Imatges de pàgina

May sweep to my revenge.

Ghost. I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That roots itself in ease on Lethe wharf ?,
Would'It thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out, that, sleeping in my orchard,
A serpent ftung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent, that did fting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.

Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle?
Ghoft. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With wịtchcraft of his wit , with traiterous gifts,

? And duller poould'A tbou be than the fat weed

Tbat roots itself in ease on Letbe wharf, &c.] Shakspeare, apo parently through ignorance, makes Roman Catholicks of these Pagan Danes; and here gives a description of purgatory; but yet mixes it with the Pagan fable of Lethe's wharf. Whether he did it to infinuate to the zealous Protestants of his time, that the Pagan and Popish purgatory stood both upon the same footing of credibility, or whether it was by the same kind of licentious inadvertence that Mi. chael Angelo brought Charon's bark into his picture of the Last Judge ment, is not easy to decide. WARBURTON,

Tbat roots itself in eafe, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio reads That rors itself," &c. I have preferred the reading of the original copy, because to root itself is a natural and easy phrase, but “ to rot itself,'' not English. Indeed in general the readings of the original copies, when not corrupt, ought in my opinion not to be departed from, without very strong reason. That roots itself in case, means, whose Nuggish root is idly extended.

The modern editors read-Letbe's wharf; but the reading of the old copy is right. So, in Sir Alton Cockain's poems, 1658, p. 177:

· fearing these great actions might die, " Neglected cast all into Lerbe lake." MALONE. Otway has the same thought :

like a coarse and useless danghill weed, « Fix'd to one spot, and ror just as I grow. The superiority of the reading of the folio is to me apparent: to be in a crescent state (i. e. to root itself) affords an idea of activity ; to rot better suits with the dullness and inaction to which the Ghost refers. Nevertheless, the accusative case (itself) may seem to demand the verb roots. STEEVENS.

*— bis wit,- ] The old copies have wits. The subsequent line shews, that it was a misprint. MALONE,

O wicked

(O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce !) won to his shameful luft
The will of my most seeming-virtuous queen:
0, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there !
From me, whose love was of that dignity,
That it went hand in hand even with the vowy
I made to her in marriage ; and to decline
Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov’d,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven;
So lutt, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, loft! methinks, I scent the morning air ;
Brief let me be :-Sleeping within mine orchards,
My cuftom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial4,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour

3mine orcbard, ] Orchard for garden. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

“ The orcbard walls are high, and hard to climb." STEEV. 4 Witb juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,) The word here used was more probably designed by a metarbefis, either of the poet or tranfcriber, for berebon, that is, benbane; of which the most common kind (byoscyamus niger) is certainly narcotic, and perhaps, if taken in a confiderable quantity, might prove poisonous. Galen calls it cold in the third degree ; by which in this, as well as opium, he seems not to mean an actual caldness, but the power it has of benumbing the faculties. Dioscorides ascribes to it the property of producing madnels (uso nua pues Martins). These qualities have been confirmed by several cases related in modern observations. In Wepfer we have a good account of the various effects of this root upon most of the meme i bers of a convent in Germany, who eat of it for fupper by mistake, mixed with succory ;-heat in the throat, giddiness, dimness of fight and delirium. Cicut. Aquatic. c. 18. GREY. So, in Drayton's Barons' Wars, p. 51.

“ The pois'ning benbane, and the mandrake drad." In Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1633, the word is written in a dif. ferent manner :

“ -the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane,
“ The juice of Hebon, and Cocytus' breath." STEEVENS.

The leperous diftilments; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
That, swifi as quick-silver, it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And, with a sudden vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eager droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood : so did it mine ;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Moft lazar-like, with vile and loathsome cruft,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, fleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once dispatch'do:

in of my Unhousel'd', disappointed', unanel'd';


$ Tbe leperous disilment;] So, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, Vol. II. p. 142 :"-which being once possessed, never leaveth the patient till it hath enfeebled his state, like the qualitie of poison dijrilling through the veins even to the heart." MALONE.

at once dispatch'd :] Dispatcb'd, for bereft. WARBURTON. 7 Cut off even in tbe blofjoms of my fin, &c.] The very words of this part of the speech are taken (as I have been informed by a gentleman of undoubted veracity) from an old Legend of Saints, where a man, who was accidentally drowned, is introduced as making the same complaint. STEEVENS.

