Page images

Oph. You are naught, you are naught; I'll mark the play. Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,

Here stooping to your clemency,

We beg your hearing patiently.
Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord.
Han. As woman's love.

Enter a King and a Queen.
P. King. Full thirty times hath Phæbus' cartó gone

Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground;?
And thirty dozen moons, with borrow'd sheen,
About the world have times twelve thirties been;
Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands,
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.

P. Queen. So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o'er, ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer, and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women fear too much, even as they love;'

madness, at least of such madness as should be represented on the scene.

Steevens. 5- cart - ] A chariot was anciently so called. Thus, Chaucer, in The Knight's Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 2024:

“ The carter overridden with his cart." Steevens. 6 Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round

Neptune's salt wash, &c.] This speech of the Player King appears to me as a burlesque of the following passage in The Comicall Historie of Alphonsus, by R. G. 1599:

“ Thrise ten times Phoebus with his golden beames
“ Hath compassed the circle of the skie,
“ Thrise ten times Ceres hath her workemen hir'd,
“ And fild her barnes with frutefull crops of corne,
“ Since first in priesthood I did lead my life.” Todd.

orbed-ground;] So also, in our author's Lover's Gomplaint:

“ Sometimes diverted, their poor balls are tied
66 To the orbed earth.Steevens.
sheen,] Splendour, lustre. Johnson.

even as they love ;] Here seems to have been a line lost, which should have rhymed to love. Johnson



[ocr errors]

And women's fear and love hold quantity ;
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is siz’d, my fear is so.1
Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

P. King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;

This line is omitted in the folio. Perhaps a triplet was design. ed, and then instead of love, we should read lust. The folio gives the next line thus:

For women's fear and love holds quantity.” Steevens. There is, I believe, no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time. Some trace of the lost line is found in the quartos, which read:

Either none in neither aught, &c. Perhaps the words omitted might have been of this import :

“Either none they feel, or an excess approve;

“ In neither aught, or in extremity.” In two preceding passages in the quarto, half a line was inadvertently omitted by the compositor. See p. 115," then senseless Ilium, seeming,” &c. and p. 133, “ thus conscience does make cowards of us all :”--the words in Italick characters are not found in the quarto. Malone.

Every critick, before he controverts the assertions of his predecessor, ought to adopt the resolution of Othello:

“ I'll see, before I doubt, what I doubt, prove." In Phaer and Twine's Virgil, 1584, the triplets are so frequent, that in two opposite pages of the tenth Book, not less than seven are to be met with. They are likewise as unsparingly employed in Golding's Ovid, 1587. Mr. Malone, in a note on The Tempest, Vol. II, p. 119, has quoted a passage from this very work, containing one instance of them. In Chapman's Homer they are also used, &c. &c. &c. In The Tempest, Act IV, sc. i. Many other examples of them occur in Love's Labour's Lost, Act II1, sc. i, as well as in The Comedy of Errors, Act II and III, &c. &c.and, yet more unluckily for my opponent, the Prologue to the Mock Tragedy, now under consideration, consists of a triplet, which in our last edition stood at the top of the same page in which he supposed “no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time.” Steevens.

1 And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so.] Cleopatra expresses herself much in the same manner, with regard to her grief for the loss of Antony :

our size of sorrow,
Proportion'd to our cause, must be as great

" As that which makes it.Theobald.
2 IVhere loqe &c.] These two lines are omitted in the folio.


My operant powers3 their functions leave to do:
And thou shalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, belov’d; and, haply, one as kind
For husband shalt thou
P. Queen.

O, confound the rest!
Such love must needs be treason in my breast:
In second husband let me be accurst!
None wed the second, but who kill'd the first.

Ham. That's wormwood.

P. Queen. The instances, that second marriage move, Are base respects of thrift, but none of love; A second time I kill my husband dead, When second husband kisses me in bed.

P. King. I do believe, you think what now you speak; But, what we do determine, oft we break. Purpose is but the slave to memory ;: Of violent birth, but poor validity: Which now, like fruit unripe, sticks on the tree; But fall, unshaken, when they mellow be. Most necessary ’tis, that we forget To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt:6 What to ourselves in passion we propose, The passion ending, doth the purpose lose. The violence of either grief or joy Their own enactures with themselves destroy:? Where joy most revels, grief doth most lament;


operant powers -] Operant is active. Shakspeare gives it in Timon of Athens as an epithet to poison. Heywood has likewise used it in his Royal King and Loyal Subject, 1637:

may my operant parts “Each one forget their office !" The word is now obsolete. Steevens.

