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Hor. You might have rhym'd.
Ham. O good Horatio, I'll take the ghoft's word
Ham. Upon the talk of the poifoning,-
Ham. Ah, ha!-Come, fome mufic; come, the
For if the king like not the comedy,
Why then, belike, he likes it not, perdy 3,
Enter Rofencrantz, and Guilderftern.
Come, fome mufic.
Guil. Good my lord, vouchfafe me a word with
Ham. Ay, fir, what of him?,
and that now in his ftead reign'd the most defpicable poisonous animal that could be; a mere paddock, or toad. PAD, bufo, rubeta major; a toad. This word, i take to be of Hamlet's own fubftituting. The verfes, repeated, feem to be from fome old ballad; in which, rhyme being neceffary, I doubt not but the laft verfe ran thus:
A very, very -afs. THEOBALD.
A peacock fecins proverbial for a tool. Thus Gascoigne in his Weeds:
"A theefe, a cowarde, and a peacocke foole.' FARMER. I believe paddock to be the true reading. In the laft fcene of this act, Hamlet, fpeaking of the king, ufes the fame expreffion : "Would from a paddock, trom a bat, or gib, Such dear concernments hide?" MALONE.
"In that, you Palmer, as deputie,
Why, then, belike-1 Hamlet was going on to draw the con
fequence, when the courtiers entered. JOHNSON.
she likes it not, perdy.] Perdy is a corruption of par Dicu, and is not uncommon in the old plays. So, in The Play of the Four P's, 1569:
Ham. With drink, fir?
Guil. No, my lord, with choler.
Ham. Your wifdom fhould fhew itself more richer, to fignify this to the doctor; for, for me to put him to his purgation, would, perhaps, plunge him into
Guil. Good my lord, put your discourse into some frame, and start not fo wildly from my affair. Ham. I am tame, fir : pronounce. Guil. The queen, your mother, in most fliction of fpirit, hath fent me to you. Ham. You are welcome.
Guil. Nay, good my lord, this courtefy is not of the right breed. If it fhall please you to make me a wholesome anfwer, I will do your mother's commandment if not, your pardon, and my return, fhall be the end of my bufinefs.
Ham. Sir, I cannot.
Guil. What, my lord?
Ham. Make you a wholesome anfwer; my wit's difeas'd: But, fir, fuch anfwer as I can make, you fhall command; or, rather, as you fay, my mother: therefore no more, but to the matter: My mother, you fay,
Rof. Then thus fhe fays: Your behaviour hath ftruck her into amazement and admiration.
Ham. O wonderful fon, that can fo aftonish a mother!-But is there no fequel at the heels of this mother's admiration? impart.
Rof. She defires to fpeak with you in her closet, ere you go to bed.
Ham. We fhall obey, were the ten times our mother. Have you any further trade with us?
4 With drink, fir?] Hamlet takes particular care that his uncle's love of drink fhall not be forgotten. JOHNSON.
5 further trade-] Further bufinefs; further dealing.
Rof. My lord, you once did love me. Ham. And do ftill, by these pickers and stealers. Rof. Good my lord, what is your cause of diftemper? you do, furely, bar the door upon your own liberty, if you deny your griefs to your friend.
Ham. Sir, I lack advancement.
Rof. How can that be, when you have the voice of the king himself for your fucceffion in Denmark ? Ham. Ay, fir, but While the grafs grows, the proverb is fome thing mufty.
Enter the Players, with Recorders.
O, the recorders :-let me fee one.-To withdraw with you :-Why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?
6 by these pickers, &c.] By thefe hands. JOHNSON.
By thefe hands, fays Dr. Johnfon; and rightly. But the phrase is taken from our Church catechifm, where the catechumen, in his duty to his neighbour, is taught to keep his hands from picking and fealing. WHALLEY.
7 Ay, fir, but while the grafs grows, the proverb is fomething mufty. The remainder of this old proverb is preferved in Whet stone's Promos and Caffandra, 1578:
"Whylft grafs doth growe, oft ferves the feely feede."
