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  • Title: Der bestrafte Brudermord (Fratricide Punished)
  • Author: Anonymous
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • General textual editors: James D. Mardock, Eric Rasmussen
  • Associate textual editor: Donald Bailey
  • Coordinating editor: Michael Best
  • Associate coordinating editor: Janelle Jenstad

  • Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: Anonymous
    Editor: David Bevington
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Der bestrafte Brudermord (Fratricide Punished)

    1Prologue
    Night
    (From above) I am the sable Night; all sleepers feel my might.
    Of Orpheus I am the wife; in vicious pleasures I am rife.
    I am guardian of the thief, and the bringer relief to lovers.
    5I am the sable Night, and have it in my might
    To do all wickedness and cause mankind to rue.
    My mantle hides the face of every whore's disgrace.
    Ere Phoebus' light shall flame, I shall begin a game.
    You offspring of my heart, daughters of lust, come start,
    10You Furies; up arise, and let yourselves appear;
    Come diligently learn what soon must happen here.
    Alecto
    What says dark Night, the Queen of midnight still?
    What is there new? What's your desire and will?
    Maegera
    Hotfoot from Acheron's pit Maegera stands
    15To hear, Witch of Ill Fate, thy sweet commands.
    Thisiphone
    Thisiphone I; what hast in mind? now say
    Black Hecate, how to serve thee best I may.
    Night
    Hearken, all ye three Furies, hear! Offspring of darkness, bearers of all misfortune, listen to your poppy-crowned Queen of Night, protectress of thieves and robbers, friend and light to the incendiary, lover of stolen goods, and most-beloved goddess of all dishonorable loves, how often will my evil altar be honored for this deed! This night and during the coming day you must assist me, for the king of this realm burns in lust for his brother's wife, for whose sake he has murdered him that he may possess her and the kingdom. Now is the hour at hand in which he will celebrate his nuptials with her. I shall throw my mantle over them so that they see not their sin. Wherefore be ready to sow the seeds of discord, mix poison into their marriage and jealousy into their hearts. Kindle a fire of revenge, and make its sparks fly throughout the kingdom, entangle blood-brothers in the snare of incest, rejoice the infernal regions with deeds of ruthless and rancorous malice; be gone, hasten and fulfill my behests.
    Thisiphone
    Enough. I've heard; I'll finish, quickly too,
    20More than Night by herself could plan to do.
    Maegera
    Pluto himself can not inspire in me
    More ill than men shall very shortly see.
    Alecto
    I fan the sparks, and make the fire to burn.
    Within two days, all joy I'll overturn.
    25Night
    Then haste; I now ascend; your tasks attend!
    [Night ascends. Music.]
    1.1
    [Enter] two Soldiers, [meeting].
    1 Sentinel
    Who goes there?
    302 Sentinel
    A friend.
    1 Sentinel
    What friend?
    2 Sentinel
    The sentinel.
    1 Sentinel
    Oho! Comrade, you come to relieve me. I hope the hours may not seem as long for you as they have been for me.
    2 Sentinel
    Nay, comrade, it's not so very cold now.
    351 Sentinel
    Cold or no, I have had an infernal fright.
    2 Sentinel
    How now, chicken-hearted? That is not right for a soldier; he must fear neither friend nor foe, nay, not the devil himself.
    1 Sentinel
    Well, if he once grip you by the short hairs you'll learn quickly enough to say the Miserere Domine.
    2 Sentinel
    Why, what is it that has frightened you?
    1 Sentinel
    Know then that a ghost has appeared on the platform of the castle. Twice it tried to cast me down from the battlements.
    402 Sentinel
    Run along, fool; a dead dog does not bite. I shall soon see whether a ghost that has neither flesh nor bones can do me any harm.
    1 Sentinel
    Just see if the trouble he gives you makes you see otherwise. I am going to the guard-house. Farewell.
    Exit.
    2 Sentinel
    Off with you, then. — Perhaps you were born on a Sunday; all such people can see ghosts. I must attend to my guard duty.
    Healths are drunk within, to a flourish of trumpets.
    452 Sentinel
    Our new King makes merry; they are drinking healths.
    1.2
    The Ghost of the King, [entering], approaches the Sentinel and startles him. [Then] Exit.
    2 Sentinel
    Oh! Saint Anthony of Padua, defend me! Now I see for the first time what my comrade was talking about. Oh! Saint Velten, if the first round of this night's watch were over I'd quit my post like any rogue.
    Another flourish of drums and kettledrums.
    502 Sentinel
    Oh, for a draught of wine from the King's table to damp down my fearful, cowardly heart!
    The Ghost gives the Sentinel a box on the ear from behind, and makes him drop his musket. Exit.
    2 Sentinel
    The devil himself is in this game. Oh! I'm too afraid to move from the spot.
    1.3
    [Enter] Horatio and Soldiers.
    552 Sentinel
    Who's there?
    Horatio
    The watch.
    2 Sentinel
    Which?
    Horatio
    The first.
    2 Sentinel
    Stand, watch. Corporal, step forward! Present arms!
    60Francisco and the watch step forward and give the password from the other side.
    Horatio
    Sentinel, look well to your post. Maybe the Prince himself will go the rounds. See to it that be not found asleep on watch; otherwise it might cost you the best head on your shoulders.
    2 Sentinel
    Oh! Even if the whole company were here, not a man amongst them would sleep at his post. I must be relieved, or I'll run for it at the risk of hanging tomorrow on the highest gallows.
    Horatio
    And why is that?
    2 Sentinel
    Oh, honored sir, a ghost appears here in this place every quarter of an hour, which unsettles me so much that I might fancy I was set down still alive in Purgatory.
    65Fransisco
    The first sentinel, who was relieved in the last hour, has just told me the same story.
    2 Sentinel
    Ay, wait but a little while; it will not stay long away.
    The Ghost stalks across the stage.
    Horatio
    Upon my life, it is a ghost, and it looks extremely like the late King of Denmark!
    Fransisco
    He bears himself sadly, and seems to want to say something.
    70Horatio
    There is some mystery beneath this.
    1.4
    [Enter] Hamlet.
    2 Sentinel
    Who's there?
    Hamlet
    Quiet!
    752 Sentinel
    Who's there?
    Hamlet
    Quiet!
    2 Sentinel
    Answer, or I'll teach you better manners.
    Hamlet
    A friend!
    2 Sentinel
    What friend?
    80Hamlet
    Friend to the kingdom.
    Fransisco
    By my life, it is the Prince!
    Horatio
    Your Highness, is it you or not?
    Hamlet
    Ha! Horatio, is it you? What are you doing here?
    Horatio
    Your Highness, I have gone the rounds, to see that all sentinels are at their posts.
    85Hamlet
    You act like an honest soldier, for on you rests the safety of the King and kingdom.
    Horatio
    My lord, a strange thing has happened: a ghost appears here every quarter of an hour. To my mind, he is very like your father the late king. He does much harm to the sentinels on the rounds.
