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You must translate : 'tis fit we understand them:
[To Rosencrantz and GuilDENSTERN, who
Ah, my good lord", what have I seen to-night!
King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet ? QUEEN. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both
contend " Which is the mightier: In his lawless fit, Behind the arras hearing something stir, He whips his rapier out, and cries, * A rat! a rat! And, in this to brainish apprehension, kills The unseen good old man. King.
O heavy deed! It had been so with us, had we been there : His liberty is full of threats to all ; To you yourself, to us, to every one. Alas! how shall this bloody deed be answer'd ? It will be laid to us, whose providence Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of
haunt, * Quarto, Whips out his rapier, cries. + First folio, his.
3 Bestow this place on us a little while.] This line is wanting in the folio. STEEVENS.
Which does not bring Rosencrantz, or Guildenstern, on the stage at all. Boswell. 4 — MY good lord,] The quartos read—“ mine own lord.”
Steevens. s Mad as the sea, and wind, when both contend, &c.] We have precisely the same image in King Lear, expressed with more brevity:
he was met even now,
Johnson. “Out of haunt," means, out of company. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
** Dido and her Sichæus shall want tronps,
This mad young man : but, so much was our love,
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
King. O, Gertrude, come away! The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch, But we will ship him hence : and this vile deed We must, with all our majesty and skill, Both countenance and excuse.-Ho! Guildenstern!
* First folio, lets.
Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, b. v. ch. xxvi. :
And from the smith of heaven's wife allure the amorous haunt." The place where men assemble, is often poetically called the haunt of men. So, in Romeo and Juliet :
“We talk here in the publick haunt of men.” Steevens. 7 like some ore,] Shakspeare seems to think ore to be or, that is, gold. Base metals have ore no less than precious.
Johnson. Shakspeare uses the general word ore to express gold, because it was the most excellent of ores.- I suppose we should read “ metal base" instead of metals, which much improves the construction of the passage. M. Mason. He has perhaps used ore in the same sense in his Rape of Lu
“When beauty boasted blushes, in despite
“ Virtue would stain that ore with silver white.” A mineral Minsheu defines in his Dictionary, 1617:
Any thing that grows in mines, and contains metals.” Shakspeare seems to have used the word in this sense,-for a rude mass of metals. Malone.
Minerals are mines. So, in The Golden Remains of Hales of
“ Shall it not be a wild fig in a wall,
Enter Rosencrantz and GUILDENSTERN. Friends both, go join you with some further aid : Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain, And from his mother's closet hath he dragg'd him: Go, seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body Into the chapel. I pray you, haste in this.
[Exeunt Ros. and Guil. Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends; And let them know, both what we mean to do, And what's untimely done : so, haply, slander *,Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter, As level as the cannon to his blank, Transports his poison'd shot, -may miss our name, And hit the woundless air '.-0 come away! My soul is full of discord, and dismay. (Exeunt.
so, haply, slander, &c.] Neither these words, nor the following three lines and a half, are in the folio. In the quarto 1604, and all the subsequent quartos, the passage stands thus :
And what's untimely done. “Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,” &c. the compositor having omitted the latter part of the first line, as in a former scene, (see p. 355, n. 9,) a circumstance which gives additional strength to an observation made in Antony and Cleopatra, Act V. Sc. I. Mr. Theobald supplied the lacuna by reading, -" For haply slander," &c. So, appears to me to suit the context better; for these lines are rather in apposition with those immediately preceding, than an illation from them. Mr. M. Mason, I find, has made the same observation.
Shakspeare, as Theobald has observed, again expatiates on the diffusive power of slander, in Cymbeline :
No, 'tis slander;
“ All corners of the world.” Malone.
9 - cannon to his BLANK,] The blank was the white mark at which shot or arrows were directed. So, in King Lear :
let me still remain
“ It is as the air invulnerable:" MALONE.
Another Room in the same.
Enter HAMLET. Ham. Safely stowed,-[Ros. &c. within. Hamlet ! lord Hamlet !] But soft”,—what noise ? who calls on Hamlet ? O, here they come.
Enter RosENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ros. What have you done, my lord, with the
dead body? Ham. Compounded it with dust", whereto 'tis
kin. Ros. Tell us where 'tis ; that we may take it
Ham. Do not believe it.
But soft,] I have added these two words from the quarto 1604. Steevens. The folio reads :
“ Ham. Safely stowed.
“ Ham. What noise," &c.
Ham. Safely stowed; but soft, what noise? who calls on Hamlet?” &c.
I have therefore printed Hamlet's speech unbroken, and inserted that of Rosencrantz, &c. from the folio, before the words, but soft, &c. In the modern editions Hamlet is made to take notice of the noise made by the courtiers, before he has heard it.
Malone. 3 Compounded it with dust,] So, in King Henry IV. P. II. :
“Only compound me with forgotten dust." Again, in our poet's 71st Sonnet :
“When I perhaps compounded am with clay." MALONE.
mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! —what replication should be made by the son of a king ?
Ros. Take you me for a sponge, my lord ?
HAM. Ay, sir; that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end: He keeps them, like an ape “, in the corner of his jaw: first mouthed, to be last swallowed: When he needs what
4-like an ape,] The quarto has apple, which is generally followed. The folio has ape, which Sir T. Hanmer has received, and illustrated with the following note :
“ It is the way of monkeys in eating, to throw that part of their food, which they take up first, into a pouch they are provided with on each side of their jaw, and there they keep it, till they have done with the rest." Johnson.
Surely this should be “ like an ape, an apple.” Farmer.
The reading of the folio, like an ape, I believe to be the true one, because Shakspeare has the same phraseolegy in many other places. The word
refers to the King, not to his courtiers. He keeps them like an ape, in the corner of his jaw, &c. means, he keeps them, as an ape keeps food, in the corner of his jaw, &c. So, in King Henry IV. P. I. : “ - your chamber-lie breeds feas like a loach ;" i. e. as fast as a loach breeds loaches. Again, in King Lear: “ They flattered me like a dog ;" i. e. as a dog fawns upon and flatters his master.
That the particular food in Shakspeare's contemplation was an apple, may be inferred from the following passage in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
“ And lie, and kiss my hand unto my mistress,
“ As often as an ape does for an apple.' I cannot approve of Dr. Farmer's reading. Had our poet meant to introduce both the ape and the apple, he would, I think, have written not like, but “ as an ape an apple.”
The two instances above quoted show that any emendation is unnecessary. The reading of the quarto is, however, defensible.
Malone. Apple in the quarto is a mere typographical error. So, in Peele's Araygnement of Paris, 1584 :
you wot it very well “ All that be Dian's maides are vowed to halter apples in hell." The meaning, however, is clearly “as an ape does an apple.”