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Nature is fine in love; and, where 'tis fine, "It fends fome precious inftance of itself "After the thing it loves.
Oph. They bore him bare fac'd on the bier,
Laer. Hadft thou thy wits, and didft perfuade Re
5 Nature is FINE in love; and where 'tis PINE,
It fends fome precious inftance of itfelf
After the thing it loves.] This is unquestionably corrupt. I fuppofe Shakespear wrote,
Nature is fal'n in love, and where 'tis fal'n,
The caufe of Ophelia's madness was grief, occafioned by the violence of her natural affection for ber murder'd father; her brother, therefore, with great force of expreffion, fays,
Nature is fal'n in love,To diftinguish the paffion of natural affection from the paffion of love between the two fexes, i, e. Nature, or natural affection is fal'n in love. And as a perfon in love is accustomed to fend the moft precious of his jewels to the perfon beloved (for the lovetokens which young wenches in love fend to their fweethearts, is here alluded to) so when Nature (fays Laertes) falls in love, the likewife fends her love-token to the object beloved. But her moft precious jewel is reafon; the therefore fends that: And this he gives as the caufe of Ophelia's madness, which he is here endeavouring to account for. This
quaint fentiment of Nature's falling in love, is exactly in ShakeSpear's manner, and is a thought he appears fond of. So in Romeo and Juliet, Aion is reprefented as in love; Affliction is enamour'd of thy
And thou art wedded to calamity.
Nay Death, a very unlikely subject one would think, is put into a love fit;
-I will believe
That unfubftantial death is amorous, &c. WARB. Thefe lines are not in the quarto, and might have been omitted in the folio without great lofs, for they are obfcure and affected; but, I think, they require no emendation. Love, fays Laertes, is the paffion by which nature is moft exalted and refined, and as substances refined and subtilifed, eafily obey any impulse, or follow any attraction, fome part of nature, fo purified and refined, flies off after the attracting object, after the thing it loves. As into air the purer Spirits florv,
And Separate from their kindred dregs below, So flew her foule
It could not move thus.
Oph. You must fing, down-a-down, and you call bim a-down-a.
"O how the wheel becomes it! it is the falfe fteward that ftole his master's daughter.
Laer. This nothing's more than matter.
Oph. 7 There's rosemary, that's for remembrance, Pray, love, remember. And there's panfies, that's for thoughts.
Laer. A document in madness, thoughts and remembrance fitted.
Oph. 'I here's fennel for you, and columbines,
6 O how the WHEEL becomes
it!] We fhould read wEAL. She is now rambling on the balJad of the fteward and his lord's daughter, And in these words fpeaks of the ftate he affumed. WARBURTON
I do not fee why weat is better than wheel. The ftory alluded to I do not know; but perhaps the lady ftolen by the fteward was reduced to pin.
7 There's rofemary, that's for remembrance; and there's panties, that's for thoughts.] There is probably fonte mythology in the choice of thefe herbs, but I cannot explain it. Panfies is for thoughts, because of its name, Penfies; but why refemary indicates remembrance, except that it is an ever-green, and carried at funerals, I have not difcovered.
8 There's rue for you, and here's fome for me. We may call it herb of grace o' Sundays:] Herb of gace is the name the country people give to Rue. And the reafon i, because that herb was a principal ingredient in the po
tion which the Romish priests
may call it herb of grace o' Sundays. o' Sundays. You may wear your rue with a difference; there's a daify. I would give you fome violets, but they withered all when my father dy'd. They say, he made a good end
For bonny fweet Robin is all my joy.
Laer. Thought, and affliction, paffion, hell itself, She turns to favour, and to prettiness.
Oph. And will be not come again?
Go to thy death-bed,
And on all chriftian fouls! God b'wi'ye. [Exit Oph. Laer. Do you fee this, you Gods!
King. Laertes, I must commune with your grief, Or you deny me right. Go but a-part. Make choice of whom your wifeft friends you will, And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me. If by direct or by collateral hand
They find us touch'd, we will our Kingdom give,
Laer. Let this be fo.
His means of death, his obfcure funeral,
"No trophy, fword, nor hatchment o'er his bones, No noble rite, nor formal oftentation,
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heav'n to earth,
King. So you fhall :
'And where th' offence is, let the great ax fall.
Enter Horatio, with an Attendant.
Hor. What are they, that would speak with me?
Hor. Let them come in.
I do not know from what part of the world
Sail. God blefs you, Sir.
Hor. Let him blefs thee too.
9 No trophy, Sword, nor batchment] It was the custom, in the times of our authour, to hang a fword over the grave of a Knight.
And where th' offence is, let
Sail. He fhall, Sir, an't please him ——There's a letter for you, Sir. It comes from th' ambaffador that was bound for England, if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
Horatio reads the letter.
ORATIO, when thou shalt bave overlook'd this, give thefe fellows fome means to the King: they have letters for him. Ere we were too days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace. Finding ourselves too flow of fail, we put on a compelled valour, and in the grapple I boarded them: on the inftant they got clear of our ship, fo I alone became their prifoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did, I am to do a good turn for them. Let the King bave the letters I have fent, and repair thou to me with as much hafte as thou wouldeft fly death. I have words to speak in thy ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter. Thefe good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rofincrantz and Guildenstern hold their courfe for England. Of them I have much to tell thee. Farewel.
He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.
Come. I will make you way for these your letters;
Enter King and Laertes.
King, Now muft your confcience my acquittance
2 for the bore of the matter.] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel.
The matter, fays Hamlet, would carry heavier words.