Изображения страниц

619. Keeps wassel] So in Macbeth; and, again, in The Hog hath lost his Pearl, 1614 :

“ By Cresus' name and by his castle,
“ Where winter nights he keepeth wassel.

STEEVENS. -the swagg’ring up-spring-} It appears from the following passage in Alphonsus, Emperor of Germany, by Chapman, that the up-spring was a German dance :

“ We Germans have no changes in our dances;

« An almain and an up-spring, that is all." The word is used by G. Douglas, in his Translation of Virgil, and I think, by Chaucer. Again, in an old Scots proverb :-“ Another would play a spring ere you tune your pipes.”

STEVENS. 628. This heavy-headed revel, east and west.] This heavy-headed rerel makes us traduced east and west, and taxed of other nations.

JOHNSON. This heavy-headed rével—] From this to the en. trance of the Ghost has been restored from the quarto; these lines not being in the folio.

MALONE. 633. The pith and marrow of our attribute..] The best and most valuable part of the praise that would be otherwise attributed to us.

JOHNSON. 638. -complexion,] i. e. humour; as sanguine, melancholy, phlegmatick, &c. WARBURTON.

645. As infinite as man may undergo,] As large as can be accumulated upon man.

JOHNSON. 6.8. Doth all the noble substance of worth out,] Various conjectures have been employed about this passage. As I understand it, there is little difficulty,

This is one of the low colloquial phrases which at present are neither employed in writing, nor perhaps are reconcileable to the propriety of language. To do a thing out, is to extinguish it, or to efface or obliterate any thing painted or written...

In the first of these significations it is used by Drayton, in the 5th Canto of his Barons Wars, “ Was ta'n in battle, and his eyes out-done."

STEEVENS. 651. Angels and ministers of grace defend us!] Hamlet's speech to the apparition of his father seems to me to consist of three parts. When first he sees the spectre, he fortifies himself with an invocation :

Angels and ministers of grace defend us ! As the spectre approaches, he deliberates with him. self, and determines, that whatever it be, he will venture to address it.

Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd, to
Bring with thee- airs from heaven, * 'OTblasts from

Be thy intents wicked, or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shapes

That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee, &c.
This he says while his father is advancing ; he then,
as he had determined, speaks to him, and calls him.
Hamlet, King, Father, Royal Dane! oh! answer me.

JOHNSON 652. Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd, &c.] So in Acolastus his After-wit, 1600 :

« Art

Or any 1

* Art thou a god, a man, or else a ghost ?
Cod: Com'st thou, from heaven, where bliss and

solace dwells ?
Or from the airie cold engendring coast?

“ Or from the darksome dungeon-hold of ya , hell?” The first known edition of this play is in 1604.

The same question occurs also in the MS, known by the title of William and Werwolf, in the Library of King's College, Cambridge, p. 36.

Whether thou be a god, gost in goddis name 910 days that speakest,

foul fend fourmed in this wise, “ And if we schul of the hent harme or gode.": - Enir ty

Steevens. 665 questionable shape,] By questionable is meant provoking question.

HANMER. So in Macbeth :

“ Live you, or are you aught

is That man may question ?JOHNSON. Questionable, I believe, means only propitious to conversation, easy and willing to be conversed with. So in As You Like It ; $a An unquestionable spirit, which you have not.Unquestionable, in this last instance, certainly signifies unwilling to be talked with.

STEEVENS. Questionable, I believe, only means capable of being conversed with. To question certainly in our author's time signified to converse. +



Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,

Have burst their cearments ?] Hamlet, amazed at an apparition, which, though in all ages credited, has in all ages been considered as the most wonderful and most dreadful operation of supernatural agency, inquires of the spectre, in the most emphatick terms, why he breaks the order of nature, by returning from the dead; this he asks in a very confused circumlo. cution, confounding in his fright the soul and body: Why, says he, have thy bones, which with due ceremonies have been entombed in death, in the common state of departed mortals, burst the folds in which they were embalmed? Why has the tomb, in which we saw thee quietly laid, opened his mouth, that mouth which, by its weight and stability, seemed closed for ever; the whole sentence is this: Why dost thou appear, whom we know to be dead?

Had the change of the word removed any obscurity, or added any beauty, it might have been worth a struggle; but either reading leaves the sense the


If there be any asperity in this controversial note, it must be imputed to the contagion of peevishness, or some resentment of the incivility shewn to the Ox. ford editor, who is represented as supposing the ground canonized by a funeral, when he only meant to say, that the body was deposited in holy ground, in ground consecrated according to the canon.


661. -quietly in-urn’d,] The quartos read interr'd.

STEEVENS. 664. That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,] It is probable that Shakspere introduced his ghost in armour, that it might appear more solemn by such a discrimination from the other characters; though it was really the custom of the Danish kings to be buried in that manner.

Vide Olaus Wormius, cap. 7. “ Struem regi nec vestibus, nec odoribus cumulant, sua cuique arma, quorundam igni et equus adjicitur.

-sed postquam magnanimus ille Danorum rex collem sibi magnitudinis conspicuæ extruxisset (cui post obitum regio diademate exornatum), armis indutum, inferendum esset cadaver," &c. Steevens.

666. --we fools of nature] The expression is fine, as intimating we were only kept (as formerly, fools in a great family) to make sport for nature, who lay hid only to mock and laugh at us, for our vain searches into her mysteries.

WARBURTON. 667. to shake our disposition] Disposition, for frame.

WARBURTON. 688. -deprive your sovereignty, &c.) Dr. War. burton would read deprave; but several proofs are given in the notes to King Lear, of Shakspere's use of the word deprive, which is the true reading.

STEEVENS. I believe deprive in this place signifies simply to take away.

JOHNSON, 690. The very place-] The four following lines added from the first edition.



« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »