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The rather, if you could devise it so,
That I might be the organ.
King.

It falls right.
You have been talk'd of since your travel much,
And that in Hamlet's hearing, for a quality
Wherein, they say, you shine: your sum of parts
Did not together pluck such envy from him,
As did that one ; and that, in my regard,
Of the unworthiest siege?.
LAER.

What part is that, my lord ? King. A very ribband in the cap of youth, Yet needful too; for youth no less becomes The light and careless livery that it wears, Than settled age his sables, and his weeds, Importing health and graveness .-Two months

since *
Here was a gentleman of Normandy,-
I have seen myself, and serv'd against, the French,
And they can p well on horseback : but this gallant
Had witchcraft in't; he grew unto his seat;
And to such wond'rous doing brought his horse,
As he had been incorps'd and demi-natur'd

* First folio, some two months hence.
† First folio, ran.

# First folio, into. ? Of the unworthiest siege.] Of the lowest rank. Siege, for seat, place. Johnson. So, in Othello :

birth “ From men of royal siege.” Steevens. 3 IMPORTING Health and graveness.] Importing here may be, not inferring by logical consequence, but producing by physical effect. A young man regards show in his dress ; an old man, health. Johnson.

Importing health, I apprehend, means, denoting an attention to health. MALONE.

Importing may only signify--implying, denoting. So, in King Henry VI. P. I.:

"Comets, importing change of times and states." Mr. Malone's explanation, however, may be the true one.

STEEVENS.

66

- I fetch my

With the brave beast * : so far he topp'd * my

thought,
That I, in Brgery of shapes and tricks”,
Come short of what he did.
LAER.

A Norman, was't ?
King. A Norman.
Laer. Upon my life, Lamord .
King.

The very same.
LAER. I know him well : he is the brooch, in-

deed, And gem of all the nation.

King. He made confession of you; And gave you such a masterly report, For art and exercise in your defence", And for your rapier most especial f, That he cried out, 'twould be a sight indeed, If one could match you : the scrimers * of their

nation, He swore, had neither motion, guard, nor eye, If you oppos'd them: Sir, this report of his Did Hamlet so envenom with his envy, That he could nothing do, but wish and beg * First folio, past.

+ First folio, especially. As he had been incorps'd and demi-natur'd

With the brave beast :) This is from Sidney's Arcadia, b. ii. : “ As if, Centaur-like, he had been one peece with the horse." Steevens.

-in forgery of shapes and tricks,] I could not contrive so many proofs of dexterity as he could perform. Johnson.

• Lamord.] Thus the quarto 1604. Shakspeare, I suspect, wrote Lamode. See the next speech but one :

he is the brooch, indeed,

“ And gem of all the nation.” 'The folio has—Lamound. Malone. 9- in your defence,] That is, in the science of defence.

Johnson. the SCRIMERS —] The fencers. Johnson. From escrimeur, Fr. a fencer.

MALONE. This unfavourable description of the French swordsmen is not in the folio. Steevens.

8

Your sudden coming o'er, to play with you.
Now, out of this,-
LAER.

What * out of this, my lord ?
King. Laertes, was your father dear to you ?
Or are you like the painting of a sorrow,
A face without a heart?
LAER.

Why ask you this ?
King. Not that I think, you did not love your

father;
But that I know, love is begun by time;
And that I see, in passages of proof',
Time qualifies the spark and fire of it.
There lives within the very flame of love
A kind of wick, or snuff, that will abate it ;
And nothing is at a like goodness still ;
For goodness, growing to a plurisy »,

* First folio, why.

1

9 - love is begun by time ;] This is obscure. The meaning may be, love is not innate in us, and co-essential to our nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and being always subject to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution. Johnson. The King reasons thus :-“I do not suspect that you

did not love your father; but I know that time abates the force of affection." I therefore suspect that we ought to read :

- love is begone by time ; " I suppose that Shakspeare places the syllable be before gone, as we say, be-paint, be-spatter, be-think, &c. M. Mason. - passages of proof,] In transactions of daily experience.

Johnson. · There lives, &c.] The next ten lines are not in the folio.

STEEVENS. For goodness, growing to a PLURISY,] I would believe, for the honour of Shakspeare, that he wrote plethory. But í observe the dramatick writers of that time frequently call a fullness of blood a plurisy, as if it came, not from Theupa, but from plus, pluris. WARBURTON.

