Imatges de pàgina


Left, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects': then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears, perchance, for blood,

Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Ham. Do you see nothing there?
Queen. Nothing at all ; yet all, that is, I see.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen. No, nothing, but ourselves.

Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals away!
My father, in his habit as he liv'd'!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal !

[Exit Ghost
Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain :
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in'.

Ham. Ecitaly !
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful mufick: It is not madness,
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness, speaks ;
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;

9 My ftern effects :) Effeeis for actions; deeds effekted. MALONE.

"My farber, in his babit as be liv'd!] If the poet means by this expression, that his father appeared in his own familiar babit, he has either forgot that he had originally introduced him in armour, or muft have meant to vary his dress at this his last appearance. The difficulty might perhaps be a little obviated by pointing the line thus:

My farber-in bis babit-as be liv'd. STEEVENS. 2 Tbis is ibe very coinage of your brain:

This bodiless creation ecftasy
Is very cunning in.) So, in The Rape of Lucrece:

“ Such padows are the weak brain's forgeries." MALONE. Ecstasy in this place, and many others, means a temporary aliena. tion of mind, a fit. So, in Eliefto Libidinoso, a novel, by Jobn Hinde, 1606: “ — that bursting out of an ecfiafy wherein the had long stood, like one beholding Medusa's head, lamenting," &c. STIEVENS. Sec Vol. IV. p. 361, n. 9. MALONE.


Repent what's past; avoid what is to come ;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds 3,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue :
For, in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg;
Yea, curb 4 and woo, for leave to do him good.

Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed ;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this s;
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock, or livery,
That aptly is put on : Refrain to-night ;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy 6:
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either curb the devil', or throw him out

3 - do not spread the compoft, &c.] Do not, by any new indula gence, heighten your former offences. JOHNSON.

4 – curb - ] That is, bend and truckle. Fr. courter. So, in Pierce Plowman:

“ Then I courbid on my knees,"' &c. STEEVENS. 5 Tbat monster, custom, wbo all sense dotb eat

of babit's devil, is angel yet in ebis ;] Dr. Thirlby conjectured that Shakspeare wrote-of habits evil. I incline to think with him ; though I have left the text undisturbed. From Tbet monster to put on, is not in the folio. MALONE.

I think Thirlby's conjecture wrong, though the succeeding editors have followed it; angel and devil are evidently opposed. Johnson.

• - the next more easy : &c.] This passage, as far as potency, is omitted in the folio. ŠTEEVENS.

? And eirber curb tbe devil, &c.] In the quarto, where alone this pallage is found, some word was accidentally omitted at the press in the line before us. The quarto, 1604, reads:

And either tbe devil, or throw him out, &c. For the insertion of the word curb I am answerable. The printer or corrector of a later quarto, finding the line nonsense, omitted the word eitber, and substituted master in its place. The modern editors have accepted the substituted word, and yet retain either; by which the metre is destroyed. The word omitted in the first copy was undoubteddy a monosyllable. MALONE.



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With wondrous potency. Once more, good night!
And when you are desirous to be blest,
I'll bleffing beg of you. For this same lord,

(pointing to Polonius,
I do repent; But heaven hath pleas'd it so,
To punih me with this, and this with me
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night!
I must be cruel, only to be kind :
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
One word more, good lady'.

Queen. What shall I do?

Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you do:
Let the bloat king? tempt you again to bed ;
Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you, his mouse ? ;
And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses,



8 To punish me witb ebis, and tbis with me, ] To punith me by make ing me the instrument of this man's death, and to punish this man by my hand. For this, the reading of both the quarto and folio, Sir T. Hanmer and the subsequent editors have substituted,

To punish bim wirb me, and me wirb obis. MALONE. 9 One word more, &c.] This passage I have restored from the quartos,

STEEVENS. · Let tbe bloat king-) i. e. the swollen king. Bloat is the reading of the quarto, 1604. The folio reads--the blunt king. MALONE,

This again hints at his intemperance. He had drunk himself into a droply. BLACKSTONE,

bis mouse ;] Mouse was once a term of endearment. So, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, b. 2. chap. 10:

“ God bless thee, mouse, the bridegroom said," &c. Again, in the Menachmi, 1595: “ Shall I tell thee, sweet mouse? I never look upon thee, but I am quite out of love with my


STEEVENS. This term of endearment is very ancient, being found in A new and merry Enterlude, called obe Trial of Treasure, 1567:

My mouse, my nobs, my cony sweete;

" My hope and joye, my whole delight." MALONE.

