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Would'st thou not stir in this. Now, Hamlet, hear:
Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle !
Ghost. Ay, that incestuous, that adulterate beast, With witchcraft of his wit?, with traitorous gifts, (O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power So to seduce!) won to his shameful lust The will of my most seeming virtuous queen : O, Hamlet, what a falling-off was there! From me, whose love was that of dignity, That it went hand in hand even with the vow I made to her in marriage; and to decline Upon a wretch, whose natural gifts were poor To those of mine! But virtue, as it never will be mov'd, Though lewdness court it in a shape of heaven; So lust, though to a radiant angel link’d, Will sate itself in a celestial bed,
Mr. Cowper also, in his version of the seventh Iliad, v. 100, has adopted this phrase of Shakspeare, to express
"Hμενοι αύθι έκοςοι ακήριοι –
“ Rot where you sit.” V. 112. In Pope's Essay on Man, Ep. j. 64, we meet with a similar comparison:
“ Fix'd like a plant on his peculiar spot,
“ To draw nutrition, propagate, and rot." The superiority of the reading of the folio is to me apparent : to be in a crescent state (i. e. to root itself) affords an idea of activity ; to rot better suits with the dulness and inaction to which the Ghost refers. Beaumont and Fletcher have a thought somewhat similar in The Humorous Lieutenant :
“ This dull root pluck'd from Lethe's flood." Steevens. ? - his wit] The old copies have wits. The subsequent line shows that it was a misprint. Malone.
And prey on garbage'.
* First folio, in.
t Quarto, hebona.
3 — sate itself in a celestial bed,
And PREY ON GARBAGE.] The same image occurs again in Cymbeline:
“- ravening first
“ The lamb, longs after for the garbage." STEEVENS. The same sentiment is expressed in a fragment of Euripides, Antiope, v. 86, edit. Barnes :
Κόρος δε πάντων, και γαρ εκ καλλιόνων
Patan dialty apoo Ranay no in otóucho Todd. 4 - mine ORCHARD,] Orchard, for garden. So, in Romeo and Juliet : “ The orchard walls are high, and hard to climb."
STEEVENS. S SLEEPING —
My custom always of the AFTERNOON,] See the Paston Letters, vol. iii. p. 282 : “Written in my sleeping time, at afternoon," &c. See note on this passage. Steevens. So, in Measure for Measure, Act III. Sc. I. :
- Thou hast nor youth nor age; “ But as it were an after-dinner's sleep,
“ Dreaming on both." So, also, in Turberville's Tragical Tales, in the story of Alboyn, king of the Lumbards, who was murdered by his wife and her paramour :
“ The king, as custome was,
“ Because the day was hotte,
“ Into his chamber gotte.” Malone. 6 With juice of cursed nebenon in a vial,] The word here used was more probably designed by a metathesis, either of the poet or transcriber, for henebon, that is, henbane ; of which the most common kind (hyoscyamus niger) is certainly narcotick, and perhaps, if taken in a considerable quantity, might prove poisonous. Galen calls it cold in the third degree; by which in this, as
And in the porches of mine ears did pour
well as opium, he seems not to mean an actual coldness, but the power it has of benumbing the faculties. Dioscorides ascribes to it the property of producing madness (UOC KUU Nos feriadns). These qualities have been confirmed by several cases related in modern observations. In Wepfer we have a good account of the various effects of this root upon most of the members of a convent in Germany, who eat of it for supper by mistake, mixed with succory;—"heat in the throat, giddiness, dimness of sight, and delirium.” Cicut. Aquatic. c. xviii. Grey. So, in Drayton's Barons' Wars, p. 51 :
“The pois'ning henbane, and the mandrake drad.” Again, in the Philosopher's 4th Satire of Mars, by Robert Anton, 1616:
“ The poison'd henbane, whose cold juice doth kill.” In Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1633, the word is written in a different manner :
“ the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane,
“ The juice of hebon, and Cocytus' breath.” Steevens. Dr. Grey had ingeniously supposed this word to be a metathesis for henebon or henbane ; but the best part of his note on the subject has been omitted, which is his reference to Pliny, who says that the oil of henbane dropped into the ears disturbs the brain. Yet it does not appear that henbane was ever called henebon. The line cited by Mr. Steevens from Marlowe's Jew of Malta, shows that the juice of hebon, i. e, ebony, was accounted poisonous; and in the English edition by Batman, of Bartholomæus de Proprietatibus Rerum, so often cited in these observations as a Shakspearian book, the article for the wood ebony is entitled, “ Of Ébeno, chap. 52.” This comes so near to the text, (particularly that of the quarto,] that it is presumed very little doubt will now remain on the occasion. It is not surprising that the dropping into the ears should occur, because Shakspeare was perfectly well acquainted with the supposed properties of henbane as recorded in Holland's translation of Pliny and elsewhere, and might apply this mode of use to any other poison. Douce.
