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Ham. Good, madam.
Gertrude, do not drink. KING. Give them the foils, young Osric.- QUEEN. I will, my lord ; I pray you, pardon
Cousin Hamlet, You know the wager?
KING. [Aside.] It is the poison'd cup! it is too Ham. Very well, my lord ;
late ! Your grace
hath laid the odds o’the weaker side. Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam ; by and by. KING. I do not fear it: I have seen you both: QUEEN. Come, let me wipe thy face. But since he's better'd, we have therefore odds. LAER. My lord, I'll hit him now. LAER. This is too heavy, let me see another. KING.
I do not think 't. HAM. This likes me well. These foils have all LAER. [Aside.) And yet 't is almost 'gainst my a length ?
conscience. Osr. Ay, my good lord.
Ham. Come, for the third ; Laertes, you but [They prepare to play.
dally ; KING. Set me the stoups of wine upon that I
pray you, pass
I am afeard
make a wanton of me. If Hamlet give the first or second hit,
LAER. Say you so ? come on. [They play. Or quit in answer of the third exchange
Osr. Nothing, neither way. Let all the battlements their ordnance fire ;
LAER. Have at you now ! The king shall drink to Hamlet's better breath ; (LAERTES wounds HAMLET ; then, in scufling, And in the cup an union shall he throw,
they change rapiers, and HAMLET wounds Richer than that which four successive kings
LAERTES. In Denmark's crown have worn. Give me the KING.
Part them ! they are incens’d. cups;
Ham. Nay, come again. The QUEEN falls. And let the kettle to the trumpet speak,
Look to the queen there.—Ho ! d The trumpet to the cannoneer without,
HOR. They bleed on both sides !-How is it, The cannons to the heavens, the heavens to earth,
lord ? Now the king drinks to Hamlet.-Come, begin ;- Osr. How is 't, Laertes ? And you, the judges, bear a wary eye.
LAER. Why, as a woodcock to mine own HAM. Come on, sir.
springe, Osric; LAER.
Come on, sir. [They play. I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
HẢM. How does the queen ?
She swoons to see them bleed. HAM.
Judgment. QUEEN. No, no, the drink, the drink !-0, my Osr. A hit, a very palpable hit.
dear Hamlet ! LAER.
Well ;—again. The drink, the drink !-I am poison'd! Dies. KING. Stay, give me drink.—Hamlet, this pearl Ham. O, villainy!-Ho! let the door be lock’d: is thine ;
Treachery ! seek it out. [LAERTES falls. Here's to thy health.
LAER. It is here, Hamlet : Hamlet, thou art [Trumpets sound; and cannon shot of without.
slain; Give him the cup.
No medicine in the world can do thee good, Ham. I'll play this bout first ; set it * by In thee there is not half an hour of life; awhile.
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, Come.—Another hit ; what say you ? [They play. Unbatedo and envenom’d: the foul practice LAER. A touch, a touch. I do confess.
Hath turn'd itself on me; lo, here I lie, KING. Our son shall win.
Never to rise again! thy mother's poison'd ;QUEEN. He's fat, and scant of breath."- I can no more the king, the king's to blamo. Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows: C Ham. The point-envenom’d too ! The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet. Then, venom, to thy work. [Stabs the KING.
(*) First folio omits, own.
(*) First folio omits, it. - an union-) By an union was meant a pearl of faultless beauty; an "orient pearl;" (" Antony and Cleopatra," Act I. Sc. 5 ;) i.e. a pearl clear, white, and spotless.
b – He's fat, and scant of breath.-) Does the Queen refer to Hamlet or Laertes?
c Here, Hamlet, &c.] In the folio, "Heere's a Napkin, rub thy browes."
d Look to the queen there.-Ho!) The exclamation “Ho! meaning stop! should perhaps be addressed to the combatants, and not, as it is always printed, to those who are to raise the Queen.
Unbated-) See note (d), p. 385.
The point-envenom'd too!) Why should this line invariably be printed
“The point envenom'd too!" as if Hamlet supposed the hilt was poison'd? Recurring to what Laertes had just said, ** Unbated and en venom'd," he examines the foil, and finding the button gone, exclaims, “The point-,"and then, without finishing the sentence,-"unblunted" Shurries on to-"envenom'd too!” &c. This is so obviously the sense, that one marvels it should ever have been mistaken.
