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I had my father's signet in my purse,
to't. Ham. Why, man?, they did make love to this employ
ment; They are not near my conscience; their defeat Does by their own insinuation 3 grow : 'Tis dangerous, when the baser nature comes Between the pass and fell incensed points Of mighty opposites.
Hor. Why, what a king is this!
Ham. Does it not, think thee 4, stand me now upon ? He that hath kill'd my king, and whor'd my mother; Popp'd in between the election and my hopes ; Thrown out his angles for my proper life, And with such cozenage; is’t not perfect conscience, To quit him with this arm ? and is't not to be damn'd, To let this canker of our nature come In further evil?
Hor. It must be shortly known to him from England, What is the issue of the business there.
- sbe model of that Danish seal:] The model is in old language the copy. The fignet was formed in imitation of the Danish seal. See Vol. V. P: 58, n. 4, and Vol. VI. p. 568, n. 5. MALONE.
1 Tbe changeling never known :-) A changeling is a child which the fairies are supposed to leave in the room of that which they steal.
JOHNSON. 2 Wby, man, &c.] This line is omitted in the quartos. "STEEV.
3 — by their own insinuation-) By their having inlinuated or thrust themselves into the employment. MALONE.
think ebee,] i. e. bethink thee. MALONE. 5. Thrown out bis angle-] An angle in Shakspeare's time signified a filling-rod. So, in Lily's Sapbo and Pbao, 1591;
“ Pbao. But he may bless fishing, that caught such a one in the sea. “Venus. It was not with an angle, my boy, but with a net.”MALONE, 6 To quit bim, &c.] To requite him; to pay him his due. JOHNSON.
This passage, as well as the three following speeches, is not in the quartos. STEEVENS,
Ham. It will be short: the interim is mine;
Ham. I humbly thank you, fir.-Doft know this waterНу "?
Hor. No, my good lord.
Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him: He hath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'Tis a chough?; but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit: Your bonnet to his right use ; 'tis for the head.
Ofr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.
Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
Ofr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry 8 and hot ; or my complexion
Ofr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry', -as
5 I'll count bis favours:] I'll count his favours is I will make a scount of them, i. e. reckon upon obem, value them. STEEVENS. Mr. Rowe for count very plausibly reads court. MALONE.
- Dojt krow this water-fty?] A water-fly skips up and down upon the lurface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler. JOHNSON.
? – 'Tis a cbough;-) A kind of jackdaw.. JOHNSON.
8 But yet, metbinks, it is very sultry, &c.) Hamlet is here playing over the same farce with Ofrick, which he had formerly done with Polonius. STEEVENS.
9-r my complexion--] The folios read for my complexion. STEEV. ? Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry, ]
igniculum brumze fi tempore poscas, Accipit endromidem; fi dixeris æftuo, rudat. jur. MALONE.
'twere,- I cannot tell how. -My lord, his majesty bade me fignify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your head: Sir, this is the matter,Ham. I beseech you, remember-2
[Hamlet moves him to put on his hat. Ofr. Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith). Sir, here is newly come to court, Laertes: believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of moitexcellent differences, of very soft fociety, and great fhewing: Indeed, to Speak fcelingly of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry?, for you fall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see 8.
2 I beseech you, remember-] “ Remember not your courtesy," I believe, Hamlet would have said, if he had not been interrupted. “Remember thy courtely," he could not pollibly have said, and therefore this abrupt lentence may ferve to confirm an emendation which I pro. posed in Love's Labour's Lol, (Vol. II. p. 396, n. 8.) where Armado says--" I do befeecb idee, remember thy courtesy ;-) beseech thee, apparel thy head.” I have no doubt that Shakspeare there wrote, "-remember not thy courtesy,”—and that the negative was omitted by the negligence of the compofitor. MALONE.
3 Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.] This seems to have been the aftected phrase of the time. Thus in Marston's Moleconteni, 1604: “ I beleech you, fir, be covered."" No, in good faith, for my ease.” And in other places. FARMER.
