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swallowed: When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.5 Ros. I understand you not, my lord.
Ham. I am glad of it: A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear:
Ros. My lord, you must tell us where the body is, and go with us to the king.
vided with on each side of their jaw, and there they keep it, till they have done with the rest.” Johnson.
Surely this should be “like an ape, an apple.” Farmer.
The reading of the folio, like an ape, I believe to be the true one, because Shakspeare has the same phraseology in many other places. The word ape refers to the King, not to his courtiers. He keeps them like an ape, in the corner of his jaw, &c. means, he keeps them, as an ape keeps food, in the corner of his jaw, &c. So, in King Henry IV, P. I: “
- your chamber-lie breeds fleas like a loach," i. e. as fast as a loach breeds loaches Again, in King Lear: “They flattered me like a dog;” i. e. as a dog fawns upon and flatters his master.
That the particular food in Shakspeare's contemplation was an apple, may be inferred from the following passage in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
“ And lie, and kiss my hand unto my mistress,
“ As often as an ape does for an apple." I cannot approve of Dr. Farmer's reading. Had our poet meant to introduce both the ape and the apple, he would, I think, have written not like, but “ as an ape an a ple.”
The two instances above quoted show that any emendation is unnecessary. The reading of the quarto is, however, defensible.
Malone. Apple in the quarto is a mere typographical error. So, in Peele's Araygnement of Paris, 1584:
you wot it very well “ All that be Dian's maides are vowed to halter apples in
hell." The meaning, however, is clearly “as an ape does an apple."
Ritson. and, sponge, you shall be dry again.] So, in the 7th Satire of Marston, 1598:
“ He 's but a spunge, and shortly needs must leese
A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.] This, if I mistake not, is a proverbial sentence. Malone.
Since the appearance of our author's play, these words have become proverbial; but no earlier instance of the idea conveyed, bythem, has occurred within the compass of my reading. Scolocne.
Ham. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body. The king is a thing
Guil. A thing, my lord?
Ham. Of nothing:8 bring me to him. Hide fox, and all after.
[Exeunt. SCENE III.
Another Room in the same.
Enter King, attended. King. I have sent to seek him, and to find the body. How dangerous is it, that this man goes loose?
7 The body is with the king,] This answer I do not compre. hend. Perhaps it should be, The body is not with the king, for the king is not with the body. Fohnson.
Perhaps it may n.ean this - The body is in the king's house, (i. e. the present king's) yet the king (i: e. he who should have been king,) is not with the body. Intimating that the usurper is here, the true king in a better place. Or it may mean-the guilt of the murder lies with the king, but the king is not where the body lies. The affected obscurity of Hamlet must excuse so many attempts to procure something like a meaning. Steevens.
8 Of nothing :] Should it not be read-Or nothing? When the courtiers remek that Hamlet has contemptuously called the king a thing, Huml«i defends himself by observing, that the king must be a thing, or nothing. Johnson. The text is right. So, in The Spanish Tragedy:
“ In troth, my lord, it is a thing of nothing." And, in one of Harvey's Letters, "a silly bug-beare, a sorty puffe of winde, a thing of nothing." Farmer. So, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631 :
“ At what dost thou laugh?
“ At a thing of nothing, at thee." Again, in Look about You, 1600:
“ A very little thing, a thing of nothing." Steevens. Mr. Steevens has given (i. e. edit. 1778) many parallelisms: but the origin of all is to be looked for, I believe, in the 144th Psalm, ver. 5: “ Man is like a thing of nought.” Mr. Steevens must have observed, that the Book of Common Prayer, and the translation of the Bible into English, furnished our old writers with many forms of expression, some of which are still in use.
Whalley. Hide fox &c.] There is a play among children called, Hide fox, and all after. Hanmer.
The same sport is alluded to in Decker's Satiromastix: - our unhandsome-faced poet does play at bo-peep with your grace, and cries-All hid, as boys do.”.
This passage is not in the quarto. Steevens:
Yet must not we put the strong law on him:
Ros. Where the dead body is bestow'd, my lord,
But where is he?
King. Bring him before us.
Enter HAMLET and GUILDENSTERN.