Osr. and LORDS. Treason ! treason !
Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and KING. O, yet defend me, friends ; I am but
other's. hurt. Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Fort. Where is this sight? Dane,
What is it
would see ? Drink off this potion :—is thy union here ? If aught of woe or wonder, cease your search. Follow my mother.
Fort. This* quarry cries on havoc.—0, proud LAER. He is justly serv'd;
death, It is a poison temper'd by himself.
What feast is toward in thine eternal cell, Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet: That thou so many princes at a shot,t Mine and
father's death come not upon thee, So bloodily hast struck ? Nor thine on me!
Dies. 1 AMB.
The sight is dismal ; Ham. Heaven make thee free of it! I follow And our affairs from England come too late : thee.
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing: I am dead, Horatio.—Wretched queen, adieu ! To tell him his commandment is fulfillid, You that look pale and tremble at this chance, That Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are dead, That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Where should we have our thanks ? Had I but time, (as this fell sergeant, death,
Not from his mouth, Is strict in his arrest) O, I could tell you,
Had it the ability of life to thank you : But let it be.—Horatio, I am dead ;
He never gave commandment for their death. Thou liv'st; report me and my cause* aright But since, so jump upon this bloody question, To the unsatisfied.
You from the Polack wars, and you from England, Hor. Never believe it.
Are here arriv’d, give order that these bodies I am more an antique Roman than a Dane, High on a stage be placed to the view; Here's yet some liquor left.
And let me speak, to the yet unknowing world, Ham.
As thou’rt a man,
hear Give me the
Of carnal, bloody, and unnatural acts ;
Of accidental judgments, casual slaughters ; O, good Horatio, what a wounded name,
Of deaths put on by cunning and fore'd cause; Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind And, in this upshot, purposes mistook
Fall'n on the inventors' heads : all this can I If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Truly deliver. Absent thee from felicity awhile,
Let us haste to hear it, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain, And call the noblest to the audience. To tell my story.
For me, with sorrow I embrace my fortune; [March afar off, and shott without.
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom, What warlike noise is this? Which nowř to claim my vantage doth invite me. Osn. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to speak, from Poland,
And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more ; To the ambassadors of England gives
But let this same be presently perform’d, [chance, This warlike volley.
E'en while men's minds are wild ; lest more misHam. 0, I die, Horatio ;
On plots and errors, happen. The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit ;
Let four captains I cannot live to hear the news from England ; Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage; But I do prophesy the election lights
For he was likely, had he been put on, On Fortinbras ; he has my dying voice ;
To have prov'd most royally: 'and, for his passage, So tell him, with the occurrents, more and less, The soldier's music, and the rites of war, Which have solicited.—The rest is silence. [Dies. Speak loudly for him.Hor. Now cracksý a noble heart. Good night, | Take up the bodies :||--such a sight as this sweet prince;
Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss.And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest - Go, bid the soldiers shoot. [A dead March. Why does the drum come hither ?
[Exeunt bearing off the bodies; after which a peal [March without
of ordnance is shot off.
(*) First folio, causes.
(+) First folio, shout. (1) First folio, cracke. shall live behind me!] Compare (“Much Ado About Nothing," Act III. Sc. 1), “No lory lives behind the back of such,"
(*) First folio, His.
(1) First folio, shoote. (1) First folio, are.
(5) First folio, alwayes. (I)
st folio, body.
« Preco diei jam sonat,
Noctis profundæ pervigil ;
Gallo canente spes redit," &c. The superstition of a phantom disappearing on the cro ing of a cock, Steevens has shown to be very ancient by a passage (Vit. Apol. iv. 16) where “Philostratus giving an account of the apparition of Achilles' shade to Apollonius Tyaneus, says that it vanished with a glimmer as soon as the cock crowed,"
(1) SCENE I.
As stars with trains of fire and devs of blood,
Was sick almost to dooms-day with eclipse :]
“ Stars shone with trains of fire, dews of blood fall,
Disasters veil'd the sun-" Malone, with more plausibility and less violence, proposed to change “As stars” to Astres, observing, “The disagreeable recurrence of the word stars in the second line induces me to believe that As stars, in that which precodes, is a corruption. Perhaps Shakespeare wrote:
“ Astres with trains of fire,
and dews of blood Disasterous dimm'd the sun."
