Imatges de pàgina

Ham. Now, mother; what's the matter?
Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.
Hum. Mother, you have my father much offended.
Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.
Ham. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.
Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet ?
Ham. What's the matter now?
Queen. Have you forgot me?

Ham. No, by the rood, not so:
You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife ;
And,-'would it were not so !-you are my mother.

Queen. Nay, then I'll set those to you that can speak.
Ham. Come, come, and fit you down; you shall not

budge ; You go not, till I set you up a glass Where you may see the inmost part of you.

Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder me? Help, help, ho!

Pol. [bebind.) What, ho! help!
Ham. How now! a rat?

(draws. Dead, for a ducat, dead.

[Hamlet makes a pass through the arrase Pol. [bebind.] 0, I am slain. [falls, and dies. Queen. O me, what hast thou done ?

Ham. Nay, I know not: Is it the king?

[lifts up the arras, and draws forth Polonius. Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!

Ham. A bloody deed ;-almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

understood, and by that means intercepted, used his ordinary manner of disimulation, and began to come (r. crow] like a cocke, beating with his arms (in such manner as cockes use to strike with their wings) upon the hangings of the chamber; whereby feeling something itining under them, he cried, a rat, a rat, and presently drawe ing his sworde, thruit it into the hangings; which done, pulled the counsellour (half-deade) out by the heeles, made an end of killing him; and, being Naine, cut his body in pieces, which he caused to be boyled, and then cast it into an open vault or privie.” MALONE.


Queen. As kill a king!!

Ham. Ay, lady, 'twas my word.-
Thou wretched, rath, intruding fool, farewel!

[to Polonius.

I took

9 Queen. As kill a king ! ] It has been doubted, whether Shakspeare intended to represent the queen as accessary to the murder of her husband. The surprize the here expresses at the charge seems to tend to her exculpation. Where the variation is not particularly marked, we may presume, I think, that the poet intended to tell his story as it had been cold before. The following extract therefore from The Hystory of Hambler, bl. let. relative to this point, will probably not be unacceptable to the reader: “ Fengon (the king in the present play] boldened and encouraged by such impunitie, durft venture to couple himself in marriage with her, whom he used as his concubine during good Horvendille's life; in that fort spotting his name with a double vice, incestuous adulterie, and paracide murther.-ihis adulterer and infamous murtherer Naundered his dead brother, that he would have Naine his wife, and that hee by chance finding him on the point ready to do it, in defence of the lady, bad flaine him.The unfortunate and wicked woman that had received the honour to be the wife of one of the valianteft and wilest princes in the North, imbased herselfe in such vile fort as to falfifie her faith unto him, and, which is worse, to marrie him that had bin the tyrannous murtherer of her lawful husband; wbicb made diverje men think ibat pe bad beene tbe caufer of ibe murtber, thereby to live in her adulterie without controle." Hyft. of Hamb. lig. C 1. 2.

In the conference however with her son, on which the present scene is founded, the strongly aflerts her innocence with relpect to this fact :

" I know well, my lonne, that I have done thee great wrong in marrying with Fengon, the cruel tyrant and murtherer of thy father, and my loyal Ipoule; but when thou shalt conlider the imall meanes of refiitance, and the treason of the palace, with the little cause of confidence we are to expect, or hope for, of the courtiers, all wrought to his will; as also the power he made ready if I should have refused to like him; thou wou dít rather excuse, than accuse mee of lafciviousness or inconftancy, much leis offer me that wrong to suspeat ibat ever tby mother Ceruth once conjenied to obe dearb and murtber of ber bufband: swearing unto thee by the majestie of the gods, that if it had layne in me to have refiited the tyrant, although it had beene with the lofíe of my blood, yea and of my life, I would lurely have saved the life of my lord and huiband.” Ibid. fig. D 4.

It is obiervable, that in the drama neither the king or queen make so good a defence. Shakspeare wished to render them as odious as he could, and therefore has not in any part of the play furnished them 'with even the semblance of an excute for their conduct. Though the inference already mentioned may be drawn from the


I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune :
Thou find it, to be too busy, is fome danger.
Leave wringing of your hands : Peace; fit you down,
And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff ;
If damned custom have not braz'd it so,
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.

Queen.What have I done, that thou dar'it wag thy tongue In noise fo rude against me?

Ham. Such an act,
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty ;
Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the role
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,

And surprize which our poet has here made the queen express at being charged with the murder of her husband, it is observable that when the player-queen in the preceding scene says,

" In second husband let me be accurit!

“ None wed the second, but who kill'd the firft," he has made Hamlet exclaim -- that's wormwood." The prince, therefore, both from that expression and the words addresied to his mother in the present scene, must be supposed to think her guilty.--Perhaps after all this investigation, the truth is, that Shakspeare himself meant to leave the matter in doubt. MALONE.

I know not in what part of this tragedy the king and queen could have been expected to enter into a vindication of their mutual conduct. The former indeed is rendered contemptible as well as guilty; but for the latter our poet seems to have felt all that tenderness which the ghost recommends to the imitation of her son. STIEVENS.

