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HAM. Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;

pray you, pass with your best violence;

I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
LAER. Say you so? come on.

OSR. Nothing, neither way.
LAER. Have at you now!


[They play.

[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling, they change

rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes. Part them; they are incensed.

HAM. Nay, come, again.


[The Queen falls.

Look to the queen there, ho!

HOR. They bleed on both sides. How is it, my


OSR. How is 't, Laertes?

LAER. Why, as a woodcook to mine own springe, Osric; I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery. HAM. How does the queen? KING. She swounds to see them bleed. QUEEN. No, no, the drink, the drink,

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The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.

290 pass] make the thrust.

291 make a wanton of me] treat me like a spoilt child.


O my




294 (stage direction) Laertes... Laertes] This is Rowe's emendation. In the First Quarto the stage direction runs: They catch one anothers Rapiers, and both are wounded, Laertes falles downe, the Queene falles downe and dies. The other Quartos omit all stage direction here. The Folios merely read In scuffling they change Rapiers.

298 as a woodcock . . . springe] See note on I, iii, 115, supra: “springes (i. e., traps) to catch woodcocks." Woodcocks were proverbially foolish birds.

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 of life; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practice Hath turn'd itself on me; lo, here Ì 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, to thy work.

ALL. Treason! treason!

[Stabs the King.

KING. O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt. HAM. Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned


Drink off this potion: is thy union here?

Follow my mother.


He is justly served;

It is a poison temper'd by himself.


[King dies.


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,

309 Unbated] Unblunted, with the button off. Cf. IV, vii, 138, supra: "sword unbated."

318 thy union] the pearl mentioned at line 264, supra. Thus the First Quarto and the Folios. The other Quartos read the Onyx.

320 temper'd] mixed.

Is strict in his arrest

That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time as this fell sergeant, death,
O, I could tell you
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

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I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
Here's yet some liquor left.


As thou'rt a man,

Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have ’t.
O good 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 a while,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,

To tell my story.

[March afar off, and shot within. What warlike noise is this?

OSR. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,

To the ambassadors of England gives

This warlike volley.

327 mutes] dumb performers in a play. Cf. stage direction for the Dumb Show, III, ii, 130, supra: "The poisoner, with some two or three mutes, comes in again."

328 fell sergeant, death] The bailiff or sheriff's officer was often called a "sergeant." For the figure cf. Sonnet lxxiv, 1-2: "when that fell arrest Without all bail shall carry me away."

336 O good Horatio] Thus the Folios. The Second and later Folios read O god Horatio.

339 felicity] the joys of heaven.




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 and less,

Which have solicited.

The rest is silence.

[Dies. 350

HOR. Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet


And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! [March within. Why does the drum come hither?

Enter FORTINBRAS, and the English Ambassadors, with drum, colours, and Attendants

FORT. Where is this sight?


What is it you would see?

If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

FORT. This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death, What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,

345 o'er-crows] overcomes, like the victorious cock in a cock fight. 349-350 the occurrents . . . solicited] the incidents, greater and smaller, which have promoted (the situation). Apparently the sentence is interrupted.

356 This quarry] Thus the Quartos. The Folios read, less satisfactorily, His quarry. The phrase means, this heap of dead (game) proclaims or plainly announces an indiscriminate slaughter. "Cry havoc" (cf. Jul. Caes., III, i, 274) means “give order for no quarter." But "cry on havoc" means "calls out or proclaims that havoc is in progress," as in Othello, V, i, 48: "whose noise is this that cries on (i. e., calls out or proclaims) murder?”

357 toward] at hand, imminent. Cf. As you like it, V, iv, 35: "another flood toward.”

eternal] used like "infernal." Cf. I, v, 21, supra.

That thou so many princes at a shot

So bloodily hast struck?


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 fulfill'd,

That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
Where should we have our thanks?

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 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 came about: so shall
Of carnal, bloody and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgements, casual slaughters,



Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
And, in this upshot, purposes mistook

Fall'n on the inventors' heads: all this can I
Truly deliver.

364 from his mouth] from the king's mouth.

367 so jump upon . . . question] so close, prompt, upon this theme of


373 carnal] incestuous.

375 put on... forced cause] instigated by trickery and stratagem that circumstances compelled. Cf. line 29 seq., supra, where Hamlet explains his plot against the lives of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. For forced cause, the Folio reading, the Quartos give for no cause. 376 in this upshot] in this conclusion of the tragedy.



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