Imatges de pàgina
PDF
EPUB

King. The doors are broke.

[Noise within. Enter LAERTES, arm’d; Danes following. Laer. Where is this king !-- Sirs, stand you all without. Dan. No, let's come in. Laer. I pray you, give me leave. Dan. We will, we will. [They retire without the door.

Laer. I thank you :-keep the door.-0 thou vile king, Give me my father.

Queen. Calmly, good Laertes.
Laer. That drop of blood, that's calm, proclaims me

bastard ;
Cries, cuckold, to my father; brands the harlot
Even here, between the chalte unsmirched brow?
Of my true mother.

King. What is the cause, Laertes,
That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?-
Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person ;
There's such divinity doth hedge a king,
That treason can but peep to what it would,
Acts little of his will.-Tell me, Laertes,
Why thou art thus incens'd ;-Let him go, Gertrude ;
Speak, man.
Laer. Where is my father?
King. Dead.
Queen. But not by him.
King. Let him demand his fill.

Laer. How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with : To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackeit devil! Conscience, and grace, to the profoundest pit! I dare damnation: To this point I stand, That both the worlds I give to negligence, Let come what comes ; only I'll be reveng'd Most throughly for my father.

King. Who shall ftay you?

7

unsmirched brow--] i. e. clean, not defiled. To besmircb, our author uses Act 1. sc. v.

This seems to be an allusion to a proverb often introduced in the old comedies. Thus, in the London Prodigal, 1605: " - as true as the skin between any man's brows." STEEVENS.

Laer.

Laer. My will, not all the world's :
And, for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall go far with little.

King. Good Laertes,
If you defire to know the certainty
of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge,
That, sweep-stake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser ?

Laer. None but his enemies.
King. Will you know them then ?

Laer. To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my arms;
And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican,
Repast them with my blood.

King. Why, now you speak
Like a good child, and a true gentleman.
That I am guiltless of your father's death,
And am most sensibly ' in grief for it,
It shall as level to your judgment ’pear',
As day does to your eye.

Danes. [within.] Let her come in.

Laer. How now! what noise is that? Enter OPHELIA, fantastically drefi'd with straws and

flowers. O heat, dry up my brains! tears, seven times salt,

8

life-rendring pelican,] So, in the ancient Interlude of Nature, bl. I. no date :

" Who taught the cok hys watche-howres to observe,
“ And fyng of corage wyth fhryll throte on hye?
“ Who taught the pellycan her tender bart to carve ?

« For the nolde suffer her byrdys to dye ?” It is almost needless to add that this account of the bird is entirely fa. bulous. STEIVENS.

9 - most sensibly-) Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio, following the errour of a later quarto, reads—moft fenfible. MALONE.

to your judgment 'pear,] So the quarto. "The folio, and all the later editions, read,-10 your judgment pierce, less intelligibly.

JOHNSON. This elifion of the verb to appear, is common to Beaumont and Fletcher. So, in Tbe Maid of the Mill:

" And where they'pear fo excellent in little,
“ They will but flame in great." STEEVENS.

Burn

Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye! -
By heaven, thy madness shall be pay'd with weight,
Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May!
Dear maid, kind fifter, sweet Ophelia -
O heavens! is’t poflible, a young maid's wits
Should be as mortal as an old man's life?
Nature is fine in love: and, where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious inftance of itself
After the thing it loves ?.
Oph. They bore bim bare-fac'd on the bier 3;

Hey no nonny, nonny hey nonny 4:

And in his grave rain'd many a tear ;Fare you well, my dove!

Laér. Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, It could not move thus. Oph. You must fing, Down a-down', an you call him

a down-a. 2 Nature is fine in love : and, where 'tis fine,

It sends some precious instance of itself

After tbe tbing it loves.] These lines are not in the quarto, and might have been omitted in the folio without great loss, for they are obscure and affected; but, I think, they require no emendation. Love (lays Laertes) is the passion by which nature is most exalted and refined; and as substances, -refined and subtilised, easily obey any impulse, or follow any attraction, some part of nature, lo purified and refined, Aies off after the attracting object, after the thing it loves.

As into air ibe purer spirits flow,
And separate from ibeir kindred dregs below,

So flew ber foulo JOHNSON. The meaning of the passage may be-that her wits, like the spirit of fine essences, flew off or evaporated. STEEVENS.

3 Tbey bore bim bare.fac'd on tbe bier, &c.] So, in Chaucer's Krigble's Tale, late edit. ver. 2879:

• He laid him bare the visage on the bere,

« Therwith he wept that pitee was to here." STEEVENS. 4 Hey no nonny, &c.] These words, which were the burthen of a song, are found only in the folio. See Vol. VIII. p. 592, 1. 6.

