By way of explanation, Hamlet is talking to one of his courtiers who has come to “visit” him. With correct suspicion, Hamlet inquires if the King and Queen had asked Guildenstern to fetch him, and what follows is the reply. I’ve oft been told (by both others and my invisible friends that I have a philosophy to life similar to this.
Guildenstern: My lord, we were sent for.
Hamlet: I will tell you why. So shall my anticipation prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the King and Queen moult no feather. I have of late – but wherefore I know not – lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises; and indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a sterile promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o’erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire – why, it appeareth no other thing to me than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason! how infinite in faculties! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world, the paragon of animals! And yet to me what is this quintessence of dust? Man delights not me…
The Tragedy of Hamlet – Shakespeare