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Whom I will trust, as I will adders fang’d,5–
[Exeunť severally; Ham. dragging in Pol.
adders fang’d,] That is, adders with their fangs or poi. sonous teeth, undrawn. It has been the practice of mountebanks to boast the efficacy of their antidotes by playing with vipers, but they first disabled their fangs. Johnson.
they must sweep my way, &c.] This phrase occurs again in Antony and Cleopatra:
some friends, that will Sweep your way for you.” Steevens. 7 Hoist &c.] Hoist, for hoised; as past, for passed. Steevens.
8 When in one line two crafts directly meet.] Still alluding to a countermine. Malone.
The same expression has already occurred in K. John, Act IV, speech ult:
“Now powers from home, and discontents at home,
" Meet in one line." Steevens. 9 I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room: ] line somewhat similar occurs in King Henry VI, P. III:
“ I 'll throw thy body in another room, The word guts was not anciently so offensive to delicacy as it is at present; but was used by Lyly (who made the first attempt to polish our language) in his serious compositions. So, in his Mydas, 1592: “ Could not the treasure of Phrygia, nor the tri
utes of Greece, nor mountains in the East, whose guts are gold satisfy thy mind ?" In short, guts was used where we now use. entrails. Stanyhurst often has it in his translation of Virgil, 1582:
Pectoribus inhians spirantia consulit exta.
“She weenes her fortune by guts hoate smoakye to conster."* Again, in Chapman's version of the sixth Iliad:
in whose guts the king of men imprest “ His ashen lance; -. Steevens.
ACT IV2..... SCENE I.
Enter King, Queen, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDENSTERN.
[To Ros. and Guil. who go out. Ah, my good lord,4 what have I seen to-night!
King. What, Gertrude? How does Hamlet?
Queen. Mad as the sea, and wind, when both contends
O heavy deed!
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. 2 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 scenes. Johnson.
3 Bestow this place on us a little while.] This line is wanting in the folio. Steevens. my good lord,] The quartos readmine own lord.
Steevens. 5 Mad as the sea, and wind, when both contend &c.] We have precisely the same image in King Lear, expressed with more brevity:
he was met even now,
Should have kept short, restrain'd, and out of haunt,
Queen. To draw apart the body he hath kill'd:
King. O, Gertrude, come away!
Enter RosENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN.
[Exeunt Ros. and GUIL. Come, Gertrude, we 'll call up our wisest friends; And let them know, both what we mean to do,
out of haunt,] I would rather read- out of harm.
Fohnson. Out of haunt, means, out of company. So, in Antony and Cleapatra:
“ Dido and her Sichæus shall want troops,
“ And all the haunt be ours.” Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, B. V, ch. xxvi: “ And from the smith of heaven's wife allure the amorous
haunt.” The place where men assemble, is often poetically called the haunt of men. So, in Romeo and Juliet :
« We talk here in the publick haunt of men.” Steevens.
like some ore,] Shakspeare seems to think ore to be or, that is, gold. Base metals have ore no less than precious. Johnson.
Shakspeare uses the general word ore to express gold, because it was the most excellent of ores. I suppose we should read “ of metal base" instead of metals, which much improves the canstruction of the passage. M. Mason. He has perhaps used ore in the same sense in his Rape of Luo
“ When beauty boasted blushes, in despite
And what's untimely done: so, haply, slander,
A mineral Minsheu defines in his Dictionary, 1617: “ Any thing that grows in mines, and contains metals.” Shakspeare seems to have used the word in this sense,--for a rude mass of metals. In Bullokar's English Espositor, 8vo. 1616, Mineral is defined," mettall, or any thing digged out of the earth.” Malone.
Minerals are mines. So, in The Golden Remains of Hales of 7 Eton, 1693, p. 34: “ Controversies of the times, like spirits in the minerals, with all their labour, nothing is done.” Again, in Hall's Virgidemiarum, Lib. VI:
“ Shall it not be a wild fig in a wall,
so, haply, slander, &c.] Neither these words, nor the following three lines and an half, are in the folio. In the quarto, 1604, and all the subsequent quartos, the passage stands thus :
· And what's untimely done. “ Whose whisper o'er the world's diameter,” &c. the compositor having omitted the latter part of the first line, a's in a former scene, (see p. 154, n. 9,) a circumstance which gives additional strength to an observation made on Antony and Cleopatra, Act V, sc. i, Vol. XIII. Mr. Theobald supplied the lacuna by reading,-For haply slander, &c. So appears to me to suit the context better; for these lines are rather in apposition with those immediately preceding, than an illation from them. Mr. M Mar son, I find, has made the same observation.
Shakspeare, as Theobald has observed, again expatiates on the diffusive power of slander, in Cymbeline :
No, 'tis slander;
“ All corners of the world.” Malone.
cannon to his blank, ] The blank was the white mark at which shot or arrows were directed. So, in King Lear :
let me still remain
the woundless air.] So, in a former scene :
Another Room in the same.
Enter HAMLET. Ham.-Safely stowed,-[Ros. &c. within. Hamlet! lord Hamlet!] But soft,2—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 may take it thence, And bear it to the chapel.
Ham. Do not believe it.
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?
Ros. 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 apc, in the corner of his jaw; first mouthed, to be last
But soft.] I have added these two words from the quarto, 1604. Steevens. The folio reads:
“ Ham. Safely stowed.
“ Ham. What noise," &c.
“ Ham. Safely stowed; but soft, what noise ? who calls on Hamlet?” &c.
I have therefore printed Hamlet's speech unbroken, and inserted that of Rosencrantz, &c. from the folio, before the words, but soft, &c. In the modern editions Hamlet is made to take nolice of the noise made by the courtiers, before he has heard it.
Malone. Compounded it with dust,] So, in King Henry IV, P. II:
Only compound me with forgotten dust.” Again, in our poet's 71st onnet:
“ When I perhaps compounded am with clay.” Malone.
like an ape,] The quarto has apple, which is generally followed. The folio bas ape, which Sir T. Hanmer has received, and illustrated with the following note :
“ It is the way of monkeys in eating, to throw that part of their food, which they take up first, into a pouch they are pro