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Scene Seven 

Another room in the castle

 

[Enter KING CLAUDIUS and LAERTES]

KING CLAUDIUS

Now must your consciencemy acquaintanceseal

And you must put me in your heart for friend

Sithyou have heardand with a knowing ear

That he which hath your noble father slain

Pursuedmy life

LAERTES

It well appearsbut tell me

Why you proceedednot against these feats

So crimefuland so capitalin nature

As by your safetywisdomall things else

You mainly were stirr'd up

KING CLAUDIUS

Ofor two special reasons

Which may to youperhapsseem much unsinew'd

But yet to me they are strongThe queen his mother

Lives almost by his looksand for myself——

My virtue or my plaguebe it either which——

She's so conjunctiveto my life and soul

Thatas the star moves not but in his sphere

I could not but by herThe other motive

Why to a public count I might not go

Is the great love the general genderbear him

Whodipping all his faults in their affection

Wouldlike the springthat turnethwood to stone

Convert his gyvesto gracesso that my arrows

Too slightly timber'dfor so loud a wind

Would have revertedto my bowagain

And not where I had aim'd them

LAERTES

And so have I a noble father lost

A sister driven into desperate terms

Whose worthif praises may go back again

Stood challengeron mountof all the age

For her perfectionsbut my revenge will come

KING CLAUDIUS

Break not your sleeps for thatyou must not think

That we are made of stuffso flat and dull

That we can let our beard be shookwith danger

And think it pastimeYou shortly shall hear more

I loved your fatherand we love ourself

And thatI hopewill teach you to imagine——

[Enter a Messenger]

How nowwhat news

Messenger

Lettersmy lordfrom Hamlet

This to your majestythis to the queen

KING CLAUDIUS

From Hamletwho brought them

Messenger

Sailorsmy lordthey sayI saw them not

They were given me by Claudiohe received them

Of him that brought them

KING CLAUDIUS

Laertesyou shall hear themLeave us

[Exit Messenger]

[Reads]

