Imatges de pÓgina

For like the hectick in my blood he rages",

And thou must cure me: Till I know 'tis done, Howe'er my haps, my joys will ne'er begin. [Exit.


A Plain in Denmark.

Enter FORTINBRAS, and Forces, marching. FOR. Go, captain, from me greet the Danish king;

Tell him, that, by his licence, Fortinbras


Craves the conveyance of a promis'd march

7-like the hectick in my blood he rages,] So, in Love's Labour's Lost:

"I would forget her, but a fever, she

"Reigns in my blood." MALONE.

Scaliger has a parallel sentiment:" Febris hectica uxor, et non nisi morte avellenda." STEEVENS.

8 Howe'er my haps, my joys wILL ne'er BEGIN.] This being the termination of a scene, should, according to our author's custom, be rhymed. Perhaps he wrote:

Howe'er my hopes, my joys are not begun.'

If haps be retained, the meaning will be, 'till I know 'tis done, I shall be miserable, whatever befal me.


The folio reads, in support of Dr. Johnson's remark: "Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun."

Mr. Heath would read:

"Howe'er 't may hap, my joys will ne'er begin."


By his haps, he means his successes. His fortune was begun, but his joys were not. M. MASON.

"Howe'er my haps, my joys will ne'er begin." This is the reading of the quarto. The folio, for the sake of rhyme, reads: "Howe'er my haps, my joys were ne'er begun."

But this, I think, the poet could not have written. The King is speaking of the future time. To say, till I shall be informed that a certain act has been done, whatever may befal me, my joys never had a beginning, is surely nonsense. MALONE, 9 Craves-] Thus the quartos. The folio-Claims.

Claims agrees better with promise. BOSWELL.


Over his kingdom. You know the rendezvous.
If that his majesty would aught with us,
We shall express our duty in his eye',

And let him know so.


FOR. Go softly* on.

I will do't, my lord.

[Exeunt FORTINBRAS and Forces.

Enter HAMLET, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, &c. Good sir, whose powers are these 2?


CAP. They are of Norway, sir.


I pray you ?



How purpos'd, sir,


Against some part of Poland.

Commands them, sir?

CAP. The nephew to old Norway, Fortinbras. HAM. Goes it against the main of Poland, sir, Or for some frontier ?

CAP. Truly to speak, sir, and with no addition,
We go to gain a little patch of ground,
That hath in it no profit but the name.

To pay five ducats, five, I would not farm it;
Nor will it yield to Norway, or the Pole,

A ranker rate, should it be sold in fee.

* First folio, safely.

We shall express our duty IN HIS EYE,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra :


tended her i' the eyes."

In his eye, means, in his presence.' The phrase appears to have been formularly. See The Establishment of the Household of Prince Henry, A. D. 1610: “Also the gentleman-usher shall be careful to see and informe all such as doe service in the Prince's eye, that they perform their dutyes," &c. Again, in The Regulations for the Government of the Queen's Household, 1627 ; - all such as doe service in the Queen's eye." STEEVENS. 2 Good sir, &c.] The remaining part of this scene is omitted in the folio. STEEVENS.


HAM. Why, then the Polack never will defend it. CAP. Yes, 'tis already garrison'd.

HAM. Two thousand souls, and twenty thousand ducats,

Will not debate the question of this straw :
This is the imposthume of much wealth and peace;
That inward breaks, and shows no cause without
Why the man dies.-I humbly thank you, sir.
CAP. God be wi'you, sir.


[Exit Captain. Will't please you go, my lord? HAM. I will be with you straight. Go a little


[Exeunt Ros. and GUIL.
How all occasions do inform against me,
And spur my dull revenge! What is a man,
If his chief good, and market of his time 3,
Be but to sleep, and feed? a beast, no more.
Sure, he, that made us with such large discourse,
Looking before, and after, gave us not
That capability and godlike reason

To fust in us unus'd. Now, whether it be
Bestial oblivion, or some craven scruple


Of thinking too precisely on the event,

A thought, which, quarter'd, hath but one part wisdom,

And, ever, three parts coward,-I do not know
Why yet I live to say, This thing's to do;

Sith I have cause, and will, and strength, and means,


chief good, and market of his time, &c.] If his highest good, and that for which he sells his time, be to sleep and feed. JOHNSON.

Market, I think, here means profit. MALONE. 4 large DISCOURSE,] Such latitude of comprehension, such power of reviewing the past, and anticipating the future.


5 some CRAVEN Scruple-] Some cowardly scruple. A craven is a mean spirited cock. So, in The Taming of a Shrew:

"No cock of mine, you crow too like a craven.” MALOne. So, in King Henry VI. Part I.:

"Or durst not, for his craven heart, say this." STEEVENS.

To do't. Examples, gross as earth, exhort me:
Witness, this army of such mass, and charge,
Led by a delicate and tender prince;
Whose spirit, with divine ambition puff'd,
Makes mouths at the invisible event;
Exposing what is mortal, and unsure,
To all that fortune, death, and danger, dare,
Even for an egg-shell. Rightly to be great,
Is, not to stir without great argument o;
But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,
When honour's at the stake. How stand I then,
That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd,
Excitements of my reason, and my blood',
And let all sleep? while, to my shame, I see
The imminent death of twenty thousand men,
That, for a fantasy, and trick of fame,
Go to their graves like beds; fight for a plot
Whereon the numbers cannot try the cause,


Rightly to be great,


Is, not to stir without, &c.] This passage I have printed according to the copy. Mr. Theobald had regulated it thus:

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'Tis not to be great,

"Never to stir without great argument;
"But greatly," &c.

The sentiment of Shakspeare is partly just, and partly romantick.

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Rightly to be great,

Is, not to stir without great argument; "

is exactly philosophical.

"But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,
"When honour's at the stake;"

is the idea of a modern hero. But then, says he, honour is an ar-
gument, or subject of debate, sufficiently great, and when honour is
at stake, we must find cause of quarrel in a straw. JOHNSON.
7 Excitements of my reason, and my blood,] Provocations which
excite both my reason and my passions to vengeance. JOHNSON.
a plot.] A piece, or portion. REED.

So, in The Mirror for Magistrates:

"Of grounde to win a plot, a while to dwell,
"We venture lives, and send our souls to hell."


Which is not tomb enough, and continent,
To hide the slain ?-O, from this time forth,
My thoughts be bloody, or be nothing worth!


Elsinore. A Room in the Castle.


Enter Queen and HORATIO.

I will not speak with her.


HOR. She is importunate; indeed, distract; Her mood will needs be pitied.


What would she have?

HOR. She speaks much of her father; says, she


There's tricks i'the world; and hems, and beats her


Spurns enviously at straws1; speaks things in doubt, That carry but half sense: her speech is nothing,

9- continent,] Continent, in our author, means that which comprehends or encloses. So, in King Lear:

"Rive your concealing continents."

Again, in Chapman's version of the third Iliad :



did take

Thy fair form for a continent of parts as fair." See King Lear, Act III. Sc. II. STEEVENS.

Again, Lord Bacon, On the Advancement of Learning, 4to. 1633, p. 7: " if there be no fulnesse, then is the continent greater than the content." REED.

Spurns ENVIOUSLY at straws;] Envy is much oftener put by our poet (and those of his time) for direct aversion, than for malignity conceived at the sight of another's excellence or happiness. So, in King Henry VIII. :

"You turn the good we offer into envy."

Again, in God's Revenge against Murder, 1621, Hist. VI.— "She loves the memory of Sypontus, and envies and detests that of her two husbands." STEEVENS.

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