The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark - A Study with the Text of the Folio of 1623
by George MacDonald
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"What would you gracious figure?"












Christmas, 1884


The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark: a study of the text of the folio of 1623 By George MacDonald [Motto]: "What would you, gracious figure?"

Dr. Greville MacDonald looks on his father's commentary as the "most important interpretation of the play ever written... It is his intuitive understanding ... rather than learned analysis—of which there is yet overwhelming evidence—that makes it so splendid."

Reading Level: Mature youth and adults.


By this edition of HAMLET I hope to help the student of Shakspere to understand the play—and first of all Hamlet himself, whose spiritual and moral nature are the real material of the tragedy, to which every other interest of the play is subservient. But while mainly attempting, from the words and behaviour Shakspere has given him, to explain the man, I have cast what light I could upon everything in the play, including the perplexities arising from extreme condensation of meaning, figure, and expression.

As it is more than desirable that the student should know when he is reading the most approximate presentation accessible of what Shakspere uttered, and when that which modern editors have, with reason good or bad, often not without presumption, substituted for that which they received, I have given the text, letter for letter, point for point, of the First Folio, with the variations of the Second Quarto in the margin and at the foot of the page.

Of HAMLET there are but two editions of authority, those called the Second Quarto and the First Folio; but there is another which requires remark.

In the year 1603 came out the edition known as the First Quarto—clearly without the poet's permission, and doubtless as much to his displeasure: the following year he sent out an edition very different, and larger in the proportion of one hundred pages to sixty-four. Concerning the former my theory is—though it is not my business to enter into the question here—that it was printed from Shakspere's sketch for the play, written with matter crowding upon him too fast for expansion or development, and intended only for a continuous memorandum of things he would take up and work out afterwards. It seems almost at times as if he but marked certain bales of thought so as to find them again, and for the present threw them aside—knowing that by the marks he could recall the thoughts they stood for, but not intending thereby to convey them to any reader. I cannot, with evidence before me, incredible but through the eyes themselves, of the illimitable scope of printers' blundering, believe all the confusion, unintelligibility, neglect of grammar, construction, continuity, sense, attributable to them. In parts it is more like a series of notes printed with the interlineations horribly jumbled; while in other parts it looks as if it had been taken down from the stage by an ear without a brain, and then yet more incorrectly printed; parts, nevertheless, in which it most differs from the authorized editions, are yet indubitably from the hand of Shakspere. I greatly doubt if any ready-writer would have dared publish some of its chaotic passages as taken down from the stage; nor do I believe the play was ever presented in anything like such an unfinished state. I rather think some fellow about the theatre, whether more rogue or fool we will pay him the thankful tribute not to enquire, chancing upon the crude embryonic mass in the poet's hand, traitorously pounced upon it, and betrayed it to the printers—therein serving the poet such an evil turn as if a sculptor's workman took a mould of the clay figure on which his master had been but a few days employed, and published casts of it as the sculptor's work.[1] To us not the less is the corpus delicti precious—and that unspeakably—for it enables us to see something of the creational development of the drama, besides serving occasionally to cast light upon portions of it, yielding hints of the original intention where the after work has less plainly presented it.

[Footnote 1: Shakspere has in this matter fared even worse than Sir Thomas Browne, the first edition of whose Religio Medici, nowise intended for the public, was printed without his knowledge.]

The Second Quarto bears on its title-page, compelled to a recognition of the former,—'Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie'; and it is in truth a harmonious world of which the former issue was but the chaos. It is the drama itself, the concluded work of the master's hand, though yet to be once more subjected to a little pruning, a little touching, a little rectifying. But the author would seem to have been as trusting over the work of the printers, as they were careless of his, and the result is sometimes pitiable. The blunders are appalling. Both in it and in the Folio the marginal note again and again suggests itself: 'Here the compositor was drunk, the press-reader asleep, the devil only aware.' But though the blunders elbow one another in tumultuous fashion, not therefore all words and phrases supposed to be such are blunders. The old superstition of plenary inspiration may, by its reverence for the very word, have saved many a meaning from the obliteration of a misunderstanding scribe: in all critical work it seems to me well to cling to the word until one sinks not merely baffled, but exhausted.

I come now to the relation between the Second Quarto and the Folio.

My theory is—that Shakspere worked upon his own copy of the Second Quarto, cancelling and adding, and that, after his death, this copy came, along with original manuscripts, into the hands of his friends the editors of the Folio, who proceeded to print according to his alterations.

These friends and editors in their preface profess thus: 'It had bene a thing, we confesse, worthie to haue bene wished, that the Author himselfe had liu'd to haue set forth, and ouerseen his owne writings; But since it hath bin ordain'd otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and paine, to haue collected & publish'd them, as where (before) you were abus'd with diuerse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealthes of iniurious impostors, that expos'd them: euen those, are now offer'd to your view cur'd, and perfect of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he conceiued thē. Who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it. His mind and hand went together: And what he thought, he vttered with that easinesse, that wee haue scarse receiued from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our prouince, who onely gather his works, and giue them you, to praise him. It is yours that reade him.'

These are hardly the words of men who would take liberties, and liberties enormous, after ideas of their own, with the text of a friend thus honoured. But although they printed with intent altogether faithful, they did so certainly without any adequate jealousy of the printers—apparently without a suspicion of how they could blunder. Of blunders therefore in the Folio also there are many, some through mere following of blundered print, some in fresh corruption of the same, some through mistaking of the manuscript corrections, and some probably from the misprinting of mistakes, so that the corrections themselves are at times anything but correctly recorded. I assume also that the printers were not altogether above the mean passion, common to the day-labourers of Art, from Chaucer's Adam Scrivener down to the present carvers of marble, for modifying and improving the work of the master. The vain incapacity of a self-constituted critic will make him regard his poorest fancy as an emendation; seldom has he the insight of Touchstone to recognize, or his modesty to acknowledge, that although his own, it is none the less an ill-favoured thing.

Not such, however, was the spirit of the editors; and all the changes of importance from the text of the Quarto I receive as Shakspere's own. With this belief there can be no presumption in saying that they seem to me not only to trim the parts immediately affected, but to render the play more harmonious and consistent. It is no presumption to take the Poet for superior to his work and capable of thinking he could better it—neither, so believing, to imagine one can see that he has been successful.

A main argument for the acceptance of the Folio edition as the Poet's last presentment of his work, lies in the fact that there are passages in it which are not in the Quarto, and are very plainly from his hand. If we accept these, what right have we to regard the omission from the Folio of passages in the Quarto as not proceeding from the same hand? Had there been omissions only, we might well have doubted; but the insertions greatly tend to remove the doubt. I cannot even imagine the arguments which would prevail upon me to accept the latter and refuse the former. Omission itself shows for a master-hand: see the magnificent passage omitted, and rightly, by Milton from the opening of his Comus.

'But when a man has published two forms of a thing, may we not judge between him and himself, and take the reading we like better?' Assuredly. Take either the Quarto or the Folio; both are Shakspere's. Take any reading from either, and defend it. But do not mix up the two, retaining what he omits along with what he inserts, and print them so. This is what the editors do—and the thing is not Shakspere's. With homage like this, no artist could be other than indignant. It is well to show every difference, even to one of spelling where it might indicate possibly a different word, but there ought to be no mingling of differences. If I prefer the reading of the Quarto to that of the Folio, as may sometimes well happen where blunders so abound, I say I prefer—I do not dare to substitute. My student shall owe nothing of his text to any but the editors of the Folio, John Heminge and Henrie Condell.

I desire to take him with me. I intend a continuous, but ever-varying, while one-ended lesson. We shall follow the play step by step, avoiding almost nothing that suggests difficulty, and noting everything that seems to throw light on the character of a person of the drama. The pointing I consider a matter to be dealt with as any one pleases—for the sake of sense, of more sense, of better sense, as much as if the text were a Greek manuscript without any division of words. This position I need not argue with anyone who has given but a cursory glance to the original page, or knows anything of printers' pointing. I hold hard by the word, for that is, or may be, grain: the pointing as we have it is merest chaff, and more likely to be wrong than right. Here also, however, I change nothing in the text, only suggest in the notes. Nor do I remark on any of the pointing where all that is required is the attention of the student.

Doubtless many will consider not a few of the notes unnecessary. But what may be unnecessary to one, may be welcome to another, and it is impossible to tell what a student may or may not know. At the same time those form a large class who imagine they know a thing when they do not understand it enough to see there is a difficulty in it: to such, an attempt at explanation must of course seem foolish.

A number in the margin refers to a passage of the play or in the notes, and is the number of the page where the passage is to be found. If the student finds, for instance, against a certain line upon page 8, the number 12, and turns to page 12, he will there find the number 8 against a certain line: the two lines or passages are to be compared, and will be found in some way parallel, or mutually explanatory.

Wherever I refer to the Quarto, I intend the 2nd Quarto—that is Shakspere's own authorized edition, published in his life-time. Where occasionally I refer to the surreptitious edition, the mere inchoation of the drama, I call it, as it is, the 1st Quarto.

Any word or phrase or stage-direction in the 2nd Quarto differing from that in the Folio, is placed on the margin in a line with the other: choice between them I generally leave to my student. Omissions are mainly given as footnotes. Each edition does something to correct the errors of the other.

I beg my companion on this journey to let Hamlet reveal himself in the play, to observe him as he assumes individuality by the concretion of characteristics. I warn him that any popular notion concerning him which he may bring with him, will be only obstructive to a perception of the true idea of the grandest of all Shakspere's presentations.

It will amuse this and that man to remark how often I speak of Hamlet as if he were a real man and not the invention of Shakspere—for indeed the Hamlet of the old story is no more that of Shakspere than a lump of coal is a diamond; but I imagine, if he tried the thing himself, he would find it hardly possible to avoid so speaking, and at the same time say what he had to say.

