« ZurückWeiter »
To lack discretion. Come; go we to the King.
SCENE changes to the Palace. Enter King, Queen, Rofincrantz, Guildenstern, Lords
and other Attendants.
King ELCOME, dear Rofincrantz, and Guil
Rest here in our Court
Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of you ;
Rof. Both your Majesties
have of us, Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty:
Guil. But we both obey,
. King. Thanks, Rofincrantz, and gentle Guildenstern. Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Rofin
Guil. Heav'ns make our presence and our practices Pleasant and helpful to him! [Exeunt Rof. and Guil. Queen. Amen.
King. Thou still haft been the father of good news.
Pol, Have I, my lord ? affure you, my good liege, I hold my duty, as I hold my foul, Both to my God, and to my gracious King ; And I do think, (or else this brain of mine Hunts not the trail of policy fo sure As I have us'd to do) that I have found The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
King. Oh, fpeak of that, that do I long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to th' ambassadors : My news shall be the fruit to that great feast. King. Thy self do grace to them, and bring them in.
[Ex. Pol. He tells me, my sweet Queen, that he hath found The head and source of all your son's diftemper.
Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main, His father's death, and our o'er-hasty marriage. Re-enter Polonius, with Voltimand, and Cornelius. King. Well, we shall fift him. -Welcome, my good
friends! Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway? Volt. Most fair return of Greetings, and Defires.
Upon our first, he sent out to fuppress
(13) Gives him three thousand Crowns in annual Fee.] This Reading first obrain'd in the Edition put out by the Players. But all the old Quarto's (from 160s, downwards,) read, as I have reform'd the Text. I had hinted, that threescore thouSand Crowns seem'd a much more suitable Donative from a King to his own Nephew, and the General of an Army, than so poor a Pittance as three thousand Crowns, a Pension scarce large enougb. for a dependent Courtier. I therefore restor’d,
Gives him threescore thousand CrownsTo this Mr. Pope, (very archly critical, as he imagines ;) has only replyed, which in his Ear is a Verso. I own, it is ; and I'll venture to prove to this great Master in Numbers, that 2 Syllables may, by Pronunciation, be resolv'd and melted into one, as easily as two Notes are pur'd in Mufick: and a Redundance of a Syllable, that may be fo supk, has never been a Breach of Harmony in any Language. We must pronounce, and scan, as if 'twere written ;
Gi's'm three l score thou | Sand crowns 1 Mr. Pope would advance a false Nicety of Ear against the Licence of Shakespeare's Numbers; nay, indeed, against the Licence of all English Versification, in common with That of other Languages. Three Syllables, thus liquidated into Two, are in Scanlon plainly an Anapeft; and equal to a Spondee, or Foot of two Syllables. I could produce at least two thousand of our Poet's Verses, that would be difurb'd by this modern, Nereasonable, Chafteness of Metro,
And his Commission to employ those soldiers,
King. It likes us well ;
[Ex, Ambaf: Pol. This business is well ended. My Liege, and Madam, to expoftulate What Majesty should be, what duty is, Why day is day, night night, and time is time, Were nothing but to waste night, day, and time. Therefore, since brevity's the foul of wit, And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes, I will be brief; your noble son is mad; Mad, call I it; for, to define true madness, What is't, but to be nothing else but mad ? But let that
go. Queen. More matter, with less art. Pol. Madam, I swear, I use no art at all :
) That he is mad, 'tis true; 'tis true, 'tis pity : And pity 'tis, 'tis true; a foolish figure, But farewel it; for I will use no art. Mad let us grant him then ; and now remains That we find out the cause of this effect, Or rather say, the cause of this defect; For this effect, defective, comes by cause ; Thus it remains, and the remainder thus.—Perpend. I have a daughter ; have, whilst she is mine ; Who in her duty and obedience, mark, Hath giv'n me this; now gather, and surmise.
[He opens a letter, and reads.] To the celestial, and my foul's idol, the most beari
fied (14) Ophelia.
That's an ill phrase, a vile phrase: beatified is a vile phrase; but you shall hear These to ber excellent white bofom, these.
Queen, Came this from Hamlet to her ?
Doubt thou, the stars are fire, [Reading
But never doubt, I love. Oh, dear Ophelia, I am ill at these numbers; I bave not art to reckon my groans; but that I love thee bej, ob mojt beft, believe it.
this Machine is to him, Hamlet.
King. But how hath she receiv'd his love ?
(14) To tbe Celestial, and my Soul's Idol, the most beautified Ophelia.) I have ventur'd at an Emendation here, against the Authority of all the Copies ; but, I hope, upon Examination it will appear probable and reasonable. The Word beautified may carry two diftin& Ideas, either as applied to a Woman made up of artificial Beauties, or to one rich in native Charms. As Shakespeare has therefore chose to use it in the latter Acceptation, to express natural Comeliness , I cannot imagine, that, here, he would make Polonius except to the Phrase, and call it a vile one. But a stronger Obje&ion ftill, in my Mind, lies against it. As Celestial and Soul's Idol are the introductory Characteristics of Ophelia, what a dreadful Anticlimax is it to descend to such an Epithet as beautified ? On the other hand, beatified, as I have conjeâur'd, raises the Image : but Polenius might very well, as a Roman Catholick, call it a vile Phrase, i. e. favouring of Prophanation ; since the Epithet is peculiarly made an Adjunct to the Virgin Mary's Honour, and therefore ought not to be employ'd in the Praise of a meer Mortal.