Had Shakspeare thought fit to have introduced the copicks I have suggested, can there be a doubt concerning his ability to introduce them? The king's justification, if to justify him had been the poet's object, (which it certainly was not,) might have been made in a foli. loquy; the queen's, in the present interview with her son. MALONE.

takes off be rose, &c.] Some have understood these words to be only a metaphorical enlargement of the sentiment contained in the preceding line :

--blurs the grace and blush of modesty: but as the forehead is no proper situation for a blufs to be displayed in, we may have recourse to another explanation.

It was once the custom for those who were betrothed, to wear some power as an external and confpicuous mark of their mutual engagement. So, in Sperser's Sbep berd's Calendar for April:

“ Bring coronations and fops in wine,

" Worn of paramours." Lyte, in his Herbal, 1578, enumeratos sops in wine among the (malier kind of single gilliflowers or pinks.

And sets a blister there ; makes marriage vows
As false as dicers' oaths: 0, such a deed,
As from the body of contraction ? plucks
The very foul; and sweet religion makes
A rhapsody of words : Heaven's face doth glow;
Yea, this folidity and compound mass,
With tristful visage, as against the doom,
Is thought-fick at the act 3.
Queen. Ah me, what act,

That Figure 4, in the Morrice-dance, (a plate of which is annexed to the First Part of K. Henry IV.) has a flower fixed on his forebead, and seems to be meant for the paramour of the female character. The flower might be designed for a rose, as the colour of it is red in the painted glass, though its form is exprefled with as little adherence to nature as that of the marygold in the hand of the lady. It may, however, conduct us to affix a new meaning to the lines in question. This fower, as I have since discovered, is exactly shaped like the fops in wine, now called the Deptford Pink. Sets a blister there, has the same meaning as in Measure for Measures

“ Who falling in the flaws of her own youth,

“ Hath blister'd her report." See a note on this paflage, Act II. Sc. 3. STEEVENS.

I believe, by the rose was only meant the roseate bue. The forehead certainly appears to us an odd place for the hue of innocence to dwell on, but Shakspeare might place it there with as much propriety as a smile. In Troilus and Cressida we find these lines :

« So rich advantage of a promis'd glory,

As smiles upon the forebead of this action." That part of the forehead which is fituated between the eye-brows, seems to have been considered by our poet as the seat of innocence and modesty. So, in a subsequent scene :

brands the harlot,
“ Even here, between the cbafte unsmirched brow

« Of my true mother.” MALONE.

- from the body of contraction--] Contraction for marriage como traft. WAR BURTON. 3 Heaven's face doth glow;

Yea, ibis folidity and compound mass,
Wirb tristful visage, as against the doom,

Is tbougbe-fick at ibe aét.) If any sense can be found here, it is this. The sun glows, [and does it not always ? ) and the very folid mass of earth has a triftful visage, and is thought-lick. All this is sad stuff, The old quarto reads much nearer to the poet's sense :

Heaven's face does glow,
O'er this folidity and compound mass,
Witb heated visage, as againjt tbe dsomg
Is thougbt-fick at ibe a&.


That roars so loud, and thunders in the index 4 ?
Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this;

The From whence it appears, that Shakspeare wrote:

Heaven's face dorb glow,
O'er ibis folidity and compouna mass,
Wirb trissul visage; and, as 'gainst the doom,

Is oboughi-fick at the act. This makes a fine sense, and to this effe&. The sun looks upon opp globe, the scene of this murder, with an angry and mournful countenance, half hid in eclipse, as at the day of doom. WARBURTON.

The word beated, though it agrees well enough with glow, is, I think, not so striking as trisful, which was, I suppose, chosen at the revisal. I believe the whole passage now stands as the author gave it. Dr. Warburton's reading restores two improprieties, which Shakspeare, by his alteration, had removed. In the first, and in the new reading, Heaven's face glows wirb triftful visage ; and, Heaven's face is thought-fick. To the common reading there is no objection. JOHNS.

I am strongly inclined to think that the reading of the quarto, 1604, is the true one. In Shakspeare's licentious diction, the meaning may be, The face of heaven doth glow with heated visage, over the earth: and beaven, as against the day of judgment, is thought-fick at the act.

Had not our poet St. Luke's description of the last day in his thoughts ? -_" And there shall be signs in the sun and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear, and for looking on those things which are coming on the earth; for the powers of heaven shall be shaken,” &c. MALONE.

4 Tbat roars so loud, &c.] The meaning is, Wbat is this act, of which the discovery, or mention, cannot be made, but with this violence of clamour ? JOHNSON.

and thunders in tbe index?] Mr. Edwards observes, that the indexes of many old books were at that time inserted at the beginning, instead of the end, as is now the custom. This observation I have often seen confirmed.

So, in Orbello, Act II. sc. vii.-"an index and obscure prologue to the history of lust and foul thoughts." STEEVENS. • See Vol. VIII. p. 180, n. 6. Bullokar in his Expositor, 8vo. 1616, defines an Index by “ A table in a booke.” The table was almost always prefixed to the books of our poet's age. Indexes, in the sense in which we now understand the word, were very uncommon. MALONE.

s Look bere, upon ibis piąure, and on ebis ;] It is evident from the following words,

Aftation, like the herald Mercury, &c. that these pictures, which are introduced as miniatures on the stage, were meant for whole lengths, being part of the furniture of the queen's closet.

like Maia's son be food,
And shook bis plumes, Milton, B. V. STELVENS,


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