Imatges de pàgina
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The expectancy and rose of the fair state,
The glass of fashion, and the mould of form,
The observ'd of all observers ! quite, quite down !
And I, of ladies moft deject' and wretched,
That suck'd the honey of his musick vows,
Now see that noble and most sovereign reason,
Like sweet bells jangled, out of tune and harsh ;
That unmatch'd form and feature ? of blown youth,
Blasted with ecstasy 3 : 0, woe is me!
To have seen what I have seen, fee what I see !

Re-enter King, and POLONIUS.
King. Love! his affections do not that way tend;
Nor what he spake, though it lack'd form a little,
Was not like madness. There's something in his soul,
O'er which his melancholy fits on brood;
And, I do doubt, the hatch, and the disclose 4,
Will be some danger: Which for to prevent,
I have, in quick determination,
Thus set it down; He shall with speed to England,
For the demand of our neglected tribute :
Haply, the feas, and countries different,
With variable objects, fhall expel
This something-settled matter in his heart ;

SON.

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8 — the mould of form,] The model by whom all endeavoured to form themselves. Johnson 9 - mojt deje&-) So, in Heywood's Silver Age, 1613:

-What knight is that « So passionately deject?" STLEVENS. Imout of tune) Thus the folio. The quarto--out of time. STELV,

These two words in the hand-writing of Shakspeare's age are almost jodiftinguishable, and hence are frequently confounded in the old copies. See Vol. IV. p. 40, n. 1.

MALONE. 2 cand feature) Thus the folio. The quartos read faturo. STEEV.

3 -wirb ecstasy :) The word ecftasy was anciently used to fignify fome degree of alienation of mind. So G. Douglas, translatingftetit acri fixa dolore :

In ecstasy she stood, and mad almaist." STIEVENS. See Vol. IV. p. 361, n. 9.

MALONE.
4 the disclose,] This was the technical term. So, in the Maid
of Honour, by Maflinger;

« One aierie with proportion ne'er discloses
“ The eagle and the wren." MALONE,

Whereon

U4

Whereon his brains still beating, puts him thus
From fashion of himself. What think you on't?

Pol. It shall do well : But yet do I believe,
The origin and commencement of his grief
Sprung from neglected love.—How now, Ophelia ?
You need not tell us what lord Hamlet said;
We heard it all.-My lord, do as you please ;
But, if you hold it fit, after the play,
Let his queen mother all alone entreat him
To Thew his grief; let her be round with hims;
And I'll be plac'd, so please you, in the ear
Of all their conference: If the find him not,
To England send him; or confine him, where
Your wisdom best shall think.

King. It shall be so:
Madness in great ones must not unwatch'd go. [Exeunte

SC EN E II.

A Hall in the same. Enter HAMLET, and certain Players. Ham. Speak the speech, I pray you, as I pronounced it to you, trippingly on the tongue : but if you mouth it, as many of our players do, I had as lieve the town-crier fpoke my lines. Nor do not saw the air too much with your hand, thus; but use all gently: for in the very torrent, tempeft, and (as I may say) whirlwind of your paflion, you must acquire and beget a temperance, that may give it smoothness. O, it offends me to the soul, to hear a robuftious perriwig-pated fellow tear a passion

to

s-be round wirb bim;] To be round with a person, is to repri. mand him with freedom. So, in A Mad World my Mafters, by Middleton, 1640; "She's round with her i'faith.” MALONE.

0 -- perriwig-pated] This is a ridicule on the quantity of false hair worn in Shakspeare's time, for wigs were not in common use till che xign of Charles II. In the Two Gentlemen of Verona, Julia says" I'll get me a colour'd perriwig."

Goff, who wrote several plays in the reign of James I. and was no mean scholar, has the following lines in his tragedy of the Courageous Turk, 1632 :

"How

to tatters, to very rags, to split the ears of the groundlings?; who, for the most part, are capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb thews, and noise 8 : I would have

such

How now, you heavens,
“ Grow you so proud you must needs put on curl'd locks,

“ And clothe yourselves in perriwigs of fire ?” Players, however, seem to have worn them most generally. So, in Every Woman in her Humour, 1609: “ as none wear hoods but monks and ladies; and feathers but fore-horses, &c;-none perriwigs but players and pictures." STEEVENS.

1begroundlings;-) The meaner people then seem to have fat below, as they now fit in the upper gallery, who, not well understanding poetical language, were sometimes gratified by a mimical and mute sepresentation of the drama, previous to the dialogue, JOHNSON.

Before each act of the tragedy of Jocafia, translated from Euripides, by Geo. Gascoigne and Fra. Kinwelmerth, the order of these dumb shews is very minutely described. This play was presented at Gray's Inn by them in 1566. The mute exhibitions included in it are chiefly emblematical, nor do they display a picture of one single scene which is afterwards performed on the stage. In some other pieces I have observed, that they serve to introduce such circumstances as the limits of a play would not admit to be represented. Thus in Herod and Antiparer, 1622 :

Let me now
Intreat your wortby parience to contain
Mucb in imagination ; and, what words
" Cannot bave time to utter, let your eyes,

Out of this DUMB SHOW, tell your memories." In short, dumb thews sometimes Iupplied deficiencies, and, at others, filled up the space of time which was necessary to pass while business was supposed to be transacted in foreign parts. With this method of preserving one of the unities, our ancestors appear to have been satisfied.

