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Than may be given you: In few, Ophelia,
Do not believe his vows: for they are brokers 26,
Not of that die which their investments show,
But mere implorators of unholy suits,
Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,
The better to beguile. This is for all,
I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,


moment's leisure,
As to give words or talk with the Lord Hamlet.
Look to't, I charge you; come your ways.
Oph. I shall obey, my lord.


you so slander

SCENE IV. The Platform.

Ham. The air bites shrewdly; it is very cold.
Hor. It is a nipping and an eager air.
Ham. What hour now?

I think it lacks of twelve.
Mar. No, it is struck.
Hor. Indeed ? I heard it not; it then draws near

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the season,

Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk. [A Flourish of Trumpets, and Ordnance shot

off, within. What does this mean, my

lord ? Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes his


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26 i. e. panders. Brokage and to broke was anciently to deal in business of an amatory nature by procurement. Thus in A Lover's Complaint:

• Know vows are ever brokers to defiling.' | Eager was used in the sense of the French aigre, sharp. 2 See note 21,



Keeps wassel, and the swaggering up-spring * reels;
And, as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The kettledrum and trumpet thus bray out
The triumph of his pledge.

Is it a custom ?
Ham. Ay, marry, ist:
But to my mind, though I am native here,
And to the manner born,-it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach, than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel, east and west",
Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations:
They clepe o us, drunkards; and with swinish phrase

3 The origin of the word wassel is thus related by Geffrey of Monmouth :- On Vortigern's first interview with Rowena she kneeled before him, and presenting a cup of wine, said to him Lord king was hæl, i. e. be bealth, or health be to you! Vortigern, upacquainted with the Saxon language, inquired the meaning of these words, and being told that he should answer them by saying Drinc heil, he did so, and commanded Rowena to drink; then taking the cup from her hand he kissed the damsel and pledged her. From that time the custom remained in Britain that whoever drank to another at a feast said Was hæl, and he that immediately after received the cup answered Drinc heil. The story is also told in the Metrical Chronicle of Robert of Brunne. To keep wassell was to devote the time to festivity. Vide Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. Sc. 2. To wake signified to revel at night. Vide Florio in voce Veggia.

4 I take upspring here to mean nothing more than upstart. Steevens, from a passage in Chapman's Alphonsus, thought that it might mean a dance.

5 This and the following twenty-one lines are omitted in the folio. They had probably been omitted in representation, lest they should give offence to Apne of Denmark.

Clepe, call clypian, Sax. The Danes were indeed proverbial as drunkards, and well they might be, according to the accounts of the time. A lively French traveller, being asked what he had seen in Denmark, replied, “ Rien de singulier sinon qu'on y chante tous les jours le Roi boit," alluding to the French mode of celebrating Twelfth Day. See De Brieux Origines de quelques Coutumes, p. 56. Heywood in his Philocothonista, or The Drunkard Opened, &c. 1635, 4to. speaking of what he calls the vinosity of nations, says of the Danes, that they have made a profession thereof from antiquity, and are the first upon



Soil our addition?; and, indeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform'd at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That, for some vicious mole 8 of nature in them,
As, in their birth (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin),
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion 9,
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o'erleavens
The form of plausive manners ;—that these men,-
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect;
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star 10, –
Their virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,)
Shall in the general censure 11 take corruption
From that particular fault: The dram of bale
Doth all the noble substance often doubt 12
To his own scandal.

that brought their wassel bowls and elbowe deepe bealthes into this land. -- Douce. Roger Ascham, in one of his Letters, says, • The Emperor of Germany, who had his head in the glass five times as long as any of us, never drank less than a good quart at once of Rhenish wine.' See also Howel's Letters, 8vo. 1726, p. 236. Muffet's Health’s Improvement, 4to. 1635, p. 294. Harington's Nugæ Antiquæ, 8vo. 1804, vol. i. p. 349.

7 i. e. characterize us by a swinish epithet. 8 i. e. spot, blemish.

9 Complexion for humour. By complexion our ancestors understood the constitutions or affections of the body.

10 i. e. the influence of the planet supposed to govern our birth, &c.

i. e.

e. judgment, opinion. 12 The last paragraph of this speech stands in the quarto editions thus:-

the dram of eale
Doth all the noble substance of a doubt

To his own scandal.'
Steevens reads :-

The dram of base


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Enter Ghost. Hor.

Look, my lord, it comes ! Ham. Angels and ministers of grace,defend us!!

13!Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd 14,

Doth all the noble substance often dout [i. e. do out.]

To his own scandal.'
Malone proposed :-

The dram of base
Doth all the noble substance of worth dout

To his own scandal.' I see no reason why dout should be substituted for doubt. The editors have unwarrantably made the same substitution in King Henry V. Act iv. Sc. 2, and then cite it as a precedent. Mr. Boswell has justly observed, that to doubt may mean to bring into doubt or suspicion ; many words similarly formed are used by Shakspeare and his cotemporaries. Thus to fear is to create fear; to pale is to make pale ; to cease is to cause to cease, &c. I have followed the emendation in other respects, though I have ventured to read bale (i. e. evil) instead of base, as nearer to the reading of the first edition. A passage of similar import is in King Henry IV. Part I.:

Oftentimes it doth present harsh rage
Defect of manners, want of government,
Pride, haughtiness, opinion, and disdain :
The least of which, haunting a nobleman,
Loseth men's hearts, and leaves behind a stain,
Upon the beauty of all parts besides,

Beguiling them of commendation.' 13 Hamlet's speech to the apparition of his father seems to consist of three parts. When he first sees the spectre, he fortifies himself with an invocation :

Angels and ministers of grace, defend us !! As the spectre approaches, he deliberates with himself, and determines that, whatever it be, he will venture to address it:

• Be thou a spirit of health,' &c. This he says while his father's spirit is advancing; he then, as he had determined, speaks to him, and calls him :

King, father, royal Dane: 0, answer me!'

Johnson. 14 « Art thou a god, a man, or else a ghost ?

Com'st thou from heaven, where bliss and solace dwell?
Or from the airie cold-engendering coast?
Or from the darksome dungeon-hold of hell ?'

A colastus, or After Wit, 1604.

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this mean,

Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable 15 shape,
That I will speak to thee: I'll call thee, Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: 0, answer me:
Let me not burst in ignorance ! but tell,
Why thy canóniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements ! why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn’d 16,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again! What may
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel 17
Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature,
So horridly to shake our disposition 18,
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls ?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?

Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire

Mar. Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.

No, by no means.
Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.

Why, what should be the fear? 15 Questionable must not be understood in its present acceptation of doubtful, but as conversable, inviting question or conversation; this was the most prevalent meaning of the word in Sbakspeare's time.

16 Quarto 1603–interr'd.

1? It appears from Olaus Wormius, cap. vii. that it was the custom to bury the Danish kings in their armour. tuation of complete and canónized on the first syllable is not peculiar to Sbakspeare, but the practice of several of his cotemporaries.

18 Frame of mind.

The accen

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