Imatges de pàgina

Seek for thy noble father in the dust :
Thou know'ft, 'tis common; all, that live, muf die,
Paffing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

Queen. If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shews of grief',
That can denote me truly: These, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play:
But I have that within, which passeth hew;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe?.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,

To give these mourning duties to your father:
But, you must know, your father loft a father ;
That father loft, lost his 3 ; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation, for some term
To do obsequious sorrow 4 : But to persever

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;
« And these external manners of lament
“ Are merely thadows to the unseen grief
« That swells with filence to the tortured soul." MALONE.
- your farber loft a farber ;

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.

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In obftinate condolement, is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shews a will most incorrect to heaven;
A heart unfortify'd, or mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschool'd :
For what, we know, must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevith opposition,
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd ? ; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cry'd,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day,
This must be fo. We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father : for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And, with no less nobility of love,

Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you'. For your intent

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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',
It is molt retrograde to our desire:
And, we beseech you, bend you to remain?
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet
I pray thee, stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

King. Why, tis a loving and a fair reply;
Be as ourself in Denmark. --Madam, come;
This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof,
No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day,

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 ;
And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.

Exeunt King, Queen, Lord's, &c. Poli and LAERT,
Ham. O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew 4 !
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst felt slaughter 5! O God! O God!
How weary, ftale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to feed; things rank, and grofs in nature,
Possess it merely 6. That it fhould come to this!
But two months dead!nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a fatyr?: so loving to my mother,

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.
If the true reading wanted any fupport, it might be found in Cymbeline :

“ – gainf self-flaugbrer
There is a probibition fo divine,

" That cravens my weak hand."
In Shakfpeare's time canon, (norma) was commonly spelt cannon.,

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
Visit her face too roughlys. Heaven and earth!
Parrot,the authour of a collection of epigrams printed in 1613, to
which a Latin preface is prefixed, writing thus :

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,
Play on our poops, when Hyperion's son

* Shall couch in west." STEEVENS.
8 Tbae be migbe not beteem ebe winds of beaven

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,
“ The Phrygian; and the thing was found which Jupiter, that fled,
“ Had rather be than what he was; yet could he not beteeme
“ The Ihape of any other bird than eagle for to seeme."
Rex superum Phrygii quondam Ganymedis amore
Arfit; et inventum eft aliquid quod Jupiter esse,
Quam quod erat, mallet; nulla tamen alite versi

Dignatur, nifi quæ poflit fua fulmina ferre.
In the folio the word is corruptly printed beteene. The shyme in
Golding's verses proves that the reading of the original quarto is the

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,
They would not fuffer the wynde on me to blowe.” STIEV.

true one.


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