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Pol. That did I, my lord: and was accounted a good actor.
Ham. And what did you enact?
Pol. I did enact Julius Cæfar: I was kill'd i' the Capitol; Brutus kill'd me.
Ham. It was a brute part of him, to kill so capital a calf there.-Be the players ready?
Rof. Ay, my lord; ' they stay upon your patience. Queen. Come hither, my dear Hamlet, fit by me. Ham. No, good mother, here's metal more attractive.
[To the King.
Pol. O ho! do you mark that? Ham. Lady, fhall I lie in your lap? [Lying doren at Ophelia's feet.
Oph. No, my lord.
Ham. Do you think, I mean country matters?
9-It was a brute part of him,-] Sir John Harrington in his Metamorphofis of Ajax, 1596, has the fame quibble: Obraveminded Brutus! but this 1 muft truly fay, they were two brutijb parts both of him and you; one to kill his fons for treason, the other to kill his father in treafon." STEEVENS.
they ftay upon your patience,] May it not be read more intelligibly, They hay upon your pleature. In Macbeth it is: Noble Macbeth, we ftay upon your leifure."
-at Ophelia's feet.] To lie at the feet of a mistress during dramatic reprefentation, feems to have been a common act of gallantry. So, in the Queen of Corinth, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
"Ufhers her to her coach, lies at her feet
"At folemn mafque, applauding what the laughs at." Again, in Gafcoigne's Greene Knight's farewell to Fancie: "To lie along in ladies lappes, &c.
This fashion which Shakspeare probably defigned to ridicule by appropriating it to Hamlet during his differ bled madnets, is likewife expofed by Decker, in his Guls Hornbook, 1609.
See an extract from it among the prefaces. STEEVENS. 3 I mean, &c.] This fpeech and Ophelia's reply to it are omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS,
Oph. I think nothing, my lord.
Ham. That's a fair thought to lie between maids'
Oph. What is, my lord?
Oph. You are merry, my lord.
Ham, O! your only jig-maker. What should a man do, but be merry? for, look you, how cheerfully my mother looks, and my father died within thefe two hours.
Oph. Nay, 'tis twice two months, my lord.
➡your only jig maker.] There may have been fome humour in this paffage, the force of which is now diminished : many gentlemen "Are not, as in the days of understanding, "Now fatisfied without a jig, which fince “They cannot, with their honour, call for after "The play, they look to be ferv'd up in the middle." Changes, or Love in a Maze, by Shirley, 1632. In the Hog has loft his Pearl, 1614, one of the players comes to folicit a gentleman to write a jig for him. A jig was not in Shakspeare's time a dance, but a ludicrous dialogue in metre. and of the lowest kind, like Hamlet's converfation with Ophelia, Many of thele jiggs are entered in the books of the Stationers' Company: Philips his Jigg of the flyppers, 1595. Kempe's Figg of the Kitchen-ftuf-woman, 1595.' STEEVENS.
The following lines in the prologue to Fletcher's Love's Pilgrimage coufirm Mr. Steevens's remark:
A jig was not always in the form of a dialogue. Many historical
The author of THE REMARKS Observes that a jig, though it certainly fignified a ludicrous dialogue in metre, yet it also was ufed for a dance. In the extract from Stephen Golon in the next page, we have,
tumbling, dancing of gigges." EDITOR. -Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a hit of
black, for I'll have a fuit of fables. O heavens ! die two months ago, and not forgotten yet? Then there's hope, a great man's memory may outlive his life
fables. The conceit of these words is not taken. They are an ironical apology for his mother's cheerful looks: two months was long enough in confcience to make any dead hufband forgotten. But the editors, in their nonfenfical blunder, have made Hamlet fay just the contrary. That the devil and he would both go into mourning, though his mother did not. The true reading is Nay, then let the devil wear black, 'fore I'll have a fuit of fable. 'Fore, i. e. before. As much as to fay, Let the devil wear black for me, I'll have none. The Oxford Editor defpifes.an emendation fo eafy, and reads it thus, Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a fuit of ermine. And you could expect no less, when fuch a critic had the dreffing of him. But the blunder was a plealant one. The fenfelefs editors had wrote fables, the fur fo called, for fable, black. And the critic only changed this fur for that; by a like figure, the common people fay, You rejoice the cockles of my heart, for the mufcles of my heart; an unlucky mistake of one fhell-fish for another. WARBURTON.
I know not why our editors fhould, with fuch implacable anger perfecute their predeceffors. O expolun davon, the dead, it is true, can make no refillance, they may be attacked with great fecurity; but fince they can neither feel nor mend, the fafety of mauling them feems greater than the pleasure; nor perhaps would it much misbefeem us to remember, amidst our triumphs over the nonfenfical and the fenfelefs, that we likewise are men ; that debemur morti, and as Swift observed to Burnet, fhall foon be among the dead ourfelves.
