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King. Go seek him there. [To some Attendants. Ham. He will stay till you come. [Exeunt Attendants.

King. Hamlet, this deed, for thine especial safety,
Which we do tender, as we dearly grieve
For that which thou hast done,-must send thee hence
With fiery quickness:3 Therefore, prepare thyself;
The bark is ready, and the wind at help,
The associates tend, and every thing is bent
For England.

Ham, For England?

Ay, Hamlet.

Good. King. So is it, if thou knew'st our purposes.

Ham. I see a cherub, that sees them.--But, come; for England!'arewel, dear mother.

King. Thy loving father, Hamlet. Ham. My mother: Father and mother iş man and wife; man and wife is one flesh; and so, my mother. Come, for England. King. Follow him at foot; tempt him with speed

aboard; Delay it not, I 'll have him hence to-night: Away;


every thing is seald and done That else leans on the affair : Pray you, make haste.

[Exeunt Rus. and GUIL. 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 helps ] I suppose it should be read
The bark is ready, and the wind at helm. Johnson.
at help,] i. e. at hand, ready,-ready to help or assist

Similar phraseology occurs in Pericles, Prince of Tyre:

I'll leave it
At careful nursing." Steevens.

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,
The present death of Hamlet. Do it, England;
For like the hectick in


blood he rages, And thou must cure me: Till I know 'tis done, Howe'er my haps, my joys will ne'er begin.8




Our poet has here, I think, as in many other places, used an elliptical expression: “thou may'st not coldly set by our sove. reign process;” thou may’st not set little by it, or estimate it lightly: “ To set by,” Cole renders in his Dict. 1679, by æstimo. 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:

Ham. Wilt thou know the effect of what I wrote ?
Hor. Ay, good my lord.

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,
“Howe'er you come to know it, answer me.” Malone.

like the hectick in my blood he rages,] So, in Love's Labour's Lost:

“ I would forget her, but a fever, she

Reigns in my blood.Malone. Scaliger has a parallel sentiment:- Febris hectica uxor, & non 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 jors are not begun, If haps be retained, the meaning will be, 'till I know 'tis done, I shall be miserable, whatever befol me. Fohnson. 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.



A Plain in Denmark.

Enter FORTINBRAS, and Forces, marching.
For. Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;
Tell him, that, by his licence, Fontinbras
Craves the conveyance of a promis'd march,
Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye,1
And let him know so.

I will do 't, my lord.
For. Go softly on. [Exeunt For. and Forces.
Ham. Good sir, whose powers are these
Cap. They are of Norway, sir.

How purpos'd, sir,
I pray you?
Cap. Against some part of Poland.

Commands them, sir?

Cap. The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras.

Ham. Goes it against the main of Poland, sir,
Or for some frontier?

Cap. Truly to speak, sir, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground,
That hath in it no profit but the name.


that a certain act has been done, whatever may befal me, my joys never had a beginning, is surely nonsense. Malone.

Craves -] Thus the quartos. The folio-Claims. Steevens. 1 We shall express our duty in his eye,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

tended her i' the eyes.” In his eye, means, in his presence. The phrase appears to have been formularly See The Establishment of the Household of Prince Henry, A. D. 1610: “ Also the gentleman-usher shall be careful to see and informe all such as doe service in the Prince's eye, that they perform their dutyes” &c. Again, in The Regulations for the Government of the Queen's Household, 1627:

all such as doe service in the Queen's eye.Steevens. 2 Good sir, &c.] The remaining part of this scene is omitted in the folio. Steevens.

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To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway, or the Pole,
A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

Ham. Why, then the Polack never will defend it.
Can. Yes, 'tis already garrison'd.

Ham. Two thousand souls, and twenty thousand ducats,
Will not debate the question of this straw:
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace;
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies.--I humbly thank you, sir.
Cap. God be wi'


[Exit Cap. Ros.

Will 't please you go, my lord? Ham. I will be with you straight. Go a little before.

[Exeunt Ros. and GUIL. How all occasions do inform against me, And spur my dull revenge! What is a man, If his chief good, and market of his time,3 Be but to sleep, and feed? a beast, no more. Sure, he, that made us with such large discourse, Looking before, and after, gave us not That capability and godlike reason To fust in us unus'd. Now, whether it be Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruples Of thinking too precisely on the eventA thought, which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom, And, ever, three parts coward, “I do not know Why yet I live to say, This thing 's to do; Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means, To do 't. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me: Witness, this army, of such mass, and charge, Led by a delicate and tender prince; Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff’d, Makes mouths at the invisible event;


chief good, and market of his time, &c.] If his highest good, and that for which he sells his time, be to sleep and feed.

Fohnson. Market, I think, here means profit. Malone.

large discourse,] Such latitude of comprehension, such power of reveiwing the past and anticipating the future. Johnson.

some craven scruple —] Some cowardly scruple. See Vol. VI, p. 68, n.7. Malone. So, in King Henry VI, P. I:

" Or durst not, for his craven heart, say this.” Steevens:



Exposing what is mortal, and unsure,
To all that fortune, death, and danger, dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great,
Is, not to stir without great argument;6
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,
When honour 's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason,


my blood, And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see The imminent death of twenty thousand men, That, for a fantasy, and trick of fame, Go to their graves like beds; fight for a plots Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause, Which is not tomb enough, and continent, To hide the slain ?--0, from this time forth, My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth! [Exit.

Rightly to be great, Is, not to stir without &c.] This passage I have printed according to the copy. Mr. Theobald had regulated it thus:

'Tis not to be great,
Never to stir without great argument;

But greatly &c.
The sentiment of Shakspeare is partly just, and partly romantick.

Rightly to be great,

Is, not to stir without great argument; is exactly philosophical.

But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,

When honour 's at the stake. is the idea of a modern hero. But then, says he, honour is an ai:gument, or subject of debate, suficiently great, and when honour is at stake, we must find cause of quarrel in a straw. Johnson.

7. Excitements of my reason, and my blood, ] Provocations which excite both my reason and my passions to vengeance. Johnson.

2 plot.] A piece, or portion. See King Lear, Act III, sc. ii, Vol. XIV. Reed. So, in The Mirror for Magistrates :

“ Of grounde to win a plot, a while to dwell,
We venture lives, and send our souls to hell.” Henderson.

continent, ] Continent, in our author, means that which comprehends or encloses. So, in King Lear :

“ Rive your concealing continents." Again, in Chapman's version of the third Iliad:


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did take Thy fair form for a continent of parts as fair, -" See King Lear, Act III, sc. ii. Steevens. Again, Lord Bacon, On the Advancement of Learning, 4to. 1633,

if there be no fullnesse, then is the continent greater than the content.” Reed.

p. 7: "

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