« PreviousContinue »
He rais'd a sigh so piteous and profound,
Pol. Come, go with me; I will go seek the king.
That hath made him mad.
that with better heed and judgment, I had not quoted 10 him: I fear’d, he did but trifle,
8 i. e. bis breast. · The bulke or breast of a man, Thorax, la poitrine.'-—Baret. Thus in King Richard III. Act i. Sc. 4, Clarence says:-
but still the envious flood
But smothered it within my panting bulk.' Malone cites this and the following passage, and yet explains it all his body! –
Rape of Lucrece. 9 To foredo and to undo were synonymous. Thus in Othello :
• That either makes me or fordoes me quite.' 10 To quote is to note, to mark. Thus in The Rape of Lu
• Yea, the illiterate
Will quote my loathed trespass in my looks.' This word in the quarto is written coted, which was the old orthography of quoted.
And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy!
More grief to hide, than hate to utter love 12.
SCENE II. A Room in the Castle.
Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDEN
STERN, and Attendants. King. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz, and Guilden
stern! Moreover that we much did long to see you, The need, we have to use you, did provoke Our hasty sending. Something have you heard Of Hamlet's transformation; so I call it, Since not the exterior nor the inward man Resembles that it was: What it should be, More than his father's death, that thus hath put him So much from the understanding of himself, I cannot dream? of: I entreat you both,
11 This is not the remark of a weak man. It is always the fault of a little mind made artful by long commerce with the world. The quartos read, “By heaven it is as proper,' &c.
12 This must be made known to the king, for (being kept secret) the hiding Hamlet's love might occasion more mischief to us from him and the queen, than the uttering or revealing it will occasion hate and resentment from Hamlet. Johnson, whose explanation this is, attributes the obscurity to the poet's
affectation of concluding the scene with a couplet.' There would surely have been more affectation in deviating from the universally established custom.
13 Folio omits come. 1 Quarto-sith nor.
That,-being of so young days brought up with him: And, since, so neighbour'd to his youth and hu
mour, That you
vouchsafe your rest here in our court Some little time: so by your companies To draw him on to pleasures ; and to gather, So much as from occasion you may glean, Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus *, That, open'd, lies within our remedy. Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of
you; And, sure I am, two men there are not living, To whom he more adherès. If it will please you To show us so much gentry", and good will, As to expend your time with us awhile, For the supply and profit of our hope, Your visitation shall receive such thanks As fits a king's remembrance. Ros.
Both your majesties Might, by the sovereign power you have of us?,
dread pleasures more into command Than to entreaty Guil.
But: we both obey ; And here give up ourselves, in the full bento, To lay our service freely at your feet, To be commanded. King. Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guilden
stern: 3 Quarto—haviour. 4 This line is omitted in the folio. 5 Gentry for gentle courtesy.
· Gentlemanlinesse or gentry, kindness, or natural goodness. Generositas.'— Baret.
6 Supply and profit is aid and advantage. 7 i. e. over us.
8 Folio omits but. 9 There is no ground for the assertion that this metaphorical expression is derived from bending a bow. See Much Ado About Nothing, Act ii. Sc. 3. Hamlet in a future scene says:
They fool me to the very top of my bent.' i. e. to the utmost of my inclination or disposition.
Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosen
crantz; And I beseech you instantly to visit My too much changed son.—Go, some of you, And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is. Guil. Heavens make our presence, and our prac
tices, Pleasant and helpful to him ! Queen.
Ay, Amen! [Exeunt Ros. Guil. and some Attendants.
Enter POLONIUS. Pol.The embassadors from Norway, my good lord, Are joyfully return'd.
King: Thou still hast been the father of good news.
Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege, I hold my duty, as I hold my soul, Both to my God, and to my gracious king; And I do think (or else this brain of mine Hunts not the trail 10 of policy so sure As it hath 11 usd to do) that I have found The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
King. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to the embassadors; My news shall be the fruit 1% to that great feast. King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them
[Exit POLONIUS, He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found The head and source of all your son's distemper.
Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main; His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
10 i. e. the trace or track. Vestigium. It is that vestige, whether of footmarks or scent, which enables the hunter to follow the game:
11 Folio-as I have.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and
CORNELIUS. King. Well, we shall sift him.-Welcome, my
good friends! Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Vol. Most fair return of greetings and desires. Upon our first, he sent out to suppress His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack; But, better look'd into, he truly found It was against your highness: Whereat griev'd,-That so his sickness, age, and impotence, Was falsely borne in band 13,--sends out arrests On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys; Receives rebuke from Norway; and, in fine, Makes vow before his uncle, never more To give the assay 14 of arms against your majesty. Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy, Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee 15
5; And his commission, to employ those soldiers, So levied as before, against the Polack : With an entreaty, herein further shown,
[Gives a Paper. That it might please you to give quiet pass
13 i. e. deluded, imposed on, deceived by false appearances. It is used several times by Shakspeare, Macbeth, Act iii. Sc. l; Much Ado about Nothing, Act iv. Sc. 1; Cymbeline, Sc. ult.
14 Malone refers to the custom of taking the assay of wine, &c. before it was drunk by princes and other great persons, to ascertain that it was not poisoned. But the expression in the text has nothing to do with that custom. To give the assay of arms is 'to attempt or essay any thing in arms, or by force. Accingi armis.' I have to request the reader's patience for this superfluous note, but it is really sometimes impossible to resist exposing such mistakes.
15 That is, the king gave bis nephew a feud or fee in land of that annual value. The quartos read three score thousand.