Why, let the stricken deer go weep, The hart ungalléd play.

What ARE you on about, Hamlet?
The rhythm, I understand –
It’s like, nursery rhyme time
Time to celebrate or gloat or tease.
And I get, too, the metaphorical –
The deer, struck by an arrow, let’s say, is Claudius, with the arrow of the play struck home and Hamlet’s fine to let him go weep, go nurse the wound. I imagine in hunting that this might be a practice of striking, then allowing the animal to do what it needs to before following along and finishing the job.

But what about the hart? While it’s often prey, too, it’s ungalléd here, unbothered.
I guess Hamlet is the hart?
Claudius = deer going off bleeding
Hamlet = hart cavorting in the fields
Metaphorically makes some sense.

But is this a saying?
It sounds like one – though not a terribly logical saying. Unless it’s a mnemonic hunting policy – like you should always let the deer slink off and leave harts alone without bothering them?
Could be I guess.
Could be a “liquor before beer never fear” sort of saying – a little rhyme-y reminder for hunters but it feels more likely that Hamlet just makes this one up.

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