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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

Your skill shall, like a star i’ the darkest

Stick fiery off indeed.

You mock me, sir.
llum, 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 ó' the weaker

side. King. I do not fear it ; I have seen you

both: But since he is 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 ? [They prepare to play.
Osr. Ay, my good lord.
King. Set me the stoups of wine upon that

If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
Or quit in answer of the third exchange, 280
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire ;
The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath;
And in the cup an imion shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the

cups ;
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to

"Now the king drinks to Hamlet.' Come, be-

gin :
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye. 290

Huni. Come on, sir.

Come, my lord. (They play.



Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.

Well; again. 417,76. King. Stay; give me drink. Hamlet, this

pearl is thine ; Here's to thy health. [Trumpets sound, and cannon shot of

within. Give him the cup. Ilam. I'll play this bout first ; set it by

Come. [They play.] Another hit; what say

Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
King. Our son shall win.

Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath.
Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy

The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.

Ham. Good madam!

301 King.

Gertrude, do not drink.
Queen. I will, my lord ; I pray you, pardon

King. [Aside)

] It is the poisou'd cup : it is
too late.
Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam ; by

and by.
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laer. My lord, I'll hit him now.

I do not think't.
Laer. (Aside] And yet 'tis almost 'gainst

my conscience. Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes : you

but dally i I pray you, pass with your best violence; I am afeard you make a wanton of me. 310

Laer. Say you so ? come on. [They play
Osr. Nothing, neither way.
Lacr. Have at you now !
(Laertes wounds Hamlet ; then in scuffling,

they change rapiers, and Hamlet wounds

Laertes, King. Part them ; they are incensed. llam. Nay, come, again. [The Qucen falls. Osr.

Look to the queen there, ho Hor. They bleed on both sides. How is it,

my lord ? Osr, How is't, Laertes ? Laer. Why, as a woodcock to mine own

springe, Osric ;
I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen ?
King. She swounds to see them bleed.
Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,--0
my dear Hamlet,

320 The drink, the drink! I am poison'd. [Dies. Ham. O villany! Ho! let the door be

lock'd : Treachery! Seek it out. Laer. It is here, Ilamlet : Hamlet, thou

art slain ; No medicine in the world can do thee good ; In thee there is not half an hour of life; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Unbated and envenom'd : the foul practice Hath tun'd itself on me ; lo, here I lie, 329 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. (Stabs the King.

All. Treason ! treason !
King. O, yet defend me, friends ; I am but

Ham, Here, thou incestuous, murderous,

damned Dane, Drink off this potion. Is thy union here? Follow my mother,

(King dies. Laer.

He is justly served ; It is a poison temper'd by himself.

339 Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet: Mine and my father's death come not upon

thee, Nor thine on me,

(Dies. Ham. Heaven make thee free of it I 1 fol.

low thee,

you ?

And, in this upshot, purposes o all this can I

I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu !
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-0, I could tell you-
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead ;

Thon livest; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

Never believe it : 351 I am more an antique Roman than a Dane : Here's yet some liquor left. Ham.

As thou'rt a man, Give me the cup : let go ; by heaven, I'll

hare't, O good Horatio, what a wounded name, Things standing thus unknown, shall live be

hind me! If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart Absent thee from felicity awhile, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in

pain, To tell my story:

(March afar off, and shot within.

What warlike noise is this? 360 Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come

from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.

0, I die, Horatio ;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit :
I canuot live to hear the news from England ;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras : he has my dying voice ;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and

less, Which have solicited. The rest is silence.

[Dies. Hor. Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince :

370 And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest ! Why does the drum come hither?

[March within. Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors,

and others. Fort. Where is this sight? Hor.

What is it ye would see ? If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search. Fort. This quarry cries on havoc. O proud

death, What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, fnat thou so many princes at a shot

So bloodily hast struck ?
First Amb.

The sight is dismal ; And our affairs from England come too late : The ears are senseless that should give us

hearing, To tell him his commandment is fulfill'd, 381 That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are deal : Where should we have our thanks ? Hor.

