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Stew'd in corruptions; honeying, and making love
Over the nasty stye;
Queen.

O, speak to me no more;
These words, like daggers enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet.
Ham.

A murderer, and a villain :
A slave, that is not twentieth part the tythe
Of your precedent lord:a vice of kings:2
A cutpurse of the empire and the rule;
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,3
And put it in his pocket!
Queen.

No more.

Enter Ghost.
Ham.

A king
Of shreds and patches:4 -
Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards!What would your gracious

figure?
Queen. Alas, he's mad.
Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,

In Randle Holme's Academy of Armory and Blazon, B. II, ch. ü, p. 238, we are told that “ Enseame is the purging of a hawk from her glut and grease.” From the next page in the same work, we learn that the glut is “ a slimy substance in the belly of the hawk.”

In some places it means hogs' lard, in others, the grease or oil with which clothiers besmear their wool to make it draw out in spinning

Incestuous is the reading of the quarto, 1611. Steevens.

In the West of England, the inside fat of a goose, when dissolved by heat, is called its seam; and Shakspeare has used the word in the same sense in his Troilus and Cressida:

“ shall the proud lord,

“ That bastes his arrogance with his own seam.Henley. 2 — vice of kings :) A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a farce; from whence the modern punch is descended.

Fohnson. 3 That from a shelf &c.] This is said not unmeaningly, but to · show, that the usurper came not to the crown by any glorious

villany, that carried danger with it, but by the low cowardly wtheft of a common pilferer. Warburton.

4 A king

Of shreds and patches:) This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of partycoloured patches. Johnson.

That, lap'sd in time and passion,5 lets go by
The important acting of your dread command?
O, say!

Ghost. Do not forget: This visitation
is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits:
O, step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works ; 6
Speak to her, Hamlet.
Ham.

How is it with you, lady?
Queen. Alas, how is 't with you?
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep;
And, as the sleeping soldiers in the alarm,
Your bedded hair, like life in excrements,
Starts up, and stands on end. O gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you look ?

5- laps'd in time and passion, ] That, having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, lets go &c. Johnson.

6 Conceit in weakest bodies strongest words;] Conceit for imagination. So, in The Rape of Lucrece:.

“ And the conceited painter was so nice. Malone. See Romeo and Juliet, Act II, sc. vi. Steevens,

7 like life in excrements, ] The hairs are excrementitious, that is, without life or sensation ; yet those very hairs, as if they had life, start up, &c. Pope. So, in Macbeth: “ The time has been

-- my fell of hair,
“ Would at a dismal treatise rouse and stir,

As life were in 't.Malone. Not only the hair of animals having neither life nor sensation was called an excrement, but the feathers of birds had the same appellation. Thus, in Izaac Walton's Complete Angler, P. I, c. i, p. 9, edit. 1766 : “ I will not undertake to mention the several kinds of fowl by which this is done, and his curious palate pleased by day; and which, with their very excrements, afford him a soft lodging at night.” Whalley. 8 Upon the heat and flame of thy distemper

Sprinkle cool patience.) This metaphor seems to have been suggested by an old black letter novel, (already quoted in a note on The Merchant of Venice, Act III, sc. ii,) Green's History of the fair Bellora: “Therefore slake the burning heate of thy flam. ing affections, with some drops of cooling moderation.” Steevent. Ham. On him! on him!-Look you, how pale he

glares!
His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look upon me;
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects:2 then what I have to do
Will want true colour; tears, perchance, for blood.

Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Ham.

Do you see nothing there?
Queen. Nothing at all; yet all, that is, I see.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen.

No, nothing, but ourselves. Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals away! My father, in his habit as he liv'd !3 Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!

[Exit Ghost. Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain: This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.

preaching to stones ] Thus, in Sidney's Arcadia, Lib. V: " Their passions then so swelling in them, they would have prade auditors of stones, rather than" &c. Steevens. 1 His form and cause conjoin'd, preaching to stones,

Would make them capable.] Capable here signifies intelligent; endued with understanding. So, in King Richard III:

O, 'tis a parlous boy, “ Bold, quick, ingenious, forward, capable.We yet use capacity in this sense. See also Vol. XI, p. 334, n. 9.