    Hamlet
    I hope not, for the souls of the faithful rest quietly till the day of their resurrection.
    Horatio
    But it is so, Your Highness; I have seen him myself.
    Fransisco
    He frightened me most horribly, Your Highness.
    902 Sentinel
    And me he dealt a good box on the ears.
    Hamlet
    What time is it now?
    Fransisco
    It is just midnight.
    Hamlet
    'Tis well, for it is at this time that the spirits usually show themselves when they walk.
    Again healths are drunk to sound of trumpets.
    95Hamlet
    Hello! What does this mean?
    Horatio
    Methinks they are still very merry at court with their toasts.
    Hamlet
    True, Horatio! My father and uncle makes merry indeed still with his friends and followers. Horatio, I know not why since my father's death I have such continual sadness of heart, whereas my royal mother has so soon forgotten him. But this king still sooner; for whilst I was in Germany, he had himself crowned in all haste King of Denmark, and with show of right made over to me the crown of Norway, and appealed to the election of the states.
    1.5
    [The] Ghost [enters].
    1002 Sentinel
    Look! The spirit comes again!
    Horatio
    Does Your Lordship see it now?
    Fransisco
    Your Highness, don't be afraid.
    The Ghost stalks over the stage and beckons to Hamlet.
    Hamlet
    The spirit beckons me. Gentlemen, stand a little aside. Horatio, do not go too far. I will follow the ghost and learn his will.
    105Exit [following the Ghost].
    Horatio
    Gentlemen, let's follow to see that no misfortune befalls him.
    Exeunt.
    [Enter the Ghost, followed by Hamlet.] The Ghost beckons Hamlet to the middle of the stage, and opens his jaws several times.
    Hamlet
    Speak! Who art thou? Say what thou desirest?
    110Ghost
    Hamlet!
    Hamlet
    Sir!
    Ghost
    Hamlet!
    Hamlet
    What desirest thou?
    Ghost
    Hear me, Hamlet, for the time draws near when I must return to the place whence I came:1 listen and mark well what I shall tell thee.
    115Hamlet
    Speak, thou sacred shade of my royal father.
    Ghost
    Then listen, Hamlet, my son, to what I shall tell thee of thy father's unnatural death.
    Hamlet
    What? Unnatural death?
    Ghost
    Ay, unnatural death. Know that it was my custom, which nature had made habitual to me, to retire every day after the noontime meal to walk in my royal garden, there to enjoy an hour's repose. One day, when doing this as usual, behold my brother comes to me, thirsting for the crown, bearing with him the subtle juice of what they call Hebenon. This oil or juice has this effect, that as soon as a few drops of it mix with the blood of man, they immediately stop up the veins, and take away life. While I slept, he poured this juice into my ear, and as it entered my head, I could not but die immediately; whereupon it was given out that I had suffered a severe apoplexy. Thus was I robbed of kingdom, wife, and life by this tyrant.
    Hamlet
    Just heaven, if this be true, I swear to avenge thee.
    120Ghost
    I cannot rest until my unnatural murder be avenged.
    [Exit.]
    Hamlet
    I swear not to rest until I have taken my revenge on this fratricide.
    1.6
    Horatio, Hamlet, Francisco
    125Horatio
    How is it, my noble lord? Why so terror-stricken? Have you perhaps been disturbed?
    Hamlet
    Why yes, Horatio, beyond all measure.
    Horatio
    Have you seen the ghost, my lord?
    Hamlet
    Indeed yes, I have seen it, and spoken with it too.
    Horatio
    O Heaven! this bodes something strange!
    130Hamlet
    He has revealed to me a horrible thing; therefore, I pray you, gentlemen, stand by me in a matter that calls for vengeance.
    Horatio
    Certainly you are assured of my loyalty; only explain it to me, my lord.
    Fransisco
    Your lordship cannot doubt of my aid also.
    Hamlet
    Gentlemen, before I make this matter known to you, you must swear an oath by your loyalty and honor.
    Fransisco
    Your lordship knows how much I love you, and how gladly I will lend my life if you wish to be revenged.
    135Horatio
    Offer us the oath; we will stand by you faithfully.
    Hamlet
    Then lay your finger on my sword. We swear!
    Horatio and Fransisco
    We swear.
    Ghost
    We swear.
    Hamlet
    What is this? Can there be an echo here, to give us back our words? Come, gentlemen, we will go to another spot. We swear.
    140Ghost
    We swear.
    Hamlet
    This means something strange! Come, once more; we will go to the other side. We swear.
    Horatio and Fransisco
    We swear.
    Ghost
    We swear.
    Hamlet
    Ha, what is this? Again: We swear.
    145Horatio and Fransisco
    We swear.
    Ghost
    We swear.
    Hamlet
    O! now I understand what it is. It appears that the spirit of my father is not pleased that I should make this matter known. Good friends, I pray you, leave me —tomorrow I shall reveal it all to you.
    Horatio and Fransisco
    Farewell, Your Highness!
    [Exit Francisco.]
    Hamlet
    Come here, Horatio.
    150Horatio
    What is Your Highness' will?
    Hamlet
    Has the other fellow gone?
    Horatio
    Yes, he has gone.
    Hamlet
    I know, Horatio, thou hast at all times been true to me; therefore I shall reveal to thee what the ghost told me, namely, that my father died an unnatural death. My father, he who is now my father, has murdered him.
    Horatio
    O heavens! what do I hear!
    155Hamlet
    Thou know'st, Horatio, that my late father was accustomed to sleep an hour every day after dinner in his garden. Knowing this, the villain comes to my father and pours the juice of hebenon into his ear while he is asleep; so that through this strong poison, he immediately yields up the ghost. And this the accursed dog did to obtain the crown: but from this hour I will put on a feigned madness, and in this deceit I'll play my part so skilfully that surely I shall find an opportunity to avenge my father's death.
    Horatio
    My lord, if the matter stands thus, I shall offer you my loyal help.
    Hamlet
    Horatio, I will so revenge myself on this usurper, this adulterer, this murderer, that posterity shall speak of it to all eternity; now I shall go, and with dissembling wait upon him until I find an opportunity to execute my vengeance.
    [Exeunt.]
    1.7
    160Enter the King, Queen, Hamlet, Corambus, and Attendants.
    King
    Though yet our brother's death is fresh in memory of all and it befits us to suspend all state-celebrations, yet from this time it is needful for us to change our black mourning garb to crimson, purple, and scarlet, since my late departed brother's widow has now become our dearest spouse. Wherefore I pray you, let everyone show himself joyful and make himself a partner in our mirth. But you, Prince Hamlet, pray you, be happy. See here your mother, how sad and troubled she is by your melancholy. Also we have learned that you have resolved to go back to Wittenberg. For the sake of your mother, do not do so. Stay here, for we love you and like to see you, and should not wish any harm to overtake you. Stay with us at court, or, if not, betake yourself to Norway, to your kingdom.
