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Line 422. The violence of either grief or joy

Their own enactures with themselves destroy:] What

grief or joy enact or determine in their violence, is revoked in their abatement. JOHNSON. Line 447. An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope !] May my whole liberty and enjoyment be to live on hermit's fare in a prison. Anchor is for anchoret. JOHNSON.

Line 477. Ham. I could interpret &c.] This refers to the interpreter, who formerly sat on the stage at all motions or puppetshows, and interpreted to the audience. STEEVENS.

Line 482. Still better, and worse.] i. e. better in regard to the wit of your double entendre, but worse in respect to the grossness of your meaning. STEEVENS.

Line 509. Would not this, Sir, and a forest of feathers, &c.] It appears from Decker's Gul's Hornbooke, that feathers were much worn on the stage in Shakspeare's time. MALONE.

Line 510.-turn Turk with me,] Means, I believe, no more than to change condition fantastically. STEEVENS.

Line 511. —Provencial roses on my razed shoes,] When shoe-strings were worn, they were covered, where they met in the middle, by a ribband, gathered in the form of a rose.

JOHNSON. The poet might have written raised shoes, i. e. shoes with high heels; such as by adding to the stature, are supposed to increase the dignity of a player.

Line 512.



—a cry of players,] Allusion to a pack of hounds. WARBURTON.

-O Damon dear,] Hamlet calls Horatio by this name, in allusion to the celebrated friendship between Damon and Pythias.


Line 528. Why then, belike,] Hamlet was going on to draw the consequence, when the courtiers entered.


Line 528. he likes it not, perdy,] Perdy is the corruption of par Dieu, and is not uncommon in the old plays. STEEV. Line 570. by these pickers &c.] By these hands. JOHNS. -Recorders.] i. e. a kind of flute.


-620. They fool me to the top of my bent.] They compel me to play, the fool, till I can endure it no longer.


Line 637. be shent,] To shend, is to reprove harshly.


638. To give them seals—] i. e. put them in execution.


Line 669. Behind the arras I'll convey myself,] The arras-
hangings in Shakspeare's time were hung at such a distance from
the walls, that a person might easily stand behind them unper-
Line 676.

of vantage.] By some opportunity of secret

Line 700. May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence?] He
that does not amend what can be amended, retains his offence.
The king kept the crown from the right heir.

Line 710. Yet what can it, when one can not repent?] What can repentance do for a man that cannot be penitent, for a man who has only part of penitence, distress of conscience, without the other part, resolution of amendment? JOHNSON.

Line 735. Up, sword; and know thou a more horrid hent:] To hent is used by Shakspeare for to seize, to catch, to lay hold on. Hent is, therefore, hold, or seizure. Lay hold on him, sword, at a more horrid time. JOHNSON.

Line 742. As hell, whereto it goes.] This speech, in which Hamlet, represented as a virtuous character, is not content with taking blood for blood, but contrives damnation for the man that he would punish, is too horrible to be read or to be uttered.



Line 753. -I'll silence me e'en here.] I'll silence me even here, is, I'll use no more words. JOHNSON.

Line 791. Queen. As kill a king!] This exclamation may be considered as some hint that the Queen had no hand in the murder of Hamlet's father.


Line 812. -from the body of contraction-] Contraction for marriage contract. WARBURTON.

Line 819. That roars so loud,] The meaning is,-What is this act, of which the discovery or mention cannot be made, but with this violence of clamour ?


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Line $25. A station like the herald Mercury, &c.] Station, in this instance, does not mean the spot where any one is placed, but the act of standing.

Line 832. like a mildew'd ear,

Blasting his wholesome brother.]

Pharaoh's Dream, in the 41st chapter of Genesis.

Line 835.

-batten-] i. e. to grow fat.


This alludes to



852. Could not so mope.] i. e. could not exhibit such STEEVENS.

marks of stupidity.

Line 862.



-grained-] Died in grain. JOHNSON. -enseamed bed ;] Thus the folio: i. e. greasy


Line 873. —vice of kings:] A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a farce; from whence the modern punch is descended.

