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Not of tliat dye which their investments shew,
Scene changes to the Platform before the Palace,
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS.
Hor. I heard it not: it then draws near the season, Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk.
Noise of warlike music within. What does this mean, my Lord?
[route, Ham. The King doth wake to-night, and takes his Keeps waffel, and the swaggering up-spring reels; And as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down, The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out The triumph of his pledge.
Hor. Is it a custom ?
Ham. Ay, marry, is't:
prompters of unholy (that is, unchaste) suits; andlo a change of the fame metaphor is continued to the end.
I made this emendation when I published my Shakespeare Restored, and Mr Pope has thought fit to embrace it in his - last edition.
More honoured in the breach than the observance.
(15) This heavy headed revel, east and west,] This wholefpeech of Hamlet, to the cotrance of the ghost, I set right in my Shakespeare Restored, fo shall not trouble the readers. again with a repetition of those corrections, or justification of them. Mr Pope admits, I have given the whole a glimmering of fense, but it is purely conjectural, and founded on no authority of copies. But is this any objection against conjecture in Shakespeare's case, where no original manufeript is fubfisting, and the printed copies have successively blundered after one another? And is not even a glimmering of fenfe, so it be not arbitrarily imposed, preferable to flat and glaring nonsense? If not, there is a total end at least to this branch of criticism, and nonsense may plead title and prescription from time, because there is no direct authority for difpoffefsing it.
-The dram of ease
Doth all the noble substance of worth out,
To his own scandal.] Mr Pope, who has degraded this whole speech, has entirely left out this concluding sentence of it. It looks, indeed, to be desperate, and for that reason, I conceive, he chose to drop it. I do not remember a parsage, throughout all our Poet's works, more intricate and depraved in the text, of less meaning to outward appearance, or more likely to baffic the attempts of criticism in its aid: It is certain, there is neither fenie nor grammar as it now stands; yet, with a light alteration, l'll endeavour to cure those defects, and give a sentiment too, that Phall make the Poet's thought close nobly. What can a dram of ease mean? or what can it hare to do with the context, suppoing it were the allowed expreilion here? Or, in a words what agreement in sense is there betwixt a drapi of enfi and the subitance of a doubt? It is a desperate corruption, and the nearest way to hope for a cure of it, is to consider nare rowly what the Poet must be supposed to have intended hiere. The whole tenour of this fpeech is, that let men have never so many or so eminènt viriues, if they have one de fect which accompanies them, that fingle blemish thall throw a stain upon their whole character; and not only fo, (if I understand right) but shall deface the very effence of all their goodness, to its own scandal; so that their virtues themselves will become their reproach. This is not only a continuation of his sentiment, but carries it up with a fine and proper climax. I have ventured to conjecture that the Author might write;
-The dram of base
To his own scandal. The dram of base, i.e. the least alloy of baseness or vice. It is very frequent with our Poct to use the adjective of quality instead of the substantive signifying the thing. Besides, I have observed, that elsewhere, speaking of worth, he delights to consider it as a quality that adds weight to a person, and connects the word with that idea:
Let every word weigh heavy of her worth,
Hor. Look, my Lord, it comes !
Ham. Angels and ministers of grace defend us !) Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damned, Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell, Be thy intents wicked or charitable, Thou comest in such a questionable shape, (17) That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet, King, Father, Royal Dane: oh! answer me; Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death, Have burst their cearments ? why the fepulchre, Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urned, Hath oped his ponderous and marble jaws, To cast thee up again? What may this mean? That thou, dead corse, again, in compleat steel, Revisitest thus the glimpfes of the moon, Making night hideons, and us fools of nature So horribly to shake our disposition With thoughts beyond the reaches of our fouls? Say, why is this? wherefore? what should we do?
[Ghost beckons Hamlet. Hor. It beckons you to go away with it, As if it some impartment did defire To you
[Holding Hamlet. Ham. It will not speak; then I will follow it.
(17) Thou comeft in such a questionable Mape,] By questionable we now constantly understand aufputable, doubtíul; but our Author uses it in a sense quite oppofite, not disputable, but to be conversed with, inviting question; as in Macbeth;
Live you, or are you aught ibat man may question?
Hor. Do not, my Lord.
Ham. Why, what should be the fear?
Hor. What if it tempt you tow’nd the flood, my
Ham. It waves me ftill: go on, I'll follow thee---
Ham. My fate cries out,
[Breaking from them, By Heaven, I'll make a ghost of him that lets me.-1, away--go on---- I'll follow thee------
[Exeunt Ghost and Hamlet. Hor. He waxes desperate with imagination. Mar. Let's follow; 'tis not fit thus to obey him. Hor. Have after.--------To what issue will this
come? Mar. Something is rotten in the state of Denmark, Hor, Heaven will direct it. Mar. Nay, let's follow him.