Page images

Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play.

Enter Prologue. Ham. We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counsel; they 'll tell all.

Oph. Will he tell us what this show eant ?

Ham. Ay, or any show that you 'll show him: Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you whatit means.


Where our poet met with the word mallecho, which in Minsheu's Spanish Dictionary, 1617, is defined malefactum, I am unable to ascertain. In the folio the word is spelt malicho. Mallico [in the quarto] is printed in a distinct character, as a proper

Malone. If, as Capell declares, (I know not on what authority) Malicho be the Vice of the Spanish Moraliti he should at least be distinguished by a capital. Farmer.

It is not, however, easy to be supposed that our readers discover pleasantry or even sense in “ this is miching (or munching! mallico," no meaning as yet affixed to these words has entitled them to escape a further investigation. Omit them, and the text unites without their assistance:

Oph. What means this, my lord?

Ham. Marry, it means mischief.” Among the Shakspearian memoranda of the late Dr. Farmer, I met with the following" At the beginning of Grim the Collier of Croydon, the ghost of Malbecco is introduced as a prolocutor." Query, therefore, if the obscure words already quoted, were not originally:-" This is mimicking Malbecco," a private gloss by some friend on the margin of the MS. Hamlet, and thence igno. rantly received into the text of Shakspeare."

It remains to be observed, that the mimickry imagined by Dr. Farmer, must lie in our author's stage-directions, &c. which, like Malbecco's legend, convey a pointed censure on the infidelity of married women. Or, to repeat the same idea in different words --the drift of the present dumb show and succeeding dialogue, was considered by the glosser as too congenial with the wellknown invective in Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book III, or the contracted copy from it in the Induction to Grim the Collier &c. a comedy which was acted many years before it was printed. See Mr. Reed's Old Plays, Vol. XI, p. 189. Steevens.

Be not you ashamed to show, &c.] The conversation of Hamlet with Ophelia, which cannot fail to disgust every modern reader, is probably such as was peculiar to the young and fashionable of the age of Shakspeare, which was, by no means, an age of delicacy. The poet is, however, blameable; for extravagance of thought, not indecency of expression, is the characteristick of

[ocr errors]

poison in the King's ears, and e.
turns ; finds the King dead, and 1
tion. The poisoner, with some ti
comes in again, seeming to lament
body is carried away. The poisont
with gifts ; she seems loth and un
in the end, accepts his love.
Oph. What means this, my lord?

Ham. Marry, this is miching malle chief.:



3 Marry, this is miching mallecho; it mich signified, originally, to keep hid and such men generally did it for the purposes o signified to rob. And in this sense Shakspe micher, when speaking of Prince Henry am bers. Shall the blessed son of heaven prove a of England prove a thief? And in this sens cer, in his translation of Le Roman de la Rou word lierre, (which is larron, voleur,) by mi

Dr. Warburton is right in his explanatio So, in The Raging Turk, 1631:

wilt thou, envious dotard,

Strangle my greatness in a michir Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582:

wherefore thus vainely in land The quarto reads-munching Mallico.

The word miching is daily used in the 1 playing truant, or sculking about in private pose; and malicho, inaccurately written mischief! so that miching malicho is misci opportunity. When Ophelia asks Hamlet she applies to him for an explanation of . the show: and not as Dr. Warburton would for which the show was contrived. Beside signifies a poisoner, than a perpetrator of an

miching mallecho;] A secret and w concealed wickedness. To mich is a provin probably once general; signifying to lie bid, In Norfolk michers signify pilferers. The sigi in the present passage may be ascertained by er's Wonderful Yeare, 4to. 1603: “ Those thi time, -went most bitterly miching and mut with rue and wormwood stuft into their ey

See also, Florio's Italian Dictionary, 13 “ To miche, to shrug or sneak in some cornt lips to shew some anger.” In a subseqı that the murderer before he poisons the faces.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Where our poet
sheu's Spaus. Die
able to ascere la
[in the quarto a me
Dame. Malo

If, as Capellacies
be the Vice of DE STE 2 LED
tinguished by a case in

It is not, hower
ver pleasantry
mallico," no mez
them to escape frei
unites without the


&c. ót have been of this import : in excess approve ; tremity": he quarto, half a line was insitor. See p. 115, “ then sense

133, “ thus conscience does words in Italick characters are

[ocr errors]

