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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.

They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation grow.
'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.

[ACT V

Hor.

Why, what a king is this?
Ham. Does it not, think thee, stand me
upon ? 1

He that hath killed my king, and whored my mother;
Popped in between the 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 damned,
To let this canker of our nature come

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;

2

For by the image of my cause, I see
The portraiture of his. I'll count his favors.
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.

Hor.

now

In further evil?

Hor. It must be shortly known to him from Eng

land,

Peace; who comes here?

Enter OSRIC.3

Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Den-
mark.

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Ham. I humbly thank you, sir.-Dost know this water-fly?

1 "Bethink thee, does it not become incumbent upon me to requite him," &c. This passage and the three following speeches are not in the quartos.

2.66 -I'll count his favors." Rowe changed this to "I'll court his favor; " which may be right, as Mr. Mason very justly asks, what favors had Hamlet received from Laertes that he was to make account of?

3 The quarto of 1603—“ Enter a braggart Gentleman.”

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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 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 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, sir, '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.' 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. Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry, for 4 shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.

2

you

Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;-though, I know, to divide him inventorially,

1 The folio omits this and the following fourteen speeches; and in their place substitutes, "Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon."

2 i. e. distinguishing excellencies.

3 The card or calendar of gentry." The general preceptor of elegance; the card (chart) by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to order his time.

4 You shall find him containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation. Perhaps we should read, "You shall find him the continent."

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382

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.

FACT V

would dizzy the arithmetic of memory; and yet but
raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But in the
verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great
article; and his infusion of such dearth' and rareness,
as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his
mirror; and, who else would trace him, his umbrage,
nothing more.2

Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him. Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?

Osr. Sir?

Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really.3

Ham. What imports the nomination of this gen

tleman ?

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Osr. Of Laertes?

Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.

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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.

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.5

Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the impu

Dearth, according to Tooke, is "the third person singular of the verb to dere; it means some cause which dereth, i. e. maketh dear; or hurteth, or doth mischief." Dearth was used for scarcity, as well as dearness.

2 This speech is a ridicule of the euphuism, or court-jargon of that time.

3 This interrogatory remark is very obscure. The sense may be, “Is it not possible for this fantastic fellow to understand in plainer language ? You will, however, imitate his jargon admirably, really, sir." It seems very probable that "another tongue," is an error of the press for "mother tongue."

4 What Hamlet would have added we know not; but surely Shakspeare's use of the word approve, upon all occasions, is against Johnson's explanation of it—"to recommend to approbation."

5 I dare not pretend to know him, lest I should pretend to an equality no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself.

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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.

383

tation laid on him by them, in his meed1 he's
unfellowed.

Ham. What's his weapon?

Osr. Rapier and dagger.

Ham. That's two of his weapons; but, well.

2

Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses; against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers,3 and so Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.

SC. II]

Ham. What call you the carriages?

Hor. I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

Ham. The phrase would be more german 5 to the matter, if we could carry a cannon by our sides; I would it might be hangers till then. But, on. Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal conceited carriages; that's the French bet against the Danish. Why is this impawned, as you call it ?

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.

6

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Ham. How, if I answer no?

Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

1 Meed is merit.

2 "Impawned." The folio reads imponed. Pignare, in Italian, signifies
both to impawn and to lay a wager. The stakes are, indeed, a gage or
pledge.

3 Hangers, that part of the belt by which the sword was suspended.
4 "The margent." The gloss or commentary, in old books, was usually
on the margin of the leaf.

5 i. e. more akin.

6 The conditions of the wager are thus given in the quarto of 1603

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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.

[ACT V.

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.

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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.

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Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

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2

Ham. He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same bevy,3 that, I know, the drossy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter; 4 a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are

out.

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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

1 Horatio means to call Osric a raw, unfledged, foolish fellow. It was a common comparison for a forward fool. Thus in Meres's Wits Treasury, 1598 :—“ Ás the lapwing runneth away with the shell on her head, as soon as she is hatched," &c.

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2 "He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it." See Act ii. Sc. 2. 3 The folio reads, "mine more of the same bevy."-Mine is evidently a misprint, and more likely for manie (i. e. many) than mine. The quarto of 1604 reads, “many more of the same breed."

4 "Outward habit of encounter" is exterior politeness of address.

5 The folio reads fond and winnowed. Fanned and winnowed are almost always coupled by old writers. The meaning is, "These men have got the cant of the day; a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through with the most light and inconsequential judgments; but if brought to the trial by the slightest breath of rational conversation, the bubbles burst.

6 All that passes between Hamlet and this lord is omitted in the folio.

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