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Without debatement further, more, or less,
How was this seal'd?
Hor. So Guildenstern and Rosencrantz go to 't.
Why, what a king is this! Ham. Does it not, think thee, stand me now upon? He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother; Popp'd in between the election and my hopes; Thrown out his angle for my proper life,
4 Not shriving-time allow'd.] i. e. without time for confession of their sins: another proof of Hamlet's christian-like disposition. See Romeo and Juliet, Act IV, sc. ii. Steevens.
5 the model of that Danish seal:) The model is in old language the copy. The signet was formed in imitation of the Danish seal. See Vol. VIII, p. 80, n. 8. Malone.
6 The changeling never known :) A changeling is a child which the fairies are supposed to leave in the room of that which they steal. Johnson.
7 Why, man, &c.] This line is omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
8 — by their own insinuation -] Insinuation, for corruptly obtruding themselves into his service. Warburton.
By their having insinuated or thrust themselves into the employment. Malone.
9_ think thec,] i. e. bethink thee. Malone.
1 Thrown out his angle -] An angle in Shakspeare's time sig nified a fishing-rod. So, in Lyly's Sappho and Phao, 1591 :
“ Phao. But he may bless fishing, that caught such a one ip the sea.
And with such cozenage; is 't not perfect conscience,
Hor. It must be shortly known to him from England, What is the issue of the business there.
Ham. It will be short: the interim is mine;
Peace; who comes here?
Enter Osric. Osr. Your lordship is right welcome back to Denmark.
Ham. I humbly thank you, sir-Dost know this waterfly?4
" Venus. It was not with an angle, my boy, but with a net."
Malone. 2 To quit him-] To requite him; to pay him his due. Johnson.
This passage, as well as the three following speeches, is not in the quartos. Steevens.
3_ I'll count his favours :] Thus the folio. Mr. Rowe first made the alteration, which is perhaps unnecessary. I 'll count his favours, may mean I will make account of them, i. e. reckon upon them, value them. Steevens.
What favours has Hamlet received from Laertes, that he was to make account of?-1 have no doubt but we should read:
I'll court his favour. M. Mason.
Hamlet may refer to former civilities of Laertes, and weigh them against his late intemperance of behaviour; or may count on such kindness as he expected to receive in consequence of a meditated reconciliation.
It should be observed, however, that in ancient language to count and recount were synonymous. So, in the Troy Book, (Caxton's edit.) “ I am comen hether unto yow for refuge, and to telle & count my sorowes.” Steevens.
4 - Dost know this water-fly?] A water-fly skips up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent parpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler.
Johnson VOL. XV.
Hor. No, my good lord.
Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him: He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'Tis a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit: Your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot. '
Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry and hot;6 or my complexion? -
Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,8-as 'twere,—I cannot tell how. My lord, his majesty bade me signify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your head: Sir, this is the matter, · Ham. I beseech you, remember?
[HAM. moves him to put on his Hat.
Water-fly is in Troilus and Cressida used as a term of reproach, for contemptible from smallness of size: “ How (says Thersites) the poor world is pestered with such water-flies; diminutives of nature.” Water-flies are gnats. This insect in Chaucer denotes a thing of no value. Canterbury Tales, v. 17,203, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition:
“ Not worth to thee as in comparison
“ The mountance [value] of a gnat.” H. White. 5 'Tis a chough;] A kind of jackdaw. Johnson. See Vol. VIII, p. 208, n. 2. Steevens.
6 But yet, methinks, it is very sultry &c.] Hamlet is here play. ing over the same farce with Osric, which he had formerly done with Polonius. Steevens.
