The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 755 pages of information about The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3.

But out of the grief and anger of Laertes for the death of his father and Ophelia, the king, Hamlet’s wicked uncle, contrived destruction for Hamlet.  He set on Laertes, under cover of peace and reconciliation, to challenge Hamlet to a friendly trial of skill at fencing, which Hamlet accepting, a day was appointed to try the match.  At this match all the court was present, and Laertes, by direction of the king, prepared a poisoned weapon.  Upon this match great wagers were laid by the courtiers, as both Hamlet and Laertes were known to excel at this sword-play; and Hamlet taking up the foils chose one, not at all suspecting the treachery of Laertes, or being careful to examine Laertes’ weapon, who, instead of a foil or blunted sword, which the laws of fencing require, made use of one with a point, and poisoned.  At first Laertes did but play with Hamlet, and suffered him to gain some advantages, which the dissembling king magnified and extolled beyond measure, drinking to Hamlet’s success, and wagering rich bets upon the issue:  but after a few passes, Laertes growing warm made a deadly thrust at Hamlet with his poisoned weapon, and gave him a mortal blow.  Hamlet incensed, but not knowing the whole of the treachery, in the scuffle exchanged his own innocent weapon for Laertes’ deadly one, and with a thrust of Laertes’ own sword repaid Laertes home, who was thus justly caught in his own treachery.  In this instant the queen shrieked out that she was poisoned.  She had inadvertently drunk out of a bowl which the king had prepared for Hamlet, in case that being warm in fencing he should call for drink:  into this the treacherous king had infused a deadly poison, to make sure of Hamlet, if Laertes had failed.  He had forgotten to warn the queen of the bowl, which she drank of, and immediately died, exclaiming with her last breath that she was poisoned.  Hamlet, suspecting some treachery, ordered the doors to be shut, while he sought it out.  Laertes told him to seek no further, for he was the traitor; and feeling his life go away with the wound which Hamlet had given him, he made confession of the treachery he had used, and how he had fallen a victim to it:  and he told Hamlet of the envenomed point, and said that Hamlet had not half an hour to live, for no medicine could cure him; and begging forgiveness of Hamlet he died, with his last words accusing the king of being the contriver of the mischief.  When Hamlet saw his end draw near, there being yet some venom left upon the sword, he suddenly turned upon his false uncle, and thrust the point of it to his heart, fulfilling the promise which he had made to his father’s spirit, whose injunction was now accomplished, and his foul murder revenged upon the murderer.  Then Hamlet, feeling his breath fail and life departing, turned to his dear friend Horatio, who had been spectator of this fatal tragedy; and with his dying breath requested him that he would live to tell his story to the world (for Horatio had made a motion as if he would slay

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The Works of Charles and Mary Lamb — Volume 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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