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Each oppofite, that blanks the face of joy,
Ham. If fhe fhould break it now,- [To Oph P. King. 'Tis deeply fworn. Sweet, leave me here a while;
My fpirits grow dull, and fain I would beguile
P. Queen. Sleep rock thy brain;
And never come mifchance betwixt us twain! [Exit. Ham. Madam, how like you this play?
Queen. The lady doth proteft too much, methinks. Ham. O, but fhe'll keep her word. King. Have offence in't?
you heard the argument? Is there no
Ham. No, no, they do but jeft, poifon in jeft; no offence i' the world.
Kin. What do you call the play?
Ham. The moufe-trap. Marry, how? Tropically. This play is the image of a murder done in Vienna: Gonzago is the duke's name; his wife, 7 Baptista : you shall see anon; 'tis a knavifh piece of work: But what of that? your majefty, and we that have free fouls, it toucheth us not: Let the gall'd jade wince, our withers are unwrung.
This is one Lucianus, nephew to the duke.
6 The mouse-trap.] He calls it the mouse-trap, because it the thing
In which he'll catch the confcience of the king.
7 Baptifta is, I think, in Italian, the name always of a man. 8 Let the gall'd jade wince, &c.] This is a proverbial faying. So, in Damon and Pythias, 1582:
"I know the gold horfe will fooneft qvince."
Oph. You are as good as a chorus, my lord. 9 Ham. I could interpret between you and your love, if I could fee the puppets dallying.
Oph. You are keen, my lord, you are keen. Ham. It would coft you a groaning, to take off my edge.
Oph. Still better and worfe
Ham. So you mistake your husbands. Begin murderer.--Leave thy damnable faces, and begin.
Come-The croaking raven doth bellow for revenge. Luc. Thoughts black, hands apt, drugs fit, and time agreeing;
Ham. I could interpret, &c.] This refers to the interpreter, who formerly fat on the stage at all motions or puppet-fhews, and interpreted to the audience.
So, in the Two Gentlemen of Verona:
"Oh excellent motion! oh exceeding puppet!
Again, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621: “
1 Sill better, and worse.] i. e. better in regard to the wit of your double entendre, but worse in respect of the groffness of your meaning. STEEVENS.
So you mistake your bufbands.] Read, So you must take your bufbands; that is, for better, for worse. JOHNSON.
Theobald propofed the fame reading in his Shakspeare Reftored, however he loft it afterwards. STEEVENS.
"I fear he will perfuade me to mifake him."
"So you miflake your husbands."
I believe this to be right: the word is fometimes ufed in this ludicrous manner. "Your true trick, rafcal (fays Ursula in Bar tholomew Fair) must be to be ever bufie, and mistake away the bottles and cans, before they be half drunk off." FARMER.
Again, in Ben Jonfon's Mafque of Augurs: "To miftake six torches from the chandry, and give them one."
Again, in the Elder Brother of Fletcher:
I believe the meaning is-you do amifs for yourfelves to take hubands for the worfe. You fhould take them only for the better. TOLLET.
Confederate feafon, elfe no creature seeing;
[Pours the poifon into his ears.
Ham. He poifons him i' the garden for his estate. His name's Gonzago: the ftory is extant, and written in very choice Italian: You fhall see anon, how the murderer gets the love of Gonzago's wife.
Oph. The king rifes.
Ham. What! frighted with false fire 3 !
[Exeunt All but Hamlet, and Horatio. Ham. Why, let the ftrucken deer go weep, The hart ungalled play:
For fome must watch, while fome must sleep;
Would not this, fir, and a forest of feathers, (if the reft of my fortunes turn Turk with me s) with two
3 What! frighted with falfe fire!] This fpeech is omitted in the quartos. STEEVENS.
4 Lights, lights, lights!] Polonius STEEVENS.
The quartos give this speech to
5-turn Turk with me] This expreffion has occured already in Much Ado about Nothing, and I have met with it in several old comedies. So, in Greene's Tu Quoque, 1614 : “This it is to turn Turk, from an abfolute and most compleat gentleman, to a moft abfurd, ridiculous, and fond lover." It means, I believe, no more than to change condition fantastically. Again, in Decker's Honeft Whore, 1635 :
"If you turn Turk again."
