Page images
PDF
EPUB

It came to pass, As most like it was,The first row of the pious chansons will show you more; for look, my abridgmento 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 last; Com'st

triomastix. The same subject had probably been introduced on the English stage. Malone.

the pious chanson – ] It is pons chansons in the first folio edition. The old ballads sung on bridges, and from thence called Pons chansons. Hamlet is here repeating ends of old songs.

Pope. It is pons chansons in the quarto too. I know not whence the rubrick has been brought, yet it has not the appearance of an ar. bitrary addition. The titles of old ballads were never printed red; but perhaps rubrick may stand for marginal explanation.

Fohnson, There are five large volumes of ballads in Mr. Pepys's collection in Magdalen's College Library, Cambridge, some as ancient as Henry VII's reign, and not one red letter upon any one of the titles. Grey.

The words, of the rubrick, were first inserted by Mr. Rowe, in his edition in 1709. 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 rhymes, and sung about the streets by the common people when they went at that season 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 chronicles of the times; but I think he now means only those who will shorten talk. Johnson.

An abridgment is used for a dramatick piece in A MidsummerNight's Dream, Act V, sc. i:

Say, what abridgment have you for this evening?" but it does not commodiously apply to this passage. See Vol. II, p. 355, n. 3. Steevens.

thy face is valanced -] i. e. fringed with a beard. The valance is the fringes or drapery hanging round the tester of a bed. Malone. Dryden, in one of his epilogues, has the following line :

“ Criticks in plume, and white valancy wig:" Steeders.

my

1

thou to beard me in Denmark?- What! my young lady and mistress! By-'r-lady, your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when I was you last, by the altitude of a chopine.3

3

to beard me -) To beard, anciently signified to set at de. fiance. So, in King Henry IV, P. I:

“ No man so potent breathes upon the ground,
6. But I will beard him.” Steevens.

by the altitude of a chopine.] A chioppine is a high shoe, or rather, a clog, worn by the Italians, as in T. Heywood's Challenge of Beauty, Act V, Song:

“ The Italian in her high chopeene,

“ Scotch lass, and lovely froe too ;
" The Spanish Donna, French Madame,

“ He doth not feare to go to." So, in Ben Jonson's Cynthia's Revels :

“ I do wish myself one of my mistress's cioppini.Another demands, why would he be one of his mistress's cioppini ? a third answers, “ because he would make her higher.

Again, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631 : “ I'm only taking instructions to make her a lower chopeene; she finds fault that she's lifted too high.” Again, in Chapman's Cæsar and Pompey, 1613:

and thou shalt
“ Have chopines at commandement to an height

“ Of life thou canst wish.” See the figure of a Venetian courtezan among the Habiti An. richi &c. di Cesare Vecellio, p. 114, edit. 1598: and (as Mr. Ritson observes) among the Diversarum Nationum Habitus, Padua, 1592.

Steevens. Tom Coryat, in his Crudities, 1611, p. 262, calls them chapi. neys, and gives the following account of them: “ There is one thing used of the Venetian women, and some others dwelling in the cities and townes subject to the signiory of Venice, that is not to be observed (I thinke) amongst any other women in Christendome: which is common in Venice, that no woman whatso. ever goeth without it, either in her house or abroad, a thing made of wood and covered with leather of sundry colors, some with white, some redde, some yellow. It is called a chapiney, which they wear under their shoes, Many of them are curiously painted; some also of them I have seen fairely gilt: so uncomely a thing (in my opinion) that it is pitty this foolish custom is not cleane banished and exterminated out of the citie. There are many of these chapi. neys of a great height, even half a yard high, which maketh many of their women that are very short, seene much taller than the tallest women we have in England. Also I have heard it obsery, ed among them, that by how inuch the nobler a woman is, by so much the higher are her chapineys. All their gentle women and most of their wives and widowes that are of any wealth, are as. sisted and supported eyther by men or women, when they walke VOL. XV,

L

come.

Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not cracked within the ring. Masters, you are all wel

We'll e’en to 't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see: We 'll have a speech straight: Come, give us a taste of your quality; come, a passionate speech.

1 Play. What speech, my lord?

abroad, to the end they may not fall. They are borne up most commonly by the left arme, otherwise they might quickly, take a fall.” Reed.

Again, in Marston's Dutch Courtezan, 1605: “ Dost not weare high corked shoes, chopines ?

The word ought rather to be written chapine, from chapin, Span. which is defined by Minsheu in his Spanish Dictionary: a high cork shoe.There is no synonymous word in the Italian language, though the Venetian ladies, as we are told by Lassels, wear high heeld shoes, like stilts,” &c. Malone.

be not cracked within the ring.] That is, cracked too much for use. This is said to a young player who acted the parts of women. Fohnson.

I find the same phrase in The u 'ptain, by Beaumont and Fletcher:

“ Come to be married to my lady's woman,

“ After she's crack'd in the ring." Again, in Ben Jonson's Magnetick Lady:

“ Light gold, and crack'd within the ring." Again, in Your Five Gailants, 1608: “Here's Mistresse Rosenoble has lost her maidenhead, cracht in the ring." Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

not a penny the worse “ For a little use, whole within the ring." Again, in Decker's Honest Whore, 1635: “ You will not let my oaths be cracked in the ring, will you?" Steevens.