I give hearty thanks to the press-reader, a gentleman whose name I do not know, not only for keen watchfulness over the printing-difficulties of the book, but for saving me from several blunders in derivation.

BORDIGHERA: December, 1884.

[Transcriber's Note: In the paper original, each left-facing page contained the text of the play, with sidenotes and footnote references, and the corresponding right-facing page contained the footnotes themselves and additional commentary. In this electronic text, the play-text pages are numbered (contrary to custom in electronic texts), to allow use of the cross-references provided in the sidenotes and footnotes. In the play text, sidenotes towards the left of the page are those marginal cross-references described earlier, and sidenotes toward the right of the page are the differences noted a few paragraphs later.]

[Page 1]





[Page 2]


Enter Barnardo and Francisco two Centinels[1].

Barnardo. Who's there?

Fran.[2] Nay answer me: Stand and vnfold yourselfe.

Bar. Long liue the King.[3]

Fran. Barnardo?

Bar. He.

Fran. You come most carefully vpon your houre.

Bar. 'Tis now strook twelue, get thee to bed Francisco.

Fran. For this releefe much thankes: 'Tis [Sidenote: 42] bitter cold, And I am sicke at heart.[4]

Barn. Haue you had quiet Guard?[5]

Fran. Not a Mouse stirring.

Barn. Well, goodnight. If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, the Riuals[6] of my Watch, bid them make hast.

Enter Horatio and Marcellus.

Fran. I thinke I heare them. Stand: who's there? [Sidenote: Stand ho, who is there?]

Hor. Friends to this ground.

Mar. And Leige-men to the Dane.

Fran. Giue you good night.

Mar. O farwel honest Soldier, who hath [Sidenote: souldiers] relieu'd you?

[Footnote 1: —meeting. Almost dark.]

[Footnote 2: —on the post, and with the right of challenge.]

[Footnote 3: The watchword.]

[Footnote 4: The key-note to the play—as in Macbeth: 'Fair is foul and foul is fair.' The whole nation is troubled by late events at court.]

[Footnote 5: —thinking of the apparition.]

[Footnote 6: Companions.]

[Page 4]

Fra. Barnardo ha's my place: giue you good-night. [Sidenote: hath] Exit Fran.

Mar. Holla Barnardo.

Bar. Say, what is Horatio there?

Hor. A peece of him.

Bar. Welcome Horatio, welcome good Marcellus.

Mar. What, ha's this thing appear'd againe to [Sidenote: Hor.[1]] night.

Bar. I haue seene nothing.

Mar. Horatio saies, 'tis but our Fantasie, And will not let beleefe take hold of him Touching this dreaded sight, twice seene of vs, Therefore I haue intreated him along With vs, to watch the minutes of this Night, That if againe this Apparition come, [Sidenote: 6] He may approue our eyes, and speake to it.[2]

Hor. Tush, tush, 'twill not appeare.

Bar. Sit downe a-while, And let vs once againe assaile your eares, That are so fortified against our Story, What we two Nights haue seene. [Sidenote: have two nights seen]

Hor. Well, sit we downe, And let vs heare Barnardo speake of this.

Barn. Last night of all, When yond same Starre that's Westward from the Pole Had made his course t'illume that part of Heauen Where now it burnes, Marcellus and my selfe, The Bell then beating one.[3]

Mar. Peace, breake thee of: Enter the Ghost. [Sidenote: Enter Ghost] Looke where it comes againe.

Barn. In the same figure, like the King that's dead.

[Footnote 1: Better, I think; for the tone is scoffing, and Horatio is the incredulous one who has not seen it.]

[Footnote 2: —being a scholar, and able to address it as an apparition ought to be addressed—Marcellus thinking, perhaps, with others, that a ghost required Latin.]

[Footnote 3: 1st Q. 'towling one.]

[Page 6]

[Sidenote: 4] Mar. Thou art a Scholler; speake to it Horatio.

Barn. Lookes it not like the King? Marke it Horatio. [Sidenote: Looks a not] Hora. Most like: It harrowes me with fear and wonder. [Sidenote: horrowes[1]]

Barn. It would be spoke too.[2]

Mar. Question it Horatio. [Sidenote: Speak to it Horatio]

Hor. What art thou that vsurp'st this time of night,[3] Together with that Faire and Warlike forme[4] In which the Maiesty of buried Denmarke Did sometimes[5] march: By Heauen I charge thee speake.

Mar. It is offended.[6]

Barn. See, it stalkes away.

Hor. Stay: speake; speake: I Charge thee, speake. Exit the Ghost. [Sidenote: Exit Ghost.]

Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.

Barn. How now Horatio? You tremble and look pale: Is not this something more then Fantasie? What thinke you on't?

Hor. Before my God, I might not this beleeue Without the sensible and true auouch Of mine owne eyes.

Mar. Is it not like the King?

Hor. As thou art to thy selfe, Such was the very Armour he had on, When th' Ambitious Norwey combatted: [Sidenote: when he the ambitious] So frown'd he once, when in an angry parle He smot the sledded Pollax on the Ice.[8] [Sidenote: sleaded[7]] 'Tis strange.

[Sidenote: 274] Mar. Thus twice before, and iust at this dead houre, [Sidenote: and jump at this]

[Footnote 1: 1st Q. 'horrors mee'.]

[Footnote 2: A ghost could not speak, it was believed, until it was spoken to.]

[Footnote 3: It was intruding upon the realm of the embodied.]

[Footnote 4: None of them took it as certainly the late king: it was only clear to them that it was like him. Hence they say, 'usurp'st the forme.']

[Footnote 5: formerly.]

[Footnote 6: —at the word usurp'st.]

[Footnote 7: Also 1st Q.]

[Footnote 8: The usual interpretation is 'the sledged Poles'; but not to mention that in a parley such action would have been treacherous, there is another far more picturesque, and more befitting the angry parle, at the same time more characteristic and forcible: the king in his anger smote his loaded pole-axe on the ice. There is some uncertainty about the word sledded or sleaded (which latter suggests lead), but we have the word sledge and sledge-hammer, the smith's heaviest, and the phrase, 'a sledging blow.' The quarrel on the occasion referred to rather seems with the Norwegians (See Schmidt's Shakespeare-Lexicon: Sledded.) than with the Poles; and there would be no doubt as to the latter interpretation being the right one, were it not that the Polacke, for the Pole, or nation of the Poles, does occur in the play. That is, however, no reason why the Dane should not have carried a pole-axe, or caught one from the hand of an attendant. In both our authorities, and in the 1st Q. also, the word is pollax—as in Chaucer's Knights Tale: 'No maner schot, ne pollax, ne schort knyf,'—in the Folio alone with a capital; whereas not once in the play is the similar word that stands for the Poles used in the plural. In the 2nd Quarto there is Pollacke three times, Pollack once, Pole once; in the 1st Quarto, Polacke twice; in the Folio, Poleak twice, Polake once. The Poet seems to have avoided the plural form.]

[Page 8]

With Martiall stalke,[1] hath he gone by our Watch.

Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not: But in the grosse and scope of my Opinion, [Sidenote: mine] This boades some strange erruption to our State.

Mar. Good now sit downe, and tell me he that knowes [Sidenote: 16] Why this same strict and most obseruant Watch,[2] So nightly toyles the subiect of the Land, And why such dayly Cast of Brazon Cannon [Sidenote: And with such dayly cost] And Forraigne Mart for Implements of warre: Why such impresse of Ship-wrights, whose sore Taske Do's not diuide the Sunday from the weeke, What might be toward, that this sweaty hast[3] Doth make the Night ioynt-Labourer with the day: Who is't that can informe me?

Hor. That can I, At least the whisper goes so: Our last King, Whose Image euen but now appear'd to vs, Was (as you know) by Fortinbras of Norway, (Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate Pride)[4] Dar'd to the Combate. In which, our Valiant Hamlet, (For so this side of our knowne world esteem'd him)[5] [Sidenote: 6] Did slay this Fortinbras: who by a Seal'd Compact, Well ratified by Law, and Heraldrie, [Sidenote: heraldy] Did forfeite (with his life) all those his Lands [Sidenote: these] Which he stood seiz'd on,[6] to the Conqueror: [Sidenote: seaz'd of,] Against the which, a Moity[7] competent Was gaged by our King: which had return'd [Sidenote: had returne] To the Inheritance of Fortinbras,

[Footnote 1: 1st Q. 'Marshall stalke'.]

[Footnote 2: Here is set up a frame of external relations, to inclose with fitting contrast, harmony, and suggestion, the coming show of things. 273]

[Footnote 3: 1st Q. 'sweaty march'.]

[Footnote 4: Pride that leads to emulate: the ambition to excel—not oneself, but another.]

[Footnote 5: The whole western hemisphere.]

[Footnote 6: stood possessed of.]

[Footnote 7: Used by Shakspere for a part.]

[Page 10]

Had he bin Vanquisher, as by the same Cou'nant [Sidenote: the same comart] And carriage of the Article designe,[1] [Sidenote: desseigne,] His fell to Hamlet. Now sir, young Fortinbras, Of vnimproued[2] Mettle, hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway, heere and there, Shark'd[3] vp a List of Landlesse Resolutes, [Sidenote: of lawlesse] For Foode and Diet, to some Enterprize That hath a stomacke in't[4]: which is no other (And it doth well appeare vnto our State) [Sidenote: As it] But to recouer of vs by strong hand And termes Compulsatiue, those foresaid Lands [Sidenote: compulsatory,] So by his Father lost: and this (I take it) Is the maine Motiue of our Preparations, The Sourse of this our Watch, and the cheefe head Of this post-hast, and Romage[5] in the Land.

