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Than may be given you: In few, Ophelia,
you so slander
SCENE IV. The Platform.
Enter HAMLET, HORATIO, and MARCELLUS.
I think it lacks of twelve.
Wherein the spirit held his wont to walk. [A Flourish of Trumpets, and Ordnance shot
off, within. What does this mean, my
lord ? Ham. The king doth wake to-night, and takes his
26 i. e. panders. Brokage and to broke was anciently to deal in business of an amatory nature by procurement. Thus in A Lover's Complaint:
• Know vows are ever brokers to defiling.' | Eager was used in the sense of the French aigre, sharp. 2 See note 21,
Keeps wassel, and the swaggering up-spring * reels;
Is it a custom ?
3 The origin of the word wassel is thus related by Geffrey of Monmouth :- On Vortigern's first interview with Rowena she kneeled before him, and presenting a cup of wine, said to him Lord king was hæl, i. e. be bealth, or health be to you! Vortigern, upacquainted with the Saxon language, inquired the meaning of these words, and being told that he should answer them by saying Drinc heil, he did so, and commanded Rowena to drink; then taking the cup from her hand he kissed the damsel and pledged her. From that time the custom remained in Britain that whoever drank to another at a feast said Was hæl, and he that immediately after received the cup answered Drinc heil. The story is also told in the Metrical Chronicle of Robert of Brunne. To keep wassell was to devote the time to festivity. Vide Love's Labour's Lost, Act v. Sc. 2. To wake signified to revel at night. Vide Florio in voce Veggia.
4 I take upspring here to mean nothing more than upstart. Steevens, from a passage in Chapman's Alphonsus, thought that it might mean a dance.
5 This and the following twenty-one lines are omitted in the folio. They had probably been omitted in representation, lest they should give offence to Apne of Denmark.
Clepe, call clypian, Sax. The Danes were indeed proverbial as drunkards, and well they might be, according to the accounts of the time. A lively French traveller, being asked what he had seen in Denmark, replied, “ Rien de singulier sinon qu'on y chante tous les jours le Roi boit," alluding to the French mode of celebrating Twelfth Day. See De Brieux Origines de quelques Coutumes, p. 56. Heywood in his Philocothonista, or The Drunkard Opened, &c. 1635, 4to. speaking of what he calls the vinosity of nations, says of the Danes, that they have made a profession thereof from antiquity, and are the first upon
Soil our addition?; and, indeed it takes
that brought their wassel bowls and elbowe deepe bealthes into this land. -- Douce. Roger Ascham, in one of his Letters, says, • The Emperor of Germany, who had his head in the glass five times as long as any of us, never drank less than a good quart at once of Rhenish wine.' See also Howel's Letters, 8vo. 1726, p. 236. Muffet's Health’s Improvement, 4to. 1635, p. 294. Harington's Nugæ Antiquæ, 8vo. 1804, vol. i. p. 349.
7 i. e. characterize us by a swinish epithet. 8 i. e. spot, blemish.
9 Complexion for humour. By complexion our ancestors understood the constitutions or affections of the body.
10 i. e. the influence of the planet supposed to govern our birth, &c.
e. judgment, opinion. 12 The last paragraph of this speech stands in the quarto editions thus:-
the dram of eale
To his own scandal.'
The dram of base
Enter Ghost. Hor.
Look, my lord, it comes ! Ham. Angels and ministers of grace,defend us!!
13!Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd 14,
Doth all the noble substance often dout [i. e. do out.]
To his own scandal.'
The dram of base
To his own scandal.' I see no reason why dout should be substituted for doubt. The editors have unwarrantably made the same substitution in King Henry V. Act iv. Sc. 2, and then cite it as a precedent. Mr. Boswell has justly observed, that to doubt may mean to bring into doubt or suspicion ; many words similarly formed are used by Shakspeare and his cotemporaries. Thus to fear is to create fear; to pale is to make pale ; to cease is to cause to cease, &c. I have followed the emendation in other respects, though I have ventured to read bale (i. e. evil) instead of base, as nearer to the reading of the first edition. A passage of similar import is in King Henry IV. Part I.:
Oftentimes it doth present harsh rage
Beguiling them of commendation.' 13 Hamlet's speech to the apparition of his father seems to consist of three parts. When he first sees the spectre, he fortifies himself with an invocation :
Angels and ministers of grace, defend us !! As the spectre approaches, he deliberates with himself, and determines that, whatever it be, he will venture to address it:
• Be thou a spirit of health,' &c. This he says while his father's spirit is advancing; he then, as he had determined, speaks to him, and calls him :
Johnson. 14 « Art thou a god, a man, or else a ghost ?
Com'st thou from heaven, where bliss and solace dwell?
A colastus, or After Wit, 1604.
Bring with thee airs from heaven, or blasts from hell,
Hor. It beckons you to go away with it,
No, by no means.
Why, what should be the fear? 15 Questionable must not be understood in its present acceptation of doubtful, but as conversable, inviting question or conversation; this was the most prevalent meaning of the word in Sbakspeare's time.
16 Quarto 1603–interr'd.
1? It appears from Olaus Wormius, cap. vii. that it was the custom to bury the Danish kings in their armour. tuation of complete and canónized on the first syllable is not peculiar to Sbakspeare, but the practice of several of his cotemporaries.
18 Frame of mind.