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of Hamlet, and wounds him with the poisoned weapon. They become incensed, and in the scuffle exchange rapiers, and Laertes becomes also wounded. At that moment, the queen, who has accidentally drunk of the poisoned cup reserved for Hamlet by the king, in case the poisoned sword should fail, falls down and dies; her last words being addressed to her dear Hamlet, proclaiming that she is poisoned. Whilst Hamlet's thoughts are all on fire to seek out the treachery, Laertes confesses that he is the traitor, and has given Hamlet a wound that is mortal; that no medicine in the world can do him good, and that there is not in him "half an hour of life:" adding that he himself, wounded by the same weapon in the scuffle, is also dying, and lies there, "never to rise again." Breath yet remains for Laertes to add "the king, the king's to blame." Then Hamlet, and not till then, fulfils his destiny, and putting the poisoned sword, still in his hand, to its last purpose, stabs the king. Laertes just lives to see this vengeance done, and to seal with his dying testimony his opinion of him whom he had been persuaded to sacrifice

Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet :
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee,
Nor thine on me!

In the shock of all these incidents, Hamlet evinces no mental unsoundness. Death is approaching, stronger than madness. His faculties are forcibly aroused to serious action; and fanciful meditations have no more dominion over him. At length, he feels that death is in his veins, and approaching his heart. He thinks he could tell the pale bystanders something :-but it cannot be. He has but energy left to prevent Horatio from drinking the remaining poison, as one resolved to die with him after the old Roman fashion. Whilst worldly scenes do but swim around him, he hears the cannon proclaiming the victorious return of young Fortinbras from Poland, and a welcome to the ambassadors of England. But death will not be delayed

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The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit ;
I cannot live to hear the news from England;
But I do prophesy the election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more or less,
Which have solicited.-The rest is silence.

:

[Dies.

Horatio survives him. After witnessing these tragic events, he still consents in this harsh world to draw his breath in pain, that he may tell his most loved friend's most hapless story truly. We find excuses for the zeal which leads him to deny to the English ambassadors, now just arrived, that Hamlet ever gave orders for the deaths of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who had indeed suggested and "made love" to their bad employment. And thus, with the charitable and just impression that all Hamlet's inconsistencies and faults had the dreadful excuse of madness, by which his accomplishments were obscured, and his virtues perverted, we mournfully, even tenderly, respond to Horatio's words of farewell the words of him who knew Hamlet best; and say

Good night, sweet prince ;

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.

THE END.

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