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Here, Hamlet, take my napkin, rub thy brows:
The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.?

Ham. Good madam,

Gertrude, do not drink.
Queen. I will, my lord ;-I pray you, pardon me.
King. It is the poison'd cup; it is too late. [Aside.
Ham. I dare not drink yet, madam; by and by.
Queen. Come, let me wipe thy face.
Laer. My lord, I 'll hit him now.

I do not think it. Laer. And yet it is almost against my conscience.

[Aside. Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes: You do but dally; I pray you, pass with your best violence: I am afeard, you make a wanton of me.




two shares & a halfe." I owe this quotation to one of Dr. Farmer's memoranda. Steevens.

The author of Historia Histrionica, and Downes the prompter, concur in saying, that Taylor was the performer of Hamlet. Roberts the player alone has asserted, (apparently without any authority) that this part was performed by Lowin. Malone.

7 T'he queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet,]i. e. (in humbler language) drinks good luck to you. A similar phrase occurs in David and Bethsabe, 1599:

“ With full carouses to his fortune past.” Steevens. 8 Come, let me wipe thy face.] These very words (the present repetition of which might have been spared) are addressed by Doll Tearsheet to Falstaff, when he was heated by his pursuit of Pistol. See Vol. IX, p. 74. Steevens.

you make a wanton of me.] A wanton was a man feeble and effeminate. In Cymbeline, Imogen says, I am not

so citizen a wanton, as “ To seem to die, ere sick.” Johnson. Rather, you trifle with me as if you were playing with a child. So, in Romeo and Juliet:

I would have thee gone,
“ And yet no further than a wanton's bird,
“ That lets it hop a little from her hand,

“ And with a silk thread pulls it back again.” Ritson. A passage in King John shows that wanton here means a man feeble and effeminate, as Dr. Johnson has explained it:

Shall a beardless boy,
“ A cocker'd silken wanton, brave our fields,

“ And flesh his spirit in a warlike soil," &c. Malone. The following passage in the first scene of Lee's Alexander the Great, may furnish a sufficient comment on the words of Hamlet:

Laer. Say you so? coine on.

{They play. Osr. Nothing neither way. Laer. Have at you now. [LAER. wounds HAM.; then, in scuffling, they change

Rapiers, and Ham. wounds LAER. King

Part them, they are incens'd. Ham. Nay, come again.

[The Queen falls. Osr.

Look to the queen there, ho! Hor. They bleed on both sides :-How is it, my lord? Osr. How is 't, Laertes?

Laer. Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osric; I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.

Ham. How does the queen?

She swoons to see them bleed. Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink,-0 my dear

The drink, the drink;-I am poison'd!

[Dies. Ham. O villainy!-Ho! let the door be lock'd: Treachery! seek it out.

(LAER. falls.
Laer. It is here, Hamlet: Hamlet, thou art slain;
No medicine in the world can do thee good,
In thee there is not half an hour's life;
The treacherous instrument is in thy hand,
Unbated, and envenom’d: the foul practice
Hath turn'd itself on me; lo, here I lie,
Never to rise again: Thy mother's poison'd;
I can no more ;-the king, the king 's to blame

Ham. The point
Envenom'd too!—Then, venom, to thy work.

Stabs the King.
Osr. & Lords. Treason! treason!
King. O, yet defend me, friends, I am but hurt.
Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murd'rous, damned

Drink off this potion :- Is the union here ?1
Follow my mother.

[King dieś.

“ He dallied with my point, and when I thrust,
“He frown'd and smild, and foil'd me like a fencer."

Steevens Is the union here?] In this place likewise the quarto reads, an onyx. Steevens.

Is the union here?] Thus the folio. In a former passage in the quarto, 1604, for union we had anice; here it has onyx.

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He is justly serv'd;
It is a poison temper'd by himself.
Exchange forgiveness with me, noble Hamlet:
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee;
Nor thine on me!

Ham. Heaven make thee free of it! I follow thee.
I am dead, Horatio:-Wretched queen, adieu!
You that look pale and tremble at this chance,
That are but mutes or audience to this act,
Had I but time, (as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest,) 0, I could tell you,-
But let it be:-Horatio, I am dead;
Thou liv’st; report me and my cause aright
To the unsatisfied.

Never believe it;
I am more an antique Roman than a Dane,
Here 's yet some liquor left.

As thou 'rt a man,-
Give me the cup; let go; by heaven, I 'll have it..
O God!-Horatio,4 what a wounded name,
Things standing thus unknown, shall live behind me ?
If thou didst ever hold me in thy heart,
Absent thee from felicity awhile,
And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
To tell my story-

[March afar off, and Shot within.

What warlike noise is this?
Osr. Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from

To the ambassadors of England gives


It should seem from this line, and Laertes's next speech, that Hamlet here forces the expiring King to drink some of the poisoned cup, and that he dies while it is at his lips. Malone.

