Reference > Anthologies > Warner, et al., eds. > The Library > Verse

C.D. Warner, et al., comp.  The Library of the World’s Best Literature.
An Anthology in Thirty Volumes.  1917.
Scenes from the Tragedies
Hamlet’s Revenge Accomplished
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616)
From ‘Hamlet

KING—Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
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 is better’d, we have therefore odds.        5
  Laertes—This is too heavy, let me see another.
  Hamlet—This likes me well. These foils have all a length?
[They prepare to play.]
  Osric—Ay, my good lord.
  King—Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
If Hamlet give the first or second hit,        10
Or quit in answer of the third exchange,
Let all the battlements their ordnance fire.
The King shall drink to Hamlet’s better breath,
And in the cup an union shall he throw,
Richer than that which four successive kings        15
In Denmark’s crown have worn. Give me the cups,
And let the kettle to the trumpets speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heaven to earth,
“Now the King drinks to Hamlet.” Come, begin;        20
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
  Hamlet—Come on, sir.
  Laertes—            Come, my lord.  [They play.]
  Hamlet—                        One.
  Laertes—                            No.
  Hamlet—                                Judgment.
  Osric—A hit, a very palpable hit.
  Laertes—                        Well; again.
  King—Stay, give me drink. Hamlet, this pearl is thine;
Here’s thy health! Give him the cup.
[Trumpets sound, and shot goes off within.]
  Hamlet—I’ll play this bout first; set it by a while.
Come.  [They play.]  Another hit; what say you?
  Laertes—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 brows.        30
The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
  Hamlet—Good madam!
  King—                Gertrude, do not drink.
  Queen—I will, my lord; I pray you, pardon me.
  King  [aside]—It is the poison’d cup; it is too late.
  Hamlet—I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.        35
  Queen—Come, let me wipe thy face.
  Laertes—My lord, I’ll hit him now.
  King—                        I do not think’t.
  Laertes  [aside]—And yet ’tis almost ’gainst my conscience.
  Hamlet—Come, for the third, Laertes; you but dally.
I pray you, pass with your best violence.        40
I am afeard you make a wanton of me.
  Laertes—Say you so? Come on.  [They play.]
  Osric—Nothing, neither way.
  Laertes—Have at you now!
[Laertes wounds Hamlet; then, in scuffling, they change rapiers.]
  King—                Part them; they are incens’d.
  Hamlet—Nay, come, again.
[Hamlet wounds Laertes.  The Queen falls.]
  Osric—                    Look to the Queen there! Ho!
  Horatio—They bleed on both sides. How is’t, my lord!
  Osric—How is’t, Laertes?
  Laertes—Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osric;
I am justly kill’d with mine own treachery.
  Hamlet—How does the Queen?
  King—                    She swounds to see them bleed.
  Queen—No, no, the drink, the drink,—O my dear Hamlet,—
The drink, the drink! I am poison’d.  [Dies.]
  Hamlet—O villainy! Ho! let the door be lock’d:
Treachery! Seek it out.
  Laertes—It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain.        55
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 turn’d itself on me. Lo, here I lie,        60
Never to rise again. Thy mother’s poison’d.
I can no more:—the King, the King’s to blame.
  Hamlet—The point envenom’d too!
Then, venom, to thy work.  [Hurts the King.]
  All—Treason! treason!        65
  King—O, yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
  Hamlet—Here, them incestuous, murderous, damned Dane,
Drink off this potion! Is thy union here?
Follow my mother!  [King dies.]
  Laertes—                    He is justly served;
It is a poison temper’d by himself.        70
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet.
Mine and my father’s death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me!  [Dies.]
  Hamlet—Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I am dead, Horatio. Wretched queen, adieu!        75
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—O, I could tell you—
But let it be. Horatio, I am dead;        80
Thou liv’st. Report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.
  Horatio—                    Never believe it.
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane;
Here’s yet some liquor left.
  Hamlet—                        As thou’rt a man,
Give me the cup. Let go! By heaven, I’ll have’t!        85
O good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me!
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity a while
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain        90
To tell my story.  [March afar off, and shot within.]  What warlike noise is this?
  Osric—Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
This warlike volley.
  Hamlet—                    O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o’er-crows my spirit.        95
I cannot 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.]        100

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