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elected a fellow of King's college, in 1507, and according to Anthony Wood, “made the tragedy of Dido out of Virgil, and acted the same with the scholars of his school (St. Paul's, of which he was appointed master in 1522,] before Cardinal Wolsey, with great applause." In 1583 the same play was performed at Oxford, in Christ-Church hall, before Albertus de Alasco, a Polish prince Palatine, as was William Gager's Latin comedy, entitled Rivales. On Elizabeth's second visit to Oxford, in 1592, a few years before the writing of the present play, she was entertained on the 24th and 26th of September, with the representation of the last-mentioned play, and another Latin comedy, called Bellum Grammaticale."
The frequent notices of exhibitions of this sort by the students themselves, in addi on to the absence of all direct evidence of any such having been allowed by common players, together with the academical principle alluded to, seem very strongly to negative the probability of stage plays having been performed in the universities by professed actors.
(34) I did enact Julius Cæsar: I was killed i'the Capitol] A Latin play on the subject of Cæsar's death was performed at Christ-Church in Oxford, in 1582; and several years before, a Latin play on the same subject, written by Jacques Grevin, was acted in the college of Beauvais, at Paris.
The notion that Julius Cæsar was killed in the Capitol is as old as the time of Chaucer:
" This Julius to the capitolie wente
Tyrwhitt's edit. Vol. II. p.31. Malone. (35) It was a brute part of him to kill so capital a calf there] In each instance of this play upon words, we have earlier examples. For the first Mr. Steevens cites Harrington's Metamorphosis of Ajax, 1596. “O brave-minded Brutus ! but this I must truly say, they were two brutish parts both of him and you; one to kill his son for treason, the other to kill his father in treason.” And the other we have in an early period of the Roman stage.“ Capiti fraudem capitalem hinc creas." Plaut. Mil. Glorios. II. 3. Palæstrio.
(36) they stay upon your patience] Await your slowest and tardiest convenience. Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure.” 1. 3. Banq.
(37) at Ophelia's fect.] To lie at the feet of a mistress during any dramatick representation, seems to have been a common act of gallantry. So, in B. and Fl. Queen of Corinth.
“ Ushers her to her couch, lies at her feet
Gascoigne's Green Knight's &c. Steevens.
(38) Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables.) “ Nay then, if dead so long, after so distant a period, let the devil (let my uncle, he perhaps would have it understood) wear mourning, for I'll have (for I am not of their colour and fashion) a rich and superb suit; and such sables were:” though this, as Dr. Farmer observes, is said under an equivoque: for sables are a dress of a denomination and cast that conveys the idea of gloom and mourning, and in IV. 7. King, it is coupled with “ weeds,” and is said to“ import grave
It was spoken, to the ear at least, wildly, and was so far meant to be confused: as very many equivoques neither are, or are meant to be understood by the many. " A knavish speech sleeps in a fool's ear." 'Twas masquing, 'twas disguise in part: but “ there was method in it:" and that it could not be called strictly and properly incoherent, the very next passage, and its plain connexion with it, abundantly shews. Dr. Farmer quotes Massinger's Old Law:
“ A cunning grief,
“ But gawdy-hearted.” That they were the appendages of splendor and magnificence Mr. Malone proves by the statute of apparel, 24 Henry VIII. c. 13, (article furres,) in which it is ordained, that none under the degree of an earl may use sables.
Bishop says in his Blossoms, 1577, speaking of the extravagance of those times, that a thousand ducates were sometimes given for “a face of sables."
“ Would you not laugh to meet a great counsellor of state, in a flat cap, with his trunk-hose, and a hobby-horse cloak, and yond haberdasher in a velvet gown trimm'd with sables?” Jonson's Discoveries,
Florio, in his Italian Dictionary, 1598, thus explains zibilini : « The rich furre called sables." Sables is the skin of the sable martin. See Coigrave's French Dict. 1611: “Sebilline martre sebel. The sable martin; the beast whose skinne we call sables." Malone.
(39) The hobby horse] This character, that figured as a principal one in the May-games and Morris-dances, the rustic sports of our earlier ancestors, was, after the reformation, banished from the stage and the village green by our purer and sourer reformers. See L, L. L. III. 1. Moth.
(40) The dumb shew enters] It has been insisted, that this dumb 'shew ouglit at all times to have been omitted in repre
sentation; or that the interlude itself might have been spared ; as the shew, containing every circumstance of the murder, must have operated upon the King's feelings with full as much effect as the dialogue.
But, since the usage of the time warranted, and, as it sbould seem, even demanded it, should we not rather say, how could it have been omitted ? Hamlet, it should at the same time be observed, intent upon "catching the conscience of the king," would naturally wish that his * mouse-trap" should be doubly set; and could never be supposed willing to relinquish any one of those engines, the use of which custom had authorised. For the one, the dumb shew, “ the groundlings” would be sure to clamour: and under the impression that dialogue might be more poignant and strike deeper, our author, calling in the aid of the interlude, has made the king take alarm at the subject being brought forward in plain terms, and express his apprehension of “ offence in that argument,” of which he was already in possession: and at this in fact he “ blenches.”
Instead of enters, the modern editors read with the quartos follows.