Ben Jonson mentions the groundlings with equal contempt. “ The understanding gentlemen of the ground here.”

Again, in The Case is Alter'd, 1609:-“ a rude barbarous crew, that have no brains, and yet grounded judgments; they will hiss any thing that mounts above their grounded capacities.”.

In our early play-houses the pit had neither floor nor benches. Hence the term of groundlings for those who frequented it.

The groundling, in its primitive fignification, means a fish which always keeps at the bottom of the water. STEEVENS.

8 - are capable of norbing but inexplicable dumb shews, and noise :) i. e, have a capacity for nothing but dumb thews; underfiand nothing elle. So, in Heywood's Hiftory of Women, 1624: " l' have therein

imitated

such a fellow whipp'd for o'er-doing Termagant"; it out. herods Herod': Pray you, avoid it. 1. Play. I warrant your honour.

Ham.

imitated our biftorical and comical poets, that write to the stage; who, left the auditory should be dulled with serious discourses, in every act present some zany, with his mimick gesture to breed in the less capable mirth and laughter." See Vol. VI. p. 525, n. 7. MALONI.

- inexplicable dumb fbews,] I believe the meaning is, fews, wirbo our words so explain obem. JOHNSON.

Rather, I believe, shews which are too confusedly conducted to explain themselves.

I meet with one of these in Heywood's play of the Four Prentices of London, 1632, where the Presenter says,

" I must entreat your patience to forbear
" While we do feast your eye, and starve your ear.
“ For in dumb pews, which were they writ at large
" Would ask a long and tedious circumstance,

". Their infant fortunes I will soon express :" &c. Then follow the dumb foews, which well deserve the character Hamlet has already given of this species of entertainment, as may be seen from the following pariage: “ Enter Tancred, with Bella Franca richly attired : the fomewbat offeeting bim, though she makes no foow of it.” Surely this may be called an inexplicable dumb few." STEEVENS.

9 Termagant;] Termagant was a Saracen deity, very clamorous and violent in the old moralities. PERCY.

Termagant is mentioned by Spenser in his Fairy Queen, and by Chaucer in The Tale of Sir Topas; and by B. and Fletcher in A King and no King, as follows:

" This would make a faint swear like a soldier, and a soldier like Termagant." Again, in Ram- Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

swears, God bless us,
“ Like a very Termagont."
Again, in Tbe Pizture, by Maffinger :

a hundred thousand Turks
“ Affail'd him, every one a Termagaune." STEEVENS.

out-berods Herod : ] The character of Herod in the ancient myfteries was always a violent one: See the Conventriæ Ludus among the Cotton M, Vespasian D. VIII.

6 Now I regne lyk a kyng arayd ful rych,
“ Rollyd in rynggs and robys of array,
" Dukys with dentys I dryve into the dych;
« My dedys be ful dowty demyd be day,".

T

Again,

Ham. Be not too tame neither, but let your own discretion be your tutor : suit the action to the word, the word to the action ; with this special observance, that you o'er-step not the modesty of nature: for any thing lo overdone is from the purpose of playing, whose end,

Again, in the Chester Wbitfun Plays, Mss. Harl. 2013 :

“ I kynge of kynges, non soe keene,
“ I sovraigne fir, as well is seene,
“ I tyrant that maye bouth take and teene
66 Castell tower, and towne;
« I welde this worlde withouten wene,
“ I beate all those unbuxome beene ;
« I drive the devills alby dene
“ Deepe in hell adowne.
“ For I am kynge of all mankinde,
" I byd, I beate, I lose, I bynde ;
“ I master the moone ; take this in mynde
" That I am most of mighte.
" I ame the greatest above degree,
“ That is, that was, or ever shall be;

The sonne it dare not shine on me,
And I byd him goc downe.
• No raine to fall shall now be free,
“ Nor no lorde shall have that liberty
“ That dare abyde and I byd fleey,
« But I shall crake his crowne."

See the Vintner's Play, p. 67. Chaucer describing a parish clerk, in his Miller's Tale, says,

" He playeth Herode on a skaffold high." The parish clerks and other subordinate ecclesiasticks appear to have been our first actors, and to have represented their characters on diso tinct pulpits or scaffolds. Thus, in one of the stage directions to the 27th pageant in the Coventry collection already mentioned ; “ What tyme that procession is entered into yt place, and the Herowdys takyn his fcbaffalde, and Annas and Cayphas their sobaffaldys," &c. STEEV.

to the instances given by Mr. Steevens of Herod's lofty language, may be added these lines from the Coventry plays among the Cotton Mís. p. 92.

« Of bewte and of boldnes I ber evermor the belle,
“ Of mayn and of myght I mafter every man;
“ I dynge with my dowtiness the devyl down to helle,
* For bothe of hevyn and of earth I am kynge certayn."

MALONE,

both

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