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Queen. Have you forgot me?

Ham. No, by the rood, not fo :

You are the queen, your husband's brother's wife; ' And 'would it were not fo!you are my mother. Queen. Nay, then I'll fet thofe to you that can

fpeak.

Ham. Come, come, and fit you down; you shall not budge;

You go not, 'till I fet you up a glafs

Where you may fee the inmoft

part of

you.

Queen. What wilt thou do? thou wilt not murder

me?

Help, help, ho!

Pol. [Behind] What, ho! help!

Ham. How now! a rat?

Dead, for a ducat, dead.

[Hamlet frikes at Polonius through the arras.

Pol. [Behind]O, I am flain.

Queen. O me, what haft thou done?

Ham. Nay, I know not:

Is it the king?

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Queen. O, what a rash and bloody deed is this!
Ham. A bloody deed ;-almost as bad, good mo-

ther,

As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

* And2'would it were not fo! →

The folio reads,

But would you were not fo. HENDERSON.

2

Queen.

How now, a rat?-} This (as Dr. Farmer has obferved) is an expreffion borrowed from The Hiftory of Hamblet, a translation from the French of Belleforest. STEVENS.

3 It has been doubted whether Shakspeare intended to reprefent the queen as acceffary to the murder of her husband. The furprize the here exprefles at the charge feems to tend to her exculpation. Where the variation is not particularly marked out, we may prefume, I think, that the poet intended to tell his story as it had been told before. The following extract therefore from The History of Hamblet, bl. let. relative to this point, will probably not be unacceptable to the reader: "Fengon [the king

in the prefent play] boldened and encouraged by fuch impu "nitie, durft venture to couple himself in marriage with her, 66 whom

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Queen. As kill a king?

Ham. Ay, lady, 'twas my word,—

"whom he used as his concubine during good Horvendille's life; "in that fort spotting his name with a double vice, incestuous "adulterie, and paracide murther. This adulterer and infa

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mous murtherer flaundered his dead brother, that he would "have flaine his wife, and that hee by chance finding him on the "point ready to do it, in defence of the lady, had flaine him. "The unfortunate and wicked woman that had received the honour to be the wife of one of the valianteft and wifeft princes " in the North, inbased herfelfe in fuch vile fort as to falfifie "her faith unto him, and, which is worse, to marrie him that "had bin the tyrannous murtherer of her lawful hufband; "which made diverfe men think that she had beene the caufer of "the murther, thereby to live in her adultre without controle," Hyft. of Hamb. fig. C. 1.2.

In the conference however with her fon, on which the prefent fçene is founded, the strongly afferts her innocence with respect to this fact:

"I know well, my fonne, that I have done thee great wrong in marrying with Fengon, the cruel tyrant and murtherer of thy father, and iny loyal fpoufe; but when thou fhalt con"fider the fmall meanes of refiftance, and the treason of the pa"lace,with the little caufe of confidence we are to expect, or hope "for, of the courtiers, all wrought to his will as alfo the power he "made ready if I should have refufed to like him; thou wouldst ❝rather excufe, than accufe me of lafciviousness or inconftancy, much lefs offer me that wrong to fufpect that ever thy mother "Geruth once confented to the death and murther of her husband: fwearing unto thee by the majestie of the gods, that if it had layne in me to have refifted the tyrant, although it had beene with the loffe of my blood, yea and of my life, I would furely have faved the life of my lord and husband." Ibid. fig. D. 4.

It is obfervable, that in the drama neither the king or queen make fo good a defence. Shakspeare wished to render them as odious as he could, and therefore has not in any part of the play furnished them with even the femblance of an excufe for their conduct. MALONE.

I know not in what part of this tragedy the king and queen could have been expected to enter into a vindication of their mutual conduct. The former indeed is rendered contemptible as well as guilty; but for the latter our poet feems to have felt all that tenderness which the ghost recommends to the imitation of her fon. STEEVENS.

4 As kill a king?] This interrogation may be confidered as fome hint, that the queen had no hand in the murder of Hamlet's father, STE EVENS,

Ee 3

Thou

Thou wretched, rafh, intruding fool, farewel!
[To Polonius.
I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune:
Thou find'ft, to be too busy, is fome danger.
Leave wringing of your hands: Peace; fit you down,
And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable ftuff;

If damned cuftom have not braz'd it fo,
That it be proof and bulwark against sense.
Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'ft wag
thy tongue

In noise fo rude against me?

Ham. Such an act,

That blurs the grace and blush of modesty ;
Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rofe

From

5-takes off the rofe] Alluding to the custom of wearing rofes on the fide of the face. See a note on a paffage in King John, act i. WARBURTON.

I believe Dr. Warburton is mistaken; for it must be allowed that there is a material difference between an ornament worn on the forehead, and one exhibited on the fide of the face. Some have understood thefe words to be only a metaphorical enlargement of the fentiment contained in the preceding line:

-blurs the grace and blush of modesty :

but as the forehead is no proper fituation for a blub to be display ed in, we may have recourse to another explanation.

