Hamlet: Act 5, Scene 2

           Enter HAMLET and HORATIO.  Full Summary

  1   So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
  2   You do remember all the circumstance?

  3   Remember it, my lord?

  4   Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,
  5   That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
  6   Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly—
  7   And praised be rashness for it—let us know,
  8   Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
  9   When our deep plots do pall: and that should learn us
 10   There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
 11   Rough-hew them how we will—

 11                                         That is most certain.

 12   Up from my cabin,
 13   My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
 14   Groped I to find out them; had my desire.
 15   Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
 16   To mine own room again; making so bold,
 17   My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
 18   Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio—
 19   O royal knavery!—an exact command,
 20   Larded with many several sorts of reasons
 21   Importing Denmark's health and England's too,
 22   With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
 23   That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
 24   No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
 25   My head should be struck off.

 25                                            Is't possible?

 26   Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
 27   But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?

 28   I beseech you.

 29   Being thus be-netted round with villanies—
 30   Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
 31   They had begun the play—I sat me down,
 32   Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
 33   I once did hold it, as our statists do,
 34   A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
 35   How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
 36   It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
 37   The effect of what I wrote?

 37                                             Ay, good my lord.

 38   An earnest conjuration from the king,
 39   As England was his faithful tributary,
 40   As love between them like the palm might flourish,
 41   As peace should still her wheaten garland wear
 42   And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
 43   And many such-like 'As'es of great charge,
 44   That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
 45   Without debatement further, more or less,
 46   He should the bearers put to sudden death,
 47   Not shriving-time allow'd.

 47                                        How was this seal'd?

 48   Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
 49   I had my father's signet in my purse,
 50   Which was the model of that Danish seal;
 51   Folded the writ up in form of the other,
 52   Subscrib'd it, gave't the impression, placed it safely,
 53   The changeling never known. Now, the next day
 54   Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
 55   Thou know'st already.

 56   So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

 57   Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
 58   They are not near my conscience; their defeat
 59   Does by their own insinuation grow:
 60   'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
 61   Between the pass and fell incensed points
 62   Of mighty opposites.

 62                                   Why, what a king is this!

 63   Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon—
 64   He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
 65   Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
 66   Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
 67   And with such cozenage—is't not perfect conscience,
 68   To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd,
 69   To let this canker of our nature come
 70   In further evil?

 71   It must be shortly known to him from England
 72   What is the issue of the business there.

 73   It will be short: the interim is mine;
 74   And a man's life's no more than to say "One."
 75   But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
 76   That to Laertes I forgot myself;
 77   For, by the image of my cause, I see
 78   The portraiture of his: I'll court his favours.
 79   But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
 80   Into a towering passion.

 80                                        Peace, who comes here?

           Enter [OSRIC,] a courtier.  Full Summary

 81   Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

 82   I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?

 83   No, my good lord.

 84   Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to
 85   know him. He hath much land, and fertile: let a
 86   beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at
 87   the king's mess: 'tis a chough; but, as I say,
 88   spacious in the possession of dirt.

 89   Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I
 90   should impart a thing to you from his majesty.

 91   I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of
 92   spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for
 93   the head.

 94   I thank your lordship, it is very hot.

 95   No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is
 96   northerly.

 97   It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

 98   But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot
 99   for my complexion.

100   Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry—as
101   'twere—I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his
102   majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a
103   great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter—

104   I beseech you, remember—

           [Hamlet motions him to put on his hat.]

105   Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.
106   Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes; believe
107   me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent
108   differences, of very soft society and great showing:
109   indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or
110   calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the
111   continent of what part a gentleman would see.

112   Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;
113   though, I know, to divide him inventorially would
114   dozy the arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw
115   neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the
116   verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of
117   great article; and his infusion of such dearth and
118   rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his
119   semblable is his mirror; and who else would trace
120   him, his umbrage, nothing more.

121   Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

122   The concernancy, sir? Why do we wrap the gentleman
123   in our more rawer breath?

124   Sir?

125   Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?
126   You will do't, sir, really.

127   What imports the nomination of this
128   gentleman?

129   Of Laertes?

130   His purse is empty already; all's golden words
131   are spent.

132   Of him, sir.

133   I know you are not ignorant—

134   I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did,
135   it would not much approve me. Well, sir?

136   You are not ignorant of what excellence
137   Laertes is—

138   I dare not confess that, lest I should compare
139   with him in excellence; but, to know a man
140   well, were to know himself.

