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Oph. What means this, my Lord ?
Ham. Marry, this is miching Malicho; it means mischief.
Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play?
Enter Prologue. Ham. We fall know by this fellow : the players cannot keep counsel; they'll tell all.
Oph. Will he tell us, what this show meant ?
Ham. Ay, or any show that you'll shew him. Be not you
ashamed to thew, he'll not shame to tell you what Oph. You are naught, you are naught, I'll mark the play. Prol. For us, and for our tragedy,
Here ftooping to your clemency,
Ham. Is this a prologue, or the poesy of a ring?
Enter Duke, and Dutchess, Players.
Duke. Full thirty times hath Phæbus' carr gone round
Dutch. So many journeys may the sun and moon
And womens' fear and love hold quantity ;
Duke. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too :
Dutch. Oh, confound the rest !
Ham. Wormwood, wormwood !
Dutch. The instances, that second marriage move, Are base respects of thrift, but none of love. A second time I kill my husband dead, When second husband kisses me in bed.
Dzke. I do believe, you think what now you speak; But what we do determine, oft we break; Purpose is but the slave to memory, Of violent birth, but poor validity : Which now, like fruits unripe, sticks on the tree, But fall unshaken, when they mellow be. Most necessary 'tis, that we forget 'To pay
ourselves what to ourselves is debt:
(19) And as my Love is fix'd, my Fear is fo.} Mr. Pope fays, I read fiz'd; and, indeed, I do fo : because, I observe, the Quarto of 1605 reads, ciz'd; that of 1611 cizft; the Folio in 1632, fiz; and that in 1623, fiz’d: and because, besides, the whole Tenour of the Context demands this Reading: For the Lady evidently is talking here of the Quantity and Proportion of her Love and Fear; not of their Continuance, Duration, or Stability, Cleopatra expresses herself much in the same manner, with regard to her Grief for the Lots of Antony.
----Our Size of Sorrow, I'roportion'd to our Cause, mufl be as great As that which makes it.
What to ourselves in paffion we propose,
· Dutch. Nor earth to give me food, nor heaven light
Ham. If he should break it now
Duke. 'Tis deeply sworn; sweet, leave me here a while;
Ham. Madam, how like you this play?
King. Have you heard the argument, is there no offence in't?
Ham. No, no, they do but jeft, poison in jest, no offence i'th' world.
King. What do you call the play?
Ham. The Mouse-Trap Marry, how? tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna; Gonzago is the Duke's name, his wife's Baptista; you shall see anon, 'tis a knavith piece of work ; but what o' that? your Majefty, and we that have free fouls, it touches us not; let the galld jade winch, our withers are unrung.
Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my Lord.
Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the puppets dallying.
Oph. You are keen, my Lord, you are keen.
Ham. It would cost you a groaning to take off my edge.
Oph. Still better and worse.
[Pours the poison into his ears. Ham. He poisons him i'th' garden for's estate ; his name's Gonzago ; the story is extant, and writ in choice Italian. You
shall see anon how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
Oph. The King rises,
Queen. How fares my Lord ?
[Exeunt. Manent Hamlet and Horatio. Ham. Why, let the strucken deer go weep,
The hart ungalled play ;
So runs the world away. Would not this, Sir, and a forest of Feathers, (if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me) with two provincial roses on my rayed fhoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of Players, sirs
Hor. Half a Share.
Ham. A whole one, I. « For thou dost know, oh Damon dear,
" This realm dismantled was " Of Jove himself, and now reigns here " A very, very,
(20) A very very Peacock.] The old Copies have it Paicock, Paicocke, and Pajocke. I fubftitute Paddock, as neareft to the Traces of the corrupted Reading. I have, as Mr. Pope says, been willing to substitute any Thing in the place of his Peacock. He thinks a Fable alluded to, of the Birds chusing a King; instead of the Eagle, a Peacock, I fuppose, he must mean the Fable of Barlandus, in which it is said, the Birds being weary of their State of Anarchy, mox'd for the setting up of a King: and the Peacock was elected on account of his gay Featheis. But, with Submission, in this Passage of our Shakespeare, there is not the least mention made of the Eagle in Antithesis to the Peacock; and it must be by a very uncommon Figure, that Jove himself ftands in the place of his Bird. I think, Hamlet is setting his Father's and Uncle's Characters in Contrast to each other : and means to say, that by his Father's Death the State was stripp'd of a godlike Monarch, and that now in his Stead reign'd the most despicable poisonous Animal that could be: a meer Paddock, or Toad. PAD, bufo, rubeta major; a toad. This Word, I take to be of Hamlet's own subftituting. The Verses, repeated, seem to be from some old Ballad; in which, Rhyme being necessary, I doubt not but the last Verse ran thus;
A very, very, Ass. VOL. VIII.