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king of Denmark; and thofe, that would make mouths at him while my father liv'd, give twenty, forty, fifty, an hundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in little ". There is fomething in this more natural, if philofophy could find it out.


[Flourish of trumpets.

Guil. There are the players.

Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elfinour. Your hands. Come then: the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony: 'let me comply with you in this garb; left my extent to the players, which, I tell you, muft fhew fairly outward, fhould more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome but my uncle-father, and aunt-mother, are deceiv'd.

Guil. In what, my dear lord?

Ham. I ain but mad north-north-weft: when the wind is foutherly 3, I know a hawk from a hand-faw4.


8 -in little.] i. c. in miniature. So, in the Noble Soldier 1634:

"The perfection of all Spaniards, Mars in little." Again, in Drayton's Shepherd's Sirena:

"Paradife in little donc.”

Again, in Maflinger's New Way to pay old Debts: "His father's picture in little."


There is fomething-] The old editions read,-sblood, there' is, &c. STEEVENS.


let me comply] Hanmer reads, Let me compliment. with you. JourSON.

When the wind is foutherly, &c.] So, in Damon and Pythias, 1582:

"But I perceive now, either the winde is at the fouth,
"Or else your tunge cleaveth to the 100fle of your mouth.”

3 -

I know a hawk from a hand faw. This was a common proverbial fpeech. The Oxford Editor alters it to, I know a bask from an bernbar, as if the other had been a corruption of the players; whereas the poet found the proverb thus corrupted in the mouths of the people: fo that the critic's alteration only ferves to fhew us the original of the expreffion. WARBURTON.

Similarity of found is the fource of many literary corruptions. In Holborn we have fill the fign of the Bull and Gate, which ex

Enter Polonius.

Pol. Well be with you, gentlemen!

Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern;-and you too;— at each ear a hearer: That great baby, you fee there, is not yet out of his fwadling-clouts.

Rof. Haply, he's the fecond time come to them; for, they fay, an old man is twice a child.

Ham. I will prophefy, he comes to tell me of the players; mark it.-You fay right, fir: on Monday morning; 'twas then, indeed.

Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.

Ham. My lord, I have news to tell you. When Rofcius was an actor in Rome,

Pol. The actors are come hither, my lord.

Ham. Buz, buz! 4


Pol. Upon mine honour,

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hibits but an odd combination of images. It was originally (as I learn from the title page of an old play) the Bullogne Gate, i. e. one of the gates of Bullogne; defigned perhaps as a compliment to Henry VIII. who took the place in 2544.

The Bullogne mouth, now the Bull and Mouth, had probably the fame origin, i. e. the mouth of the harbour of Bullagne. STEEVENS.

4 Buz, buz!- Mere idle talk, the buz of the vulgar.


Buz, buz! are, I believe, only interjections employed to interrupt Polonius. Ben Jonfon ufes them often for the fame pure pofe, as well as Middleton in A Mad World my Masters, 1608. STEEVENS.

Buz ufed to be an interjection at Oxford, when any one began a ftory that was generally known before. BLACKSTONE. Buzzer, in a fubfequent feene in this play, is ufed for a bufy talker:


And wants not buzzers to infect his ear "With peftilent fpeeches."

It is, therefore, probable from the anfwer of Polonius, that luz was ufed, as Dr. Johnson fuppofes, for an idle rumour without any foundation.

In Ben Jonfon's Staple of News, the collector of mercantile intelligence is called Emiffary Buz." Mazoni.


Ham. Then came each actor on his afs,Pol. The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, hiftory, paftoral, paftoral-comical, hiftorical-paftoral, ["tragical-hiftorical, tragical-comical - hiftorical-paftoral,] fcene undividable, or poem unlimited: 7 Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light: For the law of writ, and the the liberty thefe are the only men.

Ham. O Jephtha, judge of Ifrael,-what a trea fure hadft thou!

Pol. What a treasure had he, my lord?
Ham. Why,-One fair daughter, and no more,
The which he loved paffing well.

5 Then came, &c.] This feems to be a line of a ballad.



tragical, &c.] The words within the crotchets I have recovered from the folio, and fee no reason why they were hitherto omitted. There are many plays of the age, if not of Shakspeare, that answer to thefe defcriptions. STEEVENS.

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7 Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light.] The tragedies of Seneca were tranflated into English by Thomas Newton, and others and published in 1581. One comedy of Plautus, viz. the Menæchmi, was likewife tranflated and published in 1565.

I believe the frequency of plays performed at public schools, fuggefted to Shakspeare the names of Seneca and Plautus as dramatic authors. WARTON.

