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Through your dominions for this enterprise;
It likes us well:
[Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. · Pol.
This business is well ended. My liege, and madam, to expostulate 16 What majesty should be, what duty is, Why day is day, night, night, and time is time, Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. Therefore,-since brevity is the soul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,I will be brief: Your noble son is mad: Mad call I it: for, to define true madness, What is't, but to be nothing else but mad : But let that go.
16 i. e. to inquire. "Polonius is a man bred in courts, exercised in business, stored with observation, confident in his knowledge, proud of his eloquence, and declining into dotage. His mode of oratory is designed to ridicule the practice of those times, of prefaces that made no introduction, and of method that embarrassed rather than explained. This part of his character is accidental, the rest natural. Such a man is positive and confident, because he knows that his mind was once strong, and knows not that it is become weak. Such a man excels in general principles, but fails in particular application. He is knowing in retrospect, and ignorant in foresight. While he depends upon his memory, and can draw from bis depositaries of knowledge, he utters weighty sentences, and gives useful counsel ; but as the mind in its enfeebled state cannot be kept long busy and intent, the old man is subject to the dereliction of his faculties, he loses the order of his ideas, and entangles himself in his own thoughts, till he recover the leading principle, and fall into his former train. The idea of dotage encroaching upon wisdom, will solve all the phenomena of the character of Polonias.'Johnson.
Queen. More matter, with less art.
Pol. Madam, I swear I use no art at all.
In her excellent white bosom, these, &c. 18
Doubt thou, the stars are fire;
Doubt, that the sun doth move :
But never doubt I love.
17 Vile as Polonius esteems the phrase, from its equivocal meaning, Shakspeare has used it again in The Two Gentlemen of Verona:
Seeing you are beautified
With goodly shape,' &c. Nash, in his dedication of Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, 1594 :
- To the most beautified Lady Elizabeth Cary.' It is not oncommon in dedications and encomiastic verses of the poet's age.
18 See note on The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Act iii. Sc. 1. Formerly the word these was usually added at the end of the saperscription of letters. The folio reads : These in her excellent white bosom these.'
O dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I have not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee best, О most best, believe it. Adieu.
Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst
this machine is to him, Hamlet.
This, in obedience, hath my daughter shown me:
But how hath she
What do you think of me? .
19 “If I had play'd the desk, or table-book ;
Or given my heart a winking, mute and dumb.' That is · If I had acted the part of depositary of their secret loves, or given my heart a hint to be mute about their passion.' The quartos read_given my heart a working,' and the modern editors follow this reading: I prefer the reading of the folio. • Conniventia, a winking at; a sufferance; a feigning not to see or know. The pleonasm, mute and dumb, is found in the Rape of Lucrece:
• And in my hearing be you mute and dumb.' 20 Plainly, roundly, withoat reserve. Polonius, in the third act, says, ' be round with him.'
Lord Hamlet is a prince out of thy star 21 ;
Do you think, 'tis this?
Pol. Hath there been such a time (I'd fain i know that), That I have positively said, 'Tis so, When it prov'd otherwise ? King.
"Not that I know. Pol. Take this from this, if this be otherwise:
. [Pointing to his Head and Shoulder. If circumstances lead me, I will find Where truth is hid, though it were hid indeed Within the centre.
21 This was changed to sphere in the 4to. 1632, and that reading is followed by the modern editions. Out of thy star,' is placed above thee by destiny. We have fortune's star in a former scene. Aumerle in King Richard III. says :
"Shall I so much dishonour my fair stars.' 22 • The ridicule of this character is here admirably sustained. He would not only be thought to have discovered this intrigue by his own sagacity, but, to have remarked, all the stages of Hamlet's disorder, from his sadness to his raving, as regularly as his physician could have done ; when all the while the madness was only feigned. The humour of this is exquisite from a man who tells us, with a confidence peculiar to small politicians, that he could find
“ Where truth was hid, though it were hid indeed
How may we try it further ?
together, Here in the lobby. Queen.
So he does, indeed. Pol. At such a time I'll loose my daughter to him: Be you and I behind an arras then; Mark the encounter: if he love her not, And be not from his reason fallen thereon, Let me be no assistant for a state, But keep a farm, and carters.
We will try it.
Enter HAMLET, reading.
[Exeunt KING, QUEEN, and Attendants. How does my good Lord Hamlet?
Ham. Well, god-'a-mercy. .
Ham. Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Pol. That's very true, my lord.
Ham. For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog, being a god, kissing carrion 24,— Have you a daughter ?
23 i. e, accost, address him. See Twelfth Night, Act i. Sc. 3.
24 The old copies read—being a good kissing carrion. The emendation is Warburton's, who has accompanied it with a long comment, in which he endeavours to prove that Shakspeare in