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lateral circumstance to confirm the thorough 'teli. ance the prince should have entertained on the truth of what the spectre had imparted to him ; but Shakspeare had proceeded too far with his former plan, and would not now be at the pains to obviate its inconsistency with the new expedi. ent, or reconcile one to the other.
The estimation in which Hamlet was held induced the early publishers to boast that it had been “ enlarged to almost as much again as it was;" and to serve their purpose, they have given us all that either the author or the players had from time to time been adding to the mass, without rejecting a line of what, doubtless, the poet himself had superseded in this prolix tragedy.
405. “ I think, the king
" Be touch’d.”. This ungrammatical use of the subjunctive, instead of the indicative form of the verb, occurs pretty often in these works. 406. “ That most desir'd the match.” The match with Cloten. "
I do not think,
“ I do extend him, sir, within himself.” This expression, which Dr. Warburton condemned as insufferable nonsense, has been defended, by explaining “extend” in a legal sense
to estimate or value. This is plausible and ingenious; yet I cannot help thinking that the phraseology is merely the offspring of that inveterate fondness for antithesis and paradox so often displayed in these works. Mr. Malone adduced, in confirmation of the legal meaning, the recurrence of the word in a subsequent scene
“ The approbation of those that weep this lamentable divorce under her colours, are wonderfully to extend him," &c. But “ extend” here unquestionably implies magnifies, aggrandizes, or draws out his qualities beyond their real value.
411. “ After the slander of most step-mothers."
The slander under which most step-mothers lie.
" — With what patience
“Your wisdom may inform you." Concord requires the repetition of the preposition“ with,” after “inform you.” 412. “ Not comforted to live,
“But that there is this jewel in the world,
“ That I may see again.
- I never do him wrong, “ But he does buy my injuries, to be friends."
Pays dear for my offences ; whenever I do him wrong, instead of shewing anger, or exacting atonement, he treats me with fresh kindness, and, to win my complacency, he pays me, for the injuries I do him, that which I ought to offer as the price of his forgiveness. 413. “ This diămond was my mother's : take it,
heart.” We sometimes find “ diamond” a trisyllable. "This diamond he greets your wife withal.”
“ You gentle gods, give me but this I have.”
Confirm my possession with your sanction and approbation : thus in the Second Part of King Henry VI. “Well, lords, we have not got that which we have." i. e. It is not formally and se- . curely settled on us. “ And sear up my embracements from a next “With bonds of death.”
It is very plausibly proposed by Mr. Eccles, that, for “sear up” we should read “seal up;" and this pretty well agrees with Mr. Henley's suggestion, which I take to be the true one, and which had occurred to me before I read his note. 415. "
“- Thou heapest
“ A year's age on me !" This cannot mean the addition, merely, of one year to the king's age, a remark of no sort of force; but, by“ a year's age,” I suppose is implied, an accumulation of years, many years; if iso, the apostrophe should follow the plural termimation, “a years' age.” The phrase, thus admitted, is only consonant to a few, a many, &c. But Hanmer's reading is, perhaps, right:
“ Thou heapest many
“A year's age on me.” 416. "
A touch more rare “Subdues all pang's, all fears." An affliction, a touch of distress more exquia site. The same thought occurs in King Lear:
Where the greater malady is lodg'd .“ The lesser is scarce felt."
419. Enter Cloten and Lords.
I do not think that this Scene is of Shakspeare's writing.
B. STRUTT. 420.“ A passable carcass.”
A carcass that may be entered or passed through without injury, such as Macbeth supposed his own
“ As easy may'st thou the entrenchant air “With thy keen sword impress, as make me bleed.”
427. " Are wonderfully to extend him.”
Mr. Eccles, with much perspicuousness and ingenuity, proposes :
“ And wonderfully do extend him," &c. " Be it but to fortify her judgment.”
i. e. To support or justify the choice she had made. 429. “ Debtor to you for courtesies, which I will
be ever to pay, and yet pay still.” This sentiment has been adopted by Milton : “ The debt immense of endless gratitude, " So burthensome, still paying, still to owe.”