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And they can well on horfe-back; but this Gallant
Had witchcraft in't, he grew unto his feat;
And to fuch wondrous doing brought his horfe,
As he had been incorps'd and demy-natur'd
With the brave beaft. So far he topp'd my thought,
That I in forgery of fhapes and tricks

Come fhort of what he did.

Laer. A Norman, was't?
King. A Norman.

Laer. Upon my life, Lamond.

King. The fame.

Laer. I know him well. He is the brooch, indeed, And gem of all the nation.

King. He made confeffion of you, And gave you fuch a masterly report, For art and exercise 'in your defence; And for your rapier moft efpecial,

That he cry'd out, 'twould be a Sight indeed,

If one could match you.


The Scrimers of their na

He fwore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd 'em.-Sir, this Report of his
Did Hamlet fo envenom with his envy,

That he could nothing do, but wifh and beg
Your fudden coming o'er to play with him.
Now out of this

Laer. What out of this, my Lord?

King. Laertes, was your father dear to you,
Or are you like the painting of a forrow,
A face without a heart?

Laer. Why ask you this?

King. Not that I think, you did not love your fa


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But that I know, love is begun by time,
And that I fee in paffages of proof,
Time qualifies the ipark and fire of it:
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick, or snuff, that will abate it,
And nothing is at a like goodness ftill;

+ For goodness, growing to a pleurify,

Dies in his own too much. What we would do,
We should do when we would; for this would changes,
And bath abatements and delays as many

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As there are tongues, are bands, are accidents
5 And then this should is like a fpend-thrift figh
That hurts by easing. But to th' quick o' th' ulcer
Hamlet comes back; what would you undertake
To fhew yourself your father's Son indeed
More than in words?

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now, when it may be done with
eafe and safety, time may throw
many difficulties in your way,
that, in order to furmount them,
you must put your whole fortune
into hazard.


This conjecture is fo ingeni ous, that it can hardly be oppofed, but with the fame reluc tance as the bow is drawn against a hero, whofe virtues the archer holds in veneration. Here may be applied what Voltaire writes to the Emprefs:

Le genereux François

Te combat & l'admire. Yet this emendation, however fpecious, is mistaken. The original reading is, not a pendthrift's figh, but a spendthrift figh; a figh that makes an unneceffary watte of the viral flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that fgbs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers.


Laer. To cut his throat i' th' church.

King. No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarise,
Revenge fhould have no bounds; but, good Laertes,
Will you do this? keep clofe within your chamber;
Hamlet, return'd, fhall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence,
And fet a double varnish on the fame

The Frenchman gave you;


And wager on your heads.

bring you in fine to

He being remifs,
Moft generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not perufe the foils; fo that with ease,
Or with a little fhuffing, you may chuse
7 A fword unbated, and in a pass of practice
Requite him for your father.

Laer. I will do't;


And for the purpose I'll anoint my fword.
I bought an unction of a Mountebank,
So mortal, that but dip a knife in it,
Where it draws blood, no Cataplasm so rare,
Collected from all Simples that have virtue
Under the Moon, can save the thing from death,
That is but scratch'd withal; I'll touch my point
With this contagion, that if I gall him flightly,
It may be death.

King. Let's farther think of this;

Weigh, what convenience both of time and means 9 May fit us to our fhape. If this fhould fail,

He being remifs, ] He infidious ftratagem, or privy treabeing not vigilant or cautious. fon, a fenfe not incongruous to 7 A fword unbated,— ] i. e. this paffage, where yet I rather not blunted as foils are. Or as believe, that nothing more is one edition has it embaited or en- meant than a thrust for exercife. venomed. POPE.

s—a pass of practice] Prac tice is often by Shakespeare, and other old writers, taken for an

May fit us to our shape.] May enable us to affume proper characters, and to act our part.

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And that our drift look through our bad performance,

'Twere better not affay'd; therefore this project
Should have a back, or fecond, that might hold,
If this fhould' blast in proof. Soft-let me fee—
We'll make a folemn wager on your cunnings.
I ha't-

When in your motion you are hot and dry,

As make your bouts more violent to that end,

And that he calls for Drink, I'll have prepar'd him

A Chalice for the nonce; whereon but fipping,
If he by chance escape your venom'd tuck,
Our purpose may hold there.


Enter Queen.

How now, fweet Queen?

Queen. One woe doth tread upon another's heel, So falt they follow. Your fifter's drown'd, Laertes. Laer. Drown'd! oh where?

Queen. There is a willow grows aflant a Brook, That fhews his hoar leaves in the glaffy ftream: There with fantaftick garlands did fhe come, Of crow-flowers, nettles, daifies, and long purples, (That liberal fhepherds give a groffer name;

But our cold maids do dead men's fingers call

them ;)

There on the pendant boughs, her coronet weeds
Clambring to hang, an envious fliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself

1 - blast in proof] This, I
believe, is a metaphor taken
from a mine, which, in the proof

or execution, fometimes breaks out with an ineffectual blaft.


Fell in the weeping brook; her cloaths fpread


And mermaid-like, a while they bore her up;
2 Which time fhe chaunted fnatches of old tunes,
As one incapable of her own diftrefs;

Or like a creature native, and indued

Unto that element: but long it could not be,
'Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.

Laer. Alas then, fhe is drown'd!
Queen. Drown'd, drown'd.

Laer. Too much of water haft

thou, poor Ophelia,
But yet

And therefore I forbid my tears. But

It is our trick: Nature her custom holds,

Let Shame fay what it will. When these are gone,
The woman will be out. Adieu, my Lord!

I have a fpeech of fire, that fain would blaze,
But that this folly drowns it.

King. Follow, Gertrude.

How much had I to do to calm his rage!
Now fear I, this will give it start again;
Therefore, let's follow.

2 Which time he chaunted Snatches of old tunes,] Fletcher, in his Scornful Lady, very invidiously ridicules this incident.



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