Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

* The extravagant and erring fpirit hies To his confine: and of the truth herein This prefent object made probation.

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock". Some fay, that ever 'gainst that season comes Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, This bird of dawning fingeth all night long : And then, they say, no fpirit' dares stir abroad; The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike, No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm, So hallow'd and fo gracious is the time.

Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it. But, look, the morn, in ruffet mantle clad,

But this change, though it would smooth the conftruction, is not neceflary, and, being unneceffary, fhould not be made against authority. JOHNSON.

Bourne of Newcafile, in his Antiquities of the common People, informs us, "It is a received tradition among the vulgar, that "at the time of cock-crowing, the midnight spirits forfake thefe "lower regions, and, go to their proper places.-Hence it is, "fays he, that in country places, where the way of life requires "more early labour, they always go chearfully to work at that "time; whereas if they are called abroad fooner, they imagine "every thing they fee, a wandering ghoft." And he quotes on this occafion, as all his predeceffors had done, the well-known lines from the first hymn of Prudentius. I know not whose translation he gives us, but there is an old one by Heywood. The pious Chanfons, the hymns and carrols, which Shakspeare mentions presently, were ufually copied from the elder Christian poets. FARMER.

& Th' extravagant-] i. e. got out of its bounds. WARBURTON. So, in Nobody and Somebody, 1598: "-they took me up for a Aravagant." STEEVENS.

9 It faded on the crowing of the cock.] This is a very ancient fuperftition. Philoftratus giving an account of the apparition of Achilles' fhade to Apollonius Tyaneus, fays that it vanished with a little glimmer as foon as the cock crowed. Vit. Apol. iv. 16.


1 Dares flir abroad. Quarto. The folio reads-can walk—


2 No fairy takes,] No fairy frikes with lameness or diseases. This fenfe of take is frequent in this author.



Walks o'er the dew of yon' high-eastern hill:
Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,
Let us impart what we have feen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for upon my life,
This fpirit, dumb to us, will speak to him:
Do you confent we fhall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know

Where we shall find him moft convenient. [Exeunt,

[blocks in formation]

Enter the King, Queen, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, Voltimand, Cornelius, Lords and Attendants.

King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death

The memory be green; and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;

Yet fo far hath difcretion fought with nature,
That we with wifeft forrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our fometime fifter, now our queen,
The imperial jointrefs of this warlike ftate,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one aufpicious, and one dropping eye 4;

3-high eastern bill:] The old quarto has it better eastsward. WARBURTON.

The fuperiority of the latter of thefe readings is not, to me at lealt, very apparent. I find the former used in Lingua, &c. 1607 : -and overclimbs

"Yonder gilt caftern hills."

Eafern and eafisvard, alike fignify toward the Eaft. 4 With one aufpicious, and one dropping eye;} The quarto, with fomewhat lefs of quaintnels:

STEEVENS. Thus the folio.


With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal fcale weighing delight and dole,-
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along :-For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,
Holding a weak fuppofal of our worth;
Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death,
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,-
5 Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pefter us with meffage,
Importing the furrender of thofe lands.

Loft by his father, with all bands of law,
To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting:
Thus much the bufinefs is: We have here writ

To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,--
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears

With an aufpicious, and a dropping eye.

The fame thought, however, occurs in the Winter's Tale: "She had one eye declined for the lofs of her husband; another elevated that the oracle was fulfilled." STEEVENS.

I once thought that dropping in this line meant only depreffed, or caft downwards; an idea probably fuggefied by the paffage in The Winter's Tale, quoted by Mr. Steevens. But it means, I believe, weeping. " Dropping of the eyes" was a technical expref fion in our author's time." If the fpring be wet with much fouthwind, the next fummer will happen agues blearnefs, dropping of the eyes, and pains of the bowels." Hopton's Concordancia of year es, 8vo, 1616. MALONE.

5 Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,] The meaning is, He goes to war fo indifcreetly, and unprepared, that he has no allies to fupport him but a dream, with which he is colleagued or confederated. WARBURTON.

Hanmer reads-collogued, and perhaps rightly, as this word is frequently ufed by Shakipeare's contemporaries. So, in Marlton's Malecontent, 1604: "Why look you, we must collogue fometimes, forfwear fometimes." Again, in Green's Tu Quoque, 1599: "Collegue with her again." Again, in Heywood's Love's Miftrefs, 1636: This cologued lad." Again, in Swetnam Arraign'd, 1620:"For they are cozening, colleguing, ungrateful, &c. STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]


Of this his nephew's purpofe,-to fupprefs
His further gait herein; in that he levies,
The lifts, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his fubject:-and we here dispatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further perfonal power
To bufinefs with the king, more than the fcope 7
Of thefe dilated articles allows .

Farewel; and let your hafte commend your duty.. Val. In that, and all things, will we fhew our


King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewel. [Exeunt Voltimand and Cornelius. And now, Laertes, what's the news with you? You told us of fome fuit: What is't, Laertes? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,

And lose your voice: What would'st thou beg, Laertes,

That fhall not be my offer, not thy afking?

The head is not more native to the heart,


to fupprefs His further gait therein,] Gate or gait is here ufed in the northern fenfe, for proceeding, paffage; from the, A. S. verb gae. A gate for a path, paffage, or ftreet, is still current in the north. PERCY.

7-more than the fcope] More than is comprised in the general defign of these articles, which you may explain in a more diffuse and dilated style. JOHNSON.

thefe dilated articles] i. e. the articles when dilated. MUSGRAVE.

9 The head is not more native to the heart,

[ocr errors]

The band more infirumental to the mouth, Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.] This is a flagrant inftance of the first editor's ftupidity, in preferring found to sense. But head, heart, and hand, he thought must needs go together, where an honest man was the fubject of the encomium: though what he could mean by the bead's being native to the heart, I cannot conceive. The mouth indeed of an honest man might, perhaps, in fome fenfe, be faid to be native, that is, allied to the VOL. X.



The hand more inftrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What would'ft thou have, Laertes?

Laer. My dread lord,

Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To fhew my duty in your coronation;

Yet now, I must confefs, that duty done,

My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France, And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. King. Have you your father's leave? What says

Polonius ?

Pol. He hath, my lord, [wrung from me my

By labourfome petition; and, at last,
Upon his will I feal'd my hard confent :]
I do befeech you, give him leave to go.


heart. But the speaker is here talking not of a moral but a phyfical alliance. And the force of what is faid is fupported only by that diftinction. I fuppofe, then, that Shakfpeare wrote: The blood is not more native to the heart,

Than to the throne of Denmark is thy father.

This makes the fentiment juft and pertinent. As the blood is formed and fuftained by the labour of the heart, the mouth fup. plied by the office of the hand, fo is the throne of Denmark by your father, &c. The expreffion too of the blood's being native to the heart, is extremely fine. For the heart is the laboratory where that vital liquor is digefted, diftributed, and (when weakened and debilitated) again restored to the vigour neceflary for the discharge of its functions. WARBURTON,

Part of this emendation I have received, but cannot difcern why the bead is not as much native to the heart, as the blood, that is, natural and congenial to it, born with it, and co-operating with it. The relation is likewife by this reading better preferved, the counfellor being to the king as the bead to the heart. JOHNSON.

I am not certain that the part of Dr. Warburton's emendation which is received, is neceffary. The fenfe feems to be this, the head is not formed to be more useful to the heart, the hand is not more at the service of the mouth, than my power is at your father's fervice. That is, he may command me to the utmost; he may do what he pleases with my kingly authority. STEEVENS.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »