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But to my mind,-though I am native here,
And to the manner born,-it is a custom
More honour'd in the breach, than the observance.
This heavy-headed revel, east and west,
Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations :
They clepe us, drunkards, and with swinish phrase
Soil our addition ;' and, indeed it takes
From our achievements, though perform’d at height,
The pith and marrow of our attribute.
So, oft it chances in particular men,
That, for some vicious mole of nature in them,
As, in their birth, (wherein they are not guilty,
Since nature cannot choose his origin,)
By the o'ergrowth of some complexion,"
Oft breaking down the pales and forts of reason;
Or by some habit, that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners ;"—that these men,-
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect;
Being nature's livery, or fortune's star,
Their virtues else (be they as pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,“)
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault: The dram of base
Doth all the noble substance often dout,'
To his own scandal.
Look, my lord, it comes ! Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us ! Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd,
- addition ;] i.e. Title. · The pith and murrow of our attribute.) The best and most valuable part of the praise that would be otherwise attributed to us.--JOHNSON.
-complexion,] i. e. Humour : as sanguine, melancholy, phlegmatick, &c.-WARBURTON.
that too much o'er-leavens The form of plausive manners;] That intermingles too much with their manners ; infects and corrupts them. Plausive, in our poet's age, signified gracious, pleasing, popular.-MALONE. star,-) i.
i. e. Scar. It is a term of farriery: the white star or mark so common on the forehead of a dark coloured horse, is usually produced by making a scar on the place.-Ritson.
d As infinite as man may undergo,)] As large as can be accumulated upon man.-JOHNSON. :-) i, e. Opinion.
doul,] i.e. Do out, extinguish.
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Thou com’st in such a questionable shape,
That I will speak to thee; I'll call thee, Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: 0, answer me:
Let me not burst in ignorance! but tell,
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements! why the sepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again! What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,
Revisit’st thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous; and we fools of nature,
So horribly to shake our disposition,
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our souls?
Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
As if it some impartment did desire
To you alone.
Look, with what courteous action
It waves you to a more removed ground:
But do not go with it.
No, by no means.
Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
Hor. Do not, my lord.
Why, what should be the fear?
I do not set my life at a pin's fee;'
And, for my soul, what can it do to that,
Being a thing immortal as itself?
It waves me forth again ;-I'll follow it.
Hor. What, if it tempt you toward the flood, my lord,
Or to the dreadful summit of the cliff,
That beetles o'er his basej into the sea ?
And there assume some other horrible form,
Which might deprive your sovereignty of reason,"
- fools of nature,] i. e. Objects of nature's sport.
disposition,] Here used for frame.-WARBURTON.
-pin's fee ;] The value of a pin.
beetles o'er his base-) i. e. Overhangs his base.
Sovereignty of reason,] Sovereignty is here merely a title of respect;
And draw you into madness? think of it:
The very place puts toys' of desperation,
Without more motive, into every brain,
That looks so many fathoms to the sea,
And hears it roar beneath.
It waves me still :-
Go on, I'll follow thee.
Mar. You shall not go, my
Hold off your hands. Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not go. Ham.
My fate cries out, And makes each petty artery in this body As hardy as the Némean lion's nerve.- [Ghost beckons. Still am I callid;—unhand me, gentlemen ;
[Breaking from them. By heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me :m_ I say, away :-Go on, I'll follow thee.
[Exeunt Ghost and HAMLET. Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. Hor. Have after :-To what issue will this come? Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark. Hor. Heaven will direct it. Mar.
Nay, let's follow him.
A more remote Part of the Platform.
Re-enter Ghost and HAMLET. Ham. Whither wilt thou led me ? speak, I'll go no
further. Ghost. Mark me. Ham.
and " to deprive your sovereignty of reason” means neither more nor less than "to deprive your lordship, or your honour, or your highness, of reason."GIFFORD's Ben Jonson, vol. v. 352.
toys-] i.e. Whime.
- that lets me :-) To let among our old authors signifies to prevent, to hinder. It is still a word current in the law, and to be found in almost an leases.-STEEVENS.
My hour is almost come,
When I to sulphurous and tormenting flames
Must render up myself.
Alas, poor ghost!
Ghost. Pity me not, but lend thy serious hearing
To what I shall unfold.
Speak, I am bound to hear.
Ghost. So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt hear.
Ghost. I am thy father's spirit;
Doom'd for a certain term to walk the night;
And, for the day, confin'd to fast in fires,
Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature,
Are burnt and purg'd away. But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
I could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul; freeze thy young blood;
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres ;
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end,
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood :-List, list, O list!-
If thou didst ever thy dear father love, —
Ham. O heaven!
Ghost. Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder.
Ham. Murder ?
Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the best it is;
But this most foul, strange, and unnatural.
Ham. Haste me to know it; that I, with wings as swift
As meditation, or the thoughts of love,
May sweep to my revenge.
I find thee apt;
And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf,
Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
'Tis given out, that sleeping in mine orchard,
A serpent stung me; so the whole ear of Denmark
Is by a forged process of my death
Rankly abus'd: but know, thou noble youth,
The serpent that did sting thy father's life,
Now wears his crown.
Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle!
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast,
With witchcraft of his wit, with traitorous gifts,
(0 wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power
So to seduce !) won to his shameful lust
The will of my most seeming virtuous queen:
0, Hamlet, what a falling off was there!
From me, whose love was of that dignity,
That it went hand in hand even with the vow
I made to her in marriage; and to decline
Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor
To those of mine!
But virtue, as it never will be mov'd,
Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven ;
So lust, though to a radiant angel link'd,
Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
And prey on garbage.
But, soft! methinks, I scent the morning air ;
Brief let me be :-Sleeping within mine orchard,
My custom always of the afternoon,
Upon my secure hour thy uncle stole,
With juice of cursed hebenon" in a vial,
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
The leperous distilment; whose effect
Holds such an enmity with blood of man,
That, swift as quicksilver, it courses through
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
And, with a sudden vigour, it doth posset
And curd, like eagero droppings into milk,
The thin and wholesome blood: so did it mine;
And a most instant tetter bark'd about,
Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
All my smooth body.
Thus was I, sleeping, by a brother's hand,
Of life, of crown, of queen, at once despatch'd :P
hebenon—] i. e. Ebony; the juice of which was supposed to be a deadly poison.—NARES.
eager-] i. e. Aigre, sour.
despatcħd:) For bereft.