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Hamlet: Act IV, Scene 7

Hamlet
Act IV, Scene 7

Elsinore. Another room in Elsinore castle.

  1. Enter King and Laertes.

Claudius

1 - 5
  1. Now must your conscience my acquittance seal,
  2. And you must put me in your heart for friend,
  3. Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
  4. That he which hath your noble father slain
  5. Pursued my life.

Laertes

6 - 10
  1.                  It well appears. But tell me
  2. Why you proceeded not against these feats
  3. So criminal and so capital in nature,
  4. As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else
  5. You mainly were stirr’d up.

Claudius

11 - 26
  1.                             O, for two special reasons,
  2. Which may to you perhaps seem much unsinew’d,
  3. But yet to me th’ are strong. The Queen his mother
  4. Lives almost by his looks, and for myself
  5. My virtue or my plague, be it either which
  6. She is so conjunctive to my life and soul,
  7. That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
  8. I could not but by her. The other motive,
  9. Why to a public count I might not go,
  10. Is the great love the general gender bear him,
  11. Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,
  12. Work like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
  13. Convert his gyves to graces, so that my arrows,
  14. Too slightly timber’d for so loud a wind,
  15. Would have reverted to my bow again,
  16. But not where I have aim’d them.

Laertes

27 - 31
  1. And so have I a noble father lost,
  2. A sister driven into desp’rate terms,
  3. Whose worth, if praises may go back again,
  4. Stood challenger on mount of all the age
  5. For her perfectionsbut my revenge will come.

Claudius

32 - 38
  1. Break not your sleeps for that. You must not think
  2. That we are made of stuff so flat and dull
  3. That we can let our beard be shook with danger
  4. And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more.
  5. I lov’d your father, and we love ourself,
  6. And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine
  7. Enter a Messenger with letters.
  8. How now? What news?

Messenger

39 - 40
  1.                     Letters, my lord, from Hamlet:
  2. These to your Majesty, this to the queen.

Claudius

41
  1. From Hamlet? Who brought them?

Messenger

42 - 44
  1. Sailors, my lord, they say, I saw them not.
  2. They were given me by Claudio. He receiv’d them
  3. Of him that brought them.

Claudius

45 - 52
  1.                           Laertes, you shall hear them.
  2. Leave us.
  3. Exit Messenger.
  4. Reads.
  5. High and mighty, You shall know I am set naked on your
  6. kingdom. Tomorrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes,
  7. when I shall, first asking you pardon thereunto, recount the
  8. occasion of my sudden and more strange return. Hamlet.”
  9. What should this mean? Are all the rest come back?
  10. Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?

Laertes

53
  1. Know you the hand?

Claudius

54 - 56
  1.                    ’Tis Hamlet’s character. Naked”!
  2. And in a postscript here he says alone.”
  3. Can you devise me?

Laertes

57 - 60
  1. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come,
  2. It warms the very sickness in my heart
  3. That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
  4. Thus didst thou.”

Claudius

61 - 63
  1.                    If it be so, Laertes
  2. As how should it be so? How otherwise?—
  3. Will you be rul’d by me?

Laertes

64 - 65
  1.                          Ay, my lord,
  2. So you will not o’errule me to a peace.

Claudius

66 - 73
  1. To thine own peace. If he be now returned
  2. As checking at his voyage, and that he means
  3. No more to undertake it, I will work him
  4. To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
  5. Under the which he shall not choose but fall;
  6. And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe,
  7. But even his mother shall uncharge the practice,
  8. And call it accident.

Laertes

74 - 76
  1.                       My lord, I will be rul’d,
  2. The rather if you could devise it so
  3. That I might be the organ.

Claudius

77 - 83
  1.                            It falls right.
  2. You have been talk’d of since your travel much,
  3. And that in Hamlet’s hearing, for a quality
  4. Wherein they say you shine. Your sum of parts
  5. Did not together pluck such envy from him
  6. As did that one, and that, in my regard,
  7. Of the unworthiest siege.

Laertes

84
  1.                           What part is that, my lord?

Claudius

85 - 98
  1. A very riband in the cap of youth,
  2. Yet needful too, for youth no less becomes
  3. The light and careless livery that it wears
  4. Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
  5. Importing health and graveness. Two months since
  6. Here was a gentleman of Normandy:
  7. I have seen myself, and serv’d against, the French,
  8. And they can well on horseback, but this gallant
  9. Had witchcraft in’t, he grew unto his seat,
  10. And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
  11. As had he been incorps’d and demi-natur’d
  12. With the brave beast. So far he topp’d my thought,
  13. That I in forgery of shapes and tricks
  14. Come short of what he did.

Laertes

99
  1.                            A Norman was’t?

Claudius

100
  1. A Norman.

Laertes

101
  1. Upon my life, Lamord.

Claudius

102
  1.                       The very same.

Laertes

103 - 104
  1. I know him well. He is the brooch indeed
  2. And gem of all the nation.

