« PreviousContinue »
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn’d,
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
Mar. Look, with what courteous action
cap. vii :
“ Thy sea within a puddle's womb is hearsed,
- quietly in-urn’d,] The quartos read-interrd. Steeriens. 7 That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,] Thus also is the adjective complete accented by Chapman in his version of the fifth Iliad :
“ And made his complete armour cast a far more complete light." Again, in the nineteenth Iliad:
“ Grave silence strook the complete court." It is probable, that Shakspeare introduced his Ghost in armour, that it might appear more solemn by such a discrimination from the other characters; though it was really the custom of the Danish kings to be buried in that manner. Vide Olaus Wormius,
Struem regi nec vestibus, nec odoribus cumulant, sua cuique arma, quorundam igni et equus adjicitur.”
sed postquam magnanimus ille Danorum rex collem sibi magnitudinis conspicuæ extruxisset, (cui post obitum regio diademate exornatum, armis indutum, inferendum esset cadaver," &c. Steevens.
we fools of nature,] The expression is fine, as intimating we were only kept (as formerly, fools in a great family,) to make sport for nature, who lay hid only to mock and laugh at us, our vain searches into her mysteries. Warburton.
we fools of nature,] i. e. making us, who are the sport of nature, whose mysterious operations are beyond the reaches of our souls, &c. So, in Romeo and Juliet :
“O, I am fortune's fool.” Malone.
fools of nature,] This phrase is used by Davenant, in the Cruel Brother, 1630, Act V, sc. i. Reed.
to shake our disposition,] Disposition for frame. Warburton. 1- a more removed ground:] i. e. remote. So, io A Midsummer Night's Dream:
But do not go with it.
No, by no means.
Why, what should be the fear?
Hor. What, if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord, Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff, That beetles o'er his base3 into the sea? And there assume some other horrible form, Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,
“ From Athens is her house remoo'd seven leagues.” The first folio reads-remote. Steevens.
3-pin's fee;] The value of a pin. Johnson.
3 That beetles o'er his base - ] So, in Sidney's Arcadia, B. I: “ Hills lifted up their beetle-brows, as if they would overlooke the pleasantnesse of their under prospect.” Steevens.
That beetles o'er his base -] That hangs o'er his base, like what is called a beetle-brow. This verb is, I believe, of our au. thor's coinage. Malone.
4-deprive your sovereignty of reason,] i. e. your ruling power of reason. When poets wish to invest any quality or virtue with uncommon splendor, they do it by some allusion to regal eminence. Thus, among the excellencies of Banquo's character, our author distinguishes “ his royalty of nature,” i. e. his natural superiority over others, his independent dignity of mind. I have selected this instance to explain the former, because I am told that “ royalty of nature" has been idly supposed to bear some al. lusion to Banquo's distant prospect of the crown.
To deprive your sovereignty of reason, therefore, does not sig. nify, to deprive your princely mind of rational powers, but, to take away from you the command of reason, by which man is governed. So, in Chapman's version of the first Iliad:
I come from heaven to see “ Thy anger settled: if thy soul will use her soveraigntic
“ In fit reflection.” Dr. Warburton would read deprave ; but several proofs are given in a note to King Lear, Act I, sc. ii, Vol. XIV, of Shakspeare's use of the word deprive, which is the true reading. Steevens. I believe, deprive in this place signifies simply to take away.
And draw you into madness? think of it:
It waves me still:
I'll follow thee.
Hold off your hands.
My fate cries out, And makes each petty artery in this body As hardy as the Némean lion's nerve.?-[Ghost beckons. Still am I call’d; unhand me, gentlemen ;
[Breaking from them. By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me:8. I say, away :-Go on, I'll follow thee.
[Exeunt Ghost and Ham. Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. Mar. Let's follow ; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. Hor. Have after:-To what issue will this come?
