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Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd ; 9
Ham. O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible ! 11
Ghost. If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not ; Let not the royal bed of Denmark be A couch for luxury and damned incest. But, howsoever thou pursuest this act, Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive Against thy mother aught : leave her to Heaven, And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge, To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once! The glow-worm shows the matin to be near, And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire : 12 Adieu, adieu ! Hamlet, remember me. [Exit.
9 The first quarto has depriv'd, and Mr. Collier's second folio, despoild. Despatch'd is better than either, because to the sense of deprivation it adds that of suddenness. See King Richard II., Act v. sc. 4, note 2.
10 Unhousel'd is without having received the sacrament. Thus in Hormanni Vulgaria, 1519: “ He is departed without shryste and housyll.” Disappointed is unappointed, unprepared. A man wellfurnished for an enterprise is said to be well-appointed. Unaneld is without extreme unction. Thus in Cavendish's Life of Wolsey: “ Then we began to put him in mind of Christ's passion; and sent for the abbot of the place to anneal him.”
11 The old copies print this line as part of the Ghost's speech. Johnson thought it should be trausferred to Hamlet, and Garrick delivered it as belonging to the Prince, according to the tradition of the stage. These authorities and the example of Mr. Verplanck bave determined us to the change.
12 Uneffectual is shining without heat. In the next line, the quartos, instead of Hamlet, have adieu repeated the third time. — The paper of Blackwood, quoted in our Introduction, has the following excellent remarks on the Ghost : “ The effect at first produced by the apparition is ever afterwards wonderfully sustained. I do not merely allude to the touches of realization which, in the poetry of the scenes, pass away from no memory; - such as,
Ham. O, all you host of heaven! O earth! What
else ? And shall I couple hell? - O fie!-Hold, hold, my
heart! And you, my sinews, grow not instant old, But bear me stiffily up!- Remember thee ? Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat In this distracted globe." Remember thee? Yea, from the tables of my memory I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past, That youth and observation copied there ;' And thy commandment all alone shall live Within the book and volume of my brain, Unmix'd with a baser matter : yes, by Heaven. O, most pernicious woman! O, villain, villain, smiling, damned villain ! My tables, meet it is, I set it down, That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain ;
The star, -Where now it burns,' -— The sepulchre,' – The complete steel, - The glimpses of the moon,' —- Making night hideous,' — Look, how pale he glares,' — and other wild expressions, that are like fastenings by which the mind clings to its terror. I rather allude to the whole conduct of the Ghost. We ever behold in it a troubled spirit leaving its place of suffering to revisit the life it had left, to direct and command a retribution that must be accomplished. He speaks of the pain to which he is gone, but that fades away in the purpose of his mission. •Pity me not:' He bids Hamlet revenge, though there is not the passion of revenge in his discourse. The penal fires have purified the grosser
The spectre utters but a moral declaration of guilt, and swears its living son to the fulfilment of a righteous vengeance.”
13 That is, in this head confused with thought.
14 “ Tables or books, or registers for memorie of things,” were then used by all ranks, and contained prepared leaves from which what was written with a silver style could easily be effaced.
15 I remember nothing equal to this burst, unless it be the first speech of Prometheus, in the Greek drama, after the exit of Vulcan and the two Afrites. But Shakespeare alone could have pro
At least, I am sure it may be so in Denmark :
Hor. [Within.] My lord, my lord !
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS. Mar. How is't, my noble lord ! Hor. What news, my lord ? Ham. 0, wonderful! Hor. Good my lord, tell it. Ham. No; you'll reveal it. Hor. Not I, my lord, by Heaven. Mar. Nor I, my lord. Ham. How say you, then; would heart of man
once think it ? But you'll be secret ? Hor. Mar.
Ay, by Heaven, my lord. Ham. There's ne'er a villain dwelling in all Den
mark, But he's an arrant knave.
duced the vow of Hamlet to make his memory a blank of all maxims and generalized truths that “observation had copied there," — followed immediately by the speaker noting down the generalized fact, “ That one may smile, and smile, and be a vil. Jain." - COLERIDGE.
16 This is the call which falconers use to their hawk in the air when they would have him come down to them. — The quartos assign some of these speeches differently, and have boy instead of bird. We follow the folio here.
Hor. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from
To tell us this.
Ham. Why, right; you are i'the right; And so, without more circumstance at all, I hold it fit that we shake hands, and part: You, as your business and desire shall point you, For every man hath business and desire, Such as it is; and, for mine own poor part, Look you, I'll go pray." Hor. These are but wild and whirling words, my
lord. Ham. I'm sorry they offend you, heartily; yes, 'Faith, heartily. Hor.
There's no offence, my lord. Ham. Yes, by St. Patrick,18 but there is, Horatio, And much offence too. Touching this vision here, It is an honest ghost, that let me tell
you : For your
desire to know what is between us,
Hor. What is't, my lord ? we will.
17 The words, Look you, are found only in the folio.
18 Warburton has ingeniously defended Shakespeare for making the Danish prince swear by St. Patrick, by observing that the whole northern world had their learning from Ireland.
Ham. Indeed, upon my sword, indeed.
there, true-penny ?
- you hear this fellow in the cellarage, Consent to swear. Hor.
Propose the oath, my lord.
Ghost. [Beneath.] Swear.
Ghost. [Beneath.] Swear.20
so fast ?
remove, good friends. Hor. O, day and night! but this is wondrous
strange. Ham. And therefore as a stranger give it wel
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.?!
19 The custom of swearing by the sword, or rather by the cross at the upper end of it, is very ancient. The name of Jesus was not unfrequently inscribed on the handle. The allusions to this custom are very numerous in our old writers.
20 Here again we follow the folio, with which the first quarto agrees. In the other quartos, this speech reads, “Swear by his sword ;” and the last two lines of the preceding speech are transposed. In the next line, the folio has ground instead of earth.
21 So read all the quartos ; the folio, “our philosophy.” The