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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?

Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the margent 29 ere you had done.

30 to the

Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers. Ham. The phrase would be more german matter, if we could carry a 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 impawned, as you call it?

Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits 31; he hath laid on twelve for nine; 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, I will walk here in the hall: If it please his majesty, 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.

29 The margent.' The gloss or commentary in old books was usually on the margin of the leaf.

30 i.e. more a kin. Those that are german to him, though fifty times removed, shall come under the hangman.'-Winter's Tale.

31 The conditions of the wager are thus given in the quarto of 1603:

'Marry, sir, that young Leartes in twelve venies

At rapier and dagger, do not get three odds of you.'

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. Ham. Yours, yours.- He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.

Hor. This lapwing 32 runs away with the shell on his head.

Ham. He did comply 33 with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same bevy 34, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on), only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter 35; a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions 36; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.

32 [This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.] Horatio means to call Osrick a raw, unfledged, foolish fellow. It was a common comparison for a forward fool. Thus in Meres's Wits Treasury, 1598:-' As the lapwing runneth away with the shell on her head, as soon as she is hatched,' &c.

'Forward lapwing,

He flies with the shell an his head.'

Vittoria Corombona.

33 He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.' See note 47, on Act ii. Sc. 2, p. 224.

34 The folio reads, mine more of the same bevy.' Mine is evidently a misprint, and more likely for manie (i. e. many) than mine. The quarto of 1604 reads, ' many more of the same breed. 35 Outward habit of encounter' is exterior politeness of address.

36 [A kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions, &c.] The folio reads, fond and winnowed. The corruption of the quarto, 'prophane and trennowed,' is not worth attention; and I have no doubt that fond in the folio should be fanned, formerly spelt fan'd, and sometimes even without the apostrophe. Fanned and winnowed are almost always coupled by old writers, for reasons

Enter a Lord 37.

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.

Ham. I am constant to my purposes, 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.

Ham. In happy time.

Lord. The queen desires you, to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes, before you fall to play. Ham. She well instructs me. [Exit Lord. Hor. You will lose this wager, my lord.

Ham. I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou would'st 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 38, as would, perhaps, trouble a woman. that may be seen under those words in Baret's Alvearie. So Shakspeare himself in Troilus and Cressida :

• Distinction with a broad and powerful fan,

Puffing at all, winnows the light away.'

The meaning is, 'These men have got the cant of the day, a superficial readiness of slight and cursory conversation, a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through with the most light and inconsequential judgments; but if brought to the trial by the slightest breath of rational conversation, the bubbles burst; or, in other words, display their emptiness.'

37 All that passes between Hamlet and this Lord is omitted in the folio.

38 i. e. misgiving, a giving against, or an internal feeling and prognostic of evil.

Hor. If your mind dislike any thing, obey it: I will forestal 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. 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, of aught he leaves, --knows-what is't to leave betimes 39. Let be.

Enter King, Queen, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and Attendants, with Foils, &c.

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

[The King puts the hand of LAERTES into that of HAMLET.

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

But pardon it, as you are a gentleman.

This presence 40 knows, and you must needs have heard,

How I am punish'd with a sore distraction.

39 [Since no man, of aught he leaves,-knows-What is it to leave betimes?'] This is the reading of the folio; the quarto reads, 'Since no man has ought of what he leaves. What is't to leave betimes.' Has is evidently here a blunder for knows. Johnson thus interprets the passage :—‘Since no man knows ought of the state which he leaves, since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should we be afraid of leaving life betimes?' Warburton's explanation is very ingenious, but perhaps strains the poet's meaning farther than he intended. 'It is true that by death we lose all the goods of life; yet seeing this loss is no otherwise an evil than as we are sensible of it; and since death removes all sense of it, what matters it how soon we lose them.' This argument against the fear of death has been dilated and placed in a very striking light by the late Mr. Green.See Diary of a Lover of Literature, Ipswich, 1810, 4to. p. 230.— Shakspeare himself has elsewhere said, 'the sense of death is most in apprehension.'

40 i. e. the king and queen.

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 his audience $1,


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.


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 ungor'd42: But till that time,
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 on.


Come, one for me.

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

41 This line is not in the quarto.

42 i. e. unwounded. This is a piece of satire on fantastical honour. Though nature is satisfied, yet he will ask advice of older men of the sword, whether artificial honour ought to be contented with Hamlet's apology.



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