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Lay

Her maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Of bell and burial 4.

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 minst’ring angel shall my sister be, When thou liest howling. Нам.

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 awhile,

* First folio, t'have.

upon it ; and neither genius nor practice will always supply a hasty writer with the most proper diction. Johnson.

In Minsheu's Dictionary, see Beades, where roosen krants means sertum rosarium ; and such is the name of a character in this play. TOLLET.

The names-Rosenkrantz and Gyldenstiern occur frequently in Rostgaard's Deliciæ Poetarum Danorum. Steevens.

4 — bell and BURIAL.] Burial here signifies interment in consecrated ground. WARBURTON.

; To sing a Requiem.] A requiem is a mass performed in Popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased. The folio reads-sing sage requiem. Steevens. 6 - from her fair and unpolluted flesh May violets spring !) Thus, Persius, Sat. I. :

e tumulo, fortunataque favilla, Nascentur violæ ? STEBVENS.

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

[Leaps into the Grave. LAER. . The devil take thy soul !

[Grappling with 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 of fear : Hold off thy hand .

King. Pluck them asunder.
QUEEN.

Hamlet, Hamlet !
All?. Gentlemen, -

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:

Hor.

* First folio, Sir.
| First folio, away thy hand.

+ First folio, wiseness.

First folio, Come.

? All, &c.] This is restored from the quartos. STEBVBXS.

Woul't weep? woul't fight? woul't fast? woult

tear thyself ? Woul't drink up Esil ? eat a crocodile 8 ?

8 Woul't drink up Esil? eat a crocodile ?] This word has through all the editions been distinguished by Italick characters, as if it were the proper name of some river; and so, I dare say, all the editors have from time to time understood it to be. But then this must be some river in Denmark; and there is none there so called ; nor is there any near it in name, that I know of, but Yssel, from which the province of Overyssel derives its title in the German Flanders. Besides, Hamlet is not proposing any impossibilities to Laertes, as the drinking up a river would be: but he rather seems to mean, -Wilt thou resolve to do things the most shocking and distasteful to human nature ; and, behold, I am as resolute. I am persuaded the poet wrote:

“ Wilt drink up Eisel ? eat a crocodile ?" i. e. Wilt thou swallow down large draughts of vinegar? The proposition, indeed, is not very grand : but the doing it might be as distasteful and unsavoury as eating the flesh of a crocodile. And now there is neither an impossibility, nor an anticlimas: and the lowness of the idea is in some measure removed by the uncommon term. THEOBALD. Sir T. Hanmer has,

“ Wilt drink up Nile? or eat a crocodile ? Hamlet certainly meant (for he says he will rant) to dare Laertes to attempt any thing, however difficult or unnatural; and might safely promise to follow the example his antagonist was to set, in draining the channel of a river, or trying his teeth on an animal whose scales are supposed to be impenetrable Had Shakspeare meant to make Hamlet say-Wilt thou drink vinegar? he probably would not have used the term drink up; which means, totally to exhaust ; neither is that challenge very magnificent, which only provokes an adversary to hazard a fit of the heart-burn or the colick.

The commentator's Yssell would serve Hamlet's turn or mine. This river is twice mentioned by Stowe, p. 735: “It standeth a good distance from the river Issell, but hath a sconce on Issell of incredible strength.” Again, by Drayton, in the 24th song of his Polyolbion :

“ The one o'er Isell's banks the ancient Saxons taught;

" At Over-Isell rests, the other did apply —," And in King Richard II. a thought, in part the same, occurs, Act II. Sc. II. :

“ the task he undertakes
" Is numb'ring sands, and drinking oceans dry.

ril do't.–Dost thou come here to whine ? To outface me with leaping in her grave ?

But in an old Latin account of Denmark and the neighbouring provinces, I find the names of several rivers little differing from Esil, or Eisell, in spelling or pronunciation. Such are the Essa, the Desil, and some others. The word, like many more, may indeed be irrecoverably corrupted; but, I must add, that few authors later than Chaucer or Skelton made use of eysel for vinegar : nor has Shakspeare employed it in any other of his plays. The poet might have written the Weisel, à considerable river which falls into the Baltick ocean, and could not be unknown to any prince of Denmark. Steevens.

On the phrase drink up no stress can be laid, for our poet has employed the same expression in his 114th Sonnet, without any idea of entirely exhausting, and merely as synonymous to drink :

“Or whether doth my mind, being crown'd with you,

Drink up the monarch's plague, this flattery?Again, in the same Sonnet:

“ 'tis flattery in my seeing,

“And my great mind most kingly drinks it up." Again, in Timon of Athens :

“ And how his silence drinks up his applause." In Shakspeare's time, as at present, to drink up, often meant no more than simply to drink. So, in Florio's Italian Dictionary. 1598: “ Sorbire, to sip or sup up any drink.” In like manner we sometimes say, “when you have swallowed down this potion," though we mean no more than—when you have swallowed this potion. 'Yet although in my former edition I adopted Mr. Theobald's interpretation, I am now convinced that Mr. Steevens's is the true one. This sort of hyperbole was common among our ancient poets. So, in Eastward Hoe, 1609 :

“ Come drink up Rhine, Thames, and Meander dry," ; So also, in Greene's Orlando Furioso, 1599 :

“Else would I set my mouth to Tygris' streames,

“ And drinke up overflowing Euphrates.” Again, in Marlowe's Jew of Malta :

“As sooner shalt thou drink the ocean dry,

“ Than conquer Malta.” Malone. Our author has a similar exaggeration in Troilus and Cressida, Act III. Sc. II. :

“ When we (i. e. lovers) vow to weep seas, live in fire, eat rocks, tame tigers," &c. In Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose, we find the following lines :

“ He underfongeth a grete paine, “ That undertaketh to drink up Seine." Boswell. . VOL. VII.

21

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 thoul't mouth,
Il 1 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',
His silence will sit drooping.
Нам.

Hear you, sir; 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. [Erit.

9 This is mere madness :) This speech in the first folio is given to the King. Malone.

" When that her golden couplets are disclos’d,] To disclose was anciently used for to hatch. So, in The Booke of Huntynge, Hawkyng, Fyshing, &c. bl. I. no date : “ First they ben eges; and after they ben disclosed, haukes ; and commonly goshaukes ben disclosed as sone as the choughes.” To exclude is the technical term at present. During three days after the pigeon has hatched her couplets, (for she lays no more than two eggs,) she never quits her nest, except for a few moments in quest of a little food for herself; as all her young require in that early state, is to be kept warm, an office which she never entrusts to the male. STERVENS.

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 being 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.

The word disclose has already occurred in a sense nearly allied to hatch, in this play:

“And I do doubt, the hatch and the disclose . « Will be some danger." MALONE.

What is the reason that you use me thus ?

I lov'D YOU EVER :) So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream, Helena says to her rival

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