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Ham. For if the fun breed maggots in a dead dog, Being a God, kifling carrionHave you a daughter?

6 For if the Sun breed maggots in a dead dog, Being a GOOD kiing carrionHave you a daughter?] The editors feeing Hamlet counterfeit madness, thought they might fafely put any nonfenfe into his mouth. But this ftrange paffage when fet right, will be feen to contain as great and fublime a reflexion as any the poet puts into his Hero's mouth throughout the whole play. We fhall firft give the true reading, which is this,

For if the Sun breed maggots in

a dead dog,

Being a God, kiffing carrionAs to the fense we may obferve, that the illative particle [for] thews the speaker to be reafoning from fomething he had faid before: What that was we learn in thefe words, to be honest, as this aworld goes, is to be one picked out of ten thousand. Having faid this, the chain of ideas led him to reflect upon the argument which libertines bring against Providence from the circumftance of abounding Evil. In the next fpeech therefore he endeavours to answer that objection, and vindicate Providence, even on a fuppofition of the fact, that almost all men were wicked. His argument in the two lines in queftion is to this purpofe, Eut why need we wonder at this abounding of evil? for if the Sun breed


-Here he

maggots in dead dog, which tho’
a God, yet fhedding its heat and
influence upon carrion-
ftops fhort, left talking too con-
fequentially the hearer fhould
fufpect his madness to be feign-
ed; and fo turns him off from
the subject, by enquiring of his
daughter. But the inference
which he intended to make, was
a very noble one, and to this
purpose. If this (fays he) be the
cafe, that the effect follows the
thing operated upon [carrion]
and not the thing operating [a
God;] why need we wonder,
that the fupreme cause of all
things diffufing its bleffings on
mankind, who is, as it were, a
dead carrion, dead in original
fin, man, inftead of a proper re-
turn of duty, fhould breed only
corruption and vices? This is
the argument at length; and is
as noble a one in behalf of pro-
vidence as could come from the
fchools of divinity. But this
wonderful man had an art not
only of acquainting the audience.
with what his actors fay, but
with what they think. The fen-
timent too is altogether in cha-
raster, for Hamlet is perpetually
moralizing, and his circumftan-
ces make this reflexion very na-
tural. The fame thought, iome-
thing diverfified, as on a differ
ent occafion, he uses again in
Measure for Measure, which will
ferve to confirm these observations;


Pol. I have, my Lord.

Ham. Let her not walk i' th' Sun; conception is a bleffing, but not as your daughter may conceive. Friend, look to't.

Pol. How fay you by that? Still harping on my daughter?

Yet he knew me not at firft; he faid, I was a fifh


He is far gone; and, truly, in my youth,
I fuffered much extremity for love;
Very near this.I'll fpeak to him again.
What do you read, my Lord?

Ham. Words, words, words.

Pol. What is the matter, my Lord?
Ham. Between whom?


Pol. I mean the matter that you read, my Lord. Ham. Slanders, Sir: for the fatirical flave fays here, that old men have grey beards; that their faces are wrinkled; their eyes purging thick amber, and plum-tree gum; and that they have a plentiful lack of wit; together with most weak hams. All which,

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men, &c.] By the fatyrical flave
he means Juvenal in his tenth

Da fpatium vitæ, multos da
Jupiter annos:

Hoc recto valut, folum hoc &
pallidus optas.

Sed quàm continuis & quantis longa fenectus

Plena malis! deformem, & te

trum ante omnia vultum, Diffimilemque fui, &c. Nothing could be finer imagined for Hamlet, in his circumftances, than the bringing him in reading a defcription of the evils of long life. WARBURTON.

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Sir, tho' I moft powerfully and potently believe, yet I hold it not honefty to have it thus fet down; for yourself, Sir, fhall be as old as I am, if, like a crab, you could go backward.

Pol. Though this be madness, yet there's method


Will you walk out of the air, my Lord?

Ham. Into my grave.

Pol. Indeed, that is out o' th' air:

How pregnant fometimes his replies are?
A happiness that often madness hits on,
Which fanity and reason could not be
So profp❜rously deliver'd of. I'll leave him,
And fuddenly contrive the means of meeting
Between him and my daughter.

My honourable Lord, I will most humbly
Take my leave of you.


Ham. You cannot, Sir, take from me any thing that I will more willingly part withal, except my life. Pol. Fare you well, my Lord.

Ham. Thefe tedious old fools!

Pol. You go to feek Lord Hamlet; there he is.


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Rof. God fave you, Sir.

Guil. Mine honour'd Lord!

Rof. My most dear Lord!

Ham. My excellent good friends! How doft thou,

Oh, Refinerantz, good lads! how do ye both?
Rof. As the indifferent children of the earth.
Guil. Happy, in that we are not over-happy:


On fortune's cap, we are not the very button.
Ham. Nor the foles of her fhoe?

Rof. Neither, my Lord.

Ham. Then you live about her waift, or in the middle of her favours?

Guil. 'Faith, in her privates we.

Ham. In the fecret parts of fortune? oh, most true; fhe is a ftrumpet. What news?

Rof. None, my Lord, but that the world's grown honest,

Ham. Then is dooms day near; but your news is not true. Let me queftion more in particular: what have you, my good friends, deferved at the hands of fortune, that the fends you to prifon hither? Guil. Prifon, my Lord!

Ham. Denmark's a prison.

Rof. Then is the world one.

Ham. A goodly one, in which there are many confines, wards, and dungeons; Denmark being one o'th' worst.

Rof. We think not fo, my Lord.

Ham. Why, then, 'tis none to you; for there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it fo. To me, it is a prison.

Rof. Why, then your ambition makes it one: 'tis too narrow for your mind.

Ham. Oh God, I could be bounded in a nut shell, and count myself a King of infinite space; were it not, that I have bad dreams.

Guil. Which dreams, indeed, are Ambition; for the very substance of the ambitious is merely the fhadow of a dream.

Ham. A dream itself is but a fhadow.

The shadow of a dream.] Shake, care has accidentally inverted an expreffion of Pindar,

that the ftate of humanity is oxis örap, the dream of a shadow.


Rof. Truly, and I hold ambition of so airy and light a quality, that it is but a fhadow's fhadow.

Ham. Then are our beggars, bodies; and our monarchs and out-ftretch'd heroes, the beggars' fhadows. Shall we to th' Court? for, by my fay, I cannot reason.

Both. We'll wait upon you. Ham. No fuch matter. I will not fort you with the rest of my fervants; for, to speak to you like an honest man, I am moft dreadfully attended. But in the beaten way of Friendship, what make you at Elfinoor?

Rof. To vifit you, my Lord; no other occafion. Ham. Beggar that I am, I am even poor in thanks but I thank you; and fure, dear friends, my thanks are too dear of a half-penny. Were you not fent for? Is it your own inclining? Is it a free vifitation ? Come, deal juftly with me; Come, come; Nay, fpeak.

Guil. What should we fay, my Lord?

Ham. Any thing, but to the purpose. You were fent for; and there is a kind of confeffion in your looks, which your modefties have not craft enough to colour. I know, the good King and Queen have fent for you.

Rof. To what end, my Lord?

Ham. That you must teach me; but let me conjure you by the rights of our fellowship, by the confonancy of our youth, by the obligation of our everpreferved love, and by what more dear, a better propofer could charge you withal; be even and direct with me, whether you were fent for or no? Rof. What fay you?

9 Then are our beggars, bodies;] Shakefieare seems here to defign a ridicule of these declamations

[To Guilden.

against wealth anderea nefs, that feem to make happiness confift in poverty.


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