Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act IV: Scene 7

LAERTES.
I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
It warms the very sickness in my heart
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
'Thus didest thou.'

KING.
If it be so, Laertes, —
As how should it be so? how otherwise? —
Will you be rul'd by me?

LAERTES.
Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'errule 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 exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall:
And for his death no wind shall breathe;
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice
And call it accident.

LAERTES.
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: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege.

LAERTES.
What part is that, my lord?

KING.
A very riband in the cap of youth,
Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes
The light and careless livery that it wears
Than settled age his sables and his weeds,
Importing health and graveness. — Two months since,
Here was a gentleman of Normandy, —
I've seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can well on horseback: but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't: he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As had he been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast: so far he topp'd my thought
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.

LAERTES.
A Norman was't?

KING.
A Norman.

LAERTES.
Upon my life, Lamond.

KING.
The very same.

LAERTES.
I know him well: he is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.

KING.
He made confession of you;
And gave you such a masterly report
For art and exercise in your defence,
And for your rapier most especially,
That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed
If one could match you: the scrimers of their nation
He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them. Sir, 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 him.
Now, out of this, —

LAERTES.
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?

LAERTES.
Why ask you this?

KING.
Not that I think you did not love your father;
But that I know love is begun by time,
And that I see, in passages of proof,
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick or snuff that will abate it;
And nothing is at a like goodness still;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy,
Dies in his own too much: that we would do,
We should do when we would; for this 'would' changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this 'should' is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing. But to the quick o' the ulcer: —
Hamlet comes back: what would you undertake
To show yourself your father's son in deed
More than in words?

Continued on next page...

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