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The memory be green; and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;

Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye;'
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,—2
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along.-For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,-
Holding a weak supposal of our worth;
Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death,
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not failed to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands


Lost by his father, with all bands of law,
To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is. We have here writ
To Norway, uncle of Fortinbras,-
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose,-to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject:-and we here despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;


1 Thus the folio. The quarto reads:

2 i. e. grief.

"With an auspicious and a dropping eye."

3 i. e. united to this strange fancy of, &c.

4 The folio reads bonds; but bands and bonds signified the same thing in the Poet's time.

5 Gait here signifies course, progress.

Giving to you no further personal power

To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these related articles allow.1

Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty. Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show our duty.

King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell. [Exeunt VOLTIMAND and CORnelius. And now, Laertes, what's the news with you? You told us of some suit; what is't, Laertes ? You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,

And lose your voice. What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?

The head is not more native to the heart,
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes?

My dread lord,
Your leave and favor to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation;

Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,

My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France, And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon. King. Have you your father's leave? What says Polonius?

Pol. He hath, my lord, [wrung from me my slow leave,

By laborsome petition; and, at last,

Upon his will, I sealed my hard consent.]

I do beseech you, give him leave to go.

King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes; time be thine,

1 The folio reads, " More than the scope of these dilated articles allow." We have not scrupled to read related, upon the authority of the first quarto, as more intelligible. The first quarto reads:

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2 The various parts of the body enumerated, are not more allied, more necessary to each other, than the throne of Denmark (i. e. the king) is bound to your father to do him service.

And thy best graces spend it at thy will.'-
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,-
Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.2
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you?
Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the sun.
Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, forever, with thy veiled lids,3

Seek for thy noble father in the dust.

Thou know'st 'tis common; all that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

Why seems it so particular with thee?

If it be,

Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems.

'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,

Nor customary suits of solemn black,

Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected havior of the visage,

Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly. These, indeed, seem,
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature,

1 In the first quarto this passage stands thus:

"King. With all our heart, Laertes, fare thee well.
Laert. I in all love and dutie take my leave.


The king's speech may be thus explained:-" Take an auspicious hour, Laertes; be your time your own, and thy best virtues guide thee in spending of it at thy will." Johnson thought that we should read, “ And my best graces."

2 A little more than kin has been rightly said to allude to the double relationship of the king to Hamlet, as uncle and step-father; his kindred by blood and kindred by marriage. By less than kind, Hamlet means degenerate and base. Dr. Johnson says that kind is the Teutonic word for child; that Hamlet means that he was something more than cousin, and less than son.

3 i. e. with eyes cast down.

To give these mourning duties to your father.
But you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation, for some term,



To do obsequious sorrow. But to perséver
In obstinate condolement,3 is a course

Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to Heaven;
A heart unfortified, or mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschooled.
For what we know must be, and is as common
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
Take it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to Heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day,
This must be so. We pray you, throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father. For let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love,5



Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you. For your intent
In going back to school in Wittenberg,

It is most retrograde to our desire;
And, we beseech you, bend you to remain
Here, in the cheer and comfort of our eye,
Our chiefest courtier, cousin, and our son.

Queen. Let not thy mother lose her prayers, Hamlet; I pray thee, stay with us, go not to Wittenberg. Ham. I shall in all my best obey you, madam. King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply;

1 The first quarto reads, "That father dead, lost his."

2 Obsequious is used with an allusion to obsequies, or funeral rites. 3 Condolement for grief.

4 Unprevailing was used in the sense of unavailing, as late as Dryden's time.

5 This was a common form of figurative expression.

6 i. e. dispense, bestow.

Be as ourself in Denmark.-Madam, come;
This gentle and unforced accord of Hamlet
Sits smiling to my heart; in grace whereof
No jocund health, that Denmark drinks to-day,
But the great cannon to the clouds shall tell;
And the king's rouse the heaven shall bruit again,
Respeaking earthly thunder. Come away.


[Exeunt King, Queen, Lords, &c., POLONIUS, and LAERTES.

Ham. O that this too, too solid flesh would melt, Thaw, and resolve 2 itself into a dew! Or that the Everlasting had not fixed

His canon3 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! O God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable

Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden

That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature,
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead!-nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,

Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown

By what it fed on. And yet, within a month,—
Let me not think on't ;-Frailty, thy name is woman!—

1 The quarto of 1603 reads :—

"The rouse the king shall drink unto the prince."

A rouse appears to have been a deep draught to the health of any one; it may be only an abridgment of carouse.

2 To resolve had anciently the same meaning as to dissolve.

3 The old copy reads, cannon; but this was the old spelling of canon, a law or decree.

4 i. e. solely, wholly.

5 Hyperion, or Apollo, always represented as a model of beauty.

6 i. e. deign to allow. Steevens had the merit of pointing out the passage in Golding's Ovid, which settles the meaning of the word:

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Yet could he not beteeme

The shape of any other bird than egle for to seeme."

nulla tamen alite verti

Dignatur, nisi quæ possit sua fulmine ferre."

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