Imatges de pÓgina

For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,- [Sings. LAER. Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself,

She turns to favour, and to prettiness.

OPH. And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death-bed,

He never will come again.

His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll:

πάντα σὺν αὐτω

Ως τἦνος τέθνακε, καὶ ἄνθεα πάντ ̓ ἐμαράνθη. Town. The violet is thus characterized in the old collection of Sonnets above quoted, printed in 1584:

"Violet is for faithfulnesse,
"Which in me shall abide;


Hoping likewise that from your heart
"You will not let it slide."


3 For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,] This is part of an old song, mentioned likewise by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Act IV. Sc. I. :

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I can sing the broom,

"And Bonny Robin."

In the books of the Stationers' Company, 26 April, 1594, is entered "A ballad, intituled, A doleful adewe to the last Erle of Darbie, to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin." STEEVENS.

The "Courtly new ballad of the princely wooing of the faire maid of London, by King Edward," is also "to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin." RITSON.

4 THOUGHT and affliction,] Thought here, as in many other places, signifies melancholy. MALONE.

So, in Antony and Cleopatra:

"Think and die."

See notes on that passage, Act III. Sc. XI.

s His beard was as white as snow, &c.] This, and several circumstances in the character of Ophelia, seem to have been ridiculed in Eastward Hoe, a comedy, written by Ben Jonson, Chapman, and Marston, printed in 1605, Act III. :

"His head as white as milk,
"All flaxen was his hair,

He is gone, he is
And we cast away moan;
God'a mercy on his soul!

And of all christian souls! I pray God *. God be wi' you! [Exit OPHELIA.

LAER. Do you see this, O God"? KING. Laertes, I must commune with your grief®, Or you deny me right. Go but apart,

Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will, And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me: If by direct or by collateral hand

* Quarto omits I pray God.

"But now he's dead,

"And laid in his bed,

"And never will come again,

"God be at your labour! STEEVENS.

• God'a mercy on his soul!

And of all christian souls!] This is the common conclusion to many of the ancient monumental inscriptions. See Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 657, 658. Berthelette, the publisher of Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554, speaking first of the funeral of Chaucer, and then of Gower, says: "he lieth buried in the monasterie of Seynt Peter's at Westminster, &c. On whose soules and all christen, Jesu have mercie." STEEVENS.

7 Do you see this,-oh God!] So the quartos. The folio readsyou gods? and so makes Laertes talk like a heathen instead of a christian, which he is supposed to be in the play. Do you see this? is spoken to the king and queen: and O God! is only an exclamation expressing the anguish of Laertes's mind on the sight of his sister's phrenzy. JENNENS.

8 -COMMUNE with your grief,] The folio reads-common. To common is to commune. This word, pronounced as anciently spelt, is still in frequent provincial use. So, in The Last Voyage of Captaine Frobisher, by Dionyse Settle, 12mo. bl. 1. 1577: "Our Generall repayred with the ship boat to common or sign with them." Again, in Holinshed's account of Jack Cade's insurrection : -to whome were sent from the king the archbishop, &c. to common with him of his griefs and requests."



Surely the word common in the folio means, I must be allowed to participate in your grief, to feel in common with you.


They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours,
To you in satisfaction; but, if not,

Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.



Let this be so; His means of death, his obscure funeral *, No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones", No noble rite, nor formal ostentation,Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth, That I must call't† in question.


So you shall; And, where the offence is, let the great axe fall. I pray you, go with me.



Another Room in the Same.

Enter HORATIO, and a Servant.

HOR. What are they, that would speak with me? Sailors, sir+;


They say, they have letters for you.


Let them come in.[Exit Servant.

*First folio, burial.

Quarto, sea-faring men, sir.

↑ First folio, call.

9 No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,] It was the custom, in the times of our author, to hang a sword over the grave of a knight. JOHNSON.

This practice is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i. e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour,) are hung over the grave of every knight. SIR J. HAWKINS.

I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from lord Hamlet.

Enter Sailors.

1 SAIL. God bless you, sir.

HOR. Let him bless thee too.


1 SAIL. He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.

HOR. [Reads.] Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king; they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace: Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour; and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant, they got clear of our ship; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou wouldst fly death. I have words to speak in thine ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter. These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England: of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell. He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET. Come, I will give you way for these your letters; + First folio omits and.

* Quarto, it came.
First folio, your.

9 -for the BORE of the matter.] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words.' JOHNSON.

And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them.



Another Room in the Same.

Enter King and LAERTES.

KING. NOW must your conscience my acquittance seal,

And you must put me in your heart for friend;
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he, which hath your noble father slain,
Pursu'd my life.

LAER. It well appears :-But tell me, Why you proceeded not against these feats, So crimeful and so capital in nature,

As by your safety, greatness, wisdom, all things


You mainly were stirr'd up.

O, for two special reasons;
Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd,
But yet to me they are strong. The queen his

Lives almost by his looks; and for my self,
(My virtue, or my plague, be it either which,)
She is so conjunctive to my life and soul,
That, as the star moves not but in his sphere,
I could not but by her. The other motive,
Why to a publick count I might not go,
Is, the great love the general gender1 bear him :
Who, dipping all his faults in their affection,

First folio omits greatness.

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* Quarto, criminal.

First folio, And.

the general gender-] The common race of the people.


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