« PreviousContinue »
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
5 Hyperion's curls ;] It is observable, that Hyperion is used by Spenser with the same error in quantity. Farmer.
I have never met with an earlier edition of Marston's Insatiate Countess than that in 1613. In this the following lines occur, which bear a close resemblance to Hamlet's description of his father :
“ A donative he hath of every god;
dignos et Apolline crines.” Ovid's Metam. B. III, thus transiated by Golding, 1587 : “ And haire that one might worthily Apollo's haire it
deeme." Ste ens. 6 A station like the herald Mercury, &c.] Station, in this instance, does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act Ill, sc. iii:
“ Her motion and her station are as one." On turning to Mr. Theobald's first edition, I find that he had made the same remark, and supported it by the same instance. The observation is necessary, for otherwise the compliment designed to the attitude of the King, would be bestowed on the place where Mercury is represented as standing. Steevens.
In the first scene of Timon of Athens, the poet, admiring a picture, introduces the same image:
How this grace
Speaks his own standing." Malone. I think it not improbable that Shakspeare caught this image from Phaer's translation of Virgil, (Fourth Æneid,) a book that without doubt he had read: “And now approaching neere, the top he seeth and
mighty lims “ Of Atlas, mountain tough, that heaven on boystrous
shoulders beares, " There first on ground with wings of might doth Mera “Then down from thence right over seas himselfe doth
headlong drive.” In the margin are these words: “ The description of Mercury's journey from heaven, along the mnountain Atlas in Afrike, highest on earth." Malone.
heaven-kissing hill;] So, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ Yon towers whose wanton tops do buss the clouds." Again, in Chapman's version of the fourteenth Iliad: " A fir it was that shot past air, and kiss'd the burning
A combination, and a form, indeed,
like a mildew'd ear, Blasting his wholesome brother.] This alludes to Pharaoh's Dream, in the 41st chapter of Genesis. Steevens.
batten -] i. e. to grow fat. So, in Claudius Tiberius Nero, 1607 :
and for milk “ I battend was with blood.” Again, in Marlowe's Few of Malta, 1633 :
make her round and plump, “ And batten more than you are aware." Bat is an ancient word for increase. Hence the adjective batful, so often used by Drayton in his Polyolbion. Steevens.
1 The hey-day in the blood-] This expression occurs in Ford's 'Tis Pity she's a Whore, 1633 :
Sense, sure, you have,
Else, could you not have notion. i. e. intellect, reason, &c. This alludes to the famous peripatetic principle of Nil fit in intellectu, quod non fuerit in sensu. And how fond our author was of applying, and alluding to, the principles of this philosophy, we have given several instances. The principle in particular has been since taken for the foundation of one of the noblest works that these latter ages have produced.
Warburton. The whole passage is wanting in the folio; and which soever of the readings be the true one, the poet was not indebted to this boasted philosophy for his choice. Steevens
Is apoplex'd: for madness would not err;
Sense is sometimes used by Shakspeare for sensation or sensual appetite; as motion is the effect produced by the impulse of nature. Such, I think, is the signification of these words here. So, in Measure for Measure :
she speaks, and 'tis “Such sense, that my sense breeds with it." Again, more appositely in the same play, where both the words
One who never feels “The wanton stings and motions of the sense.' So, in Braithwaite's Survey of Histories, 1614: “ These continent relations will reduce the straggling motions to a more settled and retired harbour.” Sense has already been used in this scene, for sensation :
“ That it be proof and bulwark against sense.” Malone.
at hoodman-blind?] This is, I suppose, the same as blindman's-buf: So, in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638:
Why should I play at hood-man blind" Again, in Two Lamentable Tragedies in One, the One a Murder of Master Beech, &c. 1601:
“ Pick out men's eyes, and tell them that's the sport
“ Of hood-man blind.” Steevens. Eyes without feeling, &c.] This and the three following lines are omitted in the folio. Steevens.
5 Could not so mope.] i. e. could not exhibit such marks of stupidity. The same word is used in The Tempest, sc. ult:
si And were brought moping hither.” Steevens.
Rebellious hell, If thou canst mutine in a matron's bones, &c.] Thus the old copies. Shakspeare calls mutineers --mutines, in a subsequent
this hand of yours requires
To flaming youth let virtue be as wax,
O Hamlet, speak no more
Nay, but to live
To mutine, for which the modern editors have substituted mutiny, was the ancient term, signifying to rise in mutiny. So, in Knolles's History of the Turks, 1603: “ The Janisaries-became wonderfully discontented, and began to mutine in diverse places of the citie.” Malone.
reason panders will.] So the folio, I think, rightly; but the reading of the quarto is defensible :
reason pardons will. Fohnson. Panders was certainly Shakspeare's word. So, in Venus and Adonis :
“ When reason is the bawd to lust's abuse." Malone,
-grained -] Died in grain. Fohnson. I am not quite certain that the epithet-grained, is justly ina, terpreted. Our author employs the same adjective in The Comedy of Errors:
“ Though now this grained face of mine be hid,” &c. and in this instance the allusion is most certainly to the furrows in the grain of wood.
Shakspeare might therefore design the Queen to say, that her: spots of guilt were not merely superficial, but indented.--A passage, however, in Twelfth Night, will sufficiently authorize Dr. Johnson's explanation : "“ 'Tis in grain, sir, 'twill endure wind and weather.” Steevens.
9 As will not leave their tinct.] To leave is to part with, give lip, resign. So, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona :
“ It seems, you lov'd her not, to leave her token." The quartos read:
As will leave there their tinct. Steevens.
Fohnson. Thus also the quarto, 1604. Beaumont and Fletcher use the word inseamed in the same sense, in the third of their Four Plays in One :
“ His leachery inseam'd upon him.” In The Book of Haukyng, &c. bl. 1. no date, we are told that Ensayme of a hauke is the grece."
Stew'd in corruptions; honeying, and making love
O, speak to me no more;
A murderer, and a villain :
Enter Ghost. Ham.
A king Of shreds and patches:4 Save me, and hover o'er me with your wings, You heavenly guards! - What would your gracious
figure? Queen. Alas, he's mad. Ham. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
In Randle Holme's Academy of Armory and Blazon, B. II, ch. ü, p. 238, we are told that “ Enseame is the purging of a hawk from her glut and grease.” From the next page in the same work, we learn that the glut is “ a slimy substance in the belly of the hawk.”
In some places it means hogs' lard, in others, the grease or oil with which clothiers besmear their wool to make it draw out in spinning:
Incestuous is the reading of the quarto, 1611. Steevens.
In the West of England, the inside fat of a goose, when dissolved by heat, is called its seam; and Shakspeare has used the word in the same sense in his Troilus and Cressida:
shall the proud lord, “ That bastes his arrogance with his own seam.” Henley.
vice of kings :) A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a farce; from whence the modern punch is descended.
Fohnson 3 That from a shelf &c.] This is said not unmeaningly, but to show, that the usurper came not to the crown by any glorious villany, that carried danger with it, but by the low cowardly theft of a common pilferer. Warburton.
4 A king
Of shreds and patches: ] This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of partycoloured patches. Fohnson.