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Farmer instances Bartholomew Fair: “ Your true trick, rascal, must be to be ever busie, and mistake away the bottles and cans, before they be half drunk off.” Ursula. And Mr. Steevens, "-To mistake six torches from the chandry, and give them one.” Jonson's Masque of Augurs.
Again, in Questions of Profitable and Pleasant Concernings, &c. 1594 : “ Better I were now and then to suffer his remisse mother to mistake a quarter or two of corne, to buy the knave a coat with,” &c.
(59) and a forest of feathers, if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk] Turn Turk is turn topsey-turvey, undergo a total and ruinous change. We have the phrase in Much ado, &c. III. 4. Marg. Mr. Steevens cites Greene's Tu Quoque, 1614. “ This it is to “ turn Turk,” from an absolute and most complete gentleman, to a most absurd, ridiculous, and fond lover." “ Forest of feathers” is a numberless supply of that indispensable article of stage dress.
(60) Provincial roses] Provencial, provençal, provincial, are the same words. Mr. Warton thinks roses of Provence, formerly much cultivated, are here meant; but Mr. Douce says, " there is no evidence to shew that Provence was ever remarkable for its roses; but it is well known, that Provins, in La Basse Brie, about forty miles from Paris, was very celebrated for their growth : of which the best cataplasms are said to have been made. According to tradition, it was imported from Syria. It is probably this kind, which, in our old herbals, is called the Great Holland or Province rose." Illustrat. II. 247.
Johnson observes, when shoe-strings were worn, they were covered, where they met in the middle, by a ribband, gathered in the form of a rose. So, in an old song:
“ Gil-de-Roy was a bonny boy,
“ Had roses tull his shoon.” (61) Razed shoes] Race, rase, and raze, are the same word, as raye nearly is: and signify, as may be seen in Cotgrave and Miushieu, to streak or stripe, to dash, or obliterate.
It means here slashed, i. e. with cuts and openings, says Mr. Steevens, who quotes Stubbs's Anatomy of Abuses, 1595. “ Razed, carved, cut, and stitched.” He adds, that Bulwer, in his Artificial Changeling, speaks of gallants who pink and raze their satten, damask, and Duretto skins. The word, though differently spelt, is used in nearly the same signification in Markham's Country Farm, p. 585: “ -baking all (i. e. wafer cakes) together between two irons, having within them many raced and checkered draughts after the manner of small squares.'
(62) a cry of players] A chorus, a set, company; and it is used in other occupations. Of hounds we have a cry in M. N. Dr. IV, 1. Thes, and of hell-hounds in Par, Lost, 11. 654. We
have a crie of curs in Coriol. III. 3. Coriol. and of citizens, IV, 6. Menen.; and from Decker's strange Horse-race, 1613, Mr. Malone instances a cry of serpents. The quartos read “ city." (63) Hor. Half a share.
Ham. A whole one, I.] The actors in our author's time had not annual salaries as at present. The whole receipts of each theatre were divided into shares, of which the proprietors of the theatre, or house-keepers, as they were called, had some; and each actor had one or more shares, or part of a share, according to his merit. See my Account of the Ancient Theatres.
And in my braine could make a full compact
I would and yet I would not, 4to.1614, Stanz. 74. " A whole one, I,” is, “
(64) O Damon dear] Hamlet calls Horatio by this name, in allusion to the celebrated friendship between Damon and Pythias. A play on this subject was written by Richard Ed. wards, and published in 1582. Steevens.
The friendship of Damon and Pythias is also enlarged upon in a book that was probably very popular in Shakspeare's youth, Sir Thomas Eliot's Governour, 1553. Malone.
(65) A very, very-Paiocke] Mr. Pope substituted peacock ; which is most probably no more than the modern spelling, and doubtless the meaning of the old word. As he began, Hamlet closes in mere playfulness; as if he let the rhyme run, though not in the identical term, he calls the king an ass : for such, as Dr. Farmer says, was the proverbial use of Peacock. cocke foole.” Gascoigne's Weeds. “ Circe’s witches turne vain glorious fooles into asses, gluttonous fooles into swine, pleasant fooles into apes, proud fooles into peacocks.” Nixon's straunge Foot-post, 4to. 1013, signat. B. 3.
(66) distempered] Discomposed. « The Lacedemonian ambassador another day in the afternoone, finding the Persian king at a rere banquet, and to have taken the wine somewhat plentifully, turned back againe, saying, there is no houre to deale with a man so distempered by surfet.” Puttenham's Arte of Poesie, 4to. 1589, p. 236. "It proceeded upon surfet and distemper in his diet." Ib. 242. And he presently uses the term in a large sense to Rosencr.
(67) by these pickers, &c.] By these hands : the phrase is taken from our church catechism, where the catechumen, in his
“ A pea.
duty to his neighbour, is taught to keep his hands from picking and stealing. WHALLEY.
« Pyker or lytell thefe." Promptuar. parvulor. “Furtificus. a picker or privie stealer.” Biblioth. Eliotæ. fo. 1559. “A great pyker makes a profer to a stronge thefe. Furax gradum facit ad insignem latronem.” Vulgaria Hormanni. 410. 1530, signat, iii. 3, b. “ After whiche sorte of bourdyng our feloe myndyng to signifie that Cicero was a bryber and a previe theef, in stede of Tullius called hym Tollius (for tollere is to take awaye) as theeves and pickers dooe take awaye by embesleyng." Nic. Udall's Erasmus's Apopthegm, 12mo. 1542, fo. 323. “ We say that a theft or pickerie is done with a good grace, when the cautels and subtilities of thieves and thieving is well observed." G. North's Philbert's Philosopher of the Court, 18mo, 1575, p. 95. “ Every extortioner, every picker, every robber." Barnabe Rich's Honestie of this Age, 4to. 1616, p. 4. (68)
O, the recorder :- let me see one. To withdraw with you] The two royal emissaries at first only request that the prince would “ vouchsafe them a word;" and they then acquaint him with the king's rage, and the queen, his mother's, command to visit her.' They then, by a waving of the hand, or some such signal, as the exclamation of Hamlet denotes, intimate, that he should remove to some more retired quarter. Although aware that the above, their only proper business, could not require any private communication, he at first, in gentle expostulation, reproaches them; but presently recollecting their insidi. ous aims, and feeling at the same time, as an indignity, the free-, dom taken in thus beckoning bim to withdraw, he in a moment assumes a different tone; and, with the most-galling sneer and interrogatory, heaps upon them the utmost contempt and contumely.
