Page images


Than fly to others that we know not of?
Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
And thus the native hue of resolution
Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought;
And enterprizes of great pith, and moment,
With this regard, their currents turn awry,
And lose the name of action.-Soft you, now!
The fair Ophelia :-Nymph, in thy orisons
Be all my sins remember'd.

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

Ham. I 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 thein.

No, not I;
I never gave you aught.

Oph. 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 lost,
Take these again; for to the noble mind,
Rich gifts wax poor, when givers prove unkind.
There, my lord.

Ham. Ha, ha! are you honest?
Oph. My lord?

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


[ocr errors]

yea into that darke cloudie lande and deadlye shadowe whereas is no order, but terrible feare as in the darknesse.” Fob, ch. x.

“ The way that I must goe is at hande, but whence I shall not turne againe.Ibid. ch. xvi. I quote Cranmer's Bible. Douce.

great pith -] Thus the folio. The quartos read,-of great pitch.' Steevens.

Pitch seems to be the better reading. The allusion is to the pitching or throwing the bar ;-a manly exercise, usual in country villages. Ritson.

3-turn awry,] Thus the quartos. The folio-turn away. The same printer's error occurs in the old copy of Antony and Cleopatra, where we find—“ Your crown 's away," instead of “ Your crown's awry." Steevens.

Nymph, in thy orisons &c.] This is a touch of nature. Hamlet, at the sight of Ophelia, does not immediately recollect, that he is to personate madness, but makes her an address grave and solemn, such as the foregoing meditation excited in his thoughts. Fohnson. VOL. XV.



[ocr errors]

Ham. Are you fair?
Oph. What means your lordship?

Ham. That if you be honest, and fair, you shouid admit no discourse to your beauty 5

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

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:6 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 sinners? I am myself indifferent honest; but

5 That if you be honest, and fair, you should admit no discourse to your beauty.) This is the reading of all the modern editions, and is copied from the quarto. The folio reads—your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty. The true reading seems to be this,-if you be honest and fair, you should admit your honesty to no discourse with your beauty. This is the sense evidently requir. ed by the process of the conversation. Fohnson.

That if you be honest and fair, you should admit no discourse to your beauty.] The reply of Ophelia proves beyond doubt, that this reading is wrong:

The reading of the folio appears to be the right one, and requires no amendment.—“ Your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty,” means," Your honesty should not ad. mit your beauty to any discourse with her;" which is the very sense that Johnson contends for, and expressed with sufficient clearness. M. Mason.

rara est concordia formæ
Atque pudicitiæ.” Ovid. Steevens.

into his likeness:] The modern editors read-its like. ress; but the text is right. Shakspeare and his contemporaries frequently use the personal for the neutral pronoun. So Spenser, Fairy Queen, Book III, c. ix:

1. Then forth it break; and with his furious blast,

“ Confounds both land and seas, and skies doth overcast.” See p. 51, n. 1. Malone.

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



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 in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in: What would such fel. lows 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.

Oph. O, help him, you sweet heavens!

Ham. If thou dost 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, wliat 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


I could accuse me of such things, that it were better, my another had not borne me:] So, in our poet's 88th Sonnet:

I can set down a story “ Of faults conceal'd, wherein I am attainted.” Malone.

with more offences at my beck, than I have thoughts to put them in,) To put a thing into thought, is to think on it. Johnson.

at my beck,] That is, always ready to come about me. Steevens. 1 I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; &c.] This is according to the quarto ; the folio, for painting, has prattlings, and for face, has pace, which agrees with whiat follows, you jig, you amble. Probabiy the author 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. So, in Drayton's Mooncalf :

No sooner got the teens, “ But her own natural beauty she disdains ; “ With oyls and broths most venemous and base “ She plaisters over her well-favour'd face ; “ And those sweet veins by nature rightly plac'd " Wherewith she seems that white skin to have lac'd, “ She soon doth alter; and, with fading blue,

Blanching her bosom, she makes others new.” Steevens.

another:: you jig, you amble, and you lisp, and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance:3 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, shall live ;* The rest shall keep as they are. To a nunnery, go. (Exit Ham.

Oph. O, what a noble mind is here o'erthrown!
The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword:5
The expectancy

and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,"
The observ'd of all observers! quite, quite down!
And I, of ladies most dejects and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his musick vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh;



God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves and ther:] In Guzman de Alfarache, 1623, p. 13, we have an invective against painting in which is a similar passage : " O filthi. nesse, above all filthinesse! O affront, above all other affronts ! that God hath given thee one face, thou shouldst abuse his image and inake thyselfe another.Reed.

make your wantonness your ignorance :) You mistake by wanton affectation, and pretend to mistake by ignorance. Johnson.

all but one, shall live ; ] By the one who shall not live, he means his step-father. Malone.

5 The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword:] The poet certainly meant to have placed his words thus :

The courtier's, scholar's, soldier's, eye, tongue, sword; otherwise the excellence of tongue is appropriated to the soldier, and the scholar 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 sexus, ætas conditio; ut in fæminis, senibus, pupillis, liberos, parentes, conjuges, alligantibus.”

Farmer. 6 The glass of fashion,] “ Speculum consuetudinis.” Cicero.

Steevens. The mould of form,] The model by whom all endeavoured to form themselves. Johnson.

most deject -] So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:

What knight is that “ So passionately deject.?Steevens. 9 out of tune -] Thus the folio. The quartomout of time.

Steevens. These two words in the land writing of Shakspeare's age are

That unmatch'd form and features of blown youth,
Blasted with ecstacy :: 0, woe is me!
To have seen what I have seen, see what I see !

Re-enter King and POLONIUS.
King. Love! his affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
Was not like madness. There 's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy sits on brood;
And, I do doubt, the hatch, and the disclose, 3
Will be some danger: Which for to prevent,
I have, in quick determination,
Thus set it down; He shall with speed to England,
For the demand of our neglected tribute:
Haply, the seas, and countries different,
With variable objects, shall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart;
Whereon his brains still beating, puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on 't?

Pol. It shall do well: But yet I do believe,
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love.--How now, Ophelia ?
You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all.—My lord, do as you please ;
But, if you hold it fit, after the play,





almost indistinguishable, and hence are frequently confounded in the old copies. Malone.

and feature - ] Thus the folio. The quartos read Steerens.

with ecstacy:] The word ecstacy was anciently used to signify some degree of alienation of mind. So, Gawin Douglas translating-stetit acri fixa dolore:

In ecstacy she stood, and mad almaist.” See Vol. II, p. 97, n.5 ; and Vol. VII, p. 135, n. 6. Steevens.

the disclose,] This was the technical term. So, in The laid of Honour, by Massinger:

“ One aierie with proportion ne'er discloses

“ The eagle and the wren.” Malone. Disclose, (says Randle Holme, in his Academy of Armory and Blazon, Book ii, ch. ii, p. 238,) is when the young just peeps through the shell. It is also taken for laying, hatching, or bringing forth young: as she disclosed three birds.” Again, in the fifth Act of the play now before us:

“ Ere that her golden couplets are disclos’d.See my note on this passage. Steevens.


« PreviousContinue »