Meet us on:
Welcome to Read Print! Sign in with
or
to get started!
 
Entire Site
    Try our fun game

    Dueling book covers…may the best design win!

    Random Quote
    "Anger makes dull men witty, but it keeps them poor."
     

    Subscribe to Our Newsletter

    Follow us on Twitter

    Never miss a good book again! Follow Read Print on Twitter

    Act 5. Scene II

    • Rate it:
    • Average Rating: 3.8 out of 5 based on 19 ratings
    • 35 Favorites on Read Print
    Launch Reading Mode
    Chapter 20
    Previous Chapter
    SCENE II. A hall in the castle.

    Enter HAMLET and HORATIO
    HAMLET
    So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
    You do remember all the circumstance?

    HORATIO
    Remember it, my lord?

    HAMLET
    Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting,
    That would not let me sleep: methought I lay
    Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly,
    And praised be rashness for it, let us know,
    Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
    When our deep plots do pall: and that should teach us
    There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
    Rough-hew them how we will,--

    HORATIO
    That is most certain.

    HAMLET
    Up from my cabin,
    My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
    Groped I to find out them; had my desire.
    Finger'd their packet, and in fine withdrew
    To mine own room again; making so bold,
    My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
    Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio,--
    O royal knavery!--an exact command,
    Larded with many several sorts of reasons
    Importing Denmark's health and England's too,
    With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
    That, on the supervise, no leisure bated,
    No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
    My head should be struck off.

    HORATIO
    Is't possible?

    HAMLET
    Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
    But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?

    HORATIO
    I beseech you.

    HAMLET
    Being thus be-netted round with villanies,--
    Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
    They had begun the play--I sat me down,
    Devised a new commission, wrote it fair:
    I once did hold it, as our statists do,
    A baseness to write fair and labour'd much
    How to forget that learning, but, sir, now
    It did me yeoman's service: wilt thou know
    The effect of what I wrote?

    HORATIO
    Ay, good my lord.

    HAMLET
    An earnest conjuration from the king,
    As England was his faithful tributary,
    As love between them like the palm might flourish,
    As peace should stiff her wheaten garland wear
    And stand a comma 'tween their amities,
    And many such-like 'As'es of great charge,
    That, on the view and knowing of these contents,
    Without debatement further, more or less,
    He should the bearers put to sudden death,
    Not shriving-time allow'd.

    HORATIO
    How was this seal'd?

    HAMLET
    Why, even in that was heaven ordinant.
    I had my father's signet in my purse,
    Which was the model of that Danish seal;
    Folded the writ up in form of the other,
    Subscribed it, gave't the impression, placed it safely,
    The changeling never known. Now, the next day
    Was our sea-fight; and what to this was sequent
    Thou know'st already.

    HORATIO
    So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

    HAMLET
    Why, man, they did make love to this employment;
    They are not near my conscience; their defeat
    Does by their own insinuation grow:
    'Tis dangerous when the baser nature comes
    Between the pass and fell incensed points
    Of mighty opposites.

    HORATIO
    Why, what a king is this!

    HAMLET
    Does it not, think'st thee, stand me now upon--
    He that hath kill'd my king and whored my mother,
    Popp'd in between the election and my hopes,
    Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
    And with such cozenage--is't not perfect conscience,
    To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd,
    To let this canker of our nature come
    In further evil?

    HORATIO
    It must be shortly known to him from England
    What is the issue of the business there.

    HAMLET
    It will be short: the interim is mine;
    And a man's life's no more than to say 'One.'
    But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
    That to Laertes I forgot myself;
    For, by the image of my cause, I see
    The portraiture of his: I'll court his favours.
    But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
    Into a towering passion.

    HORATIO
    Peace! who comes here?

    Enter OSRIC

    OSRIC
    Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

    HAMLET
    I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?

    HORATIO
    No, my good lord.

