Hamlet: Act 5, Scene 2
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO.
1. see the other: i.e., hear the other news. Apparently we catch Hamlet and Horatio in the middle of a conversation about Hamlet's adventures from the time that he left Denmark until he returned.
1So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
2You do remember all the circumstance?
3Remember it, my lord?
4Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,
5That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
6. the mutines in the bilboes: rebels in shackles. Rashly: on impulse. 7. know: recognize.
6Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly
7And praised be rashness for itlet us know,
8Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
9. pall: fail. learn: teach.
9When our deep plots do pall: and that should learn us
10. shapes our ends: gives final shape to the outcomes of our plans. 11. Rough-hew them how we will: i.e., no matter how we make our initial plans.
10There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
11Rough-hew them how we will
11That is most certain.
12Up from my cabin,
13My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
14. Groped . . . them: I rummaged around to find out what they (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern) were up to. 15. Finger'd: filched. in fine: i.e., wrapping things up.
14Groped I to find out them; had my desire.
15Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
16To mine own room again; making so bold,
17. My fears forgetting manners: i.e., my fears making me forget my manners. ...more 18. Their grand commission: i.e., King Claudius's letter to the King of England, entrusted to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. 20. Larded: loaded.
17My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
18Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio
19O royal knavery!an exact command,
20Larded with many several sorts of reasons
21. Importing: relating to.
21Importing Denmark's health and England's too,
22. bugs . . . life: i.e., bugaboos and hobgoblins to be feared if I were permitted to live. 23. supervise: [first] reading. no leisure bated: i.e., no wasted time allowed. 24. stay: wait for.
22With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
23That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
24No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
25My head should be struck off.
26Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
27But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
28I beseech you.
29Being thus be-netted round with villanies
30-31. Or . . . play: i.e., before I could consciously pose the problem to my brain, it had started working on a plan.
30Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
31They had begun the playI sat me down,
32. fair: i.e., with clear handwriting (such as a professional scribe would use). 33. statists: statesmen, public officials.
32Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
33I once did hold it, as our statists do,
34. A baseness: i.e., a skill befitting men of low rank.
34A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
35How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
36. yeoman's: i.e., workman-like.
36It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
37. effect: purport.
37The effect of what I wrote?
37Ay, good my lord.
38An earnest conjuration from the king,
39As England was his faithful tributary,
40As love between them like the palm might flourish,
41-42. peace . . . amities: i.e., peace should always wear her garland of the bountiful harvest and always join together the loving friendship [of the kings]. ...more 43. 'As'es of great charge: i.e., important sounding statements beginning with 'as'.
41As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
42And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
43And many such-like 'As'es of great charge,
44That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
45Without debatement further, more or less,
46He should the bearers put to sudden death,
47. shriving-time: time for confession and absolution. It was customary for even the worst criminal to have shriving time before his execution.
47Not shriving-time allow'd.
47How was this seal'd?
48. ordinant: ordaining the outcome.
48Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
49. signet: signet ring. ...more
49I had my father's signet in my purse,
50. model: small copy. that Danish seal: i.e., the official royal seal. 51. folded ... other: i.e., folded the fake document in the same way as the official one. 52. Subscrib'd . . . impression: signed and sealed it. 52-53. placed ... known: i.e., put the changeling in the diplomatic pouch without anyone knowing the difference. ...more 54-55. what ... already: what happened afterwards you already know.
50Which was the model of that Danish seal;
51Folded the writ up in form of the other,
52Subscrib'd it, gave't the impression, placed it safely,
53The changeling never known. Now, the next day
54Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
55Thou know'st already.
56. go to't: i.e., are going to their death.
56So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
57Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
58. defeat: ruin.
58They are not near my conscience; their defeat
59. insinuation: winding their way into things.
59Does by their own insinuation grow:
60. baser: inferior.
60'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
61-62. Between the pass and fell incensed points / Of mighty opposites: Between the thrusts of the mortally angry swords of mighty opponents.
61Between the pass and fell incensed points
62Of mighty opposites.
62Why, what a king is this!
63. stand me now upon: i.e., rest upon me [as duty]. Hamlet's question isn't completed until line 68.
63Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon
64He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
65. election: The King of Denmark was elected. ...more
65Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
66. angle: hook and line. proper life: very life.
66Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
67. cozenage: trickery.
67And with such cozenageis't not perfect conscience,
68. quit him: pay him back.
68To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd,
69-70. canker of our nature: cancerous sore on human nature. come / In: grow into
69To let this canker of our nature come
70In further evil?
71It must be shortly known to him from England
72What is the issue of the business there.
73It will be short: the interim is mine;
74. a man's life's no more than to say "One": i.e., to kill a man takes no more time than to count to "one." ...more
74And a man's life's no more than to say "One."
75But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
76That to Laertes I forgot myself;
77-78. by . . . his: i.e., by thinking about my anger against King Claudius, I can understand Laertes' anger against me. ...more 79. bravery: melodramatic expression.
77For, by the image of my cause, I see
78The portraiture of his: I'll court his favours.
79But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
80Into a towering passion.
80Peace, who comes here?
Enter [OSRIC,] a courtier.
81Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
82I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?
83No, my good lord.
84. gracious: virtuous.
84Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to
85-87. let a beast . . . mess: i.e., if a beast owned as many cattle as Osric does, the beast could have his feed trough at the king's table. 87. chough: jackdaw. The jackdaw is a member of the crow family that can be taught a word or two. Hamlet's point about Osric is that Osric talks a lot of nonsense.
85know him. He hath much land, and fertile: let a
86beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at
87the king's mess: 'tis a chough; but, as I say,
88spacious in the possession of dirt.
89Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I
90should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
91I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of
92. bonnet: hat. I'm sure that the rich and silly Osric is trying to make a fashion statement with his hat. Maybe it was a Round Tipped Pleated Hat, which was a popular style about the time Hamlet was first put on stage.
92spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for
94I thank your lordship, it is very hot.
95No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is
97. indifferent: somewhat.
97It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
98But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot
99. complexion: temperament.
99for my complexion.
100Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultryas
101'twereI cannot tell how. But, my lord, his
102majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a
103great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter
104I beseech you, remember
[Hamlet motions him to put on his hat.]
105. for my ease: i.e., I am really more comfortable with my hat off.
105Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.
106Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes; believe
107. absolute: complete. 107-108. full of . . . showing: i.e., full of attractive distinguishing characteristics and having agreeable manners and a pleasant appearance. 109-110. card or calendar of gentry: chart or register of all gentlemanly qualities. 111. continent . . . see: i.e., the container of every quality a gentleman would admire in another gentleman.
107me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent
108differences, of very soft society and great showing:
109indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or
110calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the
111continent of what part a gentleman would see.
112. definement: definition. no perdition in you: i.e., no loss in your description. ...more 113. divide him inventorially: i.e., enumerate his graces. 114. dozy: make dizzy. yaw: continually wander off course. 115-117. But . . . article: but in the truth of praise, I take him to be a very notable personage. 117-118. his infusion ... rareness: his essential character of such scarceness and rareness. 118. make true diction: speak truly. 118-120. his semblable ... nothing more: his only likeness is to be found in his mirror, and anyone else who tries to be like him is merely his shadow, nothing more.
112Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;
113though, I know, to divide him inventorially would
114dozy the arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw
115neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the
116verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of
117great article; and his infusion of such dearth and
118rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his
119semblable is his mirror; and who else would trace
120him, his umbrage, nothing more.
121Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
122. concernancy: relevance.
122The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman
123. more rawer breath: i.e., words too crude. These three words are redundant in both sound and sense.
123in our more rawer breath?
125. Is't . . . tongue?: i.e., Is it not possible for you to understand the kind of language you use when someone else speaks it? 126. You ... really: i.e., you can understand what Hamlet is saying if you really try.
125Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?
126You will do't, sir, really.
127-128. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?: What is the significance of mentioning this gentleman?
127What imports the nomination of this
130His purse is empty already; all's golden words
132Of him, sir.
133I know you are not ignorant
134-135. I would ... approve me: I wish you did know that I am not ignorant, but if you did know that, it would not be to my credit. ...more
134I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did,
135it would not much approve me. Well, sir?
136You are not ignorant of what excellence
138-139. I should compare with him in excellence: i.e., I might be tempted to compare myself with him. 139-140. but . . . himself: This is usually explained as meaning, "for, to recognize excellence in another man, one must know oneself." ...more
138I dare not confess that, lest I should compare
139with him in excellence; but, to know a man
140well, were to know himself.
141-142. in the imputation laid on him by them: i.e., in popular opinion.
141I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the
142imputation laid on him by them, in his
143. meed: merit. unfellowed: unmatched.
143meed he's unfellowed.
144What's his weapon?
|Sword Girdle |
145Rapier and dagger.
146That's two of his weapons: but, well.
