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SCENE VI.-Another Room in the same.
Enter HORATIO, and a servant.
Hor. What are they, that would speak with me?
Sero. Sailors, sir;
They say, they have letters for you.
Hor. Let them come in.
I do not know from what part of the world
Hor. Let him bless thee too.
1 Sail. He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
Hor. [Reads.] Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king; they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace: Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour; and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant, they got clear of our ship; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou would'st fly death. I have words to speak in thine ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter.
These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England: of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.
He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.
Come, I will give you way for these your letters;
SCENE VII.-Another room in the same.
Enter King and LAERTES.
King. Now must your conscience my acquittance
And you must put me in your heart for friend;
Laer. It well appears :-But tell me,
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else,
King. O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen, his mother,
Why to a publick count I might not go,
Laer. And so have I a noble father lost;
For her perfections:-But my revenge will come. King. Break not your sleeps for that: you must not think,
That we are made of stuff so flat and dull,
That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine,—
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.
King. From Hamlet! who brought them?
Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say: I saw them not;
They were given me by Claudio, he receiv'd them
King. Laertes, you shall hear them :-
[Reads.] High and mighty, you shall know, I am set
naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return. Hamlet.
What should this mean! Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Laer. Know you the hand?
King. 'Tis Hamlet's character. Naked,-
Laer. I am 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.
King. If it be so, Laertes,
As how should it be so? how otherwise?
Will you be rul❜d by me?
Laer. Ay, my lord;
So will not o'er-rule me to a peace. you
King. To thine own peace. If he be now return'd,
As checking at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it,-I will work him
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,
Laer. My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather, if you could devise it so,
That I might be the organ.
King. It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Laer. What part is that, my lord?
King. A very ribband in the cap of youth,
I have seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
Come short of what he did.
Laer. A Norman, was't?
King. A Norman.
Laer. Upon my life, Lamord.
King. The very same.
Laer. I know him well: he is the brooch, indeed,
And gem of all the nation.
King. He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report,
And for your rapier most especial,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation,▾