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Without debatement further, more or less,
How was this seal'd ?
Hor. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
Ham. Why, man, they did make love to this employment; They are not near my conscience; their defeat Does by their own insinuation grow: 'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes Between the pass and fell incensed points Of mighty opposites. Hor.
Why, what a king is this ! Ham. Does it not, thinks't(91) thee, stand me now uponHe that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother; Popp'd in between the election and my hopes; Thrown out his angle for my proper life, And with such cozenage—is't not perfect conscience, To quit him with this arm ?(92) and is't not to be damn'd, To let this canker of our nature come In further evil ?
Hor. It must be shortly known to him from England
Ham. It will be short: the interim is mine;
Peace! who comes here?
Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him. He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'tis a chough ; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship (91) were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
Ham. I will receive it with all diligence of spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.
Ham. Methinks it is very sultry and hot for my complexion.
Osr. 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. Osr. 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 it(95) 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 more.
Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, sir ? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Osr. Sir ?
Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue ? You will do't, sir, really.
Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman ? Osr. Of Laertes ? · Hor. His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, sir.
Ham. I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me :--well, sir.
Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is—
Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself.
Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
Ham. What's his weapon ?
Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered(96) with him six Barbary horses : against the which he has imponed, 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 ?
Hor. I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.
Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
Ham. The phrase would be more german 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 imponed, as you call it ?
Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes be
tween you 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?
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 if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.
Osr. Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?
Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship.
Ham. Yours, yours. [Exit Osric.]-He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
Ham. He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same bevy, that, I know, the drossy age dotes 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 fanned (97) and winnowed 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.
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 gaingiving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.
Hor. If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will forestal 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 (98) no man has aught of what he leaves, what is’t to leave betimes ? Enter King, Queen, LAERTES, Lords, Osric, and Attendants with
foils, &c. 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 presence knows, And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd With sore 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 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. Laer.
I am satisfied in nature, Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most