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now, 'tis 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, of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leare betimes? Let be. 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 LAER. into that of Ham.

Ham. Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you
But pardon it, as you are a gentleman. [wrong;
This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punish'd with a sore distraction.
What have I done,
That might your nature, honour, and exception,
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
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 poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd cvil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot my arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother, a
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,

· Since no man knows ought of the state of life which he leaves, i.e. since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should he be afraid of leaving life betimes?

I wish Hamlet had made some other defence; it is unsuitable to the character of a good or a brave man to shelter himself in falsehood.-JOHNSON,

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. 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' th' darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.
Laer.

You mock me, sir. Ham. No, by this hand.

King. Give them the foils, young Osric.—Cousin You know the wager?

(Hamlet, Ham.

Very well, my lord; Your grace hath laid the odds o’th' 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; 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,

8

• A stoup is a flaggon, or bowl.

union, a precious pearl.

Ham. .

Now the king drinks to Hamlet.-Come, begin ;-
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

Ham. Come on, sir.
Laer.

Come, my lord. [They play. Ham.

One. Laer.

No.

Judgment. Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit. Laer.

Well, again. King. Stay, give me drink: Hamlet, this pearl is Here's to thy health.—Give him the cup. [thine ;

[Trumpets sound; and cannons shot off within. Ham. I'll play this bout first, set it by a while. Come.—Another hit; What say you? [They play.

Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
King. Our son shall win.
Queen.

He's fat, and scant of 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. [Aside.
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 I pray you, pass

with
your

best violence; [dally; I am afeard, you make a wanton of 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 incens’d.

Ham. Nay, come again. [The Queen falls. Osr.

Look to the queen there, ho! Hor. They bleed on both sides :- How is it

, my Osr. How is't, Laertes ?

[lord? Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery. (Osric;

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 villainy!-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 turned itself on me; lo, here I 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.

(Stabs the King Osr. 8. Lords. Treason ! treason! King. O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.

Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned Drink off this potion :- Is the union here? [Dane, mother.

(King dies. Laer.

He is justly serv'd;
It is a poison temper’d by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet :
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee;
Nor thine on me!

[Dies. 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,

Follow my

Is strict in his arrest,) O, I could tell you, -
But let it be :-Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv'st; 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 shot within.

What warlike noise is this? Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from To the ambassadors of England gives [Poland, 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 th' election lights On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice; So tell him, with the occurrents, more or less, Which have solicited.--The rest is silenee. [Dies. Hor. Now cracks a noble heart;—Good night,

sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

END OF HAMLET.

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