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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 Il OW, 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 fall to play. Ham. She well instructs me. [Evit 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 gain-giving,' as would, perhaps, trouble a woman. Hor. If your mind dislike any thing, obey it. I will forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit. Ham. Not a whit; we defy augury. There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis 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, of aught he leaves, knows;–what is't to leave betimes ** Let be.
1. i. e. misgiving; a giving against, or an internal feeling and prognostic of evil.
2 This is the reading of the folio; the quarto reads, “Since no man has aught of what he leaves. What is't to leave betimes.” Has is evidently here a blunder for knows. Johnson thus interprets the passage:—“Since no man knows aught of the state which he leaves, since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should we be afraid of leaving life betimes P’ Warburton’s explanation is very ingenious, but perhaps strains the Poet's meaning farther than he intended. “It is true, that by death we lose all the goods of life; yet, seeing this loss is no otherwise an evil than as we are sensible of it, and since death removes all sense of it, what matters it how soon we lose them P”
WOL. VII. 49
Enter King, Queen, LAERTES, Lords, OSR1c, and Attendants, with foils, &c.
Ring. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand
But pardon it, as you are a gentleman.
Laer. I am satisfied in nature,
Ham. I embrace it freely,
1. e. the king and queen. 2 This line is not in the quarto 3 i.e. unwounded.
And will this brother’s wager frankly play.—
poisonous drug into the wine. Hamlet subsequently asks him tauntingly, “Is the union here P”
Ham. Come on, sir.
Laer. Come, my lord. [They play
Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
King. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine ;
Here’s to thy health.-Give him the cup.
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;
1. i. e. the queen drinks to thy good success. * e. you trifle or play with me as if I were a child.
Ring. Part them; they are incensed. Ham. 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 killed with mine own treachery. Ham. How does the queen P Ring. She swoons to see them bleed. Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,-O my dear Hamlet ! The drink, the drink;-I am poisoned [Dies. Ham. O villany —Ho! let the door be locked. 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, Unbated,' and envenomed. The foul practice Hath turned itself on me; lo, here I lie, Never to rise again. Thy mother's poisoned; I can no more ; the king, the king’s to blame. Ham. f The point Envenomed too!—Then, venom, to thy work.” [Stabs the King. Osr. and Lords. Treason treason King. O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned
Dane, Drink off this potion.—Is the union here P Follow my mother. [King dies, Laer. He is justly served;
It is a poison tempered by himself.
1 See note 2, p. 365.
“The poisoned instrument within my hand?