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And will this brother's wager frankly play.—
Come, one for me. Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night, Stick fiery off indeed.
You mock me, sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.
You know the wager?
These foils have all a [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;
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, "Is the union here?"
Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
King. Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
pray you, pass with your best violence; I am afeard you make a wanton 2 of me.
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?
Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
Gertrude, do not drink. Queen. I will, my lord ;-I pray you, pardon me. King. It is the poisoned 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.
Laer. Say you so? come on.
Osr. Nothing neither way.
I do not think it. Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.
Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes. You do but dally;
Laer. Have at you now.
[LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuffling, they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds
1 i. e. the queen drinks to thy good success.
2 i. e. you trifle or play with me as if I were a child.
Part them; they are incensed. [The Queen falls. Look to the queen there, ho! Hor. They bleed on both sides ;-how is it, my lord? Osr. How is't, Laertes?
Laer. Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
I am justly killed with mine own treachery.
She swoons to see them bleed. Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,—O my dear Hamlet!
The drink, the drink ;-I am poisoned!
Ham. O villany!-Ho! let the door be locked. 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 envenomed. The foul practice Hath turned itself on me; lo, here I lie, Never to rise again. Thy mother's poisoned; I can no more; the king, the king's to blame. Ham. The point Envenomed too!-Then, venom, to thy work.2 Stabs the King.
Osr, and Lords. Treason! treason!
Drink off this potion.-Is the union here?
1 See note 2, p. 365.
2 In the quarto of 1603 :
"The poisoned instrument within my hand?
Then venom to thy venom; die, damned villain:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee;
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, 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.
Never believe it;
As thou'rt a man,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
Hor. Now cracks a noble heart.-Good night, sweet
1 A sergeant was a bailiff or sheriff's officer.
2 To overcrow is to overcome, to subdue.
3 "The occurrents which have solicited"—the occurrences or incidents
which have incited. The sentence is left unfinished.
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others.
Fort. Where is this sight? Hor. What is it you would see? If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search. Fort. This quarry cries on havoc !1-O proud death! What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, That thou so many princes, at a shot, So bloodily hast struck?
The sight is dismal;
Not from his mouth, Had it the ability of life to thank you; He never gave commandment for their death. But since, so jump2 upon this bloody question, You from the Polack wars, and you from England, Are here arrived; give order that these bodies High on a stage be placed to the view; And let me speak, to the yet unknowing world, How these things came about. So shall you hear Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts; Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters; Of deaths put on by cunning, and forced cause; And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
1 "This quarry cries on havoc ! To cry on was to exclaim against. Quarry was the term used for a heap of slaughtered game. See Macbeth, Act iv. Sc. 3.
2 It has been already observed that jump and just, or exactly, are synonymous. Vide note on Act i. Sc. 1.
3 Of sanguinary and unnatural acts, to which the perpetrator was instigated by concupiscence or "carnal stings." The allusion is to the murder of old Hamlet by his brother.
4 i. e. instigated, produced. Instead of "forced cause," the quartos read, "for no cause.'