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be not now, yet it will come; the readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes ?

Enter King, Queen, Laertes and lords, Ofrick, with other attendants with foils, and gantlets. A table, and flaggons of wine on it.

King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from


Ham, Give me your pardon, Sir; I've done you wrong;

But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.

This prefence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punish'd with a fore distraction.
What I have done,

That might your Nature, Honour, and Exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness:
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? never, Hamlet.
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 madnefs. If't be fo,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd ;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Let my difclaiming from a purpos'd Evil,
Free me fo far in your moft generous thoughts,
That I have fhot mine arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.

Laer. I am fatisfied in nature,

Whofe motive, in this cafe, fhculd ftir me moft
To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
I ftand aloof, and will no reconcilement ;
'Till by fome elder masters of known honour
I have a voice, and prefident 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.

Ham. I embrace it freely,

And will this brother's wager frankly play.
Give us the foils.

K 3


Laer. Come, one for me.

Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance Your skill fhall like a ftar i'th' darkest night Stick fiery off, indeed.

Laer. You mock me, Sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.
King. Give them the foils, young Ofrick.
Hamlet, you know the wager.
Ham. Well, my lord;

Your Grace hath laid the odds o'th' weaker fide.
King. I do not fear it, I have feen you both:
But fince he's better'd, we have therefore odds.
Laer. This is too heavy, let me fee another.
Ham. This likes me well; thefe foils have all a

[Prepares to play.


Ofr. Ay, my good lord.

King. Set me the ftoops of wine upon that table:
If Hamlet gives the firft, or fecond, Hit,
Or quit in anfwer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire;
The King fhall drink to Hamlet's better breath:
And in the cup an Union shall he throw, (33)


(33) And in the Cup än Onyx shall he throw, Richer than that which four fucceffive Kings

In Denmark's Crown have worn.] This is a various Reading in feveral of the old Copies; but Union seems to me to be the true word, for feveral reafons. The Onyx is a fpecies of lucid Stone, of which the Antients made both Columns and Pavements for Ornament, and in which they likewife cut Seals, &c. but, if I am not mistaken, neither the Onyx, nor Sardonyx, are Jewels which ever found Place in an Imperial Crown. On the other hand, an Union is the fineft fort of Pearl, and has its Place in all Crowns and Coronets. Befides, let us confider what the King says on Hamlet's giving Laertes the firft Hir.

Stay, give me Drink: Hamlet, this Pearl is thine :
Here's to thy Health.

Therefore, if an Union be a Pearl, and an Onyx a Gemm, or Stone quite differing in its Nature from Pearls; the King fay

Richer than that which four fucceffive Kings
In Denmark's Crown have worn. Give me the cups;
And let the kettle to the trumpets speak,
The trumpets to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heav'ns, the heav'ns to earth:
Now the King drinks to Hamlet. - Come, begin,
And you the Judges bear a wary eye.

Ham. Come on, Sir.

Laer. Come, my lord.

[They play.

Ham. One

Laer. No

Ham. Judgment.

Ofr. A hit, a very palpable hit.

Laer. Well

King. Stay, give me Drink. Hamlet, this Pearl is thine, Here's to thy health. Give him the cup.

Trumpets found, Shot goes off. Ham. I'll play this bout firit, fet it by a while. [They play.


another hit

Laer. A touch, a touch,
King. Our fon fhall win.

Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath.

what fay you?

I do confess.

Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
The Queen caroufes to thy fortune, Hamlet.

Ham. Good Madam,

King. Gertrude, do not drink.


Queen. I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
King. It it the poifon'd cup, it is too late.
Ham. I dare not drink yet, Madam, by and by.
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laer. I'll hit him now.

King. I do not think't.

Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.


Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes, you but daily;

ing, that Hamlet has earn'd the Pearl, I think, amounts to a Demonftration that it was an Union-Pearl, which he meant to throw into the Cup.

I pray,

K 4

I pray you, pafs with your best violence ;
I am afraid, you make a Wanton of me.
Laer. Say you fo? come on.
Ofr. Nothing neither way.

Laer. Have at you now.


[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in fcuffling, they change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes. King. Part them, they are incens'd. Ham. Nay, come again

Ofr. Look to the Queen there, ho!

Hor. They bleed on both fides. How is't, my lord? Ofr. How is't, Laertes?

Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own fprindge,

I'm justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
Ham. How does the Queen?

King. She fwoons to fee them bleed.
Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink
Oh my dear Hamlet, the drink, the drink,
I am poifon'd

[Queen dies.

Ham. Oh villany! ho! let the door be lock'd:
Treachery! feek it out

Laer. It is here, Hamlet, thou art flain,
No medicine in the world can do thee good.
In thee there is not half an hour of life;
The treach'rous inftrument is in thy hand, (34)
Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practice
Hath turn'd itself on me. Lo, here I lye,

(34) The treach'rous Inftrument is in thy hand,

Unbated and envenom'd.] The King in the fourth A,

in the Scene betwixt him and Laertes, fays;

So that with ease,
Or with a little fhuffling, you may chufe

A Sword unbaited, and in a Pass of Practife

Require him for your Father.

In which Paffage the old Folio's read,
A Sword unbaited-

which makes Nonfenfe of the Place, and deftroys the Poet's Meaning. Unbated fignifies, unabated, unblunted, not charg’d with a Button as Foils are.

Never to rife again; thy mother's poison'd;

I can no more

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the King, the King's to blame.

Ham. The point envenom'd too? Then venom do thy work.

[Stabs the King.

All. Treafon, treason.

King. O yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murth'rous, damned

Drink off this potion: is the Union here?
Follow my mother.

[King dies.

Laer. He is justly ferved.

It is a poifon temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgivenefs with me, noble Hamlet ;
Mine and my father's death come not on thee,
Nor thine on me!

Ham. Heav'n make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I'm 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 Serjeant death
Is ftrict in his arreft) oh, I could tell you
But let it be Horatio, I am dead ; :
Thou liv'ft, report me and my cause aright
To the unfatisfied..


Hor. Never believe it.

I'm more an antique Roman than a Dane;
Here's yet fome liquor left..

Ham. As th' art a man,

Give me the cup; let go; by heav'n, I'll hav't.

Oh good Horatio, what a wounded name,

Things ftanding thus unknown, fhall live behind me ?? If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,

Absent thee from felicity a while,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my tale. [March afar off, and fhout within.
What warlike noife is this?

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