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Mr. Steevens would read “ warm’d,” according to the folio, instead of “ wann'd,” as exhibited in the quarto; the passion, as he argues, conducing rather to flush, than make pale, the actor's visage; and, further, the critic adds, because “ no performer was ever yet found whose feelings were of such exquisite sensibility as to produce paleness, in any situation in which the drama could place him.” But the poet, who was himself an actor, understood this subject better than his commentator appears to do, and would have told Mr. Steevens, that there are many situations of the drama in which a performer of sensibility will turn pale, and be conscious also of the change, from sympathetic chilness produced by a sort of mechanical operation of the nerves; and this consciousness is illustrated in a passage of Antony and Cleopatra; where the queen, upon hearing of Antony's marriage with Octavia, exclaims" I am pale, Charmian.” The emotions and the countenance of a sensible actor, who does not “ O'erstep the modesty of nature,” will always be in unison with his spectators and auditors, and the scene which will either “ blanch” or redden their cheeks, will have the same effect on his. 158. “ For Hecuba !”
This might well be omitted, and the metre proceed without interruption.
“ Yet I.” This fragment might be received in the following line, omitting two words that can be spared. " Yet I, a (dull and) muddy-mettled rascal,
peak.” 160. “ Ha!"
All these interruptions of the metre I take to be the gratuitous ejaculations of the player, among which I include this following:
“A scullion !--and foh !"
ACT III. SCENE I. 163. “ Most like a gentleman,” Something, I believe has been lost-perhaps,
“With courtesy most like a gentleman.” 164. “ To any pastime ?"
More disorder in the metre. Perhaps, the passage ran thus:
“To any pastime?”
“It so fell out, that certain players we
told him.” Again, two hemistics within three lines. We might arrange
"To hear and see the matter:" ! King. “ With all my heart;
" And much content to see him so in
clin'd.” “ Content” is a substantive. 165.“ IVe have closely sent for Ham
let." i. e. Covertly, with a concealed purpose, as in another place " a close intent.”
“ Affront Ophelia.” I am afraid it will appear an idle task to endea
vour at repairing the various hemistics and the disturbed metre in this crude play: but some words have been lost-perhaps, such as these:
“ And join converse with her.” 166. “O heavy burden !"
This I take to be interpolation of the actor. 168. “ A sea of troubles.” - Sir Walter Raleigh has this metaphor in the preface to his History of the World : “For the sea of examples hath no bottom.” 175. “I humbly thank you ; well.”. More deficiency: I suppose there was added
“- Indifferent well.”
“ I never gave you aught.” More mutilation. I suppose it should be: “ You do mistake ; I never gave you aught.”
But presently the dialogue, as it is exhibited, degenerates into determinate prose. “ If you be honest and fair, you should admit
no discourse to your beauty.” Every body, I believe, will here remark, in the words of Hamlet, “ Nay, that follows not.” The reading of the folio is good sense :
“ Your honesty should admit no discourse to your beauty."
The obscurity is in the expression"admit no discourse to your beauty " which means " allow, supply, afford no discourse;" i. e. your honesty should not enter into any discourse, &c. 176. “ I lov'd you not.”
As the speaker is now acting the madman, the inference which Mr. Steevens draws from this declaration, in his long note at the end of the play, is unfounded, and will constitute no part of that brutality with which the critic, rather too harshly, I believe, has branded the conduct of Hamlet, in this scene: had the prince been talking in his sane and sober mood, and told Ophelia that he no longer loved her, he would justly incur censure for so unkind and cruel a speech ; but if to the language of madness, whether real or factitious, a meaning must be ascribed, it should rather be the reverse of that which the words themselves express; and Hamlet's telling the lady, at this time, that he no longer loved her, may be regarded as a token by which she was to perceive that his passion for her continued. 178. “ The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye,
tongue, sword; “ The glass of fashion and the mould of - form,
“ Th' observ'd of all observers !” The same reflection is uttered by Lady Percy, in application to Hotspur, in the Second Part of King Henry IV. 56
By his light, 5. Did all the chivalry of England move “ To do brave acts; he was indeed the glass " Wherein the noble youth did dress themselves.”
And again, “ He was the mark and glass, copy and book, “ That fashion'd others." 185. “ The very age and body of the time,” &c.
The “ age of the time,” as objected to by Dr. Johnson, is not, I believe, implied in the con
struction; it is “ the age,” simply, “to shew virtue,” &c. and the very age and the body of the time, its form, &c. to shew the age its form; i. e. to exhibit the manners of the age : by “body of the time," or rather “ the body of the time, I believe is meant, the public body—the people in the aggregate. 187. “ Not to speak it profanely.”
If the profanation that Hamlet deprecates or aisclaims, be (as I suppose, with Dr. Johnson, it is) that which might seem to belong to the remark he is going to make, we should, perhaps, Toad thus :- there be players that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly,
-not to speak it profanely, neither having,
Dr. Farmer, for "man,” would read “musman,” but, I believe, unnecessarily : the sense appears to be of Christian, Pagan, or man of any
cry or persuasion.
now not why this perverse use of the subjunctive
ve mood, instead of the indicative, “ be,”
ad of " is,” or “ are,” should have taken place,
e or should be retained " ( there be players," instead of, “ there are players.” 14. There be of them, that will themselves
not a word been omitted here ?_" that og themselves laugh;" i. e. without any mowe proper to the scene. om 's No revenue hast, but thy good spirits
* To feed, and clothe thee."
Has not a
An eminent mode this' sentim VOL. II.