It appears to have been the common language of ceremony in our poet's time. “Why do you stand bare-beaded? (says one of the speakers in Florio's SECOND FRUTES, 1591,) you do yourself wrong. Pardon me, good fir (replies his friend); I do it fir my ease.” Again, in A New Way to pay old Debes, by Mallinger, 1633:
Is't for your ease ?" You keep your hat off?" MALONE. 4 Sir, &c.] The folio omits this and the following fourteen speeches; and in their place substitutes only, “Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon." ST E EVENS.
5- full of most excellent differences,-) Full of diftinguishing excellencies. JOHNSON.
-speak ieelingly - ] The first quarto reads sellingly. STEEVENS. 1 - ibe card or calendar of gentry;] The general preceptor of elegance; the card by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and sealonable. JOHNSON.
- for you shall find in bim ibe continent of what part a gentleman would see. ] You pall find bim containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would defire to contemplate for imitation. I know not but it should be read, You shall find bim ibe continent. JOHNSON.
Han. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you ; —though, I know, to divide him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetick of memory; and yet but raw nei, ther', in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article ; and his infusion of such dearth 3 and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour i and, who else would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
Ofr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, fir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Hor. Is't not posible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, fir, really 4.
Han, 9 Sir, bis definemeni, &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 end. « less; yet when we had done our best, it would still come short of “ him. However, in strictness of truth, he is a great genius, and of « a character so rarely to be met with, that to find any thing like him " we must look into his mirrour, and his imitators will appear no « more than his shadows."" WARBURTON.
1-and yet but raw neitber, &c.] Raw is a word of great latitude; row signifies unripe, immature, thence unformed, imperfect, urskilful. The best account of him would be imperfect, in respect of his quick fail. The phrase quick fail was, I luppose, a proverbial term for ultivity of mind. JOHNSON.
a foul of great article;-] This is obscure. I once thought it might have been, a foul of great altitude; but, I suppose, a foul of great article, means a foul of large comprehenfion, of many contents. The particulars of an inventory are called articles. JOHNSON.
3 — of such deartb--] Dearib is dearness, value, price. And his internal qualities of such value and rarity. JOHNSON.
4 Is's not posible to understand in another tongue ? you will do't, fir, really.]. Of this interrogatory remark the sente is very obscure. The question may mean, migbt not all this be under flood in plainer language. But then, you will do it, fir, really, seems to have no use, for who could doubt but plain language would be intelligible? I would therefore read, Is's pofible not to be understood in a mother songue. You will do it, sir, really. JOHNSON.
Suppose we were to point the pafiage thus : Is't not posible to understand? in another tongue you will do it, fir, really.
The speech seems to be addressed to Ofrick, who is puzzled by Hamlet's imitation of his own affected language. STEEYENS.
Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman? Ofr. Of Laertes ?
Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, fir.
Ham. I would, you did, fir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me 5 ;-Well, sir.
Ofr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is
Ham. I dare not confess that, left I fould compare with him in excellence; bụt, to know a man well, were to know himself.
Ofr. I mean, fir, for his weapon ; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed? he's unfellow'd.
Ham. What's his weapon ?
Ofr. The king, fir, hath wager'd with him fix Barbary horses : against the which he has impawn'd', as I take it, fix French rapiers and poniards, with their afsigns,
Theobald has silently substituted rarely for really. I think Horatio's speech is addretled to Hamlet. Anorber tongue does not mean, as I conceive, plainer language, (as Dr. Johnson supposed,) but“ language so fantastical and attected as to have the appearance of a foreign songue :” and in the following words Horatio, I think, means to praise Hamlet for imitating this kind of babble so happily. I suspect, however, that the poet wrote-Is't poffible not to understand in a motber tongue ? MALONE.
$ - 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.
6 I dare not confess tbat, left I pould compare with bim, &c.] I dare not pretend to know him, lest I thould pretend to an equality: no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself, which is the utmost extent of human wisdom. JOHNSON.
- in bis meed— In his excellence. JOHNSON. See Vol. VI. p. 366, n. 6. MALONE.
8-impawn'd, -]Thus the quarto 1604. The folio reads-impon'd. Pignare in Italian fignifies both to pawn, and to lay a wager, MaLUNE. Perhaps it should be, depon'd. So Hudibras :
" I would upon this cause depone
“ As much as any I have known." But perhaps imponed is pledged, impawned; fo spelt to ridicule the affectation of uttering English words with French pronunciation. JOHN'S.