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Even here, between the chaste unsmirched' brow
What is the cause, Laertes,
But not by him. King. Let him demand his fill.
Laer. How came he dead? I'll not be juggled with:
Who shall stay you?
Laer. None but his enemies.
Will you know them then ?
8 like the kind life-rendring pelican,] In the old play of King Leir, 1605, we find,
“I am as kind as is the pelican
That kills itselfe, to save her young ones' lives." It is almost needless to add that this account of the bird is entirely fabulous. --STEEVENS.
Why, now you speak
Danes. [within.] Let her come in.
Enter Ophelia, fantastically dressed with Straws and
Hey no nonny, nonny hey nonny:
And in his grave rain'd many a tear ;Fare you well, my dove!
Laer. Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade revenge, It could not move thus.
Oph. You must sing, Down a-down, an you call him adown-a. O, how the wheel becomes it! It is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter.
'pear,] For appear. · Nature is fine in love : and, where 'tis fine, It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.] Love (says Laertes) is the passion by which nature is most exalted and refined; and as substances, refined and subtilised, easily obey any impulse, or follow any attraction, some part of nature, so purified and refined, flies off after the attracting object, after the thing it loves.--JOHNSON.
-- how the wheel becomes it! Wheel is supposed to have been the old word for the burthen of a song. Perhaps it means the musical instrument, which by Chaucer was called a rote, by others a vielle ; and which was played on by the friction of a wheel.–STEEVENS and MALONE.
Laer. This nothing's more than matter.
Oph. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance ;' pray you, love, remember: and there is pansies, that's for thoughts."
Laer. A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.
Oph. There's fennel for you, and columbines :"_there's rue for you; and here's some for me:--we may call it, herb of grace oʻSundays:—you may wear your rue with a difference.P_There's a daisy:9-I would give you some violets;" but they withered all, when my father died :—They say, he made a good end,
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy, [Sings. Laer. Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself, She turns to favour, and to prettiness.
Oph. And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead,
1 There's rosemary, that's for remembrance ;) Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and was not only carried at funerals, but wom at weddings.-Steevens.
m - pansies,] From pensées, Fr. thoughts.
n- fennel for you and columbines :) Fennel was regarded as emblematical of flattery; columbines of ingratitude: the reasons for attributing to them these qualities it is no longer possible to discover. Opbelia gives the courtiers fennel and columbines, " to mark,” says archdeacon Nares, “ that though they flattered to get favours, they were thankless after receiving them."
o- rue for you, &c.] Rue anciently signified the same as ruth, i.e. sorrow. It was called herb of grace from its being used in exorcisms against evil spirits.
-STEEVENS and NARES. P y ou may wear your rue with a difference.] The slightest variation in the bearings, their position, or colour, constituted a different coat in heraldry; and between the ruth and wretchedness of guilt, and the ruth and sorrows of misfortune, it would be no difficult matter to distinguish.-Specimen of a New Edition of Shakspeare, published by Murray, 1819. q a daisy:) This flower signified deceit. Green speaks of “the disserbling daisie.”
i violets ;] The violet is thus characterized in an old collection of sonnets printed in 1584.
“ Violet is for faithfulnesse.”—MALONE. s Thought] This word, as in many other places, here signifies melancholy. -MALONE.
His beard was as white as snow,
He is gone, he is gone,
And we cast away moan;
And of all christian souls !u I pray God. God be wi'
[Exit Ophelia. Laer. Do you see this, O God?
King. Laertes, I must commune with your grief,
Let this be so ;
So you shall;
- flaren)-Does not here mean yellow, but white. “ The four colours signify these four virtues. The flaxy having whiteness, appertains to temperance, because it makes 'candidam et mundam animam.'” Sir W. Sandys, Ess. 1634. p. 16. • God'a mercy on his soul!
And of all christian souls !] This is the common conclusion to many of the ancient monumental inscriptions.—STÉEVENS.
* No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,] It was the custom, in the times of our author, to hang a sword over the grave of a knight. This practice
is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gaunt• let, spurs, and tabard (i.e. a coat wbereon the armorial ensigns were anciently
depicted, from whence the term coat of armour), are hung over the grave of every knight. --JOHNSON and Sir John HAWKINS.
Another Room in the same.
Enter HORATIO, and a Servant.
Sailors, sir; They say, they have letters for you.
Let them come in.
[Exit Servant. I do not know from what part of the world I should be greeted, if not from lord Hamlet.
Enter Sailors. 1 Sail. God bless you, sir. Hor. Let him bless thee too.
1 Sail. He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you, sir; it comes from the ambassador that was bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.
Hor. [reads.] Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king; they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace: Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour; and in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant, they got clear of our ship; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou would'st fly death. I have words to speak in thine ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for ihe bore of the matter. Y These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England; of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.
He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet.
y for the bore of the matter.] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words.Joinson.