7 or my complexion -] The folios read-for my com: plexion. Steevens. 8 Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,]
“ igniculum brumæ si tempore poscas,
Malone. 9 I beseech you, remember -] “ Remember not your courtesy," I believe, Hamlet would have said, if he had not been interrupted. “ Remember thy courtesy,” he could not possibly have said, and therefore this abrupt sentence may serve to confirm an emen
Osr. Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.?" Sir,2 here is newly come to court, Laertes: believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences,3 of very soft society, and great showing: Indeed, to speak feelinglyt of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry, 5 for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see..
Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;?
dation which I proposed in Love's Labour's Lost, Vol. IV, p. 105, n. 6, where Armado says,~" I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy ;-I beseech thee, apparel thy head.” I have no doubt that Shakspeare there wrote, “ remember not thy courtesy,”-and that the negative was omitted by the negligence of the compositor. Malone.
1 Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.] This seems to have been the affected phrase of the time. Thus, in Marston's Malcontent, 1604: “ I beseech you, sir, be covered.-No, in good faith for my ease.” And in other places. Farmer.
It appears to have been the common language of ceremony in our author's time. “Why do you stand bareheaded? (says one of the speakers in Florio's Second Frutes, 1591,) you do yourself wrong. Pardon me, good sir, (replies his friend ;) I do it for my ease.” Again, in A New Way to pay Old Debts, by Massinger, 1633: “
Is 't for your ease “ You keep your hat off?" Malone. 2 Sir, &c.] The folio omits this and the following fourteen speeches; and in their place substitutes only, “ Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon.” Steevens.
3 full of most excellent differences,] Full of distinguishing excellencies. Johnson.
4- speak feelingly – ] The first quarto reads-sellingly. So, in another of our author's plays :
" To things of sale a seller's praise belongs.” Steevens. 5 the card or calendar of gentry,] The general preceptor of elegance; the card by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and seasonable. Johnson.
6 for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.] You shall find him containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation. I know not but it should be read, You shall find him the continent. Johnson.
7 Sir, his definement &c.] This is designed as a specimen, and ridicule of the court-jargon amongst the precieux of that time, The sense in English is, “Sir, he suffers nothing in your account of him, though to enumerate his good qualities particularly
--though, I know, to divide him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetick of memory; and yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article;9 and his infusion of such dearthi and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour; and, who else would trace him, bis umbrage, nothing more.
Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Hor. Is 't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do 't, sir, really?
would be endless; yet when we had done our best, it would still come short of him. However, in strictness of truth, he is a great genius, and of a character so rarely to be met with, that to find any thing like him we must look into his mirrour, and his imitators will appear no more than his shadows.” Warburton. - and yet but raw neither.] We should read-slow.
Warburton. I believe raw to be the right word; it is a 'word of great latitude ; raw signifies, unripe, immature, thence unformed, imper. fect, unskilful. The best account of him would be imperfect, in respect of his quick sail. The phrase quick sail was, I suppose, a proverbial term for activity of mind. Johnson. 9 a soul of great article ;] This is obscure. I once thought it might have been, a soul of great altitude; but, I suppose, a soul of great article, means a soul of large comprehension, of many contents; the particulars of an inventory are called articles. Johnson.
1- of such dearth -1 Dearth is dearness, value, price. And his internal qualities of such value and rarity. Johnson.
2 Is 't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really. ] Of this interrogatory remark the sense is very obscure. The question may mean, Might not all this be understood in plainer language. But then, you will do it, sir, really, seems to have no use, for who could doubt but plain language would be intelligible? I would therefore read, Is't, possible not to be understood in a mother tongue? You will do it, sir, really. Fohnson.
Suppose we were to point the passage thus: “Is 't not possible to understand ? In another tongue you will do it, sir, really."
The speech seems to be addressed to Osric, who is puzzled by Hamlet's imitation of his own affected language. Steevens.
Theobald has silently substituted rarely for really. I think Horatio's speech is addressed to Hamlet. Another tongue does not mean, as I conceive, plainer language, (as Dr. Johnson supposed) but “ language so fantastical and affected as to have the appearance of a foreign tongue :” and in the following words Horatio, I