[A]Enter Ghost againe.

But soft, behold: Loe, where it comes againe:

[Footnote A: Here in the Quarto:—

Bar. I thinke it be no other, but enso; Well may it sort[6] that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch so like the King That was and is the question of these warres.

Hora. A moth it is to trouble the mindes eye: In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Iulius fell The graues stood tennatlesse, and the sheeted dead Did squeake and gibber in the Roman streets[7] As starres with traines of fier, and dewes of blood Disasters in the sunne; and the moist starre, Vpon whose influence Neptunes Empier stands Was sicke almost to doomesday with eclipse. And euen the like precurse of feare euents As harbindgers preceading still the fates And prologue to the Omen comming on Haue heauen and earth together demonstrated Vnto our Climatures and countrymen.[8]

Enter Ghost.]

[Footnote 1: French designe.]

[Footnote 2: not proved or tried. Improvement, as we use the word, is the result of proof or trial: upon-proof-ment.]

[Footnote 3: Is shark'd related to the German scharren? Zusammen scharren—to scrape together. The Anglo-Saxon searwian is to prepare, entrap, take.]

[Footnote 4: Some enterprise of acquisition; one for the sake of getting something.]

[Footnote 5: In Scotch, remish—the noise of confused and varied movements; a row; a rampage.—Associated with French remuage?]

[Footnote 6: suit: so used in Scotland still, I think.]

[Footnote 7: Julius Caesar, act i. sc. 3, and act ii. sc. 2.]

[Footnote 8: The only suggestion I dare make for the rectifying of the confusion of this speech is, that, if the eleventh line were inserted between the fifth and sixth, there would be sense, and very nearly grammar.

and the sheeted dead Did squeake and gibber in the Roman streets, As harbindgers preceading still the fates; As starres with traines of fier, and dewes of blood (Here understand precede) Disasters in the sunne;

The tenth will close with the twelfth line well enough.

But no one, any more than myself, will be satisfied with the suggestion. The probability is, of course, that a line has dropped out between the fifth and sixth. Anything like this would restore the connection:

The labouring heavens themselves teemed dire portent As starres &c.]

[Page 12]

Ile crosse it, though it blast me.[1] Stay Illusion:[2] [Sidenote: It[4] spreads his armes.] If thou hast any sound, or vse of Voyce,[3] Speake to me. If there be any good thing to be done, That may to thee do ease, and grace to me; speak to me. If thou art priuy to thy Countries Fate (Which happily foreknowing may auoyd) Oh speake. Or, if thou hast vp-hoorded in thy life Extorted Treasure in the wombe of Earth, (For which, they say, you Spirits oft walke in death) [Sidenote: your] [Sidenote: The cocke crowes] Speake of it. Stay, and speake. Stop it Marcellus.

Mar. Shall I strike at it with my Partizan? [Sidenote: strike it with]

Hor. Do, if it will not stand.

Barn. 'Tis heere.

Hor. 'Tis heere.

Mar. 'Tis gone. Exit Ghost[5] We do it wrong, being so Maiesticall[6] To offer it the shew of Violence, For it is as the Ayre, invulnerable, And our vaine blowes, malicious Mockery.

Barn. It was about to speake, when the Cocke crew.

Hor. And then it started, like a guilty thing Vpon a fearfull Summons. I haue heard, The Cocke that is the Trumpet to the day, [Sidenote: to the morne,] Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding Throate[7] Awake the God of Day: and at his warning, Whether in Sea, or Fire, in Earth, or Ayre, Th'extrauagant,[8] and erring[9] Spirit, hyes To his Confine. And of the truth heerein, This present Obiect made probation.[10]

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the Cocke.[11]

[Footnote 1: There are various tales of the blasting power of evil ghosts.]

[Footnote 2: Plain doubt, and strong.]

[Footnote 3: 'sound of voice, or use of voice': physical or mental faculty of speech.]

[Footnote 4: I judge this It a mistake for H., standing for Horatio: he would stop it.]

[Footnote 5: Not in Q.]

[Footnote 6: 'As we cannot hurt it, our blows are a mockery; and it is wrong to mock anything so majestic': For belongs to shew; 'We do it wrong, being so majestical, to offer it what is but a show of violence, for it is, &c.']

[Footnote 7: 1st Q. 'his earely and shrill crowing throate.']

[Footnote 8: straying beyond bounds.]

[Footnote 9: wandering.]

[Footnote 10: 'gave proof.']

[Footnote 11: This line said thoughtfully—as the text of the observation following it. From the eerie discomfort of their position, Marcellus takes refuge in the thought of the Saviour's birth into the haunted world, bringing sweet law, restraint, and health.]

[Page 14]

Some sayes, that euer 'gainst that Season comes [Sidenote: say] Wherein our Sauiours Birth is celebrated, The Bird of Dawning singeth all night long: [Sidenote: This bird] And then (they say) no Spirit can walke abroad, [Sidenote: spirit dare sturre] The nights are wholsome, then no Planets strike, No Faiery talkes, nor Witch hath power to Charme: [Sidenote: fairy takes,[1]] So hallow'd, and so gracious is the time. [Sidenote: is that time.]

Hor. So haue I heard, and do in part beleeue it. But looke, the Morne in Russet mantle clad, Walkes o're the dew of yon high Easterne Hill, [Sidenote: Eastward[2]] Breake we our Watch vp, and by my aduice [Sidenote: advise] Let vs impart what we haue scene to night Vnto yong Hamlet. For vpon my life, This Spirit dumbe to vs, will speake to him: Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it, As needfull in our Loues, fitting our Duty?

[Sidenote: 30] Mar. Let do't I pray, and I this morning know Where we shall finde him most conueniently. [Sidenote: convenient.] Exeunt.


Enter Claudius King of Denmarke. Gertrude the Queene, Hamlet, Polonius, Laertes, and his Sister Ophelia, Lords Attendant.[4] [Sidenote: Florish. Enter Claudius, King of Denmarke, Gertrad the Queene, Counsaile: as Polonius, and his sonne Laertes, Hamelt Cum Abijs.]

King. Though yet of Hamlet our deere Brothers death [Sidenote: Claud.] The memory be greene: and that it vs befitted To beare our hearts in greefe, and our whole Kingdome To be contracted in one brow of woe: Yet so farre hath Discretion fought with Nature, That we with wisest sorrow thinke on him,

[Footnote 1: Does it mean—carries off any child, leaving a changeling? or does it mean—affect with evil, as a disease might infect or take?]

[Footnote 2: 1st Q. 'hie mountaine top,']

[Footnote 3: In neither Q.]

[Footnote 4: The first court after the marriage.]

[Page 16]

Together with remembrance of our selues. Therefore our sometimes Sister, now our Queen, Th'Imperiall Ioyntresse of this warlike State, [Sidenote: to this] Haue we, as 'twere, with a defeated ioy, With one Auspicious, and one Dropping eye, [Sidenote: an auspitious and a] With mirth in Funerall, and with Dirge in Marriage, In equall Scale weighing Delight and Dole[1] Taken to Wife; nor haue we heerein barr'd[2] Your better Wisedomes, which haue freely gone With this affaire along, for all our Thankes. [Sidenote: 8] Now followes, that you know young Fortinbras,[3] Holding a weake supposall of our worth; Or thinking by our late deere Brothers death, Our State to be disioynt, and out of Frame, Colleagued with the dreame of his Aduantage;[4] [Sidenote: this dreame] He hath not fayl'd to pester vs with Message, Importing the surrender of those Lands Lost by his Father: with all Bonds of Law [Sidenote: bands] To our most valiant Brother. So much for him.

Enter Voltemand and Cornelius.[5]

Now for our selfe, and for this time of meeting Thus much the businesse is. We haue heere writ To Norway, Vncle of young Fortinbras, Who Impotent and Bedrid, scarsely heares Of this his Nephewes purpose, to suppresse His further gate[6] heerein. In that the Leuies, The Lists, and full proportions are all made Out of his subiect: and we heere dispatch You good Cornelius, and you Voltemand, For bearing of this greeting to old Norway, [Sidenote: bearers] Giuing to you no further personall power To businesse with the King, more then the scope Of these dilated Articles allow:[7] [Sidenote: delated[8]] Farewell and let your hast commend your duty.[9]

[Footnote 1: weighing out an equal quantity of each.]

[Footnote 2: Like crossed.]

[Footnote 3: 'Now follows—that (which) you know—young Fortinbras:—']

[Footnote 4: Colleagued agrees with supposall. The preceding two lines may be regarded as somewhat parenthetical. Dream of advantage—hope of gain.]

[Footnote 5: Not in Q.]

[Footnote 6: going; advance. Note in Norway also, as well as in Denmark, the succession of the brother.]

[Footnote 7: (giving them papers).]

[Footnote 8: Which of these is right, I cannot tell. _Dilated_ means _expanded_, and would refer to _the scope; _delated_ means _committed_—to them, to limit them.]

[Footnote 9: idea of duty.]

[Page 18]

Volt. In that, and all things, will we shew our duty.

King. We doubt it nothing, heartily farewell.

[Sidenote: 74] [1]Exit Voltemand and Cornelius.

And now Laertes, what's the newes with you? You told vs of some suite. What is't Laertes? You cannot speake of Reason to the Dane, And loose your voyce. What would'st thou beg Laertes, That shall not be my Offer, not thy Asking?[2] The Head is not more Natiue to the Heart, The Hand more Instrumentall to the Mouth, Then is the Throne of Denmarke to thy Father.[3] What would'st thou haue Laertes?

