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That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more :
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine, — 520
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,

HIG H 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.


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 postscript here, he says, alone : Can you advise me? Læer. 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 :-

be rul'd by me? Laer. Ay, my lord; you

will not o'er-rule me to a peace. King. To thine own peace.

If he be now rea" turn'd,

550 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 shåll' 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.

560 · 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 570


The light and careless livery that it wears,
Than settled age his sables, and his weeds,
Importing health, and graveness.

Two months
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 demy-natur'd
With the brave beast : so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,

581 Come short of what he did.

Laer. A Norman, was't?
King. A Norman.
Laer. Upon my life, Lamond.
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,

590 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, 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 him.

600 Now

Now out of this,

Laer. 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 ?

Laer. Why ask you this?
King. Not that I think, you did not love your

But that I know, love is begun by time;
And that'I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love 610
A kind of wick, or snuff, that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
Far-goodness, growing to a pleurisy,
Dies in his own too much : That we would do,
We should do when we would; for this would

changes, And hath abatements and delays as many, As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents; And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o'the ulcer: Hamlet comes back; What would you undertake, To shew yourself your father's son in deed 621 More than in words? 6. Laer. To cut his throat i' the church. King. No place, indeed, should murder sanctua


Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes, Will you do this, keep close within your

chamber :


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Hainlet, return'd, shall know you are coinę 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, to-

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 shụfiling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.

Laer. 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 cataplasm 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,
It may be death,

King. 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 perform-

'Twere better not assay'd; therefore, this project
Should have a back, or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft ;- let me see :-
We'll make a soleian wager on your cunnings-

I ha't :


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