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[Exit LAER. Pol. What is 't, Ophelia, he hath said to you? Oph. So please you, something touching the lord Ham
Oph. He hath, my lord, of late, made many tenders Of his affection to me.
Pol. Affection ? puh! you speak like a green girl,
you believe his tenders, as you call them?
Pol. Marry, I 'll teach you think yourself a baby ; That you have ta’en these tenders for true pay, Which are not sterling. Tender yourself more dearly; Or (not to crack the wind of the poor phrase, Wronging it thus, you 'll tender me å fool.
your counsels are as sure of remaining locked up in my memory, as if yourself carried the key of it. So, in Northward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607: “ You shall close it up like a treasure of your own, and yourself shall keep the key of it.” Steevens.
5 Unsifted in such perilous circumstance.] Unsifted for untried. Untried signifies either not tempted, or not refined ; unsifted signi. fies the latter only, though the sense requires the former.
Warburton. It means, I believe, one who has not sufficiently considered, or thoroughly sifted such matters. M. Mason.
I do not think that the sense requires us to understand untempted. “ Unsifted in,” &c. means, I think, one who has not nicely canvassed and examined the peril of her situation. Malone.
That sifted means tempted, may be seen in the 31st verse of the 22d chapter of St. Luke's gospel. Harris.
Tender yourself more dearly;
Wronging it thus,) you ’li tender me a fool.] The parenthesis is closed at the wrong place; and we must have likewise a slight correction in the last verse. [Wringing it, &c.] Polonius is racking
Oph. My lord, he hath impórtun'd me with love,
Pol. Ay, fashion you may call it;' go to, go to.
Pol. Ay, springes to catch woodcocks.8 I do know, When the blood burns, how prodigal the soul Lends the tongue vows: these blazes, daughter,
and playing on the word tender, till he thinks proper to correct himself for the licence; and then he would say-not farther to crack the wind of the phrase, by twisting it and contorting it, as I have done. Warburton.
I believe the word wronging has reference, not to the phrase, but to Ophelia; if you go on wronging it thus, that is, if you continue to go on thus wrong. This is a mode of speaking perhaps not very grammatical, but very common; nor have the best writers refused it.
“ To sinner it, or saint it," is in Pope. And Rowe,
Thus to coy it, “ With one who knows you too." The folio has it-Roaming it thus. That is, letting yourself loose to such improper liberty. But wronging seems to be more proper.
Johnson. I have followed the punctuation of the first quarto, 1604, where the parenthesis is extended to the word thus, to which word the context in my apprehension clearly shows should be carried. “ Or (not to crack the wind of the poor plırase, playing upon it, and abusing it thus,") &c. So, in The Rape of Lucrece:
wronger, till he render right.” The quarto, by the mistake of the compositor, reads-Wrong it thus. The correction was made by Mr. Pope.
Tender yourself more dearly;] To tender is to regard with affection. So, in King Richard II:
And so betide me,
if you account us for the same
fashion you may call it;] She uses fashion for manner, and he for a transient practice. Fohnson.
-springes to catch woodcocks,] A proverbial saying, “Every woman has a springe to catch a woodcock.” Steevens.
these blazes, daughter,] Some epithet to blazes was pro. bably omitted, by the carelessness of the transcriber or composi
Giving more light than heat-extinct in both,
tor, in the first quarto, in consequence of which the metre is defective. Malone.
1 Set your entreatments -] Entreatments here mean company, conversation, from the French entrétien. Johnson. & Entreatments, I rather think, means the objects of entreaty; the favours for which lovers sue. In the next scene we have a word of a similar formation:
“ As if it some impartment did desire,” &c. Malone.
larger tether-) A string to tie horses. Pope. Tether is that string by which an animal, set to graze in grounds uninclosed, is confined within the proper limits. Johnson.
So, in Greene's Card of Fancy, 1601:-" To tie the ape and the bear in one tedder.” Tether is a string by which any animal is fastened, whether for the sake of feeding or the air. Steegens.