Laer. Dread my Lord, [Sidenote: My dread] Your leaue and fauour to returne to France, From whence, though willingly I came to Denmarke To shew my duty in your Coronation, Yet now I must confesse, that duty done, [Sidenote: 22] My thoughts and wishes bend againe towards toward France,[4] And bow them to your gracious leaue and pardon.

King. Haue you your Fathers leaue? What sayes Pollonius?

[A] Pol. He hath my Lord: I do beseech you giue him leaue to go.

King. Take thy faire houre Laertes, time be thine, And thy best graces spend it at thy will: But now my Cosin Hamlet, and my Sonne?

[Footnote A: In the Quarto:—

Polo. Hath[5] my Lord wroung from me my slowe leaue By laboursome petition, and at last Vpon his will I seald my hard consent,[6] I doe beseech you giue him leaue to goe.]

[Footnote 1: Not in Q.]

[Footnote 2: 'Before they call, I will answer; and while they are yet speaking, I will hear.'—Isaiah, lxv. 24.]

[Footnote 3: The villain king courts his courtiers.]

[Footnote 4: He had been educated there. Compare 23. But it would seem rather to the court than the university he desired to return. See his father's instructions, 38.]

[Footnote 5: H'ath—a contraction for He hath.]

[Footnote 6: A play upon the act of sealing a will with wax.]

[Page 20]

Ham. A little more then kin, and lesse then kinde.[1]

King. How is it that the Clouds still hang on you?

Ham. Not so my Lord, I am too much i'th'Sun.[2] [Sidenote: so much my ... in the sonne.]

Queen. Good Hamlet cast thy nightly colour off,[4] [Sidenote: nighted[3]] And let thine eye looke like a Friend on Denmarke. Do not for euer with thy veyled[5] lids [Sidenote: vailed] Seeke for thy Noble Father in the dust; Thou know'st 'tis common, all that liues must dye, Passing through Nature, to Eternity.

Ham. I Madam, it is common.[6]

Queen. If it be; Why seemes it so particular with thee.

Ham. Seemes Madam? Nay, it is: I know not Seemes:[7] 'Tis not alone my Inky Cloake (good Mother) [Sidenote: cloake coold mother [8]] Nor Customary suites of solemne Blacke, Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath, No, nor the fruitfull Riuer in the Eye, Nor the deiected hauiour of the Visage, Together with all Formes, Moods, shewes of Griefe, [Sidenote: moodes, chapes of] That can denote me truly. These indeed Seeme,[9] [Sidenote: deuote] For they are actions that a man might[10] play: But I haue that Within, which passeth show; [Sidenote: passes] These, but the Trappings, and the Suites of woe.

King. 'Tis sweet and commendable In your Nature Hamlet, To giue these mourning duties to your Father:[11] But you must know, your Father lost a Father, That Father lost, lost his, and the Suruiuer bound In filiall Obligation, for some terme To do obsequious[12] Sorrow. But to perseuer In obstinate Condolement, is a course

[Footnote 1: An aside. Hamlet's first utterance is of dislike to his uncle. He is more than kin through his unwelcome marriage—less than kind by the difference in their natures. To be kind is to behave as one kinned or related. But the word here is the noun, and means nature, or sort by birth.]

[Footnote 2: A word-play may be here intended between sun and son: a little more than kin—too much i' th' Son. So George Herbert:

For when he sees my ways, I die; But I have got his Son, and he hath none;

and Dr. Donne:

at my death thy Son Shall shine, as he shines now and heretofore.]

[Footnote 3: 'Wintred garments'—As You Like It, iii. 2.]

[Footnote 4: He is the only one who has not for the wedding put off his mourning.]

[Footnote 5: lowered, or cast down: Fr. avaler, to lower.]

[Footnote 6: 'Plainly you treat it as a common matter—a thing of no significance!' I is constantly used for ay, yes.]

[Footnote 7: He pounces on the word seems.]

[Footnote 8: Not unfrequently the type would appear to have been set up from dictation.]

[Footnote 9: They are things of the outside, and must seem, for they are capable of being imitated; they are the natural shows of grief. But he has that in him which cannot show or seem, because nothing can represent it. These are 'the Trappings and the Suites of woe;' they fitly represent woe, but they cannot shadow forth that which is within him—a something different from woe, far beyond it and worse, passing all reach of embodiment and manifestation. What this something is, comes out the moment he is left by himself.]

[Footnote 10: The emphasis is on might.]

[Footnote 11: Both his uncle and his mother decline to understand him. They will have it he mourns the death of his father, though they must at least suspect another cause for his grief. Note the intellectual mastery of the hypocrite—which accounts for his success.]

[Footnote 12: belonging to obsequies.]

[Page 22]

Of impious stubbornnesse. Tis vnmanly greefe, It shewes a will most incorrect to Heauen, A Heart vnfortified, a Minde impatient, [Sidenote: or minde] An Vnderstanding simple, and vnschool'd: For, what we know must be, and is as common As any the most vulgar thing to sence, Why should we in our peeuish Opposition Take it to heart? Fye, 'tis a fault to Heauen, A fault against the Dead, a fault to Nature, To Reason most absurd, whose common Theame Is death of Fathers, and who still hath cried, From the first Coarse,[1] till he that dyed to day, [Sidenote: course] This must be so. We pray you throw to earth This vnpreuayling woe, and thinke of vs As of a Father; For let the world take note, You are the most immediate to our Throne,[2] And with no lesse Nobility of Loue, Then that which deerest Father beares his Sonne, Do I impart towards you. For your intent [Sidenote: toward] [Sidenote: 18] In going backe to Schoole in Wittenberg,[3] It is most retrograde to our desire: [Sidenote: retrogard] And we beseech you, bend you to remaine Heere in the cheere and comfort of our eye, Our cheefest Courtier Cosin, and our Sonne.

Qu. Let not thy Mother lose her Prayers Hamlet: [Sidenote: loose] I prythee stay with vs, go not to Wittenberg. [Sidenote: pray thee]

Ham. I shall in all my best Obey you Madam.[4]

King. Why 'tis a louing, and a faire Reply, Be as our selfe in Denmarke. Madam come, This gentle and vnforc'd accord of Hamlet[5] Sits smiling to my heart; in grace whereof, No iocond health that Denmarke drinkes to day, [Sidenote: 44] But the great Cannon to the Clowds shall tell,

[Footnote 1: Corpse.]

[Footnote 2: —seeking to propitiate him with the hope that his succession had been but postponed by his uncle's election.]

[Footnote 3: Note that Hamlet was educated in Germany—at Wittenberg, the university where in 1508 Luther was appointed professor of Philosophy. Compare 19. There was love of study as well as disgust with home in his desire to return to Schoole: this from what we know of him afterwards.]

[Footnote 4: Emphasis on obey. A light on the character of Hamlet.]

[Footnote 5: He takes it, or pretends to take it, for far more than it was. He desires friendly relations with Hamlet.]

[Page 24]

And the Kings Rouce,[1] the Heauens shall bruite againe, Respeaking earthly Thunder. Come away. Exeunt [Sidenote: Florish. Exeunt all but Hamlet.]

Manet Hamlet.

[2]Ham. Oh that this too too solid Flesh, would melt, [Sidenote: sallied flesh[3]] Thaw, and resolue it selfe into a Dew: [Sidenote: 125,247,260] Or that the Euerlasting had not fixt [Sidenote: 121 bis] His Cannon 'gainst Selfe-slaughter. O God, O God! [Sidenote: seale slaughter, o God, God,] How weary, stale, flat, and vnprofitable [Sidenote: wary] Seemes to me all the vses of this world? [Sidenote: seeme] Fie on't? Oh fie, fie, 'tis an vnweeded Garden [Sidenote: ah fie,] That growes to Seed: Things rank, and grosse in Nature Possesse it meerely. That it should come to this: [Sidenote: meerely that it should come thus] But two months dead[4]: Nay, not so much; not two, So excellent a King, that was to this Hiperion to a Satyre: so louing to my Mother, That he might not beteene the windes of heauen [Sidenote: beteeme[5]] Visit her face too roughly. Heauen and Earth Must I remember: why she would hang on him, [Sidenote: should] As if encrease of Appetite had growne By what it fed on; and yet within a month? Let me not thinke on't: Frailty, thy name is woman.[6] A little Month, or ere those shooes were old, With which she followed my poore Fathers body Like Niobe, all teares. Why she, euen she.[7] (O Heauen! A beast that wants discourse[8] of Reason [Sidenote: O God] Would haue mourn'd longer) married with mine Vnkle, [Sidenote: my]

[Footnote 1: German Rausch, drunkenness. 44, 68]

[Footnote 2: A soliloquy is as the drawing called a section of a thing: it shows the inside of the man. Soliloquy is only rare, not unnatural, and in art serves to reveal more of nature. In the drama it is the lifting of a veil through which dialogue passes. The scene is for the moment shifted into the lonely spiritual world, and here we begin to know Hamlet. Such is his wretchedness, both in mind and circumstance, that he could well wish to vanish from the world. The suggestion of suicide, however, he dismisses at once—with a momentary regret, it is true—but he dismisses it—as against the will of God to whom he appeals in his misery. The cause of his misery is now made plain to us—his trouble that passes show, deprives life of its interest, and renders the world a disgust to him. There is no lamentation over his father's death, so dwelt upon by the king; for loving grief does not crush. Far less could his uncle's sharp practice, in scheming for his own election during Hamlet's absence, have wrought in a philosopher like him such an effect. The one makes him sorrowful, the other might well annoy him, but neither could render him unhappy: his misery lies at his mother's door; it is her conduct that has put out the light of her son's life. She who had been to him the type of all excellence, she whom his father had idolized, has within a month of his death married his uncle, and is living in habitual incest—for as such, a marriage of the kind was then unanimously regarded. To Hamlet's condition and behaviour, his mother, her past and her present, is the only and sufficing key. His very idea of unity had been rent in twain.]

