Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Not Peer Reviewed

Hamlet (Quarto 2, 1604)


Enter King and Laertes.
King. Now must your conscience my acquittance seale,
And you must put me in your hart for friend,
Sith you haue heard and with a knowing eare,
3010That he which hath your noble father slaine
Pursued my life.
Laer. It well appeares: but tell mee
Why you proceede not against these feates
So criminall and so capitall in nature,
3015As by your safetie, greatnes, wisdome, all things els
You mainely were stirr'd vp.
King. O for two speciall reasons
Which may to you perhaps seeme much vnsinnow'd,
But yet to mee tha'r strong, the Queene his mother
3020Liues almost by his lookes, and for my selfe,
My vertue or my plague, be it eyther which,
She is so concliue to my life and soule,
That as the starre mooues not but in his sphere
I could not but by her, the other motiue,
3025Why to a publique count I might not goe,
Is the great loue the generall gender beare him,
Who dipping all his faults in theyr affection,
Worke like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Conuert his Giues to graces, so that my arrowes
3030Too slightly tymberd for so loued Arm'd,
Would haue reuerted to my bowe againe,
But not where I haue aym'd them.
Laer. And so haue I a noble father lost,
A sister driuen into desprat termes,
3035Whose worth, if prayses may goe backe againe
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections, but my reuenge will come.
King. Breake not your sleepes for that, you must not thinke
3040That we are made of stuffe so flat and dull,
That we can let our beard be shooke with danger,
And thinke it pastime, you shortly shall heare more,
I loued your father, and we loue our selfe,
And that I hope will teach you to imagine.
3045
Enter a Messenger with Letters.
Messen. These to your Maiestie, this to the Queene.
King. From Hamlet, who brought them?
3050Mess. Saylers my Lord they say, I saw them not,
They were giuen me by Claudio, he receiued them
3051.1Of him that brought them.
King. Laertes you shall heare them: leaue vs.
High and mighty, you shall know I am set naked on your kingdom,
3055to morrow shall I begge leaue to see your kingly eyes, when I shal first
asking you pardon, there-vnto recount the occasion of my suddaine
returne.
King. What should this meane, are all the rest come backe,
3060Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Laer. Know you the hand?
King. Tis Hamlets caracter. Naked,
And in a postscript heere he sayes alone,
Can you deuise me?
Laer. I am lost in it my Lord, but let him come,
3065It warmes the very sicknes in my hart
That I liue and tell him to his teeth
Thus didst thou.
King. If it be so Laertes,
As how should it be so, how otherwise,
Will you be rul'd by me?
3070Laer. I my Lord, so you will not ore-rule me to a peace.
King. To thine owne peace, if he be now returned
As the King at his voyage, and that he meanes
No more to vndertake it, I will worke him
To an exployt, now ripe in my deuise,
3075Vnder the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
But euen his Mother shall vncharge the practise,
And call it accedent.
3078.1Laer. My Lord I will be rul'd,
The rather if you could deuise it so
That I might be the organ.
King. It falls right,
.5You haue beene talkt of since your trauaile much,
And that in Hamlets hearing, for a qualitie
Wherein they say you shine, your summe of parts
Did not together plucke such enuie from him
As did that one, and that in my regard
.10Of the vnworthiest siedge.
Laer. What part is that my Lord?
King. A very ribaud in the cap of youth,
Yet needfull to, for youth no lesse becomes
The light and carelesse liuery that it weares
.15Then setled age, his sables, and his weedes
Importing health and grauenes; two months since
Heere was a gentleman of Normandy,
3080I haue seene my selfe, and seru'd against the French,
And they can well on horsebacke, but this gallant
Had witch-craft in't, he grew vnto his seate,
And to such wondrous dooing brought his horse,
As had he beene incorp'st, and demy natur'd
3085With the braue beast, so farre he topt me thought,
That I in forgerie of shapes and tricks
Come short of what he did.
Laer. A Norman wast?
King. A Norman.
3090Laer. Vppon my life Lamord.
King. The very same.
Laer. I know him well, he is the brooch indeed
And Iem of all the Nation.
