« PreviousContinue »
A. bug was no less a terrifick being than a goblin, So, in Spenser's Faery Queen, B. II. c. 3.
“ As ghastly bug their haire on end does reare." We call it at present a bugbear.
Steevens. 337. -no leisure bated, ] Bated, for allówed. To abale, signifies to deduct; this deduction, when applied to the person in whose favour it is made, is called an allowance. Hence he takes the liberty of using bated for allowed.
WARBURTON. 344. Being thus benetted round with villains,
Ere I could make a prologue to my brains,
They had begun the play ;-) Hamlet is telling how luckily every thing fell out; he groped out their commission in the dark without waking thenı; he found himself doomed to immediate destruction. Something was to be done for his preservation. An expedient occurred, not produced by the comparison of one method with another, or by a regular deduc. tion of consequences, but before he could make a prologue to his brains, they had begun the play. Before he could summon his faculties, and propose to himself what should be done, a complete scheme of action presented itself to him. His mind operated before he had excited it. This appears to me to be the meaning.
-as our statists do,] A statist is a statesman. So, in Shirley's Humourous Courtier, 1640 :
“ – that he is wise, a statist." Again, in Ben Jonson's Magnetic Lady: “ Will screw you out a secret from a statise.”
Most of the great men of Shakspere's time, whose autographs have been preserved, wrote very bad hands; their secretaries very neat ones.
BLACKSTONE. 357. As peace should still her wheaten garland wear,
And stand a comma 'tween their amities ;] Peace is here properly and finely personalized as the goddess of good league and friendship; and very classically dressed out.
“ Pax cererum nutrit, Pacis alumna Ceres." And Tibullus, “ At nobis, Pax alma! veni, spicamque teneto."
WARBURTON, The comma is the note of connection and continuity of sentences; the period is the note of abruption and disjunction. Shakspere had it perhaps in his mind to write, That unless England complied with the mandate, war should put a period to their amity; he altered his mode of diction, and thought that, in an opposite sense, he might put, that Peace should stand a comma between their amities. This is not an easy style; but is it not the style of Shakspere ?
JOHNSON 370. The changeling never known :--) A changeling is a child which the fairies are supposed to leave in the room of that which they steal.
JOHNSON. 374. Why, man, &c.] This line is omitted in the quartos.
STEEVENS. 376. Doth by their own insinuation grow:] Insinuaa tior, for corruptly obtruding themselves into his service,
386. To quit him-] To requite him; to pay him his due.
JOHNSON as well as the three following speeches, is not in the quartos.
Steevens. 396. I'll count his favours:] Thus the folio. I'll count his favours is—I will make account of them, i.e. reckon upon them, value them.
STEEVENS. 401. -Dost know this water-fly?] A water-fly skips up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler. JOHNSON. 407. --'Tis a chough ;-) A kind of jackdaw.
JOHNSON. 417. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry, &c.] Ham. let is here playing over the same face with Osrick, which he had formerly done with Polonius.
STEVENS. -or my complexion -] The folio reads--for my complexion.
STEEVENS, 425. Sir, &c.] The folio 'omits this and the fola owing fourteen speechres; and in their place subsiia tutes only, Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon.
STEEV ENS. 426. ---full of most excellent differences,-) Full of distinguishing excellencies.
JOHNSON, 428. --speak feelingly-] The first quarto reads, sellingly.
STEEVENS. 429. --the card or calender of gentry; --] The general preceptor of elegance; the card by which a gentlenian is to direct his course; the calendar by
which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and seasonable.
JOHNSON. 429. --for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.] You shall find him containing and comprising, every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation, I know not but it should be read, You shall find him the continent.
JOHNSON. 432. Sir, his definement, &c.] This is designed as a specimen, and ridicule of the court-jargon amongst the precieux of that time. The sense in English is, “ Sir, he suffers nothing in your account of him, though to enumerate his good qualities particularly would be endless; yet when we had done our best, it would still come short of him. However, in stricte ness of truth, he is a great gevius, and of a character so rarely to be met wiih, that to find any thing like him we must look into his mirrour, and his imitators will appear no more than his shadows.”
WARBURTON. 434. -and yet but raw neither,-] Raw signifies unripe, immature, thence unformed, imperfet, unskilful. The best account of him would be imperfect, in respect of his quick sail. The phrase quick sail was, I suppose, a proverbial term for activity of mind.
a soul of great article ;-] This is ob
I suppose, a soul of great article, means a soul of large comprehension, of many contents; the particulars of an inventory, are called articles.
437 -of such dearth-] Dearth is dearness, value, price. And his internal qualities of such value and rarity.
JOHNSON 445. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue ? you will do't, sir, really. ] Of this interrogatory remark, the sense is very obscure. The question may. mean, Might not all this be understood in plainer language? But then, you will do it, sir, really, seems to have no use, for who could doubt but plain language would be ihtelligible? I would therefore read, Is't possible not to be understood in a mother tongue ? You · will do it, sir, really.
JOHNSON. Suppose we were to point the passage
thus : Is't not possible to understand ? In another tongue you will do it, sir, really.
The speech seems to be addressed to Osrick, who is puzzled by Hamlet's imitation of his own affected language.
Steevens. 453. - if you did it would not much approve me.] If you knew I was not ignorant, your esteem would not much advance my reputation. To approve is to recommend to approbation.
JOHNSON. 457. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with kim, &c.] I dare not pretend to know him, lest I should pretend to an equality: no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself, which is the utmost extent of human wisdom. JOHNSON. 462, in his meed—] In his excellence.