147The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
148. impawn'd: wagered.
148horses: against the which he has impawn'd, as I take
149. poniards: daggers.
149it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their
150. assigns: accessories. hangers: See image above. 151. carriages: See dialogue below. 151-152. very responsive to: matching well (in color and style) 153. liberal conceit: elegant design.
150assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: three of the
151carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very
152responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages,
153and of very liberal conceit.
154What call you the carriages?
155. must be edified by the margent: would require enlightenment from a marginal note.
155I knew you must be edified by the margent ere
156you had done.
157The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
158The phrase would be more german to the matter,
159if we could carry cannon by our sides: I would
160it might be hangers till then. But, on: six Barbary
161horses against six French swords, their assigns,
162and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the
163French bet against the Danish. Why is this "impawn'd,"
164as you call it?
165. laid: wagered. passes: rounds. ...more
165The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes
166between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you
167. he hath laid on twelve for nine: he is offering 4-3 odds.
167three hits: he hath laid on twelve for nine; and it
168would come to immediate trial, if your lordship
169. the answer: i.e., agreement to accept the offer of a fencing match with Laertes. However, in his reply ("How if I answer 'no'?") Hamlet uses the word "answer" in its more common sense.
169would vouchsafe the answer.
170How if I answer "no"?
171I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in
173Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please his
174. breathing time of day with me: my usual hour for exercise.
174majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me.
175Let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing,
176and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him
177. an: if.
177an I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame
178and the odd hits.
179Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?
180-181. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will: i.e., deliver my message, using whatever flourishes of language that appeal to your nature.
180To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature
182. commend my duty: Osric means, "offer my dutiful respects," but Hamlet makes fun of him by misinterpreting his words to mean "praise my own courtesy."
182I commend my duty to your lordship.
183Yours.He does well to commend it himself;
184. for's turn: for his turn; i.e., that will do him service.
184there are no tongues else for's turn.
185. lapwing: The lapwing is a bird that was thought to be so foolish that it would, when it was hatched, run about with its shell still on its head. Apparently Osric's hat looks a lot like an eggshell, as does the one in the picture at line 92.
185This lapwing runs away with the shell on his
187. 'A: he. This is slangy. comply with his dug: i.e., treat his mother's nipple with ceremonious politeness.
187'A did comply, sir, with his dug, before 'a sucked it.
188Thus has heand many more of the same breed
189. drossy: i.e., worthless, frivolous. ...more 190-193. out . . . opinions: from a certain habitual way of talking to people, [people such as Osric have gotten] a kind of frothy collection [of currently fashionable phrases], which enables them to sail through conversations with those who believe they have the most refined and correct opinions. 193-194. do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out: but just blow on them a little bit, to test them, and their bubbles are burst.
189that I know the drossy age dotes ononly got the
190tune of the time and, out of an habit of encounter,
191a kind of yesty collection, which carries them
192through and through the most fann'd and winnow'd
193opinions; and do but blow them to their trial,
194the bubbles are out.
Enter a LORD.
195My lord, his majesty commended him to you by
196young Osric, who brings back to him that you attend
197him in the hall: he sends to know if your pleasure
198hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer
200. I am constant to my purposes: I'm sticking to my intentions. 201-202. If his fitness speaks, mine is ready: i.e., if he's asking because this is a good time for him, it's a good time for me.
200I am constant to my purposes; they follow the
201king's pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is
202ready; now or whensoever, provided I be so
203able as now.
204The king and queen and all are coming down.
205. In happy time: i.e., I'm glad of it.
205In happy time.
206-207. use some gentle entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play: i.e., speak a few courteous words to Laertes before you begin the fencing match.
206The queen desires you to use some gentle
207entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.
208She well instructs me.
209You will lose, my lord.
210I do not think so: since he went into France, I
211have been in continual practice: I shall win at the
212odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here
213about my heart: but it is no matter.
214Nay, good my lord
215It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of
216. gain-giving: misgiving.
216gain-giving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.
217If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will
218forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit.
219-220. special providence in the fall of a sparrow: Jesus, encouraging his disciples to fear nothing in their evangelism, said, "Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father." (Matthew 10:29) 223-224. Since no man of aught he leaves knows what is't to leave betimes: i.e. since no man knows, by looking back on his life, what is the best time to leave his life.
219Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
220providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
221'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
222now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The
223readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves
224knows what is't to leave betimes, let be.
A table prepar'd, Trumpets, Drums, and
Officers: high-ranking servants.
