Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

There's tricks i'the world; and hems, and beats her

heart; Spurns enviously at straws ;: speaks things in doubt, That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing, Yet the unshaped use of it doth move The hearers to collection ;4 they aim at it, And botch the words up fit to their own thoughts; Which, as her winks, and nods, and gestures yield

them, Indeed would make one think, there might be

thought, Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily. Queen. "Twere good, she were spoken with ; for

she may strew Dangerous conjectures in ill-breeding minds : Let her come in.

[Exit HORATIO. To my sick soul, as sin's true nature is, Each toy seems prologue to some great amiss :: So full of artless jealousy is guilt, It spills itself in fearing to be spilt.

Re-enter Horatio, with OPHELIA. Oph. Where is the beauteous majesty of Denmark? Queen. How now, Ophelia ?

4

3 Spurns enviously at straws ;] Envy is much oftener put by our poet (and those of his time) for direct aversion, than for malignity conceived at the sight of another's excellence or happiness.

to collection ;] i. e. to deduce consequences from such premises; or, as Mr. M. Mason observes, “ endeavour to collect some meaning from them.”

they aim at it,] To aim is to guess. 6 Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.] i. e. though her meaning cannot be certainly collected, yet there is enough to put a mischievous interpretation to it.

1- to some great amiss :) Shakspeare is not singular in his use of this word as a substantive. Each toy is, each trifle.

[ocr errors]

Oph. How should I your true love knows

From another one?
By his cockle hat and staff,

And his sandal shoon.9 [Singing.

Queen. Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
Oph. Say you ? nay, pray you, mark.
He is dead and gone, lady,

[Sings.
He is dead and gone ;
At his head a grass-green turf,

At his heels a stone.

0, ho!

Queen. Nay, but Ophelia,
Oph.

Pray you, mark.
White his shroud as the mountain snow,

[Sings. Enter King Queen. Alas, look here, my lord. . Oph. Larded all with sweet flowers ;

Which bewept to the grave did go,

With true-love showers.

8 How should I your true love, &c.] There is no part of this play in its representation on the stage, more pathetick than this scene; which, I suppose, proceeds from the utter insensibility Ophelia has to her own misfortunes,

A great sensibility, or none at all, seems to produce the same effect. In the latter the audience supply what she wants, and with the former they syınpathize. SIR J. REYNOLDS. 9 By his cockle hat and staff,

And his sandal shoon.] This is the description of a pilgrim. While this kind of devotion was in favour, love-intrigues were carried on under that mask. Hence the old ballads and novels made pilgrimages the subjects of their plots. The cockle-shell

of the essential badges of this vocation: for the chief places of devotion being beyond sea, or on the coasts, the pilgrims were accustomed to put cockle-shells upon their hats, to denote the intention or performance of their devotion.

hat was one

King. How do you, pretty lady?

Oph. Well, God’ield you !" They say, the owl was a baker's daughter. Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table!

King. Conceit upon her father.

Oph. Pray, let us have no words of this ; but when they ask you what it means, say you this :

Good morrow, 'tis Saint Valentine's day,

All in the morning betime,
And I a maid at your window,

To be your Valentine:
Then up he rose, and don'd his clothes,

And dupp'd the chamber door ;)
Let in the maid, that out a maid

Never departed more.
King. Pretty Ophelia !
Oph. Indeed, without an oath, I'll make an end

on't:

By Gis, and by Saint Charity,

Alack, and fye for shame!
Young men will do't, if they come to't ;

By cock, they are to blame.

3

4

* Larded — ;] The expression is taken from cookery. 2 Well, God’ield you !] i. e. Heaven reward you!

the owl was a baker's daughter.] This was a legendary story.-Our Saviour being refused bread by the daughter of a baker, is described as punishing her by turning her into an owl.

don'd his clothes,] To don is to do on, to put on, as doff is to do off, put off.

s And dupp'd the chamber door ; ] To dup, is to do up; to lift the latch. By Gis,] Probably the contraction of some Saint's name. by Saint Charity,] Saint Charity is a saint among

theRoman Catholicks. 8 By cock,] This is a corruption of the sacred namre

6

7

Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promis'd me to wed:

[He answers.
So would I ha done, by yonder sun,

An thou hadst not come to my bed.

King. How long hath she been thus?

Oph. I hope, all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot choose but weep, to think, they should lay him i’the cold ground: My brother shall know of it, and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies ; good night, sweet ladies ; good night, good night.

[Exit. King. Follow her close ; give her good watch, I pray you.

[Exit Horatio. 0! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs All from her father's death : And now behold, O Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions! First, her father slain, Next, your son gone; and he most violent author Of his own just remove: The people muddied, Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts and

whispers, For good Polonius' death ; and we have done but

greenly, In hugger-mugger to inter him :' Poor Ophelia

9

- but greenly,] But unskilfully; with greenness ; that is, without maturity of judgment.

In hugger-mugger to inter him :] All the modern editions that I have consulted, give it:

In private to inter him ; That the words now replaced are better, I do not undertake to prove; it is sufficient that they are Shakspeare's: if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by dişuse, or gross by vul

Divided from herself, and her fair judgment;
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts.
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France :
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death ;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death. A Noise within.
Queen.

Alack! what noise is this!

Enter a Gentleman.
King. Attend
Where are my Switzers ? Let them guard the door:
What is the matter?
Gent.

Save yourself, my lord;
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste,
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears

your

officers! The rabble call him, lord ?

4

garity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author ; and, as these alterations will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning. Johnson.

* Like to a murdering piece,] The small cannon, which are, or were used in the forecastle, half-deck, or steerage of a ship of war, were within this century called murdering-pieces.

my Switzers ?] In many of our old plays, the guards attendant on Kings are called Switzers, and that without any regard to the country where the scene lies, because the Swiss in the time of our poet, as at present, were hired to fight the battles of other nations.

4 The ocean, overpeering of his list,] The lists are the barriers which the spectators of a tournament must not pass,

In this place, it signifies boundary, i. e. the shore.

3

« AnteriorContinuar »