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But thou would'st not think, how ill all's here about my heart: but it is no matter.
Hor. Nay, good my lord,
Ham. It is bat foolery; but it is such a kind of gaingiving, as would, perhaps, trouble a woman.
Hor. If your mind disike any thing, obey its: I will foreltal their repair hither, and say, you are not fit.
Ham. Not a whit, we defy augury; there is a special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be now, 'tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be now; if it be not now, yet it will come : the readiness is all : Since no man of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes ? Let be.
Enter 4 of gain-giving,] Gain-giving is the same as mis-giving. SÍEEV.
s If your mind dijlike any rbing, obey it :) With these presages of future evils arifing in the mind, the poet has forerun many events which are to happen at the conclusions of his plays; and sometimes ro particularly, that even the circumstances of calamity are minutely hinted at, as in the instance of Juliet, who tells her lover from the window, that he appears like one dead in the bottom of a romb. The supposition that the genius of the mind gave the alarm before approaching diffolution, is a very ancient one, and perhaps can never be totally driven out: yet it must be allowed the merit of adding beauty to poetry, however iujurious it may sometimes prove to the weak and the superstitious. STEEVENS.
Since no men, of augbt be leaves, knows, wbat is't to leave betimes ] The old quarto reads, Since no man, of augbt be leaves, knows, wbat is'e to leave betimes? Let be. This is the true reading. Here the premises conclude right, and the argument drawn out at length is to this effe&t : “ It is true, that, by death, we lose all the goods of life, “ yet seeing this loss is no otherwise an evil than as we are sensible of uit; and fince death removes all sense of it, what matters it how “ soon we lose them? Therefore come what will, I am prepared.”
WARBURTON, The reading of the quarto was right, but in fome other copy the harthness of the transposition was softened, and the passage stood thus : Since no man knows augbe of wbat be leaves. For knows was printed in the later copies bas, by a night blunder in such typographers.
I do not think Dr. Warburton's interpretation of the passage the beft that it will admit. The meaning may be this : Since no mar knows ought of the state of life which be leaves, fince he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should he be afraid of leaving life betimes Why should he dread an early death, of which he cannot tell whether it is an exclusion of happiness, or an interception of calamity. I despise the superstition of augury and omens, which has no ground
Enter King, Queen, LAERTES, Lords, OSRICK, and
Attendants with foils, &c. King. Come, Hamlet, come, and take this hand from me. [The King puts the hand of Laertes into that of Hamlet.
Ham.Give me your pardon, fir?:1 have done you wrong; But pardon it, as you are a gentleman. This presence knows, and you must needs have heard, How I am punish'd with a lore distraction. What I have done, That might your nature, honour, and exception, Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness. Was’t Hamlet wrong's Laertes? Never, Hamlet : If Hamlet from himself be ta’en away, And, when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes, Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it. Who does it then? His madness: If't be fo, Hamlet is of the faction that is wrong'd; His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy. Sir, in this audience 8, Let my disclaiming from a purpos'd evil Free me so far in your most generous thoughts, That I have shot my arrow o'er the house, And hurt my brother.
Laer. I am satisfy'd in nature', in reason or piety; my comfort is, that I cannot fall but by the direction of providence.
Hanmer has, Since no man owes augbt, a conjecture not very reprehensible. Since no man can call any posesion certain, what is it to leave?
JOHNSON. Dr. Warburton has truly stated the reading of the first quarto, 1604. The folio reads-Since no man bas ought of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes ?
In the late editions neither copy has been followed. MALONE.
7 Give me your pardon, fr :] I wish Hamlet had made some other defence; it is unsuitable to the character of a good or a brave man, to Thelter himself in falsehood. JOHNson.
8 Sir, &c.] This passage I have restored from the folio. STEEV.
9 I am satisfied in nature, &c.] This was a piece of satire on fantastical honour. Though nature is satisfied, yet he will ask advice of older men of the sword, whether artificial bonour ought to be contented with Hamlet's submillion. There is a passage fomewhat fimilar in the Maid's Tragedy:
“ Evad. Will you forgive me then?
Whose motive, in this case, should stir me most
Ham. I embrace it freely;
Laer. Come, one for me.
