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there's rue for you; and here's some for me :we may call it, herb of grace o’Sundays® :-you
Again, in the 15th Song of Drayton's Polyolbion :
“The columbine amongst, they sparingly do set." From the Caltha Poetarum, 1599, it should seem as if this flower was the emblem of cuckoldom :
the blue cornuted columbine, “ Like to the crooked horns of Acheloy." Steevens. Columbine was an emblem of cuckoldom on account of the horns of its nectaria, which are remarkable in this plant. See Aquilegia, in Linnæus's Genera, 684. S. W. The columbine was emblematical of forsaken lovers :
“ The columbine in tawny often taken,
Holt White. Ophelia gives her fennel and columbines to the king. In the collection of Sonnets quoted above, the former is thus mentioned :
“ Fennel is for flatterers,
“ An evil thing 'tis sure;
“ With constant heart most pure." See also, Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: “Dare finocchio, to gire fennel,--to flatter, to dissemble.” Malone.
there's Rue for you; and here's some for me :-we may call it, HERB OF GRACE O SUNDAYS : &c.) I believe there is a quibble meant in this passage; rue anciently signifying the same as ruth, i. e. sorrow. Ophelia gives the Queen some, and keeps a proportion of it for herself. There is the same kind of play with the same word in King Richard II.
Herb of grace is one of the titles which Tucca gives to William Rufus, in Decker's Satiromastix. I suppose the first syllable of the surname Rufus introduced the quibble.
In Doctor Do-good's Directions, an ancient ballad, is the same allusion :
“ If a man have light fingers that he cannot charme,
Steevens. The following passage from Greene's Quip for an Upstart Courtier, will furnish the best reason for calling rue herb of grace o'Sundays : some of them smild and said, Rue was called Herbegrace, which though they scorned in their youth, they might wear in their age, and that it was never too late to say miserere."
* may wear your rue with a difference-There's a daisy' :-I would give you some violets; but they withered all, when my father died ? :—They say, he made a good end, —
* First folio, Oh you must wear.
Herb of grace was not the Sunday name, but the every day name of rue. In the common Dictionaries of Shakspeare's time it is called herb of grace. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, in v. ruta, and Cotgrave's French Dictionary, 1611, in v. rue. There is no ground, therefore, for supposing with Dr. Warburton, that rue was called herb of grace, from its being used in exorcisms performed in churches on Sundays.
Ophelia only means, I think, that the Queen may with peculiar propriety on Sundays, when she solicits pardon for that crime which she has so much occasion to rue and repent of, call her rue, herb of grace. So, in King Richard II. :
“ Here did she drop a tear; here in this place
Rue, even for ruth, here shortly shall be seen,
“ In the remembrance of a weeping queen.” Ophelia, after having given the Queen rue to remind her of the sorrow and contrition she ought to feel for her incestuous marriage, tells her, she may wear it with a difference, to distinguish it from that worn by Ophelia herself; because her tears Aowed from the loss of a father, those of the Queen ought to flow for her guilt.
MALONE. you may wear your rue with A DIFFERENCE.] This seems to refer to the rules of heraldry, where the younger brothers of a family bear the same arms with a difference, or mark of distinction. So, in Holinshed's Reign of King Richard II. p. 443 : “— because he was the youngest of the Spensers, he bare a border gules for a difference."
There may, however, be somewhat more implied here than is expressed. You, madam, (says Ophelia to the Queen,) may call your rue by its Sunday name, herb of grace, and so wear it with a difference to distinguish it from mine, which can never be any thing but merely rue, i. e. sorrow.
STEEVENS. • There's a DAISY :) Greene, in his Quip for an Upstart Courtier, has explained the significance of this flower: "— Next them grew the dissembling daisie, to warne such light-of-love wenches not to trust every faire promise that such amorous bachelors make them." Henley. 2 I would give you some violets; but they wither'd all
, when my father died :] So, in Bion's beautiful elegy on the death of Adonis ;
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy”, — (Sings. LAER. Thought and affliction“, passion, hell it
self, She turns to favour, and to prettiness. Oph. And will he not come again? [Sings.
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death-bed,
πάντα συν αυτω Ως τηνος τέθνακε, και ανθεα πάντ' έμαράνθη. Topn. The violet is thus characterized in the old collection of Sonnets above quoted, printed in 1584:
“ Violet is for faithfulnesse,
“ Which in me shall abide;
“ You will not let it slide.” Malone. 3 For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,] This is part of an old song, mentioned likewise by Beaumont and Fletcher, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Act IV. Sc. I. :
· I can sing the broom,
“And Bonny Robin." In the books of the Stationers' Company, 26 April, 1594, is entered “A ballad, intituled, A doleful adewe to the last Erle of Darbie, to the tune of Bunny sweet Robin.”
The “Courtly new ballad of the princely wooing of the faire maid of London, by King Edward,” is also to the tune of Bonny sweet Robin." Ritson.
• Thought and affliction,) Thought here, as in many other places, signifies melancholy. Malone. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ Think and die." See notes on that passage, Act III. Sc. XI.
s Ris beard was as white as snow, &c.] This, and several circumstances in the character of Ophelia, seem to have been ridiculed in Eastward Hoe, a comedy, written by Ben Jonson, Chapman, and Marston, printed in 1605, Act III. :
“ His head as white as milk,
“ All flaxen was his hair,
he is gone,
God'a mercy on his soul!
[Exit OPHELIA. LAER. Do you see this, O God ? ?
King. Laertes, I must commune with your grief, Or you deny me right. Go but apart, Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will, And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you and me: If by direot or by collateral hand
* Quarto omits I pray God.
“ And never will come again,
“ God be at your labour!” STEEVENS. 6 God'a mercy on his soul !
And of all christian souls !] This is the common conclusion to many of the ancient monumental inscriptions. See Weever's Funeral Monuments, p. 657, 658. Berthelette, the publisher of Gower's Confessio Amantis, 1554, speaking first of the funeral of Chaucer, and then of Gower, says : “ —he lieth buried in the monasterie of Seynt Peter's at Westminster, &c. On whose soules and all christen, Jesu have mercie." STEEVENS.
7 Do you see this,-oh God!] So the quartos. The folio readsyou gods ? and so makes Laertes talk like a heathen instead of a christian, which he is supposed to be in the play. Do you see this? is spoken to the king and queen : and 0 God! is only an exclamation expressing the anguish of Laertes's mind on the sight of his sister's phrenzy. Jensens.
COMMUNE with your grief,] The folio reads—common. To common is to commune. This word, pronounced as anciently spelt, is still in frequent provincial use. So, in The Last Voyage of Captaine Frobisher, by Dionyse Settle, 12mo. bl. I. 1577: “Our Generall repayred with the ship boat to common or sign with them.” Again, in Holinshed's account of Jack Cade's insurrection : -to whome were sent from the king the archbishop, &c. to common with him of his griefs and requests.”
STEEVENS. Surely the word common in the folio means, I must be allowed to participate in your grief, to feel in common with you.
They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give,
Let this be so;
So you shall; And, where the offence is, let the great axe fall. I pray you, go with me.
Another Room in the Same.
Enter Horatio, and a Servant. Hor. What are they, that would speak with me? SERY.
Sailors, sir ; They say, they have letters for you. Hor.
Let them come in.
* First folio, burial. + First folio, call.
# Quarto, sea-faring men, sir. 9 No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,] It was the custom, in the times of our author, to hang a sword over the grave of a knight. Johnson.
This practice is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i. e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour,) are hung over the grave of every knight. Sir J. HAWKINS.