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Divided from herself, and her fair judgment;
Without the which we are pictures, or mere beasts.
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France:
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzers to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of miatter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O

my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering piece, in many places
Gives me superfluous death. [A Noise within.

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 him, 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.

% 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.

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, otcrpeering 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.


every word,

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


of 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


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.


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.

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.

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,

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

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


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

trude; Speak, man.

Laer. Where is my father?


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

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. . King.

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.


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


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 judginent 'pear,

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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.8 Oph. They lore 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. 0, how the wheel!' 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.] Lore (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.

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.


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.


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.

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



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