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Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil,
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.

Laer. 3 I am fatisfied 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.

Ham. I embrace it freely,
And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Give us the foils.

Laer. Come, one for me.

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

Laer. You mock me, Sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.
King. Give them the foils, young Ofrick. Cousin

You know the wager.

Ham. Well, my lord ; 5 Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.

King. 3 I am satisfied in nature, &c.] This was a piece of satire on fantastical honour. Though nature is fatished, yet he will ask advice of older men of the sword, whether artificial boncar cught to be contented with Hamlet's submission. STEEVENS.

4 Stick fiery off indeed.] This image is taken from painting, where a dark ground throws of light objects, and makes them appear more forward.

s Your grace hath laid upon the weaker side.] Thus Hanmer.
All the others read,
Your grace hath laid the odds o'the weaker fide.


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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.
Ofr. Ay, my good lord.
King. Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet gives 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,
6 And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn.

Give me the cups;
And let the kettle to the trumpets speak,
The trumpets to the cannoneer without,
'The cannons to the heavens, the heavens 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.

When the odds were on the side of Laertes, who was to hit Hamlet twelve times to nine, it was perhaps the author's flip.

JOHNSON. 6 In some editions,

And in the cup an onyx fall be thrown] This is a various reading in several of the old copies; but union seems to me to be the true word. If I am not mistaken, neither the onyx, nor sardonyx, are jewels which ever found place in an imperial crown. An union is the finest sort of pearl, and has its place in all crowns and coronets. Besides, let us consider what the king fays on Hamlet's giving Laertes the first hit.

Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;

Here's to thy health. Therefore, if an union be a pearl, and an onyx a gem, or stone quite differing in its nature from pearls ; the king saying, that Hamlet has earn’d the pearl, I think, amounts to a demonstration that it was an union pearl, which he meant to throw into the cup. THEOBALD.

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Laer. No.
Ham. Judgment,
Ofr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
Leer. Well-

-again King. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is

thine; Here's to thy health.

Give him the cup.

[Trumpets found, shot goes off. Ham. I'll play this bout first. Set it by a while.

[They play. Come. Another hit. What say you ?

Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
King. Our son shall win.

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

Ham. Good Madam
King. 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. [Afide.
llam. I dare not drink yet, Madam. By and by.
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Leer. I'll hit him now.
King. I do not think’t.
Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.

[A fide. Ilam. Come, for the third, Laertes : you but

dally; I pray you, pass with your best violence; I am afraid, 7


make a wanton of me.
Laer. Say you so
so ? come on,

[Play. Ofr. Nothing neither way. Laer. Have at you now. (Laertes wounds Hamlet ; then, in scuffling, they

change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.


-you make a wanton of me.] A wanton was, a man feeble and effeminate. In Cymbeline, Imogen says,

" I am not so citizen a wanton,
“ To die, ere I be fick.” JOHNSON.


King. Part them, they are incens'd.
Ham. Nay, come again.
Ofr. Look to the queen there, ho!

[The Queen falls. Hor. They bleed on both sides. -How is it, my

lord ? Ofr. How is't, Laertes ? Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe,

I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen ?
King. She swoons to see them bleed.
Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink
Oh, my dear Hamlet -The drink, the drink-
I am poison'd

[The Queen dies. Ham. O villainy! ho ! let the door be lock'd: Treachery ! seek it out

Leer. It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art lain, No medicine in the world can do thee good. In thee there is not half an hour of life; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenoin'd. The foul practice Hath turn'd itself on me. Lo, here I lie, Never to rise again. Thy mother's poison’d. I can no more the king, the king's to blame.

Ham. The point envenom’d too? Then venom do thy work.

[Stabs the King:
AU. Treason, treason !
King. O yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Ham, Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned

Drink off this potion. Is the union here?
Follow my mother.

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 on thee,
Nor thine on me!


[King dios,

Y 3

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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,
8 That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time (as this feil ferjeant death
Is strict in his arrest) oh, I could tell you-
But let it be-Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv'st, report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

Hor. Never believe it.
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane.

yet fome liquor left.
Hani. As thou'rt a man,
Give me the cup. Let go; by heaven, I'll have it.
Oh good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind

If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity a while,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell ny story. [March afar off, and not within.
What warlike noise is this?

Enter Ofrick.
Ofr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from

To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.

Ham. O, I die, Horatio :
The potent poison quite o'er-grows my spirit ;
I cannot live to hear the news from England.
But I do prophely, the election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice ;

& That are but mutes or audience to this all,] That are either mere auditors of this cutestrophe, or at most only mute pere Jormers, that fill the stage without any part in the action.



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