    Queen
    My much-loved son, Prince Hamlet, it greatly astonishes us to learn that you have planned to leave us and to go to Wittenberg. You know well that your royal father died a short time ago, which causes us great sadness and heaviness of heart, and should you go away from us, it would greatly increase our grief. Then, dearest son, stay here, and every pleasure and delight shall be yours without denial, if it so please you.
    Hamlet
    I shall obey your command with all my heart, and for the present shall remain here and not go away.
    King
    Do so, dearest Prince! Say, Corambus, how is it with your son Leonhard? Has he already set out for France?
    165Corambus
    Ay, my gracious lord and king, he has already gone.
    King
    But was it with your consent, Corambus?
    Corambus
    Ay, Your Majesty, with top consent, bottom consent, and middle consent. Indeed he got a most glorious, wonderful, and superb consent from me.
    King
    As he has your consent to go, I hope that he may prosper, and that the gods may speed him back here again in safety. Now it is our will to hold a carousal, so that our dear spouse's grief may end. And you, Prince Hamlet, and other noble persons of our court must show yourselves mirthful; but for the present we shall make an end of our festivities, for the day is approaching to put black night to flight. You, my dearest consort, I shall accompany to your bedchamber.
    Come, arm in arm and hand in hand; tonight
    170In pledge of Love and Rest we'll take delight.
    2.1
    King, Queen.
    King
    Dearest consort, whence comes it that you are so sad? Pray tell me the cause of your melancholy! You are indeed our Queen; we love you, and all that the entire kingdom affords is your own. What is it then that troubles you?
    Queen
    My king, I am greatly troubled by the melancholy of my son Hamlet, who is my only prince; it is this that grieves me.
    175King
    What! is he melancholy? We will gather together all the learned doctors and physicians throughout our whole Kingdom, that they may help him.
    2.2
    Enter Corambus to the King and Queen.
    Corambus
    News, news, my gracious lord and king!
    King
    What news, Corambus?
    180Corambus
    Prince Hamlet is mad, ay, as mad as ever the Greek madman was.
    King
    And why is he mad?
    Corambus
    Because he has lost his wits.
    King
    Where has he lost his wits?
    Corambus
    That I know not. Perhaps he may know, who has found them.
    1852.3
    Ophelia
    Ophelia
    Alas! father, protect me!
    Corambus
    What is it, my child?
    Ophelia
    Alas! my father, Prince Hamlet plagues me; I can have no peace from him.
    190Corambus
    Calm yourself, dear daughter. But he has not done anything else to you? O! now I know why Prince Hamlet is mad: he is certainly in love with my daughter.
    King
    Has love then such power as to make a man mad?
    Corambus
    My gracious master and king, most assuredly is love powerful enough to make a man mad. I remember when I myself was young, how love plagued me — indeed, but it made me as mad as a March hare. But now, I care for it no longer. I prefer to sit by the fire, to count my red pennies, and drink Your Majesty's health.
    King
    May we not ourselves see his raving and madness with our own eyes?
    Corambus
    Yes, Your Majesty. We will stand a little on one side, and my daughter shall show him the jewel which he gave her. Then will Your Majesty be able to see his madness.
    195King
    Dearest wife, we beseech you, go to your chamber. Meanwhile we will be a witness of his madness.
    [They hide themselves.]
    2.4
    Hamlet, Ophelia.
    Ophelia
    I pray Your Highness take back the jewel which you gave me.
    200Hamlet
    What, young lady! dost want a husband? Get thee away from me — nay, come back. Listen girl, you young women do make nothing but fools of us bachelors; you buy your beauty from apothecaries and pedlars. Listen while I tell you a tale. There was once a cavalier in Anion, who fell in love with a lady, who, to look at, was like the goddess Venus. Now when they were to go to bed together, the bride went first and began to undress. First she took out one eye, which had been set very cleverly, then the front teeth made of ivory, so finely that no one had ever seen the like. Then she washed herself, and the paint with which she had smeared herself disappeared also. At length came the bridegroom expecting to embrace his bride. But as soon as he caught sight of her, he started back, and thought it was a ghost. Thus it is ye deceive us young fellows; therefore listen to me. But wait young lady — nay go, go to a nunnery, but not to a nunnery where two pairs of slippers lie by the bedside.
    [Exit.]
    Corambus.
    Is he not truly and completely mad, my gracious King?
    King
    Corambus, leave us. When we have need of you, we'll send for you.
    [Exit Corambus]
    We have heard the Prince's madness and raving with great astonishment. But it seems to us no real madness, but rather a pretence. We must contrive to get rid of him from here, or perhaps indeed put an end to him altogether; otherwise some harm may come of it.
    [Exit.]
    2052.5
    Hamlet, Horatio
    Hamlet
    Horatio, my good friend, I trust by my assumed madness to find an opportunity to avenge my father's death. You know that my father is at all times surrounded by many guards, so my attempt may fail. Should you perchance find my body, have it honorably buried, for on the first occasion that I find I shall make an attempt on him.
    Horatio
    I entreat your lordship to do nothing of the kind. Perchance the ghost has deceived you.
    Hamlet
    Oh no! his words were all too plain. I can believe him fully. Ha! what news is that old fool bringing now?
    2102.6
    Corambus.
    Corambus
    News, news! my lord! The actors have come.
    Hamlet
    When Marus Russig was an actor in Rome, what times those were!
    Corambus
    Ha, ha, ha, how Your Highness always teases me!
    215Hamlet
    O! Jephthah, Jephthah! what a fair daughter hast thou!
    Corambus
    Why, my lord, you are always harping on my daughter.
    Hamlet
    Well, well, old man, let the master of the actors come in.
    Corambus
    I will, my lord.
    [Exit.]
    220Hamlet
    These actors come in the nick of time, for through them I shall prove whether the ghost told me the truth or not. Once I saw a tragedy wherein one brother murders the other in the garden; this shall they act. And if the King turns pale, then he has done what the ghost told me.
    2.7
    Actors, Charles, the principal.
    Charles
    May the gods bestow on Your Highness many blessings, happiness, and health!
    Hamlet
    I thank you, my friend. What do you desire?
    225Charles
    Pardon, Your Highness, but we are strangers, High-German actors, and we wanted the honor of acting at his Majesty's wedding. But Fortune turned her back on us, and contrary winds their face towards us. We therefore beseech Your Highness to allow us to act a story, that our long journey be not all in vain.
    Hamlet
    Were you not some few years ago at the University at Wittenberg? It seems to me I have seen you act before.
    Charles
    Yes, Your Highness, we are the same actors.
    Hamlet
    Have you the whole of the same company still?
    Charles
    We are not quite so numerous, because some students took engagements in Hamburg. Nevertheless we are numerous enough for many merry comedies and tragedies.
    230Hamlet
    Could you give us a play tonight?
