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take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: Three of the car. riages, 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 133, 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 a 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 impawn'd, as you call it?

Osr. The king, sir, hath lay'd, 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?

Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall: If it please his majesty, it is 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 deliver

you

so? Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.

Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit.

Ham. Yours, yours.--He does well, to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.

Hor. 134 This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

Ham. He did comply 135 with his dug, before he suck'd it. Thus has he (and many more of the same breed, 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 fond and winnow'd opinions 136; 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 Osrick, 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.

Hum. 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.

[Erit 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 would'st 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 gain-giving, 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 is 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 137: Since nó man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes ? Let be.

Enter King, Qucen, LAERTES, Lords, OSRICK, and

Attendants with foils, &c. King. Come, Hanilet, come, and take this hand

from me. [The King puts the hand of Laertes into that

of Hamlet. Ham. 138 Give me your pardon, sir: I have done

you wrong; But pardon it, as you are a gentleman.

This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punish'd with a 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 my arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother.
Laer.

I am satisfied in nature,
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.
Ham.

I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager frankly play.-
Give us the foils; come on.
Laer.

Come, one for me,

Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance Your skill shall, like a star i'the darkest night, Stick fiery off indeed. Laer.

You mock me, sir.
Ham. No, by this hand.
King. Give them the foils, young Osrick.-Cousin

Hamlet,
You know the wager?
Ham.

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's 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. Osr. Ay, my good lord. King. Set me the stoups of wine upon that ta

ble: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 140 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 heaven to earth, Now the king drinks to Hamlet.-Come, begin ; And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

139

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