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Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin,
Ham. O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!
Ghost. If thou hast nature in thee, bear it not;
[Exit. Ham. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? And shall I couple hell? -0 fye! — Hold, hold, my
9 Unhouseld, 'disappointed, unaneld;] Unhousel'd is without having received the sacrament. Disappointed is the same as unappointed, and may be properly explained unprepared. Ununel'd is without extreme unction.-STEEVENS.
O horrible! O horrible! most horrible!] Surely this is the exclamation of Hamlet; and no part of the Ghost's narrative, with which it has been, by a mistake of the press, confounded." It is,” says Dr. Johnson, “ a proper, and Datural exclamation in the mouth of Hamlet; who, according to the practice of the stage, may be supposed to interrupt so long a speech."--On the stage it has always been spoken by the character to whom I have here, on Johnson's authority, attributed it.
this distracted globe.]i. e. In this head confused with thought.-STEEVENS. VOL. VIII.
My tables, Smeet it is, I set it down,
Hor. [within.] My lord, my lord,-
Heaven secure him!
So be it! Mar. [within.] Illo, ho, ho, my lord ! Ham. Hillo, ho, ho, boy ! come, bird, come."
Enter HORAT10 and MARCELLUS.
Mar. How is't, my noble lord ?
What news, my
Good my lord, tell it.
Hor. Not I, my lord, by heaven.
Nor I, my lord.
think it?But you'll be secret, Hor. Mar.
Ay, by heaven, my lord. Ham. There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all Denmark, But he's an arrant knave.
Hor. There needs no ghost, my lord, come from the To tell us this.
Why, right; you are in the right; And so, without more circumstance at all,
· My tables,–] Table-books in the time of our author appear to have been used by all ranks of people. In the church they were filled with short notes of the sermon, and at the theatre with the sparkling sentences of the playMALONE.
Now to my word;] Hamlet alludes to the watch-word given every day in military service, which at this time he says is, Adieu, adieu ! remember ine.-STEEVENS.
I—come, bird, come.) This is the call which falconers use to their hawk in the air, when they would have him come down to them. HANNER.
I hold it fit, that we shake hands, and part:
Hor. These are but wild and whirling words, my lord.
Ham. I am sorry they offend you, heartily; yes,
There's no offence, my lord.
desire to know what is between us,
What is't, my lord?
Ham. Never make known what you have seen to-night.
Nay, but swear't. Hor.
Nor I, my lord, in faith.
We have sworn, my lord, already.
Propose the oath, my lord.
Ghost. (beneath.] Swear.
Upon my sword.] It was common to swear upon the cross which the old swords always had upon the hilt.-Johnson.
Come hither, gentlemen,
Ghost. [beneath.] Swear by his sword.
Hor. O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!
Ham. And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.” There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
Here, as before, never, so help you mercy!
Ghost. [beneath.] Swear.
* And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.] i. e. Seem not to know it-to be unacquainted with it.- M. Mason.
a Rest, rest, perturhed spirit!) The skill displayed in Shakspeare's management of his ghost, is too considerable to be overlooked. He bas rivetted our attention to it by a succession of forcible circumstances :-by the previous report of the terrified centinels -by the solemnity of the hour at which the phantom walks,-by its martial stride and discriminating armour, visible only by the glimpses of the moon,- by its long taciturnity,--by its preparation to speak, when interrupted by the morning cock,-by its mysterious reserve throughout its first scene with Hamlet,—by his resolute departure with it, and the subsequent anxiety of his attendants,-by its conducting him to a solitary angle of the platform,-by its voice from beneath the earth,—and by its unexpected burst on us in the closet.
Hamlet's late interview with the spectre, must in particular be regarded as a stroke of dramatick artifice. The phantom might have told his story in the presence of the officers and Horatio, and yet have rendered itself as inaudible io them, as afterwards to the queen. But suspense was our poet's object; and
With all my love I do commend me to you:
Scene I.-A Room in Polonius' House.
Enter POLONIUS and REYNALDO.
Pol. Give him this money, and these notes, Reynaldo. Rey. I will, my lord.
Pol. You shall do marvellous wisely, good Reynaldo,
My lord, I did intend it.
Look you, sir,
never was it more effectually created, than in the present instance. Six times has the royal semblance appeared, but till now has been withheld from speaking. For this event we have waited with impatient curiosity, unaccompanied by lassitude, or remitted attention.
The ghost in this tragedy, is allowed to be the genuine product of Shakspeare's strong imagination. When he afterwards avails bimself of traditional phantoms, as in Julius Cæsar and King Richard III., they are but inefficacious pageants ; nay, the apparition of Banquo is a mute exhibitor. Perhaps our poet despaired to equal the vigour of his early conceptions on the subject of preternatural beings, and therefore allotted them no further eminence in his dramas; or was unwilling to diminish the power of his principal shade, by an injudicious repetition of congenial images.-Steevens.
Ereunt.] Gildon asserts, but without stating his authority, that this scene was written by Shakspeare in the churchyard bordering his house at Stratford.--Reed's Shakspeare, vol. v. p. 4.
Danskers--] Danske is the ancient name of Denmark. --STEEVENS.