    Charles
    Yes, Your Highness, we are numerous enough, and well rehearsed.
    Hamlet
    Have you still the three actresses with you? They used to play well.
    Charles
    No, only two; one stayed behind with her husband at the court of Saxony.
    Hamlet
    You acted good comedies that time when you were at Wittenberg. But you had some fellows in your company, who had good clothes, but dirty shirts; others who had boots but no spurs.
    235Charles
    Your Highness, it is often hard to procure everything; maybe they thought they would not need to ride.
    Hamlet
    Still it is better to have everything correct. But list, a little longer, and excuse me, for you do not often hear directly what judgments the spectators pass on you. There were also a few who wore silk stockings and white shoes, but had on their heads black hats full of feathers, nearly as many below as on the top; I think they must have gone to bed in them instead of nightcaps. Now that is bad, yet it may easily be reformed. Moreover you may tell some of them, that when they have to act a royal or a princely personage, they should not make such eyes whenever they pay a compliment to a lady. Neither should they walk so many Spanish pavans or put on such airs. A man of rank laughs at such things. Natural ease is best. He who plays a king must in the play fancy himself a king; and he who plays a peasant, must fancy himself a peasant.
    Charles
    Your Highness, I accept Your Highness's reproof with the deepest respect and will endeavour to do better in future.
    Hamlet
    I am a great lover of your art, and hold it not wrong, since by it one can, as in a mirror,2 see one's failings. Hear me now; you once acted a piece in Wittenberg about a King Pyr, Pyr — Pyr something.
    Charles
    Ah, it was perhaps about the great King Pyrrhus?
    240Hamlet
    Methinks it was, but I am not quite sure.
    Charles
    Perhaps Your Highness would name some persons in it, or give me some idea of the matter.
    Hamlet
    It was about one brother murdering the other in the garden.
    Charles
    It will be the same piece. Did not the king's brother pour poison into the king's ear?
    Hamlet
    True, true, the same story; could you play that piece tonight?
    245Charles
    Oh yes, we can do that easily enough, for there are few characters in the play.
    Hamlet
    Then go, prepare the stage in the great hall: whatever wood you may require, you can get from the master-builder; if you want anything from the armoury or if you have not dresses enough, make known your wants to the master of the robes or the steward; we wish you to be provided with everything.
    Charles
    I thank Your Highness most humbly for your favor. We shall hasten to get ready. Farewell.
    Hamlet
    These actors come most opportunely for me. Horatio, pay good heed to the king; if he grow pale or alter favor, then most surely has he done the deed, for play actors with their feigned fables often hit the target of truth. Listen, I'll tell you a fine tale. In Germany, at Strasburg, there was once a remarkable case in which a wife murdered her husband with an awl through the heart. Afterwards she and her paramour buried the man under the threshold. This deed remained hid nine whole years, till at last it chanced that some actors came that way, and played a tragedy of like import. The woman who was present at the play with her husband began to cry aloud (her conscience being touched) 'Alas! this hits at me, for thus did I murder my innocent husband. She tore her hair, ran straight out of the theatre to the judge, freely confessed the murder, and when it was proved true, in deep repentance for her sins she received the holy unction from the priest, gave her body in true contrition to the executioner, and recommended her soul to God. Oh that my uncle-father would thus take it to heart if he has committed this crime! Come Horatio, let us go and wait upon the King; but pray note all things exactly, for I must dissemble.
    Horatio
    Your Highness, I shall make my eyes keep a sharp look-out.
    250[Exeunt.]
    2.8
    King, Queen, Hamlet, Horatio, Corambus, Ophelia, Retinue.
    King
    Our dearest wife, I hope that you will now banish your sadness, and make it give place to joy; before supper there is to be a comedy, played by the German actors, and after the meal a ballet given by our own people.
    Queen
    Most gladly shall I see such sport; still, I hardly believe that my heart will be at ease, for gloomy forebodings of misfortune, I know not what, disturb my soul.
    255King
    Pray, be content. Prince Hamlet, we are informed that some players have arrived here who will perform a comedy tonight. Tell me, is it so?
    Hamlet
    Ay, father, it is so. They asked my permission, and I have given it. I hope that Your Majesty will also approve.
    King
    What is the subject? There's nothing offensive or uncivil in it?
    Hamlet
    It is a good subject. We that have a good conscience, it touches us not.
    King
    Where are they? Let them begin at once; we should like to see what the Germans can do.
    260Hamlet
    Marshal, go and see whether the actors are ready; tell them to begin.
    Corambus
    Actors, where are you? Quick, you are to begin at once. Ah! here they come.
    [Here the players enter: the King with his consort. He wishes to lie down and sleep; the Queen entreats him not to do so; he lies down all the same. The Queen kisses him, and takes her leave. The King's brother comes with a phial and pours something into his ear, and exit.]
    Hamlet
    That is King Pyrrhus who goes to sleep in the garden. The Queen entreats him not to do so, but he lies down. The poor wife goes away: see, there comes the King's brother bearing the poisonous juice of hebenon; and he pours into his ear that which, as soon as it mixes with the blood of a man, immediately destroys his life.
    King
    Bring torches, lanterns here! the play does not please us
    265Corambus
    Pages, lackeys, light the torches! The King wishes depart: quick with the lights! The actors have made a mess of it.
    [Exeunt King, Queen, Corambus and retinue.]
    Hamlet
    Bring torches here, the play does not please us! Now thou seest that the Ghost has not deceived me! Players, you can go from here with this verdict, that although you have not played the piece to its end, and it has not pleased the King, yet it pleased us all the same. Horatio shall reward you on my behalf.
    Charles
    We thank you and ask for a passport.
    Hamlet
    You shall have one.
    270[Exeunt Players.]
    Now may I go boldly on to vengeance. Did you perceive how the king went pale when he saw the play?
    Horatio
    Yes, Your Highness; the thing is certain.
    Hamlet
    My poor father was murdered, just as we have seen in this play! But I will punish him for this wicked deed.
    2.9
    275Corambus.
    Corambus
    The Players, I fear, will get a poor recompense, for their play has deeply displeased the King.
    Hamlet
    What say'st thou, old man; they will get a recompense? And if they are ill-rewarded by the King, they will be all the better rewarded by Heaven.
    Corambus
    Your Highness, do actors then get into heaven?
    Hamlet
    Think'st thou, old fool, that they will not find their place there? Wherefore go and treat these people well for me.
    280Corambus
    Yes, I shall treat them as they deserve.
    Hamlet
    Treat them well, I say; for there is no greater praise to be gained than through actors, for they travel far and wide in the world. If they are treated well at one place, they do not know how to praise it enough at the next; for their theatre is a little world, in which they represent all that takes place in the great world. They revive the old forgotten histories, and display to us good and bad examples; they publish abroad the justice and laudable government of princes; they punish vices, and exalt virtues, they praise the good, and show how tyranny is punished ? wherefore you must reward them well.
