Imatges de pàgina
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Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning fingeth all night long :
And then, they say, no spirit dares Itir abroad s ;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes', nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it,
But, look, the morn, in ruslet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern bill? :
Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him :
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty ?

Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know
Where we shall find him most convenient. [Exeunt.

The fame. A Room of state in the fame. .

VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, Lords, and Attendants.
King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death

Faded has here its original sense ; it vanished. Vado, Lat. So, in
Spenser's Faery Queen, B. 1. C, V. St. 15:

" He stands amazed how he thence thould fade."
That our authour uses the word in this sense, appears from fome
fubfequent lines :

The morning cock crew loud;
& And at the found it fhrunk in hafte away,

« And vanish'd from our fight." MALONA.
fondares ftir abroad;] Quarto. The folio reads--can walk-.STIEV.

Spirit was formerly used as a monofyhable: sprite. The quarto, 1604, has-dare ftir abroad. Perhaps Shakspeare wroteno spirits dare Air abroad. The neceffary correction was made in a late quarto of no authority, printed in 1637. MALONE.

No fairy takes,] No fairy frikes with lameness or diseases. This fenfe of také is frequent in this authour. JOHNSON.

1- bigbeastern bill:] The old quarto has it better eastward. WARB.

The fuperiority of the latter of these readings is not, to me at leatt, very apparent. I find the former used in Lingua, &c. 1607 :

" -and overclimbs

“ Yonder gilt eastern hills."
Esfern and caftward alike fignify toward the caft. STIEVENS.


The memory be green; and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wiseft forrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye 8 ;
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,-
'Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along :-For all, our thanks.

Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak supposal of our worth ;
Or thinking, by our late dear brother's deach,
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pefter us with message,

Importing 8 Wirb one auspicious, and one dropping eye ;] Thus the folio. The quarto, with somewhat less of quaintness :

With an auspicious, and a dropping eye. The same thought, however, occurs in the Winter's Tale : « She had one eye declined for the loss of her husband; another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled." STEEVENS.

Dropping in this line probably means depressed or cast downwards: an interpretation which is strongly supported by the passage already quoted from the Winter's Tale. It may, however, fignify weeping. Dropping of the eyes" w 26 a technical expression in our authour's dime.-" If the spring be wet with much south wind, the next summer will happen agues and blearness, dropping of tbe eyes, and pains of the bowels.” Hopton's Concordance of years, 8vo. 1616.

Again, in Montaigne's Esaies, 1603: they never saw any man there with eyes dropping, or crooked and stooping through age."

MALONE, . Colleagued wirb tbis dream of bis advantage,] The meaning is, He goes to war so indiscreetly, and unprepared, that he has no allies to support him but a dream, with which he is colleagued or confederated,

WARBURTON. Mr. Theobald, in his Sbakspeare Restored, proposed to read-collogued, but in his edition very properly adhered to the ancient copies.


Importing the surrender of those lands
Loit by his father, with all bands of law,
To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is: We have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,-
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,--to suppress
His further gait herein'; in that the levies,
The lifts, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject :--and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway ;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope 2
Of these dilated articles allow 3.
Farewel ; and let your hafte commend your duty.

Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we shew our duty.
King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewel.

[Exeunt VOLTIMAND, and CORNELIUS. And now, Laertes, what's the news with you ? You told as of some fuit; What is’t, Laertes ? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane, And lose your voice : What would'It thou beg, Laertes, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking ? The head is not more native to the heart, The hand more Instrumental to the mouth, Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father 4.

What " His fureber gait berein ;] Gate or gait is here used in the northern sense, for proceeding, pallage; from the A. S. verb gae. A gare for a path, passage, or street, is still current in the north.” Percy.

2 - more than I be fcope--) More than is comprised in the general defign of these articles, which you may explain in a more diffuse and dilated file. JOHNSON.

3.-—- besedilated articles, &c.] i.e. the articles when dilated. Musc. The poet should have written allows. Many writers fall into this error, when a plural noun immediately precedes the verb; as I have had occafion to observe in a note on a controverted paffage in Love's Labours Loft. MALONE. 4 Tbe bead is not more native to tbe beart,

The band more inftrumental to the moutb,

Tban is tbe obrone of Denmark torby farber.] The sense seems to be this: the head is not formed to be more useful to the heart, the


O 3

What would'st thou have, Laertes ?

