Imagens das páginas

Dr. Farmer informs me that these words are merely technical. A wool-man, butcher, and dealer in skewers, lately observed to him, that his nephew, (an idle lad) could only assist him in making them; he could rough-hew them, but I was obliged to shape their ends." STERVENS.

Doubtless these terms are so far technical, as that they are drawn from arts or handycraft trades, occupied with the knife, the axe, plane, or some such tool; and as the use of the tools is general, the phrases belonging to them also pass into general use,

(40) no leisure bated) No interval allowed. In substance as he presently says, “ without debatement further."

Warburton says, “to abate, signifies to deduct; this deduction, when applied to the person in whose favour it is made, is called an allowance. Hence he takes the liberty of using bated for allowed."

(41) I once did hold it, as our statists do,
A baseness to write fair]. Statist is statesman.

that he is wise, a statist."

Shirley's Humour. Courtier, 1640. “ Will screw you out a secret from a statist.

Jonson's Magnetic Lady. STBEVENS. Most of the great men of Shakespeare's times, whose autographs have been preserved, wrote very bad hands'; their secretaries very neat ones. BLACKSTONE.

“ I have in my time, (says Montaigue) seene some, who by writing did earnestly get both their titles and living, to disavow their apprentissage, marre their pen, and affect the ignorance of so vulgar a qualitie." Florio's translation, 1603, p. 125.

Ritson. (42) the bearers put to sudden death,

Not shriving-time allow'd] Mr. Steevens has here thought proper to say that “ Shakespeare's negligence of poetic justice is notorious ; nor can we expect that he who was content to sacrifice the pious Ophelia, should have been more scrupulous about the worthless lives of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. Therefore, I still assert that, in the tragedy before us, their deaths appear both wanton and unprovoked.”

Upon this Mr. Pye has most justly observed, “ Steevens's note on Malone's observation respecting this fact in a preceding passage is insolent and impudent; and he is, as usual, positive in the wrong; there is not one word uttered by Rosencrantz and Guildenstern throughout the play that does not proclaim them to the most superficial observer as creatures of the king, pur. posely employed to betray Hamlet, their friend and fellow gtudent: the brutal behaviour of Hamlet to Ophelia may be perhaps accounted for from Shakespeare thinking of the novel and

the history by Saxo Grammaticus; where I believe a young woman, from whom he took the idea of Ophelia, is employed to betray him." Comments on the Commentators, 8vo. 1807, p. 326.

Though it does not distinctly appear in any part of this drama, that Hamlet knew that Rosencrantz and Guildenstern were privy to this design of murdering him; yet throughout, as Mr. Pye says, he perfectly understood that they were creatures of the king, placed and brought from a distance for that sole purpose, as spies upon him : but it was not till after he discovered that his own murder was to have been effected by means in which they were at least chosen agents and instruments, that, in the moment of discovery and resentment, he retorted upon them as principals, and took a course of retaliation, which, in a drama at least, might well be allowed.

Shriving-time is time of shrift, or confession. Skrifta ant. skripta, vox ecclesiastica, usurpata de confessione pænitentium, idque vel de verbi divini ministro, qui confitentem peccatorem exaudit, illique viam ad resipiscendum commonstrat; vel etiam de actu peccata confitentis. Habemus eam ab Angliæ gentis primis evangelii præsonibus, quorum in Anglia scrift confessionem notat, scrifan delictorum confessionem excitare, shride apud Chaucerum confiteri, alias reprehendere, gescrif, censura. A scribendo hæc omnia formata esse, eleganti dissertatione probatum dedit vir multe eruditionis H. Gramius: fuse docet in more positum fuisse, ut scripto consignarent veteres verbi divini mi. nistri, qua pena ecclesiastica satisfaciendum esset pro commissis peccatis.” Ihre's Gloss. Suiog. 1769.

This term seems to have obtained much in the same way as writ came into use for judicial process or legal instruments; as it was in writing, that the priest, at the time of confession, put down and delivered the penance enjoined.

