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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
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
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, I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst 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 forestall 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 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 leave betimes ? Let be.
1 i. e. misgiving; a giving against, or an internal feeling and prognostic of evil.
2 This is the reading of the folio; the quarto reads, “Since no man has aught of what he leaves. What is't to leave betimes.” Has is evidently here a blunder for knows. Johnson thus interprets the passage:-“Since no man knows aught of the state which he leaves, since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should we be afraid of leaving life betimes?" Warburton's explanation is very ingenious, but perhaps strains the Poet's meaning farther than he intended. " It is true, that by death we lose all the goods of life; yet, seeing this loss is no otherwise an evil than as we are sensible of it, and since death removes all sense of it, what matters it how soon we lose them?
Enter King, Queen, LAERTES, Lords, Osric, and
Attendants, with foils, fc.
I have done you
I am satisfied in nature,
I embrace it freely,
1. e. the king and queen.
2 This line is not in the quarto 3 i. e. unwounded.
And will this brother's wager frankly play.-
Come, one for me.
You mock me, sir.
Very well, my lord;
King. I do not fear it. I have seen you both.-
Laer. This is too heavy; let me see another.
[They prepare to play.
Give me the cups;
1 The king had wagered six Barbary horses to a few rapiers, poniards, &c.; that is, about twenty to one.--These are the odds here meant. The odds the king means in the next speech were twelve to nine in favor of Hamlet, by Laertes giving him three.
2 Stoup is a common word in Scotland at this day, and denotes a pewter vessel resembling our wine measures; but of no determinate quantity.
3 An union is a precious pearl, remarkable for its size. Under pretence of throwing a pearl into the cup, the king may be supposed to drop some poisonous drug into the wine. Hamlet subsequently asks him tauntingly, 66 Is the union here ? ?
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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
Ham. Come on, sir.
Come, my lord. [They play Ham.
Judgment. Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit. Laer.
Well,--again. King. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is
thine; Here's to thy health.-Give him the cup.
[Trumpets sound; and cannon shot off within. Ham. I'd play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.--Another hit; what say you? [They play.
Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
He's fat, and scant of breath.-
Ham. Good madam,
Gertrude, do not drink.
I do not think it. Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.
[ Aside. Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes. You do but
[They play. Osr. Nothing neither way. Laer. Have at you now. [LAERTES wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling,
they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES.
Part them; they are incensed.
Look to the queen there, ho!
She swoons to see them bleed.
[Dies. Ham. O villany!-Ho! let the door be locked. Treachery! seek it out.
Stabs the King
[King dies. Laer.
He is justly served ;
1 See note 2, p. 365.
« The poisoned instrument within my hand ?
Then venom to thy venom; die, damned villain:
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