Not from his mouth, Had it the ability of life to thank you : He never gave commandment for their death. But since, so jump upon this bloody question, You from the Polack wars, and you from Eng

land, Are here arrived, give order that these bodies High on a stage be placed to the view ; 389 And let me speak to the yet unknowing world How these things came about: so shall you

Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts,
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters,
Of deaths put on by cunning and forced cause,

Fall'n on the inventors'
Truly deliver,

Let us haste to hear it,
And call the noblest to the audience.

with sorrow I embrace my fortune : I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, Which now to claim my vantage doth invite

me. Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to

speak, And from his mouth whose voice will draw on

more; But let this same be presently perform'd, Even while men's minds are wild ; lest more

mischance On plots and errors, happen. Fort.

Let four captains Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage; For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royally : and, for his

passage, The soldiers' music and the rites of war 410 Speak loudly for him. Take up the bodies : such a sight as this Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go, bid the soldiers shoot.

[A dead march. Exeunt, bearing off the

dead bodies ; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off

For me,

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Among the plays or Shakespeare mentioned by Meres in his Palladis Tamia (bus) occuis me name of Love's Labour's Won. This has been identified by some critics with The Taming of the Shrer and by others with Much Ado About Nothing: but the weight of authority inclines to the opinion that under this title Meres spoke of the play known to us as All's Well that Ends Well. It see is not improbable that all's Well, as we possess it in the First Folio-and no earlier edition exists-is a rehandling, very thoroughly carried out, of an earlier version of this comedy. Coleridge believed that two styles were discernible in it; and there is certainly a larger proportion of rhyming lines in it than in any other play written after the year 1600. It is, however, far from certain that any portion of the play is of early origin, and assigning conjecturally the date about 1602 as that of the completion of th: whole, we may view it as belonging to the later group of the second cycle of Shakespeare's comedies, not so early, therefore, as Twelfth Night'or As You Like It, and certainly earlier than Merzsure for Measure. The story of Helena and Bertram was found by Shakespeare in Paynter's Palace of Pleasure (1566), Paynter having translated it from the Decameron of Boccacio (Novel 9, Third day). Shakespeare added the characters of the Countess, Lafeu, Parolles, and the Clown. What interested the poet's imagination in Boccacio's story was evidently the position and person of the heroine. In Boceacio, Giletta, the physician's daughter, is inferior in rank to the young Count, Beltramo, but she is rich. Shakespeare's Helena is of humbler birth than his Ber. tram, and she is also poor. Yet poor, and comparatively low-born, she aspires to be the young Count's wife, she pursues him to Paris and wins him against his will. To show Helena thus ree versing in a measure the ordinary rulations of man and woman, and yet to show her neither selfseeking nor unwomanly, was th task which the dramatist attempted. On the one hand he insists much on Bertram's youth, and gives him the faults and vices of youth, making the reader or spectator of the play feel that his hero has great need of such a finely-compered, right-willed and loyal nature to stand by his side as that of Helena. On the other hand he shows us Helena's enthusiastic attachment to Bertram, her fears and cares on his behalf, her adhesion to him rather than to herself, when her husband seems to set their interests in opposition to one another, until we come to feel that the imperious need which makes Helena overstep social conventions is the need of perfect service to the man she loves. Bertram's beauty and courage must bear part of the blame for Helena's loving him better than he deserves. With the youthful desire for independence which makes hi break away from her, she can intelligently sympathize. In the last Act she appearswhen h: has entangled himself in falseliood and shame-to save him, and rescue him from his baser self. We feel that when he has at last really found Helena, he is safe, and all ends well. Parolles, the incarnation of bragging meanness, is the counterfoil of Helena--she, the doer of virtuous deeds; he, the utterer of vain and swelling words; she, all brave womanliness; he, too cowardly for manhood. Parolles has been compared to Falstaff, but they ought rather to be contrasted; for Sir John is a man of genius, with real wit and power of fascination, and no ridicule can destroy him, but the exposure of Parolles makes him dwindle into his native pitifulness. The Countess is a charming creation of Shakespeare; in no play, unless it be some of his latest romantic dramas, is old ago made more beautiful and dignified.


An old Widow of Florence. DUKE OF FLORENCE.

DIANA, daughter to the Widow, BERTRAM, Count of Rousillon.

VIOLENTA,, neighbors and friends to the LAFEU, an old lord.


PAROLLES, a follower of Bertram.
Steward, servants to the Countess of

Lords, Officers, Soldiers, &c., French and

Florentine. A Page. COUNTESS OF ROUSILLON, mother to Bertram. SCENE : Rousillon ; Paris; Florence; HELENA, a gentlewoman protected by the

Marseille Countess.


