Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

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.
  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. the mutines in the bilboes: rebels in shackles.  Rashly: on impulse. 7. know: recognize.
  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. pall: fail.  learn: teach.
  9   When 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.
 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  . . .  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.
 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: 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.
 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: relating to.
 21   Importing 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.
 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—
30-31. Or  . . .  play: i.e., before I could consciously pose the problem to my brain, it had started working on a plan.
 30   Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
 31   They had begun the play—I sat me down,
32. fair: i.e., with clear handwriting (such as a professional scribe would use). 33. statists: statesmen, public officials.
 32   Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
 33   I once did hold it, as our statists do,
34. A baseness: i.e., a skill befitting men of low rank.
 34   A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
 35   How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
36. yeoman's: i.e., workman-like.
 36   It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
37. effect: purport.
 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,
41-42. 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'.
 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. shriving-time: time for confession and absolution. —It was customary for even the worst criminal to have shriving time before his execution.
 47   Not shriving-time allow'd.

 47                                        How was this seal'd?

48. ordinant: ordaining the outcome.
 48   Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
49. signet: signet ring. ...more
 49   I 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.
 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. go to't: i.e., are going to their death.
 56   So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

 57   Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
58. defeat: ruin.
 58   They are not near my conscience; their defeat
59. insinuation: winding their way into things.
 59   Does 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.
 61   Between the pass and fell incensed points
 62   Of mighty opposites.

 62                                   Why, 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.
 63   Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon—
 64   He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
65. election: —The King of Denmark was elected. ...more
 65   Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
66. angle: hook and line.  proper life: very life.
 66   Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
67. cozenage: trickery.
 67   And with such cozenage—is't not perfect conscience,
68. quit him: pay him back.
 68   To 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
 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. 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
 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;
77-78. by  . . .  his: i.e., by thinking about my anger against King Claudius, I can understand Laertes' anger against me. ...more 79. bravery: melodramatic expression.
 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.

 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. gracious: virtuous.
 84   Thy 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.
 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. 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.
 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. indifferent: somewhat.
 97   It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

 98   But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot
99. complexion: temperament.
 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. for my ease: i.e., I am really more comfortable with my hat off.
105   Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.
106   Sir, 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.
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. 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.
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. concernancy: relevance.
122   The 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.
123   in our more rawer breath?

124   Sir?

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

127-128. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?: What is the significance of mentioning this gentleman?
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—

134-135. 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
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—

138-139. 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
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.

141-142. in the imputation laid on him by them: i.e., in popular opinion.
141   I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the
142   imputation laid on him by them, in his
143. meed: merit. unfellowed: unmatched.
143   meed he's unfellowed.

144   What's his weapon?

Sword Girdle

Image Source:
145   Rapier and dagger.

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

147   The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
148. impawn'd: wagered.
148   horses: against the which he has impawn'd, as I take
149. poniards: daggers.
149   it, 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.
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. must be edified by the margent: would require enlightenment from a marginal note.
155   I knew you must be edified by the margent ere
156   you had done.

157   The carriages, sir, are the hangers.


Image source:
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. laid: wagered. passes: rounds.  ...more
165   The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes
166   between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you
167. he hath laid on twelve for nine: he is offering 4-3 odds.
167   three hits: he hath laid on twelve for nine; and it
168   would 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.
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. breathing time of day with me: my usual hour for exercise.
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: if.
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?

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

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."
182   I commend my duty to your lordship.

           [Exit Osric.]

183   Yours.—He does well to commend it himself;
184. for's turn: for his turn; i.e., that will do him service.
184   there 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.
185   This lapwing runs away with the shell on his
186   head.

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.
188   Thus has he—and 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.
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: 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.
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: i.e., I'm glad of it.
205   In 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.
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: misgiving.
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.

219-220. 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.
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
224   knows what is't to leave betimes, let be.

           A table prepar'd, Trumpets, Drums, and
Officers: high-ranking servants.
           Officers with cushions, foils, daggers;
State: nobles.
           and all the State.

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. presence: assembled court.
228   This presence knows,
229   And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
230. sore distraction: i.e., madness.
230   With a sore distraction. What I have done,
231. exception: disapproval, objection.
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. in this audience: i.e., before everyone here.
240   Sir, in this audience,
241. my disclaiming from a purposed evil: my declaration that I intended no harm. 242. Free: absolve.
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.

244-246. 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.
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. brothers' wager: friendly match.  frankly: freely; i.e., without any suspicions or reservations.
253   And will this brothers' wager frankly play.
254   Give us the foils. Come on.

254                                            Come, 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.
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. laid the odds: i.e. wagered a higher stake.
261   Your grace hath laid the odds o' th' weaker side.

262   I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
263. is better'd: has improved with practice.(?)
263   But 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.
264   This is too heavy, let me see another.

265. likes: pleases. a length: the same length.
265   This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

           [They prepare to play.]

266   Ay, my good lord.

267. stoups: tankards.
267   Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
268   If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
269. quit in answer of the third exchange: pay back Laertes' win in the third round ...more
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. union: pearl.
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. kettle: kettle-drum.
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.

piece: cannon.
           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. fat: sweaty.
287                                   He's fat, and scant of breath.
288. napkin: handkerchief.
288   Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
289. carouses: drinks a toast.  thy fortune: your good luck.
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. make a wanton of me: make a spoiled child of me. —Hamlet is telling Laertes that he is sure that Laertes is coddling him.
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. woodcock: a bird which was reputed to be very stupid. springe: trap.
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: not blunted, sharp. foul practise: vile plot.
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: I can do or say nothing more.
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. temper'd: mixed.
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. make thee free: absolve you.
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. mutes: silent spectators.
335   That are but mutes or audience to this act,
336. fell: cruel. sergeant: sheriff's officer.
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. 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.

340   To the unsatisfied.

340                                  Never 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).
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. o'er-crows: triumphs over.  —The term is derived from cockfighting.
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. voice: support, vote.
356   On 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.
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.

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: this heap of corpses proclaims a massacre. 365. toward: in preparation.
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. senseless: i.e., deaf.
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. his: i.e., the King's.
372                                   Not from his mouth,
373   Had it the ability of life to thank you:
374   He never gave commandment for their death.
375. jump: precisely. this bloody question: this bloody dispute.
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. stage: platform.
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. judgments: retributions. casual: happening by chance.
382   Of 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.
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: and ask the most noble people to listen. ...more
387   And call the noblest to the audience.
388   For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
389. of memory: still living within men's memory.
389   I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
390. vantage: i.e., best legal claim to the throne of Denmark.
390   Which 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.
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. been put on: been put to the test (by becoming king).
397   For he was likely, had he been put on,
398. prov'd: proved to be.  passage: death.
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: befits the battlefield, but here is out of place.
402   Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
403   Go, bid the soldiers shoot.