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They had begun the Play :) I fate me down,
Hor. Ay, good my Lord.
Ham. An earneft conjuration from the King,
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 Affiftance, 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 ~ was to terminate in my Destruction." (31) As Peace pould fill ber wheaten Garland
wear, And stand a Comma 'tween their Amities, &c.] Peace is finely and properly personaliz'd here, as the Goddess of good League and Friendthip: 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; e, a Guarantee, å Common Mother. Nothing can be more picturesque than this Image of Peace's standing dreit in her wheaten Garland between the two Princes, and extending a Hand to cach, 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 Vespasian. The Poets likewise imagine to us Peace holding an Ear of Corn, as an Emblem of Plenty. Tibull. lib. I. Eleg. x. At nobis, Pax alma, veni, fpicamque ; teneto.
And many such like As's of great charge ;
Hor. How was this seal'd ?
Ham. Why, ev’n in that was heaven ordinant ;
Hor. So, Guildenftern and Rosincrantz go to't.
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?
Ofr. Your Lordship is right welcome back to Denmark. Ham. I humbly thank you, Sir. Doft know this
water-fly? Hor. No, my good Lord.
Ham. Thy state 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, fpacious in the poffeffion of dirt.
Ofr. Sweet Lord, if your Lordship were at leisure, I should 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
hank your Lordship, 'tis very hot. Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
Osr. 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
Osr. 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 Editions, and which Mr. Pope has likewise thought fit toʻlink 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 most 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 ihall 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 Lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, Sir? Why do we wrap the Gentleman in our more rawer breath?
[To Horatio. Ofr. Sir,
Hor. Is't not poflible 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. Ofr. I know, you are not ignorant, Ham. I would, you did, Sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me.-Well, Sir.
Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is.
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 ?
Ofr. The King, Sir, has wag'd with him fix Barbary hories, 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, ere you 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 againft fix French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bett against the Daniso; 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 come to immediate trial, if your Lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
Ham. How if I answer, 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 you 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.