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OSRIC. Sweet Lord, if your Lordship were at leisure, I ACT V Sc. II

should impart a thing to you from his Majesty.


HAM. I will receive it, Sir, with all diligence of spirit.

Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head. OSRIC. I thank your Lordship, it is very hot.

HAM. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

OSRIC. It is indifferent cold, my Lord, indeed.

HAM. But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.


OSRIC. Exceedingly, my Lord; it is very sultry-as
'twere I cannot tell how. But, 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. OSRIC. Nay, in good faith; for mine 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 you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.


HAM. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you; though, I know, to divide him inventorially would dizzy the arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw 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


OSRIC. Your Lordship speaks most infallibly of him. HAM. The concernancy, Sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?



HORA. Is 't not possible to understand1 in another tongue?
You will do 't, Sir, really.

HAM. What imports the nomination of this gentleman ?
OSRIC. Of Laertes ?

1 i.e. to express your reply. Horatio encourages Osric to continue the duel of conceits. VIII: KK 253

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ACT V HORA. His purse is empty already: all's golden words
Sc. II are spent.


HAM. Of him, Sir.

OSRIC. 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?

OSRIC. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes


HAM. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence: but to know a man well, were to know himself.


OSRIC. I mean, Sir, for his weapon; but, in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellow'd. HAM. What's his weapon?

OSRIC. Rapier and dagger.

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

OSRIC. The King, Sir, hath wager'd with him six Barbary horses; against the which he has impon'd, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, 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.


HAM. What call you the carriages?

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

OSRIC. The carriages, Sir, are the hangers.

HAM. The phrase would be more germane to the matter,
if we could carry 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 impon'd, as you
call it ?
OSRIC. 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.


HAM. How if I answer No?

OSRIC. I mean, my Lord, the opposition of your person ACT V
in trial.
Sc. II


HAM. Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please his Majesty, 'tis 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 an I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.

OSRIC. Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?

HAM. To this effect, Sir; after what flourish your nature will.


OSRIC. I commend my duty to your Lordship.
HAM. Your's, your's. [Exit OSRIC.] He does well to
commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's


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

HAM. He did comply1 with his dug, before he suck'd it. Thus has he (and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy age doats on) only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnow'd opinions; and, do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.


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 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 as now.
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.

HORA. You will lose this wager, my Lord.

1 stand upon ceremony.



Sc. II

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 would'st not think how ill all's here about my heart; but it is no matter.

HORA. Nay, good my Lord

HAM. It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gaingiving1 as would perhaps trouble a woman.

HORA. 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's 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?

Enter the KING, the QUEEN, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, etc.

And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
With sore distraction. What I have done,

KING. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me. [The KING puts LAERTES' hand into HAMLET's. HAM. Give me your pardon, Sir: I've done you wrong;

But pardon 't, as you are a gentleman.

This Presence2 knows,

That might your nature, honour, and exception

Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.



Was 't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet: 230

If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,

And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,

Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness. If't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,

Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.

1 misgiving.

I am satisfied in nature,

2 i.e. the King.


Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement

Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
I have a voice and precedent of peace,

To keep my name ungor'd. But, till that time,
I do receive your offer'd love like love,

And will not wrong it.

I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Give us the foils. Come on.
Come, one for me.
HAM. I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a Star i̇' the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.

You mock me, Sir.


HAM. No, by this hand.

KING. Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,

You know the wager?


Very well, my Lord;

Your Grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.
KING. I do not fear it; I have seen you both :

But, since he is better'd,' we have therefore odds.
LAER. This is too heavy, let me see another.
HAM. This likes me well.



These foils have all a length?
[They prepare to play.

OSRIC. 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;
And in the cup an union' shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive Kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;

And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,

The trumpet to the cannoneer without,

The cannons to the Heavens, the Heavens to Earth,
Now the King drinks to Hamlet! Come, begin;
And you, the Judges, bear a wary eye.

1 i.e. by his practice in Paris.

2 a fair, large pearl.


Sc. II

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