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Ham. What call you the carriages?

Hor. I knew you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

Ham. The phrase would be more german to the matter, if we could carry cannon by our sides: I would it might be hangers till then. But, on: Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal conceited carriages; that's the French be, against the Danish: Why is this imponed, as you call it?

Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between you and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath laid on twelve for nine; and that would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

Ham. How, if I answer no?

Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me: let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him, if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.

Osr. Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?

Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your hature will.

Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit. Ham. Yours, yours. He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for 's turn.

Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

Ham. He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same bevy, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through a Comply-was complaisant.

and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trials, the bubbles are out. Enter a Lord.

Lord. My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings back to him, that you attend him in the hall: He sends to know, if your pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time.

Ham. I am constant to my purposes, they follow the king's pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now, or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.

Lord. The king, and queen, and all are coming down. Ham. In happy time.

Lord. The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes, before you go to play. Ham. She well instructs me.

[Exit Lord. Hor. You will lose this wager, my lord.

Ham. I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think, how ill all 's here about my heart but it is no matter.

Hor. Nay, good my lord,

Ham. It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gaingiving, as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.

Hor. If your mind dislike anything, obey: I will forestal their repair hither, and say, you are not fit.

Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury; there's a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 't is 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?

Enter KING, QUEEN, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, &c.

King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me. [The KING puts the hand of LAERTES into that of HAMLET

Ham. Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you


But pardon 't, as you are a gentleman.

This presence knows, and you must needs have heard, How I am punish'd with a sore distraction.

What I have done,

That might your nature, honour, and exception,
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was 't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never, Hamlet:
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,

And, when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it then? His madness: If 't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,

Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.

I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge: but in my terms of honour,
I stand aloof, and will no reconcilement,
Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
I have a voice and precedent of peace,
To keep my name ungor'd: But till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.


I embrace it freely; And will this brother's wager frankly play.

Give us the foils; come on.


Come, one for me.

Ham, I'll be your foil, Laertes; in nine ignorance Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,

Stick fiery off indeed.


You mock me, sir.

Ham. No, by this hand.

King. Give them the foils, young Osric.

You know the wager?


Very well, my lord;

Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.
King. I do not fear it: I have seen you both.
But since he 's better'd, we have therefore odds.
Laer. This is too heavy, let me see another.


Ham. This likes me well: These foils have all a length? [They prepare to play.

Osr. Ay, my good lord.

King. Set me the stoups of wine upon that table: If Hamlet give the first or second hit,

Or quit in answer of the third exchange,


Let all the battlements their ordnance fire;
The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn.

Give me the cups;

And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,

The trumpet to the cannoneer without,

The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
Now the king drinks to Hamlet.-Come, begin ;-

And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

Ham. Come on, sir.

[blocks in formation]



Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.

King. Stay, give me drink: Hamlet, this pearl is


Here's to thy health. Give him the cup.

[Trumpets sound; and cannon shot off within. Ham. I'll play this bout first, set it by awhile. Come. Another hit; What say you?

[They play.

a Union-a very rich pearl.

Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
King. Our son shall win.

Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath. Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows: The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet. Ham. Good, madam.


Gertrude, do not drink. Queen. I will, my lord;-I pray you, pardon me. King. It is the poison'd cup: it is too late. [Aside. Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by. Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face. Laer. My lord, I'll hit him now. King. Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.

I do not think it.

[Aside. Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes: You but dally; I pray you, pass with your best violence;

I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

Laer. Say you so? come on.
Osr. Nothing neither way.

Laer. Have at you now.

[They play.

[LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuffling, they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES.

Part them, they are incens'd.

Ham. Nay, come again.

[The QUEEN falls.

Look to the queen there, ho!

Hor. They bleed on both sides :-How is it, my lord? Osr. How is 't, Laertes?

Laer. Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe,


I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen?


She swoons to see them bleed.

Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,-O my dear


The drink, the drink ;—I am poison'd!


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