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For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy, [Sings. Laer. Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself, She turns to favour, and to prettiness. Oph. And will he not come again?
[Sings. And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death-bed,
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan;
God 'a mercy on his soul! And of all christian souls! I pray God. God be wi' you!
“ Violet is for faithfulnesse,
“ Which in me shall abide ;
“ You will not let it slide.” Malone. 1. For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy, ] This is part of an old song, mentioned likewise by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Act IV, sc. i:
- I can sing the broom, “ And Bonny Robin.” In the books of the Stationers' Company, 26 April, 1594, is entered “ A ballad, entituled, A doleful adewe to the last Erle of Darbie, to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin.” Steevens.
The “ Courtly new ballad of the princely wooing of the faire maid of London, by King Edward,” is also, “to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin.” Ritson. 2 Thought and affliction,] Thought here, as in many
other places, signifies melancholy. See Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, sc. xi, Vol. XIII. Malone.
3 His beard was as white as snow, &c.] This, and several circumstances in the character of Ophelia, seem to have been ridiculed in Eastward Hoe, a comedy, written by Ben Jonson, Chap man, and Marston, printed in 1605, Act III:
“ His head as white as milk,
“ All Alaxen was his hair ;
“ And never will come again,
“ God be at your labour !” Steevens. 4 God'a mercy on his soul!
And of all christian souls'] This is the common conclusion to many of the ancient monumental inscriptions. See Weever's Fu
Laer. Do you see this, O God?
King. Laertes, I must commune with your grief,5
Let this be so;
So you shall;
neral Monuments, p. 657, 658. Berthelette, the publisher of Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554, speaking first of the funeral of Chaucer, and then of Gower, says: - he lieth buried in the monasterie of Seynt Peter's at Westminster, &c. On whose soules and all christen, Jesu have mercie.” Steevens.
commune with your grief,] The folio reads-common. To common is to commune. This word, pronounced as anciently spelt, is still in frequent provincial use. So, in The Last Voyage of Captaine Frobisher, by Dionyse Settle, 12mo. bl. 1. 1577: “Our Generall, repayred with the ship boat to common or sign with them.” Again, in Holinshed's account of Jack Cade's insurrection:“ – to whome were sent from the king the archbishop &c. to common with him of his griefs and requests.” Steevens.
6 No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,] It was the custom, in the times of our author, to hang a sword over the grave of a knight. Fohnson.
This practice is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i. e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour,) are hung over the grave of every knight. Sir 7. Hawkins.
Another Room in the same.
Enter HORATIO, and a Servant.
Let them come in.
[Erit Sery. I do not know from what part of the world I should be greeted, if not from lord Hamlet.
Enter Sailors. | Sail. God bless you, sir. Hor. Let him bless thee too.
| Sail. He shall, sir, an 't please him. There's a letter for you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
Hor. [read.s] Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fillows some means to the king; they have lotters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace: Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour; and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant, they got clear of our shis; 80 I alune became their prisoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they know what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have seni; and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou would'st fly death. I have words to speak in thine ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter.7 These good fellow's will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz und Guildenstern hold their course for England: of them I have much to tell thee. Farewel.
He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet. Come, I will give you way for these your letters; And do 't the speedier, that you may direct me To him from whom you brought them. [Exeunt.
- for the bore of the matter,] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words. Johnson.
Another Room in the same.
Enter King and LAERTES. King. Now must your conscience my acquittance seal, And you must put me in your heart for friend; Sith you
have heard, and with a knowing ear, That he, which hath your noble father slain, Pursu'd
It well appears:-But tell me, Why you proceeded not against these feats, So crimeful and so capital in nature, As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things else, You mainly were stirr’d up. King.
O, for two special reasons; Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd, But yet to me they are strong. The queen, his mother, Lives almost by his looks; and for my self, (My virtue, or my plague, be it either which, She is so conjunctive to my life and soul, That, as the star moves not but in his sphere, I could not but by her. The other motive, Why to a publick count I might not go, Is, the great love the general gender? bear him: Who, dipping all his faults in their affection, Work like the springo that turneth wood to stone,
the general gender -] The common race of the people.
Fohnson. 9 Work like the spring &c.] This simile is neither very seasonable in the deep interest of this conversation, nor very accu. rately applied. If the spring had changed base metals to gold, the thought had been more proper. Fohnson.
The folio, instead of_work, reads-would.
- So there is wood that water turns to stones.” In Thomas Lupton's Third Book of Notable Thinges, 4to. bl. I. there is also mention of “a weil, that whatsoever is throwne into the same, is turned into a stone." This, however, we learn from Ovid, is no modern supposition :
“ Flumen habent Cicones, quod potum saxea reddit
“ Viscera, quod tactis inducit marmora rebus." See also, Hackluyt, Vol. I, p. 565. Steevens.
The allusion here is to the qualities still ascribed to the droping well at Knaresborough in Ťorkshire. Camden (edit. 1590, p. VOL. XV.
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Laer. And so have I a noble father lost;
Enter a Messenger.
Letters, my lord, from Hamlet : This to your majesty; this to the queen.
564,) thus mentions it: “Sub quo fons est in quem ex impendentibus rupibus aquæ guttatim distillant, unde DROPPING Well, vocant, in quem quicquid ligni immittitur, lapideo crrtice brevi obduci & lapidescere observatum est.” Reed.
- for so loud a wind,] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1604, reads—for so loued arm’d. If these words have any meaning, it should seem to be-The instrument of offence I employ, would have proved too weak to injure one who is so loved and arm’d by the affection of the people. Their love, like armour, would revert the arrow to the bow.
The reading in the text, however, is supported in Acham's Toxophilus, edit. 1589, p. 57 : “ Weake bowes and lighte shaftes cannot stand in a rough winde.” Steevens.
Loved arm'd is as extraordinary a corruption as any that is found in these plays. Malone.
if praises may go back again,] If I may praise what has been, but is now to be found no more. Johnson.
3 That we can let our beard be shook with danger,] It is wonderful that none of the advocates for the learning of Shakspeare have told us that this line is imitated from Persius, Sat. ii:
“ Idcirco stolidam præbet tibi vellere barbam
Jupiter?" Steevens. 4 How now? &c.] Omitted in the quartos. Theobald.
Letters, &c.] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens.