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The bold winds speechless 64, and the orb below
Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard. 'Pr’ythee, say on :-He's for a jig65, or a tale of bawdry, or he sleeps :-say on: come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah woe! had seen the mobled 66
queen64 • Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth.'
Venus and Adonis. 65 · He's for a jig or a tale of bawdry. Giga, in Italian, was a fiddle, or crowd; gigaro, a fiddler, or minstrel. Hence a jig (first written gigge, though pronounced with g soft, after the Italian), was a ballad, or ditty, sung to the fiddle. Frottola, a countrie gigge, or round, or country song or wanton verse. As these itinerant minstrels proceeded, they made it a kind of farcical dialogue; and at length it came to signify a short merry interlude: Farce, the jigg at the end of an enterlude, wherein some pretie knaverie is acted. There are several of the old ballads and dialogues called Jigs in the Harleian Collection. Thas also in The Fatal Contract, by Hemings :
we'll hear your jigg, How is your ballad titled.' 66 The folio reads inobled, an evident error of the press; for mobled, which means muffled. The queen is represented with 'a clout upon her head and a blanket wrapt round her, caught up in the alarm of fear.' We have the word in Ogilby's Fables :
• Mobbled dine days in my considering cap.' And in Shirley's Gentleman of Venice:
• The moon doth mobble up herself.'
Ham. The mobled queen?
the flames With bisson 67 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 up; Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pro
nounc'd: 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 clamour that she made (Unless things mortal move them not at all), Would have made milch 68 the burning eye of heaven, And passion in the gods.
Pol. Look, whether he has not turn’d his colour, and has tears in's eyes 69.—'Pr’ythee, no more.
67 Bisson is blind; bisen, A. S. Bisson rheum is therefore blinding tears. In Coriolanus we have, · Bisson conspecuities.'
68 · Would have made milch the burning eye of heaven.' By a hardy poetical licence this expression means, 'Would have filled with tears the burning eye of heaven. We have 'Lemosus, milch-hearted,' in Huloet's and in Lyttleton's Dictionaries; and Eliot renders lemosi 'those that weepe lightly. It is remarkable that, in old Italian, lattuoso is used for luttuoso, in the same metaphorical manner. To have made passion in the Gods' would have been to move them to sympathy or compassion.
68 • The plays of Shakspeare, by their own power, must have given a different turn to acting, and almost new-created the performers of his age. Mysteries, moralities, and interludes afforded no materials for art to work on, no discriminations of character, or varieties of appropriated language. From tragedies like Cambyses, Tamburlaine, and Jeronymo, nature was wholly banished; and the comedies of Gammer Gurton, Comon Condycyons, and The Old Wives Tale, might have had justice done to them by the lowest order of human beings.
'Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius altæ, was wanting when the dramas of Shakspeare made their first appearance ;
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 honour 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 you not?
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.
and to these we were certainly indebted for the excellent actors who could never have improved so long as their sensibilities were unawakened, their memories burthened only by pedantic or puritanical declamation, and their manners vulgarised by pleasantry of as low an origin.'--Steevens. VOL. X.
Ham. Ay, so, good bye to you:--Now I am alone.
70 The folio reads warm’d, which reading Steevens contended for: he was probably moved by a spirit of opposition; for surely no one can doubt, who considers the context, that wann'd is the poet's word. Indeed I question whether his visage warm’d, for his face suffused, would have entered into the mind of a writer, or the comprehension of a reader or auditor in Shakspeare's time.
71 i. e. the hint or prompt word, a technical phrase among players; it is the word or sign given by the prompter for a player to enter on his part, to begin to speak or act. “A prompter (says Florio), one who keepes the booke for the plaiers, and teacheth them, or schollers their kue,' i. e. their part; and this will explain why it is used in other places, as in Othello, for part :
· Were it my cue to fight, I should have known it
Without a prompter.' 72 John a dreams, or John a droynes, was a common term for any dreaming or droning simpleton. There is a story told of one John a droynes, a Suffolk simpleton, who played the Devil in a
And can say nothing; no, not for a king,
stage play, in the Hundred Merry Tales. And there is another foolish character of that name in Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra. Unpregnant is not quickened or properly impressed with.
73 Defeat here signifies destruction. It was frequently used in the sense of undo or take away by our old writers. Thus Chapman in his Revenge for Honour :
· That he might meantime make a sure defeat
On our good aged father's life.' 74 Kindless is unnatural. 75 The first folio reads thus :
That I the sonne of the Deere murthered.' The quarto of 1604 omits. Oh vengeance,' and reads, ' a deere murthered. The quarto of 1603, 'that I the son of my dear father.'