>High and mightyYou shall know I am set naked on

your kingdomTo-morrow shall I beg leave to see

your kingly eyeswhen I shallfirst asking your

pardon thereuntorecountthe occasion of my sudden

and more strange return>HAMLET>

What should this meanAre all the rest come back

Or is it some abuseand no such thing

LAERTES

Know you the hand

KING CLAUDIUS

>Tis Hamlets character>Naked

And in a postscriptherehe says>alone

>Can you advise me

LAERTES

I>m lost in itmy lordBut let him come

It warms the very sickness in my heart

That I shall live and tell him to his teeth>Thus didest thou>

KING CLAUDIUS

If it be soLaertes——

As how should it be sohow otherwise?——

Will you be ruled by me

LAERTES

Aymy lord

So you will not o>erruleme to a peace

KING CLAUDIUS

To thineown peaceIf he be now return'd

As checkingat his voyageand that he means

No more to undertake itI will work him

To an exploitnow ripein my device

Under the which he shall not choose but fall

And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe

But even his mother shall unchargethe practise

And call it accident

LAERTES

My lordI will be ruled

The ratherif you could deviseit so

That I might be the organ

KING CLAUDIUS

It falls right

You have been talk'd of since your travel much

And that in Hamlet's hearingfor a quality

Whereinthey sayyou shineyour sumof parts

Did not together plucksuch envyfrom him

As did that oneand thatin my regard

Of the unworthiest siege

LAERTES

What part is thatmy lord

KING CLAUDIUS

A very ribandin the cap of youth

Yet needful toofor youth no less becomes

The light and careless liverythat it wears

Than settled age his sablesand his weeds

Importinghealth and gravenessTwo months since

Here was a gentleman of Normandy:——

I>ve seen myselfand served againstthe French

And they can well on horsebackbut this gallant

Had witchcraftin>the grew untohis seat

And to such wondrousdoing brought his horse

As he had been incorpsedand demi-natured

With the brave beastso far he topp'dmy thought

That Iin forgeryof shapes and tricks

Come short of what he did

LAERTES

A Normanwas>t

KING CLAUDIUS

A Norman

LAERTES

Upon my lifeLamond

KING CLAUDIUS

The very same

LAERTES

I know him wellhe is the broochindeed

And gemof all the nation

KING CLAUDIUS

He made confessionof you

And gave you such a masterlyreport

For art and exercise in your defence

And for your rapiermost especially

That he cried out>twouldbe a sight indeed

If one could match youthe scrimersof their nation

He sworehad had neither motionguardnor eye

If you opposed themSirthis report of his

Did Hamlet so envenomwith his envy

That he could nothing do but wish and beg

Your sudden coming o>erto play with him

Nowout of this,——

LAERTES

What out of thismy lord

KING CLAUDIUS

Laerteswas your father dear to you

Or are you like the painting of a sorrow

A face without a heart

LAERTES

Why ask you this

KING CLAUDIUS

Not that I think you did not love your father

But that I know love is begun by time

And that I seein passages of proof

Time qualifiesthe sparkand fire of it

There lives within the very flameof love

A kind of wickor snuffthat will abateit

And nothing is at a like goodness still

For goodnessgrowing to a plurisy

Dies in his own too muchthat we would do

We should do when we wouldfor this>would>changes

And hath abatementsand delays as many

As there are tonguesare handsare accidents

And then this 'should>is like a spendthriftsigh

That hurts by easingButto the quick o>theulcer:——

Hamlet comes backwhat would you undertake

To show yourself your father's son in deed

More than in words

LAERTES

To cut his throat i>thechurch

KING CLAUDIUS

No placeindeedshould murder sanctuarize

Revengeshould have no boundsButgood Laertes

Will you do thiskeep close within your chamber

Hamlet return'd shall know you are come home

We>ll put on thoseshall praise your excellence

And set a double varnishon the fame

The Frenchman gave youbring you in finetogether

And wageron your headshebeing remiss

Most generousand free from all contriving

Will not perusethe foilsso thatwith ease

Or with a little shufflingyou may choose

A sword unbatedand in a pass of practise

Requitehim for your father

LAERTES

I will do>t

Andfor that purposeI>ll anointmy sword

I bought an unctionof a mountebank

So mortal thatbut dip a knife in it

Where it draws blood no cataplasmso rare

Collected from all simples that have virtue

Under the mooncan save the thing from death

That is but scratch'dwithalI>ll touch my point

With this contagionthatif I gallhim slightly

It may be death

KING CLAUDIUS

Let's further think of this

Weighwhat convenienceboth of time and means

May fit us to our shapeif this should fail

And that our drift look through our bad performance

>Twere better not assay'dtherefore this project

Should have a back or secondthat might hold

If this should blast in proofSoftlet me see

We>ll make a solemnwageron your cunningsI ha>t

When in your motion you are hot and dry——

As make your boutsmore violent to that end——

And that he calls for drinkI>ll have prepared him

A chalicefor the noncewhereonbut sipping

If he by chance escape your venom'dstuck

Our purpose may hold there

[Enter QUEEN GERTRUDE]

How nowsweet queen

QUEEN GERTRUDE

One woedothtreadupon another's heel

So fast they followyour sister's drown'dLaertes

LAERTES

Drown'dOwhere

QUEEN GERTRUDE

There is a willowgrows aslanta brook

That shows his hoarleaves in the glassy stream

There with fantasticgarlandsdid she come

Of crow-flowersnettlesdaisiesand long purples

That liberal shepherdsgive a grossername

But our cold maidsdo dead men's fingers call them

Thereon the pendentboughsher coronetweeds

Clamberingto hangan envioussliverbroke

When down her weedytrophiesand herself

Fell in the weeping brookHer clothes spread wide

Andmermaid-likeawhilethey bore her up

Which time she chantedsnatchesof old tunes

As one incapable of her own distress

Or like a creature native and indued

Untothat elementbut long it could not be

Till that her garmentsheavy with their drink

Pull'd the poor wretch from her melodiouslay

To muddydeath

LAERTES

Alasthenshe is drown'dQUEEN GERTRUDE

Drown'ddrown'd

LAERTES

Too much of water hastthoupoor Ophelia

And therefore I forbid my tearsbut yet

It is our tricknature her custom holds

Let shame say what it willwhen these are gone

The woman will be outAdieumy lord

I have a speech of firethat fainwould blaze

But that this follydoutsit

[Exit]

KING CLAUDIUS

Let's followGertrude

How much I had to do to calm his rage

Now fear I this will give it start again

Therefore let's follow

[Exeunt]


 

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