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a vertuous mother may or can use to kisse and entertaine her owne childe), she spake unto him in this manner: 'I know well, my sonne, that I have done thee great wrong in marrying with Fengon, the cruel tyrant and murtherer of thy father and my loyall spouse; but when thou shalt consider the small meanes of resistance, and the treason of the pallace, with the little cause of confidence we are to expect or hope for of the courtiers, all wrought to his will ; as also the power hee made ready, if I should have refused to like of him, thou wouldst rather excuse than accuse mee of lasciviousness or inconstancie, much lesse offer mee that wrong to suspect that ever thy mother Geruthe once consented to the death and murther of her husband.'

'Madame (sayd Hamlet), I will put my trust in you, and from hencefoorth meane not to meddle further with your affayres, beseeching you (as you love your owne flesh and blood) that you will from hencefoorth no more esteeme of mine enemie, whom I wil surely kill or cause to be put to death. If I lay handes upon Fengon it will neither be felonie nor treason, hee being neither my king nor my lord.

Either a glorious death shall be mine ende, or with my sword in hand (laden with triumph and victorie) I shall bereave them of their lives that made mine unfortunate, and darkened the beames of that vertue which I possessed from the blood and famous memory of my predecessors.'. 'I have so great confidence in my fortune (that hitherto hath guided the action of my life) that I shall not die without revenging myself upon mine enemie, and that himselfe shall be the instrument of his owne decay, and to execute that which of myself I durst not have enterprised.' 'After this, Fengon (as if hee had beene out some long journey) came to the court againe and asked for him that had received the charge to play the intelligencer, to entrap Hamlet in his dissembled wisdome, was abashed to heare neither newes nor tydings of him, and for that cause asked Hamlet what was become of him, naming the man.'

“The prince

answered and sayd, that the counsellor he sought for was gone, and that with him, 'the hogs meeting him, had filled their bellyes' (IV, ii).

CHAP. IV. 'A man would have judged anything rather than that Hamblet had committed that murther, neverthelesse Fengon could not content himselfe, but still his minde gave him that the foole would play him some trick of leigerdemaine, and willing would have killed him, but he feared King Rodericke, his father-in-law, and further durst not offend the queene, mother to the foole, whom she loved and much cherished ; shewing great griefe and heavinesse to see him so transported out of his wits. And in that conceite, seeking to be rid of him, determined to find the meanes to doe it by the ayde of a stranger, making the King of England minister of his massacring resolution, choosing rather that his friende should defile his renowne with so great a wickednesse, than himselfe to fall into perpetuell infamie, by an exploite of so great crueltie, to whom hee purposed to send him, and by letters desire him to put him to death'(IV, iii). 'Hamblet, understanding that he should be sent to England presently, doubted the occasion of his voyage, and for that cause, speaking to the queene, desired her not to make any shewe of sorrow or griefe for his departure, but rather counterfeit a gladnesse to be rid of his presence, whom although she loved yet shee dayly grieved to see him in so pitifull estate, deprived of all sense and reason ; desiring her farther that shee should hang the hall with tapestrie and make it fast with nayles upon the walles, and keepe the brands for him which hee had sharpened at the points;

lastly he counselled her that the yeere after his departure beeing accomplished, she should celebrate his funerals ; assuring her that at the same instant, she should see him return with greate conteintment and pleasure unto her from that his voyage. Now, to beare him company, two of Fengon's faithfull ministers,* bearing letters ingraved in wood, that contained Hamlet's death, in such sort as he had advertised the King of England. But the subtle Danish prince (being at sea), whilest his companions slept, having read the letters and knowne his uncle's great treason, with the wicked and villanous mindes of the two courtiers that led him on to the slaughter ; rased out the letters that concerned his death, and instead thereof, graved others, with commission to the King of England to hang his two companions; and not content to turne the death they had devised against him upon their owne neckes, wrote farther, that King Fengon willed him to give his daughter to Hamlet in marriage' (V, ii, 12-62); 'and so arriving in England, the messengers presented themselves to the king, giving him Fengon's letters; who, having read the contents, said nothing as then, but stayed convenient time to effect Fengon's desire, meanetine using the Danes familiarly.' 'The king, admiring the young prince, and behoulding in him soine matter of greater respect than in

* Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.


the common sort of men, gave him his daughter in marriage, according to the counterfeit letters by him devised, and the next day caused the two servants of Fengon to be executed, to satisfie, as he thought, the king's desire; but Hamlet, although the sport pleased him well, and that the King of England could not have done him a greater favour, made as though he had been much offended, threatening the king to be revenged; but the king, to appease him, gave him a great sum of gold which Hamlet caused to be molten, and put into two staves made hollow for the same purpose, to serve his turn therewith, as need should require ; for of all other the king's treasures he took nothing with him into Denmarke but onely these two staves, and as soone as the yeere began to bee at an end, having somewhat before obtained license of the king, his father-in-law, to depart, went for Denmarke; then with all the speede hee could to returne into England to marrye his daughter; and so set sayle for Denmarke.'