[Footnote 3: 1st Q. 'too much grieu'd and sallied flesh.' Sallied, sullied: compare sallets, 67, 103. I have a strong suspicion that sallied and not solid is the true word. It comes nearer the depth of Hamlet's mood.]

[Footnote 4: Two months at the present moment.]

[Footnote 5: This is the word all the editors take: which is right, I do not know; I doubt if either is. The word in A Midsummer Night's Dream, act i. sc. 1—

Belike for want of rain; which I could well Beteem them from the tempest of mine eyes—

I cannot believe the same word. The latter means produce for, as from the place of origin. The word, in the sense necessary to this passage, is not, so far as I know, to be found anywhere else. I have no suggestion to make.]

[Footnote 6: From his mother he generalizes to woman. After having believed in such a mother, it may well be hard for a man to believe in any woman.]

[Footnote 7: Q. omits 'euen she.']

[Footnote 8: the going abroad among things.]

[Page 26]

My Fathers Brother: but no more like my Father, Then I to Hercules. Within a Moneth? Ere yet the salt of most vnrighteous Teares Had left the flushing of her gauled eyes, [Sidenote: in her] She married. O most wicked speed, to post[1] With such dexterity to Incestuous sheets: It is not, nor it cannot come to good, But breake my heart, for I must hold my tongue.[2]

Enter Horatio, Barnard, and Marcellus. [Sidenote: Marcellus, and Bernardo.]

Hor. Haile to your Lordship.[3]

Ham. I am glad to see you well: Horatio, or I do forget my selfe.

Hor. The same my Lord, And your poore Seruant euer.

[Sidenote: 134] Ham. [4]Sir my good friend, Ile change that name with you:[5] And what make you from Wittenberg Horatio?[6] Marcellus.[7]

Mar. My good Lord.

Ham. I am very glad to see you: good euen Sir.[8] But what in faith make you from Wittemberge?

Hor. A truant disposition, good my Lord.[9]

Ham. I would not haue your Enemy say so;[10] [Sidenote: not heare] Nor shall you doe mine eare that violence,[11] [Sidenote: my eare] [Sidenote: 134] To make it truster of your owne report Against your selfe. I know you are no Truant: But what is your affaire in Elsenour? Wee'l teach you to drinke deepe, ere you depart.[12] [Sidenote: you for to drinke ere]

Hor. My Lord, I came to see your Fathers Funerall.

Ham. I pray thee doe not mock me (fellow Student) [Sidenote: pre thee] I thinke it was to see my Mothers Wedding. [Sidenote: was to my]

[Footnote 1: I suggest the pointing:

speed! To post ... sheets!]

[Footnote 2: Fit moment for the entrance of his father's messengers.]

[Footnote 3: They do not seem to have been intimate before, though we know from Hamlet's speech (134) that he had had the greatest respect for Horatio. The small degree of doubt in Hamlet's recognition of his friend is due to the darkness, and the unexpectedness of his appearance.]

[Footnote 4: 1st Q. 'O my good friend, I change, &c.' This would leave it doubtful whether he wished to exchange servant or friend; but 'Sir, my good friend,' correcting Horatio, makes his intent plain.]

[Footnote 5: Emphasis on that: 'I will exchange the name of friend with you.']

[Footnote 6: 'What are you doing from—out of, away from—Wittenberg?']

[Footnote 7: In recognition: the word belongs to Hamlet's speech.]

[Footnote 8: Point thus: 'you.—Good even, sir.'—to Barnardo, whom he does not know.]

[Footnote 9: An ungrammatical reply. He does not wish to give the real, painful answer, and so replies confusedly, as if he had been asked, 'What makes you?' instead of, 'What do you make?']

[Footnote 10: '—I should know how to answer him.']

[Footnote 11: Emphasis on you.]

[Footnote 12: Said with contempt for his surroundings.]

[Page 28]

Hor. Indeed my Lord, it followed hard vpon.

Ham. Thrift, thrift Horatio: the Funerall Bakt-meats Did coldly furnish forth the Marriage Tables; Would I had met my dearest foe in heauen,[1] Ere I had euer seerie that day Horatio.[2] [Sidenote: Or ever I had] My father, me thinkes I see my father.

Hor. Oh where my Lord? [Sidenote: Where my]

Ham. In my minds eye (Horatio)[3]

Hor. I saw him once; he was a goodly King. [Sidenote: once, a was]

Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all: [Sidenote: A was a man] I shall not look vpon his like againe.

Hor. My Lord, I thinke I saw him yesternight.

Ham. Saw? Who?[4]

Hor. My Lord, the King your Father.

Ham. The King my Father?[5]

Hor. Season[6] your admiration for a while With an attent eare;[7] till I may deliuer Vpon the witnesse of these Gentlemen, This maruell to you.

Ham. For Heauens loue let me heare. [Sidenote: God's love]

Hor. Two nights together, had these Gentlemen (Marcellus and Barnardo) on their Watch In the dead wast and middle of the night[8] Beene thus encountred. A figure like your Father,[9] Arm'd at all points exactly, Cap a Pe,[10] [Sidenote: Armed at poynt] Appeares before them, and with sollemne march Goes slow and stately: By them thrice he walkt, [Sidenote: stately by them; thrice] By their opprest and feare-surprized eyes, Within his Truncheons length; whilst they bestil'd [Sidenote: they distill'd[11]] Almost to Ielly with the Act of feare,[12] Stand dumbe and speake not to him. This to me In dreadfull[13] secrecie impart they did, And I with them the third Night kept the Watch, Whereas[14] they had deliuer'd both in time,

[Footnote 1: Dear is not unfrequently used as an intensive; but 'my dearest foe' is not 'the man who hates me most,' but 'the man whom most I regard as my foe.']

[Footnote 2: Note Hamlet's trouble: the marriage, not the death, nor the supplantation.]

[Footnote 3: —with a little surprise at Horatio's question.]

[Footnote 4: Said as if he must have misheard. Astonishment comes only with the next speech.]

[Footnote 5: 1st Q. 'Ha, ha, the King my father ke you.']

[Footnote 6: Qualify.]

[Footnote 7: 1st Q. 'an attentiue eare,'.]

[Footnote 8: Possibly, dead vast, as in 1st Q.; but waste as good, leaving also room to suppose a play in the word.]

[Footnote 9: Note the careful uncertainty.]

[Footnote 10: 1st Q. 'Capapea.']

[Footnote 11: Either word would do: the distilling off of the animal spirits would leave the man a jelly; the cold of fear would bestil them and him to a jelly. 1st Q. distilled. But I judge bestil'd the better, as the truer to the operation of fear. Compare The Winter's Tale, act v. sc. 3:—

There's magic in thy majesty, which has

From thy admiring daughter took the spirits, Standing like stone with thee.]

[Footnote 12: Act: present influence.]

[Footnote 13: a secrecy more than solemn.]

[Footnote 14: 'Where, as'.]

[Page 30]

Forme of the thing; each word made true and good, The Apparition comes. I knew your Father: These hands are not more like.

Ham. But where was this?

Mar. My Lord, vpon the platforme where we watcht. [Sidenote: watch]

Ham. Did you not speake to it?

Her. My Lord, I did; But answere made it none: yet once me thought It lifted vp it head, and did addresse It selfe to motion, like as it would speake: But euen then, the Morning Cocke crew lowd; And at the sound it shrunke in hast away, And vanisht from our sight.

Ham. Tis very strange.

Hor. As I doe liue my honourd Lord 'tis true; [Sidenote: 14] And we did thinke it writ downe in our duty To let you know of it.

[Sidenote: 32,52] Ham. Indeed, indeed Sirs; but this troubles me. [Sidenote: Indeede Sirs but] Hold you the watch to Night?

Both. We doe my Lord. [Sidenote: All.]

Ham. Arm'd, say you?

Both. Arm'd, my Lord. [Sidenote: All.]

Ham. From top to toe?

Both. My Lord, from head to foote. [Sidenote: All.]

Ham. Then saw you not his face?

Hor. O yes, my Lord, he wore his Beauer vp.

Ham. What, lookt he frowningly?

[Sidenote: 54,174] Hor. A countenance more in sorrow then in anger.[1]

[Sidenote: 120] Ham. Pale, or red?

Hor. Nay very pale.

[Footnote 1: The mood of the Ghost thus represented, remains the same towards his wife throughout the play.]

[Page 32]

Ham. And fixt his eyes vpon you?

Hor. Most constantly.

Ham. I would I had beene there.

Hor. It would haue much amaz'd you.

Ham. Very like, very like: staid it long? [Sidenote: Very like, stayd]

Hor. While one with moderate hast might tell a hundred. [Sidenote: hundreth]

All. Longer, longer. [Sidenote: Both.]

Hor. Not when I saw't.

Ham. His Beard was grisly?[1] no. [Sidenote: grissl'd]

Hor. It was, as I haue seene it in his life, [Sidenote: 138] A Sable[2] Siluer'd.

Ham. Ile watch to Night; perchance 'twill wake againe. [Sidenote: walke againe.]

Hor. I warrant you it will. [Sidenote: warn't it]

[Sidenote: 44] Ham. If it assume my noble Fathers person,[3] Ile speake to it, though Hell it selfe should gape And bid me hold my peace. I pray you all, If you haue hitherto conceald this sight; Let it bee treble[5] in your silence still: [Sidenote: be tenable in[4]] And whatsoeuer els shall hap to night, [Sidenote: what someuer els] Giue it an vnderstanding but no tongue; I will requite your loues; so, fare ye well: [Sidenote: farre you] Vpon the Platforme twixt eleuen and twelue, [Sidenote: a leauen and twelfe] Ile visit you.

