Page images
PDF
EPUB

Lacr.

You mock me,

sir. Ham. No, by this hand. King. Give them the foils, young Osric. --Cousin

Hamlet,
You know the wager?
Ham.

Very well, my lord;
Your grace hath laid the odds 43 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 #4 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 45 shall he throw,

43 The king had wagered six Barbary horses to a few rapiers, poniards, &c.; that is, about twenty to one. These are the odds here meant. The odds the King means in the next speech were twelve to nine in favour of Hamlet, by Laertes giving him three.

44 ' Stoup is a common word in Scotland at this day, and denotes a pewter vessel resembling our wine measures; but of no determinate quantity; for there are gallon-stoups, pint-stoups, mutchkin-stoups, &c. The vessel in which water is fetched or kept is also called a water-stoup. A stoup of wine is therefore equivalent to a pitcher of wine.

45 An union is a precious pearl, remarkable for its size. 'And hereupon it is that our dainties and delicates here at Rome, &c. call them unions, as a man would say singular, and by themselves alone. To swallow a pearl in a draught seems to have been common to royal and mercantile prodigality. Thus in the second part of 'If You Know Not Me You Know Nobody:

“Here sixteen thousand pound at one clap goes
Instead of sugar. Gresham drinks this pearl

Unto the queen his mistress.' According to Rondeletus pearls were sup sed to have an exhilarating quality. Uniones quæ a conchis, &c. valde cordiale

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.
Laer. Come, my lord. [They play.
Ham.

One.
Laer.

No.
Ham.

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

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,-
King.

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.

46

[Aside.

cup,

Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.

Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face. sunt. Under pretence of throwing a pearl into the the King may be supposed to drop some poisonous drug into the wine. Hamlet subsequently asks him tauntingly, 'Is the union here?

46 i. e. the queen drinks to thy good success.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

.

Laer. My lord, I'll hit him now.
King.

I do not think it. Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.

[Aside. Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes: You do but

dally;
I
pray you, pass

with
your

best violence; I am afeard, you make a wanton 47 of me.

Laer. Say you so? come on. [They play.
Osr. Nothing neither way.
Laer. Have at you now.

(LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuf-
fting, they change Rapiers, and HAMLET

wounds LAERTES. King.

Part them, they are incens'd. llam. Nay, come again. [The Queen falls. Osr.

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,

Osric;
I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen ?
King.

She swoons to see them bleed. Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,—0 my dear

Hamlet! The drink, the drink ;-I am poison'd! [Dies.

Ham. O villany!-Ho! let the door be lock’d: Treachery! seek it out.

[LAERTES falls. Laer. It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain; No medicine in the world can do thee good, In thee there is not half an hour's life; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,

47 i. e. you trile or play with me as if I were a child,

Unbated *, and envenom’d: the foul practice
Hath turn’d itself on me: lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: Thy mother's poison'd;
I can no more; the king, the king's to blame,

Ham. The point
Envenom'd too!-Then, venom, to thy work 49.

[Stabs the King.
Osr. 8. Lords. Treason! treason!
King. O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned

Dane,

Drink off this potion :—Is the union here?
Follow my mother.

[King dies. Laer.

He is justly serv'd; It is a poison temper'd by himself.Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet: Mine and my father's death come not upon thee; Nor thine on me!

[Dies. Ham. Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee. I am dead, Horatio :-Wretched

queen,

adieu !
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time (as this fell sergeant 50, death,
Is strict in his arrest), O, I could tell you,
But let it be:-Horatio, I am dead;

48 See note on Act iv. Sc. 7. 49 In the quarto of 1603:

• The poison'd instrument within my hand ? Then venom to thy venom; die, damn'd villain:

Come drink, here lies thy union here.' [King dies. 50 A sergeant was a bailiff or sheriff's officer. Shakspeare, in bis 74th Sonnet, has likened death to an arrest:

when that fell arrest, Without all bail shall carry me away.' And Joshua Silvester, in his Dubartas :

* And death, sergeant of the eternal Judge,
Comes very late,' &c.

Thou liv’st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
Hor.

Never believe it;
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane,
Here's yet some liquor left.
Ham.

As thou’rt a man,
Give me the

cup; let go; by heaven, I'll have it. O God !-Horatio, what a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me? If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart, Absent thee from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, To tell my story:

[March afar off, and Shot within.

What warlike noise is this? Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from

Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
Ham.

0, I die, Horatio ;
The potent poison quite o'ercrows 51 my spirit;
I cannot live to hear the news from England :
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more or less,
Which have solicited 52,—The rest is silence. [Dies.
Hor. Now cracks a noble heart;-Good night,

sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! Why does the drum come hither? [March within.

51 To overcrow is to overcome, to subdue. • These noblemen laboured with tooth and naile to overcrow, and consequently to overthrow one another.'-- Holinshed's History of Ireland.

52 • The occurrents which have solicited - the occurrences or incidents which have incited. The sentence is left unfinished,

« PreviousContinue »