7 The leperous DISTILMENT;] So, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, vol. ii. p. 142: “ — which being once possessed, never leaveth the patient till it hath enfeebled his state, like the qualitie of poison distilling through the veins even to the heart." MALONE.
Surely, “the leperous distilment” signifies the water distilled from henbanę, that subsequently occasioned leprosy. STEEVENS.
The natural gates and alleys of the body;
* Quarto, possess. † First folio, bak’d. First folio, and.
WARBURTON. 9 Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, &c.] The very words of this part of the speech are taken (as I have been informed by a gentleman of undoubted veracity) from an old Legend of Saints, where a man, who was accidentally drowned, is introduced as making the same complaint. STEEVENS.
1 Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanelid;] Unhousel'd is without having received the sacrament.'
Disappointed, as Dr. Johnson observes, “ is the same as unappointed, and may be properly explained unprepared. A man well furnished with things necessary for an enterprise, was said to be well appointed."
This explanation of disappointed may be countenanced by a quotation of Mr. Upton's from Measure for Measure:
“ Therefore your best appointment make with speed." Isabella, as Mr. Malone remarks, is the speaker, and her brother, who was condemned to die, is the person addressed.
Unanel'd is' without extreme unction.'
I shall now subjoin as many notes as are necessary for the support of the first and third of these explanations. I administer the bark only, not supposing any reader will be found who is desirous to swallow the whole tree.
In the Textus Roffensis, we meet with two of these words" The monks offering themselves to perform all priestly functions of houseling, and aveyling." Aveyling is misprinted for aneyling.
Steevens. See Mort d'Arthur, p. iii. c. 175 : “ So when he was houseled and aneled, and had all that a Christian man ought to have," &c.
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
The subsequent extract from a very scarce and curious copy of Fabian's Chronicle, printed by Pynson, 1516, seems to remove every possibility of doubt concerning the true signification of the words unhousel'd and unaneld.' The historian, speaking of Pope Innocent's having laid the whole kingdom of England under an interdict, has these words : “ Of the manner of this interdiccion of this lande have I seen dyverse opynyons, as some ther be that saye that the lande was interdyted thorwly and the churchis and housys of relygvon closyd, that no where was used mase, nor dyvyne servyce, by whiche reason none of the VII sacramentis all this terme should be mynystred or occupved, nor chyld crystened, nor man confessed nor marryed; but it was not so strayght. For there were dyverse placys in Englond, which were occupyed with dyvyne servyce all that season by lycence purchased than or before, also chyldren were chrystenyd throughe all the lande and men houselyd and anelyd." Fol. 14, Septima Pars Johannis.
The Anglo-Saxon noun-substantives husel (the eucharist), and ele (oil), are plainly the roots of these last-quoted compound adjectives.- For the meaning of the affix an to the last, I quote Spelman's Gloss, in loco : “ Quin et dictionibus (an) adjungitur, siquidem vel majoris notationis gratia, vel ad singulare aliquid, vel unicum demonstrandum.” Hence anelyd should seem to signify oiled or anointed by way of eminence, i. e. having received extreme unction. For the confirmation of the sense given here, there is the strongest internal evidence in the passage. The historian is speaking of the VII sacraments, and he expressly names five of them, viz, baptism, marriage, auricular confession, the eucharist, and extreme unction.
The antiquary is desired to consult the edition of Fabian, printed by Pynson, 1516, because there are others, and I remember to have seen one in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, with a continuation to the end of Queen Mary, London, 1559, in which the language is much modernized. BRAND.
2 O, horrible! O, horrible ! most horrible!] It was ingeniously hinted to me by a very learned lady, that this line seems to belong to Hamlet, in whose mouth it is a proper and natural exclamation; and who, according to the practice of the stage, may be supposed to interrupt so long a speech. JOHNSON,