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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 wondrous 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.


King. A Norman.

A Norman, was't?

Laer. Upon my life, Lamord.


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 scrimers3 of their nation,
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,

If you oppos'd them: Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy,
That he could nothing do, but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with you.
Now, out of this,-


What out of this, my lord?

King. Laertes, was your father dear to you? Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,

A face without a heart?


Why ask you this?

King. Not that I think you did not love your father; But what would you undertake,

I could not contrive so many proofs of dexterity as he could


a in the science of defence.

3 the fencers.

To show yourself in deed your father's son
More than in words?


To cut his throat i' th' 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, together,
And wager o'er 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 the 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 cataplasm3 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,
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 blasts in proof. Soft;-Ïet me see :—

' not blunted, as foils are by a button fixed to the end.

2 a thrust for exercise.


3 Poultice.

may enable us to assume proper characters, and to act our part.

5 A metaphor taken from the proving of fire-arms, which often blast, or burst, in the proof.

We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings,—

I ha't:

When in your motion you are hot and dry,
(As make
your bouts more violent to that end,)
And that he calls for drink, I'll have preferr'd him
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,'
Our purpose may hold there.


But stay, what noise?

Enter 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 ascaunt the brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make

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.
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 wide;
And, mermaid-like, a while they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of3 her own distress,

Or like a creature native and indu'd

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.

Laer. Alas, then, she is drown'd?

Queen. Drown'd, drown'd.

Laer. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia, And therefore I forbid my tears: But yet


the express purpose.

⚫ thrust.

3 insensible to.

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 drowns 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.



SCENE I-A church-yard.

Enter two Clowns, with spades, &c.

1 Clo. Is she to be buried in christian burial, that wilfully seeks her own salvation?

2 Clo. I tell thee, she is; therefore make her grave straight: the crowner hath set on her, and finds it christian burial.

1 Clo. How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence?

2 Clo. Why, 'tis found so.

1 Clo. 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 drowned herself wittingly.

2 Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.

1 i. e. tears will flow.

2 i. e. immediately.

3 for se defendendo.

• Ridicule on scholastic divisions without distinction, or of distinctions without difference.


1 Clo. 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.

2 Clo. But is this law?

1 Clo. Ay, marry is't; crowner's-quest law.

2 Clo. Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.

1 Clo. Why, there thou say'st: And the more pity; that great folks shall 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 grave-makers; they hold up Adam's profession.


2 Clo. Was he a gentleman?

1 Clo. He was the first that ever bore arms.

2 Clo. Why, he had none.

1 Clo. What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the scripture? The scripture says, Adam digged; Could he dig without arms? I'll put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself

2 Clo. Go to.

1 Clo. What is he, that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?

2 Clo. The gallows-maker; for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.

1 Clo. I like thy wit well, in good faith; the gallows does well: But how does it well? it does well to those that do ill: now thou dost ill, to say, the gallows is built stronger than the church; argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again; come.

speak'st to the purpose.

2 their fellow-Christians.

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