Officers with cushions, foils, daggers;
KING, QUEEN, LAERTES, [OSRIC,]
and all the State.
225Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
[The King puts Laertes' hand into Hamlet's.]
226Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;
227But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
228. presence: assembled court.
228This presence knows,
229And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
230. sore distraction: i.e., madness.
230With a sore distraction. What I have done,
231. exception: disapproval, objection.
231That might your nature, honour and exception
232Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
233Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
234If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
235And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
236Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
237Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
238Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
239His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
240. in this audience: i.e., before everyone here.
240Sir, in this audience,
241. my disclaiming from a purposed evil: my declaration that I intended no harm. 242. Free: absolve.
241Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
242Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
243That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
244And hurt my brother.
244-246. I . . . revenge: i.e., your apology has satisfied my personal feelings, whose urgings, in this case (of Hamlet's killing of Laertes' father), should stir me the most to take revenge. 246. in my terms of honour: i.e., as a man who wants to be regarded as honorable. 247. will no reconcilement: i.e., am determined to deny any reconciliation. 248-250. Till . . . ungored: until by [the advice and example of] some experts [in the code of honor], who are widely acknowledged to be honorable, I have an authoritative opinion and precedent [which assure me that] I can keep my name free of injury.
244I am satisfied in nature,
245Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
246To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
247I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,
248Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
249I have a voice and precedent of peace,
250To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
251I do receive your offer'd love like love,
252And will not wrong it.
252I embrace it freely;
253. brothers' wager: friendly match. frankly: freely; i.e., without any suspicions or reservations.
253And will this brothers' wager frankly play.
254Give us the foils. Come on.
254Come, one for me.
255. foil: shiny sheet of metal placed behind a candle to make it shine brighter and give more light. in mine ignorance: i.e., in comparison to my lack of skill in fencing. 257. Stick fiery off: blaze out in contrast.
255I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance
256Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
257Stick fiery off indeed.
257You mock me, sir.
258No, by this hand.
259Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
260You know the wager?
260Very well, my lord
261. laid the odds: i.e. wagered a higher stake.
261Your grace hath laid the odds o' th' weaker side.
262I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
263. is better'd: has improved with practice.(?)
263But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.
264. This is too heavy, let me see another: I believe this must be Laertes' excuse to pick his own foil, the one that has a sharp point and is treated with poison.
264This is too heavy, let me see another.
265. likes: pleases. a length: the same length.
265This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
[They prepare to play.]
266Ay, my good lord.
267. stoups: tankards.
267Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
268If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
269. quit in answer of the third exchange: pay back Laertes' win in the third round ...more
269Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
270Let all the battlements their ordnance fire:
271The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
272. union: pearl.
272And in the cup an union shall he throw,
273Richer than that which four successive kings
274In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
275. kettle: kettle-drum.
275And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
276The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
277The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
278"Now the king drinks to Hamlet." Come, begin:
Trumpets the while.
279And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
280Come on, sir.
280Come, my lord.
[They play and Hamlet scores a hit.]
281A hit, a very palpable hit.
282Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
[He drops the pearl into Hamlet's cup.]
283Here's to thy health. Give him the cup.
Drum, trumpets [sound a] flourish. A piece
284I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.
[They play again.]
285Another hit; what say you?
286A touch, a touch, I do confess.
287Our son shall win.
287. fat: sweaty.
287He's fat, and scant of breath.
288. napkin: handkerchief.
288Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
289. carouses: drinks a toast. thy fortune: your good luck.
289The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
290Gertrude, do not drink.
291I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
292It is the poison'd cup: it is too late.
293I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
294Come, let me wipe thy face.
295My lord, I'll hit him now.
295I do not think't.
296And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.
297Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
298I pray you, pass with your best violence;
299. make a wanton of me: make a spoiled child of me. Hamlet is telling Laertes that he is sure that Laertes is coddling him.
299I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
300Say you so? come on.
[They play to a draw.]
301Nothing, neither way.
[Hamlet turns back to his mother.]
302Have at you now!
[Laertes wounds Hamlet; Hamlet
knocks Laertes' rapier from his hand
and picks it up.]
302Part them; they are incensed.
303Nay, come, again.
[Hamlet wounds Laertes. The Queen falls.]
303Look to the queen there, ho!
304They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?
305How is't, Laertes?
306. woodcock: a bird which was reputed to be very stupid. springe: trap.
306Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
307I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
308How does the queen?
308She swoons to see them bleed.
309No, no, the drink, the drinkO my dear Hamlet
310The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.
