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1 Clo. A pick-axe, and a spade, a spade, [Sings
For-and a shrouding sheet: 0, a pit of clay for to be made
For such a guest is meet. [Throws up a scull. Ham. There 's another: Why may not that be the scull of a lawyer? Where be his quiddits3 now, his quillets, his cases, his tenures, and his tricks? why does he suffer this rude knave now to knock him about the sconces with a dirty shovel, and will not tell him of his
two hundred crowns ! “I've lost as much at loggats." It is one of the unlawful games enumerated in the statute of 33 of Henry VIII. Steevens.
Loggeting in the fields is mentioned for the first time among other «
new and crafty games and plays,” in the statute of 33 Henry VIII, c. 9. Not being mentioned in former acts against unlawful games, it was probably not practised long before the statute of Henry the Eighth was made. Malone.
A loggat-ground, like a skittle-ground, is strewed with ashes, but is more extensive. A bowl much larger than the jack of the game of bowls is thrown first. The pins, which I believe are called loggats, are much thinner, and lighter at one extremity than the other. The bowl being first thrown, the players take the pins up by the thinner and lighter end, and fing them towards the bowl, and in such a manner that the pins may once turn round in the air, and slide with the thinner extremity foremost towards the bowl. The pins are about one or two-and twenty inches long. Blount. 2 For such a guest is meet.] Thus in the original :
A pick-axe and a spade,
And eke a shrowding sheet;
“ I am wise, but quiddits will not answer death.” Steevens: Again, in Drayton's Owle, 4to. 1604:
By some strange quiddit, or some wrested clause, “ To find him guiltie of the breach of lawes.” Malone. - his quillets, ] So, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611 : Nay, good Sir Throat, forbear your quillits now."
Steevens Quillets are nice and frivolous distinctions. The word is rendered by Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, res frivola. Malone.
the sconce -— ] i. e. the head. So, in Lyly's Mother Bornbie, 1594:
“ Laudo ingenium; I like thy sconce."
action of battery? Humph! This fellow might be in 's time a great buyer of land, with his statutes, his recognizances, his fines, his double vouchers,7 his recoveries: Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries, to have his fine pate full of fine dirt? will his vouchers vouch him no more of his purchases, and double ones too, than the length and breadth of a pair of indentures? The very conveyances of his lands will hardly lie in this box; and must the inheritor himself have no more? ha?
Hor. Not a jot more, my lord.
Ham. They are sheep, and calves, which seek out assurance in that. I will speak to this fellow:- Whose grave 's this, sirrah? 1 Clo. Mine, sir.0, a pit of clay for to be made
[Sings. For such a guest is meet. Ham. I think it be thine, indeed; for thou liest in 't.
Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611 :
say no more ; “ But 'tis within this sconce to go beyond them.” Steevens. See Comedy of Errors, Act I, sc. iv, Vol. VI. Malone.
his statutes,] By a statute is here meant, not an act of parliament, but a species of security for money, affecting real property; whereby the lands of the debtor are conveyed to the creditor, till out of the rents and profits of them his debt may
be satisfied. Malone.
his double vouchers, &c.] A recovery with clouble voucher is the one usually suffered, and is so denominated from two persons (the latter of whom is always the common cryer, or some such inferior person,) being successively voucher, or called upon, to warrant the tenant's title. Both fines and recoveries are fictions of law, used to convert an estate tail into a fee simple. Statutes are (not acts of parliament, but) statutes-merchant and staple, particular modes of recognizance or acknowledgment for securing debts, which thereby become a charge upon the party's land. Statutes and recognizances are constantly mentioned together in the covenants of a purchase deed. Ritson.
8 Is this the fine of his fines, and the recovery of his recoveries,] Omitted in the quartos. Steevens.
assurance in that.] A quibble is intended. Deeds, which are usually written on parchment, are called the common assu. rances of the kingdom. Malone.
1 Clo. You lie out on 't, sir, and therefore it is not yours: for my part, I do not lie in 't, yet it is mine.
Ham. Thou dost lie in ’t, to be in 't, and say it is thine: 'tis for the dead, not for the quick; therefore thou liest.
1 Clo. 'Tis a quick lie, sir; 'twill away again, from me
Ham. What man dost thou dig it for?
i Clo. One that was a woman, sir; but, rest her soul, she 's dead.
Ham. How absolute the knave is! we must speak by the card,' or equivocation will undo us. By the lord, Horatio, these three years I have taken note of it; the age is grown so picked, that the toe of the peasant comes so
by the card,] The card is the paper on which the differ. ent points of the compass were described. To do any thing by the card, is, to do it with nice observation. Johnson.
