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there's rue for you; and here's some for me:-we may call it, herb of grace o' Sundays:6-you may wear your
I know not of what columbines were supposed to be emblematical. They are again mentioned in All Fools, by Chapman, 1605:
;" What 's that?-a columbine?
“ No: that thankless flower grows not in my garden." Gerard, however, and other herbalists, impute few, if any, virtues to them; and they may therefore be styled thankless, be. cause they appear to make no grateful return for their creation. Again, in the 15th Song of Drayton's Polyolbion :
“ The columbine amongst, they sparingly do set." From the Caltha Poetarum, 1599, it should seem as if this flower was the emblem of cuckoldom :
“ the blue cornuted columbine,
“ Like to the crcoked horns of Acheloy.” Steevens. Columbine was an emblem of cuckoldom on account of the horns of its nectaria, which are remarkable in ti.is plant. See Aquilegia, in Linnæus's Genera, 684. S. W. The columbine was emblematical of forsaken lovers :
“ The columbine in tawny often taken,
H. White. Ophelia gives her fennel and columbines to the king. In the collection of Sonnets quoted above, the former is thus mentioned:
“ Fennel is for flatterers,
« An evil thing 'tis sure;
“ With constant heart most pure.” See also, Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: “ Dare finocchio, to give fennel,--to flatter, to dissemble.” Malone.
6- there's rue for you ; and here's some for me :-we may call it, herb of grace o' Sundays: &-c.] I believe there is a quibble meant in this passage; rue anciently signifying the same as ruth, i. e. sorrow. Ophelia gives the queen some, and keeps a propor. tion of it for herself. There is the same kind of play with the same word in King Richard II.
Herb of grace is one of the titles which Tucca gives to William Rufus, in Decker's Satiromastix. I suppose the first syllable of the surname Rufus introduced the quibble.
In Doctor Do-good's Directions, an ancient ballad, is the same allusion :
“ If a man have light fingers that he cannot charme,
Steevens. The following passage from Greene's Quip for an Upstart Courtier, will furnish the best reason for calling rue herb of grace O' Sundays: “ - some of them smild and said, Rue was called rue with a difference.?- There's a daisy ::~I would give you some violets; but they withered all, when my father died :_They say, he made a good end,
Herbegrace, which though they scorned in their youth, they might wear in their age, and that it was never too late to say miserere.” Henley.
Herb of grace was not the Sunday name, but the every day name of rue. In the common Dictionaries of Shakspeare's time it is called herb of grace. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, in v. ruta, and Cotgrave's French Dictionary, 1611, in v. rue. There is no ground, therefore, for supposing with Dr. Warburton, that rue was called herb of grace, from its being used in exorcisms performed in churches on Sundays.
Ophelia only means, I think, that the Queen may with peculiar propriety on Sundays, when she solicits pardon for that crime which she has so much occasion to rue and repent of, call her rue, herb of grace. So, in King Richard II:
“ Here did she drop a tear; here in this place
“ In the remembrance of a weeping queen.” Ophelia, after having given the Queen rue to remind her of the sorrow and contrition she ought to feel for her incestuous marriage, tells her, she may wear it with a difference, to distinguish it from that worn by Ophelia herself; because her tears Howed from the loss of a father, those of the Queen ought to flow for her guilt. Malone.
7- you may wear your rue with a difference.] This seems to refer to the rules of heraldry, where the younger brothers of a family bear the same arms with a difference, or mark of distinction. So, in Holinshed's Reign of King Richard II, p. 443: “_ because he was the youngest of the Spensers, he bare a border gules for a difference.”
There may, however, be somewhat more implied here than is expressed. You, madam, (says Ophelia to the Queen) may call your RUE by its Sunday name, HERB OF GRACE, and so wear it with a difference to distinguish it from mine, which can never be any thing but merely rue, i. e. sorrow. Steevens.
8 There's a daisy :] Greene, in his Quip for an Upstart Gourtier, has explained the significance of this Hower: “- Next them grew the DISSEMBLING DAISIE, to warne such light-of-love wenches not to trust every faire promise that such amorous bachelors make them.” Henley.
9 I would give you some violets; but they wither'd all, when my father died:] So, in Bion's beautiful elegy on the death of Adonis:
návra o'r aútw “ ; Tivos Tsvaxe, xoa3ta Tivi tuapav99.” Todd. The violet is thus characterized in the old collection of Son. nets above quoted, printed in 1584 :
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy, [Sings, Laer. Thought and affiiction, passion, hell itself, She turns to favour, and to prettiness. Oph. And will he not come again?
[Sings. And will he not come ogain?
No, no, he is dead,
And we cast away moan;
God 'a mercy on his soul! And of all christian souls!! I pray God. God be wi' you!
“ Violet is for faithfulnesse,
" Which in me shall abide ;
“You will not let it slide." Malone. 1 For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,] This is part of an old song, mentioned likewise by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Two No. ble kinsmen, Act IV, sc. i:
" I can sing the broom,
" And Bonny Robin." In the books of the Stationers' Company, 26 April, 1594, is entered “ A ballad, entituled, A doleful adewe to the last Erle of Darbie, to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin.” Steevens.
The “ Courtly new ballad of the princely wooing of the faire maid of London, by King Edward,” is also, “ to the tune of Bonjy sweet Robin.” Ritson.
2 Thought and affliction,] Thought here, as in many other places, signifies melancholy. See Antony and Cleopatra, Act III, sc. xi, Vol XIII. Malone.
3 His beard was as white as snow, &c.] This, and several circumstances in the character of Ophelia, seem to have been ridiculed in Eastward Hoe, a comedy, written by Ben Jonson, Chapman, and Marston, printed in 1605, Act III:
“ His head as white as milk,
“ All flaxen was his hair;
“ And never will come again,
“ God be at your labour !” Steevens. * God'a mercy on his soul !
And of all christian souls !] This is the common conclusion to meany of the ancient monumental inscriptions. See Weever's Fum
Laer. Do you see this, O God?
King. Laertes, I must commune with your grief,5
Let this be so;
So you shall;
neral Monuments, p. 657, 658. Berthelette, the publisher of Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554, speaking first of the funeral of Chaucer, and then of Gower, says: “— he lieth buried in the monasterie of Seynt Peter's at Westminster, &c. On whose soules and all christen, Fesu have mercie.” Steevens.
5 commune with your grief,7 The folio reads---common. To common is to commune. This word, pronounced as anciently spelt, is still in frequent provincial use. So, in The Last Voyage of Captaine Frobisher, by Dionyse Settle, 12mo. bl. I. 1577: “Our Generall, repayred with the ship boat to common or sign with them.” Again, in Holinshed's account of Jack Cade's insurrection:“ – to whome were sent from the king the archbishop &c. to common with him of his griefs and requests.” Steevens.
6 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. Fohnson.
This practice is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i. e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour,) are hung over the grave of every knight. Sir 7. Hawkins.
Enter Horatio, and a Servant.
Let them come in.
[Exit Serv. I do not know from what part of the world I should be greeted, if not from lord Hamlet.
Enter Sailors. | 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 fiy death. I have words to speak in thine ear, will make thee dumb; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter.? These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for England: of them I have much to tell thce. Farewel.
He that thou knowest thine, Hamlet. Come, I will give you way for these your letters; And do 't the speedier, that you may direct me To him from whom you brought them. (Exeunt.
7 for the bore of the matter, 1 The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words. Yohnson.