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To let, undoubtedly, signifies “to hinder," but I cannot help considering this expression as the offspring of that preposterous disposition which often prevails in these works, to - palter with us in a double sense.” 77. Heaven will direct it."

Will take care of Denmark, or the state of Denmark.


77. Speak, I am bound to hear..
: “Speak” appears to be an idle interpolation:

1 Lend thy serious hearing
" To what I shall unfold.”

I am bound to hear." 78. What ?

Some words, I suppose, have been lost: perhaps the verse proceeded thus:

“ So art thou to revenge, when thou shalt

hear.” Ham. Revenge ! what? how g Gh. “ I am thy father's spirit.”

"_ But that I am forbid.This is exuberant; I suppose we should read:

“ But being forbid.” i. e. Only that I am forbid. 79.“ Harrow up thy soul.

See note on, “It harrows me with fear,” scene Ist, p. 138 of this Vol. : 80...If thou didst ever thy dear father love," Ham.O heaven,"

This apostrophe by Hamlet I have always considered as interpolated; it is not, indeed, an unnatural exclamation, but it is unnecessary, and interrupts the metre.-It was, I doubt not, the gratuitous ejaculation of one of the actors, and so taken down by the transcriber. Of the same description is the hypermeter immediately following: Ham. Murder !Ghost. Murder most foul, as in the

: best it is." The Ghost's repetition of "murder” is quite superfluous. 81. And duller should'st thou be than the fat

weed That rots itself in ease on Lethe wharf."

The authority of the quarto editions being, in my opinion, of more value than that of the folio, I generally prefer it, and, in the present instance, I think the early reading the better of the two, roots itself.” But there is a passage in Julius Cæsar, "rots itself with motion," which appears to countenance the altered reading. 82. “ Now wears his crown.

O my prophetic soul! my uncle." There is disorder here that wants correction:

“ Now wears his crown..
“ (), my prophetic soul,

“My uncle !
Gh.Incestuous, adulterate beast.”

To those of mine.I always suspect corruption or loss when I meet with a hemistic:-perhaps there was added here;

“ Surpasses, almost, thinking.”

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83. Will sate itself,&c.

The quarto reads “sort itself,” which, perhaps, is right-suit, match, or accommodate itself.

" And prey on garbage." Here again something has been lost : perhaps, " Then sink to misery, and prey on garbage.” 84. “ It doth posset,

And curd, like eager droppings into milk.' This allusion to the acescence of milk occurs in Timon of Athens :

“ Has friendship such a pale and milky heart, “ It turns in less than two nights !" Of life, &c. despatch'd.“ Despatch'd” for bereft, says Dr. Warburton. This certainly is sense; but can either of these words take place of the other? or does not the difficulty of explanation lie in the wrong use of the preposition “ of” instead of “ from?” a licence not uncommon with the writers of the age of Shakspeare, 86. “ A couch for luxury,&c,

“ Luxury” is here lust; thus, in Much Ado About Nothing;

“ She knows the heat of a luxurious bed.” 87. “ And shall I couple hell ?-O fie!-hold,

hold my heart !" . The quarto does not repeat“ hold.” We might read : " And shall I couple hell? O hold my heart !"


Bear me stiffly up.The quarto, “ Bear me swiftly up;" and the sense may be,-sinews, be quick to exercise your function, swiftly endue my limbs with their wonted vigour.

" Remember thee!The sense varies in the repetition of this apostrophe, and requires a variation of emphasis; at first it is, remem'ber thee! ay, so long as memory shall exist; the second time it is, remember thée ! yes, and to make that the more sure, I will exclude from my memory, every thing else. 88. “ My tables,&c.

I once doubted the propriety of Hamlet's re- ; sorting to his tables ; for what is to be noted ? all that is proposed is trite and superfluous; that “a man may smile and be a villain,” is no more than what every one who ever knew or heard of villany must already be apprised of:--but let us not too hastily condemn the poet; or, proceeding on confined and frigid rules, restrain the liberal scope of his genius. The prince, by the sublime conference with his father's ghost, is elevated almost to phrenzy; habituated, as a scholar and philosopher, to note every thing strange and important, he, on this extraordinary occasion, mechanically snatches forth his pocket-book; but, having opened and prepared it, he has nothing to insert, and so concludes carelessly and sarcastically, while his serious thoughts are otherwise employed :

“ Meet it is, I set it down,” &c.
This is Shakspeare.
90. There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all

But he's an arrant knave."



Hamlet, I conceive, begins these words in the ardour of confidence and sincerity; but, suddenly alarmed at the magnitude of the disclosure, he was going to make, and considering that, not his friend Horatio only, but another person was present; he breaks off suddenly:-There's ne’er à villain in all Denmark that can match (perhaps he would have said) my uncle in villany; but recollecting the danger of such a declaration, he pauses for a moment, and then abruptly concludes: -" but he's an arrant knave.” 91. And much offence too." The quarto:

“ And much offence to.” Perhaps it is a broken sentence: " And much offence to-touching this vision.”

" Give me one poor request.: " What is't, my lord ?

IVe will.The latter part of Horatio's speech is premature with regard to the sense, and a burthen to the metre. The following line, too, requires a slight correction. 92. “Indeed, upon my sword, indeed, now.” Ghost.

Swear.” . True-penny."

This phrase is used by Beaumont and Fletcher in the Loyal Subject, Act 1:

“Go thy ways old true-penny.” 93. Ghost. Swear.

Some words again are wanting for the metre: .we might regulate it thus: Ham. “Swear by my sword.” Ghost.“ - Swear.”

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