The card is a sea-chart, still so termed by mariners: and the word is afterwards used by Osric in the same sense. Hamlet's meaning will therefore be, we must speak directly forward in a straight line, plainly to the point. Ritson. So, in Macbeth:
“ And the very ports they blow, &c.
by the card,] i. e. we must speak with the same precision and accuracy as is observed in marking the true distances of coasts, the heights, courses, &c. in a sea-chart, which in our poet's time was called a card. So, in The Commonwealth and Government of Venice, 4to. 1599, p. 177: “ Sebastian Munster in his carde of Venice -.” Again, in Bacon's Essays, p. 326, edit. 1740: “ Let him carry with him also some card, or book, describing the country where he travelleth.” In 1589 was published in 4to. A briefe Discourse of Mappes and Cardes, and of their Uses. The “shipman's card” in Macbeth, is the paper on which the different points of the compass are described. Malone.
In every ancient sea-chart that I have seen, the compass, &c. was likewise introduced. Steedens.
is grown so picked,] So smart, so sharp, says Sir T. Hanmer, very properly; but there was, I think, about that time, a picked shoe, that is, a shoe with a long pointed toe, in fashion, to which the allusion seems likewise to be made. Every man now is smart; and every man now is a man of fashion. Fohnson.
This fashion of wearing shoes with long pointed toes was carried to such excess in England, that it was restrained at last by
near the heel of the courtier, he galls his kibe. How long hast thou been a grave-maker?
i Clo. Of all the days i' the year, I came to 't that day that our last king Hamlet overcame Fortinbras.
Ham. How long 's that since?
1 Clo. Cannot you tell that? every fool can tell that: It was that very day that young Hamlet was born:3 he that is mad, and sent into England.
Ham. Ay, marry, why was he sent into England?
1 Clo. Why, because he was mad : he shall recover his wits there; or, if he do not, 'tis no great matter there.
I Clo. 'Twill not be seen in him there; there the men are as mad as he.
Ham. How came he mad?
proclamation so long ago as the fifth year of Edward IV, when it was ordered, “that the beaks or pykes of shoes and boots should not pass two inches, upon pain of cursing by the clergy, and forfeiting twenty shillings, to be paid, one noble to the king, another to the cordwainers of London, and the third to the chamber of London:-and for others countries and towns the like order was taken.—Before this time, and since the year 1482, the pykes of shoes and boots were of such length, that they were fain to be tied up to the knee with chains of silver, and gilt, or at least silken laces." Steevens.
is grown so picked,] i. e. so spruce, so quaint, so affected. See Vol. IV, p. 101, n. 1; and Vol. VII, p. 296, n. 8.
There is, I think, no allusion to picked or pointed shoes, as has been supposed. Picked was a common word of Shakspeare's age, in the sense above given, and is found in Minsheu's Dictionary, 1617, with its original signification : “ Trimm'd or drest spruce. ly.” It is here used metaphorically. Malone.
I should have concurred with Mr. Malone in giving a general sense of the epithet-picked, but for Hamlet's mention of the toe of the peasant, &c. Steevens.
Hamlet was born:] By this scene it appears that Hamlet was then thirty years old, and knew Yorick well, who had been dead twenty-two years. And yet in the beginning of the play he is spoken of as a very young man, one that designed to go back to school, i. e. to the University of Wittenberg. The poet in the fifth Act had forgot what he wrote in the first.
I Clo. Why, here in Denmark; I have been sexton here, man, and boy, thirty years.
Ham. How long will a man lie i' the earth ere he rot?
1 Clo. 'Faith if he be not rotten before he die, (as we have many pocky corses now-a-days, that will scarce hold the laying in,) he will last you some eight year, on nine year: a tanner will last you nine year.
Ham. Why he more than another?
I Clo. Why, sir, his hide is so tanned with his trade, that he will keep out water a great while; and your water is a sore decayer of your whoreson dead body. Here's a scull now hath lain you i' the earth three-and-twenty years.
Ham. Whose was it?
1 Cl. A whoreson mad fellow's it was; Whose do you think it was?
Ham. Nay, I know not.
1 Clo. A pestilence on him for a mad rogue! he poured a flagon of Rhenish on my head once. This same scull, sir, was Yorick's scull,5 the king's jester. Ham. This?
[Takes the Scull. I Clo. E'en that.
Ham. Alas, poor Yorick!-I knew him, Horatio; a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy: he hath borne me on his back a thousand times; and now, how abhorred in my imagination it is! my gorge rises at it. Here hung those lips, that I have kissed I know not how oft. Where be your gibes now? your gambolş? your songs? your flashes of merriment, that were wont to set the table on a roar? Not one now, to mock your own grinning ? quite chap-fallen? Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favours she must come; make her laugh at that.Pr’ythee, Horatio, tell me one thing.
now a-days,] Omitted in the quarto. Malone.
- Yorick's scull,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads-Sir Yorick's scull. Malone.
your own grinning?] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio reads--your own jeering? In that copy, after this word, and chapfallen, there is a note of interrogation, which all the 'editors have adopted. I doubt concerning its propriety. Malone.
- my lady's chamber,] Thus the folio. The quartos readmy lady's table, meaning, I suppose, her dressing-table. Steevens.