    HAMLET
    Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to
    know him. He hath much land, and fertile: let a
    beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at
    the king's mess: 'tis a chough; but, as I say,
    spacious in the possession of dirt.

    OSRIC
    Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I
    should impart a thing to you from his majesty.

    HAMLET
    I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of
    spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

    OSRIC
    I thank your lordship, it is very hot.

    HAMLET
    No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is
    northerly.

    OSRIC
    It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

    HAMLET
    But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my
    complexion.

    OSRIC
    Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,--as
    'twere,--I cannot tell how. But, my lord, his
    majesty bade me signify to you that he has laid a
    great wager on your head: sir, this is the matter,--

    HAMLET
    I beseech you, remember--

    HAMLET moves him to put on his hat

    OSRIC
    Nay, good my lord; for mine ease, in good faith.
    Sir, here is newly come to court Laertes; believe
    me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent
    differences, of very soft society and great showing:
    indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or
    calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the
    continent of what part a gentleman would see.

    HAMLET
    Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;
    though, I know, to divide him inventorially would
    dizzy the arithmetic of memory, and yet but yaw
    neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the
    verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of
    great article; and his infusion of such dearth and
    rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his
    semblable is his mirror; and who else would trace
    him, his umbrage, nothing more.

    OSRIC
    Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.

    HAMLET
    The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman
    in our more rawer breath?

    OSRIC
    Sir?

    HORATIO
    Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?
    You will do't, sir, really.

    HAMLET
    What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

    OSRIC
    Of Laertes?

    HORATIO
    His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.

    HAMLET
    Of him, sir.

    OSRIC
    I know you are not ignorant--

    HAMLET
    I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did,
    it would not much approve me. Well, sir?

    OSRIC
    You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is--

    HAMLET
    I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with
    him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to
    know himself.

    OSRIC
    I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation
    laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.

    HAMLET
    What's his weapon?

    OSRIC
    Rapier and dagger.

    HAMLET
    That's two of his weapons: but, well.

    OSRIC
    The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary
    horses: against the which he has imponed, as I take
    it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their
    assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so: three of the
    carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very
    responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages,
    and of very liberal conceit.

    HAMLET
    What call you the carriages?

    HORATIO
    I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.

    OSRIC
    The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

    HAMLET
    The phrase would be more german to the matter, if we
    could carry cannon by our sides: I would it might
    be hangers till then. But, on: six Barbary horses
    against six French swords, their assigns, and three
    liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bet
    against the Danish. Why is this 'imponed,' as you call it?

    OSRIC
    The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes
    between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you
    three hits: he hath laid on twelve for nine; and it
    would come to immediate trial, if your lordship
    would vouchsafe the answer.

    HAMLET
    How if I answer 'no'?

    OSRIC
    I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.

    HAMLET
    Sir, I will walk here in the hall: if it please his
    majesty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let
    the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the
    king hold his purpose, I will win for him an I can;
    if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.

    OSRIC
    Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?

    HAMLET
    To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.

    OSRIC
    I commend my duty to your lordship.

    HAMLET
    Yours, yours.

    Exit OSRIC

    He does well to commend it himself; there are no
    tongues else for's turn.

    HORATIO
    This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.

    HAMLET
    He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.
    Thus has he--and many more of the same bevy that I
    know the dressy age dotes on--only got the tune of
    the time and outward habit of encounter; a kind of
    yesty collection, which carries them through and
    through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do
    but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.

    Enter a Lord

    Lord
    My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young
    Osric, who brings back to him that you attend him in
    the hall: he sends to know if your pleasure hold to
    play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time.

    HAMLET
    I am constant to my purpose; they follow the king's
    pleasure: if his fitness speaks, mine is ready; now
    or whensoever, provided I be so able as now.

    Lord
    The king and queen and all are coming down.

    HAMLET
    In happy time.

    Lord
    The queen desires you to use some gentle
    entertainment to Laertes before you fall to play.

    HAMLET
    She well instructs me.