4 The instances,] The motives. Fohnson.

5 Purpose is but the slave to menory;] So, in King Henry IV, Part I:

“ But thought 's the slave of life.Steevens. 6. what to ourselves is debt:] The performance of a resolution, in which only the resolver is interested, is a debt only to himself, which he may therefore remit at pleasure. Johnson. 7 The violence of either grief or joy

Their own enactures with themselves destroy:] What grief or joy enact or determine in their violence, is revoked in their abatement. Enactures is the word in the quarto ; all the modern edi. tions have enactors. Fohnson.

Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
This world is not for aye; nor 'tis not strange,
That even our loves should with our fortunes change;
For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,
Whether love lead fortune, or else fortune love.
The great man down, you mark his favourite flies;
The poor advanc'd makes friends of enemies.
And hitherto doth love on fortune tend :
For who not needs, shall never lack a friend;
And who-in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly seasons him his enemy.8
But, orderly to end where I begun,-
Our wills, and fates, do so contráry run,
That our devices still are overthrown;
Our thoughts are ours, their ends none of our own:
So think thou wilt no second husband wed;
But die thy thoughts, when thy first lord is dead.
P. Queen. Nor earth to me give food, nor heaven

Sport and repose lock from me, day, and night!
To desperation' turn my trust and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope !


seasons him his enemy.] This quaint phrase infests al. most every ancient English composition. Thus, in Chapman's translation of the fifteenth Book of Homer's Odyssey:

taught with so much woe As thou hast suffer'd, to be season'd true.” Steevens. 9 Nor earth to me give food,] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio and the late editors read:

Nor earth to give me food, An imperative or optative verb was evidently intended here, as in the following line:

Sport and repose lock from me,” &c. Malone. A very similar imprecation,

Day, yield me not thy light; nor night, thy rest!” &c. occurs in King Richard III. Šee Vol. XI, p. 155. Steevens.

1. To desperation &c.] This and the following line are omitted in the folio.

Steevens. 2 An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope ) May my whole liberty and enjoyment be to live on hermit's fare in a prison. Anchor is for anchoret. Fohnson.

This abbreviation of the word anchoret is very ancient. I find it in the Romance of Robert the Devil, printed by Wynken de Worde: “ We haue robbed and killed nonnes, holy aunkers, preestes, clerkes,” &c. Again : “ the foxe will be an aunker, for he begynncth to preche.” VOL. XV.


Each opposite, that blanks the face of joy,
Meet what I would have well, and it destroy!
Both here, and hence, pursue me lasting strife,
If, once a widow, ever I be wife!
Ham. If she should break it now,

[To Oен. . P. King. 'Tis deeply sworn. Sweet, leave me here a

while; My spirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile The tedious day with sleep.

[Sleeps. P. Queen.

Sleep rock thy brain; And never come mischance between us twain! [Exit. Ham. Madam, how like you

this play? Queen. The lady doth protest too much, methinks. Ham. O, but she 'll keep her word.

King. Have you heard the argument? Is there no offence in 't?

Ham. No, no, they do but jest, poison in jest; no offence i' the world.

King. What do you call the play?

Ham. The mouse-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is the duke's name;4 his wife, Baptista:5 you shall see

Again, in The Vision of Pierce Plowman:

“ As ankers and hermits that hold them in her selles.” This and the foregoing line are not in the folio. I believe we should read-anchor's chair. So, in the second Satire of Hall's fourth Book, edit. 1602, p. 18:

Sit seven yeres pining in an anchore's cheyre,

“ To win some parched shreds of minivere.Steevens. The old copies read-And anchor's cheer. The correction was made by Mr. Theobald. Malone. 3 The mouse-trap.] He calls it the mouse-trap, because it is

the thing
“ In which he 'll catch the conscience of the king.”

Steevens. Gonzago is the duke's name ;] Thus all the old copies: yet in the stage-direction for the dumb-show, and the subsequent entrance, we have “ Enter a king and queen,&c. and in the latter part of this speech both the quarto and folio read:

Lucianus, nephew to the king." This seeming inconsistency, however, may be reconciled. Though the interlude is the image of the murder of a duke of Vienna, or in other words founded upon that story, the poet might make the principal person of his fatie a king. Malone.

- Baptista:] Baptista is, I think, in Italian, the name ala ways of a man. Fohrison.


« PreviousContinue »