A secondary sense, as stated in Ihre, and better corresponding with its root, but now with us wholly out of is

penance or punishment. Riddling confession finds but riddling shrift.

Rom. and Jul. II. 3. Friar. (43) Thrown out his angle for my proper life] i. e. his mortal engines.

An angle in Shakespeare's time signified a fishing-rod. So, in Lyly's Sapho and Pbao, 1591:

Phao. But he may bless fishing, that caught such a one in the sea. Venus. It was not with an angle, my boy, but with a net."

MALONE. (44) a chough; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of diri] A vain and idle babbler, but possessed of large landed property. Buffon describes the Cornish chough, or red-legged crow, as “ elegant in figure, lively, restless. His manners are like those of a jackdaw : it is attracted by glittering objects." Bewick's Hist. of Birds, 8vo. 1797, 1. 77. See II. A. IV. Falst. II. 3.


(45) hot for my complexion.
Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry]

igniculum brumæ si tempore poscas,
Accipit endromidem ; si dixeris æstuo, sudat.” Juv.

MALONE. The quartos read “ hot, or my complexion.”

(46) Nay, in good faith ; for mine ease, in good faith] This seems to have been the affected phrase of the time. Thus, in Marston's Malcontent, 100+: “ 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.


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. See L. L. L. V. 1. Armado to Holofern.

Why do

(47) the card or calendar of gentry] The card by which a gentleman is to direct his course ; the calendar by which he is to choose bis time, that what he does may be both excellent and seasonable. Johnsox.

See card, V. 1. Haml.

(48) against the which he has imponed] Staked, pledged. The quartos read impawned: and Mr. Malone states, that pige nare, Ítal. signifies both to pawn and to lay a wager. And in the M. of V. Jessica says,

Why, iftwo Gods should play some heavenly match, and on the wager lay, there must be something else pawn’d,&c. III.5.

[ocr errors]


- (49) hangers] Under this term were comprehended four graduated straps, &c. that hung down in a belt on each side of its receptacle for the sword. I write this, with a most gorgeous belt, at least as ancient as the time of James I. before me. is of crimson velvet embroidered with gold, and had belonged to the Somerset family.

In Massinger's Fatal Dowry, Liladam (who, when arrested as a gentleman, avows himself to have been a tailor,) says :

This rich sword
“ Grew suddenly out of a tailor's bodkin ;

“ These hangers from my vails and fees in hell:" &c. i. e. the tailor's hell; the place into which shreds and remnants are thrown.

[ocr errors]

Again, in the Birth of Merlin, 1662 :
He has a fair sword, but his hangers are fallen."

a rapier
“ Hatch'd with gold, with hilt and hangers of the new

fashion," Rhodon and Iris, 1631. “ The scaberd was of silver plate, with golden hangers

gract." Chapman, 11. 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 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, One 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 his margine had bin but so kinde, as to have imparted it.” Fo. 1622, p. 277. Mr, Steevens cites Decker's Honest Whore :

I read “Strange comments in those margins of your looks."

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.

[ocr errors]

(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,
" An after-dinner's breath."

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
To mount their boxes reve

verently, and drive
Like lapwings with a shell upon their heads,

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

head ?
And Chapman's Revenge for Ilonour:

“ Boldness enforces youth to hard atchievements
“ Before their time ; makes them run forth like lapwings
From their warm nest, part of the shell yel sticking
“ Unto their downy heads." STEEVENS.

on your

(55) He did comply with his dug, before he sucked it] Was complaisant withi, 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 itselt, 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 term in Shakespeare's time.

In Herrick's Poems, 8vo. 1618, we find a singular use of this word in the sense of enfold or encircle, and plainly as a derivaiive from the Latin complico.

“ O'ercast a rug of carded wool;
“ Which, spunge-like, drinking in the dull

Light of the moon, seem'd to comply
Cloudlike the daintie Deitie.”

« AnteriorContinuar »