« PreviousContinue »
Again, in the Birth of Merlin, 1662 :
- a rapier
fashion.” Rhodon and Iris, 1631. “ The scaberd was of silver plate, with golden hangers
gract." Chapman, I. XI. Mr. Pope mistook the meaning of this term, conceiving it to signify-short pendulous broud 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. Minshieu, 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. p. 111:
“ Item, One payre of girdle and hangers, of silver purle, and cullored silke.
“ Item, Orie 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. MALONE.
(50) edified by the margent] The margins of books in our author's day were stuffed with comments and references. Drayton in his Polyolbion says, “ If he have other authority for it, I would bis margine had bin but so kinde, as to have imparted it." Fo. 1622, p. 277. Mr. Steevens cites Decker's Honest Whore : "
Part II. 1630.
(51) The French bet against the Danish] For this, the reading of the quartos, the folios give but ; manifestly a false print.
The folio of 1632, which does not appear ever to have consulted the quartos, reads and points the passage thus : “ that's the French, but against, &c.”
(52) He hath one twelve for mine] So the folios. In all the language concerning this wager, there is an obscurity and inconsistency, which it would be a hopeless attempt to explain, or to reconcile. Here indeed Osric uses simple terms; or one might be led to think, that it was meant that he should throughout confound himself with his own fantasticality; and that his ideas were to ask for as much unriddling as his phraseology.
(53) the breathing time of day with me]
“ But, for your health and your digestion sake,
Tr. and Cress. II. 3. Patrocl.
(54) This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head] Prematurely hasty, starts almost before he has means, ere he has found legs or message to carry or be carried. Mr. Steevens cites Jonson's Staple of News :
-- and coachmen
“ Through the streets.” And Greene's Never too Late, 1616: “ Are you no sooner hatched, with the lapwing, but you will run away with the shell on your head ?” And Chapman's Revenge for Honour :
“ Boldness enforces youth to hard atchievements
(55) He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it] Was complaisant with, treated it with apish cereinony.
There is a passage in an old author, which so closely resembles the foregoing, that we may conceive the idea, and partly the phrase itself, to have been caught, or rather copied, by Shakespeare from thence. « Flatterie hath taken such habit in man's affections, that it is in moste men altera natura : yea, the very sucking babes hath a kind of adulation towards their nurses for the dugge." Ulpian Fulwel's Arte of Flatterie, 4to. 1579. Preface to the Reader.
Compliment is the word here used by most of the modern editors, who interpret comply in that sense both here and in II. 2. Haml., “let me comply with you in this garb." And Mr. Reed, who instances Fuller's Holy Warre, p. 80: “ Some weeks were spent in complying, entertainments, and visiting,” adds, “ To compliment was, however, by no means an unusual tenm in Shakespeare's time."
In Herrick's Poems, 8vo. 1648, we find a singular use of this word in the sense of enfold or encircle, and plainly as a derivative from the Latin complico.
“ O'ercast a rug of carded wool;
- Whom faire Corinna sits, and doth comply
(56) commended him to you] Made a gracious and respecte ful intimation, “ The mayster commaundeth hym to you. Herus meus salutes tibi impertit.” Vulgaria Stanbrigi, 4to. Wynk. de Worde.
6. 'Tis a word
(57) the readiness is all. Since no man has aught of what he leaves, what is't to leave betimes? Let be] “ Ripeness is all," is a reflection upon leaving life made by Edgar in Lear, V. 2. Then « since no man has (i. e. has any secure hold, or can properly be denominated the possessor, of ) any portion of that which he leaves, or must leave, behind him, of what moment is it, that this leave-taking, or the parting with a possession so frail, should be made early? Let things take their course!" The reading of the quartos, adopted by the modern editors, is “ Since no man of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes ? Let be.” And this, Dr. Johnson says, may mean, “ since no man knows aught of the state of life which h: leaves, since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should he be afraid of leaving life betimes? Why should he dread an early death, of which he cannot tell whether it is an exclusion of happiness, or an interception of calamity? I despise the superstition of augury and omens, which has no ground in reason or piety; my comfort is, that I cannot fall but by the direction of Provi. dence."
