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Guil. My lord, I cannot.
Ham. 'Tis as easy as lying : govern these ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your mouth, and it will discourse most eloquent musick. Look you, these are the stops.
Guil. But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.
Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me. You would play upon me; you would seen to know my stops ; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass: and there is much musick, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. S'blood, do you think, I am easier to be played on than a pipe ? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a camel?
Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by.-
[Exit POLONIUS. Ham. By and by is easily said.-Leave me, friends.
[Exeunt Ros. Guil. Hor. &c. ventages] The boles of a Aute,
They fool me to the top of my bent.] i. e. As far as the bow will admit of being bent without breaking. -Douce.
'Tis now the very witching time of night;
A Room in the same.
Enter King, RosENCRANTZ, and GuildENSTERN.
King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,
Guil. We will ourselves provide:
Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
be shent,] i. e. Reproved harshly. " To give them seals-] i. e. Put them in execution.—WARBURTON. m Out of his lunes.] i.e. His madness, frency.
Fix'd on the summit of the highest mount,
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
We will haste us.
Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet : Behind the arras I'll convey myself," To hear the process; I'll warrant, she'll tax him home: And, as you said, and wisely was it said, "Tis meet, that some more audience, than a mother, Since nature makes them partial, should o'erhear The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege: I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know. King.
Thanks, dear my lord.
[Exit POLONIUS. O, my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal eldest curse upon't, A brother's murder!--Pray can I not, Though inclination be as sharp as will ;P My stronger guilt defeats my strong intent; And, like a man to double business bound, I stand in pause where I shall first begin, And both neglect. What if this cursed band Were thicker than itself with brother's blood ?
Behind the arras I'll convey myself,] The arras hangings in Shakspeare's time, were hung at such a distance from the walls, that a person might easily stand behind them unperceived.--Malone.
- of vantage.] By some opportunity of secret observation.- War. 9 Though inclination be as sharp as will ;] What the king means to say, is, “ That though he was not only willing to pray, but strongly inclined to it, yet his intention was defeated by his guilt.-M. Mason. VOL. VIII.
Is there not rain enough in the sweet heavens,
[Retires, and kneels.
9 May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence?) He that does not amend what can be amended, retains his offence. The king kept the crown froin the right heir.-Johnson.
r Yet what can it, when one can not repent?] What can repentance do for a man thut cunnot be penitent, for a man who has only part of penitence, distress of conscience, without the other part, resolution of amendment ?-Johnson.
limed,] i. e. Entangled. The allusion is to bird-lime.--STEEPINS.
That would be scann'd!] i. e. That should be considered, estimated. STEEVENS.
A villain kills my father; and, for that,
The King rises, and advances.
Another Room in the same.
Enter Queen and POLONIUS. Pol. He will come straight. Look, you lay home to him: Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear with; And that your grace hath screen’d and stood between
hent,) i. e. Hold, opportunity.-Nares. * As hell, whereto it goes.] This speech, in which Hamlet, represented as a virtuous character, is not content with taking blood for blood, but contrives damnation for the man he would punish, is too horrible to be read or to be uttered.—Johnson.
This speech of Hamlet's, as Johnson observes, is horrible indeed; yet some moral may be extracted from it, as all his subsequent calamities were owing to this savage refinement of revenge.-M. Mason.