All. Our duty to your Honour. Exeunt.

Ham. Your loue, as mine to you: farewell. [Sidenote: loves,] My Fathers Spirit in Armes?[6] All is not well: [Sidenote: 30,52] I doubt some foule play: would the Night were come; Till then sit still my soule; foule deeds will rise, [Sidenote: fonde deedes] Though all the earth orewhelm them to mens eies. Exit.

[Footnote 1: grisly—gray; grissl'd—turned gray;—mixed with white.]

[Footnote 2: The colour of sable-fur, I think.]

[Footnote 3: Hamlet does not accept the Appearance as his father; he thinks it may be he, but seems to take a usurpation of his form for very possible.]

[Footnote 4: 1st Q. 'tenible']

[Footnote 5: If treble be the right word, the actor in uttering it must point to each of the three, with distinct yet rapid motion. The phrase would be a strange one, but not unlike Shakspere. Compare Cymbeline, act v. sc. 5: 'And your three motives to the battle,' meaning 'the motives of you three.' Perhaps, however, it is only the adjective for the adverb: 'having concealed it hitherto, conceal it trebly now.' But tenible may be the word: 'let it be a thing to be kept in your silence still.']

[Footnote 6: Alone, he does not dispute the idea of its being his father.]

[Page 34]


Enter Laertes and Ophelia. [Sidenote: Ophelia his Sister.]

Laer. My necessaries are imbark't; Farewell: [Sidenote: inbarckt,] And Sister, as the Winds giue Benefit, And Conuoy is assistant: doe not sleepe, [Sidenote: conuay, in assistant doe] But let me heare from you.

Ophel. Doe you doubt that?

Laer. For Hamlet, and the trifling of his fauours, [Sidenote: favour,] Hold it a fashion and a toy in Bloud; A Violet in the youth of Primy Nature; Froward,[2] not permanent; sweet not lasting The suppliance of a minute? No more.[3] [Sidenote: The perfume and suppliance]

Ophel. No more but so.[4]

Laer. Thinke it no more. For nature cressant does not grow alone, [Sidenote: 172] In thewes[5] and Bulke: but as his Temple waxes,[6] [Sidenote: bulkes, but as this] The inward seruice of the Minde and Soule Growes wide withall. Perhaps he loues you now,[7] And now no soyle nor cautell[8] doth besmerch The vertue of his feare: but you must feare [Sidenote: of his will, but] His greatnesse weigh'd, his will is not his owne;[9] [Sidenote: wayd] For hee himselfe is subiect to his Birth:[10] Hee may not, as vnuallued persons doe, Carue for himselfe; for, on his choyce depends The sanctity and health of the weole State. [Sidenote: The safty and this whole] And therefore must his choyce be circumscrib'd[11] Vnto the voyce and yeelding[12] of that Body, Whereof he is the Head. Then if he sayes he loues you, It fits your wisedome so farre to beleeue it; As he in his peculiar Sect and force[13] [Sidenote: his particuler act and place] May giue his saying deed: which is no further,

[Footnote 1: Not in Quarto.]

[Footnote 2: Same as forward.]

[Footnote 3: 'No more' makes a new line in the Quarto.]

[Footnote 4: I think this speech should end with a point of interrogation.]

[Footnote 5: muscles.]

[Footnote 6: The body is the temple, in which the mind and soul are the worshippers: their service grows with the temple—wide, changing and increasing its objects. The degraded use of the grand image is after the character of him who makes it.]

[Footnote 7: The studied contrast between Laertes and Hamlet begins already to appear: the dishonest man, honestly judging after his own dishonesty, warns his sister against the honest man.]

[Footnote 8: deceit.]

[Footnote 9: 'You have cause to fear when you consider his greatness: his will &c.' 'You must fear, his greatness being weighed; for because of that greatness, his will is not his own.']

[Footnote 10: This line not in Quarto.]

[Footnote 11: limited.]

[Footnote 12: allowance.]

[Footnote 13: This change from the Quarto seems to me to bear the mark of Shakspere's hand. The meaning is the same, but the words are more individual and choice: the sect, the head in relation to the body, is more pregnant than place; and force, that is power, is a fuller word than act, or even action, for which it plainly appears to stand.]

[Page 36]

Then the maine voyce of Denmarke goes withall. Then weigh what losse your Honour may sustaine, If with too credent eare you list his Songs; Or lose your Heart; or your chast Treasure open [Sidenote: Or loose] To his vnmastred[1] importunity. Feare it Ophelia, feare it my deare Sister, And keepe within the reare of your Affection;[2] [Sidenote: keepe you in the] Out of the shot and danger of Desire. The chariest Maid is Prodigall enough, [Sidenote: The] If she vnmaske her beauty to the Moone:[3] Vertue it selfe scapes not calumnious stroakes, [Sidenote: Vertue] The Canker Galls, the Infants of the Spring [Sidenote: The canker gaules the] Too oft before the buttons[6] be disclos'd, [Sidenote: their buttons] And in the Morne and liquid dew of Youth, Contagious blastments are most imminent. Be wary then, best safety lies in feare; Youth to it selfe rebels, though none else neere.[6]

Ophe. I shall th'effect of this good Lesson keepe, As watchmen to my heart: but good my Brother [Sidenote: watchman] Doe not as some vngracious Pastors doe, Shew me the steepe and thorny way to Heauen; Whilst like a puft and recklesse Libertine Himselfe, the Primrose path of dalliance treads, And reaks not his owne reade.[7][8][9]

Laer. Oh, feare me not.[10]

Enter Polonius.

I stay too long; but here my Father comes: A double blessing is a double grace; Occasion smiles vpon a second leaue.[11]

Polon. Yet heere Laertes? Aboord, aboord for shame, The winde sits in the shoulder of your saile, And you are staid for there: my blessing with you; [Sidenote: for, there my with thee]

[Footnote 1: Without a master; lawless.]

[Footnote 2: Do not go so far as inclination would lead you. Keep behind your liking. Do not go to the front with your impulse.]

[Footnote 3: —but to the moon—which can show it so little.]

[Footnote 4: Opened but not closed quotations in the Quarto.]

[Footnote 5: The French bouton is also both button and bud.]

[Footnote 6: 'Inclination is enough to have to deal with, let alone added temptation.' Like his father, Laertes is wise for another—a man of maxims, not behaviour. His morality is in his intellect and for self-ends, not in his will, and for the sake of truth and righteousness.]

[Footnote 7: 1st Q.

But my deere brother, do not you Like to a cunning Sophister, Teach me the path and ready way to heauen, While you forgetting what is said to me, Your selfe, like to a carelesse libertine Doth giue his heart, his appetite at ful, And little recks how that his honour dies.

'The primrose way to the everlasting bonfire.' —Macbeth, ii. 3:

'The flowery way that leads to the broad gate and the great fire.' All's Well, iv. 5.]

[Footnote 8: 'heeds not his own counsel.']

[Footnote 9: Here in Quarto, Enter Polonius.]

[Footnote 10: With the fitting arrogance and impertinence of a libertine brother, he has read his sister a lecture on propriety of behaviour; but when she gently suggests that what is good for her is good for him too,—'Oh, fear me not!—I stay too long.']

[Footnote 11: 'A second leave-taking is a happy chance': the chance, or occasion, because it is happy, smiles. It does not mean that occasion smiles upon a second leave, but that, upon a second leave, occasion smiles. There should be a comma after smiles.]

[Footnote 12: As many of Polonius' aphorismic utterances as are given in the 1st Quarto have there inverted commas; but whether intended as gleanings from books or as fruits of experience, the light they throw on the character of him who speaks them is the same: they show it altogether selfish. He is a man of the world, wise in his generation, his principles the best of their bad sort. Of these his son is a fit recipient and retailer, passing on to his sister their father's grand doctrine of self-protection. But, wise in maxim, Polonius is foolish in practice—not from senility, but from vanity.]

[Page 38]

And these few Precepts in thy memory,[1] See thou Character.[2] Giue thy thoughts no tongue, [Sidenote: Looke thou] Nor any vnproportion'd[3] thought his Act: Be thou familiar; but by no meanes vulgar:[4] The friends thou hast, and their adoption tride,[5] [Sidenote: Those friends] Grapple them to thy Soule, with hoopes of Steele: [Sidenote: unto] But doe not dull thy palme, with entertainment Of each vnhatch't, vnfledg'd Comrade.[6] Beware [Sidenote: each new hatcht unfledgd courage,] Of entrance to a quarrell: but being in Bear't that th'opposed may beware of thee. Giue euery man thine eare; but few thy voyce: [Sidenote: thy eare,] Take each mans censure[7]; but reserue thy Judgement; Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy; But not exprest in fancie; rich, not gawdie: For the Apparell oft proclaimes the man. And they in France of the best ranck and station, Are of a most select and generous[8] cheff in that.[10] [Sidenote: Or of a generous, chiefe[9]] Neither a borrower, nor a lender be; [Sidenote: lender boy,] For lone oft loses both it selfe and friend: [Sidenote: loue] And borrowing duls the edge of Husbandry.[11] [Sidenote: dulleth edge] This aboue all; to thine owne selfe be true: And it must follow, as the Night the Day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.[12] Farewell: my Blessing season[13] this in thee.

Laer. Most humbly doe I take my leaue, my Lord.

Polon. The time inuites you, goe, your seruants tend. [Sidenote: time inuests]

Laer. Farewell Ophelia, and remember well What I haue said to you.[14]

Ophe. Tis in my memory lockt, And you your selfe shall keepe the key of it,

Laer. Farewell. Exit Laer.

Polon. What ist Ophelia he hath said to you?

