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May sweep to my revenge.
Ghost. I find thee apt;
Ham. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle?
? And duller poould'A tbou be than the fat weed
Tbat roots itself in ease on Letbe wharf, &c.] Shakspeare, apo parently through ignorance, makes Roman Catholicks of these Pagan Danes; and here gives a description of purgatory; but yet mixes it with the Pagan fable of Lethe's wharf. Whether he did it to infinuate to the zealous Protestants of his time, that the Pagan and Popish purgatory stood both upon the same footing of credibility, or whether it was by the same kind of licentious inadvertence that Mi. chael Angelo brought Charon's bark into his picture of the Last Judge ment, is not easy to decide. WARBURTON,
Tbat roots itself in eafe, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio reads That rors itself," &c. I have preferred the reading of the original copy, because to root itself is a natural and easy phrase, but “ to rot itself,'' not English. Indeed in general the readings of the original copies, when not corrupt, ought in my opinion not to be departed from, without very strong reason. That roots itself in case, means, whose Nuggish root is idly extended.
The modern editors read-Letbe's wharf; but the reading of the old copy is right. So, in Sir Alton Cockain's poems, 1658, p. 177:
· fearing these great actions might die, " Neglected cast all into Lerbe lake." MALONE. Otway has the same thought :
like a coarse and useless danghill weed, « Fix'd to one spot, and ror just as I grow. The superiority of the reading of the folio is to me apparent: to be in a crescent state (i. e. to root itself) affords an idea of activity ; to rot better suits with the dullness and inaction to which the Ghost refers. Nevertheless, the accusative case (itself) may seem to demand the verb roots. STEEVENS.
*— bis wit,- ] The old copies have wits. The subsequent line shews, that it was a misprint. MALONE,
(O wicked wit, and gifts, that have the power
3mine orcbard, ] Orchard for garden. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
“ The orcbard walls are high, and hard to climb." STEEV. 4 Witb juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,) The word here used was more probably designed by a metarbefis, either of the poet or tranfcriber, for berebon, that is, benbane; of which the most common kind (byoscyamus niger) is certainly narcotic, and perhaps, if taken in a confiderable quantity, might prove poisonous. Galen calls it cold in the third degree ; by which in this, as well as opium, he seems not to mean an actual caldness, but the power it has of benumbing the faculties. Dioscorides ascribes to it the property of producing madnels (uso nua pues Martins). These qualities have been confirmed by several cases related in modern observations. In Wepfer we have a good account of the various effects of this root upon most of the meme i bers of a convent in Germany, who eat of it for fupper by mistake, mixed with succory ;-heat in the throat, giddiness, dimness of fight and delirium. Cicut. Aquatic. c. 18. GREY. So, in Drayton's Barons' Wars, p. 51.
“ The pois'ning benbane, and the mandrake drad." In Marlowe's Jew of Malta, 1633, the word is written in a dif. ferent manner :
“ -the blood of Hydra, Lerna's bane,
The leperous diftilments; whose effect
in of my Unhousel'd', disappointed', unanel'd';
$ Tbe leperous disilment;] So, in Painter's Palace of Pleasure, Vol. II. p. 142 :"-which being once possessed, never leaveth the patient till it hath enfeebled his state, like the qualitie of poison dijrilling through the veins even to the heart." MALONE.
at once dispatch'd :] Dispatcb'd, for bereft. WARBURTON. 7 Cut off even in tbe blofjoms of my fin, &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.
8 Unboufeld,-) Houfel is the old word for the holy eucharift. To bowsel, says Bullokar in his Expositor, 8vo, 1616, is “ to minister sacraments to a fick man in danger of death." Unbou seld therefore is, without having received the sacrament in the hour of death. So, in Hoffman's Tragedy, 1631:
“ None lung thy requiem, no friend clos'd thine eyes,
“ Thou wert not boufeld." Again, in Holinshed's Cbronicle : “ Also children were chriftened, and men boufeled and anoyled, thorough all the land, except such as were in the bill of excommunication by name expressed." MALONE,
9 -disappointed,] is the same as unappointed; and may be properly explained unprepared. A man well furnithed with things necessary for an enterprise, was said to be well appointed. JOHNSON.
So, in Holined's Cbronicle: "He had not part a fifteen lances, as they termed them in those days, that is, to wit, men of arms, furnished and appointed."
Mr. Upton is of opinion, that the particular preparation of which the Ghost laments the want, was confefion and absolusion. Appoint
No reckoning made, but sent to my account
ment, he adds, is again used in Measure for Measure, in the same lense as here :
“ Therefore your best appointment make with speed." Isabella is the speaker, and her brother, who was condemned to die, is the person addrefied. MALONE.
i-unaneld;] Without extreme unction. So, in Sir Thomas More's Works, p. 345: “ The extreme unction or anelynge, and confirmation, he sayd, be no sacraments of the church.' See also the quotation from Holinshed in n. 8, where the word is spelt anoyled.
MALONE. The Anglo-saxon noun-substantives, boufel, (the eucharift,) and ele, oil, are plainly the roots of the compound adjectives, boufeled and aneled. For the meaning of the affix an to the last, i quote Spelman's Gloffary in loco. “ Quin et di&tionibus (an) adjungitur, fiquidem vel majoris rotationis gratia, vel ad fingulare aliquid vel unicum demonftrandum.” Hence aneled Mould seem to fignify siled, or anointed, by way of eminence, i. e. having received extreme unction. BRAND.
2 0, berrible! O, borrible! mot borrible!] 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. 3 A couch for luxury-] i. e. for lewdness. So, in K. Lear:
“To'r luxury pell-mell, for," &c. ŠTEEVENS. See Vol. VIII. p. 278, n. 2. MALONE.
- uneffe&tual fire.] i. e. shining without heat. WARBURTON. To pale is a verb used by Lady Elizabetb Carew, in he Tragedy of Mariam, 16131
, Adieu, adieu, adieu ! remember me s.
· Death can pele as well " A cheek of roles as a cheek less bright." Again, in Urry's Chaucer, p. 368: “ The iterre paletb her white cheres by the flambes of the sonne,” &c.
Uneffiftua! fire, I believe, rather means, fire that is no longer seen when the light of morning approaches. So, in Pericles Prince of Tyre, 1609 :
like a glow worm,-
Adieu, adieu, Hamlet i remember me. STELVENS.
" Which thall above that idle rank remain,
“ Have fasuliy by nature to fubfift.” MALONE.
STEEVENS 7 Yea, from the table of my memory-] This expression is used by Sir Philip Sydney in his Defence of Poesie. MALONE.
8 My tables,-meet ir is, I set it down,] Hamlet avails himself of the same caution observed by the doctor in the fifth act of Macberb.
" I will