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Elsinore. A Room in the Castle.
Enter Queen and Horatio.
Queen. I will not speak with her.
Hor. She is importunate; indeed, distract;
What would she have ? Hor. She speaks much of her father; says, she hears, There's tricks i'the world, and hems, and beats her
heart; Spurns enviously at straws; speaks things in doubt, That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing, Yet the unshaped use of it doth move The hearers to collection ;h they aim' at it, And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts ; Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures yield them, Indeed would make one think, there might be thought, Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.k Queen. 'Twere good, she were spoken with ; for she
may strew Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds: Let her come in.
[Exit HORATIO. To my
sick soul, as sin's true nature is,
Re-enter HORATIO, with Ophelia.
enviously-] i, e. Angrily, indignantly. -- NARES. Envy is much oftener put by our poet (and those of his time) for direct aversion, than for malignity conceived at the sight of another's excellence or happiness.--STEEVENS.
to collection ;] i. e. To endeavour to collect some menning from them.-M. MASON.
aim“) i.e. Guess.
- unhappily.] i. e. Mischievously. 1 The stage direction of the quarto, 1603, is, “ Enter Ophelia, playing on a lute, and her haire down, singing.”
Oph. How should I your true love known
From another one?
[Singing Queen. Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song? Oph. Say you ? nay, pray you, mark. He is dead and gone, lady,
[Sings. He is dead and
At his heels a stone.
Queen. Nay, but Ophelia,
Pray you, mark.
White his shroud as the mountain snow,
go, With true-love showers.
King. How do you, pretty lady?
Oph. Well, God’ield you !They say, the owl was a baker's daughter. P Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table!
m How should I your true love, &c.] There is no part of this play in its representation on the stage, more pathetick than this scene; which, I suppose, proceeds from the utter insensibility Ophelia has to her own misfortunes.
A great sensibility, or none at all, seems to produce the same effect. In the latter the audience supply what she wants, and with the former they sympathize.-Sir J. REYNOLDS. n By his cockle liat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.) This is the description of a pilgrim. While this kind of devotion was in favour, love intrigues were carried on under that mask. Hence the old ballads and novels made pilgrimages the subjects of their plots. The cockle-shell hat was one of the essential badges of this vocation : for the chief places of devotion being beyond sea, or on the coasts, the pilgrims were accustomed to put cockle-shells upon their hats, to denote the intention or performance of their devotion.-WARBURTON.
God'ield you !) i, e. Heaven reward you!
the owl was a baker's daughter.] This refers to a story common in Gloucestershire, and is thus related :-"Our Saviour went into a baker's shop
King. Conceit upon her father.
Oph. Pray, let us have no words of this; but when they ask you what it means, say you this :
Good morrow, 'tis Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
To be your Valentine:
And dupp'd' the chamber door;
Never departed more.
By Gis,' and by Saint Charity,'
Alack, and fye for shame!
By cock," they are to blame.
An thou hadst not come to my bed.
Oph. I hope, all will be well. We must be patient: where they were baking, and asked for some bread to eat. The mistress of the shop immediately put a piece of dough into the oven to bake for him ; but was reprimanded by her daughter, who insisting that the piece of dough was too large, reduced it to a very small size. The dough, however, immediately afterwards began to swell, and presently became of a most enormous size. Whereupon, the baker's daughter cried out, “Heugh, heugh, heugh,' which owl-like noise probably induced our Saviour for her wickedness to transform her into that bird." This story is often related to children, in order to deter them from such illiberal behaviour to poor people.- Douce.
don'd-) i.e. Put on.
dupp'd-- ) i. e. Opened. To dup, from to do up; to lift the latch. * By Gis,] Doubtless a corrupt abbrevition of, By Jesus; but I should imagine rather from the word itself, than, as Dr. Ridley supposes, from the initials 1. H.S. inscribed on altars, books, &c.—Nares' Glossary.
i- by Saint Charity,] Saint Charity is a saint among the Roman Catholicks.-STELVENS.
By cock,] This is a corruption of the sacred name.-STEEVENS.
but I cannot choose but weep, to think, they should lay him i'the cold ground : My brother shall know of it, and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies ; good night, sweet ladies; good night, good night.
[Exit. King. Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
[Exit HORATIO. O! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs All from her father's death: and now behold, O Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions ! First, her father slain; Next, your son gone; and he most violent author Of his own just remove: The people muddied, Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and whispers, For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly," In hugger-mugger to inter him :) Poor Ophelia Divided from herself, and her fair judgment; Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts. Last, and as much containing as all these, Her brother is in secret come from France : Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds, And wants not buzzers to infect his ear With pestilent speeches of his father's death; Wherein necessity of matter beggar'd, Will nothing stick our person to arraign In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this, Like to a murdering piece,a in many places Gives me superfluous death.
[A Noise within. greenly,] i. e. Unskilfully; with greenness; that is, without maturity of judgment.--Johnson.
y In hugger-mugger to inter him:] All the modern editions that I have consulted, give it :
In private to inter him ;That the words now replaced are better, I do not undertake to prove; it is sufficient that they are Shakspeare's: if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by disuse, or gross by vulgarity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and, as these alterations will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning.-Johnson.
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,] i.e. In which pestilent speeches, necessity, or the obligation of an accuser to support his charge, will nothing stick, &c. ---Jouxson. Queen. .
* Like to u murdering piece,] The small cannon, which are, or were used in the forecastle, half-deck, or steerage of a ship of war, were within the last century called murdering-pieces.-MALONE.
Alack! what noise is this?
Enter a Gentleman.
Save yourself, my lord :
Queen. How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
Enter Laertes, armed; Danes following. Laer. Where is this king?—Sirs, stand you all without. Dan. No, let's come in. Laer.
pray you, give me leave. Dan. We will, we will. [They retire without the Door. Laer. I thank you :-keep the door.-0 thou vile
king, Give me my father. Queen.
Calmly, good Laertes. Laer. That drop of blood, that's calm, proclaims me
bastard; Cries, cuckold, to my father; brands the harlot
- my Switzers ?! In many of our old plays, the guards attendant on kings are called Switzers, and that without any regard to the country where the scene lies, because the Swiss in the time of our poet, as at present, were hired to fight the battles of other nations.—Reed and Malone.
list,] i.e. Boundary. The ratifiers and props of every word,] i. e. Of every word addressed to them by Laertes. e , this is counter,] Hounds run counter when they trace the trail backwards.