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Enter POLONIUS. Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen!
Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern ;-and you too ;- at cach ear a hearer: that great baby, you see there, is not yet out of his swadling-clouts.
Rof. Hapily, 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, fir : omonday morning; 'twas then, indeed.
Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you. When Rose cius was an actor in Rome,
Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.
the title-page of an old play) the Boulogne Gate, i. e. one of the gates of Boulogne; designed perhaps as a compliment to Henry VIII, who took that place in 1544.
The Boulogne mouth, now the Bull and Mourb, had probably the same origin, i. e. the mouth of obe barbour of Boulogne. STEEVENS.
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, as well as Middleton in A mad World my masters, 1608. STLEVENS,
Buz used to be an interjection at Oxford, when any one began a story that was generally known before. BLACKSTONE. Buzzer, in a subsequent scene in this play, is used for a busy talker :
“ And wants not buzzers, to infect his ear
“ With peftilent fpeeches." Again, in King Lear:
-on every dream, " Each buz, each fancy." Again, in Truffel's History of England, 1635: “—who, instead of giving redress, suspecting now the truth of the duke of Glocester's buzz," &c.
It is, therefore, probable from the answer of Polonius, that buz was used, as Dr. Johnson supposes, for an idle rumour without any foundation.
In B. Jonson's Staple of News, the collector of mercantile intele ligence is called.Emissary Buz. MALONE. 3 Tben came, &c.] This seems to be a line of a ballad. JOHN SOX.
Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historicalpastoral, (tragical-historical, tragical-comical, historical-pastoral,] scene individable, or poem unlimited: Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too lights. For the law of writ, and the liberty', these are the only men.
Ham. O Jeptha, judge of Israel,—what a treasure hadft thou ! Pol. What a treasure had he, my
lord? Ham. Why,- One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved pafing well, Pol. Still on my daughter.
[Aj ten Ham. Am I not i' the right, old Jeptha ?
- tragical, &c.] The words within the crotchets I have see covered from the folio, and see no reason why they were hitherto omitted. There are many plays of the age, if not of Shakspeare, that answer to these descriptions. STEEVENS.
5 Seneca cannot be 100 beavy, nor Plautus too ligbe.] The tragedies of Seneca were translated into English by Thomas Newton, and others, and published in 1581. One comedy of Plautus, viz. the Menecbmi, was likewise translated and published in 1595. STEEVENS.
I believe the frequency of plays performed at publick schools, suge gested to Shakspeare the names of Seneca and Planius as dramatick au. thors. T. WARTON.
6 For the law of writ, and ebe liberty,–] All the modern editions have, ibe law of wit, and ibe liberty ; but both my old copies have, ibe law of writ, I believe rightly. Writ, for writing, composition, Wit was not, in our authour's time, taken either for imagination, or ecuteness, or borb togetber, but for understanding, for the faculty by which we apprebend and judge. Those who wrote of the human mind, distinguished its primary powers into wie and will. Ascham diftinguishes boys of tardy and of active faculties into quick wits and pero wits. JOHNSON.
The old copies are certainly right. Writ is used for writing by authours contemporary with Shakspeare. Thus, in Tbe Apologie of Pierce Pernilejje, by Thomas Nahe, 1593 : " For the lowfie circumtance of his poverty before his death, and sending that miserable writte to his wife, it cannot be but thou liest, learned Gabriel." Again, in bishop Earle's Cbaraēler of a mere dull Pbyscian, 1638: u Then followes a writ to his drugger, in a strange tongue, which he understands, though he cannot conster." Again, in K. Henry VI. P. II. Now, good my lord, let's see the devil's writ." MALONI,
Pol. If you call me Jeptha, my lord, I have a daughter, that I love passing well.
Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Ham. Why, As by lot, God wot?, and then, you know, It came to pass, As m like it was, -The first row of the pious chanson & will shew you more; for look, my abridgment' comes.
Enter four or five Players. You are welcome, masters; welcome, all :-I am glad to see thee well:—welcome, good friends.-O, old friend! Why, thy face is valanced' since I saw thee
7 Wby, As by lot, God wot, &c.] The old song from which these quotations are taken, I communicated to Dr. Percy, who has honoured it with a place in the second and third editions of his Reliques of ancient English Poetry. In the books belonging to the Stationers' Company, there is a late entry of this ballad among others. “Jeffe Judge of Israel," p. 93. vol. iii. Dec. 14, 1624. STELVENS.
There is a Latin tragedy on the subject of Yepoba, by John Christopherson in 1546, and another by Buchanan, in 1554. A third by Du Plessis Mornay is mentioned by Prynne in his Hifriomafiix. The same subject had probably been introduced on the English Itage.
MALONE. - obe picus cbansor -] It is pons chansons in the first folio edition. The old ballads sung on bridges, and from thence called pors chansons. Hamlet is here repeating ends of old songs. Pope.
The old quartos in 1604, 1605, and 1611, read pious chanson, which gives the sense wanted, and I have accordingly inserted it in the text.
The pious chansons were a kind of Christmas carols, containing some scriptural history thrown into loose shimes, and sung about the treets by the common people when they went at that reason to solicit alms. Hamlet is here repeating some scraps from a song of this kind, and when Polonius enquires what follows them, he refers him to the first row (i. e. division) of one of these, to obtain the information he wanted. STEEVENS.