311O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd:
312Treachery! Seek it out.
313It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
314No medicine in the world can do thee good;
315In thee there is not half an hour of life;
316The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
317. Unbated: not blunted, sharp. foul practise: vile plot.
317Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practise
318Hath turn'd itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
319Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
320. I can no more: I can do or say nothing more.
320I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.
321The point envenom'd too!
322Then, venom, to thy work.
[Stabs the King.]
324O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
325Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
326Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
[Forces the poisoned drink down the
327Follow my mother.
327He is justly served;
328. temper'd: mixed.
328It is a poison temper'd by himself.
329Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
330Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
331Nor thine on me.
332. make thee free: absolve you.
332Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
333I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
334You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
335. mutes: silent spectators.
335That are but mutes or audience to this act,
336. fell: cruel. sergeant: sheriff's officer.
336Had I but timeas this fell sergeant, death,
337Is strict in his arrestO, I could tell you
338But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
339Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright
340. the unsatisfied: i.e., those who want satisfactory answers to questions about what has just happened. I'm guessing that Hamlet doesn't want to leave behind a reputation as a treasonous murderer.
340To the unsatisfied.
340Never believe it:
341. antique Roman: i.e., one who will commit suicide on such an occasion. (It was thought that Roman servants would commit suicide to follow their masters in death).
341I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
342Here's yet some liquor left.
342As thou'rt a man,
343Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't.
344O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
345Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
346If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
347Absent thee from felicity awhile,
348And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
349To tell my story.
March afar off [and a shot within].
349What warlike noise is this?
350Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
351To the ambassadors of England gives
352This warlike volley.
352O, I die, Horatio;
353. o'er-crows: triumphs over. The term is derived from cockfighting.
353The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
354I cannot live to hear the news from England;
355But I do prophesy the election lights
356. voice: support, vote.
356On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
357-358. the occurrents, more and less, / Which have solicited: the occurrences, big and small, which have motivated [what just happened]. Hamlet is urging Horatio to tell the whole story, and I suppose that to Hamlet the most important element is the fact that King Claudius murdered Hamlet's father.
357So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
358Which have solicited. The rest is silence.
359Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
360And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
361Why does the drum come hither?
Enter FORTINBRAS with the
362Where is this sight?
362What is it ye would see?
363If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.
364. This quarry cries on havoc: this heap of corpses proclaims a massacre. 365. toward: in preparation.
364This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
365What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
366That thou so many princes at a shot
367So bloodily hast struck?
367The sight is dismal;
368And our affairs from England come too late:
369. senseless: i.e., deaf.
369The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
370To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd,
371That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
372Where should we have our thanks?
372. his: i.e., the King's.
372Not from his mouth,
373Had it the ability of life to thank you:
374He never gave commandment for their death.
375. jump: precisely. this bloody question: this bloody dispute.
375But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
376You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
377Are here arriv'd, give order that these bodies
378. stage: platform.
378High on a stage be placed to the view;
379And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
380How these things came about. So shall you hear
381Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
382. judgments: retributions. casual: happening by chance.
382Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
383. put on: instigated. forced cause: pretended justification. 384-385. purposes mistook / Fall'n on th' inventors' heads: i.e., plots misfiring and blowing up in the faces of the plotters. An example of what Horatio is talking about is that Laertes died from the poison that he put on his own sword.
383Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
384And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
385Fall'n on th' inventors' heads: all this can I
386Let us haste to hear it,
387. And call the noblest to the audience: and ask the most noble people to listen. ...more
387And call the noblest to the audience.
388For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
389. of memory: still living within men's memory.
389I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
390. vantage: i.e., best legal claim to the throne of Denmark.
390Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.
391-392. Of . . . more: i.e., I will also have reason to speak of the justice of Fortinbras' claim to the throne, and strengthen that claim with the support of Hamlet, whose support will garner the support of others. 393. let this same be presently perform'd: i.e., the honor to be done to Hamlet's body, and the delivery of Horatio's speech should be immediately performed. 394. wild: distraught, full of confusion.
391Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
392And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more;
393But let this same be presently perform'd,
394Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
395On plots and errors, happen.
395Let four captains
396Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
397. been put on: been put to the test (by becoming king).
397For he was likely, had he been put on,
398. prov'd: proved to be. passage: death.
398To have prov'd most royal: and, for his passage,
399The soldiers' music and the rites of war
400Speak loudly for him.
401Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
402. Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss: befits the battlefield, but here is out of place.
402Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
403Go, bid the soldiers shoot.