Page images

Not shriving.time allow'd a. HOR.

How was this seal'd ?
Ham. Why, even in that was heaven ordinate ; .

I had my father's signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal :
Folded the writ up in form of the other;
Subscrib'd it; gave't the impression; plac'd it safely,
The changeling never known: Now, the next day
Was our sea-fight: and what to this was sequent

Thou know'st already.
HOR. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to 't.
Ham. Why, man, they did make love to this employment;

They are not near my conscience; their defeat b
Does by their own insinuation grow :
'T is dangerous, when the baser nature comes
Between the


and fell incensed points Of mighty opposites. HOR.

Why, what a king is this !
Ha. Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon ?

He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother ;
Papp'd in between the election and my hopes;
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozepage; is 't not perfect conscience,
To quit him with his arm ? and is 't not to be damnd,
To let this canker of our nature eome

In further evil ?
HOR. It must be shortly known to him from England,

What is the issue of the business there.
HAM. It will be short : the interim is mine;

And a man's life 's no more than to say, one.
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself ;
For by the image of my cause, I see
The portraiture of his : I 'll court his favours :
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me

Into a towering passion.

Peace; who comes here?

Enter Osric. Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark. Ham. I humbly thank you, sir.— Dost know this water-fly? Hor. No, my good lord.

a Shriring-time-time of shrift, or confession.

Defeat, in the quartos; in the folio, debate. • The originals have count. Rowe substituted court.

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 't is a vice to know him : He hath

much land, and fertile; let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess : 'T is a chough ; but, as I say, spacious in the possession

of dirt. Osr. Sweet lord, if your friendship a were at leisure, I should impart a thing to

you from his majesty. HAM. I will receive it with all diligence of spirit: Put your bonnet to his right

use; 't is for the head. Osr. I thank your lordship, 't is very hot. Ham. No, believe me, 't is very cold; the wind is northerly. Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed. Ham. Methinks it is very sultry and hot, for my complexion. Osr. Exceedingly, my lord ; it is very sultry,-as 't were, -I cannot tell how.

-But, my lord, his majesty bade me signify to you, that he has laid a great

wager on your head : Sir, this is the matter. Ham. I beseech


[HAMLET moves him to put on his hat. Osr. Nay, in good faith ; for mine ease, in good faith. [Sir, here is newly come

to court, Laertes : believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society, and great showing : Indeed, to speak feel. ingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him

the continent of what part a gentleman would see. Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you ;—though, I know, to divide

him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetic of memory; and yet but yawb neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article ; and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror; and, who

else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more. Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him. Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer

breath ? OSR. Sir ? Hor. Is 't not possible to understand in another tongue ? You will do 't, sir,

really. Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman ? OSR. Of Laertes ? HOR. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent. Ham. Of him, sir. Osr. I know, you are not ignorantHam. I would, you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve

me.—Well, sir.] * Friendship, in the folio; in quartos, lordship.

Yaw, in the quarto of 1604. Mr. Dyce points out that yaw is applied to the unsteady motion of a ship. He would read, “and it but yaw neither.”

• The long passage in brackets is not given in the folio, but is found in quarto (B). Though it furnishes a most happy satire upon the affected phraseology of the court of Elizabeth, and displays the wit and readiness of Hamlet to great advantage, the poet perhaps thought it prolonged


Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon. (Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence ;

but, to know a man well, were to know himself. Osr. I mean, sir, for this weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them,

in his meed he's unfellowed.] Ham. What 's his weapon ? Osr. Rapier and dagger. Ham. That 's two of his weapons : but, well. Osr. The king, sir, hath waged a with him six Barbary horses : against the which

he has imponed , as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, or so: Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of

very liberal conceit. HAM. What call you the carriages ? [Hor. I knew you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.] Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers Ham. The phrase would be more german to the matter, if we could carry can

non by our sides : I would it might be hangers till then. But, on: Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal conceited carriages : that 's the French bet against the Danish : Why is this

imponed, as you call it ? Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between you and him, he shall

not exceed you three hits; he hath laid on twelve for nine; and that would

come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer. Ham. How, if I answer no? Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial. Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall. If it please his majesty, it is the breath

ing time of day with me : let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him, if I can; if not, I will

gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.
Osr. Shall I re-deliver you e'en so ?
Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship.

[Erit. Ham. Yours, yours. He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues

else for 's turn. Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head. Ham. He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and

many more of the same bevy, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yesty

the main business somewhat too much. Several other passages in this scene, which we find in the quarto, are omitted in the folio; and these we have placed in brackets.

* Waged, in the folio; in the quartos, wagered.
Imponed, in the folio; in the quartos, impawned.

Comply-was complaisant. In Fulwel's · Arte of Flatterie,' 1579, we have the same idea :“ The very sucking babes hath a kind of adulation towards their nurses for the dug."

collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned a and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trials, the bubbles are out.

Enter a Lord.

LORD. My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings

back to him, that you attend him in the hall : He sends to know, if your

pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time. Ham. I am constant to my purposes, they follow the king's pleasure: if his

fitness speaks, mine is ready; now, or whensoever, provided I be so able as

now. LORD. The king, and queen, and all, are coming down. Ham. In happy time. Lord. The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes, before you go to play.

[Exit Lord. HAM. She well instructs me. Hor. You will lose this wager, my lord. HAM. I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual

practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think, how ill

all 's here about my heart: but it is no matter. Hor. Nay, good my lord, Ham. It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gain-giving, as would, perhaps,

trouble a woman. Hor. If your mind dislike anything, obey: I will forestal their repair hither,

and say, you are not fit. Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury; there's a special providence in the fall of a

sparrow. If it be now, 't is not to come ; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all : Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is 't to leave betimes b?

Enter King, QUEEN, LAERTES, Lords, Osric, and Attendants with foils, dc. 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 't, 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.

a Fanned. The folio has fond. The conjecture that the word was fand is supported by Mr. Dyce. The “ tune of the time" enables such men to oppose successfully those opinions which have been most carefully sifted-separated from chaff-fanned and winnowed.

So the folio. The reading of the quartos is, “ Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is 't to leave betimes? Let be.”

Was 't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never, Hamlet :
If 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


Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
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


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 ungor'd: But till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,

And will not wrong it.

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 band. King. Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,

You know the wager?

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 give 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;

« PreviousContinue »