It was once the custom for those who were betrothed, to wear fome flower as an external and confpicuous mark of their mutual engagement. So, in Spenfer's Shepherd's Calendar for April: "Bring coronations and fops in wine

Worn of paramours."

Lyte, in his Herbal, 1578, enumerates fops in wine among the fmaller kind of fingle gilliflowers or pinks.

Figure 4, in the Morrice-dance (a plate of which is annexed to the First Part of K. Henry IV.) has a flower fixed on his forehead, and feems to be meant for the paramour of the female character. The flower might be defigned for a rofe, as the colour of it is red in the painted glafs, though its form is expreffed with as little adherence to nature as that of the marygold in the hand of the lady. It may, however, conduct us to affix a new meaning to the lines in question. This flower, as I have fince difcovered, is exactly thaped like the fops in wine, now called the Deptford Pink..

Seta

From the fair forehead of an innocent love,

And fets a blifter there; makes marriage vows
As falfe as dicers' oaths: O, such a deed,

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As from the body of contraction plucks

The very foul; and fweet religion makes

A rhapsody of words: Heaven's face doth glow;
Yea, this folidity and compound mass,

With triftful vifage, as against the doom,
Is thought-fick at the act.

Queen. Ay me, what act,

That

Sets a blifter there, has the fame meaning as in Mcafure for

Measure:

"Who falling in the flaws of her own youth,
"Hath blifter'd her report.'

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See a note on this paffage, Act 2. Sc. 3. STEEVENS. 6-from the body of contraction-] Contraction for marriage contract. WARBURTON.

Heaven's face doth glow:

Yea, this folidity and compound mass,

With triftful vifage, as against the doom,

Is thought-fick at the act.] If any fenfe can be found here, it is this. The fun glows [and does it not always ?] and the very folid mafs of earth has a triftful vifage, and is thought fick. All this is fad ftuff. The old quarto reads much nearer to the poet's fense:

Heaven's face does glow,

O'er this folidity and compound mals,

With heated vifuge, as againft the doom,
Is thought-fick at the act.

From whence it appears, that Shakspeare wrote:
Heaven's face doth glow,

O'er this folidity and compound mafs,

With triftful vifage; and, as 'gainft the doom,
Is thought-fick at the act.

This makes a fine fenfe, and to this effect.

The fun looks upon

our globe, the scene of this murder, with an angry and mournful countenance, half hid in eclipfe, as at the day of doom. WARBURTON.

The word beated, though it agrees well enough with glow, is, I think, not fo striking as triftful, which was, I fuppofe, chofen at the revifal. I believe the whole paffage now ftands as the author gave it. Dr. Warburton's reading reftores two improprie tics, which Shakespeare by his alteration, had removed. In the

E e 4

first,

5 That roars fo loud, and thunders in the index?
Ham. Look here, upon this picture, and on this
The counterfeit prefentment of two brothers.
See, what a grace was feated on this brow:
Hyperion's curls 7; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command .
A ftation like the herald Mercury,.

New,

firft, and in the new reading, Heaven's face glows with triftful vi. fage; and, Heaven's face is thought-fick. To the common reading there is no juft objection. JOHNSON.

That roars fo loud, &c.] The meaning is, What is this act, of which the difcovery, or mention, cannot be made, but with this violence of clamour? JOHNSON

and thunders in the index?] Mr. Edwards obferves, that the indexes of many old books were at that time inferted at the beginning, inftead of the end, as is now the custom. This obfervation I have often feen confirmed.

So, in Othello, act ii. fc. 7.“ an index and obfcure prologue · to the history of luft and foul thoughts.", STEEVENS.

6 Look on this picture, and on this;] It is evident from the fol lowing words,

A flation, like the herald Mercury, &c.

that these pictures, which are introduced as miniatures on the fage, were meant for whole lengths, being part of the furniture of the queen's clofet.

like Maia's fon be ftood,

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And shook his planes. -Milton. B. V. STEEVENS. The introduction of miniatures in this place appears to be a modern innovation. A print prefixed to Rowe's edition of Hamlet, published in 1709, confirms Mr. Steevens's obfervation, There, the two royal portraits are exhibited as half-lengths, hanging in the Queen's clofet; and probably fuch had been the ftage exhibition, from the time of the original performance of this tragedy to the death of Betterton, MALONE.

7 Hyperion's curis ;-] It is obfervable that Hyperion is used by Spenfer with the fame error in quantity. FARMER.

I have never met with an earlier edition of Marston's Infatiate Countess than that in 1603. In this the following lines occur, which bear a clofe refemblance to Hamlet's defcription of his father: A donative he hath of every god; "Apollo gave him locks, Jove his high front." STEEVENS.

• Astation-] Station in this inftance does not mean the Spot where

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