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an apparition, which, though in all ages credited, has in all ages been considered as the most wonderful and most dreadful operation of supernatural agency, enquires of the spectre, in the most emphatic terms, why he breaks the order of nature, by returning from the dead this he asks in a very confused circumlocution, confounding in his fright the soul and body. The whole sentence is this: Why dost thou appear, whom we know to be dead?
JOHNSON. Line 728. to shake our disposition,] Disposition for frame. WARBURTON.
741. -pin's fee;] The value of a pin. JOHNSON. 748. That beetles o'er his base-] That hangs o'er his base, like what is called a beetle-brow. MALONE.
puts toys of desperation,] Toys for whims. WARBURTON. 765. —that lets me :] To let among our old authors signifies to prevent, to hinder. STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE V.
-mine orchard,] Orchard for garden. STEEV. 846. With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,] Hebenon, i. e. henbane.
Line 860. Cut off even in the blossoms of my sin, &c.] The very words of this part of the speech are taken (as I have been informed by a gentleman of undoubted veracity) from an old Legend of Saints, where a man, who was accidentally drowned, is introduced as making the same complaint. Steevens.
Line 861. Unhousel'd, disappointed, unanel'd;] Unhouseľ'd is without having received the sacrament. Unanel'd is without extreme unction. STEEVENS.
Line 864. O, horrible! O, horrible! most horrible!] It was ingeniously hinted to me by a very learned lady, that this line seems to belong to Hamlet, in whose mouth it is a proper and natural exclamation; and who, according to the practice of the stage, may be supposed to interrupt so long a speech.
JOHNSON. Line 867. A couch for luxury-] i. e. for lewdness. So in King Lear:
"To't luxury, pell-mell, for I lack soldiers."
Line 883. fused with thought.
Line 874. pale his uneffectual fire :] i. e. shining without WARBURTON.
-this distracted globe.] i. e. in this head conSTEEVENS.
-come, bird, come.] This is the call which falconers use to their hawk in the air, when they would have HANMER. him come down to them.
ACT II. SCENE I.
-Danskers-] Dunske (in Warner's Albion's
England) is the ancient name of Denmark.
Line 33. drinking, fencing, swearing,] Fencing, I suppose, means, piquing himself on his skill in the use of the sword, and quarrelling and brawling, in consequence of that skill.
Line 39. another scandal-] i. e. a very different and more scandalous failing, namely, habitual incontinency.
Line 46. Of general assault.] i. e. such as youth in general is WARBURTON.
Line 98. Ungarter'd, and down-gyved to his ancle;] Downgyved means, hanging down like the loose cincture which conSTEEVENS. fines the fetters round the ancles.
foredoes itself,] To foredo is to destroy.
-it is as proper to our age
To cast beyond ourselves in our opinions,
To lack discretion.] This is not the remark of a
weak man. The vice of age is too much suspicion. Men long accustomed to the wiles of life cast commonly beyond themselves, let their cunning go farther than reason can attend it. This is always the fault of a little mind, made artful by long commerce JOHNSON. with the world. Line 140. This must be known; which, being kept close, might move More grief to hide, than hate to utter love.] i. e. This
must be made known to the King, for (being kept secret) the hiding Hamlet's love might occasion more mischief to us from him and the Queen, than the uttering or revealing of it will occasion hate and resentment from Hamlet. JOHNSON.
ACT II. SCENE II.
Line 170. plaisance.
Line 172. For the supply &c.] That the hope which your arrival has raised may be completed by the desired effect. JOHNS. Line 180. in the full bent,] The full bent, is the utmost extremity of exertion. MALONE. Line 204. the trail of policy-] The trail is the course of an animal pursued by the scent. JOHNSON. Line 226. -borne in hand,] i. e. deceived, imposed on. STEEVENS. ·244. —at night we'll feast—] The King's intemperance is never suffered to be forgotten. JOHNSON.