    Corambus
    Well, they shall certainly have their reward, since they are such great folk. Farewell, Your Highness.
    [Exit.]
    Hamlet
    Come Horatio, I am going, and from this hour4 I shall accordingly seek means to find the King alone, that I may take his life, as he has taken my father's.
    285Horatio
    My lord, consider well, that you come to no harm.
    Verse
    Hamlet
    I ought, I must, I will this crime repay
    If not by craft, with force I'll make a way!
    3.1
    290King. A church and altar.
    King
    [Alone] Now my conscience begins to awaken: the sting of my treachery begins to prick me hard. It is time I turn to repentance, and confess to Heaven the evil I have done. I fear that my guilt is so great, that it could never be forgiven. Yet I will pray fervently to the gods, that they will pardon my great sins.
    [He kneels before the altar.]
    3.2
    Hamlet, with a drawn sword.
    295Hamlet
    For so long have I followed the accursed dog, till at last I have found him. Now it is time, since he is alone. I will take his life at the height of his devotions. [He is about to stab him.] But no, I will first let him finish his prayer. Ha! when I think of it, he did not leave my father so much time as to say a prayer first, but sent him to hell (perhaps) in his sleep, in his sins; wherefore, I'll sell him also to the same place [He is again about to stab him from behind.] Nay, hold Hamlet! Why dost thou want to take his sins upon thee? I shall let him end his prayer, and let him go this time, and will give him his life. But I shall wreak my vengeance at another time.
    [Exit.]
    King
    My conscience is somewhat lightened, but still the dog lies gnawing at my heart. Now will I go and make my peace with heaven by fasting, alms, and also with fervent prayer. Ah cursed ambition! To what hast thou brought me?
    [Exit.]
    3.3
    300Queen, Corambus.
    Queen
    Tell me, Corambus, how is my son, Prince Hamlet? Does his madness decrease at all, or will his ravings never come to end?
    Corambus
    Ah no, Your Majesty, he is just as mad as he was before.
    3.4
    Horatio.
    305Horatio
    Most gracious Queen, Prince Hamlet is in the antechamber, and desires a private audience.
    Queen
    He is most dear to us; admit him immediately.
    Horatio
    It shall be done, Your Majesty.
    Queen
    Hide yourself behind the arras, Corambus, till we call you.
    Corambus
    Ay, ay, I will hide myself a little.
    310[He hides himself.]
    3.5
    Hamlet.
    Hamlet
    Mother, did you know your first husband well?
    Queen
    Oh, do not remind me of my former sadness. I cannot restrain my tears when I think of him.
    315Hamlet
    You weep? Leave off doing that; they are only crocodile tears. But look, there in that gallery hangs the counterfeit resemblance of your first husband, and there hangs the counterfeit of your present one. What think you now? Which of them is the finer looking? Is not the first the nobler Lord?
    Queen
    Indeed that is so.
    Hamlet
    How then could you forget him so soon? Fie! Shame on you! You celebrated his funeral and your wedding almost on the same day! But hush! are all the doors shut fast?
    Queen
    Why do you ask that?
    [Corambus coughs behind the arras.]
    320Hamlet
    Ha! ha! Who is that, listening to us?
    [Hamlet stabs him.]
    Corambus
    Oh, Prince, what are you doing? I am slain!
    Queen
    O Heavens! My son, what have you done? It is Corambus, the Lord Chamberlain!
    3.6
    325[The Ghost stalks over the stage. [Lightning.]
    Hamlet
    Ah, gracious spirit of my father, stay. What dost thou want? Dost thou demand revenge? I shall execute it at the right time.
    Queen
    What are you doing? With whom are you speaking?
    Hamlet
    See you not the spirit of your late husband? Look, he beckons as if he would speak to you.
    Queen
    How? I see nothing.
    330Hamlet
    Indeed I believe you see nothing, for you are no longer worthy to look upon his form. Fie, shame on you! I shall say not another word to you.
    [Exit.]
    Queen
    [alone]. O Heavens! what great madness melancholy has brought upon the Prince! Alas, my only son has entirely lost his reason! And I am much to blame for it! Had I not taken in marriage my brother-in-law, I should not have robbed my son of the crown of Denmark. But what can be done about things that are done? Nothing, they must stay as they are. Had not the Pope allowed such a marriage, it would never have happened. I shall go and try my utmost to restore my son to his former understanding and health.
    [Exit.]
    3.7
    335Jens, alone.
    Jens
    It's a long time since I was last at court and paid my taxes. I am afraid, go where I may, I shall be clapped in prison. If I could find only one good friend to put in a good word for me so that I might not be punished!
    3.8
    Phantasmo
    Phantasmo
    There are queer goings on at court now. Prince Hamlet is mad, Ophelia is mad too. In sum, it's very queer here altogether, so that I have a good mind to take myself off.
    340Jens
    My goodness! there I see my good friend Phantasmo. I couldn't find a better. I'll beg him to put in a good word for me. Good luck to you, Master Phantasmo!
    Phantasmo
    Thank you kindly! What do you want, Master Clown?
    Jens
    Eh, Master Phantasmo, 'tis a long time since I have been at court, and I am greatly in arrears. So prithee put in a good word for me, and I'll treat you to a good cheese.
    Phantasmo
    What, lout, dost think that I get nothing to eat at court?
    3.9
    345Ophelia, mad.
    Ophelia
    I run and race and yet cannot find my sweetheart. He sent a messenger to tell me to come to him. We are to be married, and I have dressed myself for it already. But ah! there is my love. Art thou there, my lamb? Oh! I have sought thee so much; yes, I have sought thee. Ah, only think; the tailor has quite spoiled my calico gown! See! there's a pretty flower for thee, my heart!
    Phantasmo
    O the devil! I wish I were far away! She thinks I am her lover.
    Ophelia
    What say'st thou my love? We will go to bed together; I'll wash thee quite clean.
    Phantasmo
    Ay, ay, I'll soap you in return, and wash you out too.
    350Ophelia
    Listen my love, hast already put on thy beautiful new suit? Ay! how finely it is made, quite in the new fashion.
    Phantasmo
    I know that well without . . .
    Ophelia
    Gracious me I what I had nearly forgotten! The King has asked me to supper, I must run quickly. Look, there's my little coach, my little coach!
    [Exit.]
    Phantasmo
    O Hecate, thou queen of witches, how glad I am that that mad thing's gone away! If she had stayed any longer, I should have gone mad with her. I must be off before the crazy thing comes back again.
    355Jens
    Oh kind-hearted Master Phantasmo! Prithee, do not forget me.
    Phantasmo
    Come along, Brother Windy; I'll see if I can put you right with the tax-collector.
    [Exeunt.]
    3.10
    King, Hamlet, Horatio, Two Attendants.
    360King
    Where is the body of Corambus bestowed? Has it not yet been removed?
    Horatio
    He is still lying in the place where he was stabbed.
