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I must be cruel, only to be kind:
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.
But one word more, good lady.
Queen.

What shall I do? Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you

do: Let the bloat king tempt you again to bed; Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you, his mouse; " And let him, for a pair of reechy kisses, Or padling in your neck with his damn'd fingers, Make you to ravel all this matter out, That I essentially am not in madness, But mad in craft. 'Twere good, you let him know: For who, that's but a queen, fair, sober, wise, Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gib, Such dear concernings hide? who would do so? No, in despite of sense, and secrecy, Unpeg the basket on the house's top, Let the birds fly; and, like the famous ape, To try conclusions, in the basket creep, And break your own neck down. Queen. Be thou assurd, if words be made of

breath, And breath of life, I have no life to breathe What thou hast said to me.

Ham. I must to England;s you know that?

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* Let the bloat king-] This again hints at his intemperance. He had already drank himself into a dropsy. BLACKSTONE.

his mouse;] Mouse was once a term of endearment,

reechy kisses,] Reechy is smoky. The author meant to convey a coarse idea, and was not very scrupulous in his choice of an epithet.

a gib,] Gib was a common name for a cat. ? To try conclusions,] i.e. experiments.

8 I must to England;] Shakspeare does not inform us how Hamlet came to know that he was to be sent to England. Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were made acquainted with the King's intentions for the first time in the very last scene; and they do not appear to have had any communication with the Prince since that time.

Queen.

Alack, I had forgot; 'tis so concluded on. Ham. There's letters seal'd: and my two school

fellows, Whom I will trust, as I will adders fang’d,'— They bear the mandate; they must sweep my way, And marshal me to knavery: Let it work; For 'tis the sport, to have the engineer Hoist with his own petar: and it shall go hard, But I will delve one yard below their mines, And blow them at the moon: 0, 'tis most sweet, When in one line two crafts directly meet.”— This man shall set me packing. l'll lug the guts into the neighbour room: Mother, good night.-Indeed, this counsellor Is now most still, most secret, and most grave, Who was in life a foolish prating knave. Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you:: Good night, mother.

[Ěxeunt severally; Hamlet dragging in Po

LONIUS.

adders fang'd,] That is, adders with their fangs or poisonous teeth, undrawn.

| Hoist, &c.] Hoist, for hoised; as past, for passed.

2 When in one line two crafts directly meet.] Still alluding to a countermine.'

3 Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you:] Shakspeare has been unfortunate in his management of the story of this play, the most striking circumstances of which arise so early in its formation, as not to leave him room for a conclusion suitable to the importance of its beginning. After this last interview with the Ghost, the character of Hamlet has lost all its consequence.

STEEVENS.

ACT IV.4

SCENE I. The same.

Enter King, Queen, Rosencrantz, and Guil

DENSTERN.

King. There's matter in these sighs; these pro

found heaves;
You must translate: 'tis fit we understand them:
Where is your son?
Queen. Bestow this place on us a little while.

[T. ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN, who

go out.

Ah, my good lord, what have I seen to-night!

King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet ?
Queen. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both

contend
Which is the mightier : In his lawless fit,
Behind the arras hearing something stir,
Whips out his rapier, cries, A rat! a rat!
And, in this brainish apprehension, kills
The unseen good old man.
King.

O heavy deed!
It had been so with us, had we been there:
His liberty is full of threats to all;
To you yourself, to us, to every one.
Alas! how shall this bloody deed be answer'd?
It will be laid to us, whose providence

4 Act IV.] This play is printed in the old editions without any separation of the Acts. The division is modern and arbitrary; and is here not very happy, for the pause is made at a time when there is more continuity of action than in almost any other of the

JOHNSON.

scenes.

Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt,
This mad young man: but, so much was our love,
We would not understand what was most fit;
But, like the owner of a foul disease,
To keep it from divulging, let it feed
Even on the pith of life. Where is he gone?

Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill’d:
O'er whom his very madness, like some ore,
Among a mineral of metals base,
Shows itself pure; he weeps for what is done. .

King. O, Gertrude, come away! The sun no sooner shall the mountains touch, But we will ship him hence: and this vile deed We must, with all our majesty and skill, Both countenance and excuse.-Ho! Guildenstern!

Enter RosenCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.

Friends both, go join you with some further aid:
Hamlet in madness hath Polonius slain,
And from his mother's closet hath he dragg’d him:
Go, seek him out; speak fair, and bring the body
Into the chapel. I pray you, baste in this.

[Excunt Ros. and Guil.
Come, Gertrude, we'll call up our wisest friends;
And let them know, both what we mean to do,
And what's untimely done: so, haply, slander,-
Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,
As level as the cannon to his blank,
Transports his poison'd shot, may miss our name,
And hit the woundless air.-0 come away!
My soul is full of discord, and dismay. '[Exeunt.

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out of haunt,] i. e. out of company. Among a mineral -] Minerals are mines.

cannon to his blank,] The blank was the white mark at which shot or arrows were directed.

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[blocks in formation]

SCENE HI.

Another Room in the same.

Enter HAMLET. Ham.--Safely stowed,-[Ros. &c. withine Hamlet! lord Hamlet!] But soft,—what noise? who calls on Hamlet? O, here they come.

Enter RosenCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.

Ros. What have you done, my lord, with the

dead body? Ham. Compounded it with dust, whereto 'tis kin. Ros. Tell us where 'tis; that we inay take it

thence,
And bear it to the chapel.

Ham. Do not believe it.
Ros. Believe what?

Ham. That I can keep your counsel, and not mine own. Besides, to be demanded of a sponge! —what replication should be made by the son of a king?

Řos. Take you me for a sponge, my lord?

Ham. Ay, sir; that soaks up the king's countenance, his rewards, his authorities. But such officers do the king best service in the end: He keeps them, like an ape, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to be last swallowed: When he needs what you have gleaned, it is but squeezing you, and, sponge, you shall be dry again.

Ros. I understand you not, my lord.

Ham. I am glad of it: A knavish speech sleeps in a foolish ear.

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