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Divided from herself, and her fair judgment;
Alack! what noise is this?
Enter a Gentleman.
King. Attend. Where are my Switzers ? Let them guard the door: What is the matter? Gent.
Save yourself, my lord; The ocean, overpeering of his list, Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste, Than young Laertes, in a riotous head, O'erbears your officers! The rabble call hiin, lord;
garity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and, as these alterations will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning. Johnson
9 Like to a murdering piece,] The small cannon, which are, or were used in the forecastle, half-deck, or steerage of a ship of war, were within this centary called murdering-pieces.
3 my Switzers ? ] In many of our old plays, the guards attendant on Kings are called Switzers, and that without any regard to the country where the scene lies, because the Swiss in the time of our poet, as at present, were hired to fight the battles of other nations.
+ The ocean, orcrpeering of his list,] The lists are the barriers which the spectators of a tournament must not pass. In this place, it signifies boundary, i. e. the shore.
And, as the world were now but to begin,
King. The doors are broke. [Noise within.
Enter Laertes, armed; Danes following.
I pray you, give me leave. Dan. We will, we will.
[They retire without the Door. Laer. I thank you :-keep the door.-0 thou
vile king, Give me my father. Queen.
Calmly, good Laertes.
claims me bastard;
What is the cause, Laertes,
50, this is counter,-) Hounds run counter when they trace the trail backwards. 6mmen unsmirched brow,] i. e. clean, not defiled.
Why thou art thus incens’d;-Let him go, Ger
But not by him.
Who shall stay you?
Laer. None but his enemies.
Will you know them then?
Why, now you speak
As day does to your eye.
Danes. [Within. Let her come in.
Enter Ophelia, fantastically dressed with Straws
and Flowers. O heat, dry up my brains! tears seven times salt, Burn out the sense and virtue of mine eye! By heaven, thy madness shall be paid with weight, Till our scale turn the beam. O rose of May! Dear maid, kind sister, sweet Ophelia ! O heavens! is't possible, a young maid's wits Should be as mortal as an old man's life? Nature is fine in love: and, where 'tis fine, It sends some precious instance of itself After the thing it loves. Oph. They bore him barefac'd on the bier ;
Hey no nonny, nonny hey nonny:
And in his grave rain'd many a tear ; Fare you well, my dove! Laer. Hadst thou thy wits, and didst persuade
revenge, It could not move thus.
Oph. You must sing, Down a-down, an you call him a-down-a. O, how the wheel becomes.it!' It is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter.
8 Nature is fine in love: and, where 'tis fine,
It sends some precious instance of itself
After the thing it loves.] Loce (says Laertes) is the passion by which nature is most exalted and refined; and as substances, refined and subtilised, easily obey any impulse, or follow any attraction, some part of nature, so purified and refined, flies off after the attracting object, after the thing it loves.
90, how the wheel becomes it! &c.] The wheel means the burthen of the song, which she had just repeated, and as such was formerly used. But Mr. Malone thinks that wheel is here used in its ordinary sense, and that these words allude to the occupation of the girl who is supposed to sing the song alluded to by Ophelia.
Laer. This nothing's more than matter.
Oph. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance; pray you, love, remember: and there is pansies, that's for thoughts.
Laer. A document in madness; thoughts and remembrance fitted.
Oph. There's fennel for you, and columbines:there's rue for you; and here's some for me:-we may call it, herb of grace o Sundays:-you 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,
For bonny sweet Robin is all my joy,
[Sings. Laer. Thought and affliction, passion, hell itself, She turns to favour, and to prettiness.
Oph. And will he not come again?
And will he not come again?
No, no, he is dead,
Go to thy death-bed,
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;] Rosemary was anciently supposed to strengthen the memory, and was not only carried at funerals, but worn at weddings.
2- 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. 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. .
Thought and affliction,] Thought here, as in many other places, signifies melancholy.