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690. puts toys of desperation,] See Richard III. act i. sc. 1.
that lets me :] That hinders, or stops
709. Heaven will direct it.] Marcellus' answers Horatio's question, “ To what issue will this come ?" and Horatio also answers it himself with a pious resignation, “ Heaven will direct it." BLACKSTONE. 724. Doom'd for a certain time to walk the night;
And, for the day, confin’d to fast in fires. ] Chaucer has a similar passage with regard to punishments of hell. Parson's Tale, p. 193. Mr. Urry's edition: “ And moreover the misese of hell, shall be in defaute of mete and drinke.”
SMITH. Nash, in his Pierce Penniless's Supplication to the Devil, 1595, has the same idea : “ Whether it be a place of horror, stench, and darkness, where men see meat, but can get none, and are ever thirsty,” &c. So likewise at the conclusion of an ancient pamphlet called The Wyll of the Devyll, bl. let, no date :
“ Thou shalt lye in frost and fire
STEEVENS. 727. Are burnt and purg'd away.-] Gawin Douge Jas really changes the Platonick hell into the “ punytion of Saulis in purgatory;' and it is observable, that when the ghost informs Hamlet of his doom there,
“ Till the foul crimes, done in my days of nature, “ Are burnt and purg'd away.--".
The expression is very similar to the bishop's : I will give you his version as concisely as I
It is a nedeful thyng to suffer panis and torment-Sum in the wyndis, sum under the watter, and the fire uthir sum : thus the mony vices
“ Contrakkit in the corpis be done away
FARMER. Shakspere might have found this expression in the Hystorie of Hamblet, bl. let. F. 2. edit. 1698: “ He set fire in the foure corners of the hal, in such sort, that of all that were as then therein not one escaped away, but were forced to purge their sinnes by fire.”
MALONE. Shakspere talks more like a Papist, than a Plato. nist; but the language of bishop Douglas is that of a good Protestant :
“ Thus the mony vices
« And purgit." These are the very words of our Liturgy, in the come mendatory prayer for a sick person at the point of departure, in the office for the visitation of the sick ;"
--Whatsoever defilements it may have contracted being purged and done away.
WHALLEY. 744. As meditation, or the thoughts of love,] This similitude is extremely beautiful. The word meditation is consecrated, by the mysticks, to signify that stretch and fight of mind which aspires to the enjoyment of Diij
the supreme good. So that Hamlet, considering with what to compare the swiftness of his revenge, chooses two of the most rapid things in nature, the ardency of divine and human passion, in an enthusiast and a lover.
WARBURTON. The comment on the word meditation is so ingenious, that I hope it is just.
JOHNSON. 747. And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed
That rols itself in ease on Lethe's wharf, &c.] Shakspere, apparently through ignorance, makes Roman Catholicks of these Pagan Danes ; and here gives a description of purgatory; but yet mixes it with the Pagan fable of Lethe's wharf. Whether he did it to insinuate to the zealous Protestants of his time, that the Pagan and Popish purgatory stood both upon the same footing of credibility, or whether it was by the same kind of licentious inadvertance that Michael Angelo brought Charon's bark into his picture of the Last Judgment, is not easy to decide.
WARBURTON. That rots itself, &c.] The quarto reads—That roots itself.
Mr. Pope follows it. Otway has the same thought:
" ---like a coarse and useless dunghill weed
“ Fix'd to one spot, and rot just as I grow.” 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.
Nevertheless, the accusative case (itself) may seem to demand the verb roots.
Steevens. 774. -mine orchard,] Orchard for garden. So, in Romeo and Juliet: “ The orchard walls are high, and hard to climb."
STEEVENS. Orchard was anciently written hortyard, and signified a yard set apart for a garden.
777. With juice of cursed hebenon 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 well as opium, he seems not to mean an actual coldness, but the power it has of be. numbing the faculties. 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. 18.
GREY. Thus, in the Philosopher's 4th Satire of Mars, by Robert Anton, 1616 : “ The poison'd Henbane whose cold juice doth kill."
In Marlow's Jew of Malta, 1633, the word is written in a different manner,
the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane,
STEEVENS. 790. at once dispatch’d:] Dispatch’d, for beTeft.
WARBURTON. 791. 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 Legends of Saints, where a man, who was accidentally drowned, is introduced as making the same complaint.
STEEVENS. 792. Unhousel'd.
-] Without the sacrament being taken.
Pope. Unaneal'd;] No knell rung.
POPE. In other editions,
Unhouzzled, unanointed, unaneald: The ghost, having recounted the process of his mur-, der, proceeds to exaggerate the inhumanity and unnaturalness of the fact, from the circumstance in which he was surprised. But these, I find, have been stumbling blocks to our editors; and therefore I must amend and explain these three compound adjectives in their order. Instead of unhouzzeld, we must restore, unhousel'd, i. e. without the sacrament taken ; from the old Saxon word for the sacrament, housel. In the next place, unanointed is a sophistication of the text; 'the old copies concur in reading, disappointed. I correct,