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Laertes makes the dying confession of his treachery:
"It is here, Hamlet; Hamlet, thou art slain;
Then Hamlet, as a lion rushing on his prey, exclaims:
"The point envenomed too,
The King falls and says: "I am but hurt"; while Hamlet grasps the poisoned cup of wine and dashes it down the throat of the guilty monster, exclaiming:
"Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion: is thy union here?— Follow my mother!" (King dies.)
Laertes' last words:
"The King is justly served;
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet."
"Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
Thou livest; report me and my cause aright
O, I die, Horatio;
The potent poison quite o'ercrows my spirit,
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less, Which have solicited. The rest is silence!" (Dies.)
And then to close the scene of slaughter, the noble and faithful Horatio, bending over the body of his princely friend, exclaims:
"Now cracks a noble heart; Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!"
Such tumultuous applause I never heard in a theatre, and shouts for "The Ghost" and "Hamlet" prevailed until William and Burbage came from behind the curtain and made a triple bow to the audience as the clock in the tower of Saint Paul struck the midnight hour.
The lesson in great Hamlet taught,
For fraud and murder can't be hid
"Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown."
"What have kings that privates have not too, Save ceremony?"
THE New Year of sixteen hundred and three brought no consolation or happiness to Queen Elizabeth. Her reign of forty-four years had been bloody, but patriotic; and while she had long since passed the noonday of her glory, her sunset of life hastened to its setting with a fevered brain and tortured heart, to think that she had not one real friend living, but surrounded by cunning courtiers, who were already manipulating for the favor and patronage of King James.
Like a blasted pine on a mountain peak,
To amuse her lingering hours of grief Lord Cecil desired the Shakspere Company to give its new version of "Love's Labor's Lost" before the Queen in the grand reception hall at Richmond.
Burbage went to the castle and made all the preliminary preparations for the play, and on the night of the second of February, 1603, the fantastic love play was given for the amusement of the Virgin Queen. She sat in regal solitude, and with mock laughter tried to enjoy the mimic show.
The royal audience was great in rank, beauty, wealth and intellect, yet through the various scenes of the light-hearted drama, Elizabeth only swung her head, muttered and sighed, while her courtiers evinced great amusement at the predicament of the various lovers in the play. Nothing can minister to a mind diseased.
The Queen professed great disappointment at the absence of Shakspere from the performance "on account of sickness," as Burbage told her Royal Highness. But William and myself remained at our rooms at Temple Bar that evening working on the first draughts of "Macbeth" to catch the praise and patronage of King James, the ScotchEnglishman.
Since the execution of Essex and imprisonment of Southampton Shakspere never said a word in praise of Elizabeth, and when he heard of her death on the 26th of March, 1603, he betrayed no feeling of grief, but on the contrary, expressed delight that the way was now clear for the release of Southampton and other victims of Elizabeth from the Tower.
Several weeks before her death Elizabeth was