- my abridgment -] He calls the players afterwards, the brief obronicles of the cime; but I think he now means only those wbo will foorten my talk. JOHNSON.
An abridgemene is used for a dramatick piece in the MidsummerNigbr's Dream, A& V. Sc. i.
“ Say what abridgment have you for this evening ?" but it does not commodiously apply to this passage. STEEVENS.
1-by face is valanced -] i.e. fringed with a beard. The vae lance is the fringes es drapery hanging round the tester of a bed.
laft; Com'ft thou to beard me in Denmark?-What! my young lady and mistress ! By-'r-lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when
I saw you last, by the al. titude of a chopine. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not crack'd within the ring?:-Masters, you are all welcome. We'll e'en to't like French falconers 4, fly at any thing we see:
2 - by sbe altitude of a chopine.] A cbioppine is a high shoe worn by the Italians, as in Tho. Heywood's Cballenge of Beauty, A&t go Song.
" The Italian in her high cbopeene,
“ He doth not feare to go to." STEEVENS. Again, in Marston's Dutcb Courtezan, 1605: “Doft not weare high corked dioes, chopines ".
The word ought rather to be written cbapine, from chapin, Span. which is defined by Mintheu in his Spanish Dictionary, "a bigb cork poe." There is no synonymous word in the Italian language, though the Venetian ladies, as we are told by Lassels, “ wear high-heel'd shoes, like stilcs, which being very inconvenient for walking, they commonly reft their hands or arms upon the shoulders of two grave matrons."
MALONI. Í -be not crack'd wirbin obe ring.] That is, crack'd too much for wfl. This is said to a young player who acted the parts of women.
JOHNSON I find the same phrase in Tbe Captain, by B. and Fletcher :
« Come to be married to my lady's woman,
66 After she's crack'd in the ring.' Again, in Ben Jonson's Magnetic Lady:
“ Light gold, and crack'd witbin obe ring." STEEVENS. The following passage in Lily's Woman in obe Moon, 1597, as well as that in Fletcher's Captain, might lead us to suppose that this phrase sometimes conveyed a wanton allusion : “ Well, if the were twenty grains lighter, refuse her, provided always the be not clipe witbin ebe ring," T. C.
* - like French falconers,] Thus the folio. Quarto :-like friendly falconers. MALONE.
The amusement of falconry was much cultivated in France. In All's well tbat ends well, Shakspeare has introduceed an aftringer or falconer at the French court. Mr. Tollet, who has mentioned the same circumstance, likewise adds, that it is said in Sir Tbo. Browne's Traits, p. 116, that “the Frencb seem to have been the first and noblest falconers in the western part of Europe: and that the Frencb king sent over his falconers io hew that sport to King James the first." " See Weldon's Court of King James. STELVEN S. Vol. IX,
We'll have a speech straight; Come, give us a taffe of your quality; come, a passionate speech.
1. Play. What speech, my good lord ?
Ham. I heard thee speak me a speech once,-but it was never acted; or, if it was, not above once: for the play, I remember, pleased not the million ; 'twas caviare to the generals: but it was (as I received it, and others, whose judgments, in such matters, cried in the top of mine,) an excellent play; well digested in the scenes, set down with as much modefty' as cunning. I remember, one said, there were no fallets 8 in the lines,
S.aviare to tbe general:] Caviare or Caveare is a kind of pickle, greatly esteemed in Muscovy, made of the roe of the stur. geon and Belluga, taken out, salted, and dried by the fire, or in the sun. The fish is caught in great quantities at the mouth of the Volga.
Florio in his Italian Dictionary, 1598, defines, Caviare, “ 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 is used here. « And so by undervaluing many particulars, (which they truly
esteemed,) as rather to be consented to than that ebe general should fuffer,-"B. V. p. 530. MALONE.
B. Jonson has ridiculed the introduction of these foreign delicacies in his Cintbia's Revels, 1602 :-“ He doth learn to eat anchovies, Macaroni, Bovoli, Fagioli, and Caviare," &c, Again, in Marston's Wbat you will, 1607:
“ – a man can scarce eat good meat,
“ Anchovies, caviare, but he's fatired." STEIVENS. 6 - cried in ebe cop of mine,] i. e. that were big ber tban mine.
JOHNSON Whofe judgment, in such matters, was in much higher vogue than mine. HEATH.
Perhaps it means only-whore judgment was more clamorously dea livered than mine. We still say of a bawling actor, that he speaks or ibe top of bis voice. STEEVENS. Jee down wirb as much modesty-] Modefty for fimplicity.
WARBURTON. 8 — there were no sallets, &c.] Such is the reading of the old copies I know not why the later editors continued to adopt the alteration of Mr. Pope, and read, no falt, &c.
Mr. Pope's alteration may indeed in fome degree supported by the following passage in Decker's Satiromaflix, 1602:- "prepared troop of gallants, who shall diftalte every unsalted line in their fly-blown comedies." Though the other phrase was used as late as in the year 1665, in a Banquet of Fifts, &c. " - for junkets, joci ; and for curious Jallets, sales." STEEVENS.