Page images
PDF
EPUB

And you must put me in your heart for friend;
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he, which hath your noble father flain,
Pursued my life.

Laer. It well appears. But tell me,
Why you proceeded not against these feats,
So crimeful and fo capital in nature,

As by your fafety, wifdom, all things else,
You mainly were ftirr'd up?

King. O, for two fpecial reasons,

Which may to you, perhaps, feem much unfinew'd, And yet to me are ftrong.

The Queen, his mother,
Lives almost by his looks; and for myself,
My virtue or my plague, be't either which,
She's fo conjunctive to my life and foul,
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 fpring that turneth wood to ftone,
Convert his gyves to graces. So that my arrows,
Too flightly timbred for so loud a wind,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

Laer. And fo have I a noble father loft,
A fifter driven into defperate terms,
Who has, if praises may go back again,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections. But my revenge will come.

3 the general gender] The common race of the people.

+ Would, like the Spring--] This fimile is neither very feafonable in the deep intereft of this converfation, nor very accuiately applied. If the fring had

changed bafe metals to gold, the thought had been more proper. -5 if praises may go back

again. If I may praise what has been, but is now to be found

no more.

King. Break not your fleeps for that. You must not

think,

That we are made of ftuff fo flat and dull,

That we can let our beard be fhook with danger,
And think it paftime. You fhall foon hear more.
I lov'd your father, and we love ourself,
And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine
How now? what news?

Enter a Messenger.

Mef. Letters, my Lord, from Hamlet. These to your Majefty. This to the Queen. King. From Hamlet? Who brought them? Mef. Sailors, my Lord, they fay; I saw them not. They were given me by Claudio; he receiv'd them. King. Laertes, you fhall hear them. Leave us,

all

[Exit Meffenger.

TIGH and Mighty, you shall know, I am fet naked on your Kingdom. To-morrow Shall I beg leave to fee your kingly eyes. When I fhall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount th' occafion of my fudden reHamlet.

turn.

What should this mean? Are all the reft come back? Or is it some abuse, and no fuch thing?

Laer. Know you the hand?

King. 'Tis Hamlet's character;

Naked, and (in a poftfcript here, he fays)

Alone. Can you advise me?

Laer. I'm loft in it, my Lord. But let him come;

It warms the very fickness in my heart,

That I fhall live and tell him to his teeth,

Thus diddeft thou.

King. If it be fo, Laertes,

As how fhould it be fo?.

-how, otherwife?

Will

Will you

be rul❜d by me?

Laer. Ay; fo you'll not o'er-rule me to a peace.
King. To thine own peace. If he be now return'd,
6 As liking not 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 fhall not chufe but fall:
And for his death no wind of Blame fhall breathe
But ev❜n his mother shall uncharge the practice,
And call it accident.

Laer. I will be rul'd

The rather, if you could devife it fo
That I might be the organ.

King. It falls right.

You have been talkt of fince your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's Hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they fay, you fhine; your fum of parts
Did not together pluck fuch envy from him,
As did that one, and that in my regard
? Of the unworthieft fiege.

#

Laer. What part is that, my Lord? King. A very riband in the cap of youth, Yet needful too; for youth no lefs becomes The light and careless livery that it wears, Than Jettled age his fables, and his weeds,

8 Importing health and gravenefs.-Two months fince, Here was a gentleman of Normandy.

I've seen myself, and ferv'd against the French,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

And they can well on horfe-back but this Gallant
Had witchcraft in't, he grew unto his feat;
And to fuch wondrous doing brought his horfe,
As he had been incorps'd and demy-natur'd
With the brave beaft. So far he topp'd my thought,"
That I in forgery of thapes and tricks
Come short of what he did.

Laer. A Norman, was't?
King. A Norman.

Laer. Upon my life, Lamond.

King. The fame.

Laer. I know him well. He is the brooch, indeed, And gem of all the nation.

King. He made confeffion of you,
And gave you fuch a mafterly report,
For art and exercise in your defence;
1
And for your rapier most especial,

That he cry'd out, 'twould be a Sight indeed,
If one could match you. The Scrimers of their na-

tion,

2.

He fwore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you oppos'd 'em.Sir, this Report of his
Did Hamlet fo envenom with his envy,

That he could do nothing, but wifh and beg
Your fudden coming o'er to play with him.
Now out of this-

Laer. What out of this, my Lord?

King. Laertes, was your father dear to you, Or are you like the painting of a forrow,

A face without a heart?

9

Laer. Why afk you this?

King. Not that I think, you did not love your fa

ther,

-in forgery of shapes and tricks] I could not contrive fo many proofs of dexterity as he could perform.

VOL. VIII.

[blocks in formation]

But that I know, love is begun by time,
And that I fee 3 in paffages of proof,
Time qualifies the fpark and fire of it:
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick, or fnuff, that will abate it,
And nothing is at a like goodness ftill;
4 For goodness, growing to a pleurify,

Dies in his own too much. What we would do,
We should do when we would; for this would changes,
And bath abatements and delays as many

As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
5 And then this hould is like a fpend-thrift figh
That hurts by eafing. But to th' quick o' th' ulcer-
Hamlet comes back; what would you undertake
To fhew yourself your father's Son indeed
More than in words?

3-in paffages of prorf, 1 In tranfactions of daily experience. 4 For goodness, growing to a pleurify, I would believe, for the honour of Shakespear, that he wrote plethory. But I obferve

the dramatic writers of that time. frequently call a fulness of blood a pleurify, as if it came, not from haupa, but from plus, pluris.

WARBURTON. 5 And then this should is like a Spend-thrift's SIGH That hurts by easing; This nonfenfe fhould be read thus,

And then this fhould is like a Spendthrift's SIGN That hurts by eafing ;· i. e. tho' à fpendthrift's entering into bonds or mortgages gives him a prefent relief from his ftraits, yet it ends in much great. er diftreffes. The application is, If you neglect a fair opportunity

now, when it may be done with
eafe and fafety, time may throw
fo many difficulties in your way,
that, in order to furmount them,
you
must put your whole fortune
into hazard.

WARB. This conjecture is fo ingenious, that it can hardly be oppofed, but with the fame reluc tance as the bow is drawn against a hero, whofe virtues the archer holds in veneration. Here may be applied what Voltaire writes to the Empress:

Le genereux François

Te combat t'admire. Yet this emendation, however fpecious, is mistaken. The original reading is, not a Spendthrift's figh, but a spendthrift figh; a figh that makes an unneceffary wafte of the vital flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that fighs impair the ftrength, and wear out the animal powers.

Laer.

« PreviousContinue »