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No trophy, fword, nor hatchment o'er his bones,
No noble rite, nor formal oftentation,

Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heav'n to earth,
That I must call't in question.

King. So you fhall:

And where th' offence is, let the great ax fall. 1 pray you go with me.


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Hor. What are they, that would speak with me?
Serv. Sailors, Sir. They fay, they have letters for


Hor. Let them come in.

I do not know from what part of the world
I fhould be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

Enter Sailors.

Sail. God bless you, Sir.

Her. Let him blefs thee too.

Sail. He fhall, Sir, an't please him.

There's a letter for you, Sir. It comes from th' ambaffador that was bound for England, if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.

9 No trophy, Sword, nor hatch

ment- It was the cuftom, in the times of our authour, to hang a fword over the grave of a Knight.

And where th offence is, let

the great x fall.] We fhould read,

-let the great TAX fall. i. e. penalty, punishment.


Fall correfponds better to ax.



Horatio reads the letter.

ORATIO, when thou shalt have overlook'd this, give thefe fellows fome means to the King: they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at fea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace. Finding ourselves too flow of fail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded them: on the inftant they got clear of our ship, so I alone became their prifoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the King have the letters I have fent, and repair thou to me with as much hafte as thou wouldest fly death. I have words to speak in thy ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the marter. Thefe good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rofincrantz and Guildenstern hold their courfe for England. Of them I have much to tell thee. Farewel.


He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.

Come. I will make you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.


Enter King and Laertes.


King. Now must your confcience my acquittance feal,

2 for the bre of the matter.] The matter, fays Hamlet, culd The bore is the caliber of a gun, carry heavier words.

or the capacity of the barrel.




And mult put me in your heart for friend;
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he, which hath your noble father flain,
Pursued my life.

Laer. It well appears. But tell me,
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and fo capital in nature,

As by your fafety, wisdom, all things elfe,
You mainly were stirr'd up?

King. O, for two fpecial reasons,

Which may to you, perhaps, feem much unfinew'd,
And yet to me are ftrong.

The Queen, his mother,
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself,
My virtue or my plague, be't either which,
She's fo conjunctive to my life and foul,
That, as the ftar moves not but in his fphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a publick count I might not go,
Is the great love the general gender bear him ;
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,

4 Would, like the fpring that turneth wood to store, Convert his gyves to graces. So that my arrows, Too flightly timbred for fo loud a wind,

Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

Laer. And fo have I a noble father lost,

A fifter driven into defperate terms,
Who has, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections. But my revenge will come.

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King. Break not your fleeps for that. You must not


That we are made of stuff fo flat and dull,
That we can let our beard be fhook with danger,
And think it paftime. You fhall foon hear more.
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself,
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine-
How now? what news?

Enter a Meffenger.

Mef. Letters, my Lord, from Hamlet. These to your Majefty. This to the Queen. King. From Hamlet? Who brought them? Mef. Sailors, my Lord, they fay; I faw them not. They were given me by Claudio; he receiv'd them. King. Laertes, you shall hear them. Leave us,


[Exit Meffenger.

HIGH and Mighty, you shall know, 1 am fet naked on your Kingdom. To-morrow fhall I beg leave to fee your kingly eyes. When I fhall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount th' occafion of my fudden reHamlet.


What should this mean? Are all the reft come back?
Or is it fome abuse, and no fuch thing?
Laer. Know you the hand?

King. 'Tis Hamlet's character;

Naked, and (in a poftfcript here, he says)

Alone. Can you advise me?

Laer. I'm loft in it, my Lord. But let him come; It warms the very fickness in my heart,

That I fhall live and tell him to his teeth,

Thus diddeft thou.

King. If it be fo, Laertes,

As how fhould it be fo?

-how, otherwife?

Will you be rul❜d by me?

Laer. Ay; fo you'll not o'er rule me to a peace.
King. To thine own peace. If he be now return'd,
"As liking not his voyage, and that he means.
No more to undertake it, I will work him
To an exploit now ripe in my device,

Under the which he fhall not chufe but fall:
And for his death no wind of Blame fhall breathe;
But ev❜n his mother shall uncharge the practice,
And call it accident.

Laer. I will be ruľ'd,

The rather, if you could devife it fo,
That I might be the organ.

King. It falls right.

You have been talkt of fince your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's Hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they fay, you shine; your fum of parts
Did not together pluck fuch envy from him,
As did that one, and that in my regard
7 Of the unworthieft fiege.

Laer. What part is that, my Lord?
King. A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no lefs becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears,
Than fettled age his fables, and his weeds,


Importing health and graveness.-Two months fince, Here was a gentleman of Normandy.

I've seen myself, and serv'd against the French,

6 As liking not his voyage,-] The folio,

As choking at his voyage.7 Of the unworthieft fiege.] Of the lowest rank. Siege, for feat, place.

Importing HEALTH and gravenefs. But a warm furr'd gown rather implies fickness than bealth. Shakespear wrote,

Importing WEALTH and gravenefs. -]

i. e. that the wearers are rich burghers and magiftrates.


In porting here may be, not inferring by logical confequence, but producing by phyfical effect. A young man regards fhow in his drefs, an old man, health.

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