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sinne, yet in the end yeelded to do it, rather than to lose bis life, and so renounced both God and the Saints, and all the Kyrielle (as they spake in those dayes) whereupon the wicked wretch, having his desire, stabbed him with his dagger, which he held to his throate, and afterward bragged that he had taken the kindliest and the bravest revenge of his enemie that ever man did, in that he had destroyed him both body and soule.”
The same fiend-like disposition Mr. Steevens says is shown in Vittoria Corombona, 1612:
to have poison'd
" His soul into the hazard !” And in the Honest Lawyer, 1616:
“ I then should strike his body with his soul,
“ And sink them both together.” And upon her husband Emilia pours imprecations bitter as these :
“ May his pernicious soul “ Rót, half a grain a day.” Othel. V. 2. Mr. Steevens produces an example from Heywood's Silver Age, 1613, of another phrase in the text.
“ Whose heels, tripp'd up, kick'd against the firmament." Mr. Malone cites Machin's Dumb Knight, 1633 :
“ Nay, be but patient, smooth your brow a little,
“ That your revenge may stretch unto their souls." Mr. Reed adds, and refers to the Turkish Spy, III. 243, I think it not improbable, that when Shakspeare put this horrid sentiment into the mouth of Hamlet, he might have recollected the following story:" One of these monsters meeting his enemie unarmed, threatened to kill him, if he denied not God, his power, and essential properties, viz. his mercy, suffrance, &c. the which, when the other, desiring life, pronounced with great horror, kneeling upon his knees; the bravo cried out, nowe will I kill thy body and soule, and at that instant thrust him through with his rapier." Brief Discourse of the Spanish State, with a Dialogue annexed, intitled Philobasilis, 4to. 1590, p. 24. * And Mr. M. Mason : “ this speech of Hamlet's, as Johnson observes, is horrid indeed; yet some moral may be extracted from it, as all his subsequent calamities were owing to this savage refinement of revenge. : This principle, which the notions of our untutored ancestors seemed almost to sanctify, (see Salisbury's “holy vow," K.
John. IV. 3.) was, from the hold it had upon public opinion, resorted to as an engine in the minds of the audience of sufficient force to justify that delay of Hamlet in the execution of his purpose, which was necessary to enable our author to carry on his drama through this and the succeeding act.
(80) Polonius hides himself] The concealment of Polonius in the Queen's chamber, during the conversation between Hamlet and his mother, and the manner of his death, were suggested by the following passage in The Hystory of Hamblet, bl. 1. sig. Þ 1:“ The counsellour entered secretly into the queene's chamber, and there hid himselfe behinde the arras, and long before the queene and Hamlet came thither; who being craftie and pollitique, as soone as hee was within the chamber, doubting some treason, and fearing if he should speake severely and wisely to his mother, touching his secret practises, hee should be understood, and by that means intercepted, used his ordinary manner of dissimulation, and began to come (r. crow] like a cocke, beating with his arms (in such manner as cockes use to strike with their wings) upon the hangings of the chamber; whereby feeling something stirring under them, he cried, a rat, a rut, and presently drawing his sworde, thrust it into the hangings; which done ; pulled the counsellour (half-deade) out by the heeles, made an ende of killing him; and, being slaine, cut his body in pieces, which he caused to be boyled, and then cast it into an open vault or privie.” Malone.
(81) As kill a king] Hamlet might have thrown out this as he employed the play against the king, to “ catch the conscience” of his mother; but neither in this severe attack upon her, or any where else, though he might harbour some suspicion, does he bring any direct charge of the murder of his father against his mother. Want of decency, of feeling, and the capacity of appretiating or weighing comparative merit, are his points; or, at most, conjugal infidelity. Neither in the exhibition of the mock tragedy, in which, purposely perhaps, the question is raised, whether a woman ever married a second husband who had not murdered her first, does she appear to have any way
blenched” at the suggestion; and the old Hystory, from which some of the incidents of the play are just shown to have been taken, as Mr. Malone points out, expressly negatives this imputation.
« I know well, my sonne, that I have done thee great wrong in marrying with Fengon, the cruel tyrant and murtherer of thy father, and my loyal spouse; but when thou shalt consider the small means of resistance, and the treason of the palace, with the little cause of confidence we are to expect, or hope for, of the courtiers, all wrought to his will; as also the power he made ready if I should have refused to like him; thou wouldst rather excuse, than accuse me of lasciviousness or inconstancy, much less offer me that wrong to suspect that ever thy mother Geruth
once consented to the death and murther of her husband : swearing unto thee by the majestie of the gods, that if it had layne in me to have resisted the tyrant, although it had beene with the losse of my blood, yea, and of my life, I would surely have saved the life of my lord and husband.” sig. D 4.
(82) If it be made of penetrable stuff]
“ I am not made of stone,
R. III. Gloster, III. 7.
(83) Takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And makes a blister there] Takes the clear tint from the brow of unspotted, untainted innocence. Whether “ the rose" here means only the “ roseate hue,” as Mr. Malone conceives, or has any distant allusion, as Mr. Steevens would intimate, to the fashion recorded in Spenser's calendar of crowns of flowers “worn of paramours,” Mr. Malone very properly insists ; that that part of the forehead, which is situated between the eyebrows, was considered by our poet as the seat of innocence and modesty.