- reecby kifles,] Reecby is smoky. The author meant to con. vey a coarse idea, and was not very scrupulous in his choice of an epitheto The same, however, is applied with greater propriety to


Or padling in your neck with his damn'd fingers,
Make you to ravel all this matter out,
That I eflentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft 4. 'Twere good, you let him know:

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the neck of a cook-maid in Coriolanus. Again, in Hans Beer-Pet's Invisible Comedy, 1618:

bade him go
“ And wash his face, he look'd lo reecbily,

“ Like bacon hanging on the chimney's roof." STELVENS. Reechy includes, I believe, beat as well as smoke. The verb to reecb, which was once common, was certainly a corruption of to reek. In a former passage Hamlet has remonftrated with his mother, on her living

“ In the rark sweat of an enseamed bed." MALONE. 4 Tbat i efentially am not in madness,

But mad in craft.-] The reader will be pleased to see Dr., Farmer's extract from the oid quarto Historie of Hamblet, of which he had a fragment only in his poileflion.--" It was not without cause, « and just occasion, that my gestures, countenances, and words, “ seeme to proceed from a madman, and that I desire to haue all « men esteeme mee wholy depriued of sense and reasonable under" standing, bycause I am well affured, that he that hath made no “ conscience to kill his owne brother, (accustomed to murthers, and “ allured with desire of gouernement without controll in his treasons) « will not spare to saue himselfe with the like crueltie, in the blood “6 and fefh of the loyns of his brother, by him massacred : and there. “ fore it is better for me to fayne madnesle, then to use my right « fences as nature hath bestowed them upon me. The bright thining « clearnes thereof I am forced to hide vnder this Shadow of diflimu“ lation, as the sun doth hir beams under some great cloud, when « the wether in summer-time ouercasteth: the face of a madman « ferueth to couer my gallant countenance, and the gestures of a fool “ are fit for me, to the end that, guiding myself wisely therin, I « may preserue my life for the Danes and the memory of my late « deceased father; for that the desire of reuenging his death is so in“ graven in my heart, that if I dye not shortly, I hope to take such « and so great vengeance, that these countryes shall for euer speake “ thereot. Neuerthelesse I must stay the time, meanes, and occafion, « left by making ouer-great hast, I be now the cause of mine own « sodaine ruine and ouerthrow, and by that meanes end, before I be. “ ginne to effect my hearts desire : hee that hath to doe with a wicked, « disloyall, cruell, and discourteous man, muft vse craft, and politike 6 inuentions, such as a fine witte can beß imagine, not to discouer « his interprise; for seeing that by force I cannot effect my desire, “ reason alloweth me by diffimulation, subtiltie, and secret practises is to proceed therein." STEEVENS.

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For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise;
Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib”,
Such dear concernings hide? who would do so?
No, in despight of sense, and secrecy,
Unpeg' the basket on the house's top,
Let the birds Ay6; and, like the famous ape,
To try conclusions?, in the basket creep,
And break your own neck down.

Queen. Be thou assur'd, if words be made of breath,
And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me.

Ham. I muft to England S; you know that?
Queen. Alack, I had forgot ; 'is so concluded on.
Ham. There's letters feal’de: and my two school-fel.


6 Un

the basket

Sa gib,] So, in Drayton's Epifle from Elinor Cobbam to Dake
Humphrey :

“ And call me beldam, gib, witch, night-mare, trot.",
Gib was a common name for a cat. STEEVENS.
See Vol. V. p. 123, n. 5. MALONE.

on tbe bouse's top, Les ibe birds fly;] Sir John Suckling, in one of his letters, may possibly allude to the fame story : “ It is the story of the jacksnapes and the partridges ; thou stareit after a beauty till it is lost to thee, and then let'st out another, and stareft after that till it is gone too."

WARNER. 7 To try conclufions,] i, e. experiments. STEEVENS. See Vol. VIII. p. 334, n. 3. MALONE.

$ I muft to England ;] Shakspeare does not inform us, how Hamlet came to know that he was to be sent to England. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were made acquainted with the king's intentions for the first time in the very lalt scene; and they do not appear to bare had any communication with the prince since that time. Add to this, that in a subsequent scene, when the king, after the death of Polonius, informs Hamlet he was to go to England, he exprelles great surprise, as if he had not heard any thing of it before. This last, however, may perhaps be accounted for, as contributing to his design of paffing for a madman. MALONE.

9 There's letters feald: &c.] The nine following verses are added out of the old edition. POPE,


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