Perhaps the phrafe had its rife from fome popular story like that of Ward and Danfiker, the two famous pirates; an account of whofe overthrow was published by A. Barker 1609; and, in 1612, a play was written on the fame fubject called A Chriftian turn'd Turk. STEEVENS.
Provencial rofes" on my raz'd fhoes, get me a fellowfhip in a cry of players, fir?
6 Provincial rofes] Why provincial rofes? Undoubtedly we fhould read Provencial, or (with the French ) Provençal. He means roles of Provence, a beautiful fpecies of rofe, and formerly much cultivated. WARTON.
with two provincial rofes on my rayed fhoes,] When shoeftrings were worn, they were covered, where they met in the middle, by a ribband, gathered in the form of a rofe. So, in an old fong: "Gil-de-Roy was a bonny boy, "Had roses tull his hoon."
Rayed fhoes, are fhoes braided in lines. JOHNSON. Thefe rofes are often mentioned by our ancient dramatic writers.
So, in the Devil's Law-cafe, 1623:
"With over blown refes to hide your gouty ancles." Again, in the Roaring Girl, 1611: "many handfome legs in filk stockings have villanous fplay feet, for all their great rofes."
The reading of the quartos is raz'd shoes; that of the folio rac'd fhoes. Probably the poet wrote raised shoes, i. e. fhoes with high heels; fuch as by adding to the ftature, are fuppofed to increafe the dignity of the player. In Stubbs's Anatomie of Abuses, 1595, there is a chapter on the corked fhoes in England, which (he fays) beare them up two inches or more from the ground, &c. fome of red, blacke, &c. razed, carved, cut, and stitch ed, &c."
Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, b. 9. ch. 47: "Then wore they shoes of eafe, now of an inch-broad, corked high."
Stowe's Chronicle, anno 1353, mentions women's hoods reyed or ftriped. Raie is the French word for a ftripe. Johnton's Col lection of Ecclefiaftical Laws informs us, under the years 1222 and 1353, that in difobedience of the canon, the clergy's fhoes were checquered with red and green, exceeding long, and vari oufly pinked.
The reading of the quartos may likewife be fupported. Bulwer, in his Artificial Changeling, fpeaks of gallants who pink and raze their fatten damafk, and Duretto fkins. To raze and to race, alike fignify to freak. See Minshew's Dict, The word is used in the fame fignification in Markham's Country Farm, p. 585. "baking all (i. e. wafer cakes) together between two irons, having within them many raced and checkered draughts after the manner of fmall fquares." It fhould be remembered that rayed is the conjecture of Mr. Pope. STEEVENS.
Half a fhare.
Ham. A whole one, I.
For thou doft know, 9 O Damon dear,
Of Jove himself; and now reigns here
-a cry of players,] There is furely here no allusion to hounds (as Dr. Warburton fuppofes) whatever the origia of the term might have been. Cry means a troop or company in general,
and is fo ufed in Coriolanus :
-You have made good work,
"You and your cry.
Again, in A firange Horf-race, by Thomas Decker, 1613:
Ham. A whole one, I.] It should be, I think,
The actors in our author's time had not annual falaries as at prefent. The whole receipts of the theatres were divided into thares, and each actor had one or more fhares, or part of a fhare, according to his merit. See The Account of the Ancient Theatres. Ma
9 O Damon dear,] Hamlet calls Horatio by this name, in allufion to the celebrated friendship between Damon and Fythias. A play on this fubject was written by Rich. Edwards, and pubifhed in 1582. STEEVENS.
Avery, very peacock. This alludes to a fable of the birds choofing a king, inftead of the eagle, a peacock. POPE.
The old copies have it paloch, paicoske, and pojocke. I substitute paddock, as nearest to the traces of the corrupted reading. I have as Mr. Pope fays, been willing to fubftitute any thing in the place of his peacock. He thinks a fable alluded to, of the birds choofing a king; inftead of the cagle, a peacock. I fuppofe, he must mean the fable of Barlandus, in which it is faid, the birds, being weary of their state of anarchy, moved for the fetting up of a king; and the peacock was elected on account of his gay feathers. But, with fubmiffion, in this paffage of our Shakipeare, there is not the leaft mertion made of the eagle in antithefis to the peacock; and it muft be by a very uncommon figure, that Jove himfelf stands in the place of his bird. I think, Hamlet is fetting his father's and uncle's characters in contraft to each other: and means to say, that by his father's death the state was ftripp'd of a godlike monarch,