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Ham. He did fo, Sir, with his dug before he fuck'd it: thus has he (and many more of the fame breed, that, I know, the droffy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter, a kind of yefty collection, which carries them through and through the moft fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trials, the bubbles are
Enter a Lord.
Lord. My Lord, his Majefty commended him to you by young Ofrick, who brings back to him, that you attend him in the hall; he fends to know if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes; or that you will take longer
Ham. I am conftant to my purposes, they follow the King's pleasure; if his fitnefs fpeaks, mine is ready, now, or whenfoever, provided I be fo able as nów. Lord. The King, and Queen, and all are coming down.
Ham. In happy time.
Lord. The Queen defires you to ufe fome gentle entertainment to Laertes, before you fall to play.
Hor. You will lofe this wager, my Lord.
Ham. I do not think fo; fince he went into France, I have been in continual practice; I fhall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heartbut it is no matter. Hor. Nay, my good Lord.
Ham. It is but foolery; but it is fuch a kind of gaingiving as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.
Hor. If your mind diflike any thing, obey it. I will forestal their repair hither, and fay you are not fit.
Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury; there is a fpecial providence in the fall of a fparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now: If it be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes?
Exter King, Queen, Laertes and Lords, Ofrick, with other Attendants with foils, and gantlets.
flaggons of wine on it.
A table, and
King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
Ham. Give me your pardon, Sir; I've done you wrong; But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This prefence knows, and you must needs have heard, How I am punifh'd with a fore distraction.
What I have done,
That might your nature, honour, and exception
And, when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes,
Laer. I am fatisfied in nature,
Whofe motive, in this cafe, fhould ftir me most
To keep my name ungor'd. But till that time,
And will not wrong.
Ham. I embrace it freely,
And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Laer. Come, one for me.
Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance Your skill fhall like a ftar i'th' darkest night
Stick fiery off, indeed.
Laer. You mock me, Sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.
King. Give them the foils, young Ofrick. Hamlet, you know the wager.
Ham. Well, my Lord;
Your Grace hath laid the odds o'th' weaker fide.
Ofr. Ay, my good Lord.
King. Set me the ftoups of wine upon that table:
(33) And in the Cup an Onyx fhall he throw,"
Richer than that which four fucceffive Kings
In Denmark's Crown bave worn.] This is a various Reading in feveral of the old Copies; but Union feems to me to be the true Word, for feveral reafons. The Onyx is a fpecies of lucid Stone, of which the Ancients made both Columns and Pavements for Ornament, and in which they likewife cút Seals, &c. but, if Lam not mistaken, neither the Onyx, nor Sardonyx, are Jewels which ever found Place in an Imperial Crown. On the other Hand, an Union is the finest fort of Pearl, and has its Place in all Crowns, and Coronets. Befides, let us confider what the King fays ou Hamlet's giving Laertes the first Hit.
Stay, give me Drink: Hamlet, this Pearl is thine:
Therefore, if an Union be a Pearl, and an Onyx a Ġemm, or Stone quite differing in its Nature from Pearls; the King faying,
Richer than that which four fucceffive Kings
The cannons to the heav'ns, the heav'ns to earth :~ Now the King drinks to Hamlet.-Come, begin, d And you the Judges bear a wary eye.
Ham. Come on, Sir.
Laer. Come, my Lord.
Ofr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
Laer. Well- -again
King. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine, Here's to thy health. Give him the cup.
[Trumpets found, Shot goes off.
Ham. I'll play this bout firft, fet it by awhile.
-another hit--what fay you?
Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confefs.
King. Our fon fhall win.
He's fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
Ham. Good Madam,
King. Gertrude, do not drink,
Queen. I will, my Lord; I pray you, pardon me. King. It is the poifon'd cup, it is too late. [Afide. Ham. I dare not drink yet, Madam, by and by. Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laer. I'll hit him now.
King. I do not think't.
Laer. And yet it is almost againft my confcience.
Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes, you but dally;
that Hamlet has earn'd the Pearl, I think, amounts to a Demonftration that it was an Union-Pearl, which he meant to throw into the Cup.
I pray you, pafs with your beft violence;
Ofr. Nothing neither way.
Laer. Have at you now.
[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in fcuffling, they change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.
King. Part them, they are incens'd.
Ham. Nay, come again
"Ofr. Look to the Queen there, ho!
Hor. They bleed on both fides. How is't, my Lord? Ofr. How is't, Laertes ?
Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Ofrick; I'm juftly kill'd with mine own treachery.
Ham. How does the Queen?
King. She fwoons to fee them bleed. Queen, No, no, the drink, the drinkOh my dear Hamlet, the drink, the drink, I am poifon'd
Ham. Oh villainy! ho! let the door be lock'd: Treachery feek it out→→→
Laer. It is here, Hamlet, thou art flain,
No med'cine in the world can do thee good.
(34) The treacherous Inftrument is in thy band,
Unbated and envenor'd:] The King in the fourth A, in
the Scene betwixt him and Laertes, fays;
So that with cafe,
Or with a little fhuffling, you may chufe
A Sword unbaited, and in a Pafs of Practice
In which Paffage the old Folio's read,
A Sword unbaited
which makes Nonfenfe of the Place, and deftroys the Poet's Mean. ing. Unbated fignifies, unabated, unblunted, not charged with a Button as Foils are.