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King. From Hamlet! who brought them?
Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say: I saw them not;
Laertes, you shall hear them: Leave us.
[Exit Mess. [Reads.] High and mighty, you shall know, I am set naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes: when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return.
Hamlet. What should this mean? Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing?
Laer. Know you the hand?
'Tis Hamlet's character. Naked, And, in a postscript here, he says, alone: Can you advise me?
Laer. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come;
If it be so, Laertes,
Ay, my lord;
King. To thine own peace. If he be now return'd
6 of him that brought them.] I have restored this hcmistick from the quartos. Steevens.
? As checking at his voyage,] The phrase is from falconry; and may be justified from the following passage in Hinde's Eliosto Libidinoso, 1606: “ For who knows not, quoth she, that this hawk, which comes now so fair to the fist, may to-morrow check at the lure?" Again, in G. Whetstone's Castle of Delight, 1576:
“ But as the hawke, to gad which knowes the way,
“Will hardly leve to checke at carren crowes,” &c. Steevens. As checking at his voyage,] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1604, exhibits a corruption similar to that mentioned in n. 1, in the preceding page. It reads :-As the king at his voyage. Malone.
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe;
My lord, I will be rul'd;
It falls right.
is that, my
8 Laer, &c.] The next sixteen lines are omitted in the folio.
Steevens. of the unworthiest siege.] Of the lowest rank. Siege, for s'at, place. Johnson. So, in Othello:
I fetch my birth “ From men of royal siege." Steevens. 1 Importing health and graveness.] Importing here may be, not inferring by logical consequence, but producing by physical effect.. A young man regards show in his dress, an old man, health.
Johnson: Importing health, I apprehend, means, denoting an attention to health. Malone.
Importing may only signify-implying, denoting. So, in King Henry VI, PI:
“ Comets, importing change of times and states.” Mr. Malone's explanation, however, may be the true one. Steevens. 2. As he had been incorps'd and demi-naturd
With the brave beast:] This is from Sidney's Arcadia, B. IF:
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks,
A Norman, was 't?
The very same.
of all the nation.
What out of this, my lord?
Why ask you this?
* As if, Centaur-like, he had been one peece with the horse.”
Steevens. in forgery of shapes and tricks,] I could not contrive so many proofs of dexterity as he could perform. Johnson.
4 Lamord.] Thus the quarto, 1604. Shakspeare, I suspect, wrote Lamode. See the next speech but one. The folio hasLamound. Malone. in your defence,] That is, in the science of defence.
Fohnson. the scrimers -] The fencers. Johnson. From escrimeur, Fr. a fencer. Malone.
This unfavourable description of the French swordsmen is not in the folio. Steevens.
love is begun by time;] This is obscure. The meaning may be, love is not innate in us, and co-essential to our nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and eing always subject to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution. Fohnson.
And that I see, in passages of proof,s
The King reasons thus :-" I do not suspect that you
did not love your füther; but I know that time abates the force of affection.” I therefore suspect that we ought to read :
love is begone by time; I suppose that Shakspeare places the syllable be before gone, as we say be-paint, be-spatter, be-think, &c. M. Mason. - passages of proof,] In transactions of daily experience.
Fohnson. 9 There lives &c.] The next ten lines are not in the folio.
Steevens. * For goodness, growing to a plurisy,] I would believe, for the honour of Shakspeare, that he wrote plethory. But I observe the dramatick writers of that time frequently call a fulness of blood a plurisy, as if it came, not from tacupa, but from plus, pluris.
Warburton. I think the word should be spelt-plurisy. This passage is fully explained by one in Mascal's Treatise on Cattle, 1662, p. 187:
Against the blood, or plurisie of blood. The disease of blood is, some young horses will feed, and being fat will increase blood, and so grow to a plurisie, and die, thereof if he have not soon help.” Tollet.
We should certainly read plurisy, as Tollet observes. Thus, in Massinger's Unnatural Combat, Malefort says
in a word, “ Thy plurisy of goodness is thy ill.” And again, in The Picture, Sophia says:
“ A plurisy of blood you may let out,” &c. The word also occurs in The Two Noble Kinsmen. Arcite, in his invocation to Mars, says:
that heal'st with blood
“Of the plurisy of people!"M. Mason. Dr. Warburton is right. The word is spelt plurisy in the quarto, 1604, and is used in the same sense as here, in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, by Ford, 1633:
“ Must your hot itch and plurisie of lust,
“ Up to a surfeit? Malone. Mr. Pope introduced this simile in the Essay on Criticism, r. 303:
“ For works may have more wit than does them gooch,
“ As bodies perish through excess of blood.” Ascham has a thought very similar to Pope's: “Twenty to ones
Dies in his own too-much: That we would do,
offend more, in writing too much, then to litle: euen as twenty,
That hurts by easing:] A spendthrift sigh is a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital fame. It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers. Johnson.
So, in the Governall of Helthe &c. printed by Wynkyn de Worde: “ And for why whan a man casteth out that noble humour too moche, he is hugely dyscolored, and his body moche febled, more then he lete four sythes, soo moche blode oute of his body.” Steevens.
Hence they are called, in King Henry VI,-blood-consuming sighs. Again, in Pericles, 1609:
“Do not consume your blood with sorrowing.' The idea is enlarged uporin Fenton's Tragical Discourses, 1579: “Why staye you not in tyme the source of your scorching sighes, that have already drayned your body of his wholesome humoures, appoynted by nature to gyve sucke to the entrals and inward parts of you ?"
The original quarto, as well as the folio, reads-a spendthrift's sigh; but I have no doubt that it was a corruption, arising from the first letter of the following word sigh, being an s. I have, therefore, with the other modern editors, printed spendthrift sigh, following a late quarto, (which however is of no authority) printed in 1611. That a sigh, if it consumes the blood, hurts us by easing, or is prejudicial to us on the whole, though it affords a temporary relief, is sufficiently clear: but the former part of the line, and then this should, may require a little explanation. I suppose the King means to say, that if we do not promptly execute that we are convinced we should or ought to do, we shall afterwards in vain repent our not having seized the fortunate moment for action: and this opportunity which we have let go by us, and the reflection that we should bave done that, which, from supervening accidents, it is no longer in our power to do, is as prejudicial and painful to us as a blood-consuming sigh, that at once hurts and eases us.
I apprehend the poet meant to compare such a conduct, and the consequent reflection, only to the pernicious quality which he supposed to be annexed to sighing, and not to the temporary ease which it affords. His similes, as I have frequently had oca casion to observe, seldom run on four feet. Malone.