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You mock me,
sir. Ham. No, by this hand. King. Give them the foils, young Osric. -Cousin
Very well, my lord;
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
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
Unto the queen his mistress.' According to Rondeletus pearls were supposed to have an exhilarating quality. • Uniones quæ a conchis, &c. valde cordiale Laer.
Richer than that which four successive kings
the judges, bear a wary eye. Ham. Come on, sir.
Come, my lord. [They play. Ham.
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.
Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath.
Ham. Good madam,
Gertrude, do not drink.
[Aside. 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 cup, 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.
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
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.
(LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuf-
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,
Ham. How does the queen ?
She swoons to see them bleed.
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. c. you trifle or play with me as if I were a child,
Unbated *, and envenom’d: the foul practice
Ham. The point
[Stabs the King.
Drink off this potion :—Is the union here?
[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
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,
Thou liv’st; report me and my cause aright
Never believe it;
As thou’rt a man,
[March afar off, and Shot within.
What warlike noise is this? Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from
0, I die, Horatio;
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 Jaboured 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.