8 For the law of writ, and the liberty, thefe are the only men.] All the modern editions have, the law of wit, and the liberty; but both my old copies have, the law of writ, I believe rightly. Writ, for writing, compofition. Wit was not, in our author's time, taken either for imagination, or acuteness, or both together, but for underftanding, for the faculty by which we apprehend and judge. Those who wrote of the human mind, diftinguished its primary powers into suit and vill. Afcham diftinguishes boys of tardy and of active faculties into quick quits and flow wits. JOHNSON.

The old copies are certainly right. Writ is ufed for writing by. authors contemporary with Shakspeare. Thus, in 7he Apologie of Pierce Pennileffe, by Thomas Nah, 1593: "For the lowfie circumftance of his poverty before his death, and fending that miferable writte to his wife, it cannot be but thou lieft, learned Gabriel.” Again, in bishop Earle's Character of a mere dull Phyfician, 1638 "Then followes a writ to his drugger, in a frange tongue, which he understands, though he cannot confter." MALONE


Pol. Still on my daughter.
Ham. Am I not i' the right, old Jephtha?
Pol. If you call me old Jephtha, my lord, I have a
daughter, that I love paffing well.

Ham. Nay, that follows not.
Pol. What follows then, my lord ?



Ham. 9 Why, as By lot, God wot, and then, you know, It came to pass, As most like it was,- The first row of the pious chanfon will fhew you more ş for look, where my abridgment comes.


9 Why, as by lot, God wot-&c.] The old fong from which thefe quotations are taken, I communicated to Dr. Percy, who has honoured it with a place in the fecond and third editions of his Reliques of ancient English Poetry In the books belonging to the Stationers' Company, there is a late entry of this Ballad among others. Jeffa Judge of Ifrael," p. 93. vol. iii. Dec. 14. 1624. STEEVENS.

1 the pious chansons- It is pons chanfons in the first folio edition. The old ballads fung on bridges, and from thence called Pons chansons. Hamlet is here repeating ends of old fongs.



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


There are five large vols. of ballads in Mr. Pepys's collection in Magdalen college library, Cambridge, fome as ancient as Henry VII's reign, and not one red letter upon any one of the titles. GREY.

The first row of the RUBRIC will, &c.] The words, of the rubric were first inferted by Mr. Rowe, in his edition in 1709, The old quartos in 1604, 1605, and 1611, read pious chanfon, which gives the sense wanted, and I have accordingly inferted it in the text.

The pious chanfons were a kind of Chriftmas carols, containing fome fcriptural history thrown into loose rhimes, and fung about the streets by the common people when they went at that season to folicit alms. Hamlet is here repeating fome scraps from a fong of this kind, and when Polonius enquires what follows them, he refers him to the first row (i. e. divifion) of one of these, to obtain the information he wanted. STEEVENS.

2my abridgment-] He calls the players afterwards, the VOL. X. A a


Enter four or five Players.


You are welcome, mafters; welcome, all :-I am glad to fee thee well :-welcome, good friends.-0, old friend! Why, thy face is valanc'd fince I faw thee laft; Com'ft thou to beard me in Denmark ?What! my young lady and miftrefs! By-'r-lady, your ladyfhip is nearer to heaven, than when I faw you laft, by the altitude of a chioppine. Pray Gad,


brief chronicles of the times; but I think he now means only those who will shorten my talk. JOHNSON.

An abridgment is used for a dramatic piece in the Midfummer Night's Dream, A&t v. fc. 1 :

"Say what abridgment have you for this evening?" but it does not commodioufly apply to this paffage. STEEVENS valanc'd] Valanc'd means overhung with a canopy or tefter like a bed. The folios read valiant which feems right. The comedian was probably "bearded like a pard."




4 by the altitude of a chioppine.] A chioppine is a high fhoe worn by the Italians, as in Tho. Heywood's Challenge of Beauty, Act 5. Song.

The Italian in her high chopecne,
Scotch lafs and lovely froe too;

The Spanish Donna, French Madame,
He doth not feare to go to.
So, in Ben Jonfon's Cynthia's Revels:

"I do wish myself one of my mistrefs's Cioppini." Another demands, why would he be one of his miftrefs's Cioppini ? a third anfwers, "because he would make her higher."

Again, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631: I'm only taking inftructions to make her a lower Chopeene; he finds fault that the's lifted too high."

Again, in Chapman's Cæfar and Pompey, 1613 :


and thou fhalt

"Have Chopines at commandement to an height
"Of life thou canst wifh." STEEVENS.

Tom Coryat in his Crudities, 1611, p. 262, calls them chapiness, and gives the following account of them, "There is one thing ufed of the Venetian women, and fome others dwelling in the cities and townes fubject to the figniory of Venice, that is not to be obferved (I thinke) amongst any other women in Christendome which is fo common in Venice, that no woman whatfo

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