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This must be known; which, being kept close, might

move 9 More grief to hide, than hate to utter love. Come.

[Exeunt. SCENE II.

A Room in the Cafle. Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN,

and Attendants, King. Welcome, dear Rosencrantz, and Guildenstern! Moreover that we much did long to see you, The need, we have to use you, did provoke Our hafty sending. Something have you heard Of Hamlet's transformation ; 1o I call it, Since nor the exterior nor the inward man Resembles that it was: What it should be, More than his father's death, that thus hath put him So much from the underitanding of himself, I cannot dream of: I entreat you both, 'That,-being of fo young days brought up with him ; And, since, io neighbour'd to his youth and humour",

life cast commonly beyond themselves, let their cunning go farther than reason can attend it. This is always the fault of a little mind, made artful by long commerce with the world. JOHNSON.

The quartos read--By beaven, it is as proper, &c. STEEVENS.

In Decker's Worderful Yeare, 460. 1603, we find an expression fimilar to that in the text. “ Now the thirstie citizen cafts beyond the moone." MALONE. 9 This must be known; wbicb, being kept close, might move

More grief to bide, sban bate is uiter love.] i. e. This must be made known to the king, for (being kept secret) the hiding Hamlet's love might occafion more mischief to us from him and the queen, than the uttering or revealing of it will occafion hate and resentment from Hamlet. The poet's ill and obscure exprellion seems to have been caused by his affectation of concluding the scene with a couplet. Hanmer reads,

More grief to hide hate, than to utter love. JOHNSON, • mand bumour,] Thus the folio. The quartos read, baviour.

STIEVENS.

[blocks in formation]

That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Some little time: so by your companies
To draw him on to pleasures; and to gather,
So much as from occasion you may glean,
Whether, aught, to us unknown, apicts him thus?,
That, open'd, lies within our remedy.

Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you ;
And, sure I am, two men there are not living,
To whom he more adheres. If it will please you
To Thew us so much gentry 3, and good will,
As to expend your time with us a while,
For the supply and profit of our hope 4,
Your visitation shall receive such thanks
As fits a king's remembrance.

Rof. Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

Guil. But we both obey ;
And here give up ourselves, in the full bent,
To lay our service freely at your feet,
To be commanded.

King. Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guildenftern.

Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rosencrantz ; And I beseech you instantly to visit My too much changed son.-Go, some of you, And bring these gentlemen where Hamlet is.

Guil. Heavens make our presence, and our pra&ices, Pleasant and helpful to him! Queen. Ay, amen!

[Exeunt Ros. Guil. and some Attendants,

2 Wberber augbt, &c.] This line is omitted in the folio. STEEV. 3 To show us jo mucb gentry-] Gentry, for complaisance. WARB.

4 For the supply, &c.] That the hope which your arrrival has raised may be completed by the desired effect. Johnson.

5- in the full bent,] The full bent is ibe uimoft extremity of cxertion. The allusion is to a bow bent as far as it will go. So afterwards in this play:

" They fool me to the top of my bent." MALONE.

Enter

Enter POLONIUS.
Pol. The embassadors from Norway, my, good lord,
Are joyfully return'd.

King. Thou still hast been the father of good news.

Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
I hold my duty, as I hold my soul,
Both to my God, and to my gracious king:
And I do think, (or else this brain of mine
Hunts not the trail of policy so sure 6
As it hath us'd to do,) that I have found
The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.

King. O, speak of that; that do I long to hear.

Pol. Give first admittance to the embassadors ; My news shall be the fruit to that great feast?. King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them in.

[Exit POLONIUS. He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found The head and fource of all your son's distemper.

Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main ; His father's death, and our o'er-hasty marrriage. Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND, and CORNE

LIUS, King. Well, we shall fift him.-Welcome, my good

friends!
Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?

Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires.
Upon our firft, he sent out to suppress
His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd
To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack;
But, better look'd into, he truly found
It was against your highness: Whereat griev'd, -
That so his fickness, age, and impotence,
Was falsely borne in hand, -sends out arrests

ebe trail of policy-] The trail is the course of an animal pure sued by the scent. JOHNSON.

tbe fruit-) The desert after the meat. JOHNSON.