141   I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the
142   imputation laid on him by them, in his
143   meed he's unfellowed.

144   What's his weapon?

145   Rapier and dagger.

146   That's two of his weapons: but, well.

147   The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
148   horses: against the which he has impawn'd, as I take
149   it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their
150   assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: three of the
151   carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very
152   responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages,
153   and of very liberal conceit.

154   What call you the carriages?

155   I knew you must be edified by the margent ere
156   you had done.

157   The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

158   The phrase would be more german to the matter,
159   if we could carry cannon by our sides: I would
160   it might be hangers till then. But, on: six Barbary
161   horses against six French swords, their assigns,
162   and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the
163   French bet against the Danish. Why is this "impawn'd,"
164   as you call it?

165   The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes
166   between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you
167   three hits: he hath laid on twelve for nine; and it
168   would come to immediate trial, if your lordship
169   would vouchsafe the answer.

170   How if I answer "no"?

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

173   Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please his
174   majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me.
175   Let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing,
176   and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him
177   an I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame
178   and the odd hits.

179   Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?

180   To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature
181   will.

182   I commend my duty to your lordship.

           [Exit Osric.]

183   Yours.—He does well to commend it himself;
184   there are no tongues else for's turn.

185   This lapwing runs away with the shell on his
186   head.

187   'A did comply, sir, with his dug, before 'a sucked it.
188   Thus has he—and many more of the same breed
189   that I know the drossy age dotes on—only got the
190   tune of the time and, out of an habit of encounter,
191   a kind of yesty collection, which carries them
192   through and through the most fann'd and winnow'd
193   opinions; and do but blow them to their trial,
194   the bubbles are out.

           Enter a LORD.

195   My lord, his majesty commended him to you by
196   young Osric, who brings back to him that you attend
197   him in the hall: he sends to know if your pleasure
198   hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer
199   time.

200   I am constant to my purposes; they follow the
201   king's pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is
202   ready; now or whensoever, provided I be so
203   able as now.

204   The king and queen and all are coming down.

205   In happy time.

206   The queen desires you to use some gentle
207   entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.

208   She well instructs me.

           [Exit Lord.]

209   You will lose, my lord.

210   I do not think so: since he went into France, I
211   have been in continual practice: I shall win at the
212   odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here
213   about my heart: but it is no matter.

214   Nay, good my lord—

215   It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of
216   gain-giving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.

217   If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will
218   forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit.

219   Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
220   providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
221   'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
222   now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The
223   readiness is all. Since no man of aught he leaves knows
224   what is't to leave betimes, let be.

           A table prepar'd, Trumpets, Drums, and Officers with        
           cushions, foils, daggers; KING, QUEEN, LAERTES,
***        [OSRIC,] and all the State.  Full Summary

225   Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

           [The King puts Laertes' hand into Hamlet's.]

226   Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;
227   But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
228   This presence knows,
229   And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
230   With a sore distraction. What I have done,
231   That might your nature, honour and exception
232   Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
233   Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
234   If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
235   And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
236   Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
237   Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
238   Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
239   His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
240   Sir, in this audience,
241   Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
242   Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
243   That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
244   And hurt my brother.

244                                   I am satisfied in nature,
245   Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
246   To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
247   I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,
248   Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
249   I have a voice and precedent of peace,
250   To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
251   I do receive your offer'd love like love,
252   And will not wrong it.

252                                       I embrace it freely;
253   And will this brothers' wager frankly play.
254   Give us the foils. Come on.

254                                            Come, one for me.

255   I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance
256   Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
257   Stick fiery off indeed.

257                                       You mock me, sir.

258   No, by this hand.

259   Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
260   You know the wager?

260                                   Very well, my lord
261   Your grace hath laid the odds o' th' weaker side.

262   I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
263   But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.

264   This is too heavy, let me see another.

265   This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

           [They prepare to play.]

266   Ay, my good lord.

267   Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
268   If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
269   Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
270   Let all the battlements their ordnance fire:
271   The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
272   And in the cup an union shall he throw,
273   Richer than that which four successive kings
274   In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
275   And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
276   The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
277   The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
278   "Now the king drinks to Hamlet." Come, begin:

           Trumpets the while.

279   And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

280   Come on, sir.

280                         Come, my lord.

           [They play and Hamlet scores a hit.]

