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LAER. I'm lost in it, my Lord. But let him come :

It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
Thus diddest thou.

If it be so, Laertes
(As how should it be so, how otherwise?)
Will you be rul❜d by me?

Ay, my Lord;
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
KING. To thine own peace.
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it, I will work him

If he be now return'd,

To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe;
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice,
And call it accident.
My Lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather, if you could devise it so,
That I might be the organ.

It falls right.

You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him,
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.1



What part is that, my Lord?
KING. A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy:

I've seen, myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback; but this gallant
Had witchcraft in 't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,

1 of the lowest rank.


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As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;

And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh,


Why ask you this?
KING. Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,

Dies in his own too much. That we would do
We should do when we would; for this would changes,

And hath abatements and delays as many

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That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o' the ulcer:
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake,

1 i.e. in imagining.




To shew yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
To cut his throat i' the church.
KING. No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence,
And set a double varnish on the fame

The Frenchman gave you; bring you, in fine,

And wager on your heads. He, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that, with ease
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated,' and, in a pass of practice,2
Requite him for your father.



I will do 't;
And for that purpose I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all simples that have virtue
Under the Moon, can save the thing from death
That is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.

Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and means
May fit us to our shape. If this should fail,
And that our drift look through our bad performance,
"Twere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft! let me see:
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings-
I ha't:

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3 galve.



If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there.

Enter the QUEEN.

How now, sweet Queen!
QUEEN. One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow. Your sister's drown'd, Laertes.
LAER. Drown'd! O, where?

QUEEN. There is a willow grows aslant a brook,

That shews his hoar leaves in the glassy stream:
There with fantastic garlands did she come

Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,

But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them: 170
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;

When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread


And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up;
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress,

Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Alas, then she is drown'd!

160 ACT IV Sc. VII

QUEEN. Drown'd, drown'd!

LAER. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,

And therefore I forbid my tears: but yet

It is our trick; Nature her custom holds,


Let Shame say what it will: when these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my Lord:

I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly douts it.

Let's follow, Gertrude:
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.

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SCENE I. Elsinore. A Churchyard.

Enter two Clowns, with spades, etc.

FIRST CLOWN. Is she to be buried in Christian burial

that wilfully seeks her own salvation?

SEC. CLOWN. I tell thee she is: and therefore make her grave straight: the crowner hath sat on her, and finds it Christian burial.

FIRST CLOWN. How can that be, unless she drown'd herself in her own defence?

SEC. CLOWN. Why, 'tis found so.


FIRST CLOWN. It must be se offendendo; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: If I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act; and an act hath three branches; it is, to act, to do, and to perform: argal she drown'd herself wittingly.

SEC. CLOWN. Nay, but hear you, Goodman DelverFIRST CLOWN. Give me leave. Here lies the water; good: here stands the man; good: if the man go to this water and drown himself, it is, will he, nill he, he goes-mark you that; but if the water come to him and drown him, he drowns not himself: argal he that is not guilty of his own death shortens not his own life. SEC. CLOWN. But is this law?


FIRST CLOWN. Ay, marry, is 't; Crowner's Quest law. SEC. CLOWN. Will you ha' the truth on 't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of Christian burial.

FIRST CLOWN. Why, there thou say'st; and the more pity that great folk should have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even-Christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and gravemakers; they hold up Adam's profession.

SEC. CLOWN. Was he a gentleman ?


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