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King. O, he is mad, Laertes,
Ham. 'Zounds, show me what thou'lt do:
This is mere madness:
Hear you, sir;
[Exit. King. I pray thee, good Horatio, wait upon him.
[Exit HORATIO. Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;
[TO LAERTES. We'll put the matter to the present push. Good Gertrude set some watch over your son.This
grave shall have a living monument:
+ Woult drink up Esil?] This is understood by some of the commentators to mean a river so called, or to mean only vinegar.
5 When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,] To disclose was anciently used for to hatch.
An hour of quiet shortly shall we see;
A Hall in the Castle.
Enter HAMLET and HORATIO. Ham. So much for this, sir: now shall you see
the other ; You do remember all the circumstance?
Hor. Remember it, my lord!
Ham. Sir, in my heart there was a kind of fighting, That would not let me sleep: methought, I lay Worse than the mutines in the bilboes. Rashly, 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
mutines in the bilboes.] Mutines, the French word for seditious or disobedient fellows in the army or fleet:
The bilboes is a bar of iron with fetters annexed to it, by which mutinous or disorderly sailors were anciently linked together. The word is derived from Bilboa, a place in Spain where instruments of steel were fabricated in the utmost perfection. To understand Shakspeare's allusion completely, it should be known, that as these fetters connect the legs of the offenders very close together, their attempts to rest must be as fruitless as those of Hamlet, in whose mind there was a kind of fighting that would not let him sleep. Every motion of one must disturb his partner in confinement. The bilboes are still shown in the Tower of London, among the other spoils of the Spanish Armada.
When, &c.] Hamlet delivering an account of his escape, begins with saying-That he rashlyand then is carried into a reflection
upon the weakness of human wisdom. I rashlypraised be rashness for it- Let us not think these events casual,
There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
That is most certain.
Is't possible? 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 villanies, 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,
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.
• With, ho! sạch bugs and goblins in my life,] With such causes of terror, rising from my character and designs.
no leisure bated,] Without any abatement or intermission of time. Or I could make-] Or in old English signified before.
as our statists do,] A statist is a stalesman. Most of the
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
Ay, good my lord.
How was this seald ? 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:6
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 ycomanly qualification was a most useful servant, or yeoman, to me; i. e. did ine eminent service. The ancient yeomen were famous for their military valour. * 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.
5. Not shriving-time allow'd.] i. e, without time for confession of their sins: another proof of Hamlet's christian-like disposition.
the model of that Danish seal :] The model is in old language the copy.
Folded the writ up in form of the other;
Hor. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to't.
employment; 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. Hor.
Why, what a king is this! Ham. Does it not, think thee, stand me now
upon ? He that hath ķilld 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 Eng
Ham. It will be short: the interim is mine;
by their own insinuation-] By their having insinuated or thrust themselves into the employment.
8 To quit him--] To requite him; to pay him his due.