[Footnote 1: He hurries him to go, yet immediately begins to prose.]

[Footnote 2: Engrave.]

[Footnote 3: Not settled into its true shape (?) or, out of proportion with its occasions (?)—I cannot say which.]

[Footnote 4: 'Cultivate close relations, but do not lie open to common access.' 'Have choice intimacies, but do not be hail, fellow! well met with everybody.' What follows is an expansion of the lesson.]

[Footnote 5: 'The friends thou hast—and the choice of them justified by trial—'equal to: 'provided their choice be justified &c.']

[Footnote 6: 'Do not make the palm hard, and dull its touch of discrimination, by shaking hands in welcome with every one that turns up.']

[Footnote 7: judgment, opinion.]

[Footnote 8: Generosus, of good breed, a gentleman.]

[Footnote 9: 1st Q. 'generall chiefe.']

[Footnote 10: No doubt the omission of of a gives the right number of syllables to the verse, and makes room for the interpretation which a dash between generous and chief renders clearer: 'Are most select and generous—chief in that,'—'are most choice and well-bred—chief, indeed—at the head or top, in the matter of dress.' But without necessity or authority—one of the two, I would not throw away a word; and suggest therefore that Shakspere had here the French idiom de son chef in his mind, and qualifies the noun in it with adjectives of his own. The Academy Dictionary gives de son propre mouvement as one interpretation of the phrase. The meaning would be, 'they are of a most choice and developed instinct in dress.' Cheff or chief suggests the upper third of the heraldic shield, but I cannot persuade the suggestion to further development. The hypercatalectic syllables of a, swiftly spoken, matter little to the verse, especially as it is dramatic.]

[Footnote 11: Those that borrow, having to pay, lose heart for saving.

'There's husbandry in heaven; Their candles are all out.'—Macbeth, ii. 1.]

[Footnote 12: Certainly a man cannot be true to himself without being true to others; neither can he be true to others without being true to himself; but if a man make himself the centre for the birth of action, it will follow, 'as the night the day,' that he will be true neither to himself nor to any other man. In this regard note the history of Laertes, developed in the play.]

[Footnote 13: —as salt, to make the counsel keep.]

[Footnote 14: See note 9, page 37.]

[Page 40]

Ophe. So please you, somthing touching the L. Hamlet.

Polon. Marry, well bethought: Tis told me he hath very oft of late Giuen priuate time to you; and you your selfe Haue of your audience beene most free and bounteous.[1] If it be so, as so tis put on me;[2] And that in way of caution: I must tell you, You doe not vnderstand your selfe so cleerely, As it behoues my Daughter, and your Honour What is betweene you, giue me vp the truth?

Ophe. He hath my Lord of late, made many tenders Of his affection to me.

Polon. Affection, puh. You speake like a greene Girle, Vnsifted in such perillous Circumstance. Doe you beleeue his tenders, as you call them?

Ophe. I do not know, my Lord, what I should thinke.

Polon. Marry Ile teach you; thinke your self a Baby, [Sidenote: I will] That you haue tane his tenders for true pay, [Sidenote: tane these] Which are not starling. Tender your selfe more dearly; [Sidenote: sterling] Or not to crack the winde of the poore Phrase, [Sidenote: (not ... &c.] Roaming it[3] thus, you'l tender me a foole.[4] [Sidenote: Wrong it thus]

Ophe. My Lord, he hath importun'd me with loue, In honourable fashion.

Polon. I, fashion you may call it, go too, go too.

Ophe. And hath giuen countenance to his speech, My Lord, with all the vowes of Heauen. [Sidenote: with almost all the holy vowes of]

[Footnote 1: There had then been a good deal of intercourse between Hamlet and Ophelia: she had heartily encouraged him.]

[Footnote 2: 'as so I am informed, and that by way of caution,']

[Footnote 3: —making it, 'the poor phrase' tenders, gallop wildly about—as one might roam a horse; larking it.]

[Footnote 4: 'you will in your own person present me a fool.']

[Page 42]

Polon. I, Springes to catch Woodcocks.[1] I doe know [Sidenote: springs] When the Bloud burnes, how Prodigall the Soule[2] Giues the tongue vowes: these blazes, Daughter, [Sidenote: Lends the] Giuing more light then heate; extinct in both,[3] Euen in their promise, as it is a making; You must not take for fire. For this time Daughter,[4] [Sidenote: fire, from this] Be somewhat scanter of your Maiden presence; [Sidenote: something] Set your entreatments[5] at a higher rate, Then a command to parley. For Lord Hamlet, [Sidenote: parle;] Beleeue so much in him, that he is young, And with a larger tether may he walke, [Sidenote: tider] Then may be giuen you. In few,[6] Ophelia, Doe not beleeue his vowes; for they are Broakers, Not of the eye,[7] which their Inuestments show: [Sidenote: of that die] But meere implorators of vnholy Sutes, [Sidenote: imploratators] Breathing like sanctified and pious bonds, The better to beguile. This is for all:[8] [Sidenote: beguide] I would not, in plaine tearmes, from this time forth, Haue you so slander any moment leisure,[9] [Sidenote: 70, 82] As to giue words or talke with the Lord Hamlet:[10] Looke too't, I charge you; come your wayes.

Ophe. I shall obey my Lord.[11] Exeunt.

Enter Hamlet, Horatio, Marcellus. [Sidenote: and Marcellus]

[Sidenote: 2] Ham. [12]The Ayre bites shrewdly: is it very cold?[13]

Hor. It is a nipping and an eager ayre.

Ham. What hower now?

Hor. I thinke it lacks of twelue.

Mar. No, it is strooke.

Hor. Indeed I heard it not: then it drawes neere the season, [Sidenote: it then] Wherein the Spirit held his wont to walke. What does this meane my Lord? [14] [Sidenote: A flourish of trumpets and 2 peeces goes of.[14]]

[Footnote 1: Woodcocks were understood to have no brains.]

[Footnote 2: 1st Q. 'How prodigall the tongue lends the heart vowes.' I was inclined to take Prodigall for a noun, a proper name or epithet given to the soul, as in a moral play: Prodigall, the soul; but I conclude it only an adjective used as an adverb, and the capital P a blunder.]

[Footnote 3: —in both light and heat.]

[Footnote 4: The Quarto has not 'Daughter.']

[Footnote 5: To be entreated is to yield: 'he would nowise be entreated:' entreatments, yieldings: 'you are not to see him just because he chooses to command a parley.']

[Footnote 6: 'In few words'; in brief.]

[Footnote 7: I suspect a misprint in the Folio here—that an e has got in for a d, and that the change from the Quarto should be Not of the dye. Then the line would mean, using the antecedent word brokers in the bad sense, 'Not themselves of the same colour as their garments (investments); his vows are clothed in innocence, but are not innocent; they are mere panders.' The passage is rendered yet more obscure to the modern sense by the accidental propinquity of bonds, brokers, and investments—which have nothing to do with stocks.]

[Footnote 8: 'This means in sum:'.]

[Footnote 9: 'so slander any moment with the name of leisure as to': to call it leisure, if leisure stood for talk with Hamlet, would be to slander the time. We might say, 'so slander any man friend as to expect him to do this or that unworthy thing for you.']

[Footnote 10: 1st Q.

Ofelia, receiue none of his letters, For louers lines are snares to intrap the heart; [Sidenote: 82] Refuse his tokens, both of them are keyes To vnlocke Chastitie vnto Desire; Come in Ofelia; such men often proue, Great in their wordes, but little in their loue.

'_men often prove such_—great &c.'—Compare _Twelfth Night_, act ii. sc. 4, lines 120, 121, _Globe ed.]

[Footnote 11: Fresh trouble for Hamlet_.]

[Footnote 12: 1st Q.

The ayre bites shrewd; it is an eager and An nipping winde, what houre i'st?]

[Footnote 13: Again the cold.]

[Footnote 14: The stage-direction of the Q. is necessary here.]

[Page 44]

[Sidenote: 22, 25] Ham. The King doth wake to night, and takes his rouse, Keepes wassels and the swaggering vpspring reeles,[1] [Sidenote: wassell up-spring] And as he dreines his draughts of Renish downe, The kettle Drum and Trumpet thus bray out The triumph of his Pledge.

Horat. Is it a custome?

Ham. I marry ist; And to my mind, though I am natiue heere, [Sidenote: But to] And to the manner borne: It is a Custome More honour'd in the breach, then the obseruance. [A]

Enter Ghost.

Hor. Looke my Lord, it comes.

[Sidenote: 172] Ham. Angels and Ministers of Grace defend vs: [Sidenote: 32] Be thou a Spirit of health, or Goblin damn'd, Bring with thee ayres from Heauen, or blasts from Hell,[2]

[Footnote A: Here in the Quarto:—

This heauy headed reueale east and west[3] Makes vs tradust, and taxed of other nations, They clip[4] vs drunkards, and with Swinish phrase Soyle our addition,[5] and indeede it takes From our atchieuements, though perform'd at height[6] The pith and marrow of our attribute, So oft it chaunces in particuler men,[7] That for some vicious mole[8] of nature in them As in their birth wherein they are not guilty,[8] (Since nature cannot choose his origin) By their ore-grow'th of some complextion[10] Oft breaking downe the pales and forts of reason Or by[11] some habit, that too much ore-leauens The forme of plausiue[12] manners, that[13] these men Carrying I say the stamp of one defect Being Natures liuery, or Fortunes starre,[14] His[15] vertues els[16] be they as pure as grace, As infinite as man may vndergoe,[17] Shall in the generall censure[18] take corruption From that particuler fault:[19] the dram of eale[20] Doth all the noble substance of a doubt[21] To his[22] owne scandle.]

