Imatges de pàgina

To grunt and sweat: under a weary life ;
But that the dread of something after death,
The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn

« Theobald was continually making alterations." “ For bodkia," says the noble lord, “ he would read dodkin, which he has found out to be an old word for dogger; whereas the beauty of the thought depends on the insignificance of the instrument.” Graves's Recollections of some particulars in the life of William Shenstone, Esq;—His lordship's meaning, as Fluellen says, was goot, " save the phrafe is a little variations." Theobald never did propose to read dodkin, though he gave the ancient signification of the word bodkin, which, as we have seen was dagger.

By a bare bodkin, does not perhaps mean, “ by so little an inftrument as a dagger,” but by an unjheatbed dagger."

In the account which Mr. Steevens has given of the original meaning of the term quietus, after the words, " who personally attended the king on any foreign expedition," should have been added, and were s berefore exempted from ibe claim of frutage, or a tax on every knigbe's fel. MalonE.

3 To grunt and sweat-) All the old copies have, to grunt and swear. It is undoubtedly the true reading, but can scarcely be borne by modern ears. JOHNSON.

This word occurs in the Dearb of Zoroas, a fragment in blank verse, printed at the end of Lord Surry's Poems:

none the charge could give: “ Here grunts, here grones, echwhere strong youth is spent.” And Stanyburst in his translation of Virgil, 1582, for fupremum congemuit gives us: “for sighing it grunts."

The change made by the editors [io groan) is however supported by the following lines in Julius Cæsar, Act IV. sc. i.

“ To groan and sweat under the business.?' STEEVENS. I apprehend that it is the duty of an editor to exhibit what his authour wrote, and not to substitute what may appear to the present age preferable: and Dr. Johnson was of the same opinion. See his note on the word bugger-mugger, Ac IV. sc. v. I have therefore, though with some reluctance, adhered to the old copies, however unpleasing this word may be to the ear. On the ftage, without doubt, an actor is at liberty to substitute a less offensive word. To the ears of our an. cestors it probably conveyed no unpleasing found; for we find it used by Chaucer and others :

“ But never gront he at no stroke but on,
" Or elles at two, but if his storie lie."

The Monkes Tale, v, 14627, Tyrwhitt's edit.
gain, in Wily Beguild, written before 1596 :
“ She's never well, but grunting in a corner." MALONE.


No traveller-returns 4,-puzzles the will;
And makes us rather bear those ills we have,
Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all ;
And thus the native hue of resolution

4 The undiscover'd country, from whose bourn

No traveller returnsom] This has been cavilled at by Lord Orrery
and others, but without reason. The idea of a traveller in Shako
speare's time, was of a person who gave an account of his adventures.
Every voyage was a Discovery. John Taylor has “ A Discovery by
lea from London to Salisbury." FARMER.
Again, Maríton's Insatiate Countess, 1603:

wrestled with death,
“ From whose stern cave none tracks a backward path."
Qui nunc it per iter tenebricofum

Illuc unde negant redire quenquam. Catullus. STBEVENS. This passage has been objected to by others on a ground which, at the first view of it, seems more plausble. Hamlet himself, it is oba jected, has had ocular demonstration that travellers do sometimes return from this strange country.

I formerly thought this an inconsistency. But this objection also is founded on a mistake. Our poet without doubt in the passage before us intended to say, that from the unknown regions of the dead no traveller returns, with all his corporal powers; such as he who goes on a voyage of discovery brings back, when he returns to the port from which he failed. The traveller whom Hamlet had seen, though he appeared in the same habit which he had worn in his life time, was nothing but a shadow ;. “ invulnerable as the air,” and consequently incorporeal.

If, says the objector, the traveller has once reached this coast, it is not an undiscovered country. But by undiscovered Shakspeare meant not, undiscovered by departed spirits, but, undiscovered, or unknown to " such fellows as us, who crawl between earth and heaven;" Superis incognita tellus. In this sense every country, of which the tra. veller does not return alive to give an account, may be said to be un. discovered. The ghost has given no account of the region from whence he came, being, as he has himfelf informed us, “ forbid to tell the secrets of his prison-house."

Marlowe, before our poet, had compared death to a journey to an undiscovered country:

weep not for Mortimer, " That scorns the world, and, as a traveller, " Goes to discover countries yet unknown.". King Edward II. 1598 (written before 1593).



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Is sickly'd o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprizes of great pith 5 and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awryo,
And lose the name of action.-Soft you, now !
The fair Ophelia :-Nymph, in thy orisons?
Be all my fins remember'd.

Oph. Good my lord,
How does your honour for this many a day?

Ham. ) humbly thank you ; well.

Oph. My lord, I have remembrances of yours,
That I have longed long to re-deliver ;
I pray you, now receive them.

Ham. No, not I;
I never gave you aught.

