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Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
You promis'd me to wed:

He answers.)
So would I ha' done, by yonder sun,

An thou hadst not come to my bed.
King. How long hạth she been thus?

Oph. I hope, all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot choose but weep, to think, they should lay him i' the cold ground: My brother shall know of it, and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Gnod night, ladies;- good night, sweet ladies: good night, good night.


“ By Gisse I swear, were I so fairly wed,” &c. Again, in King Edward III, 1599 :

“ By Gis, fair lords, ere many daies be past," &c. Again, in Heywood's 23d Epigram, Fourth Hundred: Nay, by Gis, he looketh on you maister, quoth he.”

Steedens. Mr. Steevens's first assertion, though disputed by a catholick friend, can be supported by infallible authority. “ We read," says Dr. Douglas, “in the martyrology on the first of August Rome passio sanctarum virginum, Fidei, Spei, et CHARITATIS, quæ sub Hadriano principe martyrie coronam adeptæ sunt."

Criterion, p. 68. Ritson. In the scene between the Bastard Faulconbridge and the frie ars and nunne, in the First Part of The troublesome Raigne of King Fohn, (edit. 1779, p. 256, &c.) “the nunne swears by Gis, and the friers pray to Saint Withold (another obsolete saint mentioned in King Lear, Vol. XIV,) and adjure him by Saint Charitie to hear them." Blackstone.

By Gis,] There is not the least mention of any saint whose name corresponds with this, either in the Roman Calendar, the service in Usum Sarum, or in the Benedictionary of Bishop Athelwold. I believe the word to be only a corrupted abbreviation of Jesus, the letters J. H. S. being anciently all that was set down to denote that sacred name, on altars, the covers of books, &c. Ridley.

Though Gis may be, and I believe is, only a contraction of Fesus, there is certainly a Saint Gislen, with whose name it corresponds. Ritson.

By cock,] This is likewise a corruption of the sacred name. Many instances of it are given in a note at the beginning of the fifth Act of The Second Part of King Henry IV. Steevens. 9 He answers. rs.] These words I have added from the quartos.

Steevens. 1 Come, my coach! Good night, ladies; &c.] In Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, Zabina in her frenzy uses the same expres


King. Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.

[Exit Hon. O! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs All from her father's death: And now behold, O Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come, they come not single spies, But in battalions! First, her father slain; Next, your son gone; and he most violent author Of his own just remove: The people muddied, Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts, and whispers, For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly,3 In hugger-mugger to inter him :4 Poor Ophelia Divided from herself, and her fair judgment;


sion: “Hell, make ready my coach, my chair, my jewels, I come, I come.Malone.

2 When sorrows come, &c.] In Ray's Proverbs we find, “ Misfortunes seldom come alone,” as a proverbial phrase. Reed.

but greenly,] But unskilfully; with greenness; that is, without maturity of judgment. Johnson.

4 In hugger-mugger to inter him:] All the modern editions that I have consulted, give it:

In private to inter him: That the words. now replaced are better, I do not undertake to prove; it is sufficient that they are Shakspeare's: if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by disuse, or gross by vulgarity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and, as these alterations will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning Johnson.

On this just observation I ground the restoration of a gross and unpleasing word in a preceding passage, for which Mr. Pope substituted groan. See p. 131, n. 9. The alteration in the present instance was made by the same editor. Malone. This expression is used in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1609:

he died like a politician, “ In hugger-mugger? Again, in Harrington's Ariosto:

“ So that it might be done in hugger-mugger." Shakspeare probably took the expression from the following passage in Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch:-" Antonius thinking that his body should be honourably buried, and not in hugger-mugger."

It appears from Greene's Groundwork of Coneycatching, 1592, that to hugger was to lurk about. Steevens.

The meaning of the expression is ascertained by Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598 : Dinascoso, Secretly, hiddenly, in huggermugger.Malone.

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Without the which we are pictures, or mere bcasts.
Last, and as much containing as all these,
Her brother is in secret come from France:
Feeds on his wonder, keeps himself in clouds,
And wants not buzzars to infect his ear
With pestilent speeches of his father's death;
Wherein necessity, of matter beggar'd,
Will nothing stick our person to arraign
In ear and ear. O my dear Gertrude, this,
Like to a murdering piece, in many places

5 Feeds on his wonder,] The folio reads-

Keeps on his wonder, The quarto

Feeds on this wonder, Thus the true reading is picked out from between them. Sir T. Hanmer reads unnecessarilyFeeds on his anger,

Johnson. 6 Wherein necessity, &c.] Sir T. Hanmer reads:

Whence animosity of matter beggar'd. He seems not to have understood the connection. Wherein, that is, in which pestilent speeches, necessity, or the obligation of an accuser to support his charge, will nothing stick, &c. Johnson. 7 Like to a

murdering piece,] Such a piece as assassins use, with many barrels. It is necessary to apprehend this, to see the justness of the similitude. Warburton.

