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Ham. The mobled queen? Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Play. “Run barefoot up and down, threat'ning the
flames “ With bisson rheum*; a clout upon that head, “ Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe, “ About her lank and all o’erteemed loins, “ A blanket, in th’alarm of fear caught up; “ Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep’d “ 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounc'd: “ But if the gods themselves did see her then, “ When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport “In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs, “ The instant burst of clamour that she made, “ (Unless things mortal move them not at all) “ Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven, “And passion in the gods.”
Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and has tears in's eyes !Pr’ythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon”.—Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstracts, and brief chronicles, of the time: after your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. God's bodkin?, man, much better: use every
dressed. According to Holloway's General Provincial Dictionary, to mab or moo in the north of England still means, “ to dress in a slatternly manner.” Hence, perhaps, a mob-cap.
4 With bisson rheum ;] “ Bisson ” is blind. See Vol. vi. p. 172. 5 - the rest of this soon.] The folio omits“ of this.”
6 – for they are the abstracts,] So the quarto, 1603, and the folio: the other quartos, abstract. Lower down, all the quartos have “while you live" for “ while you lived” of the folio.
7 God's BODKIN,] So the quartos, 1604, &c. The word does not occur in the quarto, 1603, and the folio has “God's bodykins," and omittivg “much.” In the next line we read, “ who should 'scape whipping," because it so stands in the quarto, 1603, and in the folio, not shall as in the quartos, 1604, &c.
man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping ? Use them after your own honour and dignity: the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in. Pol. Come, sirs.
[Exit POLONIUS, with some of the Players. Ham. Follow him, friends: we'll hear a play tomorrow.—Dost thou hear me, old friend ? can you play the murder of Gonzago ?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in't, could you not ?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Very well.— Follow that lord; and look you mock him not. [Exit Player.] My good friends, [To Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night: you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord !
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. Ay, so, good bye you 8-Now I am alone. 0, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! Is it not monstrous, that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit, That, from her working, all his visage wann'do; Tears in his eyes, distraction in his aspect, A broken voice, and his whole function suiting With forms to his conceit? and all for nothing ! For Hecuba ? What’s Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba,
& Ay, so, good bye you.-) The quartos, “ Ay, so, good by to you."
9 – all his visage wanN'D;] or became van, a very Shakespearian expression in the quartos, 1604, &c., and much superior to warm'd, which is the tame and comparatively unmeaning reading of the folio. In the preceding line the quartos have "own" for whole of the folio.
10 — or he to Hecuba,] So the quarto, 1603, confirming the same reading in the folio : the later quartos have “ or he to her.”
That he should weep for her ? What would he do,
1 – and APPAL the free,] The word is not in the quarto, 1603, but that of 1604 has appale, and the folio, 1623, apale. The quarto, 1611, and the subsequent editions in that form, read appeale ; but there can be no doubt as to the true word.
2 The very FACULTIES of eyes and ears.] So the quartos : the folio, faculty.
3 Like John a-dreams,] “A nickname, I suppose, (says Steevens) for any ignorant, silly fellow :" rather for a sleepy, apathetic fellow. The only mention yet met with of John a-dreams, is in Armin's “ Nest of Ninnies,” 1608, recently reprinted by the Shakespeare Society, where at p. 49 the following passage occurs : “ His name is John, indeed, says the cinnick; but neither John a-nods, nor John a-dreames, yet either, as you take it.” John a-droynes, mentioned by Whetstone and Nash, and referred to by Steevens, was in all probability a different person.
• 0, vengeance !) This exclamation is from the folio, which begins the next line “ Who? What an ass am I !" though some modern editors omit Who, and, printing the line without it, tell us that the folio reads the passage as they give it. For “ This is most brave” of the quartos, the folio has, " Ay, sure, this is most brave,” making the entire line run thus :
“Who? What an ass am I? Ay, sure, this is most brave.”
Why, what an ass am I! This is most brave;
s- of a dear father murder'd,] Modern editors, following the reading of the folio, have left out the material word “father” in this line ; and it is certainly not found in the quartos, 1604 or 1605. It is, however, in some copies of the undated quarto, which may be assigned to the year 1607, and in that of 1611, but not in the quarto, 1637. The omission must have been discovered as the tragedy was going through the press, when first printed for Smethwicke, and then supplied ; for it is a fact, showing how necessary it is to examine different copies of the same edition, that all those in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire, excepting the first, are without “father.” The quarto, 1603, has the line
“ Why this is brave ! that I the son of my dear father," omitting the word “ murdered."
6 They have proclaim'd their malefactions ;] See a very curious and apposite instance of the kind in T. Heywood's “ Apology for Actors," 1612, reprinted for the Shakespeare Society, p. 57. The same story is told in the old tragedy, “ A Warning for Fair Women,” 4to, 1599. Perhaps the play was also the authorship of Heywood, and several portions of it are not unlike his style, and would do him no discredit.
I'll TENT him to the quick : if he but BLENCII,) Both “ tent” and “ blench” are words that have occurred in previous plays. To “tent” is to search or try, and to “ blench" to start, or start away. See Vol. vi. pp. 14, 45, and 47.
& May be the devil:] “May be a deale,” in the quarto, 1604, but that of 1611 alters it to “ devil.” Possibly “ devil” was then sometimes pronounced as it is still in Scotland. The folio has it, “May be the devil.”
As he is very potent with such spirits,
ACT III. SCENE I.
A Room in the Castle.
Enter King, Queen, PoloniUS, OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ,
Ros. He does confess, he feels himself distracted; But from what cause he will by no means speak.
Guil. Nor do we find him forward to be sounded,
Did he receive you well?
Ros. Niggard of question ; but, of our demands,
Did you assay him
Ros. Madam, it so fell out, that certain players We o'er-raught on the wayl: of these we told him ; And there did seem in him a kind of joy
9 — no drift of CONFERENCE,] So the quartos, 1604, &c. The folio substitutes circumstance, which, from what follows, was probably not the word.
I - O’ER-RAUGHT on the way :) i. e. over-reached, or, orer-took.