There is a
(58) But in my terms of honour, I stand aloof] passage somewhat similar in The Maid's Tragedy:
« Eved. Will you forgive me then?
(59) in the cup an union] In the first quarto we have unice, which in the subsequent quarto copies was made onyr. An union is a very precious pearl. See Bullokar's English Expositor, 1616, and Florio's Ital. Dict. 1598, in v. MALONE.
“Ay, were it Cleopatra's union.” Solim. and Perseda. “ And hereupon it is that our dainties and delicates here at Rome, &c. call them unions, as a man would say singular and by themselves alone." Holland's Plin. Nat. Hist.
In If you know not Me, you know Nobody, P. II, 1606, Sir Thomas Gresham says:
“ Here 16,000 pound at one clap goes.
“ Unto his'queen and mistress.” Pearls were supposed to possess an exhilarating quality. Thus, Rondelet. Lib. 1. de Testac. c. xv: “ Uniones quæ à con-' chis &c. valde cordiales sunt." STEEVENS.
(60) The queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet] In humbler language, drinks good luck to you. So David and Bethsabe, 1599 :
* With full carouses to his fortune past." Steevens.
(61) make a wanton of me] Make child's play, trifle with me.
so citizen a wanton, as
K. John, V. 1. Bast. (62) We here find Laertes, who was not wounded till after Hamlet, first dying of a poison, described as singularly quick in its operation; and advising Harnlet, who is made to support a conversation some time afterwards, of a danger, of which he was not then aware. The purposes of the drama might require that Hamlet should survive, and the same, i. e. the same quantity or degree of poison, may affect different habits differently; but the poison of the “ anointed” sword, which had first entered the body and was steeped with the blood of Hamlet, must, one would think, in the second instance, have lost something of its active quality, and would consequently have been more slowly operative upon Laertes.
(63) (as this fell sergeant, death,
when that fell arrest,
(64) The potent poison quite o'er-crows my spiritOverpowers, exults over; no doubt an image taken from the lofty carriage of a victorious cock. Mr. Steevens quotes
“ Shall I ? thembassadress of gods and men,
“ Like the vain bubble of Iberian pride,
Hall's Sat. V.2. This phrase, which often occurs in the controversial pieces of Gabriel Harvey, 1593, is also found in Chapman's Odyssey:
" and told his foe
“ The poorest guest,” B. XXI. Mr. Malone instances « These noblemen laboured with tooth and nayle to over-crow, and consequently to overthrow, one another.” Holingsh. Hist. of Ireland : and the epistle prefixed to Nashe's Apology of Pierce Pennilesse, 1593 : “ About two yeeres since a certayne demi-divine took upon him to set his foote to mine, and oder-crowe me with comparative terms."
See “ grunt and sweat," III. 2. Haml.
(65) occurrents] The word in use at that day for occurrences. “A newes-monger tels him there are excellent and happy occurrents abroad." Is. Healy's Theophrastus, 18mo. 1616, p. 32.
(66) Now cracks a noble heart]
“ If thou liv'st, Pericles, thou hast a heart
Oproud death! What feast is toward in thine eternal cell] “ How art thou glutted, what feast is now at hand in the open thrown gates of thy insatiable, endless, everlasting cell?” We have in I. 5. “ eternal blazon,” Ghost.
This wide waste of spoil, this quarry or pile of noble and royal victims, at once his trophy and prey, is represented as a provision for a feast, and is used in the same sense, as when in I. H. VI. Talbot tells his son,
“ Now thou art come unto a feast of death. IV.5. And in K. John, II. 2. Bast.
" And now Death feasts, mousing the flesh of men.” This allusion has no doubt some connexion with the usage of all the northern nations, their Ambarvalia or Arval suppers referred to by Hamlet, I. 2.
« The funeral bak'd meats “ Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables." An usage, which also probably originated in the ancient ceremonies of most nations; their parentalia, or oblations to the manes of the dead.