Imagens das páginas

Ros. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both sides; and the nation holds it no sin, to tarre them on to controversy :4 there was, for a while, no money bid for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.

Ham. Is it possible?

Guil. O, there has been much throwing about of brains.

Ham. Do the boys carry it away?

Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord ; Hercules and his load too.']

Ham. It is not very strange: for my uncle is king of Denmark; and those, that would make mouths at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in little.? 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.

[Flourish of Trumpets within. Guil. There are the players.

Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands. Come then: the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony : let me coroply* with you in this garb; lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You


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to tarre them on to controversy:) To provoke any animal to rage, is to tarre him. The word is said to come from the Greek word ταρασσω. .

Hercules and his load too.] The allusion may be to the Globe playhouse on the Bankside, the sign of which was Hercules carrying ihe Globe.

It is not very strange: for my uncle -] I do not wonder that the new players have so suddenly risen to reputation, my uncle supplies another example of the facility with which honour is conferred upon new claimants. JOHNSON.

in little.] i. e. in miniature.

let me comply, &c.] To comply is apparently used in the sense of- to compliment.



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are welcome: but my uncle-father, and aunt-mo. ther, are deceived.

Guil. In what, my dear lord ?

Ham. I am but mad north-north west: when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a hand-saw.'

Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen!

Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern ,—and you too ;at each ear a hearer; that great baby, you see there, is not yet out of his swaddling clouts.

Ros. Happily, he's the second time come to them; for, they say, an old man is twice a child.

Ham. I will prophecy, he comes to tell me of the players; mark it. You say right, sir : o’Monday morning ; 'twas then, indeed.

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you.

Roscius was an actor in Rome,

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Ham. Buz, buz!
Pol. Upon my honour,-
Ham. Then came each actor on his ass,-

Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historical-pastoral, scene individable, or poem unlimited : Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ,' and the liberty, these are the only men.

Ham. O Jephthah, judge of Israel,--what a treasure hadst thou !

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord?

9- I know a hawk from a hand-saw.] A proverbial speech. 1 For the law of writ,j Writ, for writing, composition.

Ham. Why-One fair daughter, and no more,

The which he loved passing well. Pol. Still on my daughter.

[Aside. Ham. Am I not i'the right, old Jephthah?

Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well.

Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Pol. What follows then, my lord ?

Ham. Why, As by lot, God wot,” and then, you know, It came to pass, As most like it was,—The first row of the pious chanson’ will show you more: for look, my abridgment* comes.

Enter Four or Five Players. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all :-I am glad to see thee well :

-welcome, good friends.O, old friend! Why, thy face is valanced' since I saw thee last; Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark ?-What! my young lady and mistress! By-'rlady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when

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2 Why, As by lot, God wot,--&c.] The old song from which these quotations are taken, I communicated to Dr. Percy, who has honoured it with a place in the second and third editions of his Reliques of ancient English Poetry. STEEVENS.

the pious chanson -] The pious chansons were a kind of Christmas carols, containing some scriptural history thrown into loose rhymes, and sung

about the streets by the common people when they went at that season to solicit alms. Hamlet is here repeating some scraps from a song of this kind, and when Polonius enquires what follows them, he refers him to the first row (i. e. division) of one of these, to obtain the information he wanted.

my abridgment - ] He calls the players afterwards, the brief chronicles of the times; but I think he now means only those who will shorten my talk. JOHNSON.

- thy face is valanced-) i. e. fringed with a beard. The valance is the fringes or drapery hanging round the tester of a bed.

6- to beard me -] To beard, anciently signified to set al defiance.



I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: We'll have a speech straight: Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.

i Play. What speech, my lord ?

Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once, but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleased not the million ; 'twas caviare to the general :9 but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top of mine,') an excel'lent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savoury ; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection ;? but called it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved : 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter: If it live in your memory, begin at this line; let me see, let me see;

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,



by the altitude of a chopine.] A chioppine is a high shoe, or rather, a clog, worn by the Italians.

be not cracked within the ring.] That is, cracked too much for use.

This is said to a young player who acted the parts of women.

caviare to the general :] Caviare is a Russian delicacy made of the roe of the sturgeon. The general, the common people.

cried in the top of mine,] Were higher than mine.

indite the author of affection : ] i.e. convict the author of being a fantastical affected writer.

an honest method.) Honest, for chaste.


'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.

The rugged Pyrrhus,--he, whose sable arms,
Black as his purpose, did the night resemble
When he lay couched in the ominous horse,
Hath now this dread and black complexion smear'd
With heraldry more dismal; head to foot
Now is he total gules;4 horridly trick'd'
With blood of fathers, mothers, daughters, sons ;
Bak'd and impasted with the parching streets,
That lend a tyrannous and a damned light
To their lord's murder: Roasted in wrath,and fire,
And thus o'er-sized with coagulate gore,
With eyes like carbuncles, the hellish Pyrrhus
Old grandsire Priam seeks ;—So proceed you.

Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken ; with good accent, and good discretion.

1 Play. Anon he finds him Striking too short at Greeks; his antique sword, Rebellious to his arm, lies where it falls, Repugnant to command: Unequal matchd, Pyrrhus at Priam drives; in rage, strikes wide; But with the whiff and wind of his fell sword The unnerved father

falls. Then senseless Ilium, Seeming to feel this blow, with flaming top Stoops to his base; and with a hideous crash Takes prisoner Pyrrhus' ear: for, lo! his sword Which was declining on the milky head Of reverend Priam, seem'd i'the air to stick: So, as a painted tyrant, Pyrrhus stood; And, like a neutral to his will and matter, Did nothing But, as we often see, against some storm, A silence in the heavens, the rack stand still, The bold winds speechless, and the orb below

4 Now is he total gules;] Gules is a term in the barbarous jargon peculiar to heraldry, and signifies red. 5

trick'd -] i.e. smeared, painted. An heraldick term.

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