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near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe.-How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
i Clo. Of all the days i’ the year, I came to 't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
Ham. How long 's that since?
i Clo. Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: It was that very day that young Hamlet was born:3 he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England? i Clo. Why, because he was mad : he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.
1 Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
Ham. How came he mad?
proclamation so long ago as the fifth year of Edward IV, when it was ordered, “ that the beaks or pykes of shoes and boots should not pass two inches, upon pain of cursing by the clergy, and forfeiting twenty shillings, to be paid, one noble to the king, another to the cordwainers of London, and the third to the chamber of London :- and for others countries and towns the like order was taken.-Before this time, and since the year 1482, the pykes of shoes and boots were of such length, that they were fain to be tied up to the knee with chains of silver, and gilt, or at least silken laces.” Steevens.
the age is grown so picked,] i. e. so spruce, so quaint, so affected. See Vol. IV, p. 101, n. 1; and Vol. VII, p. 296, n. 8.
There is, I think, no allusion to picked or pointed shoes, as has been supposed. Picked was a common word of Shakspeare's age, in the sense above given, and is found in Minsheu's Dictionary, 1617, with its original signification : “ Trimm'd or drest sprucely.” It is here used metaphorically. Malone.
I should have concurred with Mr. Malone in giving a general sense of the epithet-picked, but for Hamlet's mention of the toc of the peasant, &c. Steevens.
that young Hamlet was born:] By this scene it appears that Hamlet was then thirty years old, and knew Yorick well, who had been dead twenty-two years. And yet in the beginning of the play he is spoken of as a very young man, one that designed to go back to school, i. e. to the University of Wittenberg. The poet in the fifth Act had forgot what he wrote in the first.
I Clo. Why, here in Denmark; I have been sexton here, man, and boy, thirty years.
Ham. How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?
i Clo. 'Faith if he be not rotten before he die, (as we have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce hold the laying in,) he will last you some eight year, or nine year: a tanner will last
nine year. Ham. Why he more than another?
I Clo. Why, sir, bis hide is so tanned with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. Here's a scull now hath lain you i' the earth three-and-twenty years.
Ham. Whose was it?
1 Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was; Whose do you think it was?
Ham. Nay, I know not.
1 Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same scull, sir, was Yorick's scull, the king's jester. Ham. This?
[Takes the Scull. 1 Clo. E'en that.
Ham. Alas, poor. Yorick! -I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips, that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning ?6 quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.Pr'ythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
now a-days,] Omitted in the quarto. Malone.
Yorick's scull,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads-Sir Yorick's scull. Malone.
- your own grinning?] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folie reads--your own jeering? In that copy, after this word, and chapfallen, there is a note of interrogation, which all the editors have adopted. I doubt concerning its propriety. Malone.
my lady's chamber,] Thus the folio. The quartos readmy lady's table, meaning, I suppose, her dressing-table. Steevens.
Hor. What 's that, my lord?
Hor. E'en so.
Ham. To what base uses we may return, Horatio! Why may not imagination trace the noble dust of Alexander, till he find it stopping a bung-hole?
Hor. 'Twere to consider too curiously, to consider so. Ham. No, faith, not a jot; but to follow him thither with modesty enough, and likelihood to lead it: As thus; Alexander died, Alexander was buried, Alexander returneth to dust; the dust is earth; of earth we make loam : And why of that loam, whereto he was converted, might they not stop a beer-barrel?
Imperiòus Cæsar, dead and turn'd to clay,
1632 O, that the earth, which kept the world in awe,
Should patch a wall to expel the winter's flaw!1 •
LAERTES, and Mourners following; King, Queen,
their Trains, &c. The queen, the courtiers: Who is this they follow? And with such maimed rites!2 This doth betoken,
to this favour -] i.e. to this countenance or complexion.
Malone Imperious Cæsar,] Thus the quarto, 1604. The editor of the folio substituted imperial, not knowing that imperious was used in the same sense. See Vol. XII, p. 152, n. 9; and Cymbeline, Act IV, sc. ii. There are other instances in the folio of a familiar term being substituted in the room of a more ancient word. See p. 252, n. 7. Malone.
- winter's flaw!] Winter's blast. Johnson. So, in Marius and Sylla, 1594:
no doubt this stormy flaw, “ That Neptune sent to cast us on this shore.” The quartos read-to expel the water's flaw. Steevens.
See Vol. X, p. 191, n. 8. A flaw meant a sudden gust of wind. So, in Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598: “Groppo, a flaw, or berrie of wind.” See also Cotgrave's Dictionary, 1611: “ Lis de vent, a gust or flaw of wind.” Malone.
maimed rites!] Imperfect obsequies. Johnson,
The corse, they follow, did with desperate hand
Laer. What ceremony else?
That is Laertes,
Priest.5 Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd
3 Fordo its own life.] To fordo is to undo, to destroy. So, in Othello:
this is the night “ That either makes me, or fordoes me quite." Again, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1529: “ - wolde to God it might be leful for me to fordoo myself, or to make an ende of me."
some estate :) Some person of high rank. Johnson. See Vol. XII. p. 78, n. 5. Malone. 5 1 Priest.] This Priest in the old quarto is called Doctor.
Steevens. . Her obsequies have been as far enlarg'd
As we have warranty:] Is there any allusion here to the coroner's warrant, directed to the minister and church-wardens of a parish, and permitting the body of a person, who comes to an untimely end, to receive christian burial? Whalley.
allow'd her virgin crants,] Evidently corrupted from chants, which is the true word. A specific rather than a generic term being here required to answer to inaiden streuments.
Warburton. allow'd her virgin crants,] Thus the quarto, 1604. For this unusual word the editor of the first folio substituted rites. By a more attentive examination and comparison of the quarto copies and the folio, Dr. Johnson, I have no doubt, would have been convinced that this and many other changes in the folio were not made by Shakspeare, as is suggested in the following note. Malone.
I have been informed by an anonymous correspondent, that crants is the German word for garlands, and I suppose it was retained by us from the Saxons. To carry garlands before the bier of a maiden, and to hang them over her grave, is still the practice in rural parishes,
Hier maiden strewments, and the bringing home
Laer. Must there no more be done?
No more be done!
Lay her i’ the earth;-
What, the fair Ophelia!
O, treble woe
[Leaps into the Grave.
Grants therefore was the original word, which the author, discovering to be provincial, and perhaps not understood, changed to a term more intelligible, but less proper. Maiden rites give no certain or definitive image. He might have put maiden wreaths, or maiden garlands, but he perhaps bestowed no thought upon it; and neither genius nor practice will always supply a hasty writer with the most proper diction. Johnson.
In Minsheu's Dictionary, see Beades, where roosen krants means sertum rosarium; and such is the name of a character in this play. Tollet.
The names-Rosenkrantz and Gyldenstiern occur frequently in Rostgaard's Deliciæ Poetarum Danorum. Steevens.
bell and burial.) Burial, here signifies interment in consecrated ground. Warburton.
9 To sing a requiem,] A requiem, is a mass performed in Popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased, The folio reads-sing sage requiem. Steevens.
- from her fair and unpolluted flesh
e tumulo, fortunataque favilla,