Opb. My honour'd lord, you know right well, you did;
And, with them, words of so sweet breath compos'd
As made the things more rich: their perfume loft,
Take these again; for to the noble mind
Rich gifts wax poor, when givers prove unkind,
There, my lord.

Ham. Ha, ha! are you honeft?
Oph. My lord ?
Ham. Are you fair?
Oph. What means your lordship?

Ham. That, if you be honest, and fair, you should admit no discourse to your beautyø.


5 - great pith-] Thus the folio. The quartos read, of great piteb.

STEIVENS. - turn awry,] Thus the quartos. The folio-turn away.

STEEVENS. Nympb, in tby orisons, &c.] This is a touch of nature. Hamlct, at the light of Ophelia, does not immediately recolleđ, that he is to personate madnels, but makes her an address grave and folemn, such as the foregoing meditation excited in his thoughts. JOHNSON.

8 Tbal, if you be boneft, and fair, you should admit to discourse so your beauty.] This is the reading of all the modern editions, and is copied from the quarto. The folio reads,-your honefty should admit no discourse in your beauty. The true reading seems to be this: If you be honest and fair, you mould admit your honesty to no discourse with your beauty. This is the sense evidently required by the process of the conversation. JOHNSON


Oph. Could beauty, my lord, have better commerce than with honefty?

Ham. Ay, truly; for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to a bawd, than the force of honesty can translate beauty into his likeness: this was some time a paradox, but now the time gives it proof. I did love you once.

Oph. Indeed, my lord, you made me believe so.

Ham. You should not have believed me: for virtue cannot so inoculate' our old stock, but we shall relish of it : I loved you not.

Oph. I was the more deceived.

Ham. Get thee to a nunnery; Why would'st thou be a breeder of finners ? I am myself indifferent honeft; but yet I could accuse me of such things, that it were better, my mother had not borne me?: I am very proud, revengeful, ambitious; with more offences at my beck, than I have thoughts to put them inį, imagination to give them Mape, or time to act them in: What should such fellows as I do crawling between earth and heaven? We are arrant knaves, all; believe none of us: Go thy ways to a nunnery. Where's your father ?

Oph. At home, my lord.

Ham. Let the doors be shut upon him; that he may. play the fool no where but in's own house. Farewel.

9 into his likeness:) The modern editors read its likeness; but the text is right. Shakspeare and his contemporaries frequently use the personal for the neutral pronoun. So Spenser, Faery Queen, B. ill. c.ix.

" Then forth it breaks; and with bis furious blast,

" Confounds both land and seas, and skies doth overcast." See p. 221, n. 6. MALONE.

' inoculate-] This is the reading of the first folio. The first quarto reads evocutat; the second, euacuat; and the third evacuare.

STEEVENS. % I could accuse me of such things, that it were better, my motber bad not borne me :] So, in our poet's 88th Sonnet :

I can set down a story « Of faults conceald, wherein I am attainted.” MALONE. 3-wirb more offences at my beck, iban I have rboughes to put them in,] To put o ibing into tbougbt, is so tbink on it. Johnson. - ai my beck, -] That is, always ready to come about me.



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Oph. O, help him, you sweet heavens !

Ham. If thou doft marry, I'll give thee this plague for thy dowry ; Be thou as chaste as ice, as pure as snow, thou shalt not escape calumny. Get thee to a nunnery ; farewel: Or, if thou wilt needs marry, marry a fool ; for wise men know well enough, what monsters you make of them. To a nunnery, go; and quickly too. Farewel.

Oph. Heavenly powers, restore him!

Ham. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough"; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another : you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nick-name God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance : Go to; I'll no more of't; it hath made me mad. I say, we will have no more marriages: those that are married already, all but one, fhall live *; the rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go.

[Exit Hamlet. Opb. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown ! The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword?;

s I bave beard of your paintings too, well enougb, &c.] This is according to the quarto; the folio, for paintings, has prattlings, and for face, has pace, which agrees with what follows, you jigg, you amble. Probably the authour wrote both. I think the common reading best.

JOHNSON. I would continue to read, paintings, because these destructive aids of beauty seem, in the time of Shakspeare, to have been general objects of satire. STEEVENS.

- make your wantonness your ignorance :) You mistake by wanton affetion, and pretend to mittake by ignorance. JOHNSON.

* — all but ore fall live;] By the one who Thall not live, he means, his step-father. MALONE.

1 Tbe courtier's, foldier's, fobolar's, eye, tongue, sword;] The poet certainly meant to have placed his words thus:

Tbe courtier's, scholar's, foldier's, eye, tongue, sword; otherwise the excellence of tongue is appropriated to the soldier, and the sobolar wears the sword. WARNER. This regulation is needless. So, in Tarquin and Lucrece :

“ – princes are the glass, the school, the book,

Where subjects eyes do learn, do read, do look." And in Quintilian : “ Multum agit fexus, ætas, conditio ; ut in fæminisJenibus, pupillis, liberos, parentes, conjuges, alligantibus.”



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