8 The very place --] The four following lines added from the first edition. Pope.
puts toys of desperation,] Toys, for whims. Warburton. 7 As hardy as the Némean lion's nerve.] Shakspeare has again accented the word Nemean in this manner, in Love's Labour's Lost :
" Thus dost thou hear the Némean lion roar." Spenser, however, wrote Neméan, Fairy Queen, B. V, c. i :
“ Into the great Neméan lion's grove.' Our poet's conforming in this instance to the Latin prosody was certainly accidental, for he, and almost all the poets of his time, disregarded the quantity of Latin names. So, in Locrine, 1595, (though undoubtedly the production of a scholar) we have Amphion instead of Amphion, &c. See also, p. 29, n. 5.
Malone. The true quantity of this word was rendered obvious to Shakspeare by Twine's translation of part of the Æneid, and Golding's version of Ovid's Metamorphoses. Steevens.
8-that lets me:] To let among our old authors signifies to prevent, to hinder. It is still a word current in the law, and to be found in almost all leases. Steevens. So, in No Wit like a Woman's, a comedy, by Middleton, 1657: “ That lets her not to be your daughter now."
Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
Nay, let 's follow him.
[Exeunt. SCENE V.
A more remote Part of the Platform.
Re-enter Ghost and HAMLET. Ham. Whither wilt thou lead me ? speak, I'll go no
further. Ghost. Mark me. Ham.
I will. Ghost.
My hour is almost come,
Alas, poor ghost !
Speak, I am bound to hear. Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear. Ham. What ?
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit;
Heaven will direct it.] Perhaps it may be more apposite to read, “ Heaven will detect it.” Farmer.
Marcellus answers Horatio's question, “ To what issue will this come?" and Horatio also answers it himself with a pious resignation, “ Heaven will direct it.” Blackstone. 1 Doom'd for a certain time to walk the night ;
And, for the day, confin’d to fast in fires, ] Chaucer has a simi. lar passage with regard to the punishments of hell, Parson's Tale, p. 193, Mr. Urry's edition : • And moreover the misese of hell, shall be in defaute of mete and drinke.” Smith.
Nash, in his Pierce Penniless his Supplication to the Devil, 1595, has the same idea : “ Whether it be a place of horror, stench and darkness, where men see meat, but can get none, and are ever thirsty,” &c. Before I had read the Persones Tale of Chaucer, I supposed that he meant rather to drop a stroke of satire on sacerdotal luxury, than to give a serious account of the place of future torment. Chaucer, however, is as grave as Shakspeare, So, likewise at the conclusion of an ancient pamphlet called The Wyll of the Dewyll, bl. 1. no date :
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
“ Thou shalt lye in frost and fire
“ With sicknesse and hunger;" &c. Again, in Love's Labour's Lost :
" love's fasting pain.” It is observable, that in the statutes of our religious houses, most of the punishments affect the diet of the offenders.
But for the foregoing examples, I should have supposed we ought to read~" confin'd to waste in fires.” Steevens.
This passage requires no amendment. As spirits were supposed to feel the same desires and appetites that they had on earth, to fast might be considered as one of the punishments inflicted on the wicked. M. Mason.
2 Are burnt and purg'd away.] Gawin Douglas really changes the Platonic hell into the “punytion of saulis in purgatory :" and it is observable, that when the Ghost informs Hamlet of his doom there
“ Till the foul crimes done in his days of nature
" Are burnt and purg'd away."The expression is very similar to the Bishop's. I will give you his version as concisely as I can: “ It is a nedeful thyng to suffer panis and torment;Sum in the wyndis, sum under the watter, and in the fire uthir sum: thus the mony vices
Contrakkit in the corpis be done away “ And purgit." Sixte Book of Eneados, fol. p. 191.
Farmer. Shakspeare might have found this expression in The Hystorie of Hamlet, bl. I. F. 2, edit. 1608: “ He set fire in the foure cor. ners of the hal, in such sort, that of all that were as then there. in not one escaped away, but were forced to purge their sinnes by fire.” Malone.
Shakspeare talks more like a Papist, than a Platonist; but the language of Bishop Douglas is that of a good Protestant:
Thus the mony vices
" And purgit.” These are the very words of our Liturgy, in the commendatory prayer for a sick person at the point of departure, in the office for the visitation of the sick:-"Whatsoever defilements it may have contracted-being purged and done away." Whalley.
3 Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres ;] So, in our poet's 108th Sonnet:
* How have mine eyes out of their spheres been fitted,