280                                                  One.

280                                                            No.

280                                                                    Judgment.

281   A hit, a very palpable hit.

281                                          Well; again.

282   Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;

           [He drops the pearl into Hamlet's cup.]

283   Here's to thy health. Give him the cup.

***        Drum, trumpets [sound a] flourish. A piece
           goes off.

284   I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.

           [They play again.]

285   Another hit; what say you?

286   A touch, a touch, I do confess.

287   Our son shall win.

287                                   He's fat, and scant of breath.
288   Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
289   The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

290   Good madam!

290                            Gertrude, do not drink.

291   I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

      KING [Aside.]
292   It is the poison'd cup: it is too late.

293   I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.

294   Come, let me wipe thy face.

295   My lord, I'll hit him now.

295                                           I do not think't.

      LAERTES [Aside.]
296   And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.

297   Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
298   I pray you, pass with your best violence;
299   I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

300   Say you so? come on.

           [They play to a draw.]

301   Nothing, neither way.

           [Hamlet turns back to his mother.]

302   Have at you now!

           [Laertes wounds Hamlet; Hamlet
           knocks Laertes' rapier from his hand
           and picks it up.]

302                               Part them; they are incensed.

303   Nay, come, again.

           [Hamlet wounds Laertes. The Queen falls.]

303                                 Look to the queen there, ho!

304   They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?

305   How is't, Laertes?

306   Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
307   I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

308   How does the queen?

308                                    She swoons to see them bleed.

309   No, no, the drink, the drink—O my dear Hamlet—
310   The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.


311   O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd:
312   Treachery! Seek it out.

313   It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
314   No medicine in the world can do thee good;
315   In thee there is not half an hour of life;
316   The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
317   Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practise
318   Hath turn'd itself on me. Lo, here I lie,
319   Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
320   I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.

321   The point envenom'd too!
322   Then, venom, to thy work.

           [Stabs the King.]

323   Treason! treason!

324   O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.

325   Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
326   Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?

           [Forces the poisoned drink down the
           King's throat.]

327   Follow my mother.

           [King dies.]

327                                He is justly served;
328   It is a poison temper'd by himself.
329   Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
330   Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
331   Nor thine on me.


332   Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
333   I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
334   You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
335   That are but mutes or audience to this act,
336   Had I but time—as this fell sergeant, death,
337   Is strict in his arrest—O, I could tell you—
338   But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
339   Thou livest. Report me and my cause aright
340   To the unsatisfied.

340                                  Never believe it:
341   I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
342   Here's yet some liquor left.

342                                As thou'rt a man,
343   Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't.
344   O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
345   Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
346   If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
347   Absent thee from felicity awhile,
348   And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
349   To tell my story.

           March afar off [and a shot within].

349                                What warlike noise is this?

350   Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
351   To the ambassadors of England gives
352   This warlike volley.

352                                   O, I die, Horatio;
353   The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
354   I cannot live to hear the news from England;
355   But I do prophesy the election lights
356   On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
357   So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
358   Which have solicited. The rest is silence.


359   Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
360   And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

           [March within.]

361   Why does the drum come hither?

           Enter FORTINBRAS with the
           [English] Ambassadors.  Full Summary

362   Where is this sight?

362                                      What is it ye would see?
363   If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

364   This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
365   What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
366   That thou so many princes at a shot
367   So bloodily hast struck?

367                                       The sight is dismal;
368   And our affairs from England come too late:
369   The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
370   To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd,
371   That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
372   Where should we have our thanks?

372                                   Not from his mouth,
373   Had it the ability of life to thank you:
374   He never gave commandment for their death.
375   But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
376   You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
377   Are here arriv'd, give order that these bodies
378   High on a stage be placed to the view;
379   And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
380   How these things came about. So shall you hear
381   Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
382   Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
383   Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
384   And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
385   Fall'n on th' inventors' heads: all this can I
386   Truly deliver.

386                               Let us haste to hear it,
387   And call the noblest to the audience.
388   For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
389   I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
390   Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

391   Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
392   And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more;
393   But let this same be presently perform'd,
394   Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
395   On plots and errors, happen.

395                                             Let four captains
396   Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
397   For he was likely, had he been put on,
398   To have prov'd most royal: and, for his passage,
399   The soldiers' music and the rites of war
400   Speak loudly for him.
401   Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
402   Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
403   Go, bid the soldiers shoot.