Imatges de pàgina

Ham. Your wisdom should shew itself more rich, to fignify this to his Doctor : for, for me to put him to his purgation, would, perhaps, plunge him into more choler.

Guil. Good my Lord, put your discourse into fome frame, and start not fo wildly from my affair.

Ham. I am tame, Sir;—pronounce.

G'il. The Queen your mother, in most great affliction of spirit, hath sent me to you.

Ham. You are welcome.

Guil. Nay, good my Lord, this Courtesy is not of the right Breed. If it shall please you to make me a wholesome answer, I will do your mother's commandment; if not, your pardon, and my return shall be the end of


business. Ham. Sir, I cannot. Guil. What, my Lord ?

Ham. Make you a wholesome answer: my wit's difeas'd. But, Sir, such answer as I can make, you shall command; or, rather, as you say, my mothertherefore no more but to the matter

-my mother,

you say

Ref. Then thus she says ; your behaviour hath ftruck her into amazement, and admiration.

Ham. Oh wonderful son, that can fo astonish a mother! But is there no fequet at the heels of this mother's admiration?

Rof. She desires to speak with you in her closet, ere

you go to bed.

Ham. We shall obey, were she ten times our mothers Have you any further trade with us?

Rof. My Lord, you once did love me.
Ham. So I do still, by these pickers and stealers.

Rof. Good my Lord, what is your cause of diftemper? you do, furely, bar the door of your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.

Ham. Sir, I lack advancementa

Rof. How can that be, when you have the voice of the King himself, for your succession in Denmark?


Ham, Ay, bạt while the grass grows-the Proverb is something myfty.

Enter one, with a Recorder. Oh, the Recorders; let me fee one. To'withdraw with you why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toile ?

Guil. Oh my Lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.

Ham. I do not well underítand that. Will you play upon this pipe ? Guil, My Lord, I cannot. Ham. I pray you. Guil. Believe me, I cannot. Ham. I do beseech you. Guil, I know no touch of it, my Lord.

Hum. 'Tis as easy as lying; govern these ventiges with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent muficą. Look you, these are the stops.

Guil, But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.

Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing, you

make of me; you would play upon me, you would seem to know my stops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery : you would found me from my lowest note, to the top of my compass; and there is much mufick, excellent voice, in this little organ, yet cannot you. inake it fpeak. Why, do you think, that I am easier to be play'd on than a pipe ? call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play

God bless you, Sir.

Enter Polonius. Pol. My Lord, the Queen would fpeak with you, and prefently

H.m. Do you fee yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a Camel? Pol. By the mass, and it's like a Camel, indeed.

upon me,

Ham. Methinks, it is like an Ouzle. (+4)
Pol. It is black like an Ouzle.
Him. Or, like a Whale ?
Pol. Very like a Whale.

Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by they fool me to the top of my bent. I will come by and by.

Pol. I will say so.
Hum. By and by is easily said. Leave me, friends.

[Exeunt, 'Tis now the very witching time of night, When church-yards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world. Now could I drink hot blood, , And do such bitter business as the day Would quake to look on. Soft, now to my motherO heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever The Soul of Nero enter this firm bosom ; Let me be cruel, not unnatural; I will speak daggers to her, but use none. (44) Methinks, it is like an ouzle.

Pol. It is black like an ouzle.] The old quarto and folio give us this passage thus;

Me:binks, it is like a weezel.

Pol. It is black like a weezel. But a weezel, as Mr. Pope has observ'd, is not black. Some other editions read the last line thus;

Pol. It is back'd like a weezel. This only avoids the abfurdity of giving a false colour to the weezel: but ouzle is certainly the true reading, and a word which our Author has used in other places;

The ou/el-cock, 1o back of hue,

With orange-tawny bill, &c. Midsummer-Nigbe's Dream, Sbal. And how doth my s ufin, your bedfellow ? and your fairest daughter and mine, my god daughter Ellen? Sil. Alas, a black ouzel, coufin Sballow.