3 Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers -] A broker in old English meant a bawd or pimp. See the Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil. So, in King John:
“ This bawd, this broker," &c. See also, Vol. XII, p. 196, n. 1. In our author's Lover's Como plaint we again meet with the same expression, applied in the same manner:
“ Know, vows are ever brokers to defiling." Malone. • Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds,] On which the edi, tor, Mr. Theobald, remarks, Though all the editors have swallowed this reading implicitly, it is certainly corrupt; and I have been surprized how men of genius and learning cou it pass without some suspicion. What idea can we frame to ourselves of a breathing bond, or of its being sanctified and pious, &c. But he was too hasty in framing ideas before he understood those already framed by the poet, and expressed in very plain words. Do not believe (says Polonius to his daughter) Hamlet's amorous vows made to you; which pretend religion in then, (the better to beguile) like those
The better to beguile. This is for all,
so non Oph. I shall obey, my lord.
sanctified and pious vows [or bonds) made to heaven. And why should not this pass without suspicion? Warburton.
Theobald for bonds substitutes bawds. Johnson.
Notwithstanding Warburton's elaborate explanation of this passage, I have not the least doubt but Theobald is right, and that we ought to read bawds instead of bonds. Indeed the present reading is little better than nonsense.
Polonius had called Hamlet's vows, brokers, but two lines be. fore, a synonymous word to bawds, and the very title that Shak. speare gives to Pandarus, in his Troilus and Cressida. The words implorators of unholy suits, are an exact description of a bawd; and all such of them as are crafty in their trade, put on the appearance of sanctity, and are “not of that die which their invest. ments show.” M. Mason.
The old reading is undoubtedly the true one. Do not, says Po. lonius, believe his vows, for they are merely uttered for the pur. pose of persuading you to yield to a criminal passion, though they appear only the genuine effusions of a pure and lawful affection, and assume the semblance of those sacred engagements entered into at the altar of wedlock. The bonds here in our poet's thoughts were bonds of love. So, in his 142d Sonnet:
those lips of thine,
“ And seald false bonds of love, as oft as mine." Again, in The Merchant of Venice:
“ O, ten times faster Venus' pigeons fly,
“ To keep obliged faith unforfeited.” “ Sanctified and pious bonds,” are the true bonds of love, or, as our poet has elsewhere expressed it:
“ A contract and eternal bond of love." Dr. Warburton certainly misunderstood this passage; and when he triumphantly asks “may not this pass without suspi. cion ?” if he means his own comment, the answer is, because it is not perfectly accurate. Malone.
5 I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth,
Have you so slander any moment's leisure,] Polonius says, in plain terms, that is, not in language less elevated or embellished than before, but in terms that cannot be misunderstood: I would not have you so disgrace your most idle moments, as not to find better employment for them than lord Hamlet's conversation. Fohnson.
I think, it lacks of twelve.
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
rouse, Keeps wassel, and the swaggering up-spring reels;
an eager air,] That is, a sharp air, aigre, Fr. So, in a subsequent scene:
“ And curd, like eager droppings into milk.” Malone.
takes his rouse,] A rouse is a large dose of liquor, a debauch. So, in Othello :“ - they have given me a rouse already.” It should seem from the following passage in Decker's Gul's Hornbook, 1609, that the word rouse was of Danish extraction : " Teach me, thou soveraigne skinker, how to take the German's upsy freeze, the Danish rousa, the Switzer's stoop of rhenish,” &c.
Steevens. 8 Keeps wassel,] See Vol, VII. p. 74, n. 8. Again, in The Hog hath lost his Pearl, 1614:
“ By Croesus name and ly his castle,
“ Where winter nights he keepeth wassel.” i. e. devotes his nights to jollity. Steevens. the swaggering up-spring - ] The blustering upstart.
Fohnson. It appears from the following passage, in Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany, by Chapman, that the up-spring was a German dance:
“ We Germans have no changes in our dances;
“ An almain and an up-spring, that is all.” Spring was anciently the name of a tune: so in Beaumont and Fletcher's Prophetess :
we will meet him, “ And strike him such new springs This word is used by G. Douglas in his translation of Virgil, and, I think, by Chaucer. Again, in an old Scots proverb: “ Another would play a spring, ere you tune your pipes.” Steevens.