|ACT IV SCENE VI||Another room in the castle.|
|Enter HORATIO and a Servant.|
|HORATIO||What are they that would speak with me?|
|Servant||Sailors, sir: they say they have letters for you.|
|HORATIO||Let them come in.|
|I do not know from what part of the world|
|I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.|
|First Sailor||God bless you, sir.|
|HORATIO||Let him bless thee too.|
|First Sailor||He shall, sir, an’t please him. There’s a letter for|
|you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was|
|bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am|
|let to know it is.||10|
|‘Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king:|
|they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old|
|at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us|
|chase. Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on|
|a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded|
|them: on the instant they got clear of our ship; so|
|I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with|
|me like thieves of mercy: but they knew what they||19|
|did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king|
|have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me|
|with as much speed as thou wouldst fly death. I|
|have words to speak in thine ear will make thee|
|dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of|
|the matter. These good fellows will bring thee|
|where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their|
|course for England: of them I have much to tell|
|‘He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET.’|
|Come, I will make you way for these your letters;||28|
|And do’t the speedier, that you may direct me|
|To him from whom you brought them.|
Next: Hamlet, Act 4, Scene 7
Explanatory Notes for Act 4, Scene 6
From Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan.
1. What are they, what manner of men; What, less definite than who.
5. I should be greeted, I am likely to receive a greeting.
7. Let him, may he.
9. bound, on his way for.
10. let to know, informed; we still say ‘let me know,’ i.e. tell me.
12. overlooked, read.
13. some … king, some means of access to, etc.
14. Ere we … sea, before we had been two days at sea.
15. of … appointment, fitted out in most warlike fashion, i.e. heavily armed.
16. we put on … valour, we made a virtue of necessity and assumed a warlike bearing.
16, 7. in the grapple, as we grappled, i.e. threw out our grappling-irons in order to hold their vessel fast to ours: boarded, leaped on board: on the instant, just as I did so.
19. thieves of mercy, merciful thieves; see note on i. 2. 4.
19, 20. but they … them, but their mercy was due to politic reasons, for they wanted me in return to do them a service with the king.
21. repair, make your way; in this sense from Lat. repatriare, to return to one’s own country.
22. as thou, as that with which you.
23. will make, i.e. which will make; for the omission of the relative, see Abb. § 244.
23, 4. yet are … matter, yet no words would describe the matter in sufficiently strong language; the metaphor is that of shot not heavy enough for the calibre of a gun.
28. I will … letters, I will give you the means, opportunity, of delivering these letters.
29. And do ‘t … me, and do it all the more quickly that by my doing so, etc.; the, ablative of demonstration, see Abb. § 94.
How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Hamlet, prince of Denmark. Ed. K. Deighton. London: Macmillan, 1919.