[A hall in the castle.]
[Enter HAMLET and HORATIO]
So much for this, sir: now shall you see the other;
You do remember all the circumstance?
Remember it, my lord?
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, --
That is most certain.
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.
Here's the commission: read it at more leisure.
But wilt thou hear me how I did proceed?
I beseech you.
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?
Ay, good my lord.
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.
How was this seal'd?
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.
So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
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.
Why, what a king is this!
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?
It must be shortly known to him from England
What is the issue of the business there.
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.
Peace! who comes here?
Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?
No, my good lord.
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.
Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I
should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of
spirit. Put your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
I thank your lordship, it is very hot.
No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is
It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
But yet methinks it is very sultry and hot for my
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, --
I beseech you, remember --
[HAMLET moves him to put on his hat]
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.
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.
Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman
in our more rawer breath?
Is't not possible to understand in another tongue?
You will do't, sir, really.
What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
His purse is empty already; all's golden words are spent.
Of him, sir.
I know you are not ignorant --
I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did,
it would not much approve me. Well, sir?
You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is --
I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with
him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to
I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation
laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
What's his weapon?
Rapier and dagger.
That's two of his weapons: but, well.
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.
What call you the carriages?
I knew you must be edified by the margent ere you had done.
The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
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?
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.
How if I answer 'no'?
I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
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.
Shall I re-deliver you e'en so?
To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
I commend my duty to your lordship.
Note: This scene is continued here