[Footnote 1: Does Hamlet here call his uncle an upspring, an upstart? or is the upspring a dance, the English equivalent of 'the high lavolt' of Troil. and Cress. iv. 4, and governed by reels—'keeps wassels, and reels the swaggering upspring'—a dance that needed all the steadiness as well as agility available, if, as I suspect, it was that in which each gentleman lifted the lady high, and kissed her before setting her down? I cannot answer, I can only put the question. The word swaggering makes me lean to the former interpretation.]

[Footnote 2: Observe again Hamlet's uncertainty. He does not take it for granted that it is his father's spirit, though it is plainly his form.]

[Footnote 3: The Quarto surely came too early for this passage to have been suggested by the shameful habits which invaded the court through the example of Anne of Denmark! Perhaps Shakspere cancelled it both because he would not have it supposed he had meant to reflect on the queen, and because he came to think it too diffuse.]

[Footnote 4: clepe, call.]

[Footnote 5: Same as attribute, two lines lower—the thing imputed to, or added to us—our reputation, our title or epithet.]

[Footnote 6: performed to perfection.]

[Footnote 7: individuals.]

[Footnote 8: A mole on the body, according to the place where it appeared, was regarded as significant of character: in that relation, a vicious mole would be one that indicated some special vice; but here the allusion is to a live mole of constitutional fault, burrowing within, whose presence the mole-heap on the skin indicates.]

[Footnote 9: The order here would be: 'for some vicious mole of nature in them, as by their o'er-growth, in their birth—wherein they are not guilty, since nature cannot choose his origin (or parentage)—their o'ergrowth of (their being overgrown or possessed by) some complexion, &c.']

[Footnote 10: Complexion, as the exponent of the temperament, or masterful tendency of the nature, stands here for temperament—'oft breaking down &c.' Both words have in them the element of mingling—a mingling to certain results.]

[Footnote 11: The connection is:

That for some vicious mole— As by their o'ergrowth— Or by some habit, &c.]

[Footnote 12: pleasing.]

[Footnote 13: Repeat from above '—so oft it chaunces,' before 'that these men.']

[Footnote 14: 'whether the thing come by Nature or by Destiny,' Fortune's star: the mark set on a man by fortune to prove her share in him. 83.]

[Footnote 15: A change to the singular.]

[Footnote l6: 'be his virtues besides as pure &c.']

[Footnote 17: walk under; carry.]

[Footnote 18: the judgment of the many.]

[Footnote 19: 'Dead flies cause the ointment of the apothecary to send forth a stinking savour: so doth a little folly him that is in reputation for wisdom and honour.' Eccles. x. 1.]

[Footnote 20: Compare Quarto reading, page 112:

The spirit that I haue scene May be a deale, and the deale hath power &c.

If deale here stand for devil, then eale may in the same edition be taken to stand for evil. It is hardly necessary to suspect a Scotch printer; evil is often used as a monosyllable, and eale may have been a pronunciation of it half-way towards ill, which is its contraction.]

[Footnote 21: I do not believe there is any corruption in the rest of the passage. 'Doth it of a doubt:' affects it with a doubt, brings it into doubt. The following from Measure for Measure, is like, though not the same.

I have on Angelo imposed the office, Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home And yet my nature never in the fight To do in slander.

'To do my nature in slander'; to affect it with slander; to bring it into slander, 'Angelo may punish in my name, but, not being present, I shall not be accused of cruelty, which would be to slander my nature.']

[Footnote 22: his—the man's; see note 13 above.]

[Page 46]

[Sidenote: 112] Be thy euents wicked or charitable, [Sidenote: thy intent] Thou com'st in such a questionable shape[1] That I will speake to thee. Ile call thee Hamlet,[2] King, Father, Royall Dane: Oh, oh, answer me, [Sidenote: Dane, o answere] Let me not burst in Ignorance; but tell Why thy Canoniz'd bones Hearsed in death,[3] Haue burst their cerments; why the Sepulcher Wherein we saw thee quietly enurn'd,[4] [Sidenote: quietly interr'd[3]] Hath op'd his ponderous and Marble iawes, To cast thee vp againe? What may this meane? That thou dead Coarse againe in compleat steele, Reuisits thus the glimpses of the Moone, Making Night hidious? And we fooles of Nature,[6] So horridly to shake our disposition,[7] With thoughts beyond thee; reaches of our Soules,[8] [Sidenote: the reaches] Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we doe?[9]

Ghost beckens Hamlet.

Hor. It beckons you to goe away with it, [Sidenote: Beckins] As if it some impartment did desire To you alone.

Mar. Looke with what courteous action It wafts you to a more remoued ground: [Sidenote: waues] But doe not goe with it.

Hor. No, by no meanes.

Ham. It will not speake: then will I follow it. [Sidenote: I will]

Hor. Doe not my Lord.

Ham. Why, what should be the feare? I doe not set my life at a pins fee; And for my Soule, what can it doe to that? Being a thing immortall as it selfe:[10] It waues me forth againe; Ile follow it.

Hor. What if it tempt you toward the Floud my Lord?[11]

[Footnote 1: —that of his father, so moving him to question it. Questionable does not mean doubtful, but fit to be questioned.]

[Footnote 2: 'I'll call thee'—for the nonce.]

[Footnote 3: I think hearse was originally the bier—French herse, a harrow—but came to be applied to the coffin: hearsed in death—coffined in death.]

[Footnote 4: There is no impropriety in the use of the word inurned. It is a figure—a word once-removed in its application: the sepulchre is the urn, the body the ashes. Interred Shakspere had concluded incorrect, for the body was not laid in the earth.]

[Footnote 5: So in 1st Q.]

[Footnote 6: 'fooles of Nature'—fools in the presence of her knowledge—to us no knowledge—of her action, to us inexplicable. A fact that looks unreasonable makes one feel like a fool. See Psalm lxxiii. 22: 'So foolish was I and ignorant, I was as a beast before thee.' As some men are our fools, we are all Nature's fools; we are so far from knowing anything as it is.]

[Footnote 7: Even if Shakspere cared more about grammar than he does, a man in Hamlet's perturbation he might well present as making a breach in it; but we are not reduced even to justification. Toschaken (to as German zu intensive) is a recognized English word; it means to shake to pieces. The construction of the passage is, 'What may this mean, that thou revisitest thus the glimpses of the moon, and that we so horridly to-shake our disposition?' So in The Merry Wives,

And fairy-like to-pinch the unclean knight.

'our disposition': our cosmic structure.]

[Footnote 8: 'with thoughts that are too much for them, and as an earthquake to them.']

[Footnote 9: Like all true souls, Hamlet wants to know what he is to do. He looks out for the action required of him.]

[Footnote 10: Note here Hamlet's mood—dominated by his faith. His life in this world his mother has ruined; he does not care for it a pin: he is not the less confident of a nature that is immortal. In virtue of this belief in life, he is indifferent to the form of it. When, later in the play, he seems to fear death, it is death the consequence of an action of whose rightness he is not convinced.]

[Footnote 11: The Quarto has dropped out 'Lord.']

[Page 48]

Or to the dreadfull Sonnet of the Cliffe, [Sidenote: somnet] That beetles[1] o're his base into the Sea, [Sidenote: bettles] [Sidenote: 112] And there assumes some other horrible forme,[2] [Sidenote: assume] Which might depriue your Soueraignty[3] of Reason And draw you into madnesse thinke of it?


Ham. It wafts me still; goe on, Ile follow thee. [Sidenote: waues]

Mar. You shall not goe my Lord.

Ham. Hold off your hand. [Sidenote: hands]

Hor. Be rul'd, you shall not goe.

Ham. My fate cries out, And makes each petty Artire[4] in this body, [Sidenote: arture[4]] As hardy as the Nemian Lions nerue: Still am I cal'd? Vnhand me Gentlemen: By Heau'n, Ile make a Ghost of him that lets me: I say away, goe on, Ile follow thee.

Exeunt Ghost & Hamlet.

Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination.[5] [Sidenote: imagion]

Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him.

Hor. Haue after, to what issue will this come?

Mar. Something is rotten in the State of Denmarke.

Hor. Heauen will direct it.

Mar. Nay, let's follow him. Exeunt.

Enter Ghost and Hamlet.

Ham. Where wilt thou lead me? speak; Ile go no further. [Sidenote: Whether]

Gho. Marke me.

Ham. I will.

[Footnote A: Here in the Quarto:—

The very place puts toyes of desperation Without more motiue, into euery braine That lookes so many fadoms to the sea And heares it rore beneath.]

[Footnote 1: 1st Q. 'beckles'—perhaps for buckles—bends.]

[Footnote 2: Note the unbelief in the Ghost.]

[Footnote 3: sovereignty—soul: so in Romeo and Juliet, act v. sc. 1, l. 3:—

My bosom's lord sits lightly in his throne.]

[Footnote 4: The word artery, invariably substituted by the editors, is without authority. In the first Quarto, the word is Artiue; in the second (see margin) arture. This latter I take to be the right one—corrupted into Artire in the Folio. It seems to have troubled the printers, and possibly the editors. The third Q. has followed the second; the fourth has artyre; the fifth Q. and the fourth F. have attire; the second and third Folios follow the first. Not until the sixth Q. does artery appear. See Cambridge Shakespeare. Arture was to all concerned, and to the language itself, a new word. That artery was not Shakspere's intention might be concluded from its unfitness: what propriety could there be in making an artery hardy? The sole, imperfect justification I was able to think of for such use of the word arose from the fact that, before the discovery of the circulation of the blood (published in 1628), it was believed that the arteries (found empty after death) served for the movements of the animal spirits: this might vaguely associate the arteries with courage. But the sight of the word arture in the second Quarto at once relieved me.

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