The same term occurs in a passage in The Double Marriage of Beaumont and Fletcher:

“ And like a murdering piece, aims not at one,

“ But all that stand within the dangerous level.” Again, in All's Lost by Lust, a tragedy by Rowley, 1633: “If thou fail'st too, the king

comes with a murdering piece, “ In the rear. Again, in A Fair Quarrel, by Midddleton and Rowley, 1622:

“ There is not such another murdering piece

“ In all the stock of calumny." It appears from a passage in Smith's Sea Grammer, 1627, that it was a piece of ordnance used in ships of war: “ A case-shot is any kinde of small bullets, nailes, old iron, or the like, to put into the case, to shoot out of the ordnances or murderers; these will doe much mischiefe." &c. Steevens.

A murdering-piece was the specifick term in Shakspeare's time for a piece of ordnance, or small cannon. The word is found in Cole's Latin Dictionary, 1679, and rendered, “tormentum murale."

The small cannon, which are, or were used in the forecastle, half-cleck, or steerage of a ship of war, were within this century, called murdering-pieces. Malone.

Perhaps what is now, from the manner of it, called a swivel.

Gives me superfluous death!

[.A Noise within. Queen.

Alack! what noise is this?

Enter a Gentleman.
King. Attend.
Where are my Switzers?! Let them guard the door:
What is the matter?

Save yourself, my lord;
The ocean, overpeering of his list,
Eats not the flats with more impetuous haste,
Than young Laertes, in a riotous head,
O'erbears your officers! The rabble call him, lord;
And, as the world were now but to begin,
Antiquity forgot, custom not known,
The ratifiers and props of every word,2


It is mentioned in Sir T. Roes Voiage to the E. Indies, at the end of Della Valle's Travels, 1665: “- the East India company had a very little pinnace...mann'd she was with ten men, and had only one small murdering-piece within her.” Probably it was never charged with a single ball, but always with shot, pieces of old iron, &c. Ritson.

8 Alack! &c.] This speech of the Queen is omitted in the quartos. Steevens.

my Switzers ?] I have observed in many of our old plays, that the guards attendant on Kings are called Switzers, and that without any regard to the country where the scene lies. Thus, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Noble Gentleman, Act III, sc. i:

was it not “ Some place of gain, as clerk to the great band " Of marrow-bones, that the people call the Switzers?

“ Men made of beef and sarcenet?” Reed. The rea on is, because the Swiss in the time of our poet, as at presen, were hired to fight the battles of other nations. So, in Nashe's Christ's Teares over Jerusalem, 4to. 1594: “ Law, logicke, and the Switzers, may be hired to fight for any body.”

Malone. 1. The ocean, overpeering of his list, ] The lists are the barriers which the spectators of a tournament must not pass. Johnson.

See note on Othello, Act IV, sc. i. Steevens.

List, in this place, only signifies boundary, i. e. the shore. So, in King Henry IV, P. II:

“ The very list, the very utmost bound

“ Of all our fortunes." The selvage of cloth was in both places, I believe, in our au, thor's thoughts. Malone.

2 The ratifiers and props of every word,] By word is here meant a declaration, or proposal. ít is determined to this sense, by the inference it hath to what had just preceded:


They cry, Choose ave; Laertes shall be king!
Caps, hands, and tongues, applaud it to the clouds,
Laertes shall be king, Laertes king!

Queen. How cheerfully on the false trail they cry!
O, this is counter, you false Danish dogs.3
King. The doors are broke.

[Noise within,
Enter LAERTES, armed; Danes following.
Laer. Where is this king!-- Sirs, stand you all with-

out. Dan. No, let 's come in. Laer.

I pray you, give me leave.
Dan. We will, we will. (They retire without the Door.

Laer. I thank you :-keep the door.-O thou vile king,
Give me my father.

Calmly, good Laertes.
Laer. That drop of blood, that 's calm, proclaims me


“ The rabble call him lord,” &c. This acclamation, which is the word here spoken of, was made without regard to antiquity, or received custom, whose concurrence, however, is necessarily required to confer validity and stability in every proposal of this kind. Heath.

Sir T. Hanmer would transpose this line and the next. Dr. Warburton proposes to read, ward; and Dr. Johnson, weal, instead of word. I should be rather for reading, work. Tyrwhitt.

In the first folio there is only a comma at the end of the above line; and will not the passage bear this construction !--The rabble call him lord, and as if the world were now but to begin, and as if the ancient custom of hereditary succession were unknown, they, the ratifiers and props of every word he utters, cry, Let us make choice, that Laertes shall be king: Tollet.

This construction might certainly be admitted, and the ratifiers and props of every word might be understood to be applied to the rabble mentioned in a preceding line, without Sir T. Hanmer's transposition of this and the following line; but there is no authority for what Mr. Tollet adds, “ of every word he [Laertes] utters,” for the poet has not described Laertes as having uttered a word. If, therefore, the rabble are called the ratifiers and props of every word, we must understand, “ of every word uttered by themselves:" which is so tame, that it would be unjust to our poet to suppose that to have been his meaning. Ratifiers, &c. refer not to the people, but to custom and antiquity, which the speaker says are the true ratifiers and props of every word. The last word however of the line may well be suspected to be corrupt; and Mr. Tyrwhitt has probably suggested the true reading.

Malone, 30, this is counter, you false Danish dogs.] Hourds run counter when they trace the trail backwards. Johnson.


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