Following up this hint, an ingenious correspondent (A.E.B.) of Notes and Queries, Vol. V. No. 117, would read,
“ Asters with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun;"by disasters understanding spots or blotches. Astres or asters is an acceptable conjecture, but we conceive the cardinal error lies in “Disasters," which conceals some verb importing the obscuration of the sun ; for example,
(3) SCENE II.--And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.) As an instance of the minute attention with which the finished play was elaborated from the early sketch, it may be noteworthy, that in the quarto of 1603, the motive of Laertes' visit to the court is said to be desire to attend the late king's funeral,
" King. And now Laertes what's the newes with you?
Lea. My gratious Lord, your favorable licence,
Which makes my minde and spirits bend all for France." But it evidently occurred to Shakespeare that the acknowledgment of such an object was as little consistent with the character of Laertes as it would be palatable to the living monarch, and, accordingly, in the augmented piece the reason given by Laertes for his coming is more courtier-like,
“ To show my duty in your coronation."
" Asters with trains of fire and dews of blood
Distempered the sun;"
" Discoloured the sun."
(2) SCENE I.
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
It faded on the crowing of the cock.)
Farmer pointed attention to a hymn, ad Gallicinium, in Prudentius, which appositely illustrates those beautiful lines :
" Perunt, vagantes Dæmonas,
Lætos tenebris Noctium,
Speramus adventum Dei.”
(4) SCENE II.-Come away.] The dialogue between the King, the Queen, and Hamlet, in this scene was much expanded and improved after the first draft : in the newfound quarto it runs thus meagrely,–
King. And now princely Sonne Hamlet,
Ham. My lord, ti's not the sable sute I weare :
King. This shewes a loving care in you, Sonne Hamlet,
Que. Let not thy Mother loose her praiers Hamlet, Stay here with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you Madam.
King. Spoke like a kinde and a most loving Sonne, And there's no health the King shall drinke to day, But the great Canon to the clowdes shall tell The rowse the King shall drinke unto Prince Hamlet."
Tooke seems altogether to have forgotton the existence of the epithet, which answers to the Latin word charus. In the same sense it is used by Puttenham : The lacke of life is the dearest detriment of any other.' Arte of Engl. Poesie, 4to. 1589, p. 182. See · dearly,' IV. 3, King ; As you, &c. I. 3, Celia ; and L. L. L. II. 1, Boyet; and dear guiltiness,' Ib. V. 2, Princess. We will add from Drayton's Moses his birth, 4to. 1630, B. I, that Sarah, about to ex. pose her child, says, she has
'- her minde of misery compacted, That must consent unto so deere a murther.' i. e. distressing or heart-rending."
(5) SCENE II.
the funeral bak'd meats Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.] “The practice of making entertainments at funerals which prevailed in this and other countries, and which is not even at present quite disused in some of the northern counties of England, was certainly borrowed from the cona feralis of the Romans, alluded to in Juvenal's fifth satire, and in the laws of the twelve tables. It consisted of an offering of a small plate of milk, honey, wine, flowers, &c. to the ghost of the deceased. In the instances of heroes and other great characters, the same custom appears to have prevailed among the Greeks. With us the appetites of the living are consulted on this occasion. In the north this feast is called an arval or arvil-supper; and the loaves that are sometimes distributed among the poor, arval-bread.”— DOUCE
(7) SCENE IV.
The king doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse,
Keeps wassail, and the swaggering up-spring reels.] “Wake” here means a wake-feast or watch-festiral, origin. ally a nocturnal entertainment held to celebrate the dedication of a church (vigilia); but it subsequently came to be used for any night gevel. “Rouse,” in reality the Danish Ruus, a deep draught, act of intoxication, or surfeit in drinking, was employed by our old writers with great laxity; sometimes it is used indifferently with carouse, to signify a bumper, — “Cas. 'Fore heaven, they have given me a rouse already. Mon. Good faith, a little one; not past a pint, as I am a soldier."
Othello, Act II. Sc. 3.
“ Nor. I have took since supper,
The Knight of Malta, Act III. Sc. 4.
