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Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never, Hamlet :
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en

And, when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it then? His madness : If't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.

Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot my arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.

I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge: but in my terms of honour,
I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,
Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
I have a voice and precedent of peace,
To keep my name ungor'd : But till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.

I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager frankly play.-
Give us the foils; come on.

Come, one for me.
Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star i'the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.

You mock me, sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.

King. Give them the foils, young Osric. - Cousin You know the wager?

[Hamlet, Ham.

Very well, my lord;
Your grace hath laid the odds o'the weaker side.

* I am satisfied in nature, &c.] This was a piece of satire on fantastical bonour. Though nature is satisfied, yet be will ask advice of older men of the sword, whether artificial honour ought to be contented with Hamlet's submission.-Stervens.

Your grace hath laid the odds o'the weaker side.] When the odds were on the side of Laertes, who was to hit Hamlet twelve times to nine, it was, perhaps, the author's slip. Sir T. Hanmer reads, Your grace hath laid upon the weaker side,JOnnson.

King. I do not fear it: 1 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' 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 uniona shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denimark's crown have worn;

Give me the

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 Cannon 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.

He's fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows :
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

stoups-) i. e. Flagons.
an union-] A very precious pearl.-MALONE.

- this pearl is thine ;] Under pretence of throwing a pearl into the cup, the king may be supposed to drop some poisonous drug into the wine. Hamlet seems to suspect this, when he afterwards discovers the effects of the poison, and tauntingly asks him,"Is the union here?"-STEEVENS.

carouses- ) i. e. Drinks success to you.

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Ham. Good madam,

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. [Aside.
Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laer. My lord, I'll hit him now.

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 of me.d Laer. Say you so? come on.

[They play. Osr. Nothing neither way. Laer. Have at you now.

[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffting,

they change Rapiers, and Hamlet wounds


Part them, they are incens’d. 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 kill'd with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen ?

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 villainy!-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, 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;

you make a wanton of me.) i. e. You trifle with me; make child's play.


I can no more; the king, the king's to blame.

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

[Stabs the King Osr. & 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 ?e 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;
Nore thine on me!

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.f
Had I but time, (as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest,) O, I could tell you,-
But let it be:-Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv’st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

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

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?



Is the union here?] It should seem from this line, and Laertes' next speech, that Hamlet here forces the expiring king to drink some of the poisoned cup, and that he dies while it is at his lips.—MALONE.

That are but mutes or audience to this aci,] That are either auditors of this catastrophe, or at most only mute performers, that fill the stage without any part in the action.-JOHNSON.

-sergeant,) i. e. Bailiff, or sheriff's officer.-Ritson.

Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from To the ambassadors of England gives

This warlike volley.

0, I die, Horatio ;
The potent poison quite o’er-crows" my spirit;
I cannot live to hear the news from England :
But I do prophecy, the election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents,' more or less,
Which have solicited, The rest is silence. [Dies.

Hor. Now cracks a noble heart;—Good night, sweet
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! [prince;
Why does the drum come hither? [March within.


Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others.

Fort. Where is this sight?

What is it, you would see?
If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search,

Fort. This quarry cries on havock !LO proud death!
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes, at a shot,
So bloodily hast struck ?
1 Amb.

The sight is dismal ;
And our affairs from England come too late :
The ears are senseless, that should give us hearing,
To tell him, his commandment is fulfillid,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?

Not from his mouth,"
Had it the ability of life to thank you;
He never gave commandment for their death.

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h The potent poison quite o'er-crows-) Alluding to a victorious cock exulting over his conquered antagonist.-STEEVENS.

occurrents,) i. e. Incidents.

solicited,] For excited. 1 This quarry cries on havock!] To cry on, was to exclaim against. I suppose, when unfair sportsmen destroyed more quarry or game than was reasonable, the censure was to cry, havock.—Johnson.

m What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,) The allusion is to the choa, or feasts of the dead, wbich were anciently celebrated at Athens, and are mentioned by Plutarch in The Life of Antonius.---Steevens.

- his mouth,) i. e. The king's.

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