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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Scene IV

Act IV

[A plain in Denmark]
Enter FORTINBRAS, [a Captain,] and army, [marching]

For.Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king.Tell him that, by his license, FortinbrasClaims the conveyance of a promis’d marchOver his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.If that his Majesty would aught with us,We shall express our duty in his eye;And let him know so.Cap.I will do ’t, my lord.For.Go softly on.Exeunt FORTINBRAS [and Soldiers].
[Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, and others

Ham.Good sir, whose powers are these?Cap.They are of Norway, sir.Ham.How purpos’d, sir, I pray you?Cap.Against some part of Poland.Ham.Who commands them, sir?Cap.The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.Ham.Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,Or for some frontier?Cap.Truly to speak, and with no addition,We go to gain a little patch of groundThat 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 PoleA ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.Ham.Why, then the Polack never will defend it.Cap.Yes, it is already garrison’d.Ham.Two thousand souls and twenty thousand ducatsWill not debate the question of this straw.This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace,That inward breaks, and shows no cause withoutWhy the man dies. I humbly thank you, sir.Cap.God buy you, sir.[Exit.]Ros.Will’t please you go, my lord?Ham.I’ll be with you straight. Go a little before.[Exeunt all except 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 timeBe but to sleep and feed? A beast, no more.Sure, He that made us with such large discourse,Looking before and after, gave us notThat capability and god-like reasonTo fust in us unus’d. Now, whether it beBestial oblivion, or some craven scrupleOf thinking too precisely on the event,—A thought which, quarter’d, hath but one part wisdomAnd ever three parts coward,—I do not knowWhy yet I live to say, “This thing’s to do,”Sith I have cause and will and strength and meansTo do’t. Examples gross as earth exhort me;Witness this army of such mass and chargeLed by a delicate and tender prince,Whose spirit with divine ambition puff’dMakes mouths at the invisible event,Exposing what is mortal and unsureTo all that fortune, death, and danger dare,Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be greatIs not to stir without great argument,But greatly to find quarrel in a strawWhen honour’s at the stake. How stand I then,That have a father kill’d, a mother stain’d,Excitements of my reason and my blood,And let all sleep, while to my shame I seeThe imminent death of twenty thousand men,That for a fantasy and trick of fameGo to their graves like beds, fight for a plotWhereon the numbers cannot try the cause,Which is not tomb enough and continentTo hide the slain? O, from this time forth,My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!]Exit.