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Mes. Letters, my lord, from Hamlet.
These to your Majesty : this to the Queen.
King. From Hamlet? who brought them?
Mes. Sailors, my lord, they fay; I saw them not: They were given me by Claudio, he receiv'd them. King. Laertes, you shall hear them: leave us, all
IGH and Mighty, you shall know, I am set naked on
your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes. When I shall, (first asking your pardon thereunto, recount th' occasion of my sudden return.
What should this mean? are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse and no such thing?
Laer. Know you the hand ?
King, 'Tis Hamlet's character;
Naked, and in a postscript here, he says)
advise me ?
Laer. I'm lost in it, my lord: but let him come ;
It warms the sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
Thus diddelt thou.
King. If it be fo, Laertes,
As how should it be fo?-how, otherwise?
Will you be rul'd by me?
Laer. I, so you'll not o'er-rule me to a peace.
King. To thine own peace: if he be now return'd, As liking not his voyage, and that he means No more to undertake it; I will work him To an exploit now ripe in my device, Under the which he shall not chufe but fall: And for his death no wind of Blame shall breathe; But ev'n his mother shall uncharge the practice, And call it accident.
Laer. I will be ruld,
The rather, if you could devise it fo,
That I might be the organ.
King. It falls right:
You have been talkt of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's Hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine ; your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such.envy from him,
As did that one, and that in my regard
Of the unworthiest fiege.
Laer. What part is ihat, my lord ?
King. A very feather in the cap of youth, Yet needful too ; for youth no less becomes The light and careless livery that it wears, Than settled age his fables, and his weeds Importing wealth and graveness.---Two months
since, Here was a gentleman of Normandy; I've seen myself
, and serv'd against the French,
And they can well on horse-back ; but this Gallant
Had witchcraft in't, he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorps'd and demy-natur'd
With the brave beast; so far he top'd my thought,
That I in forgery of shapes and tricks
Come short of what he did.
Laer. A Norman, was't ?
King. A Norman.
Laer. Upon my life, Lamond.
King. The same.
Laer. I know him well; he is the brooch, indeed, And gem of all the nation.
King. He made confession of you, And gave you such a masterly report, For art and exercise in
defence ; * Importing health and graveness. -] Shakespear wrote,
Importing Wealth and graveness.i. 6. that the Wcarers are Rich Burgers and Magistrates.
And for your rapier most especial,
That he cry'd out, 'twould be a Sight indeed, [rion,
If one could match you. The Scrimers of their na-
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd 'em--Sir, this Report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy, .
That he could nothing do, but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er to play with him..
Now out of this-
Laer, What out of this, my lord ?
King. Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart ?
Laer. Why ask you this ?
King. Not that I think, you did not love your
But that I know, love is begun by time;
And that I fee in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it :
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick, or snuff, that will abate it,
And nothing is at a like goodness still ;
For goodness growing to a pleurisy,
Dies in his own too much; what we would do,
We should do when we would; for this would changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents ;
And then this should is like a spend-thrift's fign
That hurts by easing; but to th' quick o'th' ulcer-
Hamlet comes back; what would
undertake To Thew yourself your father's Son indeed More than in words ?
Laer. To cut his throat i' th' church.
King. No place indeed, should murder sanctuarise ; Revenge fhould have no bounds; but, good Laertes, Will you do this ? keep close within your chamber; Hamlet, return'd, shall know you are come home : We'll put on those shall praise your excellence, And set a double varnilh on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you in fine together,
And wager on your heads. He being remifs,
Most generous, and-free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils ; so that with ease,
Or with a little fhuffling, you may chuse
A sword unbated, and in a pass of practice
Requite him for your father.
Laer. I will do't ;
And for the purpose I'll anoint my sword :
I bought an unction of a Mountebank,
So mortal, that but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood, no Cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all Simples that have virtue
Under the Moon, can save the thing from death,
That is but scratch'd witbal ; I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that if I gall him flightly,
It may be death.
King. Let's farther think of this;
Weigh, what convenience both of time and means
May fit us, to our shape. If this should fail, [ance,
And that our drift look through our bad perform-
'Twere better not affay'd ; therefore this project
Should have a back, or second, that might hold,
If this should blast in proof. Soft-let me fee-
We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings ;
I ha't-when in your motion you are hot,
(As make your bouts more violent to that end)
And that he calls for Drink, I'll have prepar'd him
A Chalice for the nonce : whereon but fipping,
If he by chance escape your venomod tuck,
Our purpose may hold there.
S CE N E X.
Enter Queen. How now, sweet Queen?
Queen. One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So fast they follow: your lister's drown'd, Laertes.
Laer. Drown'd! oh where ?
Queen. There is a willow grows allant a Brook,
That shews his hoar leaves in the glassy stream
There with fantastic garlands did she come,
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples;
(That liberal shepherds give a grosser name to ;
But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them ;)
There on the pendant boughs, her coronet weeds
Clambring to hang, an envious fliver broke ;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook; her clothes spread wide,
And mermaid-like, a while they bore her up;
Which time the chaunted snatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own distress;
Or like a creature native, and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be,
'Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.
Lear. Alas then, she is drown'd!
Queen. Drown'd, drown'd.
Laer. Too much of water haft thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears : but yet
It is our trick ; Nature her custom holds,
Let Shame say what it will; when these are gone,
The woman will be out: adieu, my lord !
I have a speech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly drowns it.
King. Follow, Gertrude :
How much had I to do to calm his
Now fear I, this will give it start again ;
Therefore, let's follow.