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About this text

  • Title: Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: David Bevington
  • Textual editor: Eric Rasmussen
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-434-9

    Copyright David Bevington. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: David Bevington
    Peer Reviewed

    Hamlet (Folio 1, 1623)

    The Tragedie of Hamlet.
    3605Osr. Exceedingly, my Lord, it is very soultry, as 'twere
    I cannot tell how: but my Lord, his Maiesty bad me sig-
    nifie to you, that he ha's laid a great wager on your head:
    Sir, this is the matter.
    Ham. I beseech you remember.
    3610Osr. Nay, in good faith, for mine ease in good faith:
    Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at
    his weapon.
    Ham. What's his weapon?
    Osr. Rapier and dagger.
    3615Ham. That's two of his weapons; but well.
    Osr. The sir King ha's wag'd with him six Barbary Hor-
    ses, against the which he impon'd as I take it, sixe French
    Rapiers and Poniards, with their assignes, as Girdle,
    Hangers or so: three of the Carriages infaith are very
    3620deare to fancy, very responsiue to the hilts, most delicate
    carriages, and of very liberall conceit.
    Ham. What call you the Carriages?
    Osr. The Carriages Sir, are the hangers.
    Ham. The phrase would bee more Germaine to the
    3625matter: If we could carry Cannon by our sides; I would
    it might be Hangers till then; but on sixe Barbary Hor-
    ses against sixe French Swords: their Assignes, and three
    liberall conceited Carriages, that's the French but a-
    gainst the Danish; why is this impon'd as you call it?
    3630Osr. The King Sir, hath laid that in a dozen passes be-
    tweene you and him, hee shall not exceed you three hits;
    He hath one twelue for mine, and that would come to
    imediate tryall, if your Lordship would vouchsafe the
    3635Ham. How if I answere no?
    Osr. I meane my Lord, the opposition of your person
    in tryall.
    Ham. Sir, I will walke heere in the Hall; if it please
    his Maiestie, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let
    3640the Foyles bee brought, the Gentleman willing, and the
    King hold his purpose; I will win for him if I can: if
    not, Ile gaine nothing but my shame, and the odde hits.
    Osr. Shall I redeliuer you ee'n so?
    Ham. To this effect Sir, after what flourish your na-
    3645ture will.
    Osr. I commend my duty to your Lordship.
    Ham. Yours, yours; hee does well to commend it
    himselfe, there are no tongues else for's tongue.
    Hor. This Lapwing runs away with the shell on his
    Ham. He did Complie with his Dugge before hee
    suck't it: thus had he and mine more of the same Beauy
    that I know the drossie age dotes on; only got the tune of
    the time, and outward habite of encounter, a kinde of
    3655yesty collection, which carries them through & through
    the most fond and winnowed opinions; and doe but blow
    them to their tryalls: the Bubbles are out.
    Hor. You will lose this wager, my Lord.
    Ham. I doe not thinke so, since he went into France,
    3660I haue beene in continuall practice; I shall winne at the
    oddes: but thou wouldest not thinke how all heere a-
    bout my heart: but it is no matter.
    Hor. Nay, good my Lord.
    Ham. It is but foolery; but it is such a kinde of
    3665gain-giuing as would perhaps trouble a woman.
    Hor. If your minde dislike any thing, obey. I will fore-
    stall their repaire hither, and say you are not fit.
    Ham. Not a whit, we defie Augury; there's a speciall
    Prouidence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not
    3670to come: if it bee not to come, it will bee now: if it
    be not now; yet it will come; the readinesse is all, since no
    man ha's ought of what he leaues. What is't to leaue be-

    Enter King, Queene, Laertes and Lords, with other Atten-
    dants with Foyles, and Gauntlets, a Table and
    Flagons of Wine on it.

    Kin. Come Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.
    Ham. Giue me your pardon Sir, I'ue done you wrong,
    But pardon't as you are a Gentleman.
    3680This presence knowes,
    And you must needs haue heard how I am punisht
    With sore distraction? What I haue done
    That might your nature honour, and exception
    Roughly awake, I heere proclaime was madnesse:
    3685Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Neuer Hamlet.
    If Hamlet from himselfe be tane away:
    And when he's not himselfe, do's wrong Laertes,
    Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it:
    Who does it then? His Madnesse? If't be so,
    3690Hamlet is of the Faction that is wrong'd,
    His madnesse is poore Hamlets Enemy.
    Sir, in this Audience,
    Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd euill,
    Free me so farre in your most generous thoughts,
    3695That I haue shot mine Arrow o're the house,
    And hurt my Mother.
    Laer. I am satisfied in Nature,
    Whose motiue in this case should stirre me most
    To my Reuenge. But in my termes of Honor
    3700I stand aloofe, and will no reconcilement,
    Till by some elder Masters of knowne Honor,
    I haue a voyce, and president of peace
    To keepe my name vngorg'd. But till that time,
    I do receiue your offer'd loue like loue,
    3705And wil not wrong it.
    Ham. I do embrace it freely,
    And will this Brothers wager frankely play.
    Giue vs the Foyles: Come on.
    Laer. Come one for me.
    3710Ham. Ile be your foile Laertes, in mine ignorance,
    Your Skill shall like a Starre i'th'darkest night,
    Sticke fiery off indeede.
    Laer. You mocke me Sir.
    Ham. No by this hand.
    3715King. Giue them the Foyles yong Osricke,
    Cousen Hamlet, you know the wager.
    Ham. Verie well my Lord,
    Your Grace hath laide the oddes a'th'weaker side.
    King. I do not feare it,
    3720I haue seene you both:
    But since he is better'd, we haue therefore oddes.
    Laer. This is too heauy,
    Let me see another.
    Ham. This likes me well,
    3725These Foyles haue all a length.
    Prepare to play.
    Osricke. I my good Lord.
    King. Set me the Stopes of wine vpon that Table:
    If Hamlet giue the first, or second hit,
    Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
    3730Let all the Battlements their Ordinance fire,
    The King shal drinke to Hamlets better breath,
    And in the Cup an vnion shal he throw
    Richer then that, which foure successiue Kings
    In Denmarkes Crowne haue worne.