    King
    It grieves us that Corambus has lost his life so unexpectedly. Go, have him carried away; we wish him to have honorable burial. Ah, Prince Hamlet, what have you done, stabbing that innocent old man? It grieves us deeply; still, because it was done unwittingly this murderous deed is perhaps somewhat to be pardoned. Nevertheless I fear that when this gets known amongst the nobles, it may easily excite a rising among my subjects, and they may avenge his death on you.5 But out of our paternal care we have devised a way of avoiding this misfortune.
    Hamlet
    I am sorry for it, my uncle and father? I wished to discuss something privately with the Queen, and this spy lay in wait for us. But I did not realize that it could be this silly old fool. What now does Your Majesty propose it were best to do with me?
    King
    We have determined to send you to England, because that crown is friendly to our own, so that you may cool down there somewhat, since the air is wholesomer, and may aid your recovery better than here. We shall give you some of our attendants, who accompany you, and serve you faithfully.
    365Hamlet
    Ay ay, King, just send me off to Portugal, that I may never come back again, that is the best plan.
    King
    No, not to Portugal, but to England, and these two shall accompany you on the journey. But when you arrive in England, you shall have more attendants.
    Hamlet
    Are those the lackeys? A pair of fine fellows!
    King
    [Secretly to the two attendants] Listen, both of you! As soon as ye reach England, do as I have commanded you. Take a dagger or pistol each, and kill him. But should your attempt miscarry, take this letter and bring it along with the prince to the place written down on it; there he will be so well cared for that he will never come back from England again. But this I warn you, that ye make known this to no man. Your reward shall be given you immediately on your return.
    Hamlet
    Well, Your Majesty, who are these fine fellows that are to travel with me?
    370King
    These two. The gods be with you, and give you a fair wind to reach your destination.
    Hamlet
    Now farewell, Mother!
    King
    What, Prince! Why do you call us Mother?
    Hamlet
    Man and wife is one flesh ? Father or Mother, it is the same to me.
    King
    Well, fare ye well. May Heaven be with you.
    375Hamlet
    Now! you sprigs of nobility, are you to be my companions?
    Attendants
    Yes, Your Highness.
    Hamlet
    Come then, my noble sirs, [Taking each by the hand] let's go, let's go to England! Take your little messages in your hand; you are indeed an honest fellow. Let's go, let's go to England!
    3.11
    Phantasmo, Ophelia.
    380Phantasmo
    Wherever I go or stay, that cracked girl runs after me from every corner. I can get not a moment's peace for her; she says continually that I'm her lover; and that's not true. If I could only hide where she couldn't find me! Oh, the devil's loose again; there she is once more!
    Ophelia
    Where can my sweetheart be? The rogue will not stay with me, he'd rather flee from me ? but see! there he is. Listen darling, I've been to the priest, and he will unite us this very day; I have made all ready for the wedding; and bought pullets, hares, meat, butter, cheese. Now there is nothing more wanting than for the musicians to play us to bed.
    Phantasmo
    I can only say yes. Come then, we'll go to bed together.
    Ophelia
    No, no, my puppet, we must first go to church together, afterwards eat and drink, and then dance ? ah! how merry we shall be!
    Phantasmo
    Ay, it will be very merry; three will eat off one plate.
    385Ophelia
    What do you say? If you will not have me, I will not have you. [She strikes him.] There, there, is my dearest, he beckons me. Look there, what a beautiful suit he has on! Look, he wants to entice me to him, he throws me a lily and a rose; he wants to take me in his arms; he beckons me; I come, I come.
    [Exit.]
    Phantasmo
    At close quarters she's lost her wits, but further off she's clean mad. I wish she were hanged, and then the carrion could not pester me so.
    [Exit.]
    4.1
    390Hamlet, Two Ruffians.
    Hamlet
    It is a pleasant place here on this island! Let us stay here for a while and dine. There is a delightful wood, and here a cool spring of water. So fetch the best from our ship, and we'll make right merry here.
    Ruffian 1
    There's no dinner time here for you, my lord, since you will never leave this island, for here's the place destined for your grave.
    Hamlet
    What say'st thou, scoundrel, slave? Dost thou know who I am? Wouldst thou jest thus with a royal prince? However, on this occasion I pardon thee.
    Ruffian 2
    No, it is no jest, but grim earnest. Prepare yourself for death.
    395Hamlet
    Wherefore this? What harm have I ever done you? I cannot recollect any; therefore speak out, why do ye have such wicked thoughts?
    Ruffian 1
    We have been ordered to do it by the King: as soon as we have brought Your Highness to this island, we are to take your life.
    Hamlet
    Dear friends, spare my life! Say that you have done it properly, and I will never return to the King as long as I live. Consider well, what do you gain by covering your hand with the innocent blood of a prince? Will you stain your consciences with my sins? What bad luck that I came here unarmed! If only I had something in my hand!
    [He grabs a sword.]
    Ruffian 2
    Take care of thy weapon, comrade!
    400Ruffian 1
    I'll take good care. Now Prince, prepare yourself; haven't much time.
    Hamlet
    Since it cannot be otherwise, and I must die at your hands, by the orders of the tyrannical king, I must submit, although I am innocent. And since you have been bribed through poverty, I freely pardon you. Yet this murderer of his brother and my father must answer for my blood at the Last Great Day.
    Ruffian 1
    Eh! what is that great day to us? we must carry out our orders for today.
    Ruffian 2
    That's true, brother! Quickly to work; it must be so! You fire from this side, I from the other.
    Hamlet
    Listen to one word more from me. Since even the wickedest evildoer is not executed without being given time to repent, I, an innocent prince, beg you to let me first address a fervent pray to my Creator; after which I shall willingly die. But I shall give you a sign: I shall raise my hands to heaven, and as soon as I spread out my arms, fire! Level both pistols at my sides, and when I say shoot, give me as much as I need, and be sure and hit me, that I may not suffer long.
    405Ruffian 2
    Well, we may do that much to please him; so go right ahead.
    Hamlet
    [He spreads out his hands]. Shoot! [He falls down forward between the two servants, who shoot each other.] Just Heaven! Thanks be to thee for thy angelic inspiration; henceforth I will ever worship the guardian angel who working through my thoughts has saved my life. But these scoundrels, as they worked, so were they paid out. The dogs move still; they have shot each other, but for revenge I'll give them the coup de grace; otherwise one of the rogues might escape. [He stabs them with their own swords.] Now I'll search them, to see whether they have some warrant on them. This one has nothing. But here I find a letter on this murderer. I'll read it. This letter is written to an arch-murderer in England, so that should this attempt miscarry, they would hand me over to him and he would soon blow out the light of my life! But the gods ever stand by the just. Now I will go back again to my 'father', to terrify him; but I will not trust to water again, for who knows whether the captain may not likewise prove a rogue. I shall go to the first town and take the post. The sailors I shall order back to Denmark, but these scoundrels I'll throw into the water.
    [Exit.]