    Exit Lord

    HORATIO
    You will lose this wager, my lord.

    HAMLET
    I do not think so: since he went into France, I
    have been in continual practise: I shall win at the
    odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here
    about my heart: but it is no matter.

    HORATIO
    Nay, good my lord,--

    HAMLET
    It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of
    gain-giving, as would perhaps trouble a woman.

    HORATIO
    If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will
    forestall their repair hither, and say you are not
    fit.

    HAMLET
    Not a whit, we defy augury: there's a special
    providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now,
    'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
    now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the
    readiness is all: since no man has aught of what he
    leaves, what is't to leave betimes?

    Enter KING CLAUDIUS, QUEEN GERTRUDE, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants with foils, & c

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

    KING CLAUDIUS puts LAERTES' hand into HAMLET's

    HAMLET
    Give me your pardon, sir: I've done you wrong;
    But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
    This presence knows,
    And you must needs have heard, how I am punish'd
    With sore distraction. What I have done,
    That might your nature, honour and exception
    Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
    Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
    If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
    And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
    Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
    Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
    Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
    His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
    Sir, in this audience,
    Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
    Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
    That I have shot mine arrow o'er the house,
    And hurt my brother.

    LAERTES
    I am satisfied in nature,
    Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
    To my revenge: but in my terms of honour
    I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement,
    Till by some elder masters, of known honour,
    I have a voice and precedent of peace,
    To keep my name ungored. But till that time,
    I do receive your offer'd love like love,
    And will not wrong it.

    HAMLET
    I embrace it freely;
    And will this brother's wager frankly play.
    Give us the foils. Come on.

    LAERTES
    Come, one for me.

    HAMLET
    I'll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance
    Your skill shall, like a star i' the darkest night,
    Stick fiery off indeed.

    LAERTES
    You mock me, sir.

    HAMLET
    No, by this hand.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
    You know the wager?

    HAMLET
    Very well, my lord
    Your grace hath laid the odds o' the weaker side.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    I do not fear it; I have seen you both:
    But since he is better'd, we have therefore odds.

    LAERTES
    This is too heavy, let me see another.

    HAMLET
    This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

    They prepare to play

    OSRIC
    Ay, my good lord.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Set me the stoops of wine upon that table.
    If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
    Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
    Let all the battlements their ordnance fire:
    The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
    And in the cup an union shall he throw,
    Richer than that which four successive kings
    In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
    And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
    The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
    The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
    'Now the king dunks to Hamlet.' Come, begin:
    And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

    HAMLET
    Come on, sir.

    LAERTES
    Come, my lord.

    They play

    HAMLET
    One.

    LAERTES
    No.

    HAMLET
    Judgment.

    OSRIC
    A hit, a very palpable hit.

    LAERTES
    Well; again.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
    Here's to thy health.

    Trumpets sound, and cannon shot off within

    Give him the cup.

    HAMLET
    I'll play this bout first; set it by awhile. Come.

    They play

    Another hit; what say you?

    LAERTES
    A touch, a touch, I do confess.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Our son shall win.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    He's fat, and scant of breath.
    Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows;
    The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

    HAMLET
    Good madam!

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Gertrude, do not drink.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    [Aside] It is the poison'd cup: it is too late.

    HAMLET
    I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    Come, let me wipe thy face.

    LAERTES
    My lord, I'll hit him now.

    KING CLAUDIUS
    I do not think't.

    LAERTES
    [Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst my conscience.

    HAMLET
    Come, for the third, Laertes: you but dally;
    I pray you, pass with your best violence;
    I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

    LAERTES
    Say you so? come on.

    They play

    OSRIC
    Nothing, neither way.

    LAERTES
    Have at you now!

    LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then in scuffling, they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES

    KING CLAUDIUS
    Part them; they are incensed.

    HAMLET
    Nay, come, again.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE falls

    OSRIC
    Look to the queen there, ho!

    HORATIO
    They bleed on both sides. How is it, my lord?

