[The First Folio version of Act 4, Scene 4 ends with Fortinbras' exit. Other common classroom versions feature the following lines, in which Hamlet enters, accompanied by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, has a discussion with the Captain about Fortinbras' troops, and then delivers his seventh soliloquy of the play.]
Good sir, whose powers are these?
How purposed, sir, I pray you?
Against some part of Poland.
The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.
Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
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.
Why, then, the Polack never will defend it.
Yes, it is already garrisoned.
Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducats
Will now debate the question of this straw.
This is th’impostume of much wealth and peace,
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.
Will’t please you go, my lord?
I’ll be with you straight. Go a little before.
[Exit all but 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 godlike reason
To fust in us unused. Now whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple
Of thinking too precisely on th’event —
A thought which, quartered, 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 puffed,
Makes mouths at the invisible event,
Exposing what is mortal and unsure
To all that fortune, death, and danger dare,
Even for an eggshell. Rightly to be great
Is not to stir without great argument,
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw
When honor’s at the stake. How stand I, then,
That have a father killed, a mother stained,
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 a 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.