    4.2
    King, and retinue.
    410King
    We long to hear how things have gone with our son, prince Hamlet, and whether the companions we gave him for his journey have faithfully performed what we ordered.
    4.3
    Phantasmo.
    Phantasmo
    News, Monsieur the King! The very latest news!
    King
    What is it, Phantasmo?
    415Phantasmo
    Leonhardus has come back home from France.
    King
    We are glad of it. Let him come into our presence.
    4.4
    Leonhardus.
    Leonhardus
    My gracious Lord and King, I demand my father or just vengeance for his grievous murder. If this is not granted, I shall forget that you are king, and avenge myself on the criminal.
    420King
    Be satisfied, Leonhardus, that we are guiltless of your father's death. Prince Hamlet unwittingly ran him through behind the arras: but we shall see that he is punished for it.
    Leonhardus
    Since Your Majesty is innocent of my father's death, I humbly crave your pardon on my knees. My anger, together with my filial affection, so overcame me that I hardly knew what I was doing.
    King
    It is forgiven thee, for we can easily believe that it must have gone deep into thy heart to lose thy noble father so piteously. But rest content; thou shalt find another father in ourselves.
    Leonhardus
    I thank you for this most kingly favor.
    4.5
    425Phantasmo.
    Phantasmo
    Uncle King, more news still!
    King
    What fresh news do you bring?
    Phantasmo
    Prince Hamlet has come back!
    King
    The devil has come back, not Prince Hamlet!
    430Phantasmo
    Prince Hamlet has come back and not the devil!
    King
    Leonhardus, hear. Now thou canst avenge thy father's death, for the Prince has come home again. But you must swear to us an oath to disclose it to no man.
    Leonhardus
    Doubt me not, Your Majesty; what you reveal shall be as secret as if you had spoken to a stone.
    King
    We shall arrange a match between thyself and him on these terms: you shall fence with rapiers, and the one of you who makes the first three hits, shall have won a white Neapolitan horse. But in the middle of this bout you must let your foil drop, and instead of it, you must have a rapier with a sharp point ready to hand, which must be made exactly like the foil, but you must rub the point of it with a strong poison as soon as you shall wound his body with it, he will certainly die, but you shall win the prize, and your King's favor as well.
    Leonhardus
    Your Majesty must excuse me! I dare not undertake this, for the Prince is a skilled fencer and might well turn the tables on me.
    435King
    Leonhardus, do not refuse, but do it to please thy King; do it to revenge thy father's death. For know, the Prince as assassin of your father deserves such a death. But we cannot do justice on him, because his mother backs him, and my subjects love him dearly. If therefore we avenged ourselves on him openly, a rebellion might easily follow. But that we now reject him as our step-son and nephew is the will of sacred Justice, since he is bloodthirsty and insane, and for the future we must ourselves be afraid of so wicked a man. If you do what we desire, you will relieve your King of his fear, and secretly avenge yourself on the murderer of your father.
    Leonhardus
    It is a difficult thing which I scarcely dare venture. For should it come out, it would cost me my life.
    King
    Do not doubt; if this should fail we have already devised another trick. We shall have an oriental diamond powdered fine and this, when he is hot, we shall offer to him in a goblet filled with wine mixed with sugar: thus shall he drink death to our health.
    Leonhardus
    Well then, Your Majesty, under this protection I carry it out.
    4.6
    440Queen.
    Queen
    My gracious lord and King, my dearest consort, I bring you bad news.
    King
    What is it, dear soul?
    Queen
    My dearest maid-in-waiting, Ophelia, runs up and down, and cries, and screams, and neither eats nor drinks; they think that she has entirely lost her wits.
    King
    Alas! One hears nothing but the most sad and unhappy news!
    4454.7
    Ophelia, with flowers.
    Ophelia
    Look, there's a flower for thee; for thee too, and for thee too.
    [She gives a flower to each.]
    But gracious me, what had I clean forgotten! I must run quickly, I have forgotten my jewels. Ah! my diadem. I must go quick to the court goldsmith and ask what new fashions he has got. So, so, set the table quick; I shall soon be back again.
    [She runs off.]
    Leonhardus
    Am I then born to every misfortune! My father dead, and my sister robbed of her reason! My heart will almost burst for very grief!
    450King
    Take comfort, Leonhardus, thou shalt live supreme in our favor. But you, sweet Queen, be pleased to walk inside with us, for we have something to reveal to you in private. Leonhardus, do not forget what we have told you.
    Leonhardus
    I shall be diligent to perform it.
    Queen
    My King, we must find some means by which this unhappy maiden may be restored to her senses.
    King
    Let the case be handed over to our own physician. Follow us, Leonhardus.
    [Exit.]
    4555.1
    Hamlet.
    Hamlet
    Unhappy Prince, how long must thou live without rest! How long a time, O just Nemesis, dost thou appoint for whetting thy just sword of vengeance6 against my uncle, the fratricide! Now am I back here once more, and cannot yet attain to my revenge, because this fratricide is at all times surrounded by many people.7 But I swear, that ere the sun has finished his journey from east to west, I will avenge myself on him.
    5.2
    Horatio.
    460Horatio
    Your Highness, I am heartily glad to see you here again in good health. But I pray you, tell me why you have come back again so soon.
    Hamlet
    Alas! Horatio, thou hast very nearly not seen me alive again, for my life was already at stake, had not the Divine Power specially protected me.
    Horatio
    How? What does Your Highness say? How did it happen?
    Hamlet
    How know that my father gave me two fellow-travellers as servants to accompany me. Now it chanced that one day we had contrary winds, and we cast anchor by an island not far from Dover. With my two attendants I left the ship to breathe the fresh air. There the cursed villains came and wished to take my life, saying that I would give them as much reward, and that if they would report my death to the King, I would never show myself at court again. But there was no mercy in them. At length the gods put an idea in my mind: I begged them that I might say a prayer before my end, and when I called "Shoot!" they were to fire at me. But as I called, I feel flat on the ground, so that they shot each other. Thus I escaped this time with my life. But my arrival will not be very agreeable to the King.
    Horatio
    O unheard of treachery!
    4655.3
    Phantasmo.
    Hamlet
    Look, Horatio, this fool is much dearer to the king than my person. Let's hear what he has to say.
    Phantasmo
    Welcome home, Prince Hamlet! Have you heard the news? The King has laid a wager on you and young Leonhardus. You are to fight together with foils, and he who gives his opponent the first two hits is to win a white Neapolitan horse.
    Hamlet
    Is this certain that you say?
    470Phantasmo
    Yes, nothing else!
    Hamlet
    Horatio, what can this mean? Leonhardus and I to fight each other! I believe they have been mocking this fool, for one can make him believe what one likes. Observe. Signor Phantasmo, it is terribly cold.
    Phantasmo
    Ay, it is terribly cold?
    [His teeth are chattering with cold.]
    Hamlet
    Now it is not so cold any more.
