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Devis'd a new commission, wrote it fair :
(I once did hold it, as our Statists do,
A baseness to write fair; and labour'd much
How to forget that Learning; but, Sir, now
It did me yeoman's service ;) wilt thou know
Th' effect of what I wrote ?

Hor. Ay, good my lord.

Ham. An earnest conjuration from the King, As England was his faithful tributary, As love between them, like the palm, might flourish, * As peace should still her wheaten garland wear, And stand a Commere 'tween their amities; And many such like As's of great charge ; That on the view and knowing these contents, Without debatement further, more or less, He should the bearers put to sudden death, Not shriving time allow'd.

Hor. How was this seal'd ?

Ham. Why, ev’n in that was heaven ordinant ;
I had my father's Signet in my purse,
Which was the model of that Danish seal :
I folded the Writ up in form of th' other,
Subscrib’d it, gave th' impression, plac'd it safely,
The changling never known; now, the next day
Was our fea-fight, and what to this was frequent
Thou know it already.

Hor. So Guildenstern and Rosincrantz go to't.
Ham. Why, man, they did make love to this em-

ployment-
They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Doth by their own insinuation grow:
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
* As peace should still her wheaten garland wear.

And stand a Comma 'tween their amities;] But the placing her as a Comma, or Stop, between the Amities of two Kingdoms, makes her rather fland like a Cypher.' The Poet without doubt wrote,

And stand a Commere 'tween their amities. The term is taken from a Traficker in love, who brings People toge. ther, a Procuress.

P 5

Between

Between the pass, and fell incensed points,
Of mighty oppofites.

Hor. Why, what a King is this !
Ham. Does it not, think'st thou,' stand me now

n?
He that hath kill'd my King, and whor'd my mother,
Popt in between th' eledion and my hopes,
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage; is't not perfe& confcience,
To quit him with this arm ? and is't not to be damn'd,
To let this canker of our nature come
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's 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 favour;
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a tow'ring paffion.

Hor. Peace, who comes here?

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YO

S CE N E IV.

Enter Ofrick.
Ofr. OUR lordship is right welcome back to

Denmark.
Ham. I humbly thank you, Sir. Doft know this

water-fly ?
Hor. No, my good lord.

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious: for 'tis a vice to know him : he hath nuch land, and fertile; let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the Kings 'messe; 'tis a chough: but, as I say, fpacious in the posseflion of dirt.

Ofr.

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Ofr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his Majesty.

Ham. I will receive it with all diligence of spirit: your bonnet to his right use, - 'tis for the head.

Ofr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.

Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

Ofr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed. Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry, and hot, or my complexion

Ofr. Exceedingly, my lord, it is very fultry, as 'twere, I cannot tell how:--My lord, his Majesty bid me signify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your

head: Sir, this is the matterHam. I beseech you, remember

Ofr. 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 ex. cellent Differences, of very soft society, and great shew: indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or kalendar of gentry; for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would fee.

Ham. Sir, his defineinent suffers no perdition in you, tho' I know, to divide him inventorially would dizzy the arithmetic of memory; and yet but slow neither in respect of his quick sail: But, in the veriety of extolment, I take him to be a Soul of great article'; and is infusion of such dearth and rareness, as, to make true diâion of him, his Semblable is his mirrour; 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 ?

{T, Horatio. Osr. Sir, * for my complexion.) This is not English. The old Quarto reads, or my Complexion--- And this is right.

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Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? you will do't, Sir, rarely.

Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentlemaan?

Ofr. Of Laertes ?

Hor. His purse is empty already: all's golden words are spent.

Ham. Of him, Sir.
Ofr. I know, you are not ignorant,

Ham. I would, you did, Sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me. -Well, Sir.

Ofr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laeries is.

Ham. I dare 'not confess that, left I should compare

with him in excellence : but to know a man well, were to know himself.

Ofr. I mean, Sir, for his weapon: but in the Imputation laid on him by them in his Meed, he's un. fellow'd.

Ham. What's his weapon ?
Ofr. Rapier and dagger.
Ham. That's two of the weapons; but well.

Ofr. The King, Sir, has wag'd with him fix Bar. bary horses, against the which he has impon'd, as I take it, fix French rapiers and poniards, with their alligns, as girdle, hangers, and so : three of the car. riages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very respon. five to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.

Ham. What call you the carriages ?

Hor. I know you must be edified by the Margent, e'er you had done.

(Afde. Osr. The carriages, Sir, are the hangers.

Ham. The phrase would be more germane to the matter, if we could carry cannon by our sides; I would, it might be hangers 'till then. But, on; fix Barbary horses against fix French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the

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as you

French bet against the Danish; why is this impon’d,

call it ? Ofr. The King, Sir, hath laid, that in a Dozen Palles between you and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath laid on twelve for nine, and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.

Ham. How if I answer, no ?

Ofr. I mean, iny lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the Hall; If it please his Majesty, 'tis the breathing 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'll gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.

Ofr. Shall I deliver you so ?
Ham. To this effect, Sir, after what flourish

your nature will.

Ofr. I commend my duty to your lord ship. (Exit.

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 compliment with his dug before he fuck’d it: thus has he (and many more of the same breed, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter, t a kind of yefty collection, which carries them through and through the most fann'd and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trials, the bubbles are out.

* He did fo, Sir, with his dug, &c.] What, run away with it? The Folio reads, He did comply with his Dug. So that the true Reading appears to be, He did compliment with his Dug.

a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions ;] The Matopher is strangly mangled by the Intrusion of the word Fond, which undoubtedly should be read Fann'd; the Allufiou being to Corn seperated by the Fan from Chaff and Dust.

Enter

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