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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.
That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court
Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you ;
Rof. Both your majesties
Guil. But we both obey ;
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.
King. Thou still hast been the father of good news.
Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege,
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
Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires.
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.
On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys;
King. It likes us well;
[Exeunt Vol. and Cori Pol. This bufiness is well ended. My liege, and madam, to expoftulate 3
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.
What majefty should be, what duty is,
That be is mad, 'tis true: 'tis true, 'tis pity :
,, 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;
I was about to say something where did I leave?
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.