« PreviousContinue »
Han. Are you fair?
Ham. That if you be honest, and fair, you should 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 required by the process of the conversation. Johnson.
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 dis. course 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 likeness; but the text is right. Shakspeare and his contemporaries frequently use the personal for the neutral pronoun. So Spenser, zairy Queen, Book III, c. ix:
* Then forth it break; and with his furious blast,
“ Confounds both land and seas, and skies doth overcast.” See p. 51, n. 1. Malone.
7-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 mybeck, than back I have thoughts to put them in, imagination to give them shape, or time to act them in : What would such fellaws 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, what 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 mother had not borne me:] So, in our poet's 88th Sonnet:
I can set down a story
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. Fohnson.
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 what follows, you jig, you amble. Probably 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: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:S The expectancy and rose of the fair state, The glass of fashion, and the mould of form," T'he observ’d of all observers! quite, quite down! And I, of ladies most dejec18 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 ano, ther:] In Guzman de Alfarache, 1623, p. 13, we have an invec. tive 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 make thyselfe another.” Reed.
your wantonness your ignorance:] You mistake by qranton affectation, and pretend to mistake by ignorance. Fohnson:
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. 8 The glass of fashion,] “ Speculum consuetudinis.” Cicero.
Steevens The mould of form,] The model by whom all endeavoured to form themselves. Fohnson.
most deject -] So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:
What knight is that “ So passionately deject?” Steevens. - out of tune –] Thus the folio. The quarto-out of time.
Steevens. These two words in the hand-writing of Shakspeare's age are
That unmatch'd form and featurel of blown youth,
Re-enter King and POLONIUS.
Pol. It shall do well: But yet I do believe,
almost indistinguishable, and hence are frequently confounded in the old copies. Malone.
and feature -] Thus the folio. The quartos reado Steevens.
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 Maid 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 bring. ing 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.
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
It shall be so:
A Hall in the same.
Enter HAMLET, and certain Players. Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue: but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gentle: for in the very torrent, tempest, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your passion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robustious perriwig-pated fellow tear a passion to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings; 6
be round with him ;] To be round with a person, is to reprimand him with freedom. So, in A Mad World, my Masters, By Middleton, 1608: “ She 's round with her i' faith.”' Malone. See Comedy of Errors, Vol. VI, p. 344, n. 1. Steevens.
perriwig-pated – ] This is a ridicule on the quantity of false hair worn in Shakspeare's time, for wigs were not in com. mon use till the reign of Charles II. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julia says-"I'll get me such a colour'd periwig."
Goff, who wrote several plays in the reign of James I, and was no mean scholar, has the following lines in his Tragedy of The Courageous Turk, 1632:
- How now, you heavens ;
“ And clothe yourselves in perriwigs of fire ?"
the groundlings ;] The meaner people then seem to have sat below, as they now sit in the upper gallery, who, not well tinderstanding poetical language, were sometimes gratified by a
as none wear