Page images
PDF
EPUB

1 Clo. Of all the days i'the year, I came to't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.

Ham. How long's that since ?

1 Clo. Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that : It was that very day that young Hamlet was born : 5 he that is mad, and sent into England.

Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England ?

1 Clo. Why, because he was mad : he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.

Ham. Why?

1 Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there ; there the men are as mad as he.

Ham. How came he mad ?
1 Clo. Very strangely, they say.
Ham. How strangely?
1 Clo. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits.
Ham. Upon what ground ?

1 Clo. Why, here in Denmark; I have been sexton here, man, and boy, thirty years.

Ham. How long will a man lie i'the earth ere he rot?

1 Clo. 'Faith, if he be not rotten before he die, (as we have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce hold the laying in,) he will last you some eight year, or nine year ; a tanner will last you nine year.

Ham. Why he more than another?

1 Clo. Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while ; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body Here's a scull now hath lain you i'the earth three-andtwenty years.

Ham. Whose was it?

1 Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was; Whose do you think it was ?

Ham. Nay, I know not.

1 Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue ! he poured a fagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same scull, sir, was Yorick's scull, the king's jester. Ham. This ?

[Takes the scull. 1 Clo. E'eo that.

Ham. Alas, poor Yorick ! I knew him, Horatio ; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy : he hath borne me on his back a thousand times ; and now, how

[5] By this scene it appears that Hamlet was then thirty years old, and knew Yorick well, who had been dead twenty two years. And yet in the beginning of the play he is spoken of as a very young man, one that designed to go back to school, i. e. the University of Wittenberg. The Poet in the fifth act forgot what he wrote in the first. BLACKSTONE.

abhorred in my imagination it is ! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips, that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols ? your songs ? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar ? not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen ? now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come ; make her laugh at that.Priythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.

Hor. What's that, my lord ?

Ham Dost thou think, Alexander looked o'this fashion i'the earth?

Hor. E'en so.
Ham. And smelt so? pah ! [Throws down the scull.
Hor. E'en so, my lord.

Ham. To what base uses we may return, Horatio ! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bung-hole ?

Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.

Ham. No, 'faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it : As thus ; Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust ; the dust is earth ; of earth we make loam : And why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel ?

Imperious Cæsar, dead, and turn'd to clay,
Might stop a hole to keep the wind away :
0, that the earth, which kept the world in awe,

Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw !
But soft! but soft ! aside ;-Here comes the king,
Enter Priests, &c. in procession ; the Corpse of Ophelia, LA-

ERTES and Mourners following ; King, Queen, their Trains,

Esc.
The queen, the courtiers : Who is this they follow ?
And with such maimed rites !6 This doth betoken,

The corse, they follow, did with desperate hand
Fordo its own life. 'Twas of some estate : 7
Couch we a while, and mark. [Retiring with HOR.

Laer. What ceremony else ?

Ham. That is Laertes,
A very noble youth: Mark.

Laer. What ceremony else:
1 Priest. Her obsequies have been as far enlarg’d
[6] Imperfect obsequies. [7] Some person of high rank. JOHNSON,

25 VOL. VIII.

As we have warranty : Her death was doubtful;
And, but that great command o'ersways the order,
She should in ground unsanctified have lodg'd
Till the last trumpet ; for charitable prayers,
Shards, 8 Aints, and pebbles, should be thrown on her :
Yet here she is allow'd her virgin crants, 9
Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial.”

Laer. Must there no more be done ?

1 Priest. No more be done !
We should profane the service of the dead,
To sing a requiem,and such rest to her
As to peace-parted souls.

Laer, Lay her i'the earth ;-
And from her fair and unpolluted flesh
May violets spring !- I tell thee, churlish priest,
A minist'ring angel shall my sister be,
When thou liest howling.

Ham. What, the fair Ophelia !
Queen. Sweets to the sweet : Farewell !

[Scattering flowers.
I hop'd, thou should'st have been my Hamlet's wife ;
I thought, thy bride-bed to have deck'd, sweet maid,
And not have strew'd thy grave.

Laer. O, treble woe
Fall ten times treble on that cursed head,
Whose wicked deed thy most ingenious sense
Depriv'd thee of !-Hold off the earth a while,
Till I have caught her once more in mine arms :

(Leaps into the grave.
Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead ;
Till of this flat a mountain you have made,
To o'er-top old Pelion, or the skyish head
Of blue Olympus.