I think the word should be spelt-plurisy. This passage is fully explained by one in Mascal's Treatise on Cattle, 1662, p. 187 : “ Against the blood, or plurisie of blood. The disease of blood is, some young horses will feed, and being fat will in

Dies in his own too-much: That we would do,
We should do when we would ; for this would

changes,
And hath abatements and delays as many,
As there are tongues, are hands, are accidents;
And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh,
That hurts by easing". But, to the quick o'the

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crease blood, and so grow to a plurisie, and die thereof if he have not soon help.” Tollet.

Dr. Warburton is right. The word is spelt plurisy in the quarto 1604, and is used in the same sense as here, in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, by Ford, 1633 :

“ Must your hot itch and plurisie of lust,
“ The hey-day of your luxury, be fed
Up to a surfeit?

MALONE.
We should certainly read plurisy, as Tollet observes. Thus, in
Massinger's Unnatural Combat, Malefort says-

in a word, “Thy plurisy of goodness is thy ill." And again, in The Picture, Sophia says:

“A plurisy of blood you may let out," &c. The word also occurs in The Two Noble Kinsmen. Arcite, in his invocation to Mars, says :

that heal'st with blood
“ The earth, when it is sick, and cur'st the world

“Of the plurisy of people!" M. Mason. Mr. Pope introduced this simile in the Essay on Criticism, v. 303:

“For works may have more wit than does them good,

As bodies perish through excess of blood." Ascham has a thought very similar to Pope's : “ Twenty to one, offend more, in writing to much, then to litle : euen as twenty, fall into sicknesse, rather by ouer much fulnes, then by any lacke, or emptinesse.The Schole-Master, 4to. bl. 1. fol. 43.

Holt White. 4 And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh,

That hurts by easing.) A spendthrift sigh is a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers., Johnson.

So, in the Governall of Helthe, &c. printed by Wynkyn de Worde: “ And for why whan a man casteth out that noble humour too moche, he is hugely dyscolored, and his body moche

Hamlet comes back ; What would you undertake,
To show yourself in deed your father's son
More than in words?

febled, more then he lete four sythes, soo moche blode oute of his body.” Steevens.

Hence they are called, in King Henry VI.-blood-consuming sighs. Again, in Pericles, 1609 :

“ Do not consume your blood with sorrowing.The idea is enlarged upon in Fenton's Tragical Discourses, 1579: “Why staye you not in tyme the source of your scorching sighes, that have already drayned your body of his wholesome humoures, appoynted by nature to gyve sucke to the entrals and inward parts of you?

The original quarto, as well as the folio, reads—"a spendthrift's sigh;” but I have no doubt that it was a corruption, arising from the first letter of the following word sigh, being an s. I have, therefore, with the other modern editors, printed “spendthrift sigh,” following a late quarto, (which however is of no authority,) printed in 1611. That a sigh, if it consumes the blood, hurts us by easing, or is prejudicial to us on the whole, though it affords a temporary relief, is sufficiently clear: but the former part of the line, and then this should, may require a little explanation. I suppose the King means to say, that if we do not promptly execute what we are convinced we should or ought to do, we shall afterwards in vain repent our not having seized the fortunate moment for action : and this opportunity which we have let go by us, and the reflection that we should have done that, which, from supervening accidents, it is no longer in our power to do, is as prejudicial and painful to us as a blood-consuming sigh, that at once hurts and eases us.

I apprehend the poet meant to compare such a conduct, and the consequent reflection, only to the pernicious quality which he supposed to be annexed to sighing, and not to the temporary ease which it affords. His similes, as I have frequently had occasion to observe, seldom run on four feet. Malone.

I cannot but prefer the reading of the original quarto, supported by the first folio. Sorrow for neglected opportunities and time abused seems to be most aptly compared to the sigh of a spendthrift, which will not avail to recover his money squandered in vice or folly. With regard to the latter member of the comparison,—I might excuse myself from the task of reconciling it with this explanation by the just remark of Mr. Malone that our author's similes “seldom run on four feet.” But, in fact, the words seem to comprise a most important and solemn precept; no less than that good resolutions not carried into effect are deeply injurious to the moral character. Like sighs, "they hurt by easing :" they

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