King. He made confession of you,
3095And gaue you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your Rapier most especiall,
That he cride out t'would be a sight indeed
If one could match you; the Scrimures of their nation
3099.1He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you opposd them; sir this report of his
3100Did Hamlet so enuenom with his enuy,
That he could nothing doe but wish and beg
Your sodaine comming ore to play with you.
Now out of this.
Laer. What out of this my Lord?
3105King. Laertes was your father deare to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrowe,
A face without a hart?
Laer. Why aske you this?
King. Not that I thinke you did not loue your father,
3110But that I knowe, loue is begunne by time,
And that I see in passages of proofe,
Time qualifies the sparke and fire of it,
3112.1There liues within the very flame of loue
A kind of weeke or snufe that will abate it,
And nothing is at a like goodnes still,
For goodnes growing to a plurisie,
.5Dies in his owne too much, that we would doe
We should doe when we would: for this would changes,
And hath abatements and delayes as many,
As there are tongues, are hands, are accedents,
And then this should is like a spend thirfts sigh,
.10That hurts by easing; but to the quick of th'vlcer,
Hamlet comes back, what would you vndertake
To showe your selfe indeede your fathers sonne
3115More then in words?
Laer. To cut his thraot i'th Church.
King. No place indeede should murther sanctuarise,
Reuendge should haue no bounds: but good Laertes
Will you doe this, keepe close within your chamber,
3120Hamlet return'd, shall knowe you are come home,
Weele put on those shall praise your excellence,
And set a double varnish on the fame
The french man gaue you, bring you in fine together
And wager ore your heads; he being remisse,
3125Most generous, and free from all contriuing,
Will not peruse the foyles, so that with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword vnbated, and in a pace of practise
Requite him for your Father.
3130Laer. I will doo't,
And for purpose, Ile annoynt my sword.
I bought an vnction of a Mountibanck
So mortall, that but dippe a knife in it,
Where it drawes blood, no Cataplasme so rare,
3135Collected from all simples that haue vertue
Vnder the Moone, can saue the thing from death
That is but scratcht withall, Ile tutch my point
With this contagion, that if I gall him slightly, it may be death.
3140King. Lets further thinke of this.
Wey what conuenience both of time and meanes
May fit vs to our shape if this should fayle,
And that our drift looke through our bad performance,
Twere better not assayd, therefore this proiect,
3145Should haue a back or second that might hold
If this did blast in proofe; soft let me see,
Wee'le make a solemne wager on your cunnings,
I hate, when in your motion you are hote and dry,
As make your bouts more violent to that end,
3150And that he calls for drinke, Ile haue prefard him
A Challice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
If he by chaunce escape your venom'd stuck,
Our purpose may hold there; but stay, what noyse?
Enter Queene.
3155Quee. One woe doth tread vpon anothers heele,
So fast they follow; your Sisters drownd Laertes.
Laer. Drown'd, ô where?
Quee. There is a Willow growes ascaunt the Brooke
That showes his horry leaues in the glassy streame,
3160Therewith fantastique garlands did she make
Of Crowflowers, Nettles, Daises, and long Purples
That liberall Shepheards giue a grosser name,
But our cull-cold maydes doe dead mens fingers call them.
There on the pendant boughes her cronet weedes
3165Clambring to hang, an enuious sliuer broke,
When downe her weedy trophies and her selfe
Fell in the weeping Brooke, her clothes spred wide,
And Marmaide like awhile they bore her vp,
Which time she chaunted snatches of old laudes,
3170As one incapable of her owne distresse,
Or like a creature natiue and indewed
Vnto that elament, but long it could not be
Till that her garments heauy with theyr drinke,
Puld the poore wretch from her melodious lay
3175To muddy death.
Laer. Alas, then she is drownd.
Quee. Drownd, drownd.
Laer. Too much of water hast thou poore Ophelia,
And therefore I forbid my teares; but yet
3180It is our tricke, nature her custome holds,
Let shame say what it will, when these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adiew my Lord,
I haue a speech a fire that faine would blase,
But that this folly drownes it.
Exit.
3185King. Let's follow Gertrard,
How much I had to doe to calme his rage,
Now feare I this will giue it start againe,
Therefore lets follow.
Exeunt.