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(95) In the rank sweat of an enseamed bed] In the filthy stew of grossly fed indulgence.
The reading of the quarto, 1611, is incestuous, though in another we have inseemed. Neither is the word in the text, or seam, to be found in any such sense as that of the text in our early lexicographers, or Minshieu ; though Mr. Todd, in commenting upon
“ And bounteous Trent, that in himself en seems
Both thirty sorts of fish and thirty sundry streams," F. Q. IV.·XI. 35, thinks it probably derived from ensemencer, old Fr. to furnish with seed. Dr. Johnson has here interpreted the word
greasy : : but neither is it to be found in his dictionary in this, or the word seam in any, sense. Mrs. Page, however, speaking of the knight, uses greasily in this sense. M.W. of W. II. 1. and see “ greasily,” L. L. L. IV. 1. Maria. Mr. Steevens instances the third of Four Plays in One:
“ His leachery inseam'd upon him." B. and Fl. In The Book of Hawkyng, &c. bl. I. no date, we are told that “ Ensayme of a hauke is the grece.”
In Randle Holme's Academy of Armory and Blazon, B. II. ch. ii. p. 238, we are told that “ Enseame is the purging of a hawk from her glut and grease.”. From the next page in the same work, we learn that the glut is “ a slimy substance in the belly of the hawk.”
He adds, in some places it means hoga' lard, in others, the grease or oil with which clothiers besmear their wool to make it draw out in spinning. Mr. Henley says, in the West of England the inside fat of a goose, when dissolved by heat, is called its seam ; and Shakspeare has used the word in the same sense in Tr. and Cr.
shall the proud lord, “ That bastes his arrogance with his own seam.” II. 3. (96) A vice of kings] This character, which Mr. Douce says (Illustrat. II. 251) " belonged to the old moralities," is said, by Mr. Warton, as introduced here, to mean “a fantastic and factitious image of majesty, a mere puppet of royalty." “ And on your stall a puppet with a vice.”
B. Jonson's Alchymist, I.3. And see II. H. IV. Falst. III, 2.
(97) A king
patches] This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of party-coloured patches. Johnson.
(98) laps'd in time and passion] That, having suffered time to slip, and passion to cool, let's go, &c. Johnson.
“ For which, if I be lapsed in this place,
(99) Conceit] The wanderings of imagination; fond and
“ Conceit upon her father." King.
“ Who, if it had conceit, would die." Lychor.
Start up, and stand on end] Bedded is smoothed, laid down, as in bed. With respect to excrement, such is every thing that is an excrescence, or is extruded; as the hair, nails, feathers, fæces.
“ Nor force thee bite thy finger's excrement."
Commend. Verses to Roht. Nevile's Poor Scholar, 1662. And Mr. Whalley instances, in Iz. Walton's Complete Angler, c. 1. “ the several kinds of fowl by which his curious palate is pleased by day, and which, with their very excrements, afford him a soft lodging at night."
“ Hairiness is a signe (TAEIG8 Tepirlwualos Aristot.) of the abundance of excrements." Ferrand's Epwiquaria, 12mo. 1640, p. 143. But as hair, being the subject, cannot well be likened to itself, Mr. Seymour says, “ the idea is coarser than Pope interprets it, who merely says, “ the hairs are excrementitious.". It is that of vermin, generated in filth and putrefaction."
“ Start up, and stand on end,” the reading of the folios, we must refer to the same principle as that of “ scope of these articles allow." I. 1. King. The quartos read starts and stands. (101) Preaching to stones would make them capable]
“ Their passions then so swelling in them, they would have made auditors of stones, rather than.” Arcadia, lib. v.
Will want true colour] Change the nature of my fell purposes, ends, or what I mean to effect: as in IV. 3.
“ Conjuring to that effect
This bodiless creation ecstasy
Rape of Lucrece.
(101) skin and film the ulcerous place] “ That skins the vice o'the top.” M. for M. II. 2. Isab.
SreeVENS. (105) curb] Bend and truckle. Fr. courber. " Then I courbid on my knees.” Pierce Plowman.
STEEVENS. (106) That monster, custom, who all sense doth eat
Of habits devil, is angel yet in this] That monster, custom, who devours all sense, all just and correct feeling [being also] the evil genius of (our) propensities or habits, is, nevertheless, in this particular, a good angel.
Though much in our author's manner, the folios do not seem to us to have omitted any thing that could better have been spared.
(107) And maister the devil] So the quarto, 1611. That of 1604 reads either. (108) To punish me with this, and this with me,
That I must be their scourge and minister] Punish me with this, with the reproach of this act, and punish this “rash, intruding fool and knave” with, or by me; that I must be (of heaven, i. e. of the gods] their scourge and minister, instrument and agent. The turn of the speech of Constance in K. John has much resemblance to the present,
“ He is not only plagued for her sin;
Her injury, &c. II. 1. • (109) Let the bloat king] Surfeit-swoln. Blunt, the reading of the folios, may be interpreted “rude, coarse:" but as pointing at the king's intemperance, which Hamlet was at all times fond of bringing into notice, the adoption of the reading of the text from the quarto is probably no more than the correction of a misprint.