Malone. 2 My stern effects : ] Effects for actions ; deeds effected. Malone.

3 My father, in his habit as he livd!] If the poet means by this expression, that his father appeared in his own familiar habit, he has either forgot that he had originally introduced him in armour, or must have meant to vary his dress at this his last appearance. Shakspeare's difficulty might perhaps be a little obviated by pointing the line thus :

My father-in his habit-as he liv'd! Steevens. A man's armour, who is used to wear it, may be called his ha. bit, as well as any other kind of clothing. As he lived, probably means" as if he were alive-as if he lived.M. Mason.

As if is frequently so used in these plays ; but this interpretation does not entirely remove the difficulty which has been stated.

Malone. 4 This is the very coinage of your brain :

This bodiless creation ecstacy
Is very cunning in.] So, in The Rape of Lucrece:

s Such shadows are the weak brain's forgeries." Malone.

Ham. Ecstasy!
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful musick: It is not madness,
That I have utter'd: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness, speaks:
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place;5
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to heaven;
Repent what 's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds,6
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtue:
For, in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg;
Yea, curband woo, for leave to do him good.

Queen. O Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain.

Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night: but go not to my uncle's bed;
Assume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this;

8 P

[graphic]

Ecstasy in this place, and many others, means a temporary alienation of mind, a fit. So, in Eliosto Libidinoso, a novel, by John Hinde, 1606: "— that bursting out of an ecstasy wherein she had long stood, like one beholding Medusa's head, lamenting.” &c. Steevens.

See Vol. VII, p. 135, n. 6. Malone.

5- skin and film the ulcerous place ;] The same indelicate allusion occurs in Measure for Measure:

“That skins the vice o' the top.” Steevens.

- do not spread the com post &c.] Do not, by any new indulgence, heighten your former offences. Johnson.

? curb – ] That is, bend and truckle, Fr. courber. So, in Pierce Plowman:

“Then I courbid on my knees,” &c. Steevens. 8 That monster, cistom, who all sense doth eat

Of habit's devil, is angel yet in this.] This passage is left out in the two elder folios : it is certainly corrupt, and the players did the discreet part to stifle what they did not understand. Habits devil certainly arose from some conceited tamperer with the text, who thought it was necessary, in contrast to angei The cmendation in my text I owe to the sagacity of Dr. Thirlby:

That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewise gives a frock, or livery,
That aptly is put on: Refrain to-night;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abstinence: the next more easy:9
For use almost can change the stamp of nature,
And either curb the devil,' or throw him out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night!
And when you are desirous to be bless'd,
I'll blessing beg of you. For this same lord,

[Pointing to Pol. I do repent; But heaven hath pleas'd it so, To punish me with this, and this with me,2

That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat

Of habits evil, is angel &c. Theobald. I think Thirlby's conjecture wrong, though the succeeding editors have followed it; angel and devil are evidently opposed.

Fohnson. I incline to think with Dr. Thirlby; though I have left the text undisturbed. From That monster to put on, is not in the folio.

Malone. I would read-Or habit's devil. The poet first styles custom a monster, and may aggravate and amplify his description by adding, that it is the “dæmon who presides over habit." _That monster custom, or habit's devil, is yet an angel in this particular.

Steevens. :9— the next more easy: ] This passage, as far as potency, is omitted in the folio. Steevens.

1 And either curb the devil, &c.] In the quarto, where alone this passage is found, some word was accidentally omitted at the press in the line before us. The quarto, 1604, reads:

And either the devil, or throw him out &c. For the insertion of the word curb I am answerable. The printer or corrector of a later quarto, finding the line nonsense, omitted the word either, and substituted master in its place. The modern editors have accepted the substituted word, and yet retain either ; by which the metre is destroyed. The word omitted in the first copy was undoubtedly a monosyllable. Malone. · This very rational conjecture may be countenanced by the same expression in The Merchant of Venice :

“And curb this cruel devil of his will." Steevens. 2 To punish me with this, and this with me,] To punish me by making me the instrument of this man's death, and to punish this man by my hand. For this, the reading of both the quarto and folio, Sir T. Hanmer and the subsequent editors have sub. stituted

To punish him with me, and me with him. Malone,

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