Line 878. A king


Of shreds and patches:] This is said, pursuing the idea of the vice of kings. The vice was dressed as a fool, in a coat of party-coloured patches.

Line 885.

fered time to slip, Line 900.

JOHNSON. laps'd in time and passion,] That, having sufand passion to cool, let's go &c. JOHNSON. like life in excrements,] The hairs are excre

mentitious, that is, without life or sensation; yet those very hairs,

as if they had life, start up, &c.

Line 924. This is the very coinage of your brain:

This bodiless creation ecstasy


Is very cunning in.] Ecstasy in this place, and

many others, means a temporary alienation of mind, a fit.


Line 936. do not spread the compost &c.] Do nct, by any new indulgence, heighten your former offences. JOHNSON. Line 977. -a gib,] Gib was a common name for a cat. STEEVENS.

982. To try conclusions,] i. e. experiments. STEEV. 993. adders fang'd,] That is, adders with their fangs or poisonous teeth, undrawn. It has been the practice of mountebanks to boast the efficacy of their antidotes by playing with vipers, but they first disabled their fangs.


Line 1000. When in one line two crafts directly meet.] Still alluding to a countermine.

MALONE. Line 1002. I'll lug the guts into the neighbour room:] Guts was used where we now use entrails, and the word was not formerly considered as gross or indelicate.

Line 1006. Come, sir, to draw toward an end with you:] Shakspeare has been unfortunate in his management of the story of this play, the most striking circumstances of which arise so early in its formation, as not to leave him room for a conclusion suitable to the importance of its beginning. After this last interview with the Ghost, the character of Hamlet has lost all its con⚫ sequence. STEEVENS.

Line 70.


like an ape,] It is the way of monkeys in eating, to throw that part of their food, which they take up first, into a pouch they are provided with on each side of their jaw, and there they keep it, till they have done with the rest.

Line 204. his highest good,

and feed.

Line 206.



-chief good, and market of his time, &c.] If and that for which he sells his time, be to sleep


large discourse,] Such latitude of comprehension, such power of reviewing the past, and anticipating the fu

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Is, not to stir without &c.] The sentiment of

Shakspeare is partly just, and partly romantick.

-Rightly to be great,

Is, not to stir without great argument ;

is exactly philosophical.

But greatly to find quarrel in a straw,

When honour's at the stake.

is the idea of a modern hero. But then, says he, honour is an

argument, or subject of debate, sufficiently great, and when ho nour is at stake, we must find cause of quarrel in a straw. JOHNS. Line 229. Excitements of my reason, and my blood,] Provocations which excite both my reason and my passions to vengeance. JOHNSON.

Line 235. continent,] Continent, in our author, means that which comprehends or encloses. STEEVENS.


Line 249. such premises. Line 255. Though nothing sure, yet much unhappily.] i. e. though her meaning cannot be certainly collected, yet there is enough to put a mischievous interpretation to it. WARBURTON.

-to collection ;] i. e. to deduce consequences from STEEVENS.

Line 267. How should I your true love &c.] There is no part of this play in its representation on the stage, more pathetick than this scene; which, I suppose, proceeds from the utter insensibility Ophelia has to her own misfortunes. A great sensibility, or none at all, seems to produce the same effect. In the latter the audience supply what she wants, and with the former they sympathize. Sir J. REYNOLDS.

Line 286. Well, God'ield you !] i. e. Heaven reward you!


·297. —don'd his clothes,] To don, is to do on, to put

on, as doff is to do off, put off.


Line 298. And dupp'd the chamber door ;] To dup, is to do up; to lift the latch. JOHNSON.

Line 304. By Gis, and by Saint Charity,] I believe the word gis, to be a corrupted abbreviation of Jesus, the letters J. H. S. being anciently all that was set down to denote that sacred name, on altars, the covers of books, &c. RIDLEY.

Saint Charity is a known saint among the Roman Catholicks.


Line 307. By Cock,] This is likewise a corruption of the sa


cred name. Line 332. In hugger-mugger to inter him :] All the modern editions that I have consulted, give it:

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