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The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.
Ham. Good madam,-
Gertrude, do not drink.
I do not think it.
Ham. Come, for the third, Laertes. You but dally:
[They play. Osr. Nothing, neither way. Laer. Have at you now. [LAERTES wounds HAMLET; then, in scuffling, they change
rapiers, and HAMLET wounds LAERTES. King.
Part them ! they are incens'd. Ham. Nay, come again.
[The Queen falls. Osr.
Look to the queen there, ho! IIor. They bleed on both sides.—How is it, my lord ? Osr. How is't, Laertes ?
Laer. Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osrick’; I am justly kill'd with mine own treachery.
Ham. How does the queen ?
She swoons to see them bleed. Queen. No, no, the drink, the drink, - Oh my dear
[Dies. Ham. Oh villainy !-How ? let the door be lock'd ! Treachery! seek it out.
[LAERTES falls. Laer. It is here, Hamlet. Hamlet, thou art slain; No medicine in the world can do thee good : In thee there is not half an hour of life ® ; The treacherous instrument is in thy hand, defectively, “ Here's a napkin : rub thy brows,” which in the corr. fo. 1632, is made to run thus: “Here is a napkin, rub thy brows, my son.”
6 I am AFEARD, you make a wANTON of me.] The 4tos, “I am sure," &c. “ Wanton" bere means a feeble effeminate person.
? Why, as a woodcock to mine own springe, Osrick;] The folio omits " but it is placed in the margin of the corr. fo. 1632.
half an hour of life ;] So the folio : the 4tos, “half an hour's life,” treating “ hour" as a dissyllable.
Unbated, and envenom’d. The foul practice
Ham. The point
[Stabs the King All. Treason ! treason ! King. Oh! yet defend me, friends; I am but hurt.
Ham. Here, thou incestuous, murderous, damned Dane, Drink off this potion :—is thy union here? Follow my mother.
[King dies. Laer.
He is justly serv'd;
Never believe it:
As thou’rt a man,
[March afar off, and shot within?.
- and my cause aright] The folio, “and my causes right." 1 Oh God!-Horatio,] The folio, “Oh good Horatio !” In the next line, for “shall live behind me," of the folio, the 4tos. have “shall I leave behind me.”
? — and shot within.] The folio, which only has this part of the stage-direction, reads, “and shout within ;" but the "warlike volley,” afterwards mentioned, would show that shout was a misprint for “shot.”
What warlike noise is this?
Oh! I die, Horatio;
[March within. Enter FORTINBRAS, the English Ambassadors, and others. Fort. Where is this sight? Hor.
What is it ye would see?
Fort. This quarry cries on havock.-Oh proud death!
The sight is dismal,
3 – quite o’ER-CROWs my spirit:] Malone states that only the 4to, 1637, reads o'er-grows for “o'er-crows;" but the fact is, that that reading (whether it be, or be not an improvement upon the word in the 4to, 1604, and in the folio, 1623) is found in the undated 4to, and in that of 1611.
The rest is silence.] The folio has “Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh!” after“ silence." 5 And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!] The remainder of the tragedy is struck through with a pen in the corr. fo. 1632, and the word Finis subjoined, to show that it was there at an end. The concluding lines also are thus converted into a couplet :
“Now cracks a noble heart: good night, be blest,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.” Another “ tag" is added afterwards, of a very poor and inanimate character, most unlike the language of Shakespeare, which, it seems, the performer of the part of Horatio was also to deliver when the piece was abbreviated : it is as follows:
“ While I remain behind to tell a tale,
That shall bereafter turn the hearers pale." Although the conclusion is hastened in this way, the old annotator has continued his corrections to the end of the tragedy, as it has come down to us; but from what source he derived his information we know not : perhaps he had at one time witnessed the performance in its entirety, and had remedied defects from the recitation of the actors.
The ears are senseless that should give us hearing,
Not from his mouth,
Let us haste to hear it,
Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
6 But since, so JUMP upon this bloody question,] i. e. So exactly: the same word occurs, and in precisely the same sense, in A. i. sc. 1, of this play, p. 475. See also “ Othello," A. ii. sc. 3.
7 — and Forc'd cause,] So the folio: the 4tos, “and for no cause.” “ Put on" means here produced, cr occasioned: below it rather means incited, instigated.
8 – Also cause to speak,] Always cause to speak," in the folio; and in the preceding line, for “Which now to claim ” of the 4tos, the reading is, “Which are to claim."
. And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more :) i. e. Will draw on more voices; referring to the declaration of Hamlet, “ He bas my dying voice."
10 But let this scene be presently perform’d,] It is “ let this same ” in the old copies, 4to. and folio, but the alteration in the corr. fo. 1632 is so much superior, in reference to the words “ perform’d" and "stage” which occur just afterwards, that we make the change, not only without reluctance, but with thankfulness for the improvement upon the usual tame and unfigurative line. Same for "scene" was the easiest possible misprint of carelessly written manuscript.
Let four captains
[A dead march. [Exeunt, marching; after which, a peal of
ordnance is shot off.
1 In reference to the character of Hamlet, and to the design of Shakespeare in writing the tragedy of which Hamlet is the hero, we cannot refrain from quoting a characteristic passage or two from one of the recently published Lectures of Coleridge, delivered as long since as the year 1812.
“ The first question we should ask ourselves is—what did Shakespeare mean when he drew the character of Hamlet? He never wrote any thing without design, and what was his design when he sat down to compose this tragedy? My belief is, that he always regarded his story, before he began to write, much in the same light that a painter regards his canvas before he begins to paint--as a mere vehicle for his thoughts-as a ground upon which to work. What, then, was the point to which Shakespeare directed himself in Hamlet? He intended to pourtray a person, in whose view the external world, and all its incidents and objects, were comparatively dim, and of no interest in themselves, and which began to interest only, when they were reflected in the mirror of his mind. Hamlet beheld external things in the same way that a man of vivid imagination, who shuts his eyes, sees what has previously made an impression on his organs. The poet places him in the most stimulating circumstances that a human being can be placed in. He is the heir apparent of a throne ; his father dies suspiciously; his mother excludes her son from the throne by marrying his uncle. This is not enough; but the Ghost of the murdered father is introduced to assure the son that he was put to death by his own brother. What is the effect upon the son ? instant action and pursuit of revenge? No: endless reasoning and hesitating—constant urging and solicitation of the mind to act, and as constant an escape from action; ceaseless reproaches of himself for sloth and negligence, while the whole energy of his resolution evaporates in these reproaches. This, too, not from cowardice, for he is drawn one of the bravest of his time-not from want of forethought, or from slowness of apprehension, for Hamlet sees through the very souls of all who surround him, but merely from that aversion to action, which prevails among those who have a world in themselves.” Seven Lectures on Shakespeare and Milton, 8vo, 1856, p. 141.