Among the Shacman I met with the form of Croydon, the one Query, therefore, originally :-* Tas some friend on the Tantly received, in

erts the assertions of his prea ution of Othello: what I doubt, prove." 84, the triplets are so frequent, tenth Book, not less than seven

wise as unsparingly employed lone, in a note on The Tempest, age from this very work, conChapman's Homer they are also est, Act IV, sc. i. Many other 's Labour's Lost, Act III, sc. i, rors, Act II and III, &c. &c.» opponent, the Prologue to the insideration, consists of a triplet,

at the top of the same page in ce of a triplet being used in our

It remainst Farmer, he Malbeca's legais married 700123 -the drift te was consider known iBTECRISTO tracted cut into combeds which Teri Mr. Reettuna

Par is so.] Cleopatra expresses •r, with regard to her grief for

- Bets


Hamlet reader, able of the of delican

must be as great

Theobald. lines are omitted in the folio,


[ocr errors]

Oph. You are naught, you are naught; I'll mark the play. Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,

Here stooping to your clemency,

We beg your hearing patiently.
Ham. Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring?
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord.
Ham. As woman's love.

Enter a King and a Queen.
P. King. Full thirty times hath Phoebus' carts gone

Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground;?
And thirty dozen moons, with borrow'd sheen,
About the world have times twelve thirties been;
Since love our hearts, and Hymen did our hands,
Unite commutual in most sacred bands.

P. Queen. So many journeys may the sun and moon
Make us again count o’er, ere love be done!
But, woe is me, you are so sick of late,
So far from cheer, and from your former state,
That I distrust you. Yet, though I distrust,
Discomfort you, my lord, it nothing must:
For women fear too much, even as they love;

madness, at least of such madness as should be represented on the scene. Steevens.

5-cart -] A chariot was anciently so called. Thus, Chaucer, in The Knight's Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 2024:

“ The carter overridden with his cart." Steevens. 6 Full thirty times hath Phæbus' cart gone round

Neptune's salt wash, &c.] This speech of the Player King appears to me as a burlesque of the following passage in The Comicall Historie of Alphonsus, by R. G. 1599:

“ Tbrise ten times Phoebus with his golden beames
Hath compassed the circle of the skie,
“ Thrise ten times Ceres hath her workemen hir'd,
“ And fild her barnes with frutefull crops of corne,
“ Since first in priesthood I did lead my life.” Todd.

orbed-ground;] So also, in our author's Lover's Complaint :

“ Sometimes diverted, their poor balls are tied
“ To the orbed earth.Steevens.

sheen,] Splendour, lustre. Johnson. - even as they love ; ] Here seems to have been a line lost, wwhich should have rhymed to love, Johnson.


[ocr errors]



And women's fear and love hold quantity;
In neither aught, or in extremity.
Now, what my love is, proof hath made you know;
And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so.
Where love is great,2 the littlest doubts are fear;
Where little fears grow great, great love grows there.

P. King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;

This line is omitted in the folio. Perhaps a triplet was design. ed, and then instead of love, we should read lust. The folio gives the next line thus :

For women's fear and love holds quantity.” Steevens. There is, I believe, no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time. Some trace of the lost line is found in the quartos, which read:

Either none in neither aught, &c. Perhaps the words omitted might have been of this import :

“ Either none they feel, or an excess approve;

“ In neither aught, or in extremity.” In two preceding passages in the quarto, half a line was inadvertently omitted by the compositor. See p. 115, " then senseless Ilium, seeming,” &c. and p. 133, “ thus conscience does make cowards of us all :"—the words in Italick characters are not found in the quarto. Malone.

Every critick, before he controverts the assertions of his predecessor, ought to adopt the resolution of Othello:

“I'll see, before I doubt, what I doubt, prove." In Phaer and Twine's Virgil, 1584, the triplets are so frequent, that in two opposite pages of the tenth Book, not less than seven are to be met with. They are likewise as unsparingly employed in Golding's Ovid, 1587. Mr. Malone, in a note on The Tempest, Vol. II, p. 119, has quoted a passage from this very work, containing one instance of them. In Chapman's Homer they are also used, &c. &c. &c. In The Tempest, Act IV, sc. i. Many other examples of them occur in Love's Labour's Lost, Act II1, sc. i, as well as in The Comedy of Errors, Act II and III, &c. &c.and, yet more unluckily for my opponent, the Prologue to the Mock Tragedy, now under consideration, consists of a triplet, which in our last edition stood at the top of the same page in which he supposed “no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time.” Steevens.

1 And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so.] Cleopatra expresses herself much in the same manner, with regard to her grief for the loss of Antony :

our size of sorrow,
Proportion’d to our cause, must be as great

As that which makes it.” Theobald.
2 Where love &c.] These two lines are omitted in the folio.


« PreviousContinue »