Claudius

105 - 116
  1. He made confession of you,
  2. And gave you such a masterly report
  3. For art and exercise in your defense,
  4. And for your rapier most especial,
  5. That he cried out ’twould be a sight indeed
  6. If one could match you. The scrimers of their nation
  7. He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
  8. If you oppos’d them. Sir, this report of his
  9. Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy
  10. That he could nothing do but wish and beg
  11. Your sudden coming o’er to play with you.
  12. Now, out of this

Laertes

117
  1.                   What out of this, my lord?

Claudius

118 - 120
  1. Laertes, was your father dear to you?
  2. Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
  3. A face without a heart?

Laertes

121
  1.                         Why ask you this?

Claudius

122 - 138
  1. Not that I think you did not love your father,
  2. But that I know love is begun by time,
  3. And that I see, in passages of proof,
  4. Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
  5. There lives within the very flame of love
  6. A kind of week or snuff that will abate it,
  7. And nothing is at a like goodness still,
  8. For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
  9. Dies in his own too much. That we would do,
  10. We should do when we would; for this would changes,
  11. And hath abatements and delays as many
  12. As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents,
  13. And then this ’should’ is like a spendthrift’s sigh,
  14. That hurts by easing. But to the quick of th’ ulcer:
  15. Hamlet comes back. What would you undertake
  16. To show yourself indeed your father’s son
  17. More than in words?

Laertes

139
  1.                     To cut his throat i’ th’ church.

Claudius

140 - 152
  1. No place indeed should murder sanctuarize,
  2. Revenge should have no bounds. But, good Laertes,
  3. Will you do this, keep close within your chamber.
  4. Hamlet return’d shall know you are come home.
  5. We’ll put on those shall praise your excellence,
  6. And set a double varnish on the fame
  7. The Frenchman gave you, bring you in fine together,
  8. And wager o’er your heads. He, being remiss,
  9. Most generous, and free from all contriving,
  10. Will not peruse the foils, so that with ease,
  11. Or with a little shuffling, you may choose
  12. A sword unbated, and in a pass of practice
  13. Requite him for your father.

Laertes

153 - 162
  1.                              I will do’t,
  2. And for that purpose I’ll anoint my sword.
  3. I bought an unction of a mountebank,
  4. So mortal that, but dip a knife in it,
  5. Where it draws blood, no cataplasm so rare,
  6. Collected from all simples that have virtue
  7. Under the moon, can save the thing from death
  8. That is but scratch’d withal. I’ll touch my point
  9. With this contagion, that if I gall him slightly,
  10. It may be death.

Claudius

163 - 177
  1.                  Let’s further think of this,
  2. Weigh what convenience both of time and means
  3. May fit us to our shape. If this should fail,
  4. And that our drift look through our bad performance,
  5. ’Twere better not assay’d; therefore this project
  6. Should have a back or second, that might hold
  7. If this did blast in proof. Soft, let me see.
  8. We’ll make a solemn wager on your cunnings
  9. I ha’t!
  10. When in your motion you are hot and dry
  11. As make your bouts more violent to that end
  12. And that he calls for drink, I’ll have preferr’d him
  13. A chalice for the nonce, whereon but sipping,
  14. If he by chance escape your venom’d stuck,
  15. Our purpose may hold there. But stay, what noise?
  16. Enter Queen.

Gertrude

178 - 179
  1. One woe doth tread upon another’s heel,
  2. So fast they follow. Your sister’s drown’d, Laertes.

Laertes

180
  1. Drown’d! O, where?

Gertrude

181 - 198
  1. There is a willow grows aslant the brook,
  2. That shows his hoary leaves in the glassy stream,
  3. Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
  4. Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
  5. That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
  6. But our cull-cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them.
  7. There on the pendant boughs her crownet weeds
  8. Clamb’ring to hang, an envious sliver broke,
  9. When down her weedy trophies and herself
  10. Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide,
  11. And mermaid-like awhile they bore her up,
  12. Which time she chaunted snatches of old lauds,
  13. As one incapable of her own distress,
  14. Or like a creature native and indued
  15. Unto that element. But long it could not be
  16. Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
  17. Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
  18. To muddy death.

Laertes

199
  1.                 Alas, then she is drown’d?

Gertrude

200
  1. Drown’d, drown’d.

Laertes

201 - 207
  1. Too much of water hast thou, poor Ophelia,
  2. And therefore I forbid my tears; but yet
  3. It is our trick, Nature her custom holds,
  4. Let shame say what it will; when these are gone,
  5. The woman will be out. Adieu, my lord,
  6. I have a speech a’ fire that fain would blaze,
  7. But that this folly drowns it.
  1. Exit.

Claudius

208 - 211
  1.                                Let’s follow, Gertrude.
  2. How much I had to do to calm his rage!
  3. Now fear I this will give it start again,
  4. Therefore let’s follow.
  1. Exeunt.
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