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Ham. 4 Nay, then I have an eye



you love me, hold not off.

Guil. My lord, we were fent for.

Ham. I will tell you why; so shall my anticipatio prevent your discovery, and your secrecy to the king and queen mouit no feather. 5 I have of late (but wherefore I know not) lost all my mirth, forgone all cuitom of exercises : and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'er-hanging firmament, this majestical roof fretred with golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how noble in reason ! how infinite in faculties ! in form and moving how express and admirable! in action how like an angel ! in apprehension how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet to me, what is this quintessence of dust ? Man delights not menor woman neither; though by your smiling you seem to say fo.

Rof. My lord, there was no such stuff in my thoughts,

Hom. Why did you laugh when I said man delights not me ?

Rof. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten entertainment the players shall receive from you ; we coted them on the way', and hither are they coming to offer you


Hark. 4 Nay, then I have an eye of you :-) An eye of you means, ! have a glimpse of your meaningSTEEVENS.

s I have of late, &c.] This is an admirable description of a rooted melancholy sprung from thickness of blood; and artfully imagined to hide the true cause of his disorder from the penetration of these two friends, who were fet over him as 1pies. WARBURTON.

6 We coted them on the wev, To ecte (as has been already observed) is to overtake. I meet with this word in The Return from Parnatus, a comedy, 1606.


Ham. He that plays the king shall be welcome ; his majesty shall have tribute of me: the adventurous knight Thall use his foil and target: the lover shall not sigh gratis : the humorous man 7 shall end his part in peace : the clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled o' the fere : and 8 the lady fhall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't.-What players are they?

Ros. Even those you were wont to take delight in, the tragedians of this city.

Ham. How chances it they travel ? their residence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.

Rof. ' I think, their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation.

Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city ? are they so follow'd ?

Rof. No, indeed, they are not.

marry we presently coted and outfript them.” I have observed the fame word to be used in several more of the old plays. So in the Second Part of Marson's Antonio and Mellida, 1602.

-quick observation send “ To cote the plot.”—

STEEVENS. ? fall end his part in peace :-) After these words the folio adds, the clown mall make those laugh whose lungs are tickled oʻth' jere. WARBURTON.

This passage I have omitted, for the same reason, I suppose, as the other editors: I do not understand it. Johnson.

The clown Mall make those laugh whoje lungs are tickled a'th' Jere, i. e. those who are aithmatical, and to whom laughter is most uneasy. This is the case (as I am told) with those whose lungs are tickled by the sere or serum ; but about this passage I am neither very confident, nor very solicitous. Steevens.

8 the lady shall, &c.] The lady shall have no obstruction, unless from the lameness of the verse. JOHNSON.

I think, their inhibition-] Ifancy this is transposed : Hamlet enquires not about an inhibition, but an innovation ; the answer therefore probably was, I think, their innovation, that is, their new practice of strolling, cornes by the means of the late inhibition.



Ham. How comes it ? do they grow rusty ? “ Rof. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted

pace : but there is, Sir, an Aiery of children, « little Eyases, that a cry out on the top of question, “ and are most tyrannically clapp'd for’t: these are « now the fashion ; and fo berattle the common

stages (so they call them) that many wearing rapiers

are afraid of goose-quills, and dare scarce come u thither.

Ham. What, are they children? who maintains “ 'em ? how are they 3 escoted ? 4 Will they pursue

quality no longer than they can fing? Will they “ not say afterwards ? If they should grow themselves * to common players (as it is most like, if their

* The lines marked with commas are in the folio of 1623, but not in the quarto of 1637, nor, I suppose, in any of the quartos. JOHNSON.

I-litile Yases, that cry out on the top of question, — ] The poet here steps out of his subject to give a lath at home, and Îneer at the prevailing fashion of following plays performed by the children of the chapel, and abandoning the established theatres. But why are they called little Yases? As he first calls 'em an Aiery of children (now, an Aiery or Eyery is a hawk's or eagle's nest); there is not the least question but we ought to restore-little Eyases; i. e. young nestlings, creatures just out of the


THEOBALD. An Aiery of children,) Relating to the play-houses then contending, the Bankside, the Fortune, &c. played by the children of his majesty's chapel. Pope.

-cry out on the top of the question,–] The meaning seems to be, they as a common queition in the highest notes of the voice. JOHNSON.

I believe question, in this place, as in many others, fignifies conversation. So in The Merchant of Venice : --Think you question with a Jew.” The meaning of the passage may therefore be-Children that perpetually speak in the highest potes of voice that can be admitted in speaking. Steevens.

-escoted?] Paid. Johnson. 4 Will they pursue the quality no longer than they can fing??] Will they follow the profession of players no longer than they keep the voices of boys! So afterwards he says to the player, Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.


* means



means are no better) their writers do them wrong, “ to make them exclaim against their own succession 5.

Ros. ’Faith, there has been much to do on both “ fides, and the nation holds it no fin, to tarre them

on to controversy 6. There was, for a while, no « money bid for argument, unless the poet and the

player went to cuffs in the question. 56 Ham. Is it possible ?

Guil. Oh, there has been much throwing about a of brains.

Ham. Do the boys carry it away?

Rof. Ay, that they do, my lord, 7 Hercules and « his load too.”

Ham. 8 It is not very strange ; for mine uncle is king of Denmark; and those that would make mowes at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece for his picture in little. There is something in this more than națural, if philofophy could find it out.

[Flourish of trumpets. Guil. There are the players. · Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinour. Your hands. Come 'then. The appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony : 9 let me comply with you

in this garb, left my extent to the players, , which, I tell you, must shew fairly outward, should

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-their writers do them wrong, &c.] I should have been very much surprized if I had not found Ben Jonson among the writers here alluded to. Steevens.

-O TARRE them on to controversy.] To provoke any animal to rage, is to tarre him. The word is said to come from the Greek Tapdrow. Johnson.

1-Hercules and his load too.] i. e. they not only carry away the world, but the world bearer too alluding to the story of Hercules's relieving Atlas. This is humorous. WARB. * It is not very strange;

for mine uncle] I do not wonder that the new players have so suddenly risen to reputation, my ancle supplies another example of the facility with which honour is conferred upon new claimants. JOHNSON. ! HANMER reads, Let me compliment with you. Johnson.


more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome : but my uncle-father and aunt-mother are deceiv’d.

Guil. In what, my dear lord ?

Ham. I am but mad north-north-west: when the wind is foutherly, 'I know a hawk from a hand-faw.

Enter Polonius.
Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen!

Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern ; and you too; at each ear a hearer. That great baby, you see there, is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.

Ros. Happily, he's the second time come to them; for they say an old man is twice a child.

Ham. I will prophesy, he comes to tell me of the players. Mark it. You say right, Sir : on Monday morning ; 'twas then, indeed.

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.

Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you.
When Rofcius was an actor in Rome -

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
Ham. - Buz, buz!
Pol. Upon mine honour.
Ham. 3 Then came each aftor on his ass

Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical,


I know a hawk from a hand-jaw.] This was a common proverbial speech. The Oxford Editor alters it to, I know a hawk from an bernshaw, as if the other had been a corruption of the players ; whereas the poet found the proverb thus corrupted in the mouths of the people : so that this critic's alteration only serves to Mew us the original of the expression.

WARBURTON. 2 Buz, buz!-] Mere idle talk, the buz of the vulgar.

JOHNSON. Buz, buz! are, I believe, only interjections employed to interrupt Polonius: B. Jonson uses them often for the same purpose. STEEVENS. 3 Thin came, &c.] This seems to be a line of a ballad.



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