(41) Miching mallecho] A skulking, roguish, aim at mischief. Mychen or stelen pryvely. Promp. parv. See I. H. IV. Falst. II. 4. In Minshieu's Spanish Dict. 1617, malhecho is rendered malefactum : and we are informed, that malhecho is compounded of mal, bad, and hecho, the past participle of hacer, to do; and may be literally rendered misdeed.
(42) Belike] Perchance, peradventure. Mr. Tooke says,
Lykke in Danish, and lycka in Swedish, mean luck, i. e. chance, hazard, hap, fortune, adventure.” Divers. of Purley. I. 484.
(43) Posy of a ring.) When this word in this sense, that of a small extract or bunch, was first so spelt, we are at a loss to say. We so find it again in M. of V. Grat. V. 1. and, such was the use of earlier times. In Sir Thos. Hoby's Courtyer, &c. amongst his chief qualities is enumerated “ to have in triumphes comelie armour, liveries of sightlie and meerie colours wyth wittie poesies and pleasant divises.” 4to. 1561. ad finem. The words are certainly the same.
(44) Phoebus' cart] Car. “ A cart or a charret. Currus. Plaustrum.” Whittintoni Lucubrationes, 4to, 1527. Mr. Steevens cites Ch. Knight's Tale, Tyrwhitt, v. 2024.
“ The blissful Phæbus bricht,
“ The golden cairt, and the ethereal King."
See “ Carr.” Tw. N. II. 5. Fabian ; and 'Tyrwhitt's Chauc. V. 2024.
(45) orbed ground] The globe of the earth.
“ Sometimes diverted, their poor balls are tied
(46) borrow'd sheen] Sheen is shine or lustre. Mr. Todd refers to the Comicall Historie of Alphonsus, by R.G. 1599:
6. Thrise ten times Phoebus with his golden beames
(47) nothing must] After must we here find in the quartos,
“ For women fear too much, even as they love,” without any corresponding line in rhyme: and the next line runs :
“ And women's fear and love hold quantity.”
(48) And as my love is siz'd my fear is su] Cleopatra expresses herself much in the same manner, with regard to her grief for the loss of Antony:
our size of sorrow,
(49) My operant powers their functions leave to do] My active energies, or faculty of exertion, cease to perform their offices. Instead of their, the reading of the quartos, the folios have my. Mr. Steevens says, operant is used in Timon of Athens as an epithet to poison : and quotes Heywood's Royal King and Loyal Subject, 1637:
may my operant parts
(50) Tthe instances] The inducements, importunities. The verb seems to be used much in this sense in W. T.'s Discourse of Eternitie, 4to. Oxford, 1633, p. 33. Nay oftentimes wee instance God for such graces as we are loath to obtaine: like Saint Augustine, who prayed for continency, but not yet."
(51) Purpose is but the slave to memory;
Of violent birth, but poor validity] The resolutions we form are dependant upon the feeling and impression of an hour that is gone, and a thing past. Their conception and origin is violent and passionate; but their progress and close of little vigour or efficiency. With something of a similar thought we have a similar phraseology, in I. H. IV. V. 4. as Mr. Steevens points out.
“ But thought's the slave of life.”
(52) The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy] Either, and other, the reading of the folios, were the same words : and we conceive it to be the accuracy of modern times that discovers the difference between enactors and enactures: it would not have been discernible by a reader of Shakespeare's day.
(53) An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope] May an anchoret or hermit's fare or lot be the point or goal of my utmost expectations ! We have followed the modern editors; but for an the quartos read and. Mr. Steevens observes, this abbreviation of the word anchoret is very ancient. I find it in the Romance of Robert the Devil, printed by Wynken de Worde: “We haue robbed and killed nonnes, holy aunkers, preestes, clerkes," &c. Again: "the foxe will be an aunker, for he begynneth to preche.
And it occurs in Hall's Satires, 1602, p. 18.
(54) Tropically] Figuratively, by a turn we give things. “ We use the word mouton, that is, sheepe, tropically, not so much to signifie a sot, as a simple soule, who suffers himself to be led by the nose, as we say." R. C.'s Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, fo. 1608, p. 26.
(55) The image of a murder] The lively pourtraiture, or representation, as well in picture as in sculpture. “No counterfeit, but the true and perfect image of lite indeed.” I. H. IV. Falst. V. 4. Image of that horror.” Lear, last sc. and V. 2. Haml.
(56) Baptista). I believe Battista is never used singly by the Italians, being uniformly compounded with Giam (for Giovanni,) and meaning of course, John the Baptist. Ritson. Signior Baptista is a character in the Taming of the Shrew. (57) I could interpret, &c.] In Tim, the Poet says,
" To the dumbness of the gesture One might interpret.” I. 1. Mr. Steevens adds, “ this refers to the interpreter, who formerly sat on the stage at all motions or puppet-shows, and interpreted to the audience.
“ () excellent motion ! O exceeding puppet !
“ Now will he interpret for her.” Two G. of V. Again, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621: “-It was I that penned the moral of Man's wit, the dialogue of Dives, and for seven years' space was absolute interpreter of the puppets."
you mistake (your) husbands] From the quartos the modern editors add your husbands.” Acting upon an ill or false principle, you neither rightly or wisely take them, Dr.