The following passage in Lyly's Woman in the 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 she were twenty grains lighter, refuse her, provided always she be not clipt within the ring." T. C.

- like French falconers,] The amusement of falconry was much cultivated in France. In All's Well that Ends Well, Shak. speare has introduced an astringer or falconer at the French court. Mr. Tollet, who has mentioned the same circumstance, likewise adds that it is said in Sir Thomas Browne's Tracts, p. 116, that “ the French seem to have been the first and noblest falconers in the western part of Europe ;” and, “ that the French king sent over his falconers to show that sport to King James the First.” See Weldon's Court of King James. Steevens.

like French falconers,] Thus the folio. Quarto :-like friendly falconers. Malone.

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 general:6 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 modestys as cunning. I remem

caviare to the general:] Giles Fletcher, in his Russe Commonwealth, 1591, p. 11, says in Russia they have divers kinds of fish"

very good and delicate: as the Bellouga & Bellougina of four or five elnes long, the Ositrina & Sturgeon, but not so thick nor long. These four kind of fish breed in the Wolgha and are catched in great plenty, and served thence into the whole realme for a good food. Of the roes of these four kinds they make very great store of Icary or Caveary.” See also, Mr. Ritson's Remarks, &c. on Shakspeare, (edit. 1778) p. 199. Reed.

Ben Jonson has ridiculed the introduction of these foreign delicacies in his Cynthia's Revels: “He doth learn to eat Anchovies, Macaroni, Bovoli, Fagioli, and Caviare," &c. Again, in The Muses' Looking Glass, by Randolph, 1638:

the pleasure that I take in spending it,
“ To feed on caviare, and eat anchovies."
Again, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612:

one citizen
“ Is lord of two fair manors that call'd you master,

“ Only for caviare.
Again, in Marston's What you will, 1607 :

- a man can scarce eat good meat,

“ Anchovies, caviare, but he's satired.” Steevens. Florio, in his Italian Dictionary, 1598, defines, Caviaro, 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 par, ticulars, (which they truly esteemed) as rather to be consented to than that the general should suffer, ." Book V, p. 530. Malone.

cried in the top of mine,] i. e. whose judgment I had the highest opinion of. Warburton.

I think it means only, that were higher than mine. Johnson.

Whose judgment, in such matters, was in much higher vogue than mine. Heath.

Perhaps it means only—whose judgment was more clamour. ously delivered than mine. We still say of a bawling actor, that he speaks on the top of his voice. Steevens.

To over-top is a hunting term applied to a dog when he gives more tongue than the rest of the cry. To this, I believe, Hamlet refers, and he afterwards mentions a cry of players. Henley.

set down with as much modesty --] Modesty, for sim. plicity. Warburton.

[ocr errors]

ber, one said there were no sallets in the lines, to make the matter savoury; nor no matter in the phrase, that might indite the author of affection:: but called it, an honest method, as wholesomes as sweet, and by very much more handsome than fine. One speech in it I chiefly loved : 'twas Æneas' tale to Dido; and thereabout of it especially, where he speaks of Priam's slaughter: If it live in your memory, begin at this line; let me see, let me see;

The rugged Pyrrhus, like the Hyrcanian beast,4. 'tis not so; it begins with Pyrrhus.

a

for

1

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 salt, &c.

Mr. Pope's alteration may indeed be in some degree supported by the following passage in Decker's Satiromastix, 1602: “ prepar'd troop of gallants, who shall distaste 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 Fests, &c.“ junkets, joci; and for curious sallets, sales." Steevens.

indite the author of affection:) Indite, for convict. Warburton.

indite the author of affection:] i. e. convict the author of being a fantastical affected writer. Maria calls Malvolio an affectioned ass: i. e. an affected ass; and in Love's Labour's Lost, Nathaniel tells the Pedant, that his reasons “have been witty, without affection

Again, in the translation of Castiglione's Courtier, by Hobby, 1556:“ Among the chiefe conditions and qualityes in a waitinggentlewoman,” is, “ to flee affection or curiosity."

Again, in Chapman's Preface to Ovid's Banquet of Sense, 1595: “ Obscuritie in affection of words and indigested concets, is pe. danticall and childish." Steevens.

but called it, an honest anethod,] Hamlet is telling how much his judgment differed from that of others. One said, there was no sallets in the lines, &c. but called it an honest inethod. The author probably gave it, -But I called it an honest method, &c.

Fohnson. - an honest method,] Honest, for chaste. Warburton.

as wholesome &c.] This passage was recovered from the quartos by Dr. Johnson. Steevens.

Fabula nullius veneris, morataque recte.” M. Mason. 4 The rugged Pyrrhus, &c.] Mr. Malone once observed to me, that Mr. Capell supposed the speech uttered by the Player before Hamlet, to have been taken from an ancient drama, entitled, Dido Queen of Carthage." I had not then the means of justifying or confuting his remark, the piece alluded to having escaped

2

3

« PreviousContinue »