ACT 1.

her cheek. No more of this, Helena ; go to,

no more ; lest it be rather thought you affect SCENE I. Rousillon. The Count's palace. & sorrow than have it.


Hel. I do affect a sorrow Indeed, but I have

it too. HELENA, and LAFEU, all in black.

Laf. Moderate lamentation is the right of Count. In delivering my son from me, I the dead, excessive grief the enemy to the bury a second husband.

living. Ber. And I in going, madam, weep c'er Count. If the living be enemy to the grief, my father's death anew : but I must attend the excess makes it soon mortal. his majesty's command, to whom I am now in Ber. Madam, I desire your holy wishes. ward, evermore in subjection.

Laf. How understand we that? Laf. You shall find of the king a husband, Count. Be thou blest, Bertram, and sucmadam ; you, sir, a father : he that so gene

ceed thy father

70 kis virtue to you ; whose worthiness would Contend for empire in thee, and thy goodness stir it up where it wanted rather than lack it Share with thy birthright! Love all, trust a where there is such abundance.

few, Count. What hope is there of his majesty's Do wrong to none : be able for thine enemy amendment ?

Rather in power than use, and keep thy Laf. He hath abandoned his physicians,


[lence, madam ; under whose practices he hath per- Under thy own life's key : be check'd for sisecuted time with hope, and finds no other ad- But vever tax'd for speech. What heaven vantage in the process but only the losing of more will,

(down, hope by time.

That thee may furnish and my prayers pluck Count. This young gentlewoman had a fa- Fall on thy head ! Farewell, my lord ; ther,-0, that had! how sad a passage 'Tis an unseason'd courtier; good my lord, 80 'tis !-whose skill was almost as great as his Advise him. honesty ; had it stretched so far, would have Laf. He cannot want the best made nature immortal, and death should have That shall attend his love, play for lack of work. Would, for the king's Count. Heaven bless him ! Farewell, Bertsake, he were living! I think it would be the tram.

[Erit. death of the king's disease.

Ber. [To Helena] the best wishes that Laf. How called you the man you speak of, can be forged in your thoughts be servants to madam ?

you! Be comfortable to my mother, your Count. He was famous, sir, in his profes- mistress, and make much of her. sion, and it was his great right to be so : Laf. Farewell, pretty lady : you must hold Gerard de Narbon.

31 the credit of your father. Laf. He was excellent indeed, madam: the

(Exeunt Bertram and Lafeu. king very lately spoke of him admiringly and Hel. 0, were that all! I think not on my mourningly : he was skilful enough to have father ;

90 lived still, if knowledge could be set up against And these great tears grace his remembrance mortality.

Ber. "What is it, my good lord, the king Than those I shed for him. What was he like? languishes of ?

I have forgot him : my imagination Laf. A fistula, my lord.

Carries no favor in't but Bertram's. Ber. I heard not of it before.

I am undone : there is no living, none, Laf. I would it were not notorious. Was If Bertram be away. 'Twere all one this gentlewoman the daughter of Gerard de That I should love a bright particular star Narbon ?

And think to wed it, he is so above me : Count. His sole child, my lord, and be. In his bright radiance and collateral light queathed to my overlooking. I have those Must I be comforted, not in his sphere. 100 hopes of her good that her education promises; The ambition in my love thus plagues itself : her dispositions she inherits, which makes fair The hind that would be mated by the lion gifts fairer ; for where an unclean mind car. Must die for love. 'Twas pretty, though a ries virtuous qualities, there commendations plague, go with pity; they are virtues and traitors too; To see him every hour; to sit and draw in her they are the better for their simpleness; His arched brows, his hawking eye, his curls, she derives her honesty aüd achieves her good- Tu our heart's table ; heart too capable ness.

Of every line and trick of his sweet favor : Laf. Your commendations, madam, get But now he's gone, and my idolatrous fancy from her tears.

Must sanctify his reliques. Who comes here? Count. 'Tis the best brine a maiden can season her praise in. The reinembrance of her

Enter PAROLLES, father never approaches her heart but the tyr-i [Aside) One that goes with him : I love him anny of her sorrows takes all livelihood from

for his sake;



we see

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And yet I know him a notorious liar,

brooch and the tooth-pick, which wear not Think him a great way fool, solely a coward ; now Your date is better in your pie and Yet these fixed evils sit so fit in him,

your porridge than in your cheek ; and your That they take place, when virtue's steely virginity, your old virginity, is like one of our bone:

French withered pears, it looks ill, it eats drily; Look bleak i' the cold wind : withal, full oft marry, 'tis a withered pear; it was formerly

better; marry, yet 'tis a withered pear: will rold wisdom waiting on superfluous folly. you anything with it? Par. Save you, fair queen!