Laer. My dread lord, Your leave and favour to return to France ; From whence though willingly I came to Denmark, To Thew my duty in your coronation ; Yet now, I must confess, that duty done, My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France, And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. King. Have you your father's leave? What fays Polos

Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my flow leaves,
By laboursome petition ; and, at latt,
Upon his will I feal'd my hard confent:
I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,
And thy belt graces : fpend it at thy wille-
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my fon,-
Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind?.

[ Afide.

King, hand is not more at the service of the mouth, than my power is at your father's service. That is, he may command me to the utmost, he may do what he pleases with my kingly authority. STEEVENS.

By native in tbe bear: Dr. Johnfon understands, “natural and congenial to it, born with it, and co-operating with it."

Formerly the heart was supposed the seat of wisdom; and hence the poet speaks of the close connexion between the heart and head. See Vol. VII. p. 150, n. 4.

MALONE. wrung from me my how leave,] These words and the two following lines are omitted in the folio. MALONE. 6 Take tby fair bour, Laertes; time be obine,

And thy beft graces : spend it at tby will.] The sense, is : « You have my leave to go, Laertes; make the fairelt use you please of your time, and spend it at your will with the fairelt graces you are master of." THEOBALD. I rather think this line is in want of emendation. I read,

Time is thine, And my beff graces; Spend it at rby will. Johnson. * Ham. A little more than kin, and less tban kind.) Kind is the Teutonick word for cbild. Hamlet therefore answers with propriety, to the titles of coufin and son, which the king had given him, that he was somewhat more than coufin, and less than fon. JOHNSON.

In this line, with which Shakspeare introduces Hamlet, Dr. Johnson has perhaps pointed out a nicer distinction than it can justly boast of. To establish the sense contended for, it should have been proved that


King, How is it that the clouds ftill hang on you?
Ham. Not fo, my lord, I am too much i' the sun 8.

Queen. Good Hamlet, caft thy nighted coloar off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids 9,

kind was ever used by any English writer for cbild. A little more tban kin, is a little more than a common relation. The king was certainly something less iban kind, by having betrayed the mother of Hamlet into an indecent and incestuous marriage, and obtained the crown by means which he suspects to be unjustifiable. In the 5th Act, the Prince accuses his uncle of having popt in between the ele&lion and bis bopes; which obviates Dr. Warburton's objection to the old reading, viz. that “ the king had given no occafion for such a reflection.”

A jingle of the same fort is found in Morber Bombic, 1594, and seems to have been proverbial, as I have met with it more than once: 6. the nearer we are in blood, the further we must be from love; the greater the kindred is, the less the kindness must be.” Again, in Gorboduc, a tragedy, 1565:

“ In kinde a father, but not in kindelyness." As kind, however, fignifies nature, Hamlet may mean that his relationship was become an unnatural one, as it was partly founded upon incest. Our author's Julius Cæfar, Antony and Cleopatra, King Ricbard II, and Titus Andronicus, exhibit instances of kind being used for nature, and so too in this play of Hamlet, A& II. Sc. the last:

Remorseless, treacherous, lecherous, kindless villain. Dr. Farmer, however, observes that kin is still uled for coufin in the midland counties. STEEVENS.

Hamlet does not, I think, mean to say, as Mr. Steevens supposes, that bis uncle is a little more than kin, &c. The king had called the prince My cousin Hamlet, and my son.”-His reply, therefore, is, - I am a little more than thy kinsman, (for I am thy step-son;] and somewhat less than kind to thee (for i hate thee, as being the person who has entered into an incestuous marriage with my mother). Or, if we understand kind in its ancient fense, then the meaning will be, I am more sban thy kinsman, for I am tby step-fon; being such, I am less near to tbee tban tby natural offspring, and therefore not entitled to the appellation of fon, which you have now given me. MALONE.

* too mucb i' ebe fun.] He perhaps allodes to che proverb, Out of beaven's bleffing into tbe warm fun. JOHNSON.

- too mucb iibe fun. Meaning probably his being sent for from his ftudies to be exposed at his uncle's marriage as his chiefeft courtier, &c. STLEVENS.

I question whether a quibble between fun and for be not here intended. FARMER.

9- vailed lids-] With lowering eyes, caft down eyes. Johnson. See Vol. V. p. 286, n.9. MALONE. 04



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