8 Unboufeld,-) Houfel is the old word for the holy eucharift. To bowsel, says Bullokar in his Expositor, 8vo, 1616, is “ to minister sacraments to a fick man in danger of death." Unbou seld therefore is, without having received the sacrament in the hour of death. So, in Hoffman's Tragedy, 1631:

“ None lung thy requiem, no friend clos'd thine eyes,
“ Nor lay'd the hallow'd earth upon thy lips :

“ Thou wert not boufeld." Again, in Holinshed's Cbronicle : “ Also children were chriftened, and men boufeled and anoyled, thorough all the land, except such as were in the bill of excommunication by name expressed." MALONE,

9 -disappointed,] is the same as unappointed; and may be properly explained unprepared. A man well furnithed with things necessary for an enterprise, was said to be well appointed. JOHNSON.

So, in Holined's Cbronicle: "He had not part a fifteen lances, as they termed them in those days, that is, to wit, men of arms, furnished and appointed."

Mr. Upton is of opinion, that the particular preparation of which the Ghost laments the want, was confefion and absolusion. Appoint


No reckoning made, but sent to my account
With all my imperfections on my head:
O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible ?!
If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
Let not the royal bed of Denmark be
A couch for luxury 3 and damned incest.
Bat, howsoever thou pursu'st this act,
Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,
And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,
To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once !
The glow-worm thews the matin to be near,
And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire 4 :


ment, he adds, is again used in Measure for Measure, in the same lense as here :

“ Therefore your best appointment make with speed." Isabella is the speaker, and her brother, who was condemned to die, is the person addrefied. MALONE.

i-unaneld;] Without extreme unction. So, in Sir Thomas More's Works, p. 345: “ The extreme unction or anelynge, and confirmation, he sayd, be no sacraments of the church.' See also the quotation from Holinshed in n. 8, where the word is spelt anoyled.

MALONE. The Anglo-saxon noun-substantives, boufel, (the eucharift,) and ele, oil, are plainly the roots of the compound adjectives, boufeled and aneled. For the meaning of the affix an to the last, i quote Spelman's Gloffary in loco. “ Quin et di&tionibus (an) adjungitur, fiquidem vel majoris rotationis gratia, vel ad fingulare aliquid vel unicum demonftrandum.” Hence aneled Mould seem to fignify siled, or anointed, by way of eminence, i. e. having received extreme unction. BRAND.

2 0, berrible! O, borrible! mot borrible!] It was ingeniously hinted to me by a very learned lady, that this line seems to belong to Hamlet, in whose mouth it is a proper and natural exclamation; and who, according to the practice of the stage, may be supposed to interrupt so long a speech. JOHNSON. 3 A couch for luxury-] i. e. for lewdness. So, in K. Lear:

To'r luxury pell-mell, for," &c. ŠTEEVENS. See Vol. VIII. p. 278, n. 2. MALONE.

- uneffe&tual fire.] i. e. shining without heat. WARBURTON. To pale is a verb used by Lady Elizabetb Carew, in he Tragedy of Mariam, 16131



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, Adieu, adieu, adieu ! remember me s.

Ham. O all you host of heaven! 0 earth! What else?
And shall I couple hell ?-O fie!-Hold, hold, my heart;
And you, my finews, grow not inflant old,
But bear me stifly up!-Remember thee?
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee?
Yea, from the table of my memory?
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,
All faws of books, all forms, all preffures paft,
That youth and observation copied there ;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, by heaven.
O molt pernicious woman!
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain !
My tables,-meet it is, I set it down,


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· Death can pele as well " A cheek of roles as a cheek less bright." Again, in Urry's Chaucer, p. 368: “ The iterre paletb her white cheres by the flambes of the sonne,” &c.

Uneffiftua! fire, I believe, rather means, fire that is no longer seen when the light of morning approaches. So, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609 :

like a glow worm,-
« The which hath nire in darkness, none in light." STEEVENS.
5 Adieu, adieu, adier ! &c.] The fotio reads :

Adieu, adieu, Hamlet i remember me. STELVENS.
- Remember thee!
Ay, tbou poor gbot, while memory holds a seat
do this dittracted globe.] So in our poet's 122d fonnet:

" Which thall above that idle rank remain,
* Beyond all dates, even to eternity;
" Or at the least, so long as brain and beart

Have fasuliy by nature to fubfift.” MALONE.
- this distracted globe.] i. e. in this head confused with thought.

STEEVENS 7 Yea, from the table of my memory-] This expression is used by Sir Philip Sydney in his Defence of Poesie. MALONE.

8 My tables,-meet ir is, I set it down,] Hamlet avails himself of the same caution observed by the doctor in the fifth act of Macberb.

" I will

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