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Again, in Stanyhurst's Virgil, 1582 :
« —wherefore thus vainely in land Lybye mitche
The quarto reads--munching mallico. STEEVENS.
Miching, secret, covered, lying hid. In this sense Chapman, our author's contemporary, uses the word in The Widow's Tears, Dods. Old Pl. Vol. IV. p. 291, Lysander, to try his wife's fidelity, elopes from her : his friends report that he is dead, and make a mock funeral for him : his wife, to shew 'excessive sorrow for the loss of her husband, shuts herself up in his monument; to which he comes in disguise, and obtains her love, notwithstanding he had assured her in the mean time, that he was the man who murdered her husband. On which he exclaims,
-Out upon the monster!
“ Of truant negligence. And again, p. 301 :
“ My truant " Was micht, sir, into a blind corner of the
tomb." In this very sense it occurs in the Philaster of Beaumont and Fletcher, Vol. I. p. 142.
C A rascal miching in a meadow.” That is, as the ingenious editors (who have happily substituted miching for milking) remark, “ A lean deer creeping, solitary, and withdrawn from the herd.”
The word mitching is daily used in the west of England for playing truant, or skulking about in private for some sinister purpose ; and malicho, inaccurately written for malheco, signifies mischief; so that mitching malicho is mischief on the watch for opportunity. When Ophelia asks Hamlet—" What means this?" she applies to him for an explanation of what she had just seen in the show; and not, as Dr. Warburton would have it, the purpose for which the show was contrived. Besides, malhechor no more signifies a poisoner, than the perpetrator of any other crime.
Henley, 348. --Be not you asham'd to shew, &c.] The conversation of Hamlet with Ophelia, which cannot fail to disgust every modern reader, is probably such as was peculiar to the young and fashionable of the age of Shakspere, which was, by no means, an age of delicacy. The poet is, however, blamable ; for extravagance of thought, not indecency of expression, is the characteristick of madness, at least of such madness as should be represented on the scene.
STEEVENS. 359. -cart -] A chariot was anciently so call. ed. Thus Chaucer in The Knight's Tale, late edit. ver. 2024 : " The carter over-ridden with his cart."
STBEVENS. 361. --shcen] Splendour, lustre. Johnson.
371. miven as they love.] Here seems to be a line lost, which should have rhymed to love. JOHNSON.
This line is omitted in the fulio. Perhaps a triplet
was designed, and then instead of love we should read
STEEVENS. There is, I believe, no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time. Some trace of the lost line is found in the quartos, which read,
Either none in neither aught, &c. Perhaps the word omitted might have been of this import :
Either none they feel, or an excess approve ;
In neither aught, or in extremity. MALONE. 375. And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so.] Cleopatra expresses herself much in the same manner, with regard to her grief for the loss of Antony:
our size of sorrow,
THEOBALD. Where love, &c.] These two lines are omitted in the folio.
STEEVENS. 379. - operant powers] Operant is active. Shakspere gives it in Timon as an epithet to poison. Heywood has likewise used it in his Royal King and Loyal Subject, 1637 :
" ---may my operant parts
“ Each one forget their office!" The word is now obsolete.
STEEVENS. 388. The instances,-] The motives, JOHNSON.
399. -—what 10 ourselves is debt:] The performance of a resolution, in which only the resolver is interested,
is a debt only to himself, which he may therefore remit at pleasure.
JOHNSON. 402, 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 abatementi 'Enactures is the word in the quarto; all the modern editions have enactors.
JOHNSON. 412. And hitherto doth love or fortune tend:
For who not needs, shall never lack a friend;
Direetly seasons him his enemy.] So in our author's Passionate Pilgrim :
“ Every man will be thy friend,
“ No man will supply thy want." These coincidences may serve to refute an idea that some have entertained, that the lines spoken by the player were not written by Shakspere, but the production of a contemporary poet.
MALONE. 424. To desperation, &c.] This and the following line are omitted in the folia.
STEEVENS. 425. 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.
This abbreviation of the word anchoret is very ancient. I find it in the Romance of Robert the Devil, printed by Wynkyn de Worde : “ We have robbed and killed nonnes, holy aunkers, preestes, clerkes," &c.
Again, “ the foxe will be an aunker, for he begynneth
“ Sit seven yeres pining in an anchore's cheyre,
STEEVENS. 444. The mouse-trap. --] He calls it the mousetrap, because it is
the thing In which he'll catch the conscience of the king.
Sreevens. 446. Baptista is, I think, in Italian, the name always of a man.
452. You are as good as a chorus.-] The use to which Shakspere converted the chorus, may be seen in his History of Henry V.
HENLEY. 453. Ham. I could interpret, &c.] This refers to the interpreter, who formerly sat on the stage at all motions or puppet-shews, and interpreted to the alldience. So, in the Two Gentlemen of Verona :
“ Oh excellent motion! oh exceeding puppet!
" Now will he interpret for her." Again, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621 : It was I that penn'd the moral of man's wit,