Hamlet By William Shakespeare Act V: Scene 2

HAMLET.
Give me your pardon, sir: I have done you wrong:
But pardon't, as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punish'd with sore distraction.
What I have done
That might your nature, honour, and exception
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wrong'd Laertes? Never Hamlet:
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it, then? His madness: if't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience,
Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts
That I have shot my arrow o'er the house
And hurt my brother.

LAERTES.
I am satisfied in nature,
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
To my revenge. But in my terms of honour
I stand aloof; and will no reconcilement
Till by some elder masters of known honour
I have a voice and precedent of peace
To keep my name ungor'd. But till that time
I do receive your offer'd love like love,
And will not wrong it.

HAMLET.
I embrace it freely;
And will this brother's wager frankly play. —
Give us the foils; come on.

LAERTES.
Come, one for me.

HAMLET.
I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Your skill shall, like a star in the darkest night,
Stick fiery off indeed.

LAERTES.
You mock me, sir.

HAMLET.
No, by this hand.

KING.
Give them the foils, young Osric. Cousin Hamlet,
You know the wager?

HAMLET.
Very well, my lord;
Your grace has 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.

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,
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
In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the cups;
And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
'Now the king drinks to Hamlet.' — Come, begin: —
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

HAMLET.
Come on, sir.

LAERTES.
Come, my lord.

[They play.]

Continued on next page...

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