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Oph. Belike, this fhow imports the argument of the play.

Enter Prologue.

Ham. We fhall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counfel; they'll tell all.

Oph. Will he tell us what this fhew meant?

Han. Ay, or any fhew that you'll fhew him: Be not you afham'd to fhew', he'll not fhame to tell you what it means.

Oph. You are naught, you are naught; I'll mark the play.

The quarto reads-munching mallico.


Miching, fecret, covered, lying hid. In this fente Chapman, our author's cotemporary, ufes the word in The Widow's Tears, Dodf. Old. Pl. vol. iv. p. 291. Lyfander, to try his wife's fidelity, elopes from her: his friends report that he is dead, and make a mock funeral for him: his wife, to fhew exceffive forrow for the lofs of her husband, fhuts herself up in his monument; to which he comes in difguife, and obtains her love, notwithstanding he had affured her in the mean time, that he was the man who murdered her husband. On which he exclaims,


Out upon the monster !

Go tell the governqur, let me be brought
To die for that most famous villany;
Not for this miching base transgretlion
Of truant negligence.

And again, p. 301.

86 My truant

Was micht, fir, into a blind corner of the tomb.”

In this very fense it occurs in the Philafter of Beaumont and Fletcher, vol. i. p. 142. "A rafcal miching in a mea low." That is, as the ingenious editors (who have happily substituted mitching tor milking) remark, "A lean deer creeping, folitary, and with drawn from the herd." WARTON.


Be not you afham'd to fhew, &c.] The converfation of Hamlet with Ophelia, which cannot fail to di guft every modern Reader, is probably fuch as was peculiar to the young and fashionable of the age of Shaktpeare, which was, by no means, an age of delicacy. The poet is, however, blamable; for extravagance of thought, not indecency of expreffion, is the characteretic of madneis, at least of fuch madness as fhould be reprefented on the fcene. STEEV: NS.


Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,
Here ftooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.

Ham. Is this a prologue, or the pofy of a ring?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord.

Ham. As woman's love.

Enter a King, and a Queen.

P. King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round

Neptune' falt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground; And thirty dozen moons, with borrowed 'fheen About the world have times twelve thirties been ; Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands, Unite commutual in moft facred bands.

P.Queen. So many journeys made the fun and moon
Make us again count o'er, ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are fo fick of late,

So far from cheer, and from your former ftate,
That I diftruft you. Yet, though I distrust,
Difcomfort you, my lord, it nothing muft:
For women fear too much, even as they love.

2-cart] A charict was anciently fo called. Thus Chaucer in the Knight's Tale, late edit. ver. 2024 :

“The carter overridden with his cart." STEEVENS. 3-fcen] Splendor, luftre. JoHNSON.


even as they love.] Here feems to be a line loft, which fhould have thymed to love. JOHNSON.

This line is omitted in the folio. Perhaps a triplet was defigned, and then instead of love, we should read, luft. The folio gives the next line thus:

"For women's fear and love holds quantity." STEEVENS, There is, I believe, no inftance of a triplet being used in our author's time. Some trace of the loft line is found in the quartos,

which read:

Either none in neither aught, &c.

Perhaps the word omitted might have been of this import:
Either none they feel, or an excef, approve;

In neither aught, or in extremity. MALONE.


And women's fear and love hold quantity;
In neither ought, or in extremity.

Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know; And as my love is fiz'd, my fear is fo.


Where love is great, the littleft doubts are fear; Where little fears grow great, great love grows there. P. King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and. fhortly too;


My operant powers their functions leave to do:
And thou fhalt live in this fair world behind,
Honour'd, belov'd; and, haply, one as kind
For husband fhalt thou-

P. Queen. O, confound the reft!

Such love muft needs be treafon in my breaft:
In fecond hufband let me be accurft!

None wed the fecond, but who kill'd the first.
Ham. That's wormwood.

