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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,
And on his Grave rain'd many a tear
Fare you well, my dove!

Laer. Hadft thou thy wits, and didft perfuade Revenge,

5 Nature is FINE in love; and

where 'tis FINE,

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 cause 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) fo 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

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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 La ertes, is the paffion by which nature is most exalted and refined, and as fubftances refined and fubtilifed, eafily obey any impulfe, 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 flori,

And Jeparate from their kindred
dregs below,
So flew ber foul-


It could not move thus.

Oph. You must fing, down-a-down, and you call him a-down-a.

"O how the wheel becomes it! it is the false steward that ftole his master's daughter.

Laer. This nothing's more than matter.

Oph. There's rofemary, 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. There's fennel for you, and columbines, 8 There's rue for you, and here's fome for me. We

6 O how the WHEEL becomes it!] We fhould read wEAL. She is now rambling on the ballad of the fteward and his lord's daughter, And in these words fpeaks of the ftate he affumed.


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 steward was reduced to pin.

1 There's rosemary, that's far 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, becaufe of its name, Penfies; but why 10femary 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 fone for me. W'e 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
ufed to force the poffeffed to fwal-
low down when they exorcifed
them. Now thefe exorcifms being
performed generally on a Sunday,
in the church before the whole
congregation, is the reason why
the fays, we call it herb of grace
'Sundays. Sandys tells us that
at Grand Cairo there is a fpecies
of rue much in requcft, with
which the inhabitants perfume
themfelves, not only as a pre-
fervative against infection, but as
very powerful against evil fpirits.
And the cabaliftic Gaffarel pre-
tends to have difcovered the rea-
fon of its virtue, La femence de
Rue eft faide comme une Croix,
c'est paraventure la caufe qu'elle a
tant de veriu contre les poffedez, &
que l'Eglife s'en fert en les exor-
cifant. It was on the fame prin-
ciple that the Greeks called Sul-
phur, ao, because of its use in
their fuperftitious purgations by
fire. Which too the Romish priests
employ to fumigate in their
exorcifms; and on that account
hallów or confecrate it. WARB.

may call it herb of grace 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?

And will be not come again?
No, no, he is dead,

Go to thy death-bed,
He never will come again.
His beard was white as fnow,
All flaxen was his poll:
He is gone, he is gone,
And we caft away mone,
Gramercy on his foul!

And on all christian fouls! God b'wi'ye. [Exit Oph. Laer. Do you fee this, you Gods!

King. Laertes, I muft 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,
Our Crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in fatisfaction. But if not,

Be you content to lend your patience to us;
And we shall jointly labour with your soul,
To give it due content.

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,
That I must call❜t in question.

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King. So

you fhall:

And where th' offence is, let the great ax fall. I pray you go with me.


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Hor. What are they, that would speak with me? Serv. Sailors, Sir. They fay, they have letters for you.

Hor. Let them come in.

I do not know from what part of the world

I should be greeted, if not from Lord Hamlet.

Enter Sailors.

Sail. God blefs you, Sir.

Hor. Let him blefs thee too.

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, às I am let to know it is.

9 No trophy, fword, nor hatchment] 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

the great Ax fall.] We fhould read,

let the great TAX fall. i. e. penalty, punishment.

WARBURTON, Fall correfponds better to ax. Horatio


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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 fea, 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 have the letters I have fent, and repair thou to me with as much bafte as thou wouldeft fly death. I bave words to fpeak 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.


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He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.

Come. I will make you way for these your letters;
And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.

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King, Now muft your confcience my acquittance. feal,

2 for the bore of the matter.] The matter, fays Hamlet, would The bore is the caliber of a gun, carry heavier words.

or the capacity of the barrel.


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