With an auspicious and a dropping eye,
With mirth in funeral and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,--

from William Shakespeare – Hamlet Act 1 Scene 2 on Rap Genius

Meaning

Mourn and be delighted equally over the death of King Hamlet and Claudius' marriage to Gertrude. Looking with an auspicious and dropping eye as in seeing the bright side of things (the marriage of Claudius and gertrude) and mourning the negative side (King Hamlet’s death).

Also, in the Elizabethan/Jacobean era, “an auspicious and a dropping eye” would have immediately signified a duplicity within the person talking. The audience would know that something is amiss here.

This is really a brilliant bit of rhetoric on Claudius’s part: he casts himself both as a mourning brother, and a humbly grateful king and husband. He balances the mourning and the celebration so skillfully in this scene, setting himself up as a strong king…in power, but appropriately humble and gracious.

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