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by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it; the age is grown so picked, that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe.—How long hast thou been a grave maker? i Clo. Of all the days i'the year,
I came to't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
Ham. How long's that since?
1 Clo. Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: It was that very day that young
Hamlet was born:- he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
i Clo. Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.
1 Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
Ham. How came he mad?
by the card,] i.e. we must speak with the same precision and accuracy as is observed in marking the true distances of coasts, the heights, courses, &c. in a sea-chart, which in our poet's time was called a card.
is grown so picked,] So smart, so sharp, says Sir T. Hánmer, very properly; but there was, I think, about that time, a picked shoe, that is, a shoe with a long pointed toe, in fashion, to which the allusion seems likewise to be made. Every man now is smart; and every man now is a man of fashion.
JOHNSON that young Hamlet was born:] By this scene it
appears that Hamlet was then thirty years old, and knew Yorick well, who had been dead twenty-two years. And yet in the beginning of the play he is spoken of as a very young man, one that designed to go back to school, i.e. to the University of Wittenberg. The poet in the fifth Act had forgot what he wrote in the first. BLACKSTONE. VOL. IX.
i Clo. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits. Ham. Upon what ground?
I Clo. Why, here in Denmark; I have been sexton here, man, and boy, thirty years.
Ham. How long will a man lie i’the earth ere he rot?
i Clo. 'Faith, if he be not rotten before he die, (as we have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce hold the laying in,) he will last you some eight year, or nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.
Ham. Why he more than another?
i Clo. Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of
your whoreson dead body. Here's a scull now hath lain you i'the earth three-and-twenty years.
Ham. Whose was it? : 1 Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was; Whose do you
think it was? Ham. Nay, I know not.
i Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same scull, sir, was Yorick's scull, the king's jester. Ham. This?
[Takes the scull. 1 Clo. E'en that.
Ham. Alas, poor Yorick !- I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips, that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favours she must come; make her laugh at that.Prythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
Hor. What's that, my lord ?
Ham. Dost thou think, Alexander looked o’this fashion i'the earth?
Hor. E'en so.
[Throws down the Scull. Hor. E'en so, my lord.
Ham. To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bung-hole ?
Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so.
Ham. No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: As thus; Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam: And why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperious Cæsar, dead, and turn'd to clay,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!“ But soft! but soft! aside;-Here comes the king,
Enter Priests, &c. in Procession; the Corpse of
OPHELIA, LAERTES and Mourners following
King, Queen, their Trains, &c. The queen, the courtiers: Who is this they follow? And with such maimed rites! This doth betoken, The corse, they follow, did with desperate hand
to this favour -] i.e. to this countenance or complexion.
Fordo its own life.& 'Twas of some estate:9
Retiring with HORATIO.
That is Laertes, A very noble youth: Mark.
Laer. What ceremony else?
i Priest. Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd
Laer. Must there no more be done?
No more be done!
Lay her i'the earth ;-
What, the fair Ophelia!
[Scattering Flowers. & Fordo its own life.] To fordo is to undo, to destroy. some estate:] Some
person of high rank. 1 Shards,] i. e. broken pots or tiles, called pot-sherds, tilesherds.
allow'd her virgin crants,] Evidently corrupted from chants, which is the true word.
s To sing a requiem,] A requiem, is a mass performed in Popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased.
I hop'd, thou should'st have been my Hamlet's wife; ;
O, treble woe
[Leaps into the Grave. Now pile your dust upon the quick and dead; Till of this flat a mountain you have made, To o'er-top old Pelion, or the skyish head Of blue Olympus.
Ham. [Advancing:] What is he, whose grief Bears such an emphasis? whose phrase of sorrow Conjures the wand’ring stars, and makes them stand Like wonder-wounded hearers? this is I, Hamlet the Dane.
[Leaps into the Grave. Laer.
The devil take thy soul!
[Grappling with him.
King. Pluck them asunder.
Good my lord, be quiet. [The Attendants part them, and they come out
of the Grave. Ham. Why, I will fight with him upon this theme, Until my eyelids will no longer wag.
Queen. O my son! what theme?
Ham. I lov’d Ophelia; forty thousand brothers Could not, with all their quantity of love Make up my sum.-What wilt thou do for her?