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There's a divinity that shapes our ends,
That is most certain.
Is't possible? Ham. Here's the commission; read it at more
leisure. But wilt thou hear now how I did proceed?
Hor. Ay, 'beseech you.
Ham. Being thus benetted round with villanies, Or I could make a prologue to my brains, They had begun the play ;-I sat me down; Devis'd a new commission; wrote it fair: I once did hold it, as our statists do,
but let us know, that is, take notice and remember, that we sometimes succeed by indiscretion when we fail by deep plots, and infer the perpetual superintendance and agency of the Dirinity. The observation is just, and will be allowed by every human being, who shall reflect on the course of his own life. JOHNSON,
$ With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,] With such causes of terror, rising from my character and designs.
- no leisure bated,] Without any abatement or intermission of time. ! Or I could make-] Or in old English signified before.
as our statists do,] A statist is a statesman. Most of the
A baseness to write fair, and labour'd much
Ay, good my lord.
How was this seal'd? Ham. Why, even in that was heaven ordinant; I had my father's signet in my purse, Which was the model of that Danish seal :
great men of Shakspeare's times, whose autographs have been preserved, wrote very bad hands; their secretaries very neat ones.
yeoman's service:] The meaning is, This yeomanly qualification was a most useful servant, or yeoman, to me; i. e. did me eminent service. The ancient yeomen were famous for their military valour. As peace
should still her wheaten garland wear, And stand a comma 'tween their amities;] The expression of our author is, like many of his phrases, sufficiently constrained and affected, but it is not incapable of explanation. The comma is the note of connection and continuity of sentences; the period is the note of abruption and disjunction. Shakspeare had it perhaps in his mind to write,—That unless England complied with the mandate, war should put a period to their amity; he altered bis mode of diction, and thought that, in an opposite sense, he might put, that
peace should stand a comma betueen their amities. This is not an easy style; but is it not the style of Shakspeare? Johnson.
s Not shriving-time allow'd.] i. e. without time for confession of their sins: another proof of Hamlet's christian-like disposition.
the model of that Danish seal :) The model is in old language the copy.
Folded the writ up in form of the other;
to't. Ham. Why, man, they did make love to this
employment; They are not near my conscience; their defeat Does by their own insinuation' grow: 'Tis dangerous, when the baser nature comes Between the pass and fell incensed points Of mighty opposites. Hor.
Why, what a king is this ! Ham. Does it not, think thee, stand me now
upon? He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother; Popp'd in between the election and my hopes; Thrown out his angle for my proper life, And with such cozenage; is't not perfect conscience, To quit him with this arm? and is't not to be
damn'd, To let this canker of our nature come In further evil?
Hor. It must be shortly known to him from Eng
What is the issue of the business there.
Ham. It will be short: the interim is mine;
by their own insinuation ~] By their having insinuated or thrust themselves into the employment.
• To quit him-) To requite him; to pay him his due.
The portraiture of his: I'll count his favours:9
Peace; who comes here?
Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
Ham. I humbly thank you, sir.—Dost know this water-fly?'
Hor. No, my good lord.
Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him: He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'Tis a chough;? but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit: Your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.
Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
Ham. But yet, methinks it is very sultry and hot; or my complexion
Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, — as 'twere,- I cannot tell how.-My lord, his majesty bade me signify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your head: Sir, this is the matter,
I'll count his favours :) I will make account of them, i. e. reckon upon them, value them.
Dost know this water-fly?) A water-fly skips up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler.
'Tis a chough ;] A kind of jackdaw.
Ham. I beseech you, remember
[Hamlet moves him to put on his Hat. Osr. Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith. Sir, here is newly come to court, Laertes: believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society, and great showing: Indeed, to speak feelingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry,” for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.
Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;?—though, I know, to divide him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetick of memory; and yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article; and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour; and, who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him. · Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.] This seems to have been the affected phrase of the time.
1-full of most excellent differences,] Full of distinguishing excellencies.
the card or calendar of gentry,] The general preceptor of elegance; the card by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may
be both excellent and seasonable. Johnson.
- for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.) You shall find him containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation.
Sir, his definement, &c.] This is designed as a specimen, and ridicule of the court-jargon amongst the precieur of that time. The sense in English is, « Sir, he suffers nothing in your account of him, though to enumerate his good qualities particularly would be endless; yet when we had done our best, it would still come short of him. However, in strictness of truth, he is a great genius, and of a character so rarely to be met with, that to find any thing like him we must look into his mirrour, and his imitators will appear no more than his shadows."