Page images
PDF

The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was seated on this brow:
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury,”
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination, and a form, indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man:
This was your husband.—Look you now, what fol-
lows:
Here is your husband; like a mildew'd ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And batten” on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it, love: for, at your age,
The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment; And what judgment
Would step from this to this? Sense, sure, you have,
Else, could younot have motion:“But, sure, that sense
Is apoplex'd: for madness would not err;
Nor sense to ecstasy was ne'er so thrall'd,
But it reserv'd some quantity of choice,
To serve in such a difference. What devil was’t,
That thus hath cozen'd you at hoodman-blind?”

that these pictures which are introduced as miniatures on the stage, were meant for whole lengths, being part of the furniture of the Queen's closet.

* A station like the herald Mercury, &c.] Station, in this instance, does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing.

3 batten–) i. e. to grow fat. Bat is an ancient word for increase. 4.

Sense, sure, you have, Else, could you not have motion:) Sense is sometimes used by Shakspeare for sensation or sensual appetite; as motion is the effect produced by the impulse of nature. s at hoodman-blind?] Probably the same as blindman's

buff.

Eyes without feeling, feeling without sight,
Ears without hands or eyes, smelling sans all,
Or but a sickly part of one true sense
Could not so mope."
O shame! where is thy blush Rebellious hell,
If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones,”
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
And melt in her own fire: proclaim no shame,
When the compulsive ardour gives the charge;
Since frost itself as actively doth burn,
And reason panders will.

Queen. O Hamlet, speak no more:
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grained" spots,
As will not leave their tinct.”

Ham. Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed;" Stew'd in corruption; honeying, and making love Over the nasty stye;

Queen. O, speak to me no more; These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears; No more, sweet Hamlet.

Ham. A murderer, and a villain: A slave, that is not twentieth part the tythe Of your precedent lord:—a vice of kings:” A cutpurse of the empire and the rule; That from a shelf the precious diadem stole, And put it in his pocket!

* Could not so mope.] i.e. could not exhibit such marks of stupidity.

7 If thou canst mutine, &c.] To mutine, was the ancient term, signifying to rise in mutiny:

8 grained–J Died in grain, or perhaps, indented.

9 As will not leave their tinct.] To leave is to part with, give up, resign.

* — enseamed bed;] i. e. greasy bed.

2 vice of kings: A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a farce; from whence the modern punch is descended. * A king Of shreds and patches:] This is said, pursuing the idea of the

Queen. No more.

Enter Ghost.

Ham. A king Of shreds and patches:*— Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards!—What would your gracious

figure?

Queen. Alas, he's mad.

Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, laps'd in time and passion," lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
O, say!

Ghost. Do not forget: This visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit in weakest bodies’ strongest works;
Speak to her, Hamlet.

Ham. How is it with you, lady?

Queen. Alas, how is't with you?
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,”
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,

vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of partycoloured patches.

4. laps'd in time and passion,] That, having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, lets go, &c.

* Conceit in weakest bodies—] Conceit for imagination.

6 like life in excrements,) Not only the hair of animals having neither life nor sensation was called an excrement, but the feathers of birds had the same appellation.

Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look?
Ham. On him! on him!—Look you, how pale he
glares!
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable.”—Do not look upon me;
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects:" then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears, perchance, for blood.
Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Ham. Do you see nothing there?
Queen. Nothing at all; yet all, that is, I see.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen. No, nothing, but ourselves.
Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals
away!
My father, in his habit as he liv'd!
Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!
[Erit Ghost.
Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain:
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Is very cunning in.
Ham. Ecstasy!
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful musick: It is not madness,
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness speaks:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;

7 IWould make them capable.] Capable here signifies intelligent; endued with understanding. * My stern effects:] Effects for actions; deeds effected.

Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost” on the weeds,
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue:
For in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg;
Yea, curb' and woo, for leave to do him good.
Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in
twain.
Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this;
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock, or livery,
That aptly is put on: Refrain to-night;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy:
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either curb the devil, or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night;
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you.-For this same lord,
[Pointing to Polonius.
I do repent: But heaven hath pleas'd it so,
To punish me with this, and this with me,”
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him. So, again, good night!

[ocr errors]

do not spread the compost, &c.] Do not, by any new indulgence, heighten your former offences. l curb—l That is, bend and truckle, Fr. courber. * To punish me with this, and this with me,) To punish me by making me the instrument of this man's death, and to punish this man by my hand.

« PreviousContinue »