    475Phantasmo
    You're right my lord, just the happy medium.
    Hamlet
    But now it is very hot indeed.
    [Wiping his face.]
    Phantasmo
    O what a dreadful heat!
    [Also wiping away the perspiration.]
    480Hamlet
    Now it is neither very cold nor very warm.
    Phantasmo
    Yes, now it is just temperate.
    Hamlet
    Do you see, Horatio, one can make him believe what one will. Phantasmo, go back to the King, and tell him that I'll wait upon him instantly.
    [Exit Phantasmo.]
    Come, Horatio, I go this very minute, and present myself to the King. Ha! What does this mean? Drops of blood fall from my nose; my whole body trembles! Alas! what is happening to me?
    485[He faints.]
    Horatio
    Most noble Prince! O Heavens! what does this mean? Come to your senses my lord! My noble Prince, what is it? What is the matter with you?
    Hamlet
    I do not know Horatio. When I thought of going to court, a sudden faintness came over me. The gods alone know what it signifies.
    Horatio
    Heaven grant that this omen foretells nothing bad!
    Hamlet
    Be it what it may, I shall nevertheless go to court, even should it cost me my life.
    490[Exeunt.]
    5.4
    King, Leonhardus, Phantasmo.
    King
    Leonhardus prepare, for Prince Hamlet will also be here directly.
    Leonhardus
    I am prepared, Your Majesty, and will do my utmost.
    495King
    Look well to it; here comes the Prince already.
    5.5
    Hamlet, Horatio.
    Hamlet
    All health and happiness wait on Your Majesty!
    King
    We thank you, Prince! We are extremely glad that your melancholy has somewhat left you; wherefore today we have arranged a friendly match between you and young Leonhardus. You are to fight him with foils and the one of you who makes first three hits will have won the prize, a white Neapolitan horse with saddle and all the trappings.
    500Hamlet
    Your Majesty will pardon me, for I am little practiced with the foils, while Leonhardus comes direct from France, where he had undoubtedly had plenty of practice; wherefore will please excuse me.
    King
    Prince Hamlet will do it to please us, for we are curious to learn what feints the Germans and French use.
    5.6
    Queen.
    Queen
    Gracious Lord and King, I am the bearer of sad tidings.
    505King
    Heaven forbid; what is it?
    Queen
    Ophelia has climbed a high hill, and cast herself down and taken her own life.
    Leonhardus
    Ill-fated Leonhardus! In a short time thou hast lost a father and a sister! Whither will misfortune lead thee? I could for grief wish myself to die.
    King
    Be comforted, Leonhardus! You enjoy our favor; only begin the contest. Phantasmo, fetch the foils. You, Horatio, shall be umpire.
    Phantasmo
    Here is the warm beer.
    510Hamlet
    Well then, Leonhardus, come on; let's see who is to put the fool's cap and bells on the other. Should I make a mistake, pray excuse me, for I have not fought for a long time.
    Leonhardus
    I am your Lordship's servant; you are only jesting.
    [During the first bout they fence fairly. Leonhardus receives a thrust.
    Hamlet
    One! That was a hit, Leonhardus!
    Leonhardus
    True, Your Highness. Now for my revenge!
    515[He lets his foil fall, and seizes the poisoned sword which is lying ready, and gives the prince a thrust in carte in the left arm. Hamlet parries on Leonhardus, so that both drop their weapons. They run to pick them up. Hamlet takes the poisoned sword and mortally wounds Leonhardus.]
    Leonhardus
    Alas! I am mortally wounded! I receive the reward which I thought to pay another. Heaven, have mercy on me!
    Hamlet
    What the devil is this, Leonhardus? have I pierced you with the foil? How is this possible?
    King
    Go quick, and fetch my goblet, with wine to refresh our swordsmen a little. Go, Phantasmo, and fetch it. [He descends from the throne, and speaks aside.] I hope that they may both drink of the wine and die, and this trick may not be exposed.
    Hamlet
    Tell me, Leonhardus, how did this come about?
    520Leonhardus
    Alas! Prince, I have been misled into this mishap by the King! Look at what you have in your hand! It is a poisoned sword.
    Hamlet
    O! Heavens, what is this! Preserve me from it!
    Leonhardus
    I was to wound you with it, for it is so strongly poisoned that whoever receives the slightest wound from it must die.
    King
    Ho! gentlemen, take this cup and drink.
    [Whilst the King is rising from his chair and speaking these words, the Queen takes the cup out of Phantasmo's hand and drinks. The King exclaims.]
    525Ah! where is the cup? Dear wife, what are you doing? This drink is mixed with the strongest poison. Alas! what have you done?
    Queen
    Alas! I die!
    [The King stands before the Queen.]
    Hamlet
    And thou, tyrant, shalt bear her company in death.
    [He stabs the King from behind.]
    530King
    Alas! I receive the reward of my wickedness!
    Leonhardus
    Farewell, Prince Hamlet! Farewell, world! I die too. Ah, forgive me, Prince!
    Hamlet
    May heaven receive thy soul! For thou art guiltless. But for this tyrant, I wish that he may purge his black sins in hell. Ah, Horatio! now my soul is at peace, now I am avenged on my enemies. 'Tis true I have received a hit on the arm, but I hope that it means nothing. It grieves me that I have slain Leonhardus. I do not know how the fatal rapier came into my hand; but as the work is, so is the pay, and he has received his reward. Nothing afflicts me so much as my mother; yet by her sins she has somewhat deserved this death. But tell me, who gave her the cup that poisoned her?
    Phantasmo
    I, Your Highness. I also brought the poisoned sword, but the poisoned wine was meant for you alone.
    Hamlet
    Hast thou been an instrument of this woe? There, then; thou too hast thy reward!
    535[He stabs Phantasmo.]
    Phantasmo
    Stab away, till your blade grows weak!
    Hamlet
    O Horatio, I fear that taking my revenge will cost me my life, for I am sorely wounded in the arm. I grow faint; my limbs grow weak and my legs refuse to support me. My voice fails. I feel the poison in all my members. Gentle Horatio, take the crown to my cousin, Duke Fortenbras of Norway, so that the kingdom may not fall into other hands. Alas! I am dying!
    Horatio
    Noble Prince, help may still come! Heavens! He is dying in my arms. Ah, how this Kingdom of Denmark has been scourged! First long wars; then scarcely has peace been established when it is filled with new internal disturbances, ambitions, strifes, and murders. It may well be that in no age of the world has such a grievous tragedy happened as this which we have just lived through in this court. And now, with the help of all true counselors, I shall make arrangements to have these high personages buried according to their rank. After which I shall go at once to Norway with the crown, and deliver it as this unhappy Prince has commanded me.
    Verse.
    540Thus, if a prince obtains the crown by craft,
    And treacherously takes it as his prey,
    He nothing gains but purest hate and scorn,
    For "as the labor is, so is the pay."
    [Exeunt.]