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Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?

Osr. Sir?

Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really.

Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

Osr. Of Laertes?

Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.

Ham. Of him, sir.
Osr. I know, you are not ignorant—-

Ham. I would, you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me; – Well, sir.

Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is

Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself.

Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed' he's unfellowed.

Ham. What's his weapon?
Osr. Rapier and dagger.
Ham. That's two of his weapons: but, well.

Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses: against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very



if you did, it would not much approve me;] If you knew I was not ignorant, your e-teem would not much advance my reputation. To approve, is to recommend to approbation.

in his meed-) In his excellence.
impawned.] wagered and staked.

hangers,] Under this term were comprehended four graduated straps, &c that hung down in a belt on each side of its receptacle for the sword.


responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.

Ham. What call you the carriages ?

Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

Ham. The phrase would be more german* to the matter, if we could carry a cannon by our sides; I would, it might be hangers till then. But, on: Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bet against the Danish: Why is this impawned, as you call it?

Osr. The king, sir, hath laid," that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath laid, on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial, if

your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

Ham. How, if I answer, no?

Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall: If it please his majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me: let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win

you must be edified by the margent,) Dr. Warburton very properly observes, that in the old books the gloss or comment was usually printed on the margent of the leaf.

more german-] More a-kin. 5 The king, sir, hath laid,] As three or four complete pages would scarcely hold the remarks already printed, together with those which have lately been communicated to me in MS. on this very unimportant passage, I shall avoid both partiality and tediousness, by the omission of them all. I therefore leave the conditions of this wager to be adjusted by the members of Brookes's, or the Jockey-Club at Newmarket, who on such subjects may prove the most enlightened commentators, and most successfully bestir themselves in the cold unpoetick dabble of calculation.


for him, if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.

Osr. Shall I deliver you so?
Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish

your nature will. Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship.

[Exit. Ham. Yours, yours.—He does well, to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.

Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

Ham. He did comply“ with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same breed, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on,) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter;" a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions;s and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.

Enter a Lord.

Lord. My lord, his majesty commended hiin to you by young Osric, who brings back to him, that you attend him in the hall: He sends to know, if your 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



He did comply-] for compliment.

outward habit of encounter;] i. e. exterior politeness of address; in allusion to Osric's last speech.

- a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fund and winnowed opinions ;] The meaning is, “ these men have got the cant of the day, a superficial readiness of slight and cursory conversation, a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through the most select and approving judgments. This airy facility of talk sometimes imposes upon wise men."

ready; now, or whensoever, provided I be so able

as now.

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. [Exit 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 would'st 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 forestal 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 rea




If your

gentle entertainment —] Mild and temperate conversation.

I shall win at the odds.] I shall succeed with the advantage that I am allowed.

a kind of gain-giving,] the same as misgiving.

mind dislike any thing, obey it:] With these presages of future evils arising in the mind, the poet has fore-run many events which are to happen at the conclusions of his plays; and sometimes so particularly, that even the circumstances of calamity are minutely hinted at, as in the instance of Juliet, who tells her lover from the window, that he appears like one dead in the bottom of a tomb. The supposition that the genius of the mind gave an alarm before approaching dissolution, is a very ancient one, and perhaps can never be totally driven out: yet it must be allowed the merit of adding beauty to poetry, however injurious it may sometimes prove to the weak and superstitious. STEEVENS.

diness is all: Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes?4 Let be.

Enter King, Queen, Laertes, Lords, Osric, and

Attendants with Foils, &c. King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand

from me.

[The King puts the Hand of Laertes into that

of Hamlet. Ham. Give me your pardon, sir:' I have done

you wrong; But pardon it, as you are a gentleman. This presence knows, and you must needs have

heard, How I am punish'd with a sore distraction. What I have done, That might your nature, honour, and exception, Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness. Was't Hamlet wrong’d Laertes? Never, Hamlet: If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away, And, when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. Who does it then? His inadness: If't be so, Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd; His madness is poor Hainlet's enemy. Sir, in this audience, Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,

Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes?] The meaning may be, “ 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? Therefore come what will, I am prepared."

s Give me your pardon, sir :] I wish Hamlet had made some other defence; it is unsuitable to the character of a good or a brave man, to shelter himself in falsehood. Johnson. VOL. X.


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