-more above,] is moreover, besides, JOHNSON. If I had play'd the desk, or table-book; Or given my heart a working, mute and dumb;
Or look'd upon this love with idle sight;
What might you think?] It may mean, if I had
locked up this secret in my own breast, as closely as it were confined in a desk or table-book.
Line 289. ·302.
Gentry, for com-
Line 361. conception is a blessing; &c.] The meaning seems to be, conception (i. e. understanding) is a blessing; but as your daughter may conceive (i. e. be pregnant,) friend look to't, i. e. have a care of that. STEEVENS.
Line 447. Then are our beggars, bodies;] Shakspeare seems here to design a ridicule of those declamations against wealth and greatness, that seem to make happiness consist in poverty.
Line 483. 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 set over him as spies. WARBURTON.
Line 506. -lenten entertainment-] i. e. sparing, like STEEVENS. the entertainments given in Lent. -we coted them on the way;] To cote is to overSTEEVENS.
Line 514. the lady shall say her mind &c.] The lady shall have no obstruction, unless from the lameness of the verse. JOHNSON. little eyases,] i. e. young nestlings, creatures THEOBALD.
Line 529. just out of the egg. Line 529.
cry out on the top of question,] The meaning seems to be, they ask a common question in the highest note of JOHNSON. the voice.
-escoted?] Paid. From the French escot, a
shot or reckoning.
. Line 545. —to tarre them on to controversy:] To provoke any animal to
rage, is to tarre him.
-in little,] i. e. in miniature.
-587. Buz, buz !] Mere idle talk, the buz of the vulgar.
my abridgment-] He calls the players afterwards, the brief chronicles of the times; but I think he now means JOHNSON. only those who will shorten my talk.
thy face is valanced-] i. e. fringed with a beard. The valance is the fringes or drapery hanging round the MALONE. tester of a bed. Line 618. by the altitude of a chopine.] -A chioppine is a high shoe worn by the Italians.
-be not cracked within the ring.] That is, cracked This is said to a young player who acted the
Line 620. too much for use. JOHNSON. parts of women. Line 629. caviare to the general:] Florio, in his Italian Dictionary, 1598, defines, Caviaro, "a kinde of salt meat, used in Italie, like black sope; it is made of the roes of fishes." Lord Clarendon uses the general for the people, in the same manner as it MALONE. is used here.
Line 631. cried in the top of mine,] Whose judgment, in such matters, was in much higher vogue than mine.
Line 636. -indite the author of affection:] i. e. convict the author of being a fantastical affected writer. STEEVENS. -an honest method,] Honest, for chaste.
WARBURTON, 651. Now is he total gules ;] Gules is a term in the barbarous jargon peculiar to heraldry, and signifies red. STEEVENS. trick'd—] i, e. smeared, painted. An herald
Line 651. ick term.
Line 695. -the mobled queen-—] The mabled queen, (or mobled queen,` as it is spelt in the quarto,) means, the queen attired in a large, coarse, and careless head-dress. A few lines lower we are told she had "a clout upon that head, where late the diadem stood." MALONE. Line 701. With bisson rheum;] Bisson or beesen, i. e. blind. STEEVENS.
-759. the cue for passion,] This phrase is theatrical, and occurs at least a dozen times in our author's plays. STEEV. Line 761. -the general car-] The ear of all mankind. So before, Caviare to the general, that is, to the multitude.
JOHNSON. Line 767. unpregnant of my cause,] i. e. not quickened with a new desire of vengeance; not teeming with revenge.}
JOHNSON. Line 770. A damn'd defeat was made.] Defeat for destruction. WARBURTON. 790. -About my brains !] Wits, to your work. Brain, go about the present business. JOHNSON. Line 800. -tent him—] Search his wounds. JOHNSON. if he do blench,] If he shrink, or start. STEEVENS.
ACT III. SCENE I.
Line 19. —o'er-raught on the way:] O'er-raught is overreached, that is, over-took.
Line 36. Affront Ophelia :] To affront, is only to meet di
espials,] i. e. spies.
61. -more ugly to the thing that helps it,] That is, compared with the thing that helps it.