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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.

[Exit servant.

I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from lord Hamlet.

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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;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him, from whom you brought them.


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;
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he, which hath your noble father slain,
Pursu'd my life.

Laer. It well appears :-But tell me,

Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and so capital in nature,

As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else,
You mainly were stirr'd up.

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,
Lives almost by his looks; and for my self,
(My virtue, or my plague, be it either which,)
She is so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,

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Why to a publick count I might not go,
Is, the great love the general gender bear him:
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
Work like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

Laer. And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms;
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age

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:
I loved your father, and we love ourself;

And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine,—
How now? what news ?

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
Of him that brought them.

King. Laertes, you shall hear them :-

Leave us.

[Exit Mess.

[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,-
And, in a postcript here, he says, alone:
Can you advise me?

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,
And call it, accident.

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
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.

Laer. What part is that, my lord?

King. A very ribband 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 have 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 wond'rous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,

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,
For art and exercise in your defence,

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,▾

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