Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

CLAUDIUS

I do not fear it. I have seen you both.
250But since he is better we have therefore odds.

CLAUDIUS

I’m not worried. I’ve seen both of you fence. But since Laertes is better, we’ve given him a handicap. He’s got to outdo you by three hits to win.

LAERTES

(tests a rapier) This is too heavy. Let me see another.

LAERTES

This sword’s too heavy. Show me another one.

HAMLET

(tests a rapier) This likes me well. These foils have all a length?

HAMLET

I like this one. Are they all the same length?

OSRIC

Ay, my good lord.

OSRIC

Yes, my lord.
HAMLET and LAERTES prepare to play
HAMLET and LAERTES get ready to fence.

CLAUDIUS

Set me the stoups of wine upon that table.
255If 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
260Richer 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,
265“Now the king dunks to Hamlet.” Come, begin.—
And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.

CLAUDIUS

Put the goblets of wine on that table. If Hamlet makes the first or second hit, or gets back at Laertes by making the third hit, then let my soldiers give him a military salute. I’ll drink to Hamlet’s health, and into his goblet I’ll drop a pearl even more costly than those in the crowns of the last four Danish kings. Give me the goblets. And now let the drum and the trumpet play, and the trumpet signal the cannon outside to fire, and let the cannon tell the heavens, and the heavens tell all the earth that the king is drinking now to Hamlet’s health. Come on, let’s begin. Judges, pay close attention.
Trumpets
Trumpets play.

HAMLET

Come on, sir.

HAMLET

Come on, sir.

LAERTES

Come, my lord.

LAERTES

Come on, my lord.