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King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes, time be

thine; (3) And thy belt graces spend it at thy will. But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my fon--Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.

[ Afide. King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you? Ham. Not so, my Lord, I am too much i' th'

sun. Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted colour off, And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. Do not, for ever, with thy veiled lids, Seek for thy noble father in the dust ; Thou knowelt ’tis common; all that live must die, Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, Madam, it is common.

Queen. If it be,
Why feems it so particular with thee?
Ham. Seems, Madam? nay, it is; I know not

seems :
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of folemn black,
Nor windy fufpiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'haviour of the visage,
Together with all forms, moods, shews of grief,
That can denote me truly. These indeed seem,
For they are actions that a man might play ;

(3) Take thy fair hour, Laertes, time be thine,

And thy fair graces; Spend it at thy will.] This is the pointing in both Mr Pope's editions; but the Poet's meana ing is lost by it, and the close of the sentence miferably flattened. The pointing I have restored, is that of the best copies, and the sense this; “You have my leave to go. Laertes; make the fairelt use you please of your time, and spend it at your will with the fairelt graces you are mafter of.”

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But I have that within which passeth shew:
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your na-

ture, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father:
But you must know, your father loft a father; (4).
That father loft, lost his; and the surviver bound
In filial obligation, for some term,
To do oblequious forrow. But to persevere
In obftinate condolement, is a course
Of impious stubbornness, unmanly grief.
It shews a will most uncorrect to Heaven,
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient,
An understanding simple and unichooled
For what we know must be, and is as common:
As any the moit vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peeviih oppofition,
Take it to heart? fy! 'tis a fault to Heaven,
A fault against the dead, a fault to Nature,
To Reason moit absurd; whore common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cricd,
From the first corse till he that died to-day,
“ This must be fo.” 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;
(4) But you mult k 10w, your frither best a father;

Tbar father his. This supposid refinement is from Mr Pope; but all the editions elle, ibat I have niet wiib, oid and modern, read;

That father loft. lof his. The recluplication of which word here gives an energy and clegance, which is much easer to be conceived thin explained in terms. And erary judicious reader of this Poet must have observed how frequent it is with him to make this reduplication, where he intends either to a fort or deny, augment or diuinill, or add a degree of vehcmenco to his exprchlion.

And with't no less nobility of love, (5).
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart tow’rd you. For your intent (6)
In going back to school to 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 prayersa

Hamlet :
I pr’ythee, stay with us, go not to Wittenberg.
Ham. I hall in all

my best obey you, Madam.
King. Why, 'tis a loving and a fair reply;
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 fball tell;

(5) And, with no less nobility of love

Than that which deareft father bears his fon,

Do limpart towards you.] But what does the King impart? We want the substantive governed of the verb. The King had declared Hamlet his immediate succeffor, and with that declaration, he must mean, he imparts to him as noble a love, as ever fond father tendered to his own son. I have ventured to make the text conform with chis fenfe. (6)

• For

interit In going back to school to Wittenberg ;. The Poet uses a: prolepfis here; for the university at Wittenberg was opened. hy Frederick I11. elector of Saxony, in the year 1502, feve. ral ages later in time than the date of Hamlet. But I defign this remark for another purpose. I would take notice, that a considerable space of years is spent in this tragedy; or Hamlet, as a Prince, should be too old to go to an university. We here find him a scholar refident at that univerfity; but, in aa fitth, we find him plainly thirty years old; for the gravedigger had taken up that occupation the very day on which young Hamlet was born, and had followed it, As he says, thirty years.

And the King's rowse the heaven shall bruit again,
Re-speaking earthly thunder. Come away.

Ham. Oh, that this too-too-folid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed (7)
(7) Or that the Everlasting had not fixed

His cannon 'gainst felf-flaughter!) The generality of the edition: read thus, as if the Poet's thoughts were, Or that the Almighty had not planted his artillery, his resentment, or arms of vengeance against self-murder. But the word which I have restored to the text, (and which was espoused by the accurate Mr Hughes, who gave an edition of this play) is the Poet's true reading. i.e. That he had not restrained suicide by his express law, and peremptory prohibition. Misa takes are perpetually made in the old editions of our Poet, betwixt those two words, cannon and canon. I shall now fubjoin my reasons why I think the Poet intended to say Heaven bad fixed its injunétion rather than its artillery. In the first place, I much doubt the propriety of the phrase, fixing cannon, in the meaning here fupposed. The military expression, which imports what would be neecfsary to the sense of the Poet's thought, is mounting or planting cannen; and whenever cannor is said to be fixed, it is when the enemy become masters of it and nail it down. In the next place, to fix a, fanon, or law, is the term of the civilians peculiar to this bufiness. This Virgil had in his mind when he wrote;

-Leges fixit pretio, atque refixit. Æneid. VI. So Cicero, in his Philippic orations; Num figentur rurjus ha Tabula

, quas vos decretis vestris refixijiis? And it was the constant cuftom of the Romans to say, upon this occasion, figere legem, as the Greeks before them used the synonymous term νόμον παραποξαι, and called their ftatues thence παραany pora. But my last reafon, and which fways most with me, is from the Poet's own turn and cast of thought. For, as he has done in a great many more instances, it is the very featinent which he falls into in another of his plays, though he has clothed it-in different expreílion;

-'gainst felf-laughter There is a prohibition fo divine, That cravens my weak hand.


His canon 'gainst self-flaughter! O God! oh God!
How weary, Aale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fy on't! oh fy! 'tis an unweeded garden, [ture,
That grows to feed; things rank, and gross in na-
Poffefs it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead! nay, not so much; not

So excellent a King, that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr: fo loving to my mother, (8)
That he might not let e'en the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Muit I remember?---why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on; yet, within a month,
Let me not think---Frailty, thy name is woman! (9)
(8) --fo loving to my mother,

That he permitted not the winds of heaven

Visit her face too roughly.) This is a sophisticated reading, copied from the players in fome of the modern editions, for want of understanding the Poet, whose text is corrupt in the old impressions ; all of which that I have had the fortune to fee, concur in readiog;

-fo loving to my mother,
That he might not beteerethe winds of heaven

Visit her face too roughly. Betecreis a corruption, without doubt, but not fo inveterate a one, but that, by the change of a sogle letter, and the separation of trvo words inistakenly jumbled tr.gether, I am verily persuaded, I have retrieved the Poet's readingThat he might not let e’en the winds of heaven, &c. (9

-Frailty, thy name is woman!] But that it would displease Mr Pope to have it supposed that satire can have any place in tragedy, (of which I fall have occasion to tpeak fari her anon) I should make no fcruple to pronounce this reflection a fine laconic farcasin. It is as concise in the terms, and, perhaps, more spriglıtly in the thought and image, than that fling of Virgil upon the lux, in his fourth Æneid;

--varium et mutabile semper Famina,

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