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“ Thyself the primrose path of dalliance tread'st, “ And reck'st not thine own read.” 55. “A double blessing is a double grace.”
I cannot perceive the meaning here of “ blessing," as opposed to “ grace.” Mr. Capel Lofft thinks it signifies—is doubly entitled to our gratitude.
“Give thy thoughts no tongue,” &c. This may remind us of the celebrated advice which Sir Henry Wotton, in his letter to Milton, says was given by Alberto Scipione, an old Roman courtier, * I pensieri stretti, ed it Viso Sciolto," i. e. (as Sir Henry Wotton translates it) your thoughts close, and your countenance loose, will go all over the world. LORD CHEDWORTH. “ Nor any unproportion'd thought, his act.”
A thought not formed according to the measure of honour and propriety.
“ Nor any unproportioned thought,” &c. Veræ numerosque modosque vita.
Capel Lofft. " The friends thou hast, and their adoption
tried, “Grapple them to thy soul with hoops of steel.”
We might read more correctly, ejecting the double accusative,
“ Grapple unto thy soul,” &c. “ Hast” is not habes, but the auxiliary verb the friends whom, and the adoption of them, thou hast tried and proved.
56. “ Do not dull thy palm with enter.
" Join gripes with hands
“Made hard with hourly falshood.” - And again in the last act of this play,
“ The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.” “ Of each new-hatch’d, unfledg'd comráde. Be
ware." - « Comrade" has the same accentuation in other places- as in the First Part of King Henry the Fourth : 56 Prince of Wales “ And his comrades, that daff the world aside.'' “ Bear it that the opposer may beware of thee."
Sustain, support it.
This line in the quarto is properly pointed : “ Bear't, that th' opposer may beware of thee." 58. “ My blessing season this in thee."
“Season,” here, though it certainly exceeds the sense annexed to it by Dr. Warburton, will hardly extend to what Dr. Johnson states. It is, I believe, only “ make durable-qualify to
" Yourself shall keep the key of it.”
I believe the meaning is, Your precepts are stored in my memory; and there they shall remain sacred, until you yourself shall absolve me from the duty of observing them.
60. “ Not to crack the wind of the poor phrase.”
Not to run it too hard-he had echoed it twice already, in a breath. 61. “ How prodigal the soul?
"Lends," &c. : • The adjective for the adverb, 62. “ But mere implorators of ảnholy suits.”
Perhaps "mere” should be removed. “ Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds," :&c.
The sense of this passage appears to have been mistaken by Dr. Warburton, and not accurately conceived by the succeeding commentators, “Implorators breathing like bonds," i. e.“ Breathing as bonds breathe,” is an expression not easily to be understood; but the meaning and the construction I take to be this: “ His vows are implorators, breathing like bonds, (i. e. similar bonds, or sanctified vows) to those which are 'breathed by implorators of unholy suits.”
A thought resembling this occurs in Othello : “When devils would their blackest sins put on, “They do suggest at first with heavenly shews.” 63." So slander any moments leisure.”
To slander is to abuse; and to misemploy being also to abuse, the poet thought he might say, “slander” for “misemploy." ::." I shall obey, my lord,"
This unnecessary hemistic I take to be interpolation : the last live in Polonius's speeclı is de fective-these words, I suppose, belong to it: "
And so come your ways.
SCENE IV. 64. “ Indeed? I heard it not; it then draws
near the season." This line is overloaded. “I heard it not” is implied in “ indeed !” We might read : “ Indeed? why then it does draw near the hour."
"" Takes his rouse."
A stimulating draught, what bestirs his sluggish spirit. 65. “ Ay, marry, is't.”
Some words have been lost; perhaps these, of an antique date. 66. “ Soil our addition.”
Stain our character and name. 70.“ Angels and ministers of grace defend us."
So exclaims Penitent on the appearance of the devil in Mrs. Hairbrain's shape, in A Mad World My Masters : “Shield me, ye ministers of faith and grace.” 72."- Questionable shape.”
“ Questionable,” I believe, here means, as Sir T. Hanmer explains, dubious, exciting question. "
I'll call thee, Hamlet ! “King ! father! royal Dane! 0 answer
me.” This address we have lately heard, at one of the great theatres, uttered thus : "
I'll call thee, Hamlet! . “ King! father !-Royal Dane, O answer me."
Absurd ! Hamlet knows not by what gracious or acceptable title to salute the spectre; and here he is at once made to be familiar with him,
" Royal Dane, O answer me”-no. “ Dane" is used with emphatic dignity, as, in the first scene, the king says,
“ You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
“And lose your voice." Royal Dane! is the height of the vocative climax: 73. “What may this mean,
“That thou, dead corse-
nature," &c. It is not easy to reconcile this passage, as it stands, to any thing like just construction:-at first it will appear to involve only one of those careless errors, whereby the accusative case is often put into the place of the nominative, and pice versa, and that here, if we should read “us," instead of “ we,” all would be right; but this will not do; for it should then appear that “our dispositions were shaken by ourselves.” “We fools of nature” is, perhaps, merely a parenthetic apostrophe, (O fools of nature that we are); and then it remains to reconcile the conjunction at once to the participial and the infinitiye modes, “making night hideous, and (making it) to shake our souls," &c. 75. “ Deprive your sovereignty of
reason." Incapacitate your governing or supreme intellect; strip it of its attributes. 76." — I'll make a ghost of him that lets