Scene VII. Another room in the Castle.
[Enter King and Laertes.]
Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
And you must put me in your
heart for friend,
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he which hath your
noble father slain
Pursu'd my life.
It well appears:--but tell me
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
crimeful and so capital in nature,
As by your safety, wisdom, all things else,
mainly were stirr'd up.
O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his mother
Lives almost by his
looks; and for myself,--
My virtue or my plague, be it either which,--
conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a public count I might not go,
Is the great
love the general gender bear him;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow
And not where I had aim'd them.
And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate
Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the
For her perfections:--but my revenge will come.
Break not your sleeps for that:--you must not think
That we are made of stuff
so flat and dull
That we can let our beard be shook with danger,
And think it pastime.
You shortly shall hear more:
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope,
will teach you to imagine,--
[Enter a Messenger.]
How now! What news?
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
This to your majesty; this to the queen.
From Hamlet! Who brought them?
Sailors, my lord, they say; I saw them not:
They were given me by
Claudio:--he receiv'd them
Of him that brought them.
Laertes, you shall hear them.
[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
occasions 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
Know you the hand?
$BC5(Bis Hamlet's character:--'Naked!'--
And in a postscript here, he says
Can you advise me?
I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
$BC5(Bhus didest thou.'
If it be so, Laertes,--
As how should it be so? how otherwise?--
Will you be
rul'd by me?
Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'errule me to a peace.
To thine own peace. If he be now return'd--
As checking at his voyage, and
that he means
No more to undertake it,--I will work him
To exploit, now ripe in my
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind shall
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.
My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather if you could devise it so
That I might
be the organ.
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
together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
What part is that, my lord?
A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his
Importing health and graveness.--Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of
I've 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 had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
short of what he did.
A Norman was't?
Upon my life, Lamond.
The very same.
I know him well: he is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.
He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and
exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out,
'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation
had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, this report of his
Hamlet so envenom with his envy
That he could nothing do but wish and beg
coming o'er, to play with him.
Now, out of this,--
What out of this, my lord?
Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a
A face without a heart?
Why ask you this?
Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
in his own too much: that we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would'
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But
to the quick o' the ulcer:--
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake
yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?
To cut his throat i' the church.
No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize;
Revenge should have no bounds.
But, good Laertes,
Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
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 in fine together
on your heads: he, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
peruse the foils; so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for your father.
I will do't:
And for that 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
This is but scratch'd withal: I'll touch my point
contagion, that, if I gall him slightly,
It may be death.
Let's further think of this;
Weigh what convenience both of time and
May fit us to our shape: if this should fail,
And that our drift look through our
$BC5(Bwere better not assay'd: therefore this project
Should have a back or
second, that might hold
If this did blast in proof. Soft! let me see:--
We'll make a
solemn wager on your cunnings,--
When in your motion you are hot and dry,--
make your bouts more violent to that end,--
And that he calls for drink, I'll have
A chalice for the nonce; whereon but sipping,
If he by chance escape your
Our purpose may hold there.
How now, sweet queen!
One woe doth tread upon another's heel,
So fast they follow:--your sister's
Drown'd! O, where?
There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the
There with fantastic garlands did she come
Of crowflowers, 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 pendant boughs her coronet
Clamb'ring to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile
they bore her up;
Which time she chaunted snatches of old tunes;
As one incapable of her
Or like a creature native and indu'd
Unto that element: but long it could
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her
To muddy death.
Alas, then she is drown'd?
Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my tears:
It is our trick; nature her custom holds,
Let shame say what it will: when these
The woman will be out.--Adieu, my lord:
I have a speech of fire, that fain
But that this folly douts it.
Let's follow, Gertrude;
How much I had to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I
this will give it start again;
Therefore let's follow.