« PreviousContinue »
Laer. My dread lord,
Your leave and favour to return to France;
My thoughts and wishes bend again tow'rd France:
Pol. He hath, my lord, by labourfome petition,
King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes, time be thine And thy best Graces fpend it at thy Will.
um; tho' what he could mean by the head's being NATIVE to the heart, I cannot conceive. The mouth indeed of an honest man might, perhaps, in fome fenfe, be faid to be native, that is, allied to the heart. But the fpeaker is here talking not of a moral, but a phyfical alliance. And the force of what is faid is fupported only by that diftinction. I fuppofe, then, that Shakespear wrote,
The BLOOD is not more native to the heart, Than to the Throne of Denmark is thy father. This makes the fentiment juft and pertinent. As the blood is formed and fuftained by the labour of the heart, the mouth fupplied by the office of the hand, fo is the throne of Denmark by your father, &c. The expreffion too of the blood's being native of the heart, is extremely fine. For the heart is the labo
ratory where that vital liquor is digefted, diftributed, and (when weakened and debilitated) again reflored to the vigour neceffary for the difcharge of its functions. WARBURTON. Part of this emendation I have received, but cannot discern why the bead is not as much native to the heart, as the blood, that is, natural and congenial to it, born with it, and co operating with it. The relation is likewife by this reading better preferved, the Counsellor being to the King as the bead to the heart.
7 Take thy fair hour, Laertes, time be thine,
And thy fair graces; Spend it
at thy will.] This is the pointing in both Mr. Pope's editions; but the Poet's meaning is loft by it, and the close of the fentence miferably flatten'd, The pointing, I have restored, is that of the beft copies; and the fenfe, this: "You have my leave to
But now, my coufin Hamlet, and my fon
Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.
King. How is it, that the clouds ftill hang on you? Ham. Not fo, my lord, I am too much i' th' Sun. Queen. Good Hamlet, caft thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. · Do not, for ever, with thy veiled lids, Seek for thy noble father in the duft; Thou know'ft, 'tis common: all, that live, muft die; Paffing through nature to eternity. Ham. Ay, Madam, it is common.
I rather think this line is in want of emendation, I read, Time is thine,
And my beft grace; Spend it at
Ham. A little more than kin,
But now, my coufin Hamlet.-
i. e. But now let us turn to you,
coufin Hamlet. Kind my fon, (or as we now fay, Good my fon) lay afide this clouded look. For thus he was going to expoftulate gently with him for his melancholy, when Hamlet cut him fhort by reflecting on the titles he gave him; A little more than kin, and lefs than kind,
which we now see is a pertinent reply. WARBURTON. A little more than kin, and less than kind.] It is not unreasonable to fuppofe that this was a proverbial expreffion, known in former times for a relation so confused and blended,` that it was hard to define it. HANMER. Kind is the Teutonick word for Child. Hamlet therefore anfwers with propriety, to the titles of cousin and fan, which the King had given him, that he was fomewhat more than coufin, and less than fon.
9too much i' th' Sun.] He perhaps alludes to the proverb, Out of heaven's bieffing into the warm fun.
Queen. If it be,
Why feems it fo particular with thee?
Ham, Seems, Madam? nay, it is; I know not feems & 'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother, Nor customary fuits of folemn Black, Nor windy fufpiration of forc'd breath, No, nor the fruitful river in the eye, Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage, Together with all forms, moods, fhews of grief, That can denote me truly. These indeed feem, For they are actions that a man might play; But I have That within, which paffeth fhew: Thefe, but the trappings, and the fuits of woe. King. 'Tis fweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give thefe mourning duties to your father:
your father loft a father; That father, his; and the furvivor bound.] Thus Mr. Pepe judiciously corrected the faulty copies. On which the editor Mr. Theobald thus difcants; This fuppofed refinement is from Mr. Pope, but all the editions elfe, that I have met with, old and modern, read,
That father loft, loft bis ;The reduplication of which word bere gives an energy and an ele gance WHICH IS MUCH EASIER TO BE CONCEIVED THAN EX
PLAINED IN TERMS. I believe fo: For when explained in terms
it comes to this; That father af ter he had loft himself, loft his father. But the reading is ex fide Codicis, and that is enough. WARBURTON. I do not admire the repetition of the word, but it has fo much of our authour's manner, that I find no temptation to recede from the old copies.
2. obfequious forrow.] Obquious is here from obfequies, or funeral ceremonies.
3 In obfiinate condolement.-] Condolement, for forrow; becaufe Jarrow is used to be condoled. WARBURTON.
Of impious ftubbornnefs, unmanly grief.
4—a will most incorrect-] Incorrect, for untutor❜d.
WARBURTON. 5 To Reafon moft abfurd;—] Reafon, for experience. WARB.
Reafon is here used in its com mon fenfe, for the faculty by which we form conclufions from arguments.
6 And with no less nobility of love,] Nobility, for Magnitude. WARBURTON. Nobility is rather generosity. 7 Do I impart tow'rd you-] Impart, for profess. WARB.
I believe impart is, impart myfelf, communicate whatever I can bestow.
Be as ourself in Denmark. Madam, come;
Ham. Oh, that this too too folid flesh would melt, Thaw, and refolve itself into a dew!
, Or that the Everlasting had not fixt
So excellent a King, that was, to this,
8 Nojocundhealth.] The King's intemperance is very ftrongly impreffed;,every thing that hap. pens to him gives him occafion
9 Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His cannon 'gainst felf flaughter] The generality of the e'itions read thus, as if the Poet's thought were, Or that the Almighty had not planted bis artillesy, or arms of vengeance, against
felf-murder. But the word, which I reftored, (and which was efpous'd by the accurate Mr. Hughes, who gave an edition of this Play;) is the true reading, i. e. That he had not reftrain'd Juicide by his exprefs law, and peremptory exhibition.
THEOBALD. 1 So excellent a King, that was, to this,
Hyperion to a Satyr :-] This fimilitude at first fight feems to be