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Hor. Ay, 'beseech you.

Ham. Being thus benetted' round with villanies,
Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play ;--I sat me down;
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
The 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 comma 'tween their amities;
And many such like as's of great charge,
That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
Without debatement further, more, or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving-timet allow'd.
Hor.

How was this seald ?
Ham. Why, even in that was heaven ordinant;
I had

my

father's signet in my purse, Which was the models 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 employ

ment; They are not near my conscience; their defeat

9

· benetted, ensnared.

statists, statesmen. 3 That is, this yeomanly qualification was a most useful servant to me.

4 shriving-time, time for confession. 5 The model is in old language the copy.

Does by their own insinuation' grow:
'Tis dangerous, when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.
Hor.

Why, what a king is this !
Ham. Does it not, think thee,stand me now upon ? 3
He that hath kill'd my king, and (shamed) my mother;
Popp'd in between th'election and my hopes ;
Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
And with such cozenage; is't not perfect conscience,
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 ?5

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 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 sec
The portraiture of his. I'll count his favours : 6
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.
Hor.

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.

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for’tis a vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile: let a

"i.e. by their having insinuated or thrust themselves into the employment.

2 bethink thee. : i.e. become a most imperative duty ? 4 quit, requite.

5 i. e. grow to a greater head. count, make account of.

6

beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess : 'Tis a chough;' but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

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

Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit. Your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

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

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

Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Ham. But yet, methinks it is very sultry and hot; or my complexion

Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, -as ’twere,- I cannot tell how.—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 you, remember

[HAMLET moves him to put on his hat. Osr. Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.3 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

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 ignorant-

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

· A kind of jackdaw. igniculum brumæ si tempore poscas, Accipit endromidem; si dixeris æstuo, sudat.—MALONE. 3 The common language of ceremony in Shakspeare's time. * distinguishing excellences. 5 i.e. if you knew I was not ignorant,

Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is

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 his 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 laid, that in a dozen passes between yourself 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?

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 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 will gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.

Osr. Shall I deliver you so ?

Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.

Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [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 comply: with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same

· in his excellence. · JOHNSON suggests ran away.

3 comply with, compliment.

now.

breed, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on), only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, 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

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 fall to play. Ham. She well instructs me.

Exit Lord. Hor. You will lose this wager, my

lord. Ham. I do not think so; since he went into France, ha been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou would'st 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 any thing, obey it: I will forestal their repair hither, and say, you are not fit.

Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury; there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be

1 i.e. mild and temperate conversation.
i. e. with the advantage that I am allowed.

3 mis-giving.

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