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Coftly thy habit as thy purfe can buy,
And they in France of the best rank and ftation
What I have faid.
Oph. 'Tis in my mem❜ry lockt,
And you yourself fhall keep the key of it.
Pol. What is't, Ophelia, he hath faid to you?
Oph. So please you, fomething touching the Lord Hamlet.
Pol. Marry, well bethought!
'Tis told me, he hath very oft of late
Given private time to you; and you yourself
Have of your audience been moft free and bounteous.
If it be fo, (as fo 'tis put on me,
And that in way of caution,) I must tell you,
(7) The Time invites You] This Reading is as old as the firft Folio; however I fufpect it to have been fubftituted by the Players, who did not understand the Term which poffeffes the elder Quarto's:
i. e. befieges, preffes upon you on every Side. To invest a Town, is the military Phrase from which our Author borrowed his Metaphor.
What is between you? give me up the truth.
Oph. He hath, my Lord, of late, made many tenders Of his affection to me.
Pol. Affection! puh! you speak like a green girl, Unfifted in fuch perilous circumftance.
Do you believe his tenders, as you call them ?
Oph. I do not know, my Lord, what I fhould think. Pol. Marry, I'll teach you; think yourself a baby, That you have ta'en his tenders for true pay, Which are not fterling. Tender yourfelf more dearly; (8) Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Wringing it thus) you'll tender me a fool.
Oph. My Lord, he hath importun'd me with love, › In honourable fashion.
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call't: go to, go to. Oph. And hath giv'n count'nance to his fpeech,my Lord, With almost all the holy vows of heav'n.
Pol. Ay, fpringes to catch woodcocks. I do know, When the blood burns, how prodigal the foulLends the tongue vows. Thefe blazes, oh my daughter, Giving more light than heat, extinct in both, Ev'n in their promife as it is a making, You must not take for fire. From this time, Be Tomewhat fcanter of your maiden-prefence, Set your intreatments at a higher rate, Than a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet, Believe fo much in him, that he is young; And with a larger tether he may walk, Than may be giv'n you. In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows; for they are brokers, (9)
(8) Tender yourself more dearly;
Or (not to crack the Wind of the poor Phrafe)
Wronging it thus, you'll tender me a Fool.] The Parenthesis is clos'd at the wrong Place; and muft make like wife a flight Correction in the last Verfe. Polonius is racking and playing on the Word Tender, 'till he thinks proper to correct himself for the Licence; and then he would fay not farther to crack the Wind of the Phrafe Mr. Warburton.
by twifting and contorting it, as I have done; &c.
Breathing like fanctified and picus Bonds;
Not of that die which their investments fhew,
Breathing like fanctified and pious bawds,
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
The better to beguile.]
Tho' all the Editors have fwallowed this Reading implicitly, it is certainly corrupt; and I have been furprized, how Men of Genius and Learning could let it pafs without fome Sufpicion. What Ideas can we form to ourselves of a breathing Bend, or of its being fanctifed and picus? As he, juft before, is calling amorous Vows Brokers, and implorers of unholy Suits; I think, a Continuation of the plain and natural Senfe directs to an eafy Emendation, which makes the whole Thought of a piece, and gives it a Turn not unworthy of our Poet.
Breathing, like fanctified and pious Bawds,
Broker, 'tis to be obferved, our Author perpetually uses as the more modeft fynonymous Term for Bawd. Befides, what ftrengthens my Correction, and makes this Emendation the more neceffary and probable, is, the Words with which the Poet winds up his Thoughts, the better to beguile. It is the fly Artifice and Cuftom of Bawds to put on an Air and form of Sanctity, to betray the Virtues of young Ladies; by drawing them firft into a kind Opinion of them, from their exterior and diffembled Goodness. And Bawds in their Office of Treachery are likewife properly Brokers; and the Implorers and Prompters of unholy (that is, unchafte) Suits: And fo a chain of the fame Metaphors is continued to the End.
SCENE changes to the Platform before the
Enter Hamlet, Horatio, and Marcellus.
HE air bites fhrewdly; it is very cold.
Ham. What hour now?
Hor. I think, it lacks of twelve.
Mar. No, it is ftruck.
Hor. I heard it not it then draws near the feafon,
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
[Noife of warlike mufick within.
What does this mean, my Lord?
Ham. The King doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse. Keeps waffel, and the fwagg'ring up-fpring reels; And as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down, The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.
Hor. Is it a custom?
But, to my mind, though I am native here,
More honour'd in the breach, that the observance.
Makes us tradúc'd, and tax'd of other nations;
They clepe us drunkards, and with fwinifh phrafe
From our atchievements, though perform'd at height,
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That for fome vicious mole of nature in them,
By the o'ergrowth of fome complexion,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reafon ;
The form of plaufive manners; that these men
Shall in the general cenfure take corruption
To his own fcandal.
Hor. Look, my Lord, it comes!
Ham. Angels and minifters of grace defend us! Be thou a fpirit of health, or goblin damn'd, Bring with thee airs from heav'n, or blafts from hell, Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'ft in fuch a queftionable shape,
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
The Dram of Eafe. Doth all the noble Subftance of a Doubt
To bis own feandal.] I do not remember a Paffage, throughout all our Poet's Works more intricate and depraved in the Text, of less Meaning to outward Appearance, or more likely to baffle the Attempts of Criticism in its Aid. It is certain, there is neither Senfe, nor Grammar, as it now ftands: yet with a flight Alteration, I'll endeavour to cure thofe Defects, and give a Sentiment too, that shall make the Poet's Thought clofe nobly. The Dram of Bafe, (as I have corrected the Text) means the leaft Alloy of Bafenefs or Vice. It is very frequent with our Poet to use the Adjective of Quality inftead of the Subitantive fignifying the Thing. Befides, I have obferved, that elsewhere, freaking of Worth, he delights to confider it as a Quality that adds Weight to a Perfon, and connects the Word with that Idea.