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pastoral, [tragical-historical, tragical-comical-historicalpastoral,'] scene individable, or poem unlimited.Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light for the law of writ? and the liberty. These are the only
Ham. O Jephthah, judge of Israel,-what a treasure hadst thou !
Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord?
The which he loved passing well.*
[ Aside. Ham. Am I not i’ the right, old Jephthah ?
Pol. If you call me Jephthah, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well.
Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Ham. Why, As by lot, God wot, and then, you know, It came to pass, As most like it was --The first row of the pious chanson* will show you more ; for look, my abridgment comes.
Enter four or five Players. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all.-I am glad to see thee well ;-welcome, good friends.-old friend! Why, thy face is valanced 6 since I saw thee last. Com'st thou to beard me in Denmark ? —What!
1 The words within crotchets are not in the quartos.
2 Writ for writing, a common abbreviation, which is not yet obsolete. The quarto of 1603 reads, “ for the law hath writ.” The modern editions have pointed this passage in the following manner :-"Scene individable, or poem unlimited ; Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light. For the law of writ, and the liberty, these are the only men."
3 An imperfect copy of this ballad, of “ Jephtha, Judge of Israel," was given to Dr. Percy by Steevens. See Reliques, ed. 1794, vol. i.
189. There is a more correct copy in Mr. Evans's Old Ballads, vol. i.
7. ed. 1810.
4 Pons chanson is the reading of the first folio ; three of the quartos read pious ; and the newly-discovered quarto of 1603,“ the godly ballad ;" which puts an end to controversy upon the subject. The first row is the first column. Every one is acquainted with the form of these old carols and ballads. 5 The folio reads, “ abridgments come.” My abridgment, i. e. who IN to abridge my talk. 6 i. e. fringed with a beard.
PASpotkurianPOTATA. ATA ertina
my young lady and mistress! By-?r-lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a chopine. 'Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e’en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see; we'll have a speech straight. Come, give us a taste of
your quality ; come, a passionate speech.
1 Play. What speech, my lord ?
Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech, once--but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once; for the play, I remember, pleased not the million ; 3 'twas caviare to the general ;4 but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top of mine) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modesty as cunning. I remember one said there were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savory; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection ; 6 but called it, an honest method, as wholesome as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved; 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam’s slaughter. If it live in your memory, begin at this line; let me see, let me see ;--
The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast, ?tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.
1 A chopine, a kind of high shoe, or rather clog, worn by the Spanish and Italian ladies, and adopted at one time as a fashion by the English. Coriate describes those worn by the Venetians as some of them “ half a yard high."
2 The old gold coin was thin, and liable to crack. There was a ring or circle on it, within which the sovereign's head, &c. was placed; if the crack extended beyond this ring, it was rendered uncurrent.
3 The quarto of 1603, vulgar.
4 56'Twas caviare to the general.” Caviare is said to be the pickled roes of certain fish of the sturgeon kind, called in Italy caviale, and much used there and in other Catholic countries. Great quantities were prepared on the river Volga formerly. As a dish of high seasoning and peculiar flavor, it was not relished by the many, i. e. the general.
5 The force of this phrase will appear from the following passage, cited by Steevens, from A Banquet of Jests, 1665:—“For junkets, joci, and for sallets, sales."
6 i. e. impeach the author with affectation in his style.
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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
The rugged Pyrrhus,-he whose sable arms,
Pol. 'Fore God, my lord, well spoken; with good accent, and good discretion.
1 Play. Anon he finds him
| Gules, i. e. red, in the language of heraldry. To trick is to color. 2 The rack is the clouds.
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
On Mars's armor, forged for proof eterne,
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. 'Prythee, say on.--He's for a jig,' or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps.—Say on : come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah, woe! had seen the mobledo
queenHam. The mobled queen? Pol. That's good; mobled queen is good. 1 Play. Run barefoot up and down, threatening the
flames With bisson 3 rheum; a clout upon that head, Where late the diadem stood; and, for a robe, About her lank and all o’er-teemed loins, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught ир, Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steeped, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pronounced. But if the gods themselves did see her then, When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs; The instant burst of clamor that she made, (Unless things mortal move them not at all,) Would have made milch the burning eye of heaven, And passion in the gods.
1 Giga, in Italian, was a fiddle, or crowd; gigaro, a fiddler, or minstrel. Hence a jig (first written gigge, though pronounced with a g soft, after the Italian) was a ballad, or ditty, sung to the fiddle. There are several of the old ballads and dialogues called jigs in the Harleian Collection.
2 The folio reads inobled, an evident error of the press, for mobled, which means muffled.
3 Bisson is blind. Bisson rheum, therefore, is blinding tears.
this expression means, “Would have filled with tears the burning eye of heaven." To have made passion in the gods” would have been to move them to compassion.
Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his color, and has tears in's eyes.—'Prythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed ? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract, and brief chronicles, of the time. After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you
live. Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
Ham. Odd's bodikin, man, much better. Use every man after his desert, and who shall 'scape whipping ? Use them after your own honor and dignity; the less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in. Pol. Come, sirs.
[Exit POLONIUS, with some of the Players. Ham. Follow him, friends; we'll hear a play tomorrow.-Dost thou hear me, old friend; can you play the murder of Gonzago?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't ? could
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Very well. Follow that lord ; and look you mock him not. [Exit Player.]-My good friends, [To Ros. and Guil] I'll leave you till night; you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord!
[Exeunt ROSENCRANTZ and GUILDENSTERN. Ham. Ay, so, good bye to you ;--now I am alone. O, what a rogue and peasant slave am I! Is it not monstrous, that this player here, But in a fiction, in a dream of passion, Could force his soul so to his own conceit, That from her working, all his visage wanned ;
1 The folio reads warmed, which reading Steevens contended for; but surely no one can doubt, who considers the context, that wanned is the Poet's word.
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