-borne in band,-) i. e. deceived, imposed on. STELVINS. See Vol. IV. p. 357, s. 6. MALONE.

7 8

On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
Receives rebuke from Norway; and, in fine,
Makes vow before his uncle, never more
To give the affay of arms against your majesty.
Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy,
Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee';
And his commission, to employ those foldiers,
So levied as before, again it the Polack :
With an entreaty, herein further shewn, (gives a paper,
That it might please you to give quiet pals
Through your dominions for this enterprize;
On such regards of safety, and allowance,
As therein are set down.

King. It likes us well;
And, at our more confider'd time, we'll read,
Answer, and think upon this business.
Mean time, we thank you well-took labour :
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together a :
Most welcome home!

[Exeunt Vol. and Cori Pol. This bufiness is well ended. My liege, and madam, to expoftulate 3

What

for your

9. To give tbe alay-] To take the assay was a technical expression, originally applied to those who tasted wine for princes and great men. See Vol. VIIl. p. 673, n. 5. MALONE.

Gives bim three thousand crowns in annual fee;] Thus the folio. The quarto has--threescore thousand. MALONE.

Fee in this place fignifies reward, recompence. So in All's well obat ends well:

" -Not helping, death's my fee;

" But if I help, what do you promise me? The word is commonly used in Scotland, for wages, as we say law. yer's fee, pbysician's fee. STEEVENS.

Fee is defined by Mintheu in his Dict. 1617, a reward. MALONE.

2 - at night we'll feast-] The king's intemperance is never suf. fered to be forgotten. JOHNSON. 3 My liege, and madam, ro expeftulate] To expostulate, for to enquire

to , of discuss.

The strokes of humour in this speech are admirable. Polonius's character is that of a weak, pedant, minister of fate. His declamation is a fine satire on the impertinent oratory then in vogue, which placed reason in the formality of method, and wit in the jingle and play of words. With what art is he made to pride himself in his wit.

Tbat

What majefty should be, what duty is,
Why day is day, night, night, and time is time,

Were

That be is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true, 'tis pity :
And piry 'tis, 'tis true: A foolith figure,
But farewel it

,, And how exquisitely does the poet ridicule the reason in fashion, where he makes Polonius remark on Hamlet's madness :

Though tbis be madness, yet obere's method in's: As if method, which the wits of that age thought the most effential quality of a good discourse, would make amends for the madness. It was madness indeed, yet Polonius could comfort himself with this reflection, that at least it was met bod. It is certain Shakspeare excels in nothing more than in the preservation of his characters ; To ibis life and variety of chara&ter (says our great poet in his admirable preface to Shakspeare,) we must add the wonderful prefervation of it. We have said what is the character of Polonius; and it is allowed on all hands to be drawn with wonderful life and spirit, yet the unity of it has been thought by fome to be grossly violated in the excellent preCepis and instructions which Shakspeare makes his statesman give to his son and servant in the middle of the first, and beginning of the second aet. But I will venture to say, these critics have not entered into the poet's art and address in this particular. He had a mind to ornament his scenes with those fine lefions of social life; but his Polo. nius was too weak to be author of them, though he was pedant enough to have met with them in his reading, and fop enough to get them by heart, and retail them for his own. And this the poet has finely thewn us was the case, where, in the middle of Polonius's inttructions to his servant, he makes him, though without having received any interruption, forget his leflon, and lay,

And tben, fir, does be tbis;
He does-Wbat was I about to say?

I was about to say something where did I leave?
The servant replies,

Ai, clofes in the consequence. This fets Polonius right, and he goes on, At, closes in the consequence.

Ay marry, He clofes íbus:-I know the gentleman, &c. which hews the very words got by heart which he was repeating. Otherwise closes in the consequence, which conveys no particular idea of the subject he was upon, could never have made him recollect where he broke off. This is an extraordinary instance of the poet's art, and attention to the preservation of character. WARBURTON.

This account of the character of Polonius, though it fufficiently reconciles the seeming inconsistency of so much wisdom with so much folly, does not perhaps correspond exactly to the ideas of our authos.

The

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