2 That are but mutes and audience to this act, ] That are either auditors of this catastrophe, or at most only mute performers, that fill the stage without any part in the action. Fohnson.

(as this fell sergeant, death,
Is strict in his arrest,)] So, in our poet's 74th Sonnet:

when that fell arrest, Without all bail, shall carry me away, -" Malone. A serjeant is a bailiff, or sheriff's officer. Ritson.

O God!-Horatio, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. Folio: O good Horatio. Malone.

shall live behind me?] Thus the folio. The quartos read shall I leave behind me. Steevens.


This warlike volley.

O, I die, Horatio ;
The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit 36
I cannot live to hear the news from England:
But I do prophecy, the election lights
On Fortinbras; he has my dying voice;
So tell him, with the occurrents,? more or less,
Which have solicited, — The rest is silence.


6 The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spirit ;] Thus the first quarto, and the first folio. Alluding, I suppose, to a victorious cock exulting over his conquered antagonist. The same word occurs in Lingua, &c. 1607 :

“ Shall I? tl'embassadress of gods and men,
“ That pulld proud Phæbe from her brightsome sphere,
“ And dark'd Apollo's countenance with a word,

“ Be over-crow'd, and breathe without revenge ?" Again, in Hall's Satires, Lib. V, Sat. ii :

“ Like the vain bubble of Iberian pride,

“ That over-croweth all the world beside." This phrase often occurs in the controversial pieces of Gabriel Harvey, 1593, &c. It is also found in Chapman's translation of the twenty-first Book of Homer's Odyssey:

and told his foe
“ It was not fair, nor equal, t overcrow

“ The poorest guest --." Steevens. This word, so'er-crows] for which Mr. Pope and succeeding, editors have substituted over-grows, is used by Holinshed in his History of Ireland: These noblemen laboured with tooth and nayle to over-crow, and consequently to overthrow, one another.”

Again, in the epistle prefixed to Nashe's Apologie of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593: “ About two yeeres since a certayne demi, divine took upon him to set his foote to mine, and over-crowe me with comparative terms."

I find the reading which Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors adopted, (o'ergrows,) was taken from a late quarto of no authority, printed in 1637. Malone.

The accepted reading is the more quaint, the rejected one the more elegant of the two; at least Mr. Rowe has given the latter to his dying Amestris in The Ambitious Stepmother :

“ The gloom grows o'er me.” Steevens.

the occurrents,] i. e. incidents. The word is now disused. So, in The Hog hath lost his Pearl, 1614:

“ Such strange occurrents of my fore-past life.” Again, in The Barons' Wars, by Drayton, Canto I:

“ With each occurrent, right in his degree.” Again, in Chapman's version of the twenty-fourth Iliad: “Of good occurrents and none ill am I ambassadresse."




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Hor. Now cracks a noble heart:-Good night, sweet

prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!

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8 Which have solicited.] Solicited, for brought on the event.

Warburton. Warburton says, that solicited means brought on the event; but that is a meaning the word cannot import. That have solicited, means that have excited; but the sentence is left imperfect.

M. Mason. What Hamlet would have said, the poet has not given us any ground for conjecturing. The words seem to mean no more than -which have incited me to Malone. 9 Now cracks a noble heart :-Good night, sweet prince ;

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! ] So, in Pericles, Prince of Tyre, 1609:

* If thou liv'st, Pericles, thou hast a heart,

" That even cracks for woe.” The concluding words of the unfortunate Lord Essex's prayer on the scaffold were these : “- and when my life and body shall part, send thy blessed angels, which may receive my soule, and convey it to the joys of heaven.”

Hamlet had certainly been exhibited before the execution of that amiable nobleman; but the words here given to Horatio might have been one of the many additions made to this play. As no copy of an earlier date than 1604 has yet been discovered, whether Lord Essex's last words were in our author's thoughts, cannot be now ascertained. Malone.

And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!] Rather from Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1603:

An host of angels be thy convey hence!Steevens. Let us review for a moment the behaviour of Hamlet, on the strength of which Horatio founds this eulogy, and recommends him to the patronage of angels.

Hamlet, at the command of his father's ghost, undertakes with seeming alacrity to revenge the murder; and declares he will banish all other thoughts from his mind. He makes, however, but one effort to keep his word, and that is, when he mistakes Polonius for the King. On another occasion, he defers his purpose till he can find an opportunity of taking his uncle when he is least prepared for death, that he may insure damnation to his soul. Though he assassinated Polonius by accident, yet he deliberately procures the execution of his school-fellows, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, who appear not, from any circumstances in this play, to have been acquainted with the treacherous purposes of the mandate they were employed to carry. To embitter their fate, and hazard their punishment beyond the grave, he denies them even the few moments necessary for a brief confession of their sins. Their end (as he declares in a subsequent conversation with Horatio) gives him no concern, for they obtruded


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