Page images
PDF
EPUB

With martial stalk, hath he gone by our watch. Hor. In what particular thought to work, I

know not; But, in the gross and scope of mine opinion, This bodes some strange eruption to our state. Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that

knows, Why this same strict and most observant watch So nightly toils the subject of the land ? And why such daily cast of brazen cannon, And foreign mart for implements of war; Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Does not divide the Sunday from the week: What might be toward, that this sweaty haste Doth make the night joint labourer with the day; Who is't, that can inform me ? : Hor.

That can I ; At least, the whisper goes so. Our last king, Whose image even but now appear'd to us,

Again, in M. Kyffin's translation of the Andria of Terence, 1588: “ Comes he this day so jump in the very time of this mar

riage ?" Steevens. 8 In what particular thought to work,] i, e. What particular train of thinking to follow. Steevens.

9- gross and scope —] General thoughts, and tendency at large. Johnson.

1 - daily CAST —] The quartos read-cost. STEEVENS,

2 Why such IMPRESS of shipwrights,] Judge Barrington, Observations on the more Ancient Statutes, p. 300, having observed that Shakspeare gives English manners to every country where his scene lies, infers from this passage, that in the time even of Queen Elizabeth, shipwrights as well as seamen were forced to serve. WHALLEY.

Impress signifies only the act of retaining shipwrights by giving them what was called prest money (from pret, Fr.) for holding themselves in readiness to be employed. Thus, Chapman, in his version of the second book of Homer's Odyssey :

“ I, from the people straight, will press for you,

Free voluntaries —.” See Mr. Douce's note on King Lear, Act IV. Sc. VI. STEEVENS.

Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dar'd to the combat ; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seald compact,
Well ratified by law, and heraldry 4,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror :
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,
And carriage of the article design'd',

3 Thereto PRICK'D on -] So, in Othello :

Pricked to it by foolish honesty and love." Boswell. 4 — by law, and heraldry,] Mr. Upton says, that Shakspeare sometimes expresses one thing by two substantives, and that laru and heraldry means, by the herald law. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV.:

“Where rather I expect victorious life,

“ Than death and honour.i. e. honourable death. STEEVENS.

Puttenham, in his Art of Poesie, speaks of The Figure of Twinnes : horses and barbes, for barbed horses ; venim and dartes, for venimous dartes," &c. FARMER.

“ – law, and heraldry.” That is, according to the forms of law and heraldry. When the right of property was to be determined by combat, the rules of heraldry were to be attended to, as well as those of law. M. Mason.

i. e. to be well ratified by the rules of law, and the forms prescribed jure feciali ; such as proclamation, &c. MALONE. 5-as, by the same CO-MART,

And carriage of the article design'd,] Co-mart signifies a bargain, and carrying of the article, the covenant entered into to confirm that bargain. Hence we see the common reading [covenant) makes a tautology. WARBURTON.

Thus the quarto 1604. The folio reads —" as by the same covenant :” for which the late editions have given us—" as by that covenant."

Co-mart is, I suppose, a joint bargain, a word perhaps of our poet's coinage. A mart signifying a great fair or market, he would not have scrupled to have written to mart, in the sense of

His fell to Hamlet: Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes ,
For food and diet, to some enterprize
That hath a stomach in't?: which is no other
(As it doth well appear unto our state,).
But to recover of us, by strong hand,
And terms compulsatory S, those 'foresaid lands
So by his father lost : And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations;
The source of this our watch; and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.

to make a bargain. In the preceding speech we find mart used for bargain or purchase. Malone. He has not scrupled so to write in Cymbeline, Act I. Sc. VII. :

to mart,

“ As in a Romish stew,” &c. Steevens. “And carriage of the article design'd.Carriage is import; . design'd, is formed, drawn up between them. Johnson.

Cawdrey in his Alphabetical Table, 1604, defines the verb design thus: “To marke out or appoint for any purpose.” See also Minsheu's Dict. 1617: To designe or shew by a token.” Designed is yet used in this sense in Scotland. The old copies have deseigne. The correction was made by the editor of the second folio. Malone.

s Of unimproved, &c.] “ Full of unimproved mettle,” is 'full of spirit not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience.'

JOHNSON. 6 Shark'd up a list, &c.] I believe, to shark up means to pick up without distinction, as the shark-fish collects his prey. The quartos read lawless instead of landless. Steevens. * 1 That hath a stomach in't ;) Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for constancy, resolution. Johnson.

