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To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions,
A Room in the Castle.
Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, GUILDEN
STERN, and Attendants.
Something have you heard
him So much from the understanding of himself, I cannot dream of: I entreat you both,
s- it is as proper to our age, &c.] This is not the remark of a weak man. The vice of age is too much suspicion. Men long accustomed to the wiles of life cast commonly beyond themselves, let their cunning go farther than reason can attend it. This is always the fault of a little mind, made artful by long commerce with the world. Johnson. * This must be known, which, being kept close, might move
More grief to hide, than hate to utter love.] i. e. this must be made known to the King, for (being kept secret) the hiding Hamlet's love might occasion more mischief to us from him and the Queen, than the uttering or revealing of it will occasion hate and resentment from Hamlet.
That,-being of so young days brought up with
him: And, since, so neighbour'd to his youth and hu
mour, That you vouchsafe your rest here in our court Some little time: so by your companies To draw him on to pleasures; and to gather, So much as from occasion you may glean, Whether aught, to us unknown, afflicts him thus, That, open'd, lies within our remedy. Queen. Good gentlemen, he hath much talk'd of
you; And, sure I am, two men there are not living, To whom he more adheres. If it will please you To show us so much gentry,' and good will, As to expend your time with us a while, For the supply and profit of our hope, Your visitation shall receive such thanks As fits a king's remembrance. Ros.
your majesties Might, by the sovereign power you have of us, Put your dread pleasures more into command Than to entreaty. Guil.
But we both obey; And here give up ourselves, in the full bent, To lay our service freely at your feet, To be coinmanded. King. Thanks, Rosencrantz, and gentle Guil
denstern. Queen. Thanks, Guildenstern, and gentle Ro
sencrantz: And I beseech you instantly to visit
To show us so much gentry,) Gentry, for complaisance. • For the supply, &c.] That the hope which your arrival has raised may be completed by the desired effect. Johnson.
'— in the full bent,] The full bent, is the utmost extremity of exertion. The allusion is to a bow bent as far as it will go.
My too much changed son.-Go, some of you,
Ay, amen! [Exeunt RosENCRANTZ, GUILDENSTERN, and
Pol. The embassadors from Norway, my good
lord, Are joyfully return’d.
King. Thou still hast been the father of good
Pol. Have I, my lord? Assure you, my good liege, I hold my duty, as I hold my soul, 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 & so sure As it hath us’d to do,) that I have found The very cause of Hamlet's lunacy.
King: o, speak of that; that do I long to hear.
Pol. Give first admittance to the embassadors; My news shall be the fruit' to that great feast. King. Thyself do grace to them, and bring them
[Exit POLONIUS. He tells me, my dear Gertrude, he hath found The head and source of all your son's distemper.
Queen. I doubt, it is no other but the main ; His father's death, and our o'erhasty marriage.
the trail of policy-) The trail is the course of an animal pursued by the scent.
the fruit -] The desert after the meat.
Re-enter POLONIUS, with VOLTIMAND and COR
King. Well, we shall sist him.—Welcome, my
good friends! Say, Voltimand, what from our brother Norway?
Volt. Most fair return of greetings, and desires. Upon our first, he sent out to suppress His nephew's levies; which to him appear'd To be a preparation 'gainst the Polack; But, better look'd into, he truly found It was against your highness: Whereat griev’d, That so his sickness, age, and impotence, Was falsely borne in hand, -sends out arrests On Fortinbras; which he, in brief, obeys; Receives rebuke from Norway; and, in fine, Makes vow before his uncle, never more To give the assay? of arms against your majesty. Whereon old Norway, overcome with joy, Gives him three thousand crowns in annual fee; And his commission, to employ those soldiers, So levied as before, against the Polack: With an entreaty, herein further shown,
[Gives a Paper.
It likes us well;
borne in hand,] i. e. deceived, imposed on. ? To give the assay-) To take the assay was a technical expression, originally applied to those who tasted wine for princes and great men.
Go to your rest; at night we'll feast together:
[Exeunt VoLTIMAND and CORNELIUS. Pol.
This business is well ended.
Queen. More matter, with less art.
3 My licge, and madam, to expostulate-] To expostulate, for to enquire or discuss.
WANBURTON makes the character of Polonius, a character only of manners, discriminated by properties superficial, accidental, and acquired. The poet intended a nobler delineation of a mixed character of manners and of nature. Polonius is a man bred in courts, exercised in business, stored with observation, confident in his knowledge, proud of his eloquence, and declining into dotage. His mode of oratory is truly represented as designed to ridicule the practice of those times, of prefaces that made no introduction, and of method that embarrassed rather than explained. This part of his character is accidental, the rest is natural. Such a man is positive and confident, because he knows that his mind was once strong, and knows not that it is become weak. Such a man excels in general principles, but fails in the particular application. He is knowing in retrospect, and ignorant in foresight. While he depends upon his memory, and can draw from his repositories of knowledge, he utters weighty sentences, and gives useful counsel; but as the mind in its enfeebled state cannot be kept long busy and intent, the old man is subject to sudden dereliction of his faculties, he loses the order of his ideas, and entangles himself in his own thoughts, till he recovers the leading principle, and falls again into his former train. This idea of dotage encroaching upon wisdom, will solve all the phænomena of the character of Polonius. Johnson.