“My lord why is it that masters Rosencrantz and Guildenstern incite such ire in you?” Hamlet’s eyes quickly found the fraying edges of the finely woven rug. “I know the traitors do regularly deceive your friendship and take notes of private nature to the king your uncle, and forgive my inquiry if it is not my place, it seems at certain times that there is something more than the main.”
The prince looked out to the barren hills below the castle and turned half a step. He let this question linger in the silence of the chamber and Horatio was beginning to fear another of his moods that the prince was increasingly wont to these days.
Hamlet walked to a lounging chair and sat, looking back at the man to whom he could no longer deny his affection. “I have resolved to tell you the story complete for I feel you, my friend, are good as my soul herself, although I do love her if she be for you. I cannot deny you any of my life. Alone I do long to send her to Felicity where she may be more welcome. Come sit with me and if I may lie atop your lap, I will also tell troth.”
Horatio walked toward his companion before thought told him to, but not without thought of a kind. He was his master’s soul. Hamlet would send before her time his very essence, he knew, body and soul to that unknown after, if not for Horatio, the faithful servant of Hamlet’s love. He sometimes could not help but think himself guardian of his prince’s wit, love, and self, for their master has loosed them to freedom, the act of his madness taking their place. Perhaps the act had too slipped, true madness taking place.
Sitting down at the crook of the lounging chair, Hamlet took his customary place with his head in Horatio’s lap, speaking at first towards the rest of the bedchamber.
“I have known master Rosencrantz and master Guildenstern from first our arrival in Wittenberg. It is true my father sent them to the university but not at the time to betray. They were to be companions to me in a city I was unfamiliar with. We became friends, spending time in the alehouses and other houses of less repute. As we met others, we stayed close, the three of us. But as time passed, I was not equal in the distribution of my time and affection. Rosencrantz and I shared an intimacy and more oft’ than not a bed. Guildenstern, as one would expect, felt robbed of my time and affection. Thus he went to rob us of all attention of the pupils, and I, a prince, was lost to so many. The gentle fellows we had befriended now refused my greetings, took their ale and moved seat. I spent most of my time not in lectures alone in the company of my then most dear Rosencrantz. After more than a semester our love began to melt and we found ourselves too much in our own company and began to drift apart like the melting of sheets of ice on the lonely and cold sea.
“Guildenstern, who I expect was more lacking of the affection of Rosencrantz, once again became friendly and welcoming, and Rosencrantz ran to him as a spaniel, forgiveness in his eyes.
“I could not so easily forgive. For a time I thought of writing to my father and having him deal out a hand of death. How could my dear Rosencrantz, for however we may no longer share a special intimacy, he was still dear to me, flock back to such a treacherous creature and call him friend? Follow him like a pet? I did not want to do with them and left them to their own until one of them, for I do not know which but do have an idea for which vile creature to the mass of the scheming, wrote to my father speaking of his concern for me. I was not myself, some thing or other was hanging on my head. The queen my mother should not worry, for her son would be watched and she could put her trust in him. She not only gave him her trust, but a hansom sum of gold to accompany it. And so you can see how the deal of blackmail had begun. No longer was I free to wallow in my melancholy. No longer was I able to avoid the parasites that had once been my friends. Not a fortnight before I met you on that bank since I became aware of their schemes.”
He sat up, head against the other man’s chest, and turned to look up at Horatio. “I have since had to shade myself. Only in your presence do I even find myself my own anymore. I do hold you at the very heart of my heart.”
“My lord,” Horatio had taken the prince in an embrace. “I did not know of your affections for the dog. But I am not upset.” And Horatio had meant what he said, more glad for the trust of the prince’s word than anything. How vile a man could turn and use your good pledge of trust to his own? And to see one you hold so dear flock to him. Horatio reached down and touched his lips to the prince’s neck, who closed his eyes at the touch.
“What’s done yesterday is gone since a thousand years. Today and now is the kingdom of my rule. A year past forever in your arms, sweet Horatio, and I shant have drunk my fill.”