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Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
Laer. 3 I am fatisfied in nature,
Ham. I embrace it freely,
Laer. Come, one for me.
Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Laer. You mock me, Sir.
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.
King. I do not fear it, I have seen you both:
Laer. This is too heavy, let me see another.
[They prepare to play.
Give me the cups;
Ham. Come on, Sir.
[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.
-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.
Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath.
Ham. Good Madam
[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.
[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,
King. Part them, they are incens'd.
[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,
Ham. How does the queen ?
[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:
Laer. He is justly serv'd.
Ham. Heaven make thee free of it. I follow thee.
Hor. Never believe it.
yet fome liquor left.
Ham. O, I die, Horatio :
& 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.