(110) his mouse] Mouse was once a term of endearment.
So Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 1632, p.527:" ---pleasant names may be invented, bird, mouse, lamb, pus, pigeon," &c. STEEVENS.
It is found in A New and Merry Interlude, called the Trial of Treasure, 1567 :
My mouse, my nobs, my cony sweete;
My hope and joye, my whole delight." MALONE, My mouse of virtue.” Tw. Night. I. 5. Clown to Olivia. (111) Reechy kisses] Rankly steaming. Reech is another reading of reek, steam : words ending in k, having also another ending in ch, or ge. In Coriol, we have the “ reechy neck of a
kitchen wench," II. 1. Brut. and “ reeky thanks" in a vault, Rom. and Jul. IV. 1. Jul.
(112) That I essentially am not in madness,
But mad in craft] The reader will be pleased to see Dr. Farmer's extract from the old quarto Historie of Hamblet, of which he had a fragment only in his possession :-" It was not without cause, and just occasion, that my gestures, countenances, and words, seeme to proceed from a madman, and that I desire to haue all men esteeme mee wholly depriued of sense and reasonable understanding, bycause I am well assured, that he that hath made no conscience to kill his owne brother, (accustomed to murthers, and allured with desire of gouernement without controll in his treasons) will not spare to saue himselfe with the like crueltie, in the blood and flesh of the loyns of his brother, by him massacred; and therefore it is better for me to fayne madnesse, then to use my right sences as nature hath bestowed them upon me.
The bright shining clearnes thereof I am forced to hide vnder this shadow of dissimulation, as the sun doth hir beams under some great cloud, when the wether in summer-time ouercasteth : the face of a madman serueth to couer my gallant countenance, and the gestures of a fool are fit for me, to the end that, guiding myself wisely therein, I may preserue my life for the Danes and the memory of my late deceased father; for that the desire of reuenging his death is so ingraven in my heart, that if I dye not shortly, I hope to take such and so great vengeance, that these countryes shall for euer speake thereof. Neuerthelesse I must stay the time, meanes and occasion, lest by making ouergreat hast, I be now the cause of mine own sodaine ruine and ouerthrow, and by that meanes end, before I beginne to effect, my hearts desire : he that hath to doe with a wicked, disloyall, cruell, and discourteous man, must vse craft, and politike inuentions, such as a fine witte can best imagine, not to discover his interprise ; for seeing that by force I cannot effect my desire, reason alloweth me by dissimulation, subtiltie, and secret practises to proceed therein." STEEVENS. (113) _Unpeg the basket on the house's top,
Let the birds fly) “ Make a full disclosure, although you draw down ruin upon yourself.” Of the popular story, to which allusion must here have been made, we find no satisfactory account.
(114) To try conclusions] Try experiments. “ He had too much fólowed the allurements and entisements of Sathan, and' fondly practised his conclusions by conjuring, witchcraft, enchantment, sorcerie, and such like.” Newes from Scotland, of Doctor Fian, register to the devill, &c. 4to. 1591. signat. C 2, b. See M. of V, Launce. II. 2.
(115) adders fang'd] Dr. Johnson says, with their fangs or poisonous teeth, undrawn. It has been the practice of mountebanks to boast the efficacy of their antidotes by playing with
vipers, but they first disabled their fangs. But it may be, that Hamlet meant that he extended his distrust of them, even after this precaution had been taken.
116) they'must sweep my way, &c.]
“ some friends, that will “ Sweep your way for you.” Ant. and CI, III. 9. Ant.
(117) When in one line two crafts directly meet] Still alluding to a countermine. Malone.
“ Now powers from home and discontents at home,
(118) TUl lug the guts into the neighbour room] There is a coarseness and want of feeling in this part of the conduct, if not in the language, of Hamlet, an excuse for which we seek in vain at this time, in the peculiarity or necessities of his situation. He had now fully opened himself to his mother : there was no other person upon the stage; and there could not, therefore, be the least occasion for his assuming or affecting a character or feeling, which was not real, and his genuine sentiment.
For a violation of decorum, which cannot appear other than gross to modern ears, and may be considered as such in just conception and feeling, we can no otherwise account, than by supposing, that it must have been a compliance with the rude taste of the age ; that it was done “ to please the groundlings," or, in modern phrase, was addressed to the galleries; a part of the audience frequently necessary to be conciliated, and which cannot, at any time, be altogether overlooked.
At the same time we must be careful not to conceive a higher degree of offence, than the expression used would, at the time, actually convey.
,” which occurs again in Hamlet's conversation with the King, IV. 1, was a term generally used in grave composition, where we now use " entrails ;" and even by one, who, as Mr. Steevens says, " made the first attempt to polish the language,” by Lyly, in Mydas, 1592: “ Could not the treasure of Phrygia, nor the tributes of Greece, nor mountains in the East, whose guts are gold, satisfy thy mind?"
He adds, Stanyhurst often has it in his translation of Virgil, 1582 :
Pectoribus inhians spirantia consulit exta.
conster.” And Chapman, II. VI.
in whose guts the king of men imprest “ His ashen lance;-" See grunt and sweat." III, 1. Haml.