I cannot find how the common reading is nonfenfe, nor why Hamlet, when he laid afide his dress of mourning, in a country where it was bitter celd, and the air was nipping and cager, should not have a fuit of fables. I fuppofe it is well enough known, that the fur of fables is not black. JOHNSON.
A fuit of fables was the richest dress that could be worn in Denmark. STEEVENS.
Here again is an equivoque. In Maffinger's Old Law, we have,
"A cunning grief,
"That's only faced with fables for a show,
That a fuit of fables was the magnificent drefs of our author's time, appears from a paffage in Ben Jonfon's Discoveries: Would you not laugh to meet a great counsellor of fate, in a flat
life half a year: But, by'r-lady, he must build churches then or elfe he fhall fuffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horfe; whofe epitaph, is For, O, for, O, the hobby-horse is forgot.
Trumpets found. The dumb fhew follows. Enter a king and queen, very lovingly; the queen embracing cap, with his trunk-hofe, and a hobby-horse cloak, and yond haberdasher in a velvet gown trimm'd with fables ?” MALONE.
"I had rather (fays honeft Sancho, when he was taking leave of his government) cover myfelfe with a double sheepe skinnethan be cloathed in fables." Shelton, P. ii. p. 359. edit. 1620. REMARKS.
6— fuffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse ;-] Amongst the country may-games there was an hobby-horse, which, when the puritanical humour of thofe times oppofed and difcredited thefe games, was brought by the poets and ballad-makers as an instance of the ridiculous zeal of the fectaries: from thefe ballads Hamlet quotes a line or two. WARBURTON.
70, the bobby-horfe is forgot.] In Love's Labour's Loft, this line is alfo introduced. In a fmall black letter book, intitled, Plays Confuted, by Stephen Goffon, I find the bobby-horse enumerated in the lift of dances, "For the devil (fays this author) "beclide the beautic of the houfes, and the stages, fendeth in "gearish apparell, mafkes, vauting, tumbling, dauncing of gigges, galiardes, morifces, bobbi-borfes," &c. and in Green's Tu quoque, 1599, the fame expreflion occurs:
"The other bob'y borfe, I perceive, is not forgotten." In TEXNOTAMIA, or The Marriage of the Arts, 1618, is the following flage direction:
"Enter a bbby-borfe, dancing the morrice, &c." Again, Beaumont and Fletcher's Women Pleafed: Soto." Shall the bobby horfe be forgot then,
"The hopful bobby-horfe, fhall he lie founder'd"? The fcene, in which this paffage is, will very amply confirm all that Dr. Warburton has faid concerning the bobby horse.
Again, in Ben Jonfon's Entertainment for the Queen and Prince at Althorje:
But fee, the hobby-horfe is forgot.
"To fupply his want with faces,
See figure 5 in the plate at the end of the First Part of King Henry IV. with Mr. Tollet's obfervations on it. SREEVENS.
Enter, &c.] In our former edition feveral notes on this paf
bracing him, and ke her. She kneels, and makes shew of proteftation unto him. He takes her up, and declines his head upon her neck: lays him down upon a bank of flowers; She, feeing him afleep, leaves him. Anon, comes in a fellow, takes off his crown, kiffès it, and pours poifon in the King's ears, and exit. The queen returns; finds the king dead, and makes paffionate action. The poifoner, with fome two or three mutes, comes in again, feeming to lament with her. The dead body is carried away. The poifoner wooes the queen with gifts; fhe feemeth loath and unwilling a while, but in the end, accepts his love.
Oph. What means this, my lord? Ham. Marry, this is miching malicho; it means mischief.
fage were affembled; but being all founded on a mistaken reading they are now omitted. STEEVENS.
9 Marry, this is miching malicho; it means mifchief.] The Oxford Editor, imagining that the fpeaker had here Englished his own cant phrafe of miching malicho, tells us (by his gloffary) that it fignifies mifchief lying bid, and that malicho is the Spanish malbeco ; whereas it fignifies, Lying in wait for the poifoner. Which, the fpeaker tells us, was the very purpose of this reprefentation. It fhould therefore be read malhechor Spanish, the poifoner. So mich fignified, originally, to keep hid and out of fight; and, as fuch men generally did it for the purpofes of lying in wait, it then fignified to rob. And in this fenfe Shakspeare uses the noun, a micher, when speaking of prince Henry amongst a gang of robbers. Shall the bleed fun of heaven prova micher? Shall the fon of England prove a thief? And in this fenfe it is ufed by Chaucer, in his tranflation of Le Roman de la Rofe, where he turns the word lierre (which is larron voleur) by micher. WARBURTON,
I think Hanmer's expofition mot likely to be right. Dr. Warburton, to justify his interpretation, must write, miching for males chor, and even then it will be harsh. JOHNSON.
Dr. Warburton is right in his explanation of the word miching. So, in the Raging Turk, 1631:
66 wilt, thou envious dotard, "Strangle my greatness in a miching hole?
Again, in Stanyhurst's virgil, 1582:
wherefore thus vainely in land Lybye mitche you?"