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MAR. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour,2
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. HOR. In what particular thought to work," I
But, in the grofs and scope of mine opinion,
MAR. Good now, fit down, and tell me, he that knows,
Why this fame strict and most observant watch
have no acquaintance; he therefore substituted pole-ax as the only word of like found that was familiar to his ear. Unluckily, however, it happened that the fingular of the latter has the fame found as the plural of the former. Hence it has been fuppofed that Shakspeare meant to write Polacks. We cannot well fuppofe that in a parley the King belaboured many, as it is not likely that provocation was given by more than one, or that on fuch an occafion he would have condefcended to ftrike a meaner perfon than a prince. STEEVENS.
7 -jump at this dead hour,] So, the 4to. 1604. The folio -juft. STEEVENS.
The correction was probably made by the author. JOHNSON.
In the folio we fometimes find a familiar word substituted for one more ancient. MALONE.
Jump and just were fynonymons in the time of Shakspeare. Ben Jonfon fpeaks of verfes made on jump names, i. e. names that fuit exactly. Nafh fays" and jumpe imitating a verse in As in præfenti." So, in Chapman's May Day, 1611:
"Your appointment was jumpe at three, with me." Again, in M. Kyffin's tranflation of the Andria of Terence
"Comes he this day fo jump in the very time of this marriage?" STEEVENS.
In what particular thought to work,] i. e. What particular train of thinking to follow. STEEVENS.
grofs and fcope] General thoughts, and tendency at large. JOHNSON.
And why fuch daily caft' of brazen cannon,
HOR. That can I; At least, the whisper goes fo. Our last king, Whose image even but now appear'd to us, Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, Thereto prick'd on by a moft emulate pride, Dar'd to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet (For fo this fide of our known world efteem'd him,) Did flay this Fortinbras; who, by a feal'd com
páct, Well ratified by law, and heraldry,3
daily caft-] The quartos read-coft. STEEVENS. Why fuch imprefs of Shipwrights,] Judge Barrington, Obfervations on the more ancient Statutes, p. 300, having observed that Shakspeare gives English manners to every country where his feene lies, infers from this paffage, that in the time even of Queen Elizabeth, fhipwrights as well as feamen were forced to ferve. WHALLEY.
Impress fignifies only the act of retaining shipwrights by giving them what was called preft money (from pret, Fr.) for holding themselves in readiness to be employed. Thus, Chapman, in his verfion of the fecond Book of Homer's Odyffey:
"I, from the people ftraight, will prefs for you
See Mr. Douce's note on King Lear, A& IV. fc. vi.
by law, and heraldry,] Mr. Upton fays, that Shakfpeare fometimes expreiles one thing by two fubftantives, and that law and heraldry means, by the herald law. So, in Antony and Cleopatra, A&t IV:
"Where rather I expect victorious life,
i. e. honourable death. STEEVENS.
Did forfeit, with his life, all thofe his lands,
Had he been vanquifher; as, by the fame co-mart, And carriage of the article defign'd,+
Puttenham, in his Art of Poefie, speaks of The Figure of Twynnes: horfes and barbes, for barbed horses, venim and dartes, for venimous dartes," &c. FARMER."
-law, and heraldry,] That is, according to the forms of law and heraldry. When the right of property was to be determined by combat, the rules of heraldry were to be attended to, as well as thofe of law. M. MASON.
i. e. to be well ratified by the rules of law, and the forms prefcribed jure feciali; fuch as proclamation, &c. MALONE.
as, by the fame co-mart,
And carriage of the article defign'd,] Co-mart fignifies a bargain, and carrying of the article, the covenant entered into to confirm that bargain. Hence we fee the common reading [covenant] makes a tautology. WARBURTON.
Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio reads-as by the fame covenant: for which the late editions have given us-as by that
Co-mart is, I fuppofe, a joint bargain, a word perhaps of our poet's coinage. A mart fignifying a great fair or market, he would not have fcrupled to have written-tò mart, in the fenfe of to make a bargain. In the preceding speech we find mart used for bargain or purchase. MALONE.
