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The memory be green; and that it us befitted
Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
Lost by his father, with all bands of law,
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
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,
The head is not more native to the heart,
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:
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.'-
Seek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that live must die,
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,
Together with all forms, modes, shows of grief,
1 In the first quarto this passage stands thus:
"King. With all our heart, Laertes, fare thee well.
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.
To do obsequious sorrow. But to perséver
Of impious stubbornness; 'tis unmanly grief:
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
It is most retrograde to our desire;
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;
[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!
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature,
Hyperion to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
By what it fed on. And yet, within a month,—
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:
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."