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Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!—
thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd, Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell, Be thy intents wicked, or charitable, Thou com'st in such a questionable shape,’ That I will speak to thee; I'll call thee, Hamlet, King, father, royal Dane: O, answer me: Let me not burst in ignorance! but tell, Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death, Have burst their cerements!” why the sepulchre, Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd, Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws, To cast thee up again! What may this mean, That thou, dead corse, again, in cómplete steel,” Revisit'st thus the glimpses of the moon, Making night hideous; and we fools of nature, So horridly to shake our disposition,' With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls? Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
7 questionable shape, Questionable, means here propitious to conversation, easy o willing to be conversed with.
* — tell,
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
which, though in all ages credited, has in all ages been considered as the most wonderful and most dreadful operation of supernatural agency, enquires of the spectre, in the most emphatick terms, why he breaks the order of nature, by returning from the dead; this he asks in a very confused circumlocution, confounding in his fright the soul and body. Why, says he, have thy bones, which with due ceremonies have been entombed in death, in the common state of departed mortals, burst the folds in which they were embalmed 2 Why has the tomb, in which we saw thee quietly laid, opened his mouth, that mouth which, by its weight and stability, seemed closed for ever ? The whole sentence is this: Why dost thou appear, whom we know to be dead? Johnson.
* — in cómplete steel,] 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.
l to shake our disposition,] Disposition for frame.
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
Mar. Look, with what courteous action
Hor. No, by no means.
Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.
Ham. Why, what should be the fear? I do not set my life at a pin's fee;” And, for my soul, what can it do to that, Being a thing immortal as itself? It waves me forth again;–I'll follow it.
Hor. What, if it tempt you toward the flood,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
Ham. It waves me still:—
Mar. You shall not go, my lord.
Q a more removed ground:] i.e. remote.
* — pin's fee;] The value of a pin.
* That beetles o'er his basc-] That hangs o'er his base, like what is called a beetle-brow. A verb probably of our author's
deprive your sovereignty of reason,] i. e. your ruling power of reason. When poets wish to invest any quality or virtue with uncommon splendour, they do it by some allusion to regal eminence.
6 puts toys of desperation,] Toys, for whims.
Ham. - Hold off your hands. Hor. Be rul’d, you shall not go. ... Ham. - My fate cries out,
And makes each petty artery in this body
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, When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames Must render up myself.
Ham. Alas, poor ghost
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.