Page images

Wyll ye breke promyse that is dette.

Strength. In faythe I care not
Thou arte but a foole to complayne
You spende your speche and waste your brayne
Go thirste the in to the grounde.

Euery . I had went surer I sholde haue founde
He that trusteth in his strength
She hym deceyueth at the length
Both strength and beaute forsaketh me
Yet they promysed me fayre and louyngly.

Euery . Yet I pray the for the loue of the trinyte Loke in my graue ones petyously.

Dyscrecon. Nay so nye I wyll not come
Forwell euerychone.

Euery . O all thynge fayleth saue god alone
Beaute strength and discrecion
For whan deth bloweth his blaste
They all ronne fro me faste.

o wyttes. Euery man of the nowe my leve I take I wyll folowe the other for here I the forsake.

Euery . Alas than may I waylo and wepe For I take you for my beste frende.

o wyttes. I wyll no lenger the kepe Nowe forwell and there an ende.

Euery . 0 Jhesu helpe all hath forsaken me.

Good dedes. Nay euery man I wyll byde with the
I wyll not forsake the in dede
Thou shalte fynde me a good frende at nede.

Euery . Gramercy good dedes now may I true frēdes se
They haue forsake me euerychone
I loued them better than my good dedes alone
Knowlege wyll ye forsake me also ?

Knowlege. Ye euery man whan you to deth do go

But not yet for no maner of daunger.

Euery . Gramercy knowlege with all my herte

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

Lete vs

Howe they that I loued best do forsake me
Excepte my good dedes that bydeth truely.

Good dedes. All erthly thynges is but vanyte
Beaute strength and discrecion do man forsake
Folysshe frendes and kynnes men that fayre spake
All fleeth saue good dedes and that am I.

Euery . Haue mercy on me god moste myghty
And stande by me thou moder and mayde holy mary.

Good dedes. Fere not I wyll speke for the.
Euery . Here I crye god mercy.
Good dedes. Shorte oure ende and mynysshe our payne


and neuer come agayne. Euery . In to thy handes lordes my soule I comende Receyue it lorde that it be not loste As thou me broughtest so me defende And saue me fro the fendes boste That I may appere with that blessyd hoste That shall be saued at the dome In manus tuas of myghtes moste For euer comendo spiritum meum.

knowlege. Nowe hath he suffered that we shall endure The good dedes shall make all sure Nowe hath he made endynge Me thynke that I here aungels synge And maketh grete ioye and melodye Where euery mannes soule shall receyued be.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Unto the whiche all


shall come That lyueth well after the daye of dome.

Doctoure. This memory all men may haue in mynde Ye herers take it a worthe olde and yonge

And forsake pryde for he deceyues you in the ende
And remēbre beaute v. wyttes strength and discrecion
They all at last do euery man forsake
Saue his good deedes there do he take
But heware for and they be small
Before god he hathe no helpe at all
None excuse may be there for euery man
Alas howe shall he do than
For after deth amendes may no man make
For than marcy and pyte dothe hym forsake
If his reckenynge be not clere whan he do come
God wyll say ite maledicti in ignem eternum
And he that hath his accounte hole and sounde
Hye in heuen he shall be crounde
Unto whiche please god brynge us all thether
That we may lyue body and soule togyder
Therto helpe the trinyte
Amen saye ye for saynt charyte.'

[ocr errors]

a Imprynted at London in Fletestrete at the Sygne of the George by Rycharde Pynson

prynter unto the Kynges noble grace.

| The variations between this and the later copies by Skot are sometimes important—more than mere literal changes. The old non-punctuation is exactly observed in what precedes.

Art. XVIII.-Remarks on the conduct of Hamlet towards


The conduct of Hamlet towards Ophelia has been so generally condemned by the readers of Shakespeare as useless and wanton cruelty, that to attempt any extenuation of it may appear presumptuous; yet the hope of success in such a cause will, I trust, afford an excuse for the following remarks, even should the reasons adduced not be deemed sufficient to warrant the conclusion. The idea originally suggested itself while reading an old history of Denmark, abridged from Saxo Grammaticus; and the story, as there related, tends to prove, if proof were wanting, how the basest materials were purified and turned to gold by the poet's magic touch.

In referring to the play, act ii., scene 2, we shall find the first arrangement for this interview between Hamlet and Ophelia made by Polonius, and proposed by him to the King, who has scarcely acceded to it before Hamlet enters, reading, the Queen and Polonius even continuing their discourse after he has made his appearance, probably concluding, from his apparent insanity, that their words will pass unnoted. But let us remember that Hamlet was more than a match for the crafty and crooked policy of the court of Denmark, as we find more particularly in the latter part of the play, when Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are “hoist with their own petar Hamlet having declared that “ he would delve a yard below their mines, and blow them at the moon ”—may he not, therefore, on the present occasion, have assumed a studious aspect, in order to seem as if he heeded them not, when, in reality, he had overheard that part of the conversation which immediately preceded his appearance? This conclusion gains strength when we read what immediately follows; for, on Polonius saying,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


“Do you know me?" he replies, “ Excellent well; you are a fishmonger.” And that this word was used in a figurative sense, perhaps somewhat as we should now apply the word ferret, or as a dealer in baits, is evident from Johnson's quotation from Carew, a writer contemporary with our author—“I could well play the fishmonger,” which seems to indicate that Hamlet was aware of Polonius's being engaged in some underhand policy; and that he knew Ophelia was to play her part in it is evident from the caution which follows respecting her, which the old man loses sight of in his joy at hearing his daughter alluded to. At the conclusion of this scene, we find Polonius speaking, apparently not aside, but openly, of “suddenly contriving the means of meeting between Hamlet and his daughter," still under the common, but very erroneous impression that deranged persons neither hear nor understand what is uttered in their presence.

In the next scene, when Polonius, in a pompous speech, announces the arrival of the players, Hamlet exclaims, quoting the old song, “0, Jephthah, Judge of Israel,' what a treasure hadst thou !

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord ?

Ham. Why, One fair daughter and no more; The which he loved passing well.'

Pol. Still on my daughter.
Ham. Am I not i’ the right, old Jephthah?

Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter that I love passing well.

Ham. Nay, that follows not."


Is not the interpretation of this passage, that it follows not that

you are like Jephthah, in loving your daughter but in your shameful sacrifice of her; and afterwards Hamlet, by saying that “the first row of the pious chanson will show further,” makes us anxiously turn to it for an explanation of

« PreviousContinue »