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In private to inter him ;-.

That the words now replaced are better, I do not undertake to prove; it is sufficient that they are Shakspeare's: if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by disuse, or gross by vulgarity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and, as these alterations, will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning. JOHNSON.

Line 340. Wherein necessity, &c.] Wherein, that is, in which pestilent speeches, necefity, or the obligation of an accuser to support his charge, will nothing stick, &c. JOHNSON.

Line 343. Like to a murdering piece,] Such a piece as assassins use, with many barrels. It is necessary to apprehend this, to see the justness of the similitude. WARBURTON.

Line 350. The ocean, overpecring of his list,] The lists are, the barriers which the spectators of a tournament must not pass. JOHNSON.

Line 356. The ratifiers and props of every word,] By word is here meant a declaration, or proposal.


Line 362. 0, this is counter, you false Danish dogs.] Hounds run counter, when they trace the trail backwards. JOHNSON. unsmirched brow,] i. e. clean, not defiled. To besmirch, our author uses, Act I. sc. v.

Line 376.

Line 420.



-to your judgment 'pear,] i. e. appear.
Nature is fine in love: and, where 'tis fine,

It sends some precious instance of itself

After the thing it loves.] Love (says Laertes) is the passion by which nature is most exalted and refined; and as substances, refined and subtilised, easily obey any impulse, or follow any attraction, some part of nature, so purified and refined, flies off after the attracting object, after the thing it loves.


Line 442. O, how the wheel becomes it! &c.] The story alluded to I do not know; but perhaps the lady stolen by the steward was reduced to spin. JOHNSON.

. Line 446. There's rosemary, that's for remembrance;—and there is pansics, that's for thoughts.] There is probably some mythology in the choice of these herbs, but I cannot explain it.

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Pansies is for thoughts, because of its name, Pensees; but why rosemary indicates remembrance, except that it is an ever-green, and carried at funerals, I have not discovered. JOHNSON.

Line 487. No trophy, sword, nor hatchment, o'er his bones,] It was the custom, in the times of our author, to hang a sword over the grave of a knight. JOHNSON.

This practice is uniformly kept up to this day. Not only the sword, but the helmet, gauntlet, spurs, and tabard (i. e. a coat whereon the armorial ensigns were anciently depicted, from whence the term coat of armour,) are hung over the grave of every knight. Sir J. HAWKINS.

Line 519.


for the bore of the matter.] The bore is the caliber of a gun, or the capacity of the barrel. The matter (says Hamlet) would carry heavier words.



Line 548. —the general gender-] The common race of the people. JOHNSON.

Line 550. Work like the spring &c.] This simile is neither very seasonable in the deep interest of this conversation, nor very accurately applied. If the spring had changed base metals to gold, the thought had been mofe proper. JOHNSON.

Line 557. if praises may go back again,] If I may praise what has been, but is now to be found no more. JOHNSON.

Line 616. Of the unworthiest siege.] Of the lowest rank. Siege, for seat, place. JOHNSON.

Line 622. Importing health and graveness.] Importing here may be, not inferring by logical consequence, but producing by physical effect. A young man regards show in his dress, an old man, health. JOHNSON.

Line 631. in forgery of shapes and tricks,] I could not contrive so many proofs of dexterity as he could perform.

Line 645.the scrimers-] The fencers.



669. love is begun by time;] This is obscure. The meaning may be, love is not innate in us, and co-essential to our

nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and being always subject to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution.

Line 661. experience. Line 672.


-passages of proof,] In transactions of daily


And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh, That hurts by easing.] A spendthrift sigh is a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers. JOHNSON.

Line 694. A sword unbated,] Not blunted, as foils are by a button fixed to the end. So, in Love's Labour's Lost :

"That honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen edge."


Line 713. -blast in proof.] The word proof shows the me taphor to be taken from the trying or proving fire-arms or cannon, which often blast or burst in the proof.

Line 727.

STEEVENS. -ascaunt the brook,] askew, aside, sideways.


731.and long purples,] By long purples is meant à plant, the modern botanical name of which is orchis morio mas, anciently testiculus morionis.


One of the grosser names of this plant Gertrude had a particular reason to avoid :-the rampant widow.


Line 754. The woman will be out.] i. e. tears will flow. So, in King Henry V :

"And all the woman came into my eyes.” MALONE.

Line 11.


-an act hath three branches; it is, to act, to do, and to perform:] Ridicule on scholastic divisions without distinction; and of distinctions without difference. WARBURTON. Line 30. -their even christian.] So, all the old books, and rightly. An old English expression for fellow-christian.

Line 95.


to play at loggats with them?] This is a game played in several parts of England even at this time. STEEV.

Line 102.


quiddits &c.] i. e. subtilties.


-his quillets,] Quillets are nice and fritolous


distinctions. Line 144. by the card,] The card is the paper on which the different points of the compass were described. thing by the card, is, to do it with nice observation. the age is grown so picked,] i. e.

Line 146. quaint, so affected.

Line 206.

complexion. Line 230. 233. -249.

To do ang JOHNSON. so spruce, so


-to this favour-] i. e. to this countenance or


-winter's flaw!] Winter's blast, JOHNSON. -maimed rites!] Imperfect obsequies. JOHNS. -allow'd her virgin crants,] I have been informed by an anonymous correspondent, that crants is the German word for garlands, and I suppose it was retained by us from the Saxons.

Line 251.


bell and burial.] Burial here signifies interWARBURTON.

ment in consecrated ground. Line 255. To sing a requiem,] A requiem is a mass performed in popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased. STEEVENS.

Line 304. Woul't drink up esil? cat a crocodile ?] Eisil or eisel is vinegar. The word is used by Chaucer and Skelton, and Sir Thomas More, Works, p. 21, edit. 1557.

Mr. Steevens supposes, that by " Esel" a river was meant, either the Yssel, or Oesil, or Weisel, a considerable river which falls into the Baltick ocean.


Line 316. When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,] To disclose was anciently used for to hatch.


Line 338.


mutines in the bilboes.] Mutines, the French

word for seditious or disobedient fellows in the army or fleet. Bilboes, the ship's prison.


The bilboes is a bar of iron with fetters annexed to it, by which mutinous or disorderly sailors were anciently linked together.


Line 356. With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,] With such causes of terror, rising from my character and designs.

Line 369. 372.



as our statists do,] statist, i. e. a statesman. -yeoman's service :] i. e. did me eminent ser

Line 385. Not shriving-time allow'd.] No confession allowed. -392. The changeling never known:] A changeling is a child which the fairies are supposed to leave in the room of that which they steal. JOHNSON.

Line 407. Thrown out his angle-] An angle in Shakspeare's time signified a fishing-rod.


Line 427. Dost know this water-fly?] A water-fly skips. up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler.


Line 433. -Tis a chough ;] A kind of jackdaw. JOHNS. ·453. —full of most excellent differences,] Full of distinguishing excellencies. JOHNSON. Line 451. —and yet but raw neither.] The best account of him would be imperfect in respect of his quick sail. The phrase quick sail was, I suppose, a proverbial term for activity of mind.

Line 464.


of such dearth-] Dearth is dearness, value, price. And his internal qualities of such value and rarity.

Line 490. 503.


-in his meed-] In his excellence.
-you must be edified by the margent,] Dr. War-

burton very properly observes, that in the old books the gloss. or comment was usually printed on the margent of the leaf.

Line 506.




-more german—] More a-kin. -a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions;] The meaning is," these men have got the cant of the day, a superficial readiness of slight and cursory conversation, a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through

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