« brands the harlot
Of my true mother.” IV. 5. Laert.
“ As true as the skin between any man's brows."
“ Brave sprited gentles, on whose comely front
The rose of favour sits majesticall.”
(84) That roars so loud, and thunders in the index] That is introduced with such formality, and so strong an appeal.
In early topography, indexes, called tables of contents, or a sort of bill of fare, were generally prefixed to books. pears in several parts of our author. “ An inder and obscure prologue to the history,” &c.
Othel, II. 7. Iago. " And in such indexes, although small pricks
To their subsequent volumes.". Tr. and Cr. I. 3. Nestor. (85) Look here, upon this picture, and on this] Mr. Malone tells us, that in a print prefixed to Rowe's edit. of 1709, the two royal portraits are exhibited as half lengths, hanging in the
queen's closet. There can be little doubt that such was the furniture of the stage in our author's day, and that the respective portraits were pointed out by the finger in representation : and such, probably, continued to be the course down to the death of Betterton. In modern practice miniatures are produced from the neck and pocket. The “pictures in little” of that age, of which, in common with his contemporaries, our author speaks in II. 2. (Haml. to Rosencr.) might have been as commodiously used for this purpose as modern miniatures; but by this process the audience are not permitted to judge of what they hear, to make any estimate of the comparative defects and excellencies even of the features : and as to the “ station" or imposing attitude, " the combination and the form," it is impossible, in so confined a space, that these could be presented to each other; that of these, even the parties themselves should be able to form any adequate idea.
(86) The counterfeit presentment] Picture, or mimic representation. “ Portia's counterfeit,” M. of V. Bassan. III. 2. “ There never was counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion." M. ado, &c. II. 3. Leon, Mr. Steevens observes, that we meet with several of the ideas found here in much the same terms in Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613.
“ A donative he hath of every God;
(87) A station like the herald Mercury,
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill] Station is manner of standing, i. e. attitude. “A gait, a state.” L. L. L. IV. 3. Biron.
- How this grace
Speaks his own standing.” Tim. I. 1. Poet.
Ant. and Cl. III. 3. Mess. For heaven-kissing hill, see Tr, and Cr. IV. 5. Ulyss. and Pericl. I. 4. Cleon.
(88) And batten on this moor] Feed rankly. From bat, increase, we have batten, battle, battill, to feed and to grow fat. Batten occurs in Lycidas, v. 39, and Mr. Steevens cites Claud. Tiberius Nero, 1607.
" And for milk I battened was with blood,” &c. In the F. Q. VI. VIII. 38. Spenser writes,
" For sleepe, they sayd, would make her battil better."
“ But if the earth, thus ordered, swelleth or retcheth out, then is it a sure note, that the same is a battell and fat ground." Dethick's Gardeper's Labyrinth, 4to. 1586. p. 6. }
In Baret's Alvearie, Fo. 1580. we have,“ battle and fertile." lætum et ferax. Battleness. abundance, fruitfulness. Ubertas, fertilitas.
We have the adjective “batful pastures" in Thomas's Historye of Italye, 1549, p. 1. and it occurs throughout Drayton ; and in Whittintoni Lucubrationes, 4to. 1527, “ Batwell, or fatte. Pinguis."
Mr. Todd says, that Cotgrave, in his old French Dictionary, writes, “ to battle, or get flesh ;' and adds, “ to battle, as schollers doe in Oxford. Estre debteur au college pour ses vivres." Spens. VII. 52.
(89) The hey-day of the blood] High day is Johnson's explanation of hey-day; and in the M. of V. we have, “ Thou expend'st such high-day wit in praising him.”
II. 9. Portia. It must mean the meridian glow. Mr. Stevens cites, 'Tis pity she's a whore, 1633. Must the hey-day of your luxury be fed up
to a surfcit? (90) Sense, sure, you have,
Else could you not have motion] Motion is simply the faculty of moving. Sense is sensation, feeling, apprehension ; much as it is used just above, “ That it be proof and bulwark against sense,” where it means “ all feeling.” Or, as in Cymb.
« Remain thou here (putting on a ring),
While sense can keep it on.". I. 2. Posthum. (91) Nor sense to ecstacy was ne'er so thralld,
But it resero'd, &c.] Nor was understanding ever so debased or mastered by a phrenzy so extravagant, as not to have reserved, &c.
(92) at hoodman-blind] Blindman's-buff. Why should I play at hoodman-blind?
Wise Wom. of Hogsden, 1638. And in Two Lamentable Tragedies in One, &c. 1601 :
“ Pick out men's eyes, and tell them that's the sport
(93) If thou can'st mutine) Rebel. Mutineers are, V. 1. Haml., called mutines : and for the verb, Mr. Malone cites Knolles's History of the Turks, 1603 : “ The Janisaries-became wonderfully discontented, and began to mutine in diverse places of the citie.” Malone.
(94) And reason panders will]
Ven. and Adon. MALONE.