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Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works.
Speak to her, Hamlet.
Ham. How is it with you, Lady?

Queen. Alas, how is't with you !
That tlaus you bend your eye on vacancy,
And with th' incorporal air do hold discourse?
Forth at your eyes your spirits wildly peep,
And, as the fleeping soldiers in th' alarm,
Your bedded hairs, like life in excrements, (53)
(53) Your bedded hairs, like life in excrements,

Start up and stand on end) I took notice, in my Shakespeare Restored, that this expression as much wanted an explanation, as any the most antiquated word in our Poet wants a gloss. Mr Hughes, in his imprellion of this play, has left it out; either because he could make nothing of it, or thought it alluded to an image too nauseous. The Port's meaning is founded on a physical determination, that the bair and nails are excrementitious parts of the body (as indeed they are) without life or sensation. Macrobus, in his Saturnalia, (lib. vii. cap. 2.) not only speaks of those parts of the human body which have on fenfation, but likewise affigns the reasons why they can have none. Ofa, dentes, cum unguibus el capillis, nimia siccitate ita densata sunt, iti penetrabilia non fint effé&tui anima qui fenfim mi nijtrat. Thercfore the Poet means to say, fear and surprise had such an effect upon Hamlet, that his hairs, as if there were life in those excre. mentitious parts, started up and stood op end. He has expressed the same thought more plainly in Macbeth ;

-and my fell of hair
Would at a dismal treaise rouze, and stir,

As life were in't.
That our Poet was acquainted with this notion in phyfics,
of the hair being without life, we need no stronger warrant,
than that he frequently mentions it as an excrement.

Why is time such a niggard of hair, being, as it is, so plentiful an excrement?

Comedy of Errors.
How many cowards, whose hearts are all as false
As ftairs of fand, wear yet upon their chins
The beards of Hercules, and frowning Mars ;
Who, inward fearched, have livers white as milk?
And there assume but valour's excrement
To render chem redoubted. Merchant of Venice,

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Start up, and stand on end gentle son,
Upon the heat and flame of thy diltemper
Sprinkle cool patience. Whereon do you lock?
Ham. On hin ! on him!---look you, how pale he

glares !
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones
Would make them capable. Do not look on me,
Left with this piteous action you convert.
My ftern effects; then what I have to do,
Will want true colour; tears, perchance, for blood.

Queen. To whom do you speak this?
Ham. Do you see nothing there?

[Pointing to the Ghost.
Queen. Nothing at all; yet all, that is, I fee.
Ham. Nor did you nothing hear?
Queen. No, nothing but ourselves,

Ham. Why, look you there! look, how it steals, My father in his habit as he lived ! [away! Look, where he goes even now, cut at the portal.

[Exit Ghost Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain : This bodiless creation ecstasy Is very cunning in.

Ham. What ecstasy? My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, And makes as healthful music. 'Tis not madness That I have uttered; bring me to the test, And I the matter will re-word; which madness Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,'.> Lay not that flattering unction to your soul, That not your trespass, but my madness, fpeaks :

For I must tell thee, it will please his grace (by the world) sometime to lean upon my poor Moulder, and with his royal: finger thus dally with my escreinent, with my musiacios. &c. &c.

Loie's Labour L.

It will but tkin and film the ulccrous place; (54)
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen. Confess yourself to Heaven;
Repent what's past, avoid what is to come ;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker. Forgive me this my virtues
For, in the fatness of these pursy times,
Virtue itself of vice must pardon beg,
Yea, courb, and wooe, for leave to do it good.
Queen. Oh, Hamlet ! thou hast cleft my heart in

Hum. O, throw away the worser part of it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good night; but go not to mine uncle's bed:
Affume a virtue, if you have it not.
That monster custom, who all sente doth eat (55)

(54) It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,

Whild rank corruption, running all wiihir,

Infiits unseen.] So, our Poet elsewhere speaking of the force of power;

Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skins the rice o' th top.

Mem. for Mealo But why, in the passage before uis, has Mr Pope given us a reading that is warranted by none of the copies, and degraded one that has the countenance of all of them?.

Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,

Infects unseen, The Poet deferibės corruption as having a corrofive quality, caring its secret way, and undermining the parts that are skinned over, and seem found to exteriour view He, in another place, ufes the simple verb for the compound.

He lets me feed with his hiods, bars me the place of a bron ther, and, as much as in him lyes; mines my gentility with my education.

As You Like its (55) That' monster custom, who all fer fe doih cat,

of habit's devil, is crcel yet in tis;
That to the infe of a&ions fair and gud
He likewife gives a frick, or livery:

Of habits evil, is angel yet in this;
That to the use of actions fair and good
He likewife gives a frock, or livery,
That aptly is put on. Refrain to-night;
And that shall lend a kind of easiness
To the next abftinence; the next, more easy;
For use can almost change the stamp of Nature,
And master even the Deyil, or throw himn out
With wondrous potency. Once more, good night!:
And when you are desirous to be blest,
I'll blelling beg of you.---For this fame Lord,

[Pointing to Polonius,
I do repent: but Heaven bath pleased it fo,
To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister.
I will bestow him, and will answer well
The death I gave him; so, again, good night!
I must be cruel, only to be kind;
Thus bad begins, and worse remains behind.. :

Queen. What

Ham. Not this, by no means, that I bid you do. Let the fond King tempt you again to bed; Pinch wanton on your cheek; call you his mouse;. And let him, for a pair of reechy killes, Or paddling in your neck with his damned fingers,

That aptly is put on.) This paffage is left out in the two elder Folios; it is certainly corrupt, and the players did the discreet part to stifte what they did not understand. Habit's "evil certainly arose from some conceited samperer with the text, who thought it was neecffary, in contrast to an. gel The emendation of the text I owe to the fagacity of Dr Thirlby :

That monster custom, who all senfe doth çat:.:

Of habits evil, is angel, &c. ri. e. Custom, which by inuring us to ill habits, makes us lore the apprehention of their being really ill; as eally will seconcile us to the practice of good actions..



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, fober, wise, Would from a paddock, from a bat, a gibbe, Such dear concernings hide? who would do to ? No, in despight of lense and secrefy, Unpeg the balket 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 assured, 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, you know that?
Queen. Alack, I had forgot; 'tis fo concluded on.
Ham. There's letters sealed, and my two school.

(Whom I will trust as I will adders fanged)
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
Hailt with his own petard : and't thall hard,
But I will delye 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 thall set me, packing;
I'll lug the guts into the neighbour roon;
Mother, good-night.--Indeed, this Counsellor
Is now most still, most secret, and most grave,
Who was in life a foolifb, prating knave.
Come, Sir, to draw toward an end with you.
Good-night, mother.

fExit Hamlet, tugging in Polonius.

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