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1 Clo. Ay, marry is't; crowner's-quest law.
2 Clo. Will you ha’ the truth on't ? If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been buried out of christian burial.
1 Clo. Why, there thou say’st: And the more pity ; that great folks shall have countenance in this world to drown or hang themselves more than their even-christian 3. Come, my spade. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers, and grave-makers : they hold up Adam's profession.
2 Clo. Was he a gentleman ?
1 Clo. What, art a heathen? How dost thou understand the scripture? The scripture says, Adam digged: Could he dig without arms ? I'll put another question to thee: if thou answerest me not to the purpose, confess thyself
2 Clo. Go to.
1 Clo. What is he, that builds stronger than either the mason, the shipwright, or the carpenter?
2 Clo. The gallows-maker, for that frame outlives a thousand tenants.
1 Clo. I like thy wit well, in good faith ; the
3 Even-christian, for fellow-christian, was the old mode of expression; and is to be found in Chaucer and the Chroniclers. Wicliffe has even-servant for fellow-servant. The fact is, that even, like, and equal were synonymous. I will add one more ancient example of the phrase to those cited by Malone :
• For when a man wol rigt knowe,
Hampole's Speculum Vitæ. In Alfred's Saxon version of S. Gregory's Pastoralis Cura, we have efon-deow, consocius.
4 This speech and the next, as far as arms, is not in the quarto. VOL. X.
gallows does well: But how does it well ? it does well to those that do ill: now thou dost ill, say, the gallows is built stronger than the church : argal, the gallows may do well to thee. To't again :
2 Clo. Who builds stronger than a mason, a shipwright, or a carpenter?
1 Clo. Ay, tell me that, and unyoke 5. 2 Clo. Marry, now I can tell. 1 Clo. To't. 2 Clo. Mass, I cannot tell. Enter HAMLET and HORATIO, at a distance.
1 Clo. Cudgel thy brains no more about it; for your dull ass will not mend his pace with beating: and, when you are asked this question next, say, a grave-maker ; the houses that he makes, last till doomsday. Go, get thee to Vaughan and fetch me a stoup of liquor.
[Exit 2 Clown. 1 Clown digs, and sings. In youth, when I did love, did love,
Methought, it was very sweet,
0, methought, there was nothing meet.
Ay, tell me that, and unyoke. This was a common phrase for giving over or ceasing to do a thing, a metaphor derived from the unyoking of oxen at the end of their labour. Thus in a dittie of the Workmen of Dover, preserved in the additions to Holinshed:
My bow is broke, I would unyoke,
My foot is sore, I can worke no more.' These pithy questions were doubtless the fireside amusement of our rustic ancestors. Steevens mentions a collection of them in print, preserved in a volume of scarce tracts in the university library at Cambridge, D, 5. 2. · The innocence of these demaundes joyous (he says) may deserve a praise not always due to their delicacy.'
6 The original ballad from whence these stanzas are taken is
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. 1 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 jawbone, that did the first murder! This might be the pate of a politician, which this ass now o'erreaches?; one that would circumvent God, might 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
printed in Tottels Miscellany, or Songes and Sonnettes' by Lord Surrey and others, 1575. The ballad is attributed to Lord Vaux, and is printed by Dr. Percy in the first volume of his Reliques of Antient Poetry. The ohs and the ahs were most probably meant to express the interruption of the song by the forcible emission of the grave digger's breath at each stroke of the mattock. The original runs thus :
• I lothe that I did love ;
In youth that I thought swete :
Methinks they are not mete.
Hath claude me with his crowch ;
As there had bene none such.' 7 The folio reads--ore-offices.
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 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 10 with them? mine ache to think on't. 1 Clo. A pickaxe 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 11 now, his quillets, bis cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconce 12 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
My lord, you gave
T'imon of Athens, Act i. 9 The skull that was my lord such-a-one's is now my lady worm's.
10 Loggets, small logs or pieces of wood. Hence loggets was the name of an ancient rustic game, in which a stake was fixed in the ground at which loggats were thrown; in short, a ruder kind of quoit play.
11 Quiddits are quirks, or subtle questions; and quillets are nice and frivolous distinctions. The etymology of this last foolish word has plagued many learned heads. I think that Blount, in his Glossography, clearly points out quodlibet as the origin of it. Bishop Wilkins calls a quillet' a frivolousness ;' and Coles in his Latin Dict. res frivola. I find the quarto of 1603 has quirks instead of quiddits.
12 See Comedy of Errors, Act i. Sc. 2, p. 139, note 6.
his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers 13, his recoveries : Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries 14, to have 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? 1 Clo. Mine, sir.
0, a pit of clay for to be made [Sings.
For such a guest is meet. Ham. I think it be thine, indeed, for thou liest in't.
1 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 13 Shakspeare liere is profuse of his legal learning. Ritson, a lawyer, shall interpret for him :- Å recovery with double voucher, is the one usually suffered, and is so called from two persons (the latter of whom is always the common cryer, or some such inferior person) being successively voucher, 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.
14 [' Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries,'] omitted in the quarto.
15 A quibble is intended. · Deeds (of parchment) are called the common assurances of the realm.