CHAP. V. 'Hamblet, in that sort, sayling into Denmarke, being arrived in the countrey, entered into the palace of his uncle, the same day that they were celebrating his funeralls, and going into the hall, procured no small astonishment and wonder to them all, no man thinking other than that he had beene deade; among the which many of them rejoyced not a little, for the pleasure which they knew Fengon would conceave for so pleasant a losse, and some were sadde, remembring the honourable King Horvendile, whose victories they could by no meanes forget, much less deface out of their memories that which appertained unto him, who as then greatly rejoyced to see a false report spred of Hamlet's death, and that the tyrant had not yet obtained his will of the heire of Jutie, but rather hoped that God would restore him to his senses againe for the good and welfare of that province. Their amazement at the last being turned into laughter, all that as then were assistant at the funerall banquet of him whome they esteemed dead, mocked at each other for having been so simply deceived, and wondring at the prince, that in his so long a voyage he had not recovered any of his senses, asked what was become of them that had borne him company into Greate Britain, to whom he made answere (shewing them the two hollow staves, wherein he had put his molten golde, that the King of England had given him to appease his fury concerning the murder of his two companions), and said here they are both. Whereat many that already knew his humours, presently conjectured that hee had plaide some tricke of legerdemaine, and to

deliver himselfe out of danger, had throwne them into the pitte prepared for him, so that fearing to follow after them and light upon some evil adventure, they went presently out of the court, and it was well for them that they did do so, considering the tragedie acted by him that same daie, being accounted his funerall, but in trueth theire last daies, that as then rejoyced for their overthrowe; for when every man busied himselfe to make good cheare, and Hamblet's arrival provoked them more to drinke and carouse,

which when Hamlet perceiving, and finding so good opportunitie to effect his purpose and be revenged on his enemies, made the hangings to fall downe and cover them all over, which he nailed to the ground, beeing boorded, and at the ends thereof he stuck the brands whereof I spake before by him sharpned, which served for prickes, binding and tying the hangings in such sort, that what force so ever they used to loose themselves, it was impossible to get from under them, and presently he set fire in the foure corners of the hal, in such sort that all were as then therein not one escaped away, but were forced to purge their sins by fire' (I, v, 12), 'all of them dying in the unevitable and mercilesse flames of the whot and burning fire. The prince, knowing that his uncle before the end of the banquet had withdrawne himselfe into his chamber, which stood apart from the place where the fire burnt, went thither, and, entring into the chamber, layd hand upon the sword of his father's murtherer, leaving his owne in the place, which while he was at the banket some of the courtiers had nailed fast into the scaberd, and, going on Fengon, said, I wonder, disloyal king, how thou canst sleep heere at thine ease; and all thy palace is burnt, the fire thereof having burnt the greater part of thy courtiers and ministers of thy

cruelty and detestable tyrannies; and, which is more, I cannot imagine how thou shouldst wel assure thyself and thy estate, as now to take thy ease, seeing Hamlet so neere thee armed with the shaftes by him prepared long since, and at this present is redy to revenge the trayterous injury by thee done to his lord and father.'

'Fengon, as then the truth of his nephew's terrible practise, and hering him speak with stayed mind, and, which is more, perceived a sword naked in his hand, which he already lifted up to deprive him of his life, leaped quickly out of the bed, taking hold of Hamlet's sworde, that was nayled into the scaberd, which, as he sought to pull out, Hamlet gave him such a blow upon the chine of the necke that hee cut his

head cleane from his shoulders, and as he fell to the ground sayd : This just and violent death is a first reward for such as thou art ; now goe thy wayes, and when thou comest in hell, see thou forget not to tell thy brother (whom thou trayterously slewest) that it was his sonne that sent thee thither,* with the message to the ende that, beeing comforted thereby, his soul may rest among the blessed spirits, and quit me of the obligation which bound mee to pursue his vengeance upon mine owne blood, seeing it was by thee that I lost the chief thing that led me to this aliance and consanguinitie.

'Hamlet having in this manner revenged himselfe, durst not presently declare his return to the people, but, to the contrary, determined to work by policie, so to give them intelligence, what he had done and the reason that drewe him thereunto; so that, being accompanied with such of his father's friends that then were rising, he stayed to see what the people would doe, when they shoulde heare of that sodaine and fearfull action. The next morning the townes bordering thereaboutes, desiring to know from whence the flames of fire proceeded the night before they had seene, came thither, and perceiving the king's pallace burnt to ashes and many bodyes (most part consumed) lying among the ruines of the house, all of them were much abashed, nothing being left of the palace but the foundation : but they were much more amazed to beholde the body of the king, all bloody, and his head cut off lying hard by him, whereat some began to threaten revenge, yet not knowing against whom ; others, beholding so lamentable a spectacle, armed themselves, the rest rejoycing, yet not daring to make any shew thereof, some detesting the crueltie, others lamenting the death of their prince; but the greatest part, calling Horvendile's murder to remembrance, acknowledging a just judgment from above, that had throwne downe the pride of the tyrant: and in this sort, the diversities of opinions among that multitude of the people being many, yet every man ignorant what would be the issue of that tragedie, none stirred from thence, neither yet attempted to move any tumult, every man fearing his owne skine, and distrusting his neighbour, esteeming each other to be consenting to the massacre.'

Here the Shakespearian interest of the novel ceases. Chap. VI. tells ‘How Hamlet, having slaine his uncle, and burnt his palace, made an oration to the Danes, to shewe them what he had done : and how they made him King of

* See ‘Down, down to hell, and say I sent thee thither'-3 Hen. VI, V, vi, 67.

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