(69) recover the wind of me] Get on the blind side. Mr. Steevens cites The Second Maiden's Tragedy, MS.
Is that next? “ Why, then, I have your ladyship in the wind." And Mr. Henderson, Churchyard's Worthiness of Wales :
« Their cunning can with craft so cloke a troeth,
“ To smell them forth or yet their fineness finde." Recover appears to be used by our author much as recuperare is in Latin, to gain or reach.
“ The forest is not three leagues off, “ If we recover that, we're sure enough."
Two G. of V. Egl. V. 1. (70) Though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me) “A fret is a stop, or key, of a musical instrument. Here is, there,
fore, a play upon the words. Though you can fret, stop, or vex, you cannot play or impose upon me." Douce's Illustrat. II. 250.
(71) Then will I come to my mother by and by] Then will I assent to your request, as yours is assentation to every thing I say.
(72) The witching time of night, when churchyards yawn]
“ Now it is the time of night
M. N. Dr. V. 2. Puck..
(73) And do such bitter business as the day] Shocking, horrid. * The quartos read
“ Such business as the bitter day.” Mr. Steevens quotes Watts's Logick. “ Bitter is an equivocal word; there is bitter wormwood, there are bitter words, there are bitter enemies, and a bitter cold morning."
“ Bitter sky," we may add, is the language of Amiens's song in As you, &c. II. 7.; and we have had “ bitter cold," 1. 1. Fran.
(74) speak daggers] Benedict says of Beatrice," she speaks poniards. M. ado, &c. II. 1. Mr. Steevens instances the Return from Parnassus, 1606. “ They are pestilent fellows, they speak nothing but bodkins." And Plautus's Aulularia, II. 1.
“ ME. Quia mihi misero cerebrum excutiunt
“ Tua dicta, soror: lapides loqueris." (75) shent) Rebuked. for Shenden or blamen." Culpo. Promptuar. parvulor. Mr. Steevens cites The Coxcomb of B. and Fi.“ We shall be shent soundly." Chaucer gives the noun V. 13836.
“ God shilde his corps from skunde;" which Mr. Tyrwhitt interprets “harme or injury;" and in the Persones Tale shendship, which he interprets, “ ruin, punishment."
8vo. 1778, III. 164.
(76) Huzard so near us, as doth hourly grow
Out of his lunacies] The king had proposed this scheme immediately after Hamlet's interview with Ophelia, at the close of the last scene, Instead of lunacies, the quartos read brows : i.e. springs out of, or shows itself in, the lowering and threatening aspect he wears.
(77) May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence] That, for the possession of which the offence was committed. Mr. M. Mason points out, in Philaster, the King, who had usurped his crown, praying for forgiveness,
But how can I
“ Praying upon the ground I hold by wrong?" (78) grossly, full of bread] Unpurged, surfeit-crammed. Mr. Malone says, the uncommon expression, full of bread, our poet borrowed from the sacred writings : “ Behold, this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom; pride, fulness of bread, and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters, neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy." Ezekiel,
(79) Then trip him, that his heels may kick at heaven;
And that his soul may be as damn'd, and black,
As hell, whereto it goes.] How much, and how justly soever modern feelings may revolt at the exhibition of this refinement of revenge, the playwright here had, it is conceived, a full justification in the opinions and practice of the age in which he lived. That it was without foundation in religion or morals, or just and regulated feeling, will admit of no doubt: but whether it is a faithful picture of human nature in a barbarous age would be the true question to be made. With our ruder northern ancestors, revenge, in general, was, in earlier times, delivered down in families as a duty; and the more refined and exquisite it was, so much the more honourable was it thought to the relation and the clan: and not only is that character or feature of it, of which we are now speaking, to be found in every book that in these times applies to the subject; but there are hardly any of those commentators upon Shakespeare who exclaim against it, that have not produced instances of it from all descriptions of authors. Neither can it be denied, that it was a sentiment brought upon the stage by subsequent tragedians as late as the middle of the next century; and Shakespeare has here in some sort laid a ground for the introduction of it, by making the king himself, the object of this horrid purpose, proclaim, (IV. 7.) “ Revenge should have no bounds;" and though it is in one instance, withdrawn by Othello, he repeatedly insists upon this idea.
To the instances produced, many might be added. We shall give one from a very popular prose work of that day, and which has much of the phraseology of Shakespeare; and only mention one other play in which it repeatedly occurs, because that play is a work of considerable merit, the Revenger's Tragedie, 4to. 1606. The instance is from R. C. H. Stephens's Apology for Herodotus, fo. 1608, p. 143. “An Italian, having nourished malice and rancour in his mind for the space of ten years together, dissembling all the while to be friends with his fo, as he was walking on a time with him in a by place, came behind him and threw him downe, and holding his dagger to his throate, told him, that, if he would not renounce God, he would kill him. The man, being at first very loth to commit so horrible a