Hamlet-ACT05-2

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Scene Two.—HALL IN THE CASTLE.

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Enter Hamlet and Horatio (R.H.)

Ham. 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.

Hor.

Peace! who comes here?

Enter Osric (L.H.)

Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.

Ham. (C.) I humbly thank you, sir.—Dost know this water-fly?

Hor. (R.) No, my good lord.

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for ‘tis a vice to know him.

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

Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit.Your bonnet to his right use; ‘tis for the head.

Osr. I thank your lordship, ‘tis very hot.

Ham. No, believe me, ‘tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Ham. But yet, methinks it is very sultry and hot,for my complexion,—

Osr. 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,—

Ham. I beseech you, remember——

[Hamlet moves him to put on his hat.]

Osr. 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.

Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?

Osr. Of Laertes?

Ham. Of him, sir.

Osr. Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is—

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

Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon.

Ham. What is his weapon?

Osr. Rapier and dagger.

Ham. That’s two of his weapons: but, well.

Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses: against the which he has imponed, as I take it, six French rapiers and poignards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, or 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.

Ham. What call you the carriages?

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.

Ham. The phrase would be more german to the matter, if we could carry cannon by our sides.

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

Ham. How if I answer no?

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

Ham. Sir, it is 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 if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame and the odd hits.

Osr. Shall I deliver you so?

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

Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship.

[Exit, L.H.]

Hor. (R.) You will lose this wager, my lord.

Ham. (C.) I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds.But thou wouldst not think how ill all’s here about my heart: but it is no matter.

Hor. Nay, good my lord.

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

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

Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury: there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow.

[Exeunt, L.H.]