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I do not know from what part of the world
I should be greeted, if not from lord Hamlet.

Enter Sailors. 1 Sail. God bless you, sir. Hor. Let him bless thee too.

1 Sail. He shall, sir, an't please him. There's a letter for you, sir; it comes * from the ambassador that was bound for England; if your name be Horatio, as I am let to know it is.

HoR. [Reads.] Horatio, when thou shalt have overlooked this, give these fellows some means to the king; they have letters for him. Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike appointment gave us chace : Finding ourselves too slow of sail, we put on a compelled valour ; and of in the grapple I boarded them: on the instant, they got clear of our ship ; so I alone became their prisoner. They have dealt with me, like thieves of mercy; but they knew what they did; I am to do a good turn for them. Let the king have the letters I have sent; and repair thou to me with as much haste as thou would'st fly death. I have words to speak in thine * car, will make thee dumb ; yet are they much too light for the bore of the matter o. These good fellows will bring thee where I am. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern hold their course for Eng. land : of them I have much to tell thee. Farewell.

He that thou knowest thine, HAMLET. Come, I will give you way for these your letters ;

* Quarto, it came. + First folio omits and.

| First folio, your. 9 - for the BORE of the matter.] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. “The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words.' Johnson.

And do't the speedier, that you may direct me
To him from whom you brought them. [Exeunt.

SCENE VII.

Another Room in the Same.

Enter King and LAERTES.
King. Now must your conscience my acquittance

seal,
And you must put me in your heart for friend;
Sith you have heard, and with a knowing ear,
That he, which hath your noble father slain,
Pursu'd

my

life. LAER.

It well appears :-But tell me, Why you proceeded not against these feats, So crimeful * and so capital in nature, As by your safety, greatness of wisdom, all things

else, You mainly were stirr'd up. King.

o, for two special reasons ; Which may to you, perhaps, seem much unsinew'd, But yet to me they are strong. The queen his

mother, Lives almost by his looks; and for my self, (My virtue, or my plague, be it either which,) She is so conjunctive to my life and soul, That, as the star moves not but in his sphere, I could not but by her. The other motive, Why to a publick count I might not go, Is, the great love the general gender bear him : Who, dipping all his faults in their affection, Quarto, criminal.

+ First folio omits greatness. † First folio, And. the general gender -] The common race of the people,

Johnson,

*

Work like the spring that turneth wood to stone,
Convert his gyves to graces; so that my arrows,
Too slightly timber'd for so loud a windo,
Would have reverted to my bow again,
And not where I had aim'd them.

LAER. And so have I a noble father lost;
A sister driven into desperate terms;
Whose worth, if praises may go back again “,
Stood challenger on mount of all the age
For her perfections :-—But my revenge will come.

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2 Work like the spring, &c.] This simile is neither very seasonable in the deep interest of this conversation, nor very accurately applied. If the spring hail changed base metals to gold, the thought had been more proper. Johnson.

The folio, instead of—work, reads—would.
The same comparison occurs in Churchyard's Choise :

So there is wood that water turns to stones." In Thomas Lupton's Third Book of Notable Things, 4to. bl. 1. there is also mention of " a well, that whatsoever is throwne into the same, is turned into a stone." This, however, we learn from Ovid, is no modern supposition :

Flumen habent Cicones, quod potum saxea reddit

Viscera, quod tactis inducit marmora rebus. See also, Hackluyt, vol. i. p. 565. Steevens.

The allusion here is to the qualities still ascribed to the dropping well at Knaresborough in Yorkshire. Camden (edit. 1590, p. 564,) thus mentions it : “ Sub quo fons est in quem ex impendentibus rupibus aquæ guttatim distillant, unde Dropping Well vocant, in quem quicquid ligni immittitur, lapideo cortice brevi obduci et lapidescere observatum est.Reed.

- for so LOUD A WIND,] Thus the folio. The quarto 1604 reads—for so loued arm’d. If these words have any meaning, it should seem to be [as Mr. Jennens has remarked) — The instruments of offence I employ, would have proved too weak to injure one who is so loved and arm’d by the affection of the people. Their love, like armour, would revert the arrow to the bow.

The reading in the text, however, is supported in Ascham's Toxophilus, edit. 1589, p. 57 : “ Weake bowes and lighte shaftes cannot stand in a rough winde.Steevens.

Loued arm'd is as extraordinary a corruption as any that is found in these plays. MALONE.

if praises may go back again,] If I may praise what has been, but is now to be found no more. JOHNSON.

3

4

King. Break not your sleeps for that: you must

not think, That we are made of stuff so flat and dull, That we can let our beard be shook with danger", And think it pastime. You shortly shall hear more: I loved your father, and we love ourself; And that, I hope, will teach you to imagine, How now? what news?

Enter a Messenger. Mess.

Letters, my lord, from Hamlet": This to your majesty ; this to the queen.

King. From Hamlet! who brought them ?

Mess. Sailors, my lord, they say: I saw them not; They were given me by Claudio, he receiv'd them Of him that brought them. King.

Laertes, you shall hear them :Leave us.

[Exit Messenger. [Reads.] High and mighty, you shall know, I am set naked on your kingdom. To-morrow shall I beg leave to see your kingly eyes : when I shall, first asking your pardon thereunto, recount the occasions of my sudden and more strange return. HAMLET. What should this mean! Are all the rest come back? Or is it some abuse, and no such thing ?

LAER. Know you the hand ?
King. 'Tis Hamlet's character. Naked, -

s That we can let our beard be shook with danger,] It is wonderful that none of the advocates for the learning of Shakspeare have told us that this line is imitated from Persius, Sat. ii. :

Idcirco stolidam præbet tibi vellere barbam

Jupiter ? Steevens. 6 How now ? &c.] Omitted in the quartos. Theobald. ? Letters, &c.] Omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS. 8 Of him that brought them.] I have restored this hemistich

STEEVENS. VOL, VII,

2 G

from the quartos.

And, in a postscript here, he says, alone :
Can you advise me?
LAER. I am lost in it, my lord. But let him

come ;
It warms the very sickness in my heart,
That I shall live and tell him to his teeth,
Thus diddest thou.
KING.

If it be so, Laertes,
As how should it be so ? how otherwise ?
Will you be ruld by me?
LAER.

Ay, my lord;
So you will not o'er-rule me to a peace *.
King. To thine own peace. If he be now re-

turn'd, As checking at his voyage”, and that he means No more to undertake it, I will work him To an exploit, now ripe in my device, Under the which he shall not choose but fall : And for his death no wind of blame shall breathe; But even his mother shall uncharge the practice, And call it, accident.

My lord, I will be ruld;

1

LAER.

* First folio, omitting Ay my lord, reads, If so you'll not o'er-rule me to a peace.

9 As CHECKING at his voyage,] The phrase is from falconry; and may be justified from the following passage in Hinde's Eliosto Libidinoso, 1606: - For who knows not, quoth she, that this hawk, which comes now so fair to the fist, may to-morrow check at the lure ?" Again, in G. Whetstone's Castle of Delight, 1576 :

“ But as the hawke, to gad which knowes the way,
“Will hardly leave to checke at carren crowes,” &c.

STEEVENS. “ As checking at his voyage.". Thus the folio. The quarto 1604 exhibits a corruption similar to that mentioned in n. 3, p. 4-18. It reads :“As the king at his voyage."

MALONE. | Laer. &c.] The next sixteen lines are omitted in the folio.

Steevens.

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