He has not fcrupled fo to write in Cymbeline, A&t I. fc. vii:
"As in a Romifh ftew," &c. STEEVENS.
And carriage of the article defign'd,] Carriage is import : defign'd, is formed, drawn up between them. JOHNSON.
Cawdrey in his Alphabetical Table, 1604, defines the verb defign thus: "To marke out or appoint for any purpose." See allo Mintheu's Dict. 1617: " To defigne or fhew by a token." Defigned is yet used in this fenfe in Scotland. The old copies have defeigne. The correction was made by the editor of the fecond folio. MALONE.
His fell to Hamlet: Now, fir, young Fortinbras,
That hath a stomach in't :7 which is no other
The fource of this our watch; and the chief head
3 Of unimproved &c.] Full of unimproved mettle, is full of fpirit not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience.
Shark'd up a lift &c.] I believe, to shark up means to pick up without diftinction, as the Shark-fith collects his prey. The quartos read lawless instead of landlefs. STEEVENS.
7 That hath a fromach in't:] Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for confiancy, refolution. JOHNSON.'
And terms compulfatory,] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio-compulfative. STEEVENS.
romage-] Tumultuous hurry. JOHNSON.
Commonly written-rummage. I am not, however, certain that the word romage has been properly explained. The following paffage in Hackluyt's Voyages, 1599, Vol. II. Ppp 3, feems indicative of a different meaning: "the fhips growne foule, unroomaged, and scarcely able to beare any faile" &c. Again, Vol. III. 88: "the mariners were romaging their hippes" &c.
Romage, on fhipboard, must have fignified a fcrupulous examination into the ftate of the veffel and its ftores. Refpecting landfervice, the fame term implied a ftrict inquiry into the kingdom, that means of defence might be supplied where they were wanted. STEEVENS.
Rummage, is properly explained by Johnfon himself in his Dictionary, as it is at prefent daily ufed,-to fearch for any thing.
[BER. I think,' it be no other, but even fo: Well may it fort, that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch; fo like the king That was, and is, the question of these wars.3 HOR. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's eye. In the most high and palmy state of Rome,5
[I think, &c.] Thefe, and all other lines, confined within crotchets, throughout this play, are omitted in the folio edition of 1623. The omiffions leave the play fometimes better and fometimes worse, and seem made only for the fake of abbreviation. JOHNSON.
It may be worth while to obferve, that the title pages of the first quartos in 1604 and 1605, declare this play to be enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect copy.
Perhaps, therefore, many of its abfurdities, as well as beauties, arofe from the quantity added after it was firft written. Our poet might have been more attentive to the amplification than the coherence of his fable.
The degree of credit due to the title-page that ftyles the MS. from which the quartos, 1604 and 1605 were printed, the true and perfect copy, may also be difputable. I cannot help suppofing this publication to contain all Shakspeare rejected, as well as all he fupplied. By reftorations like the former, contending bookfellers or theatres might have gained fome temporary advantage over each other, which at this distance of time is not be understood. The patience of our ancestors exceeded our own, could it have out-lafted the tragedy of Hamlet as it is now printed; for it must have occupied almost five hours in reprefentation. If, however, it was too much dilated on the ancient ftage, it is as injudiciously contracted on the modern one.
2 Well may it fort,] The caufe and effect are proportionate and fuitable. JOHNSON.
3 the queftion of these wars.] The theme or fubject. So, in Antony and Cleopatra:
You were the word of war." MALONE.
4 A mote it is,] The first quarto reads-a moth. STEEVENS. A moth was only the old fpelling of mole, as I fufpected in revifing a paffage in King John, Vol. X. p. 466, n. 1, where we certainly fhould read mote. MALONE.
palmy fate of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious. Pore.