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If one could match you : the scrimers of their nation,
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them : Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy,
That he could nothing do, but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o’er, to play with you.
Now, out of this,

What out of this, my lord ?
King. Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?


Why ask you this?
King. Not that I think, you did not love your

But that I know, love is begun by time;
And that I see, in passages of proof,

, Time qualifies the spark and fire of it. There lives within the very flame of love A kind of wick, or snuff, that will abate it; And nothing is at a like goodness still ; For goodness, growing to a plurisy, Dies in his own too-much: That we would do, We should do when we would; for this would changes, And hath abatements and delays as many, As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents ; And then this should is a spendthrift sigh, That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o'the ulcer : Hamlet comes back : what would you undertake,



5—the scrimers-] The

fencers. From escrimeur, Fr. a fencer. love is begun by time;] This is obscure. The meaning may be, love is not innate in us, and co-essential to our nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and being always subject to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution. Johnson.

passages of proof,] In transactions of daily experience. & And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh,

That hurts by easing:] A spendthrift sigh is a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs inipair the strength, and wear out the animal powers, JOHNSON.


To show yourself in deed your father's son
More than in words?

To cut his throat i'the church. King. Noplace, indeed, should murder sanctuarize; Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes, Will you do this, keep close within your

chamber : Hamlet, return’d, shall know you are come home: We'll put on those shall praise your excellence, And set a double varnish on the fame The Frenchman gave you; bring you, infine, together, And wager o'er your heads : he, being remiss, , Most generous, and free from all contriving, Will not peruse the foils; so that, with ease, Or with a little shuffling, you may choose A sword unbated,' and, in a pass of practice, Requite him for


father. Laer.

I will do't: And, for the purpose, I'll anoint my sword. . I bought an unction of a mountebank, So mortal, that but dip a knife in it, Where it draws blood no cataplasm so rare, Collected from all simples that have virtue Under the moon, can save the thing from death, That is but scratch'd withal : I'll touch my point With this contagion ; that, if I gall him slightly, It may be death? ." • A sword unbated,] i. e. not blunted as foils are.

- a pass of practice,] Practice is often by Shakspeare, and other writers, taken for an insiduous stratagem, or privy treason, a sense not incongruous to this passage, where yet it may mean a thrust for exercise ; or perhaps, a favourite pass, one he was well practised in.

It may he death.] It is a matter of surprise, that no one of Shakspeare's numerous and able commentators has remarked, with proper warmth and detestation, the villainous assassin-like treachery of Laertes in this horrid plot. There is the more occasion that he should be here pointed out an object of abhorrence, as he is a character we are, in some preceding parts of the play, led to respect and admire. Ritson.

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Let's further think of this, Weigh, what convenience, both of time and means, May fit us to our shape :3 if this should fail, And that our drift look through our bad performance, "Twere better not assay'd ; therefore this project Should have a back, or second, that might hold, If this should blast in proof.* Soft ;-let me see :We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings, I ha't: When in your motion you are hot and dry, (As make your bouts more violent to that end,) And that he calls for drink, I'll have preferr'd hims A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck, Our purpose may hold there. But stay, what noise?



Enter Queen. How now, sweet queen?

Queen. One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow :-Your sister's drown'd, Laertes,

Laer. Drown'd! 0, where?
Queen. There is a willow grows ascaunt the brook,

That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
Therewith fantastick garlands did she make
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples,
That liberal' shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them;
There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds

3 May fit us to our shape :] May enable us to assume proper characters, and to act our part.

4- blast in proof.] A metaphor taken from the trying or proving fire-arms or cannon, which often blast or burst in the proof. s-l'll have preferr'd him-] i. e. presented to him.

If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,] i. e. your venom'd thrust. Stuck was a term of the fencing-school.

liberal-] Liberal is free-spoken, licentious in language.





Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke ;
When down her weedy trophies, and herself,
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, a while they bore her up:
Which time, she chanted snatches of old tunes ;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indu'd
Unto that element: but long it could not be,
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Alas then, she is drown'd?
Queen. Drown'd, drown'd.

Laer. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia, And therefore I forbid my tears : But yet It is our trick; nature her.custom holds, Let shame say what it will: when these are gone, The woman will be out.-Adieu, my lord ! I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze, But that this folly drowns it.

[Exit. King

Let's follow, Gertrude ; How much I had to do to calm his rage! Now fear I, this will give it start again; Therefore, let's follow.



SCENE I. A Church Yard.

Enter Two Clowns, with Spades, fc. i Clo. Is she to be buried in christian burial, that wilfully seeks her own salvation ?

8 As one incapable of her own distress,] As one having no understanding or knowledge of her danger. 9 The woman will be out.] i. e. tears will flow.

2 Clo. I tell thee, she is ; therefore make her grave straight:' the crowner hath set on her, and finds it christian burial.

i Clo. How can that be, unless she drowned herself in her own defence ?

2 Clo. Why, 'tis found so.

i Clo. It must be se offendendo ; it cannot be else. For here lies the point: If I drown myself wittingly, it argues an act: and an act hath three branches; it is, to act, to do, and to perform :: Argal, she drowned herself wittingly.

2 Clo. Nay, but hear you, goodman delver.

i Clo. Give me leave. Here lies the water ; good: here stands the man ; good: If the man go to this water, and drown himself, it is, will he, nill


that: but if the water come to him, and drown him, he drowns not himself: Argal, he, that is not guilty of his own death, shortens not his own life.

2 Clo. But is this law?
1 Clo. Ay, marry is't ; crowner's-quest law.

2 Clo. Will you ha' the truth on't? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.

i Clo. Why, there thou say'st: And the more pity ; that great folks shall have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves, more than their even christian. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers; they hold up Adam's profession.

2 Clo. Was he a gentleman ?

he, he

goes; mark

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make her grave straight :] i. e. immediately.

an act hath three branches : it is, to act, to do, and to perform :) Ridicule on scholastick divisions without distinction; and of distinctions without difference. WARBURTON.

3 — their even christian.] An old English expression for fellow-christian.

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