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Yet have I in me fomething dangerous,
King. Pluck them asunder-
[The attendants part them.
fon! what theme?
King. 0, he is mad, Laertes.
Ham. Come, shew me what thou'lt do.
I'll (69) Would drink up Efill, eat a crocodile?] This word has thro* all the editions been distinguish'd by Italick characters, as if it were the proper name of some river: and so, I dare say, all the editors have from time to time understood it to be. But then this must be some river in Denmark; and there is none there so callid ; nor is there any near it in name, that I know of, but Ypel, from which the province of Over-xfjell derives its title in the German Flanders
. Besides, Hamlet is not propofing any impossibilities to Laertes, as the drinking up a river would be ; but he rather seems to mean, Wilt thou resolve to do things the most shocking and diftafteful to human nature ? and, behold, I am as resolute. I am perswaded, the Poet wrote ;
Will drink up Eisel, eat a crocodile ? i.e. Wilt thou swallow down large draughts of Vinegar? The propon fition, indeed, is not very grand; but the doing it might be as dis tafteful and unfavoury, as eating the flesh of a crocodile. And now there is neither an impoffibility, nor an anticlimax: and the lowness of the idea is in lome measure remov'd by the uncommon term. CHAUCER has it in his Romaunt of the Rose.
So evil-hew'd was her coloure,
And thereto she was lene and megre, But least this authority should be thought of too long a date, and the word to have become obsolete in our Author's time, I'll produce a pasa
I'll do't. - Do'st thou come hither but to whine ?
ueen. This is mere madness;
Ham. Hear you, Sir-
mew, the dog will have his day. [Exit. King I pray you, good Horatio, wait upon him,
[Exit Hor. Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech.
[TO Laertes. We'll put the matter to the present push. Good Girtrude, fet some watch over your This grave shall have a living monument. An hour of quiet shortly shall we see ; "Till then, in patience our proceeding be. [Exeunt. fage where it is used by himself. In a poem of his, calld, A Complaint, he thus expresses himself :
W:jft, like a willing patient, I will drink
No double penance to correct correction.
Remember wherewithal, How Christ for thee fasted with Eisel and gall. Eisle, acetum, Utregar ; faith SOMNER : and the word is asknowledg'd by Minflacw, Skinner, Blount, &c,
SCENE changes to a Hall, in the Palace.
Enter Hamlet and Horatio. Ham. . O much for this, now you shall see the other.
You do remember all the circumstance ? Hor. Remember it, my Lord ?
Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting, That would not let me sleep; methought, I lay Worse than the mutines in the bilboes; Rahness (And prais'd be ralhness for it) lets us know, Our indiscretion sometimes ferves us well, When our deep plots do fail; and that should teach us, There's a Divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will.
Hor. That is most certain.
Ham. Up from my cabin,
Hyr. Is't possible?
ommission, read it at more leisure ; But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed ?
Hor. I beseech you.
Ham. Being thus benetted round with villainy, (Ere I could make a prologue, to my bane (70)
(70) Being thus benetted rourd with villains,
E'er I could make a prologue' to my brains,
They had begun the play :) I sate me down,
Hor. Ay, good my Lord.
Ham. An earnest conjuration from the King,
should still her wheaten garland wear, (71)
This passage is certainly corrupt both in the text and pointing. Making a prologue to bis brain is such a phrase as SHAKESPEARE would never have us’d, to mean, e're I could form my tboughts to making A prologue. I communicated my doubts to my two ingenious friends Mr. Warburton and Mr. Bijhop; and by their affiftance, I hope, I have reform'd the whole to the Author's intention :
Being tbus benetted round wirb villainy,
They had begun the play:) I sate me down,
And fand a comma 'tween tbeir 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 Atanding as a comma, or stop, betwixt their amities? I am sure, the ftands rather like a cypher, in this reading. I have no doubt, but the Poet wrote;
And stand a commere 'tween their amities; 3. c. a guarantee, a common mother. Nothing can be more piftso resque 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 : particu• larly, on two exhibited by Baron Spanheim; one of Augufius, and the other of Vespatian. The poets likewise image to us Peace holding an ear of corn, as the emblem of plenty. Tibull. lib. I. Eleg, x.
At nobis, Pax alma, veni, spiçamque teneto. Mr. Warburtor.
He should the bearers put to sudden death.
Hor. How was this seal'd?
Ham. Why, ev’n in that was heaven ordinant;
Hor. So, Guildenstern and Rofincrantz 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.