Ham. Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain convocation of politick worms are e’en at him. Your worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all creatures else, to fat us; and we fat ourselves for maggots: Your fat king, and your lean beggar, is but variable service; two dishes, but to one table; that 's the end.
King. Alas, alas!1
Ham. A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king; and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm.
King. What dost thou mean by this?
Ham. Nothing, but to show you how a king may go a progress? through the guts of a beggar.
King. Where is Polonius?
Ham. In heaven; send thither to see: if your messenger find him not there, seek him i' the other place yourself. But, indeed, if you find him not within this month, you shall nose him as you go up the stairs into the lobby.
1. Alas, alas.'] This speech, and the following, are omitted in the folio. Steevens.
go a progress –] Alluding to the royal journeys of state, always styled progresses; a familiar idea to those who, like our author, lived during the reigns of Queen Elizabeth and King James I. Steevens.
King. Go seek him there. [To some Attendantë. Ham. He will stay till you come. (Exeunt Attendants.
King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,
Ham. For England?
Good. King. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.
Ham. I see a cherub, that sees them.-But, come; for England!--Farewel, dear mother.
King. Thy loving father, Hamlet. Ham. My mother: Father and mother is man and wife; man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England.
[Exit. King. Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed
aboard; Delay it not, I 'll have himi hence to-night: Away;
for every thing is seal'd and done That else leans on the affair : Pray you, make haste.
[Exeunt Rus. and Guit, And, England, if my love thou hold'st at aught, (As my great power thereof may give thee sense; Since yet thy cicatrice looks raw and red After the Danish sword, and thy free awe Pays homage to us,) thou may'st not coldly set Our sovereign process;' which imports at full,
3 With fiery quickness :] These words are not in the quartos. We meet with fiery expedition in King Richard III. Steevens.
the wind at help,] I suppose it should be readThe bark is ready, and the wind at helm. Johnson.
at help,] i. e. at hand, ready,—ready to help or assist you. Ritson. Similar phraseology occurs in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:
I'll leave it
thou may'st not coldly set Our sovereign process ;] I adhere to the reading of the quarto and folio. Mr. M. Mason observes, that, “one of the common acceptations of the verb set, is to value or estimate ; as we say to set at nought; and in that sense it is used here.” Steevens.
By letters cónjuringo to that effect,
Our poet has here, I think, as in many other places, used an elliptical expression: “thou may’st not coldly set by our sovereign process;” thou may’st not set little by it, or estimate it lightly. “ To set by,” Cole renders in his Dict. 1679, by æstimo. si°To set little by,” he interprets parvi-facio. See many other instances of similar ellipses, in Cymbeline, Act V, sc. v. Malone. By letters cónjuring – ] Thus the folio. The quarto reads :
By letters congruing Steevens. The reading of the folio may derive some support from the following passage in The Hystory of Hamblet, bl. 1: “ - making the king of England minister of his massacring resolution; to whom he purposed to send him, [Hamlet] and by letters desire him to put him to death.” So also, by a subsequent line:
6. Ham. Wilt thou know the effect of what I wrote ?
“ Ham. An earnest conjuration from the king,” &c. The verb to conjure (in the sense of to supplicate) was formerly accented on the first syllable. So, in Macbeth:
“I conjure you, by that which you profess,
like the hectick in my blood he rages,] So, in Love's La. bour's Lost :
“ I would forget her, but a fever, she
Reigns in my blood.” Malone. Scaliger has a parallel sentiment:- Febris hectica uxor, nisi morte avellenda. Steevens.
8 Howe'er my haps, my joys will ne'er begin.] This being the termination of a scene, should, according to our author's custom, be rhymed. Perhaps he wrote:
Howe'er my hopes, my joys are not begun. If haps be retained, the meaning will be, 'till I know 'tis done, I shall be miserable, whatever befäl me. Johnson. The folio reads, in support of Dr. Johnson's remark:
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne’er begun. Mr. Heath would read :
Howe'er 't may hap, my joys will ne'er begin. Steevens. By his haps, he means his successes. His fortune was begun, but his joys were not. M. Mason.
Howe'er my haps, my joys will ne'er begin.] This is the read. ing of the quarto. The folio, for the sake of rhyme reads :
Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun. But this, I think, the poet could not have written. The King is speaking of the future time. To say, till I shall be informed VOL. XV.