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They had begun the Play :) I fate me down,
Hor. Ay, good my Lord.
Ham. An earnest conjuration from the King,
fhould still her wheaten garland wear, (31) And stand a Commere 'tween their amities ;
This Passage is certainly corrupt both in the Text and Pointing. Making a Prologue to bis Brains is such a Phrase as SHAKESPEARE would never have us’d, to mean, ere I could form my Thoughts in making a Prologue. I communicated my Doubts to my two ingenious Friends Mr. Warburton and Mr. Bishop, and by their Aflistance, I hope, I have reform'd the whole to the Author's Intention. The Sense is, plainly, this “ Being thus in their Snares, ere I could “ make a Prologue (take the least previous Step) to ward off Danger, " they had begun the Play (put their Schemes in Action) which w was to terminate in my Destruction.” (31) As Peace should still ber wbeaten Garland wear,
And fand a Comma 'tween their Amities, &c.] Peace is finely and properly personaliz'd here, as the Goddess of good League and Friendship: but what Ideas can we form of her ftanding as a Comma, or Stop, betwixt their Amities? I am sure, the stands rather like a Cypher, in this Reading. I have no Doubt, but the Poet wrote ;
And stand a Commere 'tween their Amities; i, e, a Guarantee, à Common Mother. Nothing can be more picturesque than this Image of Peace's standing drest in her wheaten Garland between the two Princes, and extending a Hand to each, In this Equipage and Office we frequently see her on Roman Coins : particularly, on two exhibited by Baron Spanheim; one of Augufius, and the other of Vefpafian. The Poets likewise imagine to us Peace holding an Ear of Corn, as an Emblem of Plenty. Tibull. lib. 1. Eleg. x. At nobis, Pax alma, veni, fpicamque ; teneto.
And many such like Ai's of great charge ;
Hor. How was this seal'd ?
Ham. Why, ev’n in that was heaven ordinant ; I had my father's Signet in my purse, Which was the model of that Danis seal : I folded the Writ up in form of th’ other, Subscrib'd it, gave th' impression, plac'd it safely, The changeling never known ; now, the next day Was our fea-fight, and what to this was sequent Thou know it already. Hor. So, Guildenstern and Rofincrantz go to't. Ham. Why, man, they did make love to this em
ployment.-They are not near my conscience; their defeat. Dotń by their own insinuation grow : 'Tis dangerous when the bafer nature comes Between the pass, and fell incensed points, Of mighty opposites.
Hor. Why, what a King is this !
Ham. Does it not, think it thou, stand me now upon ? He that hath kill'd my King, and whor'd my mother, Popt in between th’ election and my hopes, Thrown out his angle for my proper life, And with such cozenage; is't not perfect conscience, To quit him with this arm ? and is't not to be damn'd, To let this canker of our nature come In further evil?
Hor. It must be shortly known to him from England, What is the issue of the business there.
Ham. It will be short.
The portraiture of his; I'll court his favour;
Hor. Peace, who comes here?
Osr. Your Lord hip is right welcome back to Denmark. Ham. I humbly thank you, Sir. Doft know this
water-fly? Hor. No, my good Lord.
Ham. Thy itate is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him : he hath much land, and fertile; let a beast be Lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the King's meffe ; 'tis a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the poffefion of dirt.
Ofr. Sweet Lord, if your Lordship were at leisure, I fhould impart a thing to you from his Majesty.
Ham. I will receive it with all diligence of spirit: your bonnet to his right use, 'tis for the head.
Ofr. I thank your Lordship, 'tis very hot.
Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
Ofr. It is indifferent cold, my Lord, indeed.
Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry, and hot for my complexion.
Ojí. Exceedingly, my Lord, it is very sultry, as 'twere, I cannot tell how :-My Lord, his Majesty bid me fignify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your
head : : Sir, this is the matter Ham. I beseech you, remember
Ofr. Nay, in good faith, for mine ease, in good faith : -Sir, here is newly come to Court, Laertes; (32) believe
(2) Sir, bere is newly come to Court, Laertes.] I have restor'd here several speeches from the elder Quarto's, which were omitted in the Folio Edicions, and which Mr. Pope has likewise thought fit to sink upon us. They appear to me very well worthy not to be lost, as they throughly shew the Foppery and Affectation of 0;rick, and the Humour and Address of Hamlet in accosting the other at once in his own Vein and Style, VOL. VIII.
me, an absolute Gentleman, full of moft excellent Differences, of very soft fociety, and great shew: indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or kalendar of gentry; for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would fee.
Ham. Sir, his definement fuffers no perdition in you, tho' I know, to divide him inventorially would dizzy the arithmetick of memory; and yet but raw neither in respect of his quick fail : But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a foul of great article; and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour; and, who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
Ofr. Your Lordfhip speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, Sir ? Why do we wrap the Gentleman in our more rawer breath?
[T. Horatio. Ofr. Sir,
Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? you will do't, Sir, rarely.
Ham. Whatimports the nomination of this gentleman? Ofr. Of Laertes ?
Hor. His purse is empty already : all's golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, Sir.
Ham. I would, you did, Sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me.--Well, Sir.
Ofr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes
Ham. I dare not confess that, left I should compare with him in excellence: but to know a man well, were to know himself.
Ofr. I mean, Sir, for his weapon : but in the Imputation laid on him by them in his meed, he's untellow'd.
Ham. What's his weapon?
Osr. The King, Sir, has wag'd with him fix Barbary hortes, against the which he has impon'd, as I take it, fix French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and fo: three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
Ham. What call you the carriages? Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the Margent, had done.
[ Afide. Ofr. The carriages, Sir, are the hangers.
Ham. The phrase would be more germane to the matter, if we could carry cannon by our fides; I would, it might be hangers till then. But, on; fix Barbary horses against fix French swords, their afligns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bett against the Danilo; why is this impon'd, as you call it ?
Ofr. The King, Sir, hath laid, that in a Dozen Passes between you and him, he shall not exceed you three hits ; he hath laid on twelve for nine, and it would
to immediate trial, if your Lordship would vouchfafe the answer.
Ham. How if I ansiver, no?
Ofr. I mean, my Lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall; If it please his Majefty, 'tis the breathing time of day with me; let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the King hold his purpose, I will win for him if I can: if not, I'll gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits. Ofr. Shall I deliver
fo? Nam. To this effect, Sir, after what flourish your nature will.
Ofr. I commend my duty to your Lordship (Exit.
Ham. Yours, yours; he does well to commend it himself, there are no tongues else for's turn.
Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.