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Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
Osr. Of Laertes?
Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, sir.
Ham. I would, you did, sir; yet, in faith, if it would not much approve me;3-Well, sir.
Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is
Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence;t but, to know a man well, were to know himself.
Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meeds he's unfellowed.
Ham. What 's his weapon?
Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses:
against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their as
think, means to praise Hamlet for imitating this kind of babble so happily. I suspect, however, that the poet wrote>Is 't possible not to understand in a mother tongue ?
Since this note was written, I have found the very same error in Bacon's Advancement of Learning, 4to. 1605, B. II, p. 60:
the art of grammar, whereof the use in another tongue is small, in a foreine tongue more.” The author in his table of Errata says, it should have been printed-in mother tongue. Malone.
- if you did, it would not much approve me:) If you knew I was not ignorant, your esteem would not much advance my reputation. To approve, is to recommend to approbation. Johnson.
4 I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him &c.] I dare not pretend to know him, lest I shouid pretend to an equality: no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself, which is the utmost extent of human wisdom. Fohnson.
in his meed --] In his excellence. Fohnson. See Vol. X, p. 401, n. 8. Malone.
impawned,] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio reads. impon'd. Pignare in Italian signifies both to pawn, and to lay a wager. Malone. Perhaps it should be, deponed. So, Hudibras :
“I would upon this cause depone,
signs, as girdle, hangers, and so: Three of the careriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
Ham. What call you the carriages?
But perhaps imponed is pledged, impawne:t, so spelt to ridicule the affectation of uttering English words with French pronunciation. Johnson.
To impone is certainly right, and means to put down, to stake, from the verb impono. Ritson.
hangers,] Under this term were comprehended four graduated straps, &c. that hung down in a belt on each side of its receptacle for the sword. I write this, with a most gorgeous belt, at least as ancient as the time of James I, before me. It is of crimson velvet embroidered with gold, and had belonged to the Somerset family.
In Massinger's Fatal Dowry, Liladam (who, when arrested as a gentleman, avows himself to have been a tailor,) says:
This rich sword
“ These hangers from my vails and fecs in hell:" &c. i. e. the tailor's hell; the place into which shreds and remnants are thrown. Again, in The Birth of Merlin, 1662:
“ He has a fair sword, but his hangers are fallen." Again, in Rhodon and Iris, 1631 :
a rapier “ Hatch'd with gold, with hilt and hangers of the new
fashion." The same word occurs in the Eleventh Iliad, as translated by Chapman: “ The scaberd was of silver plate, with golden hangers
graet." Mr. Pope mistook the meaning of this term, conceiving it to sig. nify-short pendulous broad swords. Steevens.
The word hangers has been misunderstood. That part of the girdle or belt by which the sword was suspended, was in our poet's time called the hangers. See Minsheu's Dictionary, 1617: * The hangers of a sword. G. Pendants d'espée, L. Subcingulum,” &c. So, in an Inventory found among the papers of Hamlet Clarke, an attorney of a court of record in London, in the year 1611, and printed in The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LVIII,
“ Item, One payre of girdle and hangers, of silver purle, and cullored silke.
“ Item, One payre of girdler and hangers upon white sattene.”
The hangers ran into an oblique direction from the middle of the forepart of the girdle across the left thigh, and were attached to the girdle behind. walone.
Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.
Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
Ham. The phrase would be more germano to the matter, if we could carry a cannon by our sides; I would, it might be hangers till then. But, on: Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that 's the French bet against the Danish: Why is this impawned, as you call it?
Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath laid, on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the
Ham. How, if I answer,
no? Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
you must be edified by the margent,] Dr. Warburton very properly observes, that in the old books the gloss or comment was usually printed on the margent of the leaf. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, Part II, 1630:
I read Strange comments in those margins of your looks.” Again, in The Contention betwyxte Churchyeard and Camell, &c. 1560:
“ A solempne processe at a blussshe
“ He quoted here and there,
s With matter in the margent set” &c. This speech is omitted in the folio. Steevens.
more german –] More a-kin. Fohnson. So, in The Winter's Tale : “ Those that are gerinan to him, though removed fifty times, shall come under the hangman."
Steevens. ? The king, sir, hath laid,] This wager I do not understand. In a dozen passes one must exceed the other more or less than three hits. Nor can I comprehend, how, in a dozen, there can be twelve to nine. The passage is of no importance; it is sufficient that there was a wager. The quarto has the passage as it stands. The folio-He hath one twelve for mine. Fohnson.
As three or four complete pages would scarcely hold the remarks already printed, together with those which have lately been communicated to me in MS. on this very unimportant passage, I shall avoid both partiality and tediousness, by the omission of them all. I therefore leave the conditions of this wager to be adjusted by the members of Brookes's, or the Jockey-Club at Newmarket, who on such subjects may prove the most enlightened commentators, and most successfully bestir themselves in the cold unpoetick dabble of calculation. Steevens.
Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall: If it please his majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me: let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him, if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.
Osr. Shall I deliver you so?
Ham. To this effect, sir; after what flourish your nature will.
Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit.
Ham. Yours, yours.--He does well, to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for 's turn.
Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
Ham. He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it.3 Thus has he (and many more of the same breed,4
2 This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.] I see no particular propriety in the image of the lapwing. Osric did not run till he had done his business. We may read-This lapwing run away. That is, this fellow was full of unimportant bustle from his birth. Johnson. The same image occurs in Ben Jonson's Staple of News :
“ Thorough the streets." And I have since met with it in several other plays. The meaning, I believe is--This is a forward fellow. So, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612:
“ Forward lapwing,
“ He fies with the shell on 's head." Again, in Greene's Never too Late, 1616: “ Are you no sooner hatched, with the lapwing, but you will run away with the shelt on your head” Again, in Revenge for Honour, by Chapman:
“ Boldness enforces youth to hard atchievements
“ Unto their downy heads.” Steevens. I believe, Hamlet means to say that Osric is bustling and im. petuous, and yet “but raw in respect of his quick sail.” So, in The Character of an Oxford Incendiary, 1643: “This lapwing incendiary ran away half-hatched from Oxford, to raise a combustion in Scotland."
In Meres's Wit's Treasury, 1598, we have the same image expressed exactly in our poet's words: “As the lapwing runneth away with the shell on her head, as soon as she is hatched,” &c.
Malone. 3 He did comply with his dug, &c.] Thus the folio. The quarto, 1604, reads-A [i. e. he] did, sir, with his dug, &c. For comply
that, I know, the drossy age dotes on,) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter;5 a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.?
Dr. Warburton and the subsequent editors, read-compliment, The verb to compliment was not used, as I think, in the time of Shakspeare. Malone.
I doubt whether any alteration be necessary. Shakspeare seems to have used comply in the sense in which we use the verb compliment. See before, Act II, sc. ii : “ - let me comply with you in this garb." Tyrwhitt.
Comply is right. So, in Fuller's Historie of the Holy Warre, p: 80 : “Some weeks were spent in complying, entertainments, and visiting holy places; -.” To compliment was, however, by no means, an unusual term in Shakspeare's time. Reed.
Again, ibid. p. 219: “But sure, so cunning a companion had long conversed with-and Princes, as appeareth by his complying carriage,” &c. Steevens.
and many more of the same breed,] The first folio has -and mine more of the same beavy. The second folio-and nine more &c. Perhaps the last is the true reading. Steedens.
There may be a propriety in bevy, as he has just called him a lapwing Tollet.
“Many more of the same breed,” is the reading of the quarto, 1604. Malone.
-outward habit of encounter ;] Thus the folio. The quartos read-out of an habit of encounter. Steevens.
Outward habit of encounter, is exterior politeness of address; in allusion to Osric's last speech. Henley. We should, I think, read an outward habit, &c. Malone.
a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions ;] This passage in the quarto stands th:9:-“They have got out of the habit of encounter, a kind of misty collection, which carries them through and through the most profane and trennowned opinions.". If this printer preserved any traces of the original, our author wrote “ the most sane and renowned opinions ;” which is better than fanned and winnowed.
The meaning is, “ these men have got the cant of the day, a superficial readiness of slight and cursory conversation, a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through the most select and approving judgments. This airy facility of talk sometimes imposes upon wise men.”
Who has not seen this observation verified? Johnson.
The quarto, 1604, reads, “ - dotes on; only got the tune of the time, and out of an habit,” &c. and not misty, but histy; the folio, rightly, yesty: the same quarto has not trennowned, but