Ham. I'll be your foil, Laertes; in mine ignorance
Laer. You mock me, fir.
Ham. Very well, my lord;
King. I do not fear it; I have seen you both:-
Laer. This is too heavy, let me see another. Ham. This likes me well: These foils have all a length?
[They prepare to play. 1 Till by fome elder masters, of known bonour,) Mr. Steevens thinks that “this is said in allusion to the ancient mafters of defence," of Shakspeare's time. See Vol. I. p. 204, n. 9. Our poet frequently alludes to English customs, and may have done so here, but I do not believe that gentlemen ever submitted points of honour to persons who exhibited themselves for money as prize-fighters on the publick stage; though they might appeal in certain cases to Raleigh, Efex, or Southampton, who from their high rank, their course of life, and established reputation, might with strict propriety be ftyled, “ elder masters, of known bonour.” MALONE.
2 Your grace barb loid the odds o' the weaker fideo] Hamlet either means, that what the king had laid was more valuable than what Laertes staked; or that obe king balb made bis ber, an advantage being given to tbe weaker party. I believe the first is the true interpretation. În the next line but one the word odds certainly means an advantage given to obe party, but here it may have a different sense. This is not an uncommon practice with our poet. MALONE, VOL.IX.
Ofr. Ay, my good lord.
King. Set me the stoups of wine upon that table :
Ham. Come on, fir.
[They plays Ham. One. Laer. No. Ham. Judgment. Ofr. A hit, a very palpable hit. Laer. Well, -again. King. Stay, give me drink: Hamlet, this pearl is thine S;
Here's 3 be ftcups of wine-) A soup is a flaggon, or bowl. STEEVENS Containing tomewhat more than two quarts. See Vol. IV. p. 33,
MALONE. 4. And in the cup an union mall be ebrown] Thus the folio rightly. In the first quarto by the carelessness of the printer, for union, we have unice, which in the subsequent quarto copies was made onyx. union is a very precious pearl. See Bullokar’s English Expofitor, 1616, and Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, in v. MALONE.
The union is thus mentioned in P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Nat. Hift. “ And hereupon it is that our daincies and delicates here at Rome, &c. call them unions, as a man would say fingular and by themfelves alone."
To swallow a pearl in a draught seems to have been equally common to royal and mercantile prodigality. So, in the second part of If you know not me, you know No Body, 1606, Sir Thomas Greham says:
" Here 16,000 pound at one clap goes.
“ Unto his queen and mistress." STEEVENS. 5-tbis pearl isi bine;] Under pretence of throwing a pearl into the cup, the king may be suppored to drop some poisonous drug into
Here's to thy health.-Give him the cup.
[Trumpets found; and cannon shot off within. Ham. I'll play this bout first, set it by a while. Come.-- Another hit; What say you ? [They play.
Laer. A touch, a touch, I do confess.
Queen. He's fat, and scant of breath 6.
Ham. Good madain,-
Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes : You do but dally ; I pray you, pass with your best violence; I am afeard, you make a wanton of me?. the wine. Hamlet seems to suspect this, when he afterwards discovers the effects of the poison, and tauntingly asks him, Is tbe union bere?
STEEVENS, 6 Queen. He's fat, and fcant of breath.] It seems that Jobn Lowin, who was the original Falstaff, was no less celebrated for his performance of Henry VIII. and Hamlet. See the Hiftoria Hifrionica, &c. If he was adapted, by the corpulence of nis figure, to appear with propriety in the two former of these characters, Shakspeare might have put this observation into the mouth of her majesty, to apologize for the want of luch elegance of person as an audience might expect to meet with in the representative of the youthful Prince of Denmark, whom Ophelia speaks of " as the glass of fashion and the mould of form." This, however, is mere conjecture, as Joseph Taylor likewise acted Hamlet during the life of Shakspeare. STEEVENS.
The authour of Historia Histrionica, and Downes the prompter, concur in taying that Taylor was the performer of Hamlet. Roberts the player alone has alerted, apparently without any authority,) that this part was performed by Löwin. MALONE.
1- you make a wanton of me.] A wanton was a man feeble and effeminate. In Cymbeline, Imogen says, I am not
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