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As I, perchance, hereafter shall think meet
know aught of me: this not to do,
[They kiss the Hilt of Hamlet's Sword.
O cursed spite,
A Room in POLONIUS'
Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDO.
Pol. Give him this money and these notes, Reynaldo.
Poi. You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
My lord, I did intend it.
24 This has been taken as proving that Hamlet's “antic disposition ” is merely assumed for a special purpose. But our ripest experts in the matter are far from regarding it so. They tell us that veritable madmen are sometimes inscrutably cunning in arts for disguising their state; saying, in effect, “ To be sure, you may find me acting rather strangely at times, but you must not think me crazy; I know what I am about, and have a purpose in it." 1 Dansker is Dane; Dansk being the ancient name of Denmark.
And how, and who; what means, and where they keep,'
do you mark this, Reynaldo ? Rey. Ay, very well, my lord.
Pol. And in part him ; but, you may say, not wel:
may dishonour him, take heed of that;
As gaming, my lord ?
Rey. My lord, that would dishonour him.
. 'Faith, no; as you may season it in the charge.
But, my good lord,
Pol. Marry, sir, here's my drift;
2 The Poet repeatedly has keep in the sense of lodge or dwell. See page 267, note 22.
3 Quaintly, from the Latin comptus, properly means elegantly, but is here used in the sense of adroitly or ingeniously. See page 121, note 2.
4 A wildness of untamed blood, such as youth is generally assailed by.
5 “A fetch of warrant” seems to mean an allowable stratagem or artifice.
6 Having at any time seen the youth you spack of guilty in the forenumed
He closes with you
in this consequence :
Very good, my lord. Pol. And then, sir, does he this, -- he does what was I about to say ? - By the Mass,' I was about to say something :
- where did I leave?
Rey. At, closes in the consequence,
Pol. At closes in the consequence, -ay, marry;
Pol. And let him ply his music. 11 vices. “ Closes with you in this consequence means, apparently, agrees with you in this conclusion. – Addition again for title.
7 Mass is the old name of the Lord's Supper, and is still used by the Roman Catholics. It was often sworn by, as in this instance. —
- As marry occurs several times here, it may be well to remark that this use of the word grew from the custom of swearing by Saint Mary the Virgin.
8 The shrewd old wire-puller is fond of angling arts. The carp is a species of fish.
9 “Of wisdom and of reach is here equivalent to by cunning and overreaching.– Windlaces is here used in the sense of taking a winding, circuitous, or round-about course to a thing, instead of going directly to it; or, as we sometimes say, “ beating about the bush,” instead of coming straight to the point. This is shown by a late writer in the Edinburgh Review, who quotes two passages in illustration of it from Golding's translation of 'Ovid, which is known to have been one of the Poet's books. Here is one of the quotations:
“The winged god, beholding them returning in a troupe,
And fetch'd a windlass round about.” “ Assays of bias " are trials of inclination. A bias is a weight in one side of a ball, which keeps it from rolling straight to the mark, as in ninepins.
10 Use your own eyes and judgment upon him, as well as learn from others.
11 Eye him sharply, but do it slyly, and let him fiddle his secrets all
Rey. Well, my lord.
[Exit REYNALDO. Enter OPHELIA.
How now, Ophelia! what's the mattor ?
Oph. My lord, as I was sewing in my chamber,
Pol. Mad for thy love?
My lord, I do not know ;
What said he?
a little shaking of mine arm,
Pol. Come, go with me: I will go seek the King.
12 Unbrac'd is the same as our unbuttoned. So used twice in Julius Cæsar.
13 Hanging down like the loose cincture which confines the fetters or gyves round the alikles.
14 Bulk is breast. “The bulke or breast of a man, Thorax, la poitrine.” BARET.
15 Fordo was the same as undo or destroy. — Ecstasy occurs several times in this play for madness. Such was the more common meaning of the word in Shakespeare's time; though it was also used for any violent working of the mind.
That does afflict our natures. I am sorry,
Oph. No, my good lord; but, as you did command,
That hath made him mad.
that with better heed and judgment I had not quoted him : 16 I fear'd he did but trifle, And meant to wreck thee; but, beshrew my jealousy ! 17 By Heaven, it is as proper to our age To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions, As it is common for the younger sort To lack discretion.1 Come, go we to the King : This must be known ; which, being kept close, might move More grief to hide than hate to utter love.19 [Exeunt.
SCENE II. The Same. A Room in the Castle.
Enter the KING, the QUEEN, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN,
rest here in our Court
16 To quote is to note, to mark, or observe.
17 In this admirable scene, Polonius, who is throughout the skeleton of bis own former skill in state-craft, hunts the trail of policy at a dead scent, supplied by the weak fever-smell in his own nostrils. - COLERIDGE.
is We old men are as apt to overreach ourselves with our own policy, as the young are to miscarry through inconsideration.
19 The sense is rather obscure, but appears to be, - By keeping Hamlet's love secret, we may cause more of grief to others, than of hatred on his part by disclosing it. The Poet sometimes goes out of his way to close a scene with a rhyme.
1 I do not recollect another instance of moreover that used in this way. It means the same as besides that.