MALONE. 5-fing, Down 2-down,). Perhaps Shakspeare alludes to Pbæbe's Sonnet, by Tho. Lodge, which the reader may find in England's Helicon, 1614 :

Down a.down, &c.

6 Thus Phillis fung,

“ By fancy once distressed : &c.
" And so fing I, with downe a-downe," &c.

Down d-dows

6

a-down-a. O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter.

Laer. This nothing's more than matter.
Oph. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray

you, Down a-down is likewise the burthen of a song in the Three Ladies of London, 1584, and perhaps common to many others. STEEVENS.

See Florio's Italian Didionary, 1598: Filibustaccbina, The burden of a countrie song; as we lay Hay doune a doune, douna."

MALONI. 0, bow tbe wheel becomes it !] The story alluded to I do not know; but perhaps the lady stolen by the steward was reduced to Spin.

JOHNSON The wbeel may mean no more than the buroben of tbe forg, which she had just repeated, and as such was formerly used. I met with the following observation in an old quarto black-letter book, published be. fore the time of Shakspeare :

“ The song was accounted a good one, though it was not moche graced by the wbeele, which in no wise accorded with the subject matter thereof."

I quote this from memory, and from a book, of which I cannot recollect the exact title or date; but the pariage was in a preface to some songs or sonnets. I well remember to have met with the word in the same sense in other old books.

The ballad, alluded to by Ophelia, is perhaps entered on the books of the Stationers' Company. « O&ober 1580. Four ballades of the Lord of Lorn and the Falje Steward," &c. STEEVENS.

I am inclined to think that qubeel is here used in its ordinary sense, and that these words allude to the occupation of the girl who is rupe posed to sing the song alluded to by Ophelia. The following lines in Hall's Virgidemiarum, 1597, appear to me to add some support to this interpretation :

« Some drunken rimer thinks his time well spent,
" If he can live to see his name in print;
" Who when he is once fileshed to the presse,
« And sees his handselle have such faire successe,
Sung to tbe wheele, and sung unto the payle,

" He sends forth thraves of ballads to the sale." So, in Sir Thomas Overbury's Characters, 1614: “ She makes her hands hard with labour, and her heart soft with pittie ; and when winter evenings fall early, fitting at her merry wbeele, the fings a de. fiance to the giddy wheele of fortune."

Our authour likewise furnishes an authority to the fame purpose. Twelftb Nigbt, A& 11. fc. iv.

-Come, the song we had last night: “ The Spinsters, and the knitters in the sun, « Do use to chaunt it."

A musical

you, love, remember : and there is panfies, that's for thoughts

Laer. A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.

Opb. There's fennel for you, and columbines':-there's

rue

A musical antiquary may perhaps contend, that the controverted words of the text allude to an ancient instrument mentioned by Chaucer, and called by him a rote, by others a vielle; which was played upon by the friction of a wbeel. MALONE.

7 Tbere's rosemary, tbat's for remembrance;-andibere is panfies, tbai's for tbougbts. There is probably some mythology in the choice of these herbs, but I cannot explain it. Panfies is for thougbes, be. cause of its name, Pensées; but why rosemary indicates remembrance, except that it is an ever-green, and carried at funerals, I have not discovered. JOHNSON. So, in All Fools, a comedy, by Chapman, 1605:

< What flowers are there?
“ The Panfie this.

" O, that's for lovers' thougbes !" Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory. It was not only carried at funerals, but worn at weddings, as appears from a passage in Beaumont and Fletcher's Elder Brotber, Act III. sc. i.

So, in A Dialogue between Nature and the Phenix, by R. Chelter, 1601:

“ There's rosemarie; the Arabians justifie
(Phyfitions of exceeding perfect skill)

« ìt comforteth the braine and memorie,&c. STEEVENS Rosemary being, supposed to ftrengthen the memory, was the emblem of fidelity in lovers. So, in A Handfull of Pleafant Delicesy containing sundrie new Sonets, 16mo, 1584:

Rosemary is for remembrance

“ Betweene us daie and night;
os Wishing that I might alwaies have

“ You present in my fight." The poem in which these lines are found, is entitled A Nosegaie al. waies sweet for Lovers to send for Tokens of love, &c. MALONE.

8 Tbere's' fennel for you, and columbines :) Greene, in his Quie for an Upstart Coursier, 1620, calls fennel, women's weeds : fit generally for that sex, fith while they are maidens, they wish wan. tonly."

I know not of what columbines were supposed to be emblematical, They are again mentioned in All Fools, by Chapman, 1605:

“ What's that?-a columbine?

« No: that shankless flower grows not in my garden." Vol. IX,

Bb

Gerard,

« AnteriorContinua »