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We will ourselves provide : Most holy and religious fear it is,
cessary Alexandrine, which we owe to the players. The poet, i am persuaded wrote:
as doth hourly grow
Dut of his lunes. i. e. his madness, frenzy. Theobald.
I take brows to be, 'properly read, frows, which, I think, is a provincial word for perverse humours; which being, I suppose, not understood, was changed to lunacies. But of this I am not confident. Johnson.
I would receive Theobald's emendation, because Shakspeare uses the word lunes the same sense in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and The Winter's Tale.
I have met, however, with an instance in support of Dr. John son's conjecture : - were you but as favourable as you are frowish —,
Tully's Love, by Greene, 1616. Froes is also used by Chapman, in his version of the Sixth Iliad, for furious women:
ungodly fears “ He put the froes in, seiz'd their god —." Perhaps, however, Shakspeare designed a metaphor from horned cattle, whose powers of being dangerous increase with the growth of their brows. Steevens.
The two readings of brows and lunes—when taken in connection with the passages referred to by Mr. Steevens, in The Winter's Tale, and The Merry Wives of Windsor, plainly figure forth the image under which the King apprehended danger from Hamlet:---viz. that of a bull, which, in his frenzy, might not only gore, but push him from his throne." The hazard that hourly grows out of his brows” (according to the
quartos) corresponds to “the shoots from the ROUGH PASH," (that is the TUFTED PROTUBERANCE on the head of a bull, from whence his horns spring, ] alluded to in The Winter's Tale; whilst the imputation of impending danger to “his LUNES" (according to the other reading) answers as obviously to the jealous fury of the husband that thinks he has detected the infidelity of his wife. Thus, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : “ Why, woman, your husband is in his old lunes-he so takes on yonder with my husband; so rails against all married mankind; so curses all Eve's daughters, and so buffets himself on the forehead, crying peer out? peer out! that any marlness, I ever yet beheld, seem'd but tameness, civility, and patience, to this distemper he is now in.”
Henley. Shakspeare probably had here the following passage in The Hystory of Hamblett, bl. 1. in his thoughts: “ Fengon could not content himselfe, but still his minde gave him that the foole [Hamlet] would play him some trick of legerdemaine. And in that conceit seeking to be rid of him, determined to find the meanes
To keep those many many bodies safe,
Ro8. The single and peculiar life is bound,
King. Arm you, I pray you, to this speedy voyage ;
We will haste us.
[Exeunt Ros. and Guil.
Enter POLONIUS. Pol. My lord, he's going to his mother's closet: Behind the arras I 'll convey myself, To hear the process; I 'll warrant, she 'll tax him home: And, as you said, and wisely was it said, 'Tis meet, that some more audience, than a mother, Since nature makes them partial, should o’erhear
to do it, by the aid of a stranger; making the king of England minister of his massacrous resolution, to whom he purposed to send him." Malone.
9 That spirit, upon whose weal -) So the quarto. The folio gives
That spirit, upon whose spirit - Steevens.
it is a massy wheel,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads -Or it is &c. Malone. 2 Behind the arras I'll convey myself,] See Vol. VIII, p. 250,
Steevens. The arras-hangings in Shakspeare's time, were hung at such a distance from the walls, that a person might easily stand behind them unperceived. Malone. :3 Since nature makes them partial, &c.]
Matres omnes filiis “ In peccato adjutrices, auxilii in paterna injuria 45 Solent esse .." Ter. Heaut. Act V, sc. ii. Steeuefis,
The speech, of vantage. Fare you well, my liege:
Thanks, dear my lord. [Exit Pol.
of vantage.] By some opportunity of secret observation.
Warburton. 5 Though inclination be as sharp as will;] Dr. Warburton would read:
Though inclination be as sharp as th’ill. The old reading is-as sharp as will. Steevens.
I have followed the easier emendation of Mr. Theobald, received by Sir T. Hanmer: i. e. as 'twill. Johnson. Will is command, direction. Thus, Ecclesiasticus, xliii, 16:
and at his will the south wind bloweth.” The King says, his mind is in too great confusion to pray, even though his inclination were as strong as the command which requires that duty.
Steevens. What the King means to say, is, “ That though he was not only willing to pray, but strongly inclined to it, yet his intention was defeated by his guilt.
The distinction I have stated between inclination and will, is supported by the following passage in the Laws of Candy, where Philander
says to Erato:
May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence
[Retires, and kneels.
Enter HAMLET. Ham. Now might I do it, pat, now he is praying; And now I 'll do 't;—and so he goes to heaven: And so am I reveng’d? That would be scann’d:2 A villain kills my father; and, for that, I, his sole son, do this same villain send?
6 May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence?] He that does not amend what can be amended, retains his offence. The King kept the crown from the right heir. Johnson.
A similar passage occurs in Philaster, where the King, whe had usurped the crown of Sicily, and is praying to heaven for forgiveness, says:
But how can I
“ Praying upon the ground I hold by wrong?” M. Mason. ? Yet what can it, when one can not repent?] What can repentance do for a man that cannot be penitent, for a man who has only part of penitence, distress of conscience, without the other part, resolution of amendment? Johnson.
8 O limed soul;] This alludes to bird-lime. Shakspeare uses the same word again, in King Henry VI, P. II:
Madam, myself have lim'd a bush for her.” Steevens.
- pat, now he is praying;] Thus the folio. The quartos read but now, &c. Steevens.
That would be scann'd:] i. e. that should be considered, estimated. Steevens.
2 1, his sole son, do this same villain send -] The folio reads
-foule son, a reading apparently corrupted from the quarto. The meaning is plain. i, his only son, who am bound to punish his murderer. Johnson.
hire and salary,] Thus the folio. The quartos read base and silly. Steevens. 4 He took my father grossly, full of bread;
With all his crimes broad blown, ] The uncommon expres. sion, full of bread, our poet borrowed from the sacred writings: “ Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fullness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy.” Ezekiel, xvi, 49. Malone.
5 And, how his audit stands, who knows, save heaven?] As it appears from the Ghost's own relation that he was in purgatory, Hamlet's doubt could only be how long he had to continue there.
Ritson. 6 Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:) To hent is used by Shakspeare for to seize, to catch, to lay hold on. Hent is, therefore, hold, or seizure. Lay hold on him, sword, at a more horrid time. Johnson. 7 When he is drunk, asleep, or in his rage;
Or in the incestuous pleasures of his bed;] So, in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1603:
“ Didst thou not kill him drunk?
• Thou shouldst, or in th’embraces of his lust.” Steevens. 8 At gaming, swearing :] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1604, reads-At game, a swearing; &c. Malone.
that his heels may kick at heaven;] So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613: