Re-enter ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN
Good my lord, vouchsafe me a word with you.
Sir, a whole history.
The king, sir…
Ay, sir, what of him?
Is in his retirement marvellous distempered.
With drink, sir?
No, my lord, rather with choler.
Your wisdom should show itself more richer to
signify this to his doctor; for for me to put him
to his purgation would perhaps plunge him into far
Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame and
start not so wildly from my affair.
I am tame, sir: pronounce.
The queen, your mother, in most great affliction of
spirit, hath sent me to you.
You are welcome.
Nay, good my lord, this courtesy is not of the right
breed. If it shall please you to make me a
wholesome answer, I will do your mother's
commandment: if not, your pardon and my return
shall be the end of my business.
The four humours date back at least to medicine in the time of Hippocrates. Ancient Greek medicine identified four humours - black bile (whose name in Greek gives us the word melancholy), yellow bile, phlegm and blood. Galen suggested that an excess of any of these led to one of four personality types as mentioned in the episode - melancholic, choleric, phlegmatic and sanguine. Although rejected by most of modern medicine, in this breakdown we do have the seeds that grew into personality indicators like the Meyers-Briggs test and its many off-shoots.