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Enter KING, QUEEN, LAERTES, LORDS, Osric, and Attendants,
with Foils, fc. 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 wrongd Laertes ? Never, Hamlet:
1f 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 madness ? if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd,
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot my arrow o’er the house,
And hurt my brother.
Laer. I am satisfied 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 ungord: 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; come on.
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,
Stick fiery off, indeed.
Laer. You mock me, Sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.
King. Give them the foils, young Osric.—Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager ?
Ham. Very well, my lord;
Your grace hath laid the odds o'the weaker side.
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 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;
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 trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heaven 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.
Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
Laer. Well, again.
King. Stay, give me drink; Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here's to thy health.-Give him the cup.
[Trumpets sound; and Cannon shot off within. Ham. I'll play this bout first, set it by awhile. 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 o’ 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.
Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laer. My lord, I'll hit him now.
King. I do not think it.
Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience. [Aside.
Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes: you do but dally;
pray you, pass with your best violence;
I am afeard, you make a wanton Iof me.
Laer. Say you so ?, come on.
[They play. Osr. Nothing neither way. Laer. Have at you now.
(LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuffling, they
change Rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES. King. Part them, they are incensed. Ham. 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 ? * A pearl. + Handkerchief.
Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osric;
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,-0 my dear 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, Unbated, and envenom'd ;* the foul practice Hath turn'd itself on me; lo, here I lie, Never to rise again: Thý mother's poison'd; I can no more; the king, the king's to blame.
Ham. The point
Envenom'd too!—Then venom, to thy work. [Stabs the KING.
Osr, and Lords. Treason, treason!
King. O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion :- Is the union f here? [KING dies. Follow my mother.
Laer. He is justly served ;
It is a poison temper'd I by himself,
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee;
Nor thine on me.
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,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time (as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest), O, I could tell you, -
But let it be :-Horatio, I am dead;
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
Hor. Never believe it;
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane,
Here's yet some liquor left.
Ham. As thou’rt a man,
Give me the cup; let go; by heaven I'll have it.-
O God !-Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story.-
[March afar off, and shut within. What warlike noise is this?
Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland, * Without a button and poisoned. † The pearl the king spoke of. # Mixed.
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
Ham. O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit;
I cannot live to hear the news from England:
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents,* more or less,
Which have solicited, t -The rest is silence.
Hor. Now cracks a noble heart;-Good night, sweet prince;
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest !
Why does the drum come hither?
Enter FORTINBRAS, the ENGLISH AMBASSADORS, and others.
Fort. Where is this sight?
Hor. What is it you would see?
If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search.
Fort. This quarry I cries on havoc !8-0, proud death !
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
That thou so many princes, at a shot,
So bloodily hast struck ?
1 Amb. The sight is dismal;
And our affairs from England come too late :
The ears are senseless, that should give us hearing,
To tell him, his commandment is fulfillid,
That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead :
Where should we have our thanks ?
Hor. Not from his mouth,
Had it the ability of life to thank you;
He never gave commandment for their death.
But since, so jump || upon this bloody question,
You from the Polack T wars, and you from England,
Are here arrived; give order, that these bodies
High on a stage be placed to the view;
And let me speak, to the yet unknowing world,
How these things come about: So shall you hear
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts;
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters;
Of deaths put on by cunning, and forced cause;
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fallen on the inventors' heads: all this can I
Fort. Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune;
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.
Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more:
But let this same be presently perform’d,
Even when men's minds are wild ; lest more mischance
On plots and errors, happen.
Fort. Let four captains
Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have proved most royally; and, for his passage,
The soldier's music, and the rites of war,
Speak loudly for him.-
Take up the bodies : -Such a sight as this
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
[A dead march. [Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies ; after which,
a peal of ordnance is shot off.