Ham. [Advancing.) What is he, whose grief Bears such an emphasis ? whose phrase of sorrow Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand

[8] Broken pots, or tiles, called pot-sherds, tile-sherds. So, io Job ii. &.

And he took him a potsherd (i. e. a piece of a broken pot) to scrape himself withal.” RITSON.

[9] I have been informed by an anonymous correspondent, that crants is the German word for garlands, and I suppose it was retained by us from the Saxons. To carry garlands before the bier of a maiden, and to hang them over her grave, is still the practice in rural parishes. JOHNSON.

[1] Burial, here signifies interinent in consecrated ground. WARB.

[X] A requiem is a mass performed in Popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased. STEEVENS.

Like wonder-wounded hearers ? this is I,
Hamlet the Dane.

(Leaps into the grave. Laer. The devil take thy soul ! [Grappling wiih him.

Ham. Thou pray'st not well.
I pr’ythee, take thy fingers from my throat;
For, though I am not splenetive and rash,
Yet have I in me something dangerous,
Which let thy wisdom fear : Hold off thy hand.

King. Pluck them asunder.
Queen. Hamlet, Hamlet !
All. Gentlemen,-
Hor. Good my lord, be quiet.

[The Attendants part them, and they come

out of the grave. Ham. Why, I will fight with him upon this theme, Until my eyelids will no longer wag.

Queen. O my son ! what theme?

Ham. I lov'd Ophelia ; forty thousand brothers
Could not, with all their quantity of love
Make up my sum.- What wilt thou do for her?

King. O, he is mad, Laertes.
Queen. For love of God, forbear him.
Ham. 'Zounds, show me what thou'lt do :
Woul't weep? woul't fight ? woul't fast! woul't tear

thyself?
Woul't drink up Esil ?3 eat a crocodile ?
I'll do't.-Dost thou come here to whine ?
To outface me with leaping in her grave?
Be buried quick with her, and so will I:
And, if thou prate of mountains, let them throw
Millions of acres on us ; till our ground,
Singeing his pate against the burning zone,
Make Ossa like a wart ! Nay, an thou’lt mouth,
I'll rant as well as thou.

Queen. This is mere madness :
And thus a while the fit will work on him ;
Anon, as patient as the female dove,
When that her golden couplets are disclos’d, 4
His silence will sit drooping.

Ham. Hear you, sir ;

t

[3] Weisel is a considerable river which falls into the Baltic ocean.

STEEVENS, [4] The young nestlings of the pigeon, when first disclosed, are callow, only covered with a yellow down : and for that reason stand in need of be. ing cherished by the warmth of the hen, to protect them from the chillness of the ambient air, for a considerable time after they are hatched. HEATH.

What is the reason that you use me thus !
I lov'd you ever : But it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, and dog will have his day. (Exit.
King. I pray you, good #oratio, wait upon him.-

[Exit Hor. Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech ;

[TO LAERTES, We'll put the matter to the present push.. Good Gertrude, set some watch over your son.This grave shall have a living monument : An hour of quiet shortly shall we see ; Till then, in patience our proceeding be. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. A Hall in the Castle. Enter HAMLET and HORATIO. Ham. So much for this, sir : now shall you see the

other ;You do remember all the circumstance ?

Hor. Remember it, my lord !

Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting; That would not let me sleep : methought, I lay Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. 4 Rasbly, And prais'd be rashness for it, -Let us know, Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well, When our deep plots do pall : and that should teach dem There's a divinity that shapes our ends, Rough-hew them how we will.5

Hor. That is most certain.

Ham. Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about ine, in the dark
Grop'd I to find out them : had my desire ;
Finger'd their packet; and, in fine, withdrew
To mine own room again: making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal

[4] Mutines-the French word for seditious or disobedient fellows in the army or feet. Bilboes--the ship's prison. JOHNSON. See Illustrations.

(5) Hamlet, delivering an account of his escape, begins with saying, That he rashly-and then is carried into a reflection upon the weakness of hu. man wisdom. I rashly praised be rashness for it-Let us not think these events casual, but let us know, take notice and remeinber, that we some. times succeed by indiscretion, when we fail by deep plots, and infer the perpetual superintendance and agency of the Divinity. The observation is jusi, and will be allowed by every human being, who sball reflect on the course of his own life. JOHNSON

« PreviousContinue »