Hel." Not my virginity yet. ... Hel. And you, monarch !

There shall your master have a thousand loves, Par. No.

A mother and a mistress and a friend, 181 Hel. And no.

120 A phenix, captain and an enemy, Par. Are you meditating on virginity ? A guide a goddess, and a sovereign,

Hel. Ay. You have some stain of soldier A counsellor, a traitress, and a dear ; In you : let me ask you a question. Man is His humble ambition, prond humility. enemy to virginity ; how may we barricado it His jarring concord, and his discord dulcet, against him?

His faith, his sweet disaster ; with a world Par. Keep him out.

Of pretty, fond, adoptious christendoms, Hel. But he assails ; and our virginity, That blinking Cupid gossips. Now shall he though valiant, in the defence yet is weak : I know not what he shall. God send him well! unfold to us some warlike resistance.

The court's a learning place, and he is one Par. There is none: man, sitting down Par. What onc, i' faith ? before you, will undermine you and blow you Hel. That I wish well. 'Tis pityup.

130 Par. What's pity ? Hel. Bless our poor virginity from under- Liel. That wishing well had not a body in't, miners and blowers up! Is there no military Which might be felt; that we, the poorer born, policy, how virgins might blow up men ? Whose baser stars do shut us up in wishes,

Pai. Virginity being blown down, man will Might with effects of them follow our friends, quicklier be blown up: marry, in blowing him And show what we alone must think, which down again, with the breach yourselves made,

never you lose your city. It is not politic in the Return us thanks.

200 commonwealth of nature to preserve virginity.

Enter Page. Loes of virginity is rational increase and there was never virgin got till virginity was first Page, Monsieur Parolles, my lord calls for lost. That you were made of is metal to make


Exit. virgins. Virginity by being once lost may be Par. Little Helen, farewell ; if I can reten times found ; by being ever kept, it is ever member thee, I will think of thee at court. lost : 'tis too cold a companion ; away with 't! Hel. Monsieur Parolles, you were born

Hel. I will stand for 't a little, though there- under a charitable star. fore I die a virgin.

Par. Under Mars, I. Par. There's little can be said in 't; 'tis Hel. I especially think, ander Mars. against the rule of nature. To speak on the Par. Why under Mars ? part of virginity, is to accuse your mothers; Hel. The wars have so kept you under that which is most infallible disobedience. He that you must needs be born under Mars. 210 hangs himself is a virgin : virginity murders Par. When he was predominant. itself and should be buried in high ways out of Hel. When he was retrograde, I think, all sanctified limit, as a desperate offendress rather. against nature. Virginity breeds mites, much Par. Why think yon so ?

[fight. like a cheese ; consumes itself to the very Hel. You go so much backward when you paring, and so dies with feeding his own Par. That's for advantage. stomach. Besides, virginity is peevish, proud, Hel. So is running away, when fear proidle, made of self-love, which is the most in- poses the safety ; but the composition that hibited sin in the canon. Keep it not; you your valor and fear makes in you is a virtue cannot choose but loose by't: out with 't! of a good wing, and I like the wear well. 219 within ten year it will make itself ten, which Par. I am so full of businesses, I cannot is a goodly increase ; and the principal itself answer thee acutely. I will return perfect not much the worse : away with 't!

courtier ; in the which, my instruction shall Hel. How might one do, sir, to lose it to serve to naturalize thes, so thou wilt be capelher own liking ?

ble of a courtier's counsel and understand what Par. Let me see : marry, ill, to like him advice shall thrust upon theo ; else thou diest that ne'er it likes. 'Tis a commodity will in thine unthankfulness, and tbine ignorance lose the gloss with lying ; the longer kept, the makes theo away : larewell. When thou hast less worth : off with 't while 'tis vendible ; leisure, say thy prayers; when thou hast answer the time of request. Virginity, like an none, remembor thy trendo ; get thee a good old courtier, wears her cap out of fashion : husband, and use him w bo uses thee; no, richly suited, but insuitable: just like the farewell


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