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find in him the continent of what part a gentleman. would fee.
Ham. Sir, his definement fuffers no perdition in you;-though, I know, to divide him inventorially,, would dizzy the arithmetic of memory; and yet but raw neither, in refpect of his quick fail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a foul of great article; and his infufions of fuch dearth and rarenefs, as to make true diction of him, his femblable is his mirrour; and, who elfe would trace him, his umbrage, nothing more.
of elegance; the card by which a gentleman is to direct his courfe; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and feafonable. JOHNSON.
1 -for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would fee. You fall find him containing and comprifing every quality which a gentleman would defire to contemplate for imitation. I know not but it should be read, You shall find him the continent. JOHNSON.
Sir, his definement, &c.] This is defigned as a fpecimen, and ridicule of the court-jargon amongst the precieux of that time. The fenfe in English is, " Sir, he fuffers nothing in your ac"count of him, though to enumerate his good qualities parti"cularly would be endlefs; yet when we had done our beft, it "would still come fhort of him. However, in ftrictness of truth, "he is a great genius, and of a character fo rarely to be met "with, that to find any thing like him we must look into his "mirrour, and his imitators will appear no more than his fha "dows." WARBURTON.
3. and yet but raw neither-] We fhould read flow.
I believe raw to be the right word; it is a word of great latitude; raw fignifies unripe, immature, thence unformed, imperfect, unfkilful. The best account of him would be imperfect, in refpect of his quick fail. The phrafe quick fail was, I fuppofe, a pro. verbial term for activity of mind. JOHNSON.
a foul of great article ;-] This is obfcure. I once thought it might have been, a foul of great altitude; but, I fuppofe, a foul of great article, means a foul of large comprehenfion, of many contents; the particulars of an inventory are called articles.. JOHNSON.
5 — of fuch dearth-] Dearth is dearnefs, value, price. And his internal qualities of fuch value and rarity. JoHNSON.
Ofr. Your lordship speaks moft infallibly of him. Ham. The concernancy, fir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Hor. Is't not poffible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, fir, really.
Ham. What imports the nomination of this, gentleman ?
Ofr. Of Laertes?
Hor. His purfe is empty already; all's golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, fir.
Ofr. I know, you are not ignorant
Ham. I would, you did, fir; yet, in faith, "if you did, it would not much approve me:-Well, fir. Ofr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is.
Ham. I dare not confefs that, left I should com-. pare with him in excellence; but, to know a man well, were to know himself..
Ofr. I mean, fir, for his weapon; but in the im
6. Is't not poffible to understand in another tongue? you will do't, fir, really.] Of this interrogatory remark the fenfe is very obfcure. The question may mean, Might not all this be underflood in plainer language. But then, you will do it, fir, really, seems to have no ufe, for who could doubt but plain language would be intelligible? I would therefore read, Is't poffible not to be understood in a mother tongue. You will do it, fir, really. JOHNSON.
Suppofe we were to point the paffage thus: Is't not poffible to understand? In another tongue vou will do it, fir, really.
The fpeech feems to be addreffed to Ofrick, who is puzzled by Hamlet's imitation of his own affected language. STEEVENS.
7-if you did, it would not much approve me.] If you knew I was not ignorant, your esteem would not much advance my reputation. To approve, is to recommend to approbation JOHNSON.
8 I dare not confefs that, left I should compare with him, &c.] I dare not pretend to know him, left I fhould pretend to an equality: no man can completely know another, but by knowing himfelf, which is the utmost extent of human wisdom, JOHNSON.
putation laid on him by them, 9 in his meed he's unfellow'd.
Ham. What's his weapon?
Ofr. Rapier and dagger.
Ham. That's two of his weapons: but well. Ofr. The king, fir, hath wager'd with him fix Barbary horfes against the which he has impon'd, as I take it, fix French rapiers and poniards, with their affigns, as girdle, hangers, and fo: Three of the carriages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very refponfive to the hilts, moft delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
Ham. What call you the carriages?
Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the margent, ere you had done.
Ofr. The carriages, fir, are the hangers.
9 —in his meed-] In his excellence. JOHNSON.
1 —impon'd,—] Perhaps it fhould be, depon'd. So Hudibras, "I would upon this caufe depone,
"As much as any I have known."
