Puslapio vaizdai

And prais'd be rashness for it,- Let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,

When our deep plots do pall'; and that should teach us,

There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
Rough-hew them how we will.


That is most certain.

Ham. Up from my cabin,
My sea-gown scarf'd about me, in the dark
Grop'd I to find out them: had my desire;
Finger'd their packet; and, in fine, withdrew
To mine own room again: making so bold,
My fears forgetting manners, to unseal
Their grand commission; where I found, Horatio,
A royal knavery; an exact command, -
Larded with many several sorts of reasons,
Importing Denmark's health, and England's too,
With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,
That, on the supervise, no leisure bated, 9
No, not to stay the grinding of the axe,
My head should be struck off.



Is't possible?



And prais'd be rashness for it, — Let us know,
Our indiscretion sometimes serves us well,

When, &c.] Hamlet, delivering an account of his escape, begins with saying-That he rashly —— and then is carried into a reflection upon the weakness of human wisdom. I rashly praised be rashness for it - Let us not think these events casual, but let us know, that is, take notice and remember, that we sometimes succeed by indiscretion when we fail by deep plots, and infer the perpetual superintendance and agency of the Divinity. The observation is just, and will be allowed by every human being, who shall reflect on the course of his own life. JOHNSON.

8 With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,] With such causes of terror, rising from my character and designs.

9 ——— no leisure bated,] Without any abatement or intermission of time.

Ham. Here's the commission; read it at more leisure. But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?

Hor. Ay, 'beseech you.

Ham. Being thus benetted round with villainies,
Or I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play;—I sat me down;
Devis'd a new commission; wrote it fair:
I once did hold it, as our statists do, 2
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
How to forget that learning; but, sir, now
It did me yeoman's service: Wilt thou know
The effect of what I wrote ?


Ay, good my lord.
Ham. An earnest conjuration from the king,
As England was his faithful tributary;

As love between them like the palm might flourish;
As peace should still her wheaten garland wear,
And stand a comma 'tween their amities;1
And many such like as's of great charge, —
That on the view and knowing of these contents,

1 Or I could make-] Or in old English signified before.

2- as our statists do,] A statist is a statesman. Most of the great men of Shakspeare's times, whose autographs have been preserved, wrote very bad hands; their secretaries very neat ones. -yeoman's service:] The meaning is, this yeomarly qualifi cation was a most useful servant, or yeoman, to me; i. e. did me eminent service. The ancient yeomen were famous for their military valour.


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+ As peace should still her wheaten garland wear,

And stand a comma 'tween their amities;] The expression of our author is, like many of his phrases, sufficiently constrained and affected, but it is not incapable of explanation. The comma is the note of connection and continuity of sentences; the period is the note of abruption and disjunction. Shakspeare had it perhaps in his mind to write, That unless England complied with the mandate, war should put a period to their amity; he altered his mode of diction, and thought that, in an opposite sense, he might put, that peace should stand a comma between their amities. This is not an easy style; but is it not the style of Shakspeare? JOHNSON.

Without debatement further, more, or less,
He should the bearers put to sudden death,
Not shriving-time allow'd,"


How was this seal'd? Ham. Why, even in that was heaven ordinant; I had my father's signet in my purse, Which was the model of that Danish seal;" Folded the writ up in form of the other; Subscrib'd it; gave't the impression; plac'd it safely, The changeling never known: Now, the next day Was our sea-fight: and what to this was sequent Thou know'st already.

Hor. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.

Ham. Why, man, they did make love to this em-

They are not near my conscience; their defeat
Does by their own insinuation? grow:
'Tis dangerous, when the baser nature comes
Between the pass and fell incensed points
Of mighty opposites.


Why, what a king is this! Ham. Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon? He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother; Popp'd in between the election and my hopes: Thrown out his angle for my proper life,

And with such cozenage; is't not perfect conscience,
To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be damn'd,
To let this canker of our nature come

In further evil?

Hor. It must be shortly known to him from England, What is the issue of the business there.

› Not shriving-time allow'd.] i. e. without time for confession of their sins: another proof of Hamlet's christian-like disposition.

6 the model of that Danish seal;] The model is in old language the copy.


by their own insinuation] By their having insinuated or thrust themselves into the employment.

• To quit him—] To requite him; to pay him his due.

Ham. It will be short: the interim is mine;
And a man's life's no more than to say, one.
But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself;

For by the image of my cause, I see

The portraiture of his : I'll count his favours: 9
But, sure, the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.


Peace; who comes here?

Enter OSRIC.

Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark. Ham. I humbly thank you, sir. Dost know this water-fly?1

Hor. No, my good lord.

Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him: He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'Tis a chough2; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.

Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.

Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit: Your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.

Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.

Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.

Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.

Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry and hot; or my complexion

Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, -as

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·I'll count his favours:] I will make account of them, i. e. reckon upon them, value them.


Dost know this water-fly?] A water-fly skips up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler.


'Tis a chough;] A kind of jackdaw.

'twere, I cannot tell how. My lord, his majesty bade me signify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your head: Sir, this is the matter,

Ham. I beseech you, remember

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[HAMLET moves him to put on his Hat. Osr. Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith. 3 Sir, here is newly come to court, Laertes: believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, 4 of very soft society, and great showing: Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see. 6


Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;7 -though, I know, to divide him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetick of memory; aud yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article; and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour; and, who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.

3 Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.] This seems to have been the affected phrase of the time.


- full of most excellent differences,] Full of distinguishing excellencies.


the card or calendar of gentry,] The general preceptor of elegance; the card by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and seasonable. JOHNSON.

6 — for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.] You shall find him containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation.

7 Sir, his definement, &c.] This is designed as a specimen, and ridicule of the court jargon amongst the precieux of that time. The sense in English is, "Sir, he suffers nothing in your account of him, though to enumerate his good qualities particularly would be endless; yet when we had done our best, it would still come short of him. However, in strictness of truth, he is a great genius, and of a character so rarely to be met with, that to find any thing like him we must look into his mirrour, and his imitators will appear no more than his shadows."

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