Weekly Interlinear Poem




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Robert Jackson

This is the poem for the week of November 17.
A new interlinear poem is available each Monday.


O, that this too too solid flesh would melt

-Shakespeare's Hamlet


O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
canon=body of rules/Bible
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead, nay, not so much, not two.
So excellent a king that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother
Hyperion=a powerful Greek god
satyr=half man, half goat (in Greek mythology)

That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
beteem=permit
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on, and yet, within a month --
Let me not think on't -- Frailty, thy name is woman! --
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears: -- why she, even she --
Niobe=wife of a king - she wept for her slain children
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason,
wants discourse of reason=lacks language, which is a characteristic of reason, which distinguishes a human being
Would have mourn'd longer -- married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
Hercules=a hero noted for his strength
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
ere yet=before
unrighteous=false, insincere

Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
galled=rubbed excessively
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
post=ride
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
incestuous - marriage to a deceased husband's brother was forbidden by the Church
It is not nor it cannot come to good.
it is not nor it cannot come to good=it is not, nor can it come, to good (double negatives are not uncommon in Shakespeare)
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.
break - it was thought that the heart was held in place by tendons, which could break when stressed
hold=hold back





O, that this too too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed. Things rank and gross in nature
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead, nay, not so much, not two.
So excellent a king that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr, so loving to my mother
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on, and yet, within a month --
Let me not think on't -- Frailty, thy name is woman! --
A little month, or ere those shoes were old
With which she follow'd my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, all tears: -- why she, even she --
O, God! a beast, that wants discourse of reason
Would have mourn'd longer -- married with my uncle,
My father's brother, but no more like my father
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married. O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets!
It is not nor it cannot come to good.
But break, my heart, for I must hold my tongue.