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0, for two special reasons ; Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinewd, But yet to me they are strong. The queen, his

mother, Lives almost by his looks; and for myself, (My virtue, or my plague, be it either which), She is so conjunctive to my life and soul, That, as the star moves not but in his sphere, I could not but by her. The other motive, Why to a publick count I might not go, Is, the great love the general gender? bear him : Who, dipping all his faults in their affection, Would, like the spring that turneth wood to stone, Convert bis gyves to graces 3 ; so that my arrows, Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind“, Would have reverted to my bow again, And not where I had aim'd them.

Laer. And so have I a noble father lost; A sister driven into desperate terms; Whose worth, if praises may go back again, Stood challenger on mount of all the age For her perfections:But my revenge will come. King. Break not your sleeps for that: you must

not think, That we are made of stuff so flat and dull, That we can let our beard be shook with dangero,

2 i. e. the common race of the people. We have the general and the million in other places in the same sense.

Would, like the spring which turneth wood to stone, convert his fetters into graces :' punishment would only give him more grace in their opinion. The quarto reads work for would.

my arrows Too slightly timber'd for so loud a wind.' Lighte shaftes cannot stand in a rough wind.'— Ascham's Toxophilus, 1589, p. 57.

If praises may go back again.' If I may praise what has been, but is now to be found no more.'

• Idcirco stolidam præbet tibi vellere barbam
Jupiter ?

Persius, Sat. ii.

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And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more:
I loved your father, and we love ourself;
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine,-
How now 7 ? what news ?

Enter a Messenger. Mess.

Letters, my lord, from Hamlet : This to your majesty; this to the queen.

King. From Hamlet! who brought them?

Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say: I saw them not; They were given me by Claudio, he received them Of him that brought them 8.

King. Laertes, you shall hear them :Leave us.

[Exit Messenger. [Reads.] High and mighty, you shall know, I am set naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes : when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasion of my sudden and more strange return. Hamlet. What should this mean! Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing? Laer. Know


the hand ? King. "Tis Hamlet's character. Naked,And, in a postscript here, he says, alone: Can you

advise me? Laer. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him come; It warms the


sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
Thus diddest thou.

If it be so, Laertes,
As how should it be so? how otherwise ?-
Will you be rul'd by me?

? How now is omitted in the quarto: as is letters in the next speech.

8 This hemistich is not in the folio.


Ay, my lord; So you

will not o'errule me to a peace9. King. To thine own peace. If he be now re

As checking 10 at his voyage, and that he means
No more to undertake it-I will work him
To an exploit, now ripe in my device,
Under the which he shall not choose but fall :
And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe ;
But even his mother shall uncharge the practice,
And call it, accident.

My lord, I will be rul'd;
The rather, if you could devise it so,
That I might be the organ.

It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him,
As did that one; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege 11.

What part is that, my lord ? King. A very riband in the cap of youth, Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes The light and careless livery that it wears, Than settled age his sables and his weeds,

9 First folio omitting Ay, my lord, reads If so you'll not o'errule me to a peace.

10 To check, to hold off, or fly from, as in fear. It is a phrase taken from falconry :

-For who knows not, quoth she, that this hawk, which comes now so fair to the fist, may to-morrow check at the lure.'-Hinde's Eliosto Libidinoso, 1606.

11 Of the unworthiest siege, of the lowest rank : siege for seat or place :

I fetch my birth
From men of royal seige.'


Importing health and graveness 1.-Two months

Here was a gentleman of Normandy,-
I have seen myself, and serv'd against the French,
And they can well on horseback : but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wondrous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorps'd and demi-natur'd
With the brave beast : so far he topp'd my thought,
That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks 13,
Come short of what he did.

A Norman was't?
King. A Norman.
Laer. Upon my life, Lamord.

The very same.
Laer. I know him well: he is the brooch, indeed,

of all the nation. King. He made confession of you; And gave you such a masterly report, For art and exercise in your defence 14, And for your rapier most especial, That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed, If one could match you: the scrimers 15 of their

nation, He swore,

had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd them : Sir, this report of his
Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy,
That he could nothing do, but wish and beg
Your sudden coming o'er, to play with you.
Now, out of this,

12 i. e. implying or denoting gravity and attention to health. If we should not rather read wealth for health,

" That I, in forgery of shapes and tricks.' • That I, in imagining and describing his feats,' &c.

14 Science of defence, i. e. fencing.

15 Scrimers, fencers, from escrimeur, Fr. This unfavourable description of French swordsmen is not in the folio.



What out of this, my lord ? King. Laertes, was your father dear to you? Or are you like the painting of a sorrow, A face without a heart? Laer.

Why ask you this? King. Not that I think, you did not love your

father; But that I know, love is begun by time 16; And that I see, in passages of proof, Time qualifies the spark and fire of it. There lives within the very flame of love A kind of wick, or snuff, that will abate it: And nothing is at a like goodness still ; For goodness, growing to a plurisy 17, Dies in his own too-much: That we would do, We should do when we would; for this would changes, And hath abatements and delays as many, As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents ; And then this should is like a spendthrift's sigh 18,


16 • But that I know love is begun by time,' &c. 'As love is begun by time, and has its gradual increase, so time qualifies and abates it. Passages of proof are transactions of daily experi

The next ten lines are not in the folio. 17 Plurisy is superabundance ; our ancestors used the word in this sense, as if it came from plus, pluris, and not from alevpà. The disease was formerly thought to proceed from too much blood flowing to the part affected :

in a word,
Thy plurisy of goodness is thy ill.'

Massinger's Unnatural Combat. 18 Johnson says it is a prevalent notion' that sighs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers.' Steevens makes a ludicrous mistake in the quotation from the Governal of Helth, wherein he takes sythes (times) to signify sighs. Shakspeare in King Henry VI. has blood-consuming sighs. And in Fenton's Tragical Discourses :- Your scorching sighes that have already drained your body of his wholesome humoures. The reading of the old copies, which I have restored, had been altered in the modern editions to ' a spendthrift sigh, without reason. Mr. Blakeway justly observes, that . Sorrow for neglected opportu

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