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and the due mixture of the humours made a perfect character.
JOHNSON. 289. -Vulcan's stithy :-) Stithy is a Smith's anvil.
JOHNSON. 302. nor mine now. - -] A man's words, says the proverb, are his own no longer than he keeps them unspoken.
JOHNSON. ---you play'd once i' the university, you say ?] It should seem from the following passage in vice-chancellor Hatcher's letter to Lord Burghley Ch. June 21, 1580, that the common players were likewise occasionally admitted to perform there. “ « _Whereas it hath pleased your honour to recommend my lord of Oxenford his players, that they might show their cunning in several plays already practised by 'em be. fore the Queen's majesty". -(denied on account of the pestilence and commencement) “ of late we de. nied the like to the Right Honourable the Lord of Leicester his servants.”
FARMER 318. -at Ophelia's feet.] To lie at the feet of a mistress during any dramatick representation, seems to have been a common act of gallantry. So, in the Queen of Corinth, by Beaumont and Fletcher :
“ Ushers her to her coach, lies at her feet
at." Again, in Gascoigne's Green Knight's farewell to Fancie : " To lie along in ladies lappus," &c.
This fashion which Shakspere probably designed to ridicule by appropriating it to Hamlet during his dissembled madness, is likewise exposed by Decker, in his Gul's Hornbook, 1609. See an extract from it among the prefaces.
STEVENS. 319. I mean, &c.] This speech and Ophelia's reply to it are omitted in the quartos.
- your only jig-maker. -] There may have been some humour in this passage, the force of which is now diminished:
Now satisfied without a jig, which since
Changes; or Love in a Maze, by Shirley, 1632. - In the Hog has lost his Pearl, 1614, one of the players comes to solicit a gentleman to write a jig for him. A jig was not in Shakspere's time a dance, but a ludicrous dialogue in metre, and of the lowest kind, like Hamlet's conversation with Ophelia. Many of these jigs are entered in the books of the StationersCompany :-"Philips his Figg of the slyppers, 1595. Kempe's Figg of the Kitchen-stuff-woman, 1595."
STEEVENS. The following lines in the prologue to Fletcher's Love's Pilgrimage confirm Mr. Steevens’s remark:
“ Prais'd and applauded by a clamorous chime." A jig was not always in the form of a dialogue. Many historical ballads were formerly called jigs.
MALONE. 333. - Nay, then let the devil wear black, for I'll have a suit of sables.-] Here again is an equivoque. In Massinger's Old Law, we have,
" -A cunning grief,
FARMER That a suit of sables was the magnificent dress of our author's time, appears from a passage in Ben Jonson's Discoveries : “ Would you not laugh to meet a great counsellor of state, in a flat cap, with his trunk. hose, and a hobby-horse cloak, and yond haberdasher in a velvet gown trimmed with sables ?"
MALONE. “ I had rather (says honest Sancho, when he was taking leave of his government) cover myselfe with a double sheepe skinne-than be cloathed in sabtes.". Shelton, P. II. p. 359. Edit. 1620.
REMARKS 337. -suffer not thinking on, with the hobby-horse; ] Amongst the country May-games there was an hobbyhorse, which, when the puritanical humour of those times opposed and discredited these games, was brought by the poets and ballad-makers as an instance of the ridiculous zeal of the sectaries; from these ballads Hamlet quotes a line or two.
339. O, the hobby-horse is forgot.] In Love's Labour's Lost, this line is also introduced. In a small black letter book, entitled, Plays Confuted, by Stephen Gosson, I find the hobby-horse enumerated in the list of dances. For the devil (says this author) beeside the beautie of the houses, and the stages, sendeth in gearith apparell, maskes, vauting, tumbling, dauncing of gigges, galiardes, morisces, hobbi-horses,” &c. and in Green's Tu Quoque, 1599, the same expression
“ The other hobby-horse, I perceive, is not for
gotten." In TEXNOTAMIA, or The Marriage of the Arts, 1618, is the following stage-direction:
“ Enter a hobby-horse, dancing the morrice,” &c. Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Women Pleased : Soto. “ Shall the hobby-horse be forgot then,
“ The hopeful hobby-horse, shall he lie foun
der'd ?" : The scene in which this passage is, will very amply confirm all that Dr. Warburton has said concerning the hobby-horse. | Again, in Ben Jonson's Entertainment for the Queen and Prince at Althorpe :
“ But see, the hobby-horse is forgot.
« And some other buffoon graces." See Fig. 5. in the plate at the end of the First Part
of King Henry IV, with Mr. Tollet's observations on it.
STEEVENS. 341. Marry, this is miching malicho; it means mischief.] The Oxford editor, imagining that the speak. er had here Englished his own cant phrase of miching malicho, tells us (by his glossary) that it signifies misa chief lying hid, and that malicho is the Spanish malheco; whereas it signifies, Lying in wait for the poisoner; which, the speaker tells us, was the very purpose of this representation. It should therefore be read mala hechor, Spanish, the poisoner. So mich signified, originally, to keep hid and out of sight; and, as such men generally did it for the purposes of lying in wait, it then signified to rob. And in this sense Shakspere uses the noun, a micher, when speaking of prince Henry amongst a gang of robbers. Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher? Shall the son of England prove a thief? And in this sense it is used by Chaucer, in his translation of Le Roman de la Rose, 'where he turns the word lierre (which is larron voleur) by micher.
WARBURTON I think Hanmer's exposition most likely to be right. Dr. Warburton, to justify his interpretation, 'must write miching for malechor, and even then it will be harsh.
JOHNSON, Dr. Warburton is right in his explanation of the word miching. So in The Raging Turk, 1631:
-wilt, thou envious dotard, “ Strangle my greatness in a miching hole ???