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would dizzy the arithmetic of memory; and yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article; and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, bis semblable is his mirror; and, who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.?
Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Osr. Sir ?
Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really."
Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman ?
Osr. Of Laertes ?
Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, sir.
you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me. Well, sir.
Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is
Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself.5
Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon ; but in the impu
1 Dearth, according to Tooke, is “ the third person singular of the verb to dere ; it means some cause which dereth, i. e. maketh dear; or hurteth, or doth mischief.” Dearth was used for scarcity, as well as dearness.
2 This speech is a ridicule of the euphuism, or court-jargon of that time.
3 This interrogatory remark is very obscure. The sense may be, “ Is it not possible for this fantastic fellow to understand in plainer language ? You will, however, imitate his jargon admirably, really, sir." It seems very probable that “ another tongue,” is an error of the press for "mother tongue.”
4 What Hamlet would have added we know not; but surely Shakspeare's use of the word approve, upon all occasions, is against Johnson's explanation of it—“ to recommend to approbation."
5 I dare not pretend to know him, lest I should pretend to an equality; no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself.
tation laid on him by them, in his meed he's unfellowed.
Ham. What's his weapon ?
Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses; against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers, and so. Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear tó fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very
Ham. What call you the carriages ?
Hor. I knew you must be edified by the margent * ere you had done.
Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
Ham. The phrase would be more german to the matter, if we could carry a cannon by our sides ; I would it might be hangers till then.
Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal conceited carriages ; that's the French bet against the Danish. Why is this impawned, as
you call it ?
Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; 6 he hath laid on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
Ham. How, if I answer no ?
Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
1 Meed is merit.
2 " Impawned." The folio reads imponed. Pignare, in Italian, signifies both to impawn and to lay a wager. The stakes are, indeed, a gage or pledge.
3 Hangers, that part of the belt by which the sword was suspended.
4 « The margent." The gloss or commentary, in old books, was usually on the margin of the leaf.
5 i. e. more akin.
Marry, sir, that young Laertes in twelve venies
Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall; if it please his majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me. Let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him, if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.
Osr. Shall I deliver you so?
Ham. To this effect, sir ; after what flourish your nature will.
Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit.
Ham. Yours, yours.—He does well to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
Ham. He did comply? with his dug, before he sucked it. Thus has he (and many more of the same bevy, that, I know, the drossy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter ; 4 a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fanned and winnowed opinions; 5 and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.
Enter a Lord. Lord. My lord, his majesty commended him to you by young Osric, who brings back to him, that you attend him in the hall. He sends to know if your
1 Horatio means to call Osric a raw, unfledged, foolish fellow. It was a common comparison for a forward fool. Thus in Meres's Wits Treasury, 1598 :-“ As the lapwing runneth away with the shell on her head, as soon as she is hatched," &c.
2 “ He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.” See Act ii. Sc. 2.
3 The folio reads, “ mine more of the same bevy.”—Mine is evidently a misprint, and more likely for manie (i. e. many) than mine. The quarto of 1604 reads, “ many more of the same breed."
4 “Outward habit of encounter" is exterior politeness of address.
5 The folio reads ford and winnowed. Fanned and winnowed are almost always coupled by old writers. The meaning is, “ These men have got the cant of the day; a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through with the most light and inconsequential judgments; but if brought to the trial by the slightest breath of rational conversation, the bubbles burst.
6 All that passes between IIamlet and this lord is omitted in the folio.
pleasure hold to play with Laertes, or that you will take longer time.
Ham. I am constant to my purposes; they follow the king's pleasure. If bis fitness speaks, mine is ready; now, or whensoever, provided I be so able
Lord. The king, and queen, and all are coming down.
Ham. In happy time.
Lord. The queen desires you to use some gentle entertainment to Laertes, before you fall to play. Ham. She well instructs me.
[Exit Lord. Hor. You will lose this wager, my lord.
Ham. I do not think so; since he went into France, I have been in continual practice; I shall win at the odds. But thou wouldst not think how ill all's here about my heart; but it is no matter.
Hor. Nay, good my lord,
Ham. It is but foolery; but it is such a kind of gain-giving,' as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.
Hor. If your mind dislike any thing, obey it. I will forestall their repair hither, and say you are not fit.
Ham. Not a whit; we defy augury. There is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come: the readiness is all. Since no man, of aught he leaves,knows ;-what is't to leave betimes ? Let be.
1 i. e. misgiving; a giving against, or an internal feeling and prognostic of evil.
2 This is the reading of the folio; the quarto reads, “Since no man has aught of what he leaves. What is't to leave betimes.” Has is evidently here a blunder for knows. Johnson thus interprets the passage:-“ Since no man knows aught of the state which he leaves, since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should we be afraid of leaving life betimes ?". Warburton's explanation is very ingenious, but perhaps strains the Poet's meaning farther than he intended. “ It is true, that by death we lose all the goods of life; yet, seeing this loss is no otherwise an evil than as we are sensible of it, and since death removes all sense of it, what matters it how soon we lose them ?”
VOL. VII. 49
Enter King, Queen, LAERTES, Lords, Osric, and
Attendants, with foils, &c. King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand
from me. [The King puts the hand of LAERTEs into that
of Hamlet. Ham. Give me your pardon, sir. I have done you
awake, I here proclaim was madness.
I am satisfied in nature,
I embrace it freely,
1 i. e. the king and queen. 2 This line is not in the quarto.
3 i. e. unwounded.