« PreviousContinue »
I hop'd, thou should'st have been my Hamlet's wife;
O, treble woe
[Leaps into the Grave.
Ham. [Advancing.) What is he, whose grief Bears such an emphasis ? whose phrase of sorrow Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand Like wonder-wounded hearers i this is I, Hamlet the Dane.
[Leaps into the Grave. Laer.
The devil take thy soul!
[Grappling with him.
King. Pluck them asunder.
Good my lord, be quiet. [The Attendants part them, and they come out
of the Grave. Ham. Why, I will fight with him upon this theme, Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
Queen. O my son! what theme?
Ham. I lov'd Ophelia; forty thousand brothers
King. O, he is mad, Laertes.
Ham. 'Zounds, show me what thou'lt do:
This is mere madness :
Hear you, sir;
[Erit. King. I pray thee, good Horatio, . wait upon · him.
[Exit Horatio. Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
[To LAERTES. We'll put the matter to the present push.Good Gertrude set some watch over your son. This grave
shall have a living monument:
4 Woult drink up Esil?] This is understood by some of the commentators to mean a river so called, or to mean only rinegar.
5 When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,] To disclose was anciently used for to hatch.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see ;
A Hall in the Castle.
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO. Ham. So much for this, sir : now shall you see
the other, You do remember all the circumstance
Hor. Remember it, my lord!
Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting, That would not let me sleep: methought, I lay Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly, And prais'd be rashness for it,-Let us know, Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well, When our deep plots do pall;' and that should
mutines in the bilboes.] Mutines, the French word for seditious or disobedient fellows in the army or fleet.
The bilboes is a bar of iron with fetters annexed to it, by which mutinous or disorderly sailors were anciently linked together. The word is derived from Bilboa, a place in Spain where instruments of steel were fabricated in the utmost perfection. To understand Shakspeare's allusion completely, it should be known, that as these fetters connect the legs of the offenders very close together, their attempts to rest must be as fruitless as those of Hamlet, in whose mind there was a kind of fighting that would not let him sleep. Every motion of one must disturb his partner in confinement. The bilboes are still shown in the Tower of London, among the other spoils of the Spanish Armada.
rashly, And prais'd be raskness for it, -Let us know, Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,
When, &c.] Hamlet delivering an account of his escape, begins with saying-That he rashly and then is carried into a reflection upon the weakness of human wisdom. I rashlypraised be rashness for it-Let us not think these events casual,
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
That is most certain.
Is't possible? Ham. Here's the commission ; read it at more
leisure. But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?
Hor. Ay, 'beseech you.
Ham. Being thus benetted round with villainies, Or I could make a prologue to my brains, They had begun the play ;-) sat me down; Devis'd a new commission; wrote it fair: I once did hold it, as our statists do,
but let us know, that is, take notice and remember, that we some. times succeed by indiscretion when we fail by deep plots, and infer the perpetual superintendance and agency of the Divinity. The observation is just, and will be allowed by every human being, who shall reflect on the course of his own life. JOHNSON.
8 With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,] With such causes of terror, rising from my character and designs.
no leisure bated,] Without any abatement or intermission of time. · Or I could make ] Or in old English signified before. as our statists do,] A statist is a statesman, Most of the
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
Ay, good my lord.
How was this seald? Ham. Why, even in that was heaven ordinant; I had my father's signet in my purse, Which was the model of that Danish seal :
great men of Shakspeare's times, whose autographs have been preserved, wrote very bad hands; their secretaries very neat ones.
yeoman's service:] The meaning is, This yeomanly qualification was a most useful servant, or yeoman, to me ; i. e. did me eminent service. The ancient yeomen were famous for their military valour. 4 As peace should still her wheaten garland wear,
And stand a comma 'tween their amities ; ] The expression of our author is, like many of his phrases, sufficiently constrained and affected, but it is not incapable of explanation. The comma is the note of connection and continuity of sentences; the period is the note of abruption and disjunction. Shakspeare had it perhaps in his mind to write,- That unless England complied with the mandate, war should put a period to their amity; he altered his mode of diction, and thought that, in an opposite sense, he might put, that peace should stand a comma between their amities. This is not an easy style; but is it not the style of Shakspeare? Johnson.
5 Not shriving-time allow'd.] i.e. without time for confession of their sins: another proof of Hamlet's christian-like disposition.
the model of that Danish seal:] The model is in old language the copy.