P. Queen. The inftances, that fecond marriage move,

Are bafe refpects of thrift, but none of love:

5 And as my love is fix'd, my fear is fo.] Mr. Pope fays, I read fiz'd; and, indeed, I do fo; becaufe, I obferve, the quarto of 1605 reads, ciz'd; that of 1611, cift; the folio in 1652, fix; and that in 1623, fiz'd; and because, befides, the whole tenor 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 flability. Cleopatra expreffes herself much in the fame manner, with regard to her grief for the lofs of Antony:



our fize of forrow,

Proportion' to our caufe, must be as great

As that which makes it." THEOBALD.

Where love, &c.] These two lines are omitted in the folio.

7-operant powers] Operant is active. Shakspeare gives it in Timon as an epithet to poison. Heywood has likewife ufed it in his Royal King and Loyal Subject, 1637 :

may my operant parts "Each one forget their office!"

The word is now obfolete. STEEVENS.

• The inftances,~] The motives. JOHNSON.

A fecond

A fecond time I kill my hufband dead,
When fecond hufband kiffes me in bed.

P. King. I do believe, you think what now you

But, what we do determine, oft we break.
Purpofe is but the flave to memory;

Of violent birth, but poor validity :

Which now, like fruit unripe, fticks on the tree;
But fall unfhaken, when they mellow be.
Moft neceffary 'tis, that we forget

To pay ourselves what to ourfelves is debt:
What to ourselves in paffion we propofe,
The paffion ending, doth the purpofe lofe.
The violence of either grief or joy,

Their own enactures with themselves deftroy:
Where joy moft revels, grief doth much lament;
Grief joys, joy grieves, on flentler accident.
This world is not for aye; nor 'tis not ftrange,
That even our loves fhould with our fortunes

For 'tis a question left us yet to prove,

Whether love lead fortune, or elfe fortune love. The great man down, you mark, his favourite flies; The poor advanc'd makes friends of enemies.

2 And hitherto doth love on fortune tend :



what to ourselves is debt: The performance of a refolution, in which only the refolver is interested, is a debt only to himfelf, which he may therefore ren it at pleasure. JOHNSON. 1 The violence of either grief or joy.

Their own enactures with themselves deftroy:] What grief or joy enact or determine in their violence, is revoked in their abate. ment. Enactures is the word in the quarto; all the modern editions have enactors. JOHNSON.

And hitherto doth love on fortune tend:

For who not needs, shall never lack a friend;

And who in want a hollow friend doth try,

Directly feafons him his enemy.] So, in our author's Paf

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For who not needs, fhall never lack a friend;
And who in want a hollow friend doth try,
Directly feafons him his enemy.

But, orderly to end where I begun,-
Our wills, and fates, do fo contrary run,
That our devices ftill are overthrown;

Our thoughts are ours, their end none of our own: So think thou wilt no fecond husband wed;

But die thy thoughts, when thy first lord is dead. P. Queen. Nor earth to give me food, nor heaven



Sport, and repofe, lock from me, day, and night!
To defperation* turn my trust and hope!
An anchor's cheer in prifon be my fcope!

"But if ftore of crowns be fcant.

"No man willfupply thy want."

Thefe coincidencies may ferve to refute an idea that some have entertained, that the lines fpoken by the player were not written by Shakspeare, but the production of a contemporary poet.


3 Nor earth to give me food, nor heaven light!] An imperative or optative was clearly intended here as in the following line :"Sport and repofe lock from me, &c." I would therefore read― "Nor earth do give me." Do thou, O earth, not give me food, &c. MALONE.

4 To defperation, &c.] This and the following line are omitted in the folio. STEEVENS.

An anchor's cheer in prifon be my feope!] May my whole li berty and enjoyment be to live on hermit's fare in a prifon. Anchor is for anchoret. JOHNSON.

This abbreviation of the word anchoret is very ancient. I find it in the Romance of Robert the Devil, printed by Wynkyn de Worde: "We have robbed and killed nonnes, holy aunkers, preeftes, clerkes, &c." Again, "the foxe will be an aunker for he begynneth to preche."

Again, in The Vifion of Pierce Plowman :

"As ankers and hermits that hold them in her felles." This and the foregoing line are not in the folio. I believe w: fhould read-anchor's chair. So, in the fecond Satire of Hall's fourth book, edit. 1502. P. 13:

"Si feven yeres pining in an anchore's cheyre


To win fome parched foreds of minevere."



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