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About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Gracious Lord and King, I am the bearer of sad tidings.
    Heaven forbid; what is it?
    Ophelia has climbed a high hill, and cast herself down and taken her own life.
    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.
    Be comforted, Leonhardus! You enjoy our favor; only begin the contest. Phantasmo, fetch the foils. You, Horatio, shall be umpire.
    Here is the warm beer.
    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.
    I am your Lordship's servant; you are only jesting.
    [During the first bout they fence fairly. Leonhardus receives a thrust.
    One! That was a hit, 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.]
    Alas! I am mortally wounded! I receive the reward which I thought to pay another. Heaven, have mercy on me!
    What the devil is this, Leonhardus? have I pierced you with the foil? How is this possible?
    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.
    Tell me, Leonhardus, how did this come about?
    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.
    O! Heavens, what is this! Preserve me from it!
    I was to wound you with it, for it is so strongly poisoned that whoever receives the slightest wound from it must die.
    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?
    Alas! I die!
    [The King stands before the Queen.]
    And thou, tyrant, shalt bear her company in death.
    [He stabs the King from behind.]
    Alas! I receive the reward of my wickedness!
    Farewell, Prince Hamlet! Farewell, world! I die too. Ah, forgive me, Prince!
    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?
    I, Your Highness. I also brought the poisoned sword, but the poisoned wine was meant for you alone.
    Hast thou been an instrument of this woe? There, then; thou too hast thy reward!
    535[He stabs Phantasmo.]
    Stab away, till your blade grows weak!
    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!
    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.
    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."