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Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
Ham. I humbly thank you, sir.-Dost know this water-fly?
Hor. No, my good lord.
Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him: He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: "Tis a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Osr. 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, 'tís very cold; the wind is northerly.
Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry and hot; or my complexion
Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,-as 'twere, I cannot tell how.-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 my 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. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;-though, I know, to divide him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetic of memory; and yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article; and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as,
to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirror; and, who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him. Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really.
Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentle
Osr. Of Laertes?
Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, sir.
Osr. I know, you are not ignorant
Ham. I would you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me;-Well, sir.
Osr. 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; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed. Ham. What's 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 impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers, and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and 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?
Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.
Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
Ham. The phrase would be more german to the
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; 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 bits.
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 runs away with the shell on his head.
Ham. He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same breed, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on), only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter; a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
Enter a Lord.
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 plea
sure 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.
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 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 gaingiving, as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.
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? Let be.
Enter KING, QUEEN, LAERTES, Lords, OSRIC, and
[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 knows, and you must needs have heard, How I am punish'd with a sore distraction.
What I have done,
That might your nature, honour, and exception,
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
And, when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes,
Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
Laer. 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 You know the wager? [Hamlet, 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 [They prepare to play.