8 And terms COMPULSATORY,] Thus the quarto 1604. The folio-compulsative. STEEVENS.

9 – romage -] Tumultuous hurry. Johnson.

Commonly written-rummage. I am not, however, certain that the word romage has been properly explained. The following passage in Hackluyt's Voyages, 1599, vol. ii. Ppp 3, seems indicative of a different meaning : “ – the ships growne foule, unroomaged, and scarcely able to beare any saile,” &c. Again, vol. ij. 88: “ – the mariners were romaging their shippes,” &c.

[Ber. I think , it be no other, but even so: Well may it sort”, that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch; so like the king That was, and is, the question of these wars :.

Hor. A mote it is *, to trouble the mind's eye.

Romage, on shipboard, must have signified a scrupulous examination into the state of the vessel and its stores. Respecting land-service, the same term implied a strict inquiry into the kingdom, that means of defence might be supplied where they were wanted. Steevens.

Rummage, is properly explained by Johnson himself in his Dictionary, as it is at present daily used, -" to search for any thing." HARRIS.

i [I think, &c.] These, and all other lines, confined within crotchets, throughout this play, are omitted in the folio edition of 1623. The omissions leave the play sometimes better and sometimes worse, and seem made only for the sake of abbreviation.

JOHNSON. It may be worth while to observe, that the title pages of the first quartos in 1604 and 1605, declare this play to be “ enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect copy.”

Perhaps, therefore, many of its absurdities, as well as beauties, arose from the quantity added after it was first written. Our poet might have been more attentive to the amplification than the coherence of his fable.

The degree of credit due to the title-page that styles the MS. from which the quartos 1604 and 1605 were printed, the “ true and perfect copy,“ may also be disputable. I cannot help supposing this publication to contain all Shakspeare rejected, as well as all he supplied. By restorations like the former, contending booksellers or theatres might have gained some temporary advantage over each other, which at this distance of time is not to be understood. The patience of our ancestors exceeded our own, could it have out-lasted the tragedy of Hamlet as it is now printed; for it must have occupied almost five hours in representation. If, however, it was too much dilated on the ancient stage, it is as injudiciously contracted on the modern one.

STEEVENS. 2 Well may it sort,] The cause and effect are proportionate and suitable. JOHNSON.

3 — the question of these wars.] The theme or subject. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :

“ You were the word of war.” Malone. 4 A MOTE it is,] The first quarto reads-a moth. Steevens.

In the most high and palmy state of Rome 5,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

[ocr errors]

As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun®; and the moist star?,

sters in the trains of .

A moth was only the old spelling of mote, as I suspected in revising a passage in King John, Act IV. Sc. I. where we certainly should read mote. Malone.

s — PALMy state of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious. Pope. Mr. Rowe altered this poetical epithet to flourishing. BOSWELL.

“ This tree (the palm] is of a most aspiring nature: it will beare no coales. It resisteth all burden, bearing it upward with his armes and boughes. Therefore it is an hyeroglyphick or emblem of victory or conquest.” Dyet's Dry Dinner, by H. Buttes, 8vo. 1599. MALONE. o As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,

Disasters in the sun;] Mr. Rowe altered these lines, because they have insufficient connection with the preceding ones, thus:

“ Stars shone with trains of fire, dews of blood fell,

“Disasters veild the sun - ” This passage is not in the folio. By the quartos therefore our imperfect text is supplied ; for an intermediate verse being evidently lost, it were idle to attempt a union that never was intended. I have therefore signified the supposed deficiency by a vacant space.

When Shakspeare had told us that the grave stood tenantless, &c. which are wonders confined to the earth, he naturally proceeded to say (in the line now lost) that yet other prodigies appeared in the sky; and these phænomena he exemplified by adding- As [i. e. as for instance] Stars with trains of fire, &c.

So, in King Henry IV. P. II. : “ - to bear the inventory of thy shirts ; as, one for superfluity," &c. Again, in King Henry VI. P. III.:

“ Two Cliffords, as the father and the son,

“ And two Northumberlands ;-" Again, in The Comedy of Errors :

“ They say, this town is full of cozenage ;

As, nimble jugglers that deceive the eye," &c. “ Disasters dimm'd the sun ;” The quarto 1604 reads :

“ Disasters in the sun ." The emendation was suggested by Mr. Capell. It is strongly supported not only by Plutarch's account in The Life of Cæsar,

« PreviousContinue »