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S CE N E III.
A room in the palace.
Guil. We will ourselves provide :
Ros. The single and peculiar life is bound,
+ Out of his lunacies.] The old quartos read,
Out of his brows. This was from the ignorance of the first editors ; as is this unnecessary Alexandrine, which we owe to the players. The poet, I am persuaded, wrote,
-as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunes. i.e. his madness, frenzy. THEOBALD.
Lunacies is the reading of the folio.
I take brows to be, properly read, frows, which, I think, is a provincial word for perverse humours ; which reing, I suppose, not understood, was changed to lunacies. But of this I am not conírient. JOHNSON.
I would receive THEOBALD's emendation, because Shakespeare uses the word lunes in the same sense in The Nierry Wives of Windsor. From the redundancy of the measure nothing can be inferred. STEEVENS.
s That spirit, on whose weal-) So the quarto. The folio gives, On whose spirit.
The lives of many. The cease of majesty
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage;
Both. We will haste us. [Exeunt Gentlemen.
Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet; Behind the arras I'll convey myself To hear the process. I'll warrant she'll tax him
home : And, as you faid, and wisely was it said, 'Tis meet, that some more audience than a mother, 6 Since nature makes them partial, should o'er-hear The speech, 7 of vantage.
Fare you well, my liege; I'll call upon you ere you go to bed, And tell you what I know.
[Exit. King. Thanks, dear my lord. Oh! my offence is rank, it smells to heaven; It hath the primal, eldeít, curse upon't ; A brother's murder !-- Pray I cannot,
• Since nature makes them partial, &c.]
-Matres omnes filias
Ter. Heaut. Ad. 5. Sc. 2.
STEEVENS. of vantage.] By some opportunity of secret obfervation. JOHNSON.
* Though inclination be as sharp as 'twill;
8 Dr. WARBURTON would read,
Though inclination be as Tharp as th' ill.
May one be pardon’d, and retain the offence?] He that does not amend what can be amended, retains his offence. The king kept the crown from the right heir. JOHNSON.
Yet what can it, when one CANNOT repent?] What can repentance do for a man that cannot be penitent, for a man who has only part of penitence, distress of conscience, without the other part, resolution of amendment. JOHNSON.
Oh wretched state ! oh bosom, black as death!
[The King kneels.
Enter Hamlet. Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying ; And now I'll do't. — And so he goes to heaven. And so am I reveng’d ? that would be scann'd. A villain kills my father; and for that 'I, his sole fon, do this fame villain send To heaven. Why, this is hire and salary, not revenge. He took my father grofly, full of bread; With all his crimes broad blown, as Alush as May; And, how his audit stands, who knows, fave heaven? But in our circumstance and course of thought, 'Tis heavy with him. Am I then reveng'd, To take him in the purging of his soul, When he is fit and season'd for his passage ? No.no
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid hent ; When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage;
9 Oh, limed soul;] This alludes to bird-lime. Shakespeare uses the same again, Henry VI. P. ii, “ Madam, myielf have lim'd a bush for her.”
STEEVENS. " I, bis sole fon, do this fame villain send] The folio reads foule fon, a reading apparently corrupted from the quarto. The meaning is plain. 1, bis only fon, who am bound to punish his murderer. JOHNSON. 2 In the common editions,
Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid time.) This is a fophisticated reading, warranted by none of the copies of any authority. Mr. Pope says, I read conjecturally; a more horrid bent.
Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed,
The King rises.
below; Words, without thoughts, never to heaven go. (Exit.
Changes to the Queen's closet.
Enter Queen and Polonius.
to him :
Tell him, his pranks have been too broad to bear
And that your grace hath screen'd, and stood between
I do so; and why? the two oldest quartos, as well as the two elder folios, read,
-a more horrid hent. But as there is no such English substantive, it seems very natuyal to conclude, that with the change of a single letter, our author's genuine word was, bent; i.e. drift, fcope, inclination, purpose, &c. THEOBALD.
This reading is followed by Sir T. Hanmer and Dr. WARBURTON; but bent is probably the right word. To hent is used by Shakespeare for, to seize, to catch, to lay hold on. Hint is, therefore, hold, or seizure. Lay' bold on him, sword, at a more horrid time. JOHNSON.
3 As hell, whereto it goes.-] This speech, in which Hamlet, represented as a virtuous character, is not content with taking blood for blood, but contrives damnation for the man that he would punish, is too horrible to be read or to be uttered.