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King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i’the sun

Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids 11
Seek for thy noble father in the dust:
Thou know'st, 'tis common; all, that live, must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

If it be,
Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not


'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly: These, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within, which passeth show;
These, but the trappings and the suits of woe 12.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your na-

ture, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:


10 It is probable that a quibble is intended between sun and

The old spelling is sonne. 11 i. e. with eyes cast down.

Vail your regard
Upon a wrong’d, I'd fain have said a maid.'

Measure for Measure, vol. i.
My grief lies all within;
And these external manners of lament
Are merely shadows to the unseen grief,
That swells with silence in the tortur'd soul.'

King Richard II.



But you

must know your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his 13; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation, for some term
To do obsequious sorrow 14. But to perséver
In obstinate condolement 15, is a course
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven 16;
A heart unfortified, or mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschoold:
For what, we know, must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fye! 'tis a fault to heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day,
This must be so.

We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing 17 woe; and think of us
As of a father: for let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love 18,


13 i. e. your father lost a father (your grandfather), which lost grandfather also lost his father. The first quarto reads, “That father dead, lost his'

14 Obsequious sorrow is dutiful, observant sorrow. Shakspeare seems to have used this word generally with an allusion to obsequies, or funereal rites.

15 Condolement for grief.
16 • It shows a will most undisciplined towards heaven.'

17 Unprevailing was used in the sense of unavailing as late as Dryden's time. He may often prevail himself of the same advantages in English.'—Essay on Dramatic Poetry, 1st ed.

• And dyvers noble victoryes, as the history doth express, That he atchyved to the honor of the town, Could not him prevayle whan Fortune lyst to frown.'

Metrical Visions, by G. Cavendish, p. 81. 18 This was a common form of figurative expression. The Ghost, describing his affection for the Queen, says:

• To me, whose love was of that dignity.'


Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart 19 toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,
It is most retrograde to our desire:
And, we beseech you, bend 20 you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.
Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers,

I pray thee, stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam.

King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply; Be as ourself in Denmark.-Madam, come; This gentle and unforc'd accord of Hamlet Sits smiling to my heart: in grace whereof No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day, But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell; And the king's rouse21 the heaven shall bruit again, Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away. [Exeunt King, Queen, Lords, &c. POLONIUS,

19 i. e. dispense, bestow. Thus Dryden :

High state and honours to others impart,
But give me your

heart.' 20 To bend is to incline. · The moste parte bende to, &c: In hoc consilium maxime inclinant,' &c.—Baret. 21 The quarto of 1603 reads:

• The rouse the king shall drink unto the prince.' A rouse appears to have been a deep draught to the health of any one, in which it was customary to empty the glass or vessel. Its etymology is uncertain; but I suspect it to be only an abridgment of carouse, which is used in the same sense. See Peacham's Complete Gentleman, 1627, p. 194.

Carouse seems to have come to us from the French, who again appear to have derived it from the German gar-auss, to drink all out: at least so we may judge from the following passage in Rabelais, B. iii. Prologue:— Enfans, beuvez a plein godets. Si bon ne vous semble, laissez le. Je ne suis de ces importuns lifrelofres, qui par force, par outrage, et violence contraignent les gentils compaignons trinquer, boire caraus, et allauz.'

The reader may consult Mr. Gifford's Massinger, vol. i. p. 240.

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Ham. O, that this too too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve 22 itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fix’d His canon 23 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!

O ! How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fye on't! O fye! 'tis an unweeded garden That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature, Possess it merely 24. That it should come to this! But two months dead!—nay, not so much, not two: So excellent a king; that was, to this, Hyperion to a satyr: so loving to my mother, That he might not beteem 26 the winds of heaven Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!


22 To resolve had anciently the same meaning as to dissolve. * To thaw or resolve that which is frozen; regelo.-—The snow is resolved and melted. To till the ground, and resolve it into dust.'— Cooper. This is another word in a Latin sense; but it is not peculiar to Shakspeare.

23 The old copy reads, cannon ; but this was the old spelling of canon, a law or decree.

24 i. e. absolutely, solely, wholly. Mere, Lat.

25 Hyperion, or Apollo, always represented as a model of beauty. Shakspeare has been followed by Gray in the accentuation of this name :

• Hyperion's march and glittering shafts of war.' Sir William Alexander and Drummond have accented it properly, Hypěrion.

26 i.e. deign to allow. This word being of uncommon occurrence, it was changed to permitted by Rowe; and to let e’en by Theobald. Steevens had the merit of pointing out the passage in Golding's Ovid, which settles its meaning :

Yet could he not beteeme
The shape of any other bird than egle for to seeme.'

nalla tamen alite verti
Dignatur, nisi quæ possit sua fulmine ferre.'
Rowe has an elegant imitation of this passage :

I thought the gentlest breeze that wakes the spring

Too rough to breathe apon her.' The word occurs again in A Midsummer Night's Dream, Act i. .Sc. 2. VOL. X.



Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: And yet, within a month,—
Let me not think on't;—Frailty, thy name is wo-

man !
A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears;—why she, even she,-
O heaven! a beast, that wants discourse of reason 7,
Would have mourn'd longer,-married with my

uncle, My father's brother; but no more like my

father, Than I to Hercules: Within a month; Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, She married:20 most wicked speed, to post With such dexterity to incestuous sheets ! It is not, nor it cannot come to, good; But break, my heart: for I must hold my tongue ! Enter HORATIO, BERNARDO, and MARCELLUS.

Hor. Hail to your lordship! 27 Oh heaven! a beast that wants discourse of reason.' Mr. Gifford, in a note on Massinger, vol.i. p. 149, is of opinion that we should read, ' discourse and reason.' It has, however, been shown by several quotations that ? discourse of reason’ was the phraseology of Shakspeare's time; and, indeed, the poet again uses the same language in Troilus and Cressida, Act ii. Sc. 2:

is your blood
So madly hot, that no discourse of reason-

can qualify the same.' In the language of the schools, · Discourse is that rational act of the mind by which we deduce or infer one thing from another.' Discourse of reason therefore may mean ratiocination. Brutes have not this reasoning faculty, though they have what has been called instinct and memory. Hamlet opposes the discursive power of the intellect of men to the instinct of brutes in Act iv. Sc. 4, which may tend to elucidate his present meaning, if the reader has any doubts. The first quarto reads, a beast devoid of reason.' We have discourse of thought, for the discursive range of thought, in Othello, Act iv. Sc. 2.


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