2 Henry IV. But there is a propriety in the word being used in the paffage before us, which determines it to be the true reading; the reason of which, I prelume, did not occur to Mr. Pope. 'Tis obvious, that llamt, under the unibrage of suppos'd madness, is playing on Polonius; and a par icular compliance is hewn in the old man, (who thinks Hamlet really mad, and, perhaps, is afraid of him) to confels, that the fame cloud is like a bealt, a bird, and a fiih : viz. a camel, an ouzel, and a włale. Nor is there a little humour in the disproportion of the three things, which the cloud is suppos'd to resemble.


My tongue and soul in this be hypocrites;
How in my words foever she be shent,
To give them seals never my soul consent! (Exit.

Enter King, Rosincrantz, and Guildenstern.
King. I like him not, nor stands it safe with us
To let his madness range. Therefore, prepare you ;
I your Commission will forthwith dispatch,
And he to England shall along with you.
The terms of our estate may not endare (45)
Hazard so near us, as doth hourly grow.
Qut of his Lunes.

Guild. We will provide ourselves;
Most holy and religious fear it is,
To keep those many, many, bodies safe,
That live and feed upon your Majesty.

Rof. The single and peculiar life is bound,
With all the strength and armour of the mind,
To keep itself from noyance; but much more,
That fpirit, on whose weal depends and rests
The lives of many.

The cease of Majesty Dies not alone, but, like a gulf, doth draw What's near it with it. It's a maffy wheel

(45) The terms of our eftate may not endura

Hazard, so near us, as doto bourly grow
Out of his lunacies.

Guil. We will provide ourselves. The old quarto's read,Out of bis brows. This was from the ignorance of the first editors; as is this unnecessary Alexandrine, which we owe to the players. The Poet, I am persuaded, wrote,

Las doth bourly grow Out of his lunes. i e, his-madness, frenzy. So our Poet, before, in his Winter's Tale..

Thefe dang’rous, unsafe lunes i'ch' King ! -beshrew 'em,

He must be cold of it, &c. The reader, if he pleases, may turn to my tenth semark on that play. Perhaps, too, in the Merry Wives of Windfor, where all che edicions read;

Why, woman, your husband is in his old lines again. We ought to correct;

in his old lunes agains. ine, in his old-fits of madnefs, fi enzy:

Fixt on the summit of the highest mount,
To whose huge spokes ten thousand lesser things
Are mortiz'd and adjoin'd; which, when it falls,
Each small annexment, petty consequence,
Attends the boilt'rous ruin. Ne'er alone
Did the King figh; but with a general groan.

King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
For we will fetters put upon this fear,
Which now goes too free-footed.
Bork. We will hafte us.

[Exeunt Gentlemen, Enter Polonius. Pol. My Lord, he's going to his mother's closet; Behind the arras I'll convey myself To hear the process. I'll warrant, she'll tax him home, And, as you said, and wisely was it said, 'Tis meet, that some more audience than a mother (Since nature makes them partial,) should o'er-hear The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my Liege ; I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell

what I know.

King. Thanks, dear my Lord.
Oh! my offence is rank, it smells to heav'n,
It hath the primal, eldest, curse upon't; (46)
That of a brother's murder. Pray I cannot,
Though inclination be as sharp as will; (47)

My (46) It barb the primal, eldest curfe upon't ; A brotber's murtber. -Pray I cannot,] The last verse, 'tis evident, hales in the measure; and, if I don't mistake, is a little lame in the sense too. Was a brother's murther the eldest curse? Surely, it was rather the crime, that was the cause of this eldest curse. We have no affiftance, however, either to the sense or numbers from any of the copies. All the editions concur in the deficiency of a foot : but if we can both cure the measure, and help the meaning, without a preju. dice to the Author, I think, the concurrence of the printed copies should not be sufficient to forbid a conjecture, I have ventur'd at iwo supplemental fyllables, as innocent in themselves as necessary to the purposes for which they are introduc'd:

That of a brutber's murther,(47) Tlo' inclination be.] This line has lain under the fufpicion of Many nice observers; and an ingenious gentleman farted, at a heat, this very probable emendation :


« AnteriorContinua »