    OSRIC
    How is't, Laertes?

    LAERTES
    Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
    I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

    HAMLET
    How does the queen?

    KING CLAUDIUS
    She swounds to see them bleed.

    QUEEN GERTRUDE
    No, no, the drink, the drink,--O my dear Hamlet,--
    The drink, the drink! I am poison'd.

    Dies

    HAMLET
    O villany! Ho! let the door be lock'd:
    Treachery! Seek it out.

    LAERTES
    It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
    No medicine in the world can do thee good;
    In thee there is not half an hour of life;
    The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
    Unbated and envenom'd: the foul practise
    Hath turn'd itself on me lo, here I lie,
    Never to rise again: thy mother's poison'd:
    I can no more: the king, the king's to blame.

    HAMLET
    The point!--envenom'd too!
    Then, venom, to thy work.

    Stabs KING CLAUDIUS

    All
    Treason! treason!

    KING CLAUDIUS
    O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.

    HAMLET
    Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
    Drink off this potion. Is thy union here?
    Follow my mother.

    KING CLAUDIUS dies

    LAERTES
    He is justly served;
    It is a poison temper'd by himself.
    Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
    Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
    Nor thine on me.

    Dies

    HAMLET
    Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
    I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!
    You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
    That are but mutes or audience to this act,
    Had I but time--as this fell sergeant, death,
    Is strict in his arrest--O, I could tell you--
    But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;
    Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
    To the unsatisfied.

    HORATIO
    Never believe it:
    I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:
    Here's yet some liquor left.

    HAMLET
    As thou'rt a man,
    Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I'll have't.
    O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
    Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
    If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart
    Absent thee from felicity awhile,
    And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
    To tell my story.

    March afar off, and shot within

    What warlike noise is this?

    OSRIC
    Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
    To the ambassadors of England gives
    This warlike volley.

    HAMLET
    O, I die, Horatio;
    The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit:
    I cannot live to hear the news from England;
    But I do prophesy the election lights
    On Fortinbras: he has my dying voice;
    So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less,
    Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

    Dies

    HORATIO
    Now cracks a noble heart. Good night sweet prince:
    And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
    Why does the drum come hither?

    March within

    Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others

    PRINCE FORTINBRAS
    Where is this sight?

    HORATIO
    What is it ye would see?
    If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search.

    PRINCE FORTINBRAS
    This quarry cries on havoc. O proud death,
    What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
    That thou so many princes at a shot
    So bloodily hast struck?

    First Ambassador
    The sight is dismal;
    And our affairs from England come too late:
    The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
    To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd,
    That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead:
    Where should we have our thanks?

    HORATIO
    Not from his mouth,
    Had it the ability of life to thank you:
    He never gave commandment for their death.
    But since, so jump upon this bloody question,
    You from the Polack wars, and you from England,
    Are here arrived give order that these bodies
    High on a stage be placed to the view;
    And let me speak to the yet unknowing world
    How these things came about: so shall you hear
    Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
    Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
    Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,
    And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
    Fall'n on the inventors' reads: all this can I
    Truly deliver.

    PRINCE FORTINBRAS
    Let us haste to hear it,
    And call the noblest to the audience.
    For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune:
    I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
    Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

    HORATIO
    Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
    And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more;
    But let this same be presently perform'd,
    Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance
    On plots and errors, happen.

    PRINCE FORTINBRAS
    Let four captains
    Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
    For he was likely, had he been put on,
    To have proved most royally: and, for his passage,
    The soldiers' music and the rites of war
    Speak loudly for him.
    Take up the bodies: such a sight as this
    Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.
    Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

    A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off
    Chapter 20
    Previous Chapter
    If you're writing a William Shakespeare essay and need some advice, post your William Shakespeare essay question on our Facebook page where fellow bookworms are always glad to help!

    Top 5 Authors

    Top 5 Books

    Book Status
    Finished
    Want to read
    Abandoned

    Are you sure you want to leave this group?