King and Queen, on a dais, Laertes (R.), Lords (R.), Ladies (L.), Osric (R.) and Attendants, with Foils, &c., discovered (R.H.); Tables (R. and L.)—Flourish of Trumpets.

Enter Hamlet and Horatio (L.H.)

King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me.

Ham. (offering his hand to Laertes)

Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you wrong;

But pardon it, as you are a gentleman.

Let my disclaiming from a purpos’d evil

Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,

That I have shot my arrow o’er the house,

And hurt my brother.

Laer. (R.)

I am satisfied in nature,

Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most

To my revenge.

I do receive your offer’d love like love,

And will not wrong it.


I embrace it freely:

And will this brother’s wager frankly play.

Give us the foils.


Come, one for me.

Ham. I’ll be your foil, Laertes: in mine ignorance

Your skill shall, like a star i’the darkest night,

Stick fiery off indeed.


You mock me, sir.

Ham. No, by this hand.

King. Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,

You know the wager?


Very well, my lord;

Your grace hath laid the odds o’the weaker side.

King. I do not fear it; I have seen you both:

But since he’s better’d, we have therefore odds.

Laer. This is too heavy, let me see another.

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

Osr. Ay, my good lord.

King. Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.—

[Pages exeunt R. and L.]

If Hamlet give the first or second hit,

Or quit in answer to 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.

Pages return with wine.

Give me the cup;

And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,

The trumpet to the cannoneer without,

The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,

Now the king drinks to Hamlet.—Come, begin;

And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

Ham. Come on, sir.


Come, my lord.

[They play.]







Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.



King. Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;

[Drops poison into the goblet.]

Here’s to thy health.

[Pretends to drink.]

[Trumpets sound; and cannon shot off within.]

Give him the cup.

Ham. I’ll play this bout first; set it by awhile.

[Page places the goblet on table, L.]


Another hit; What say you?

[They play.]

Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.

King. Our son shall win.

Queen. The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

Ham. Good madam!——

[Trumpets sound.]


Gertrude, do not drink.

Queen. I have, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.

King. It is the poison’d cup; it is too late.


Laer. I’ll hit him now

And yet it is almost against my conscience.


Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes: You do but dally;

I pray you, pass with your best violence;

I am afeard you make a wanton of me.

Laer. Say you so? come on.

[They play.]

[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling they change Rapiers, and Hamlet wounds Laertes.]


Part them; they are incensed.

Ham. Nay, come, again.

[The Queen falls back in her chair.]

Osr. (Supporting Laertes, R.) Look to the queen there, ho!

Hor. (Supporting Hamlet, L.) How is it, my lord?

Osr. How is’t, Laertes?

Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osric;

I am justly killed with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen?


She swoons to see them bleed.

Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,—O, my dear Hamlet,—

The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.

[The Queen is conveyed off the stage by her attendant Ladies, in a dying state, L.H.U.E.]

Ham. O villainy! Ho! let the doors be lock’d:

Treachery! seek it out.

[Laertes falls.]

Laer. (R.) 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’s life;

The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,

Unbated and envenom’d: the foul practice

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.

Ham. The point

Envenom’d too! Then, venom, to thy work.

Here, thou incestuous, murd’rous, damnèd Dane,

Follow my mother.

[Stabs the King, who is borne away by his attendants, mortally wounded, R.H.U.E.]


He is justly serv’d;

Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:

Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,

Nor thine on me!


Ham. (C.) Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.

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,

Report me and my cause aright

To the unsatisfied.

Hor. (L.)

Never believe it:

I am more an antique Roman than a Dane:

Here’s yet some liquor left.

[Seizing the goblet on table, L.]


As thou’rt a man,—

Give me the cup: let go; by heaven, I’ll have it.

[Dashes the goblet away.]

O good Horatio, what a wounded name,

Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!

If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,

Absènt thee from felicity awhile,

And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,

To tell my story.—

O, I die, Horatio;

The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit;

The rest is silence.

[Dies, C., Osric on his R., and Horatio on his L.]

Dead March afar off.

Curtain slowly descends.

The End