KING (continued)
...We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe, and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet:
I pray thee, stay with us; go not to Wittenberg.

I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply:
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell,
And the king's rouse the heavens all bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.

Exeunt all but HAMLET


The city of Wittenberg is in central Germany, and was one of the most important cities in Saxony. As well as its fame as having been home to the university that Hamlet studied at, it was also the site of Martin Luther's dramatic revolt against the indulgences in the church in 1517 (less than a hundred years before Shakespeare wrote the play.) Wittenberg is also the home, in Christopher Marlowe's play, of his title character Doctor Faustus

I didn't cover it in the body of the text, but there's a hint at the end of Claudius' speech that he might be something of a drinker. Contrasted with the fastidiousness of Hamlet's father (introduced to us already in the martial formality of an experienced soldier), Claudius is presented as a relaxed, even rowdy boozer. He is excited at just how much 'jocund' drinking there will be tonight, and Hamlet will likewise make reference to this in upcoming lines and scenes.