But perhaps imponed is pledged, impawned, fo fpelt to ridicule the affectation of uttering English words with French pronunciation. JOHNSON.
To impone is certainly right, and means to put down, to flake, from the verb impono. REMARKS.
— hangers, ] It appears from feveral old plays, that what was called a Cafe of Hangers, was anciently worn. So, in the Birth of Merlin, 1662:
He has a fair fword, but his hangers are fallen.".
"He has a feather, and fair hangers too." Again, in Rhodon and Iris, 1631: "-a rapier
Hatch'd with gold, with hilt and hangers of the new fashion."
3-you must be edified by the margent,-] Dr. Warburton very properly obferves, that in the old books the glofs or comment was ufually printed on the margent of the leaf. So, in Decker's Honef Whore, part 2d, 1630:
66 I read
"Strange comments in those margins of your looks." This fpeech is omitted in the folio.
Ham. The phrafe would be more germane to the matter, if we could carry a cannon by our fides; I would, it might be hangers 'till then. But, on: Six Barbary horfes against fix French fwords, their affigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bett against the Danish: Why is this impon'd, as you call it?
Ofr. The king, fir, hath lay'd, that in a dozen paffes between yourself and him, he fhall not exceed you three hits: he hath lay'd on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordthip would vouchfafe the answer.
Ham. How if I answer, no?
Ofr. I mean, my lord, the oppofition of your perfon in trial.
Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall: If it please his majefty, it is the breathing time of day with me ; let the foils be brought: the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him, if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my fhame, and the odd hits.
Ofr. Shall I deliver you fo?
Ham. To this effect, fir; after what flourish your nature will.
Ofr. I commend my duty to your lordship. [Exit. Ham. Yours, yours.-He does well, to commend it himself; there are no tongues elfe for's turn. Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head.
4more germanc] More a-kin. JOHNSON.
"The king, fir, bath laid-] This wager I do not understand. In a dozen paffes one must exceed the other more or less than three hits. Nor can I comprehend, how, in a dozen, there cau be twelve to nine. The paffage is of no importance; it is fuf ficient that there was a wager, The quarto has the paffage as it ftands. The folio, He hath one twelve for mine. JOHNSON.
9 This lapwing runs away with the hell on his head.] I fee na particular propriety in the image of the lapwing. Ofrick did not
Ham. He did compliment with his dug, before he fuck'd it. Thus has he (and many more of the fame breed, that I know, the droffy age dotes on) only got the tune of the time, and outward habit of encounter'; a kind of yefty collection, which carries them
run till he had done his bufinefs. We may read, This lapwing ran away-That is, this fellow was full of unimportant bustle from his birth. JOHNSON.
The fame image occurs in Ben Jonfon's Staple of News:
"To mount their boxes reverently, and drive
"Like lapawings with a shell upon their heads
And I have fince met with it in feveral other plays. The meaning, I believe, is-This is a forward fellow. So, in Vittoria Corombona, or the White Devil, 1612:
"He flies with the fhell on's head."
Again, in Greene's Never too late, 1616: "Are you no fooner hatched, with the lapeving, but you will run away with the hell
Again, in Revenge for Honour, by Chapman :
"Boldness enforces youth to hard átchievements
"Before their time; makes them run forth like lapevings
7 He did fo, fir, with his dug, &c.] What, run away with it? The folio reads, He did comply with his dug. So that the true reading appears to be, He did compliment with his dug, i. e. fand upon ceremony with it, to fhew he was born a courtier. This is extremely humorous. WARBURTON.
Hanmer has the fame emendation. JOHNSON.
I doubt whether any alteration be neceffary. Shakspeare feems to have used comply in the fenfe in which we ufe the verb compliment. See before, act ii. fc. 2. let me comply with you in this garb. TYRWHITT.
-the fame breed,] It is beavy in the firft folio, and there may be a propriety in it, as he has just called him a lapwing.
-and many more of the fame breed. The first folio has and mine more of the fame beavy. The fecond folio-and nine more, &c. Perhaps the laft is the true reading. STEEVENS.
9 - outward habit of encounter;] Thus the folio. The quartos read-out of an habit of encounter. STEEVENS.
1-a kind of yefty collection, which carries them through and