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Ham. Has this fellow no feeling of his business? he sings at grave-making,
Hor. Custom hath made it in him a property of easiness.
Ham. 'Tis e'en so: the hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.
i Clo. But age, with his stealing steps,
Hath claw'd me in his clutch,
[Throws up a scull. Ham. That scull had a tongue in it, and could sing once: How the knave jowls it to the ground, as if it were Cain's jaw-bone, that did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'er-reaches; one that would circumvent God, inight it not?
Hor. It might, my lord.
Ham. Or of a courtier; which could say, Goodmorrow, sweet lord! How dost thou, good lord? This might be my lord such-a-one, that praised my lord such-a-one's horse, when he meant to beg it; might it not?
Hor. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Why, e'en so: and now my lady Worm's; chapless, and knocked about the mazzard with a
4 In youth when I did love, &c.] The three stanzas, sung here by the Grave-Digger, are extracted, with a slight variation, from a little poem, called The aged Lorer renounceth Lore, written by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, but it has been since attributed to Lord Vaux; and Mr. T. Warton says, that there is in the British Museum, a copy of Vaux's poem, beginning, I lothe that I did love, with the title, “A dyttie or sonet made by the lord Vaus, in the time of the noble quene Marye, representing the image of death.”
The entire Song is published by Dr. Percy, in the first volume of his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.
sexton's spade: Here's fine revolution, an we had the trick to see't. Did these bones cost no more the breeding, but to play at loggats with them?" mine ache to think on't.
i Clo. A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade, [Sings.
For—and a shrouding sheet: 0, a pit of clay for to be made For such a guest is meet.
[Throws up a scull.
Ham. There's another: Why may not that be the scull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits' now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconces with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his action of battery? Humph! This fellow might be in's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers,' his recoveries: Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have
- to play at loggats with them?] This is a game played in several parts of England even at this time. A stake is fixed into the ground; those who play, throw loggats or pins of wood at it, and he that is nearest the stake wins.
quiddits, &c.] i. e. subtilties.
his double vouchers, &c.] A recovery with double roucher is the one usually suffered, and is so denominated from two persons (the latter of whom is always the common cryer, or some such inferior person,) being successively roucher, or called upon, to warrant the tenant's title. Both fines and recoveries are fictions of law, used to convert an estate tail into a fee simple. Statutes are (not acts of parliament, but) statutes-merchant and staple, particular modes of recognizance or acknowledgment for securing debts, which thereby become a charge upon the party's land. Statutes and recognizances are constantly mentioned together in the covenants of a purchase deed.
his fine pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more? ha?
Hor. Not a jot more, my lord. .
Ham. They are sheep, and calves, which seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow:Whose grave's this, sirrah?
i Clo. Mine, sir.
0, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet.
Hum. I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in't.
i Clo. You lie out on't, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in't, yet it is mine.
Ham. Thou dost lie in't, to be in't, and say it is thine: 'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
1 Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me to you.
Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?
i Clo. One, that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she's dead.
Ham. How absolute the knave is! we must speak
--- assurance in that.] A quibble is intended. Deeds, which are usually written on parchment, are called the common assurances of the kingdom.
by the card, or equivocation will undo us. By the lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it; the age is grown so picked, that the toe of the peasant comes so near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe.—How long hast thou been a grave maker ?
1 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: he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
1 Clo. Why, because he was mad: he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.
Ham. Why? 'i Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
Ham. How came he mad?
by the card, ) i. e. we must speak with the same precision and accuracy as is observed in marking the true distances of coasts, the heights, courses, &c. in a sea-chart, which in our poet's time was called a card.
is grown so picked,] So smart, so sharp, says Sir T. Hanmer, very properly; but there was, I think, about that
a picked shoe, that is, a shoe with a long pointed toe, in fashion, to which the allusion seems likewise to be made. Every man now is smart; and every man now is a man of fashion.
Johnson. 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-iwo years. And yet in the beginning of the play he is spoken of as a rery young man, one that designed to go back to school, i.e. to the University of Witten
poet in the fifth Act had forgot what he wrote in the first. BLACKSTONE.
i Clo. 'Faith, e'en with losing his wits. Ham. Upon what ground?
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
Ham. Why he more than another?
i Clo. Why, sir, his 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?
i Clo. A whoreson mad fellow's it was; Whose do you think it was?
Ham. Nay, I know not.
i 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? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this