Sergey Oksanine
“Dost thee hear? Lord Hamlet hath refused
To fight with Laertes e’en in a trial;
What thou think on’t?”
“ ‘Tis not a time for foolish sport:
It may be probable his will,
Dishonour’d by the quarrel o’er
The sanctified ground,
Want not more to offend
Ophelia’s still living memory.”
“And now, what’s the queen?”
“Just not herself; clos’d, tearless, and silent ...”
Gertrude lock’d the door:
Maid’s chattering became much quieter;
Do they know,
What their double queen might feel
When a matter
Doth turn the fatal inspiration,
The mercy she hath cried,
Into an endless torture
By shame?
No, let’em on a paper
All lie down
Like she hath seen to-night;
Gertrude took her quill and wrote:
“Come, for the third, Laertes:
You but dally;
I pray you, pass with your best violence;

I am afeard you make a wanton
Of me. "

What will happen, if Hamlet follows Horatio’s advice not to fight with Laertes?
The poem starts with a conversation between two maidservants - a young girl and an elder woman. E.A.Abbott wrote: “It is probable that “look thee”, “hark thee,” are to be explained by euphonic reasons…(“Look thee, ‘tis so” (T. of A.IV.3)) For reasons of euphony also the ponderous thou is often ungrammatically replaced by thee.” Here, a young maid tells the news and speaks vulgarly to an elder maid, using “thee” instead of “thou”. But when the girl asks a question, her tone becomes respectful. Hence thee is changed to thou but the vulgarity doesn’t disappear and the young maid omits “do” in the question, like Bernardo does it in Hamlet.I.1: “What think you on’t?”. Answering the question, the elder maid also omits “do” but now she makes it more correctly. E.A.Abbott wrote: “They [Elizabethan authors] did not always observe the modern rule of using the auxiliary whenever not precedes the verb. Thus – “I no doubt” (Temp.II.1)).”