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Another Room in the Palace.

Enter King and LAERTES. King. Now must your conscience my acquittance


Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he, which hath your noble father slain,
Pursu'd my life.

Laer. And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms;
Whose worth
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections : But my revenge will come.
King. Break not your sleeps for that: you must not

think, That we are made of stuff so flat and dull, That we can let our beard be shook with danger, And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.How now what news?

Ber. Letters, my lord, from Hamlet :
This to your majesty; this to the Queen.

King. From Hamlet! who brought them?
Ber. Sailors, my lord, they say: I saw them not.

King. Laertes, you shall hear them.-
Leave us.

[Exit BERNARDO. [Reads.] High and mighty, you shall know, I am set naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes : when I shall, first asking your


pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden, and more strange, return.

HAMLET. What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

Laer. Know you the hand?

King. 'Tis Hamlet's character.—Naked,
And, in a postscript here, he says, alone.-

advise me? Laer. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come; It warms the


sickness in my heart, That I shall live, and tell him to his teeth, Thus diddest thou.

King. If it be so, Laertes, Will you

be ruld by me. Laer. Ay, my lord ; you

will not o'er-rule me to a peace. King. To thine own peace.

If he be now return'd, As checking at his voyage, and that he means No more to undertake it, I will work him To an exploit, now ripe in 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 uncharge the practice, And call it, accident.

Laer. My lord, I will be rul’d;
The rather, if you could devise it so,
That I might be the organ.

King. It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein they say, you shine.

Laer. What part is that, my lord ?

King. A very ribband in the cap of youth.
Here was a gentleman of Normandy,
He made confession of you;


And gave you such a masterly report,
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especial,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed,
If one could match you :
This report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy,
That he could nothing do, but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with you.
Now, out of this,

Laer. What out of this, my lord ?

King. Laertes, was your father dear to you?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?

Laer. Why ask you this ?
King. Hamlet comes back: -What would

you undertake, To show yourself in deed. your

father's son More than in words?

Laer. To cut his throat i' the church.

King. No place, indeed, should murder sanctuarize.
Hamlet, return’d, shall know you are come home:
We'll put on those shall praise your excellence,
And set a double varnish on the fame
The Frenchman gave you; bring you, in fine, toge-

And wager o'er your heads : he, being remiss,
Most generous, and free from all contriving,
Will not peruse the foils ; so that, with ease,
Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
A sword unbated, and, in a pass of practice,
Requite him for


Laer. I will do't:
And, for the purpose, I'll anoint my sword.
I bought an unction of a mountebank,
So mortal, that, but dip a knife.in it,
Where it draws blood, no cataplasm so rare,

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