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says, alone :

Of him that brought them.

Laertes, you shall hear them :Leave us.

[Exit Messenger. [Reads.] High 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 the occasion of my sudden and more strange return. Hamlet, 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 Can you advise me?

Laer. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
Thus diddest thou.

If it be so, Laertes,
As how should it be so? how otherwise i
Will you be rul’d by me?

Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'er-rule me to a peace.
King. To thine own peace. If he be now re-

turn'd, As checking at 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 choose but fall; And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe ; But even his mother shall uncharge the practice, And call it, accident. Laer.

My lord, I will be ruld; The rather, if you could devise it so, That I might be the organ.

As checking at his voyage,] The phrase is from falconry.


It falls right. You have been talk'd 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 siege." Laer.

What part is that, my lord ? King. A very ribband 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 sables, and his weeds, Importing health and graveness. —Two months

Here was a gentleman of Normandy,
I have seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: 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 demi-natur'd
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.

A Norman, was't?
King. A Norman.
Laer. Upon my life, Lamord.

The very same,
Laer. I know him well : he is the brooch, indeed,

of all the nation,
King. He made confession of you ;
gave you

such a masterly report,
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especial,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,

* Of the unworthiest siege.] Of the lowest rank. Siege, for seat, place, 3 Importing health and graveness.] i. e. implying, denoting, - in your defence,] That is, in the science of defence,

If one could match you : the scrimers' of their nation,
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos’d them : 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 you.

Now, out of this,-

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?

Why ask you this :
King. Not that I think, you did not love your

But that I know, love is begun by time;o
And that I see, 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 plurisy,
Dies in his own too-much: That 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 a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But, to the quick o'the ulcer :
Hamlet comes back : what would you undertake,

-the scrimers-] The fencers. From escrimeur, Fr. a fencer.

love is begun by time;] This is obscure. The meaning may be, love is not innate in us, and co-essential to our nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and being always subject to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution. 'JOHNSON.

--passages of proof,] In transactions of daily experience. * And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh,

That hurts by easing:) A spendthrift sigh is a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs inpair the strength, and wear out the animal powers, JOHNSN.




To show yourself in deed your father's son
More than in words?

To cut his throat i'the church.
King. Noplace, indeed, should murdersanctuarize;
Revenge should 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 varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you, infine, together,
And wager o'er your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils; so that, with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated,' and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.

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 withal: I'll touch my point With this contagion ; that, if I gall him slightly, It may be death.



A sword unbated,] i. e. not blunted as foils are.

La pass of practice,] Practice is often by Shakspeare, and other writers, taken for an insiduous stratagem, or privy treason, ,a sense not incongruous to this passage, where yet it may mean a thrust for exercise ; or perhaps, a favourite pass, one he was well practised in.

? It may be death.] It is a matter of surprise, that no one of Shakspeare's numerous and able commentators has remarked, with proper warmth and detestation, the villainous assassin-like treachery of Laertes in this horrid plot. There is the more occasion that he should be here pointed out an object of abhorrence, as he is a character we are, in some preceding parts of the play, led to respect and admire. Ritson.


Let's further think of this, Weigh, what convenience, both of time and means, May fit us to our shape :: if this should fail, And that our drift look through our bad performance, "Twere better not assay'd; therefore this project Should have a back, or second, that might hold, If this should blast in proof. Soft ;-let me see :We'll make a solemn wager on your cunnings, I ha't: When in your motion you are hot and dry, (As make your bouts more violent to that end) And that he calls for drink, I'll have preferr'd him A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping, If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck, Our purpose may hold there. But stay, what noise ?

Enter Queen. How now, sweet queen?

Queen. One woe doth tread upon another's heel, , So fast they follow :-Your sister's drown'd, Laertes,

Laer. Drown'd! 0, where?

Queen. There is a willow grows ascaunt the brook, That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream; Therewith fantastick garlands did she make Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples, That liberal” shepherds give a grosser name, But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call them; There on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds

3 May fit us to our shape :) May enable us to assume proper characters, and to act our part.

blast in proof.] A metaphor taken from the trying or proving fire-arms or cannon, which often blast or burst in the proof

I'll have preferr'd him-] i. e. presented to him. If he by chance escape your venom'd stuck,] i. e. your venom'd thrust. Stuck was a term of the fencing-school.

- liberal-] Liberal is free-spoken, licentious in language.


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