Hamlet

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 7

page Act 4 Scene 7 Page 4

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CLAUDIUS

    It falls right.
You have been talked of since your travel much—
70And 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.

CLAUDIUS

That’ll be fine. Since you left, people have been talking about—and within earshot of Hamlet—a certain quality of yours in which, they say, you shine. All your talents and gifts didn’t arouse as much envy from him as this one quality did, though to me it’s far from your best attribute.

LAERTES

    What part is that, my lord?

LAERTES

What quality is that, my lord?

CLAUDIUS

75A very ribbon 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,
80Here was a gentleman of Normandy.
I’ve seen myself, and served 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
85As he had been encorpsed and demi-natured
With the brave beast. So far he topped my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
Come short of what he did.

CLAUDIUS

A trivial little ribbon on the cap of youth—yet an important one, too, since casual clothes suit young people as much as serious business suits and overcoats suit the middle-aged. Two months ago I met a gentleman from Normandy. I’ve fought against the French and have seen how well they ride, but this man was a magician on horseback. It was as if he were part of the horse, so skillful that even having seen him, I can hardly conceive of the tricks he did.

LAERTES

    A Norman was ’t?

LAERTES

Hmm, he was from Normandy, you say?

CLAUDIUS

A Norman.

CLAUDIUS

Yes, from Normandy.

LAERTES

90Upon my life, Lamond!

LAERTES

I bet it was Lamond.

CLAUDIUS

    The very same.

CLAUDIUS

Yes, that’s the one.

LAERTES

I know him well. He is the brooch indeed
And gem of all the nation.

LAERTES

I know him well. He’s his homeland’s jewel.