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And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and

props

of

every word, They cry, Choose we ; Laertes shall be king! Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds, Laertes shall be king, Laertes king ! Queen. How cheerfully on the false trail they

cry! O, this is counter,' you false Danish dogs.

King. The doors are broke. [Noise within.

Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following: Laer. Where is this king ?-Sirs, stand you all

without. Dan. No, let's come in. Laer.

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. Laer. That drop of blood, that's calm, pro

claims me bastard ; Cries, cuckold, to my father ; brands the harlot Even here, between the chaste unsmirched brow Of my

true mother. King.

What is the cause, Laertes, That thy rebellion looks so giant-like?Let him go, Gertrude; do not fear our person; There's such divinity doth hedge a king, That treason can but peep to what it would, Acts little of his will.-Tell me, Laertes,

s 0, this is counter,–] Hounds run counter when they trace the trail backwards.

junsmirched brow,] i. e. clean, not defiled.

6

Why thou art thus incens'd ;-Let him go, Ger

trude ;

Speak, man.
Laer. Where is my father?
King

Dead.
Queen.

But not by him.
King. Let him demand his fill.
Laer. How came he dead? I'll not be juggled

with:
To hell, allegiance! vows, to the blackest devil!
Conscience, and grace, to the profoundest pit!
I dare damnation : To this point I stand,
That both the worlds I give to negligence,
Let come what comes; only I'll be reveng'd
Most throughly for my father.
King.

Who shall stay you?
Laer. 'My will, not all the world's :
And, for my means, I'll husband them so well,
They shall

go
far with little.

Good Laertes,
If you desire to know the certainty
Of your dear father's death, is't writ in your revenge,
That, sweepstake, you will draw both friend and foe,
Winner and loser?

Laer. None but his enemies.
King:

Will
you

know them then! Laer. To his good friends thus wide I'll ope my

arms; And, like the kind life-rend'ring pelican, Repast them with

my

blood. King.

Why, now you speak Like a good child, and a true gentleman. That I am guiltless of your father's death, And am most sensibly in grief for it, It shall as level to your judgment ’pear,

King;

1 to your judgment 'pear,] For appear

As day does to your eye.
Danes. [Within.]

Let her come in.
Laer. How now! what noise is that?

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-ddwn, an you call him a-down-a. O, how the wheel becomes it !9 It is the false steward, that stole his master's daughter.

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8 Nature is fine in love : and, where 'tis fine, It send some precious instance of itself

After the thing it loves.] Love (says Laertes) is the passion by which natureis 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.

9 0, 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.

[Sings.

Oph. And will he not come again?

And will he not come again?

No, no, he is dead,

Go to thy death-bed,
He never will come again.

2

" 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.

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. 3 Thought and affliction,] Thought here, as in many other places, signifies melancholy. VOL. IX.

T

His beard was as white as snow,
All flaxen was his poll :

He is gone, he is gone,

And we cast away moan;

God'a mercy on his soul! And of all christian souls !4 I

pray

God. God be wi' you!

[Erit OPHELIA. Laer. Do you see this, O God?

King. Laertes, I must commune with your grief, Or you deny me right. Go but apart, Make choice of whom your wisest friends you will, And they shall hear and judge 'twixt you

and me: If by direct or by collateral hand They find us touch'd, we will our kingdom give, Our crown, our life, and all that we call ours, To you

in satisfaction ; but, if not,
Be you content to lend your patience to us,
And we shall jointly labour with your soul
To give it due content.
Laer.

Let this be so;
His means of death, his obscure funeral,
No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,
No noble rite, nor formal ostentation,
Cry to be heard, as 'twere from heaven to earth,
That I must call’t in question.
King:

So you shall;
And, where the offence is, let the great axe fall.
I
pray you, go with me.

[E.reunt 4 God’a mercy on his soul !

And of all christian souls!] This is the common conclusion to many of the ancient monumental inscriptions.

5 No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,] It was the custom, in the times of our author, to hang a sword over the grave of a knight, and it is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i.e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour,) are hung over the grave of every knight.

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