" And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder," — it plainly imports not simply a deep draught, but the accompaniment of some outcry, similar, perhaps, to our “hip, hip, hurrah!”
Of “Wassail,” from the Saxon was hael, abundant illustration will be found in the Variorum Shakespeare, and in Douce; but the expression, “swaggering up-spring reels," still admits of farther explanation. At one time it was generally believed to be a derogatory epithet applied by Hamlet to the upstart king, until Steevens proved by a quotation from Chapman's “Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany,"
(6) SCENE II.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven
Ere ever I had seen that day.] On this use of dear, some examples of which will be found P:
419, Vol. I., Caldecott has a good note :"Throughout Shakespeare and all the poets of his and a much later day, we find this epithet applied to that person or thing, which, for or against us, excites the liveliest and strongest interest. It is used variously, indefinitely and metaphorically to express the warmest feelings of the soul; its nearest, most intimate, home and heartfelt emotions : and here no doubt, though, as everywhere else, more directly interpreted signifying 'veriest, extremest,' must by consequence and figuratively import 'bitterest, deadliest, most mortal.' As extremes are said in a certain sense to approximate, and are in many respects alike or the same, so this word is made in a certain sense to carry with it an union of the fiercest opposites : it is made to signify the extremes of love and hatred.
“ But to suppose, with Mr. Tooke (Divers. of Purl. II. 409), that in all cases it must at that time have meant 'injurious,' as being derived from the Saxon verb dere, to hurt, is perfectly absurd. Dr. Johnson's derivation of the word, as used in this place, from the Latin dirus, is doubtless ridiculous enough : but Mr. Tooke has not produced a single instance of the use of it, i. e. of the adjective, in the sense upon which he insists; except, as he pretends, from our author. In the instance cited in this place by Mr. Steevens, in support of the extraordinary interpretation (“most consequential, important,') he has here and elsewhere put upon the word, 'A ring, that I must use in deere employment' (Rom. & Jul. sc. last), although the word is spelt after the fashion of the Saxon verb, it is impossible to interpret it 'injurious;' its meaning being most clearly, 'anxious, deeply interesting.' 'Deere to me as are the ruddy drops that visit my sad heart.' Jul. Cæs. II. 2, Bru. cannot admit of interpretation in any other sense than that in which Gray's Bard understood it,
* Dear as the ruddy drops, that warm my heart.' “In Tr. & Cr. V. 3, Andromache says,
• Consort with me in loud and deere petition.' And in Hector's answer the word occurs thrice so spelt:
* Life every man holds deere; but the deere man
Holds honour far more precious, deere, than life.' And it is no less than impossible, in either of these instances, to put the sense of 'injurious' upon this word. With his mind possessed by the Saxon verb, to hurt, Mr.
“We Germans have no changes in our dances ;
An almain and an up-spring, that is all,"that a particular kind of dance was meant. Up-spring, indeed, is from the Anglo-Saxon, and also the Danish Opspringer, and the Low-Dutch Op-springen, to leap up ; and the “upspring reels” we conceive to have been some boisterous dance in which the performers joined hands in a ring and then indulged in violent leaps and shoutings, somewhat in the manner of our leaping dances or Hoppings at a country wake.
(8) SCENE IV.
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault.] In “The Plain Man's Pathway to Heaven," of Arthur Dent, 1590, we have a dilatation of the same idea :
" Phil. I do verily thus think, that as sin generally doth stain every man's good name, which all are chary and tender of; so especially it doth blot those which are in high places, and of special note for learning, wisdom, and godliness.
Theol. You have spoken most truly, and agreable to the Scriptures. For the Scriptures saith, 'As a dead ay causeth the apo thecary's ointment to stink, so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour:' where Solomon sheweth, That if a fly get into the apothecary's box of ointment, and die, and putrefy in it, she marreth it, though it be never so pretious : even so, if a little sin get into the heart, and break out in the forehead of a man of great fame for some singular gift, it will blear him, though he be never so excellent."
(9) SCENE V.
The glow-worm shows the matin to be near,
And gins to pale his unejfectual fire.] “It was the popular belief that ghosts could not endure the light, and consequently disappeared at the dawn of day.