Hamlet means to intimate, that whilft he is waiting for the fucceffion to the throne of Denmark, he may himself be taken off by death. MALONE.
8-Recorders.] i. e. a kind of large flute. See vol. iii.
To record, anciently fignified to fing or modulate.
9 -recover the wind of me.] So, in an ancient MS. play entitled the Second Maiden's Tragedy:
Is that next?
"Why then I have your ladyship in the wind."
Again, in Churchyard's Worthiness of Wales.
"Their cunning can with craft fo cloke a troeth,
Guil. 90, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.
Ham. I do not well understand that. Will you play upon this pipe?
Guil. My lord, I cannot.
Guil. Believe me, I cannot.
Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord.
Ham. 'Tis as eafy as lying: govern thefe ventages with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with
9 O my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.] i. e. if my duty to the king makes me prefs you a little, my love makes me ftill more importunate. If that makes me bold, this makes me even unmannerly. WARBURTON.
I believe we fhould read-my love is not unmannerly. My conception of this paffage is, that, in confequence of Hamlet's moving to take the recorder, Guildenfern alfo fhifts his ground, in order to take place himfelf beneath the prince in his new polition. This Hamlet ludicrously calls "going about to recover the wind, &c." and Guildenstern may anfwer properly enough, I think, and like a courtier; if my duty to the king makes me too bold in preffing you upon a difagreeable fubject," "my love to you will make me not unmannerly, in fhewing you all poffible marks of refpect and attention. TYRWHITT.
ventages-] The holes of a flute.
and thumb,-] The first quarto reads with your fingers and the umber. This may probably be the ancient name for that piece of moveable brafs at the end of a flute which is either raised or deprefied by the finger. The word umber is used by Stowe the chronicler, who, defcribing a fingie combat between two knightsfays, he braft up his umber three times." Here, the umber nicans the vifor of the helmet. So, in Spenfer's Faery Queene. b. 3. C. I. î 42:
"But the brave maid would not difarmed be, "But only vented up her umbriere, "And fo did let her goodly vilage to appere.". Again, b. 4. c. 4:
"And therewith fmote him on his umbriere.” Again, in the fecond book of Lidgate on the Trojan War, 25138
"Thorough the umber into Troylus' face."
with your mouth, and it will difcourfe most eloquent inufic. Look you, thefe are the ftops.
Guil. But thefe cannot I command to any utterance of harmony. I have not the fkill,
Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me? You would play upon me; you would feem to know my ftops; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery; you would found me from my loweft note to the top of my compafs and there is much mufic, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. Why, do you think, that I am eafier to be play'd on than a pipe ? Call me what inftrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me. [Enter Polonius.]--God bless you, fir!
Po. My lord, the queen would fpeak with you, and prefently.
Ham. Do you fee yonder cloud, that's almost in fhape of a camel?
Pol. By the mafs, and 'tis like a camel indeed.
If a recorder had a brafs key like the German Flute, we are to follow the reading of the quarto; for then the thumb is not concerned in the government of the ventages or ftops. If a recorder was like a tabourer's pipe, which has no brats key, but has a flop for the thumb, we are to read-Govern thefe ventages with your finger and thumb. In Cotgrave's Dictionary, ombre, embraire, ombreire, and ombrelle, are all from the Latin umbra, and fignify a fhadow, an umbrella, or any thing that fhades or hides the face from the fun; and hence they may have been applied to any thing that hides or covers another; as for example, they may have been applied to the brafs key that covers the hole in the German flute.. So Spenter ufed umbriere for the vifor of the helmet, as Rous's Hiftory of the Kings of England uses umbrella in the fame fenfe. ToLLET.
3 Methinks, &c.] This paffage has been printed in modern editions thus:
Methinks it is like an ouzle, &c. Pol. It is black like an ouzle.
Pol. It is back'd like a weazel-: and what occafion for alteration there was, I cannot difcover. The wafel is remarkable for