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Seek for thy noble father in the dust :
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
Queen. If it be,
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.
1-lhews of grief, ) Thus the folio. The first quarto reads ebapes, I suppose for papes. STLEVENS. 1 But I bave ibal wirbin, wbicb pafferb pew; Ibese but tbe trappings and the suits of woe.] So, in K. Ricb. II:
“ my grief lies all within;
That faiber loft, loft bis;] The meaning of the passage is no more than this. Your faiber loft a farber, in e. your grandfather, which loff grandfather also lost his father. STEEVENS.
4 - obsequious forrow:] Obsequious is here from obsequies or fumeral ceremonies. JOHNSON. So, in Titus And nicus:
“ To shed obsequious tears upon his trunk." STIIVENS. See Vol. VI. p. 461, n. 5. MALONI.
In obftinate condolement, is a course
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
5 In obftinate condolement,) Condolement, for forrow. WARBURTON.
- á will most incorrect to heaven;) Not fufficiently regulated by a sense of duty and submision to the dispensations of providence.
MALONE, 7 To reason most absurd; ] Reason is here used in its common sense, for the faculty by which we form conclusions from arguments.
JOHNson. 8 And wirb no less nobility of love,] Nobility, for magnitude.
WARBURTON. Nobility is rather generosity. JOHNSON.
By nobility of love Mr. Heath understands, eminence and distinction of love. MALONE.
9 Do I impart toward you.) I believe impart is, impart myself, communicate whatever I can bestow. JOHNSON.
The crown of Denmark was elective. So, in Sir Clyomon Knigbt of ebe Golden Shield, &c. 1599 :
• And me possess for spoused wife, who in ele&tion am
“ To have the crown of Denmark here, as heir unto the same." The king means, that as Hamlet stands the faireft chance to be next elected, he will trive with as much love to ensure the crown to him, as a father would shew in the continuance of heirdom to a son. STIEV.
I agree with Mr. Steevens, that the crown of Denmark (as in most of the Gothick kingdoms) was elective, and not hereditary; though
In going back to school in Wittenberg',
Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet
King. Why, tis a loving and a fair reply;
it might be customary, in elections, to pay fome attention to the royal blood, which by degrees produced hereditary succesfion. Why then do the rest of the commentators fo often treat Claudius as an wsurper, who had deprived young Hamlet of his rigbe by beirship to his father's crown? Hamlet calls him drunkard, murderer, and villain: one who had carryed the ele&tion by low and mean practices; had
“ Popt in between the election and my hopes--" had
* From a fkelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket :" but never hints at his being an usurper. His discontent arose from his uncle's being preferred before him, not from any legal right which he pretended to set up to the crown. Some regard was probably had to the recommendation of the preceding prince, in electing the succeffor. And therefore young Hamlet had “the voice of the king himself for his succession in Denmark ;” and he at his own death prophecies that “the election would light on Fortinbras, who had his dying voice," conceiving that by the death of his uncle, he himself had been king for an instant, and had therefore a right to recommend. When, in the fourth act, the rabble wished to choose Laertes king, I understand that antiquity was forgot, and custom violated, by electing a new king in the lifetime of the old one, and perhaps also by the call. ing in a ftranger to the royal blood. BLACKSTONE,
I-10 school in Wittenberg,] In Shakspeare's time there was an university at Wirtenberg, to which he has made Hamlet propose to return,
The university of Wittenberg was not founded till 1502, coniequently did not exist in the time to which this play is referred. MALONE.
2 bend you to remain-) . e. fubdue your inclination to go from hence, and remain, &c. STEEVENS.
3 No jocund bealth, - } The king's intemperance is very strongly impressed; every thing that happeas to him gives him occafion to drinks JOHNSON,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell ;
Exeunt King, Queen, Lord's, &c. Poli and LAERT,
That 4 resolve itself into a dew!] Resolve means the same as dijelue. Ben Jonson uses the word in his Volpone, and in the lame sense:
" Forth the resolved corners of his eyes." Again, in the Country Girl, 1647:
my fwoln grief, resolved in these tears.” STEEVENS. $ Or tbat ebe Everlafing bad not fix'd
His canon 'gainsi seif Naugbter!] The generality of the editions read cannon, as if the poet's thought were, Or ibat ibe Almig boy bad not planted bis artillery, or arms of vengeance, againh self-murder. But, the word which I restored (and which was espoufed by the accurate Mr. Hughes, who gave an edition of this play) is the true reading, i. e. that be bad not restroined suicide by bis express law and perempCory prohibition. THEOBALD.
There are yet those who suppose the old reading to be the true one, as they say the word fixed seems to decide very strongly in its favour. I would advise such to recollect Virgil's expreffion:
- fixit leges pretio, atque , efixit. STEEVENS.
“ – gainf self-flaugbrer
" That cravens my weak hand."
MALONE. 6 - merely) is entirely. See Vol. VII. p. 233, n. 4. MALONE. 7 So excellent a king; obat was, to this,
Hyperion to a jargr:) Hyperion or Apollo is represented in all, the ancient ftatues, &c. as exquisitely beautiful, the fatyrs hideoufiy ugly.
Shakspeare may surely be pardoned for nor attending to the quantity of Latin names, here and in Cymbeline; when we find Henry
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
“ Pofbúmus, not the last of many more,
“ Asks why I write in such an idle vaine," &c. Laquei ridiculosi, or Springes for Woodcocks, 16mo. fign. c. 3. MALONE.
All our English poets are guilty of the same false quantity, and call Hyperion Hyperion; at least the only instance I have met with to the contrary, is in the old play of Fuimus Troes, 1633:
Blow, gentle Africus,
* Shall couch in west." STEEVENS.
Vifit ber face too roughly.) This passage ought to be a perpetual memento to all future editors and commentators to proceed with the utmost caution in emendation, and never to discard a word from the text, merely because it is not the language of the present day.
Mr. Hughes or Mr. Rowe, fuppofing the text to be unintelligible, for bereem boldly substituted permitted. Mr. Theobald, in order to favour his own emendation, Atated untruly that all the old copies which he had feen, read beteene, and with great plausibility proposed to read,
That he might not let e'en the winds of heaven, &c. This emendation appearing uncommonly happy, was adopted by all the subsequent editors. But without necessity; for the reading of the first quarto, 1604, and indeed of all the subsequent quartos, beteeme, is no corruption, but a word of Shakspeare's age; and accordingly it is now once more restored to the text. It is used by Golding in his tranation of the tenth book of Ovid’s Metamorpboses, 4to, 1587:
“ The king of Gods did burne ere while in love of Ganymede,
Dignatur, nifi quæ poflit fua fulmina ferre.
Golding manifestly uses the word in the sense of endure. We find a sentiment limilar to that before us, in Marston's Injetiate Countess, 1603:
Me had a lord, “ Jealous that air mould ravish her chaste looks." MALONE. So, in the Enterlude of the Lyfe and Repentaunce of Marie Magdslaine, &c. by Lewis Wager, 1567:
" But evermore they were unto me very tender,