This superstition is derived from our northern ancestors, who held that the sun and everything containing light or fire had the property of expelling demons and spirits of all kinds. With them it seems to have originated in the stories that are related in the Edda concerning the battles of Thor against the giants and evil demons, wherein he made use of his dreadful mallet of iron, which he hurled against them as Jupiter did his thunderbolts against the Titans. Many of the transparent precious stones were supposed to have the power of expelling evil spirits; and the flint and other stones found in the tombs of the northern nations, and from which fire might be extracted, were imagined, in like manner, to be efficacious in confining the manes of the dead to their proper habitations. They were called Thor's hammers."-DOUCE
And Nash, in his " Pierce Penniless's Supplication to the Devii,” 1592, complaining of drunkenness, observes :"A mightie deformer of men's manners and features is this unnecessary vice of all others, Let him bee indued with never so manie vertues, and have as much goodly proportion and favour, as Nature can bestow upon a man, yet if hee be thirstie after his owne destruction, and hath no nor comfort, but when he is drowning his soule in a gallon pot, that one beastly imperfection wil utterly obscure all that is commendable in him, and all his goode qualities sinke like lead downe to the bottome of his carrowsing cups, where they will lye, like lees and dregges, dead and unregarded of any man."
words, “Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand,” in the most unmistakeable manner, by walking away and appearing to resume his study :—that then, finding Polonius still watching him, he should turn sharply round with the abrupt question, “Have you a daughter ?” It is this view of the stage business which prompted us to print the passage above, as something read, or affected to be read, by Hamlet, -an innovation-if it be one, (for we are ignorant whether it has been suggested previously) that will the more readily be pardoned, since the passage as usually exhibited has hitherto defied solution.
(1) SCENE I.- Perpend.] Dr. Johnson's analysis of Polonius has been justly commended for its perspicacity and discrimination. It is certainly an admirable interpretation, and leaves us at a loss to understand how a writer who exhibits such judgment and astuteness in the delineation of this particular character should have failed so sig, nally in his appreciation of nearly every other one of Shakespeare's, which he has attempted to unfold.
“Polonius is a man bred in courts, exercised in business, stored with observation, confident in his knowledge, proud of his eloquence, and declining into dotage. His mode of oratory is truly represented as designed to ridicule the practice of those times, of prefaces that made no introduction, and of method that embarrassed rather than explained. This part of his character accidental, the rest is natural. Such a man is positive and confident, because he knows that his mind was once strong, and knows not that it is become weak. Such a man excels in general principles, but fails in the particular application. He is knowing in retrospect, and ignorant in foresight. While he depends upon his memory, and can draw from his repositories of knowledge, he utters weighty sentences, and gives useful counsel; but as the mini in its enfeebled state cannot be kept long busy and intent, the old man is subject to sudden dereliction of his faculties, he loses the order of his ideas, and entangles himself in his own thoughts, till he recovers the leading principle, and falls again into his former train. This idea of dotage encroaching upon wisdom, will solve all the phenomena of the character of Polonius,"
(3) SCENE II.-Ay, that they do, my lord ; Hercules and his load too.] The allusion is doubtless, as Steevens surmised, to the Globe Theatre on the Bankside, the sign of which was, Hercules carrying the Globe; and the “aiery of children,” against whom this satire was levelled, were, as he observes, “the young singing men of the Chapel Royal or St. Paul's; of the former of whom, perhaps, the earliest mention occurs in an anonymous puritanical pamphlet, 1569, entitled, “The Children of the Chapel stript and whipt:'~ Plaies will never be supprest, while her maiesties unfledged minions flaunt it in silkes and sattens; They had as well be at their popish service in the devil's garments,' &c. Again, ibid. : Even in her maiesties chapel do these pretty upstart youthes profane the Lordes day by the lascivious writhing of their tender limbes, and gorgeous decking of their apparell, in feigning bawdie fables gathered from the idolatrous heathen poets,' &c.
Concerning the performances and success of the latter in attracting the best company, I also find the following passage in Jack Drum's Entertainment, or Pasquil and Katherine,' 1601:
(2) SCENE II. Reads.] For if the sun breed maggots in
I sawe the Children of Powles last night,
I like the audience that frequenteth there
(4) SCENE II.-It came to pass, as most like it was.] Hamlet quotes from the opening stanza of an ancient ballad,