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Queen. 0, what a rash and bloody deed is this !
Ham. A bloody deed; almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother..
Queen. As kill a king!
Ay, lady, 'twas my word.Thou wretched, rash, intruding fool, farewell !
[To POLONIUS. I took thee for thy better; take thy fortune: Thou find'st to be too busy, is some danger.Leave wringing of your hands; Peace; sit you down, And let me wring your heart: for so I shall, If it be made of penetrable stuff: If damned custom have not braz’d it so, That it be proof and bulwark against sense. Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag
thy tongue In noise so rude against me? Ham.
Such an act, That blurs the grace and blush of modesty; Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose . From the fair forehead of an innocent love, And sets a blister thereo; makes marriage vows
2 There is an idle and verbose controversy between Steevens and Malone, whether the poet meant to represent the Queen as guilty or innocent of being accessory to the murder of her husband. Surely there can be no doubt upon the matter. The Queen shows no emotion at the mock play when it is said
• In second husband let me be accurst,
None wed the second but who kill'd the first and now manifests the surprise of conscious innocence upon the sabject. It should also be observed that Hamlet never directly accuses her of any guilty participation in that crime. I am happy to find my opinion, so expressed in December, 1823, confirmed by the newly discovered quarto copy of 1603; in which the Queen in a future speech is made to say
'But, as I have a soal, I swear by heaven,
takes off the rose From the fair forehead of an innocent love,' &c. One would think by the ludicrous gravity with which Steevens
As false as dicers' oaths: 0, such a deed
Ah me, what act,
Ham. Look here upon this picture, and on this; The counterfeit presentment of two brothers. See, what a grace was seated on this brow: Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; An eye like Mars, to threaten and command; A station like the herald Mercury, New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill; A combination, and a form, indeed, and Malone take this figurative expression in a literal sense, that they were unused to the language of poetry, especially to the adventurous metaphors of Shakspeare. Mr. Boswell's note is short and to the purpose. * Rose is put generally for the ornament, the grace of an innocent love. Ophelia describes Hamlet as—
• The expectancy and rose of the fair state.' 4 The quarto of 1604 gives this passage thus :
Heaven's face does glow
Is thought-sick at the act. 5 The index, or table of contents, was formerly placed at the beginning of books. In Othello, Act ii. Sc. 7, we have an index and obscure prologue to the history of foul and lustful thoughts.'
6 It is evident from this passage that whole length pictures of the two kings were formerly introduced. Station does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing, t he attitude. So in Antony and Cleopatra, Act iii. Sc. 3:
Her motion and her station are as one.' Without this explanation it might be conceived that the compliment designed for the attitude of the King was bestowed on the place where Mercury is represented as standing
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
7 Here the allusion is to Pharaoh's dream. Genesis, xli.
8 i.e. to feed rankly or grossly: it is usually applied to the fattening of animals. Marlowe has it for to grow fat. Bat is the old word for increase; whence we have battle, batten, batful.
9 Sense here is not used for reason; but for sensation, feeling, or perception: as before in this scene:
• That it be proof and bulwark against sense.' Warburton, misunderstanding the passage, proposed to read notion instead of motion. The whole passage in brackets is omitted in the folio.
10 • The hoodwinke play, or hoodman blind, in some place, called blindmanbuf.'- Baret. It appears also to have been called blind hob. It is hob-man blind in the quarto of 1603. 11 i.e. could not be so dull and stupid.
If thou canst mutine 12 in a matron's bones,
O Hamlet, speak no more :
Nay, but to live In the rank sweat of an enseamed 15 bed; Stew'd in corruption; honeying, and making love Over the nasty sty ;Queen.
0, speak to me no more; These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears ; No more, sweet Hamlet. .. Ham.
A murderer, and a villain; A slave, that is not twentieth part the tithe
12 Mutine for mutiny. 'This is the old form of the verb. Shakspeare calls mutineers mutines in a subsequent scene; but this is, I believe, peculiar to him: they were called mutiners anciently, 13 Thus in the quarto of 1603 :
"Why appetite with you is in the wane,
When lust shall dwell within a matron's breast.' 14 « Grained spots ;' that is, dyed in grain, deeply imbued.
15 i. e. greasy, rank, gross. It is a term borrowed from falconry. It is well known that the seam of any animal was the fat or tallow; and a hawk was said to be enseamed when ,she was too fat or gross for flight. By some confusion of terms, however, ' to enseam a hawk' was used for 'to purge ber of glut and grease;' by analogy it should have been unseam. Beaumont and Fletcher, in The False One, use inseamed in the same manner:
His lechery inseamed upon him.' It should be remarked, that the quarto of 1603 reads incestuous; as does that of 1611. ,
Of your precedent lord :-a vice 16 of kings:
Enter Ghost 17. Ham. Of shreds and patches :Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards !- What would your gracious
figure ? Queen. Alas, he's mad.
Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
Ghost. Do not forget: This visitation
How is it with you, lady? Queen. Alas, how is't with you?
16 i. e. 'the low mimic, the counterfeit, a dizard, or common vice and jester, counterfeiting the gestures of any man.'-Fleming. Shakspeare' afterwards calls him a king of shreds and patches, alluding to the party-coloured habit of the vice or fool in a play.
17 The first quarto adds, in his night-gown.'
18 · Laps'd in time and passion. Johnson explains this • That having suffered time to slip and passion to cool, let's go by,' &c. This explanation is confirmed by the quarto of 1603 :
• Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That I thus long have let revenge slip by.' 19 Conceit for conception, imagination. This was the force of the word among our ancestors. Thus in The Rape of Lucrece:
. And the conceited painter was so nice.'