depend and rest
    15The lives of many. The cease of majesty
    Dies not alone, but, like a gulf, doth draw
    What’s near it with it. It is a massy wheel
    Fixed on the summit of the highest mount,
    To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
    20Are mortised and adjoined, which, when it falls,
    Each small annexment, petty consequence,
    Attends the boisterous ruin. Never alone
    Did the king sigh, but with a general groan.

    CLAUDIUS

    Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage.
    25For we will fetters put upon this fear,
    Which now goes too free-footed.
  • CLAUDIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN enter.

    CLAUDIUS

    I don’t like the way he’s acting, and it’s not safe for me to let his insanity get out of control. So get prepared. I’m sending you to England on diplomatic business, and Hamlet will go with you. As king, I cannot risk the danger he represents as he grows crazier by the hour.

    GUILDENSTERN

    We’ll take care of it. It’s a sacred duty to protect the lives of all those who depend on Your Highness.

    ROSENCRANTZ

    Everyone tries to avoid harm, but the public figure demands even more protection. When a great leader dies he doesn’t die alone but, like a whirlpool, draws others with him. He’s like a huge wheel on the top of the highest mountain whose spokes touch the rim of ten thousand smaller things—when it falls down the mountain, every little object goes down with it. Whenever a king sighs, everyone groans.

    CLAUDIUS

    Prepare yourself, please, for this trip. We’ll put a leash on this danger that’s now running wild.