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Hor. No, my good lord.
Ham. Thy state is the more gracious; for 'tis a vice to know him: He bath much land, and fertile: let a beast be lord of beasts, and his crib shall stand at the king's mess: 'Tis a chough;5 but, as I say, spacious in the possession of dirt.
Osr. Sweet lord, if your lordship were at leisure, I should impart a thing to you from his majesty.
Ham. I will receive it, sir, with all diligence of spirit: Your bonnet to his right use; 'tis for the head.
Osr. I thank your lordship, 'tis very hot.
Ham. No, believe me, 'tis very cold; the wind is northerly.
Osr. It is indifferent cold, my lord, indeed.
Ham. But yet, methinks, it is very sultry and hot ;6 or my complexion?
Osr. Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,8-as 'twere,–I cannot tell how. My lord, his majesty bade me signify to you, that he has laid a great wager on your head: Sir, this is the matter, Ham. I beseech you, remember!
[Ham. moves him to put on his Hat.
Water-fly is in Troilus and Cressida used as a term of reproach, for contemptible from smallness of size: “ How (says Thersites) the poor world is pestered with such water-flies; diminutives of nature.” Water-flies are gnats. This insect in Chaucer denotes a thing of no value. Canterbury Tales, v. 17,203, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition :
“ Not worth to thee as in comparison “ The mountance [value] of a gnat." H. White. - 'Tis a chough;] A kind of jackdaw. Johnson. See Vol. VIII, p. 208, n. 2. Steevens.
But yet, methinks, it is very sultry &c.] Hamlet is here playing over the same farce with Osric, which he had formerly done with Polonius. Steevens.
or my complexion - ] The folios read-for my complexion. Steevens. 8 Exceedingly, my lord; it is very sultry,]
igniculum brumæ si tempore poscas, “ Accipic endromidem; si dixeris æstuo, sudat.” Juv.
Malone. 9 I beseech you, remember -]“ Remember not your courtesy,' I believe, Hamlet would have said, if he had not been interrupted. “ Remember thy courtesy,” he could not possibly have said, and therefore this abrupt sentence may serve to confirm an emen
Osr. Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith. Sir,2 here is newly come to court, Laertes: believe me, an absolute gentleman, full of most excellent differences, of very soft society, and great showing: Indeed, to speak feelingly? of him, he is the card or calendar of gentry, for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see..
Ham. Sir, his definement suffers no perdition in you;?
dation which I proposed in Love's Labour's Lost, Vol. IV, p. 105, n. 6, where Armado .says,-“I do beseech thee, remember thy courtesy ;-I beseech thee, apparel thy head.” I have no doubt that Shakspeare there wrote, remember not thy courtesy,"--and that the negative was omitted by the negligence of the compositor. Malone.
Nay, good my lord; for my ease, in good faith.]. This seems to have been the affected phrase of the time. Thus, in Marston's Malcontent, 1604: “I beseech you, sir, be covered.--No, in good faith for my ease.” And in other places. Farmer.
It appears to have been the common language of ceremony in our author's time. “Why do you stand bareheaded? (says one of the speakers in Florio's SECOND FRUTES, 1591,) you do yourself wrong. Pardon me, good sir, (replies his friend ;) I do it for my ease. Again, in A New Way to pay Old Debts, by Massinger, 1633:
Is 't for your ease “ You keep your hat off?” Malone. Sir, &c.] The folio omits this and the following fourteen speeches; and in their place substitutes only, “Sir, you are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is at his weapon.” Steevens.
- full of most excellent differences,] Full of distinguishing excellencies. Fohnson.
speak feelingly-] The first quarto reads-sellingly. So, in another of our author's plays :
“ To things of sale a seller's praise belongs.” Steevens.
the card or calendar of gentry,] The general preceptor of elegance; the card by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and seasonable. Johnson.
6 —for you shall find in him the continent of what part a gentleman would see.] You shall find him containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation. I know not but it should be read, You shall find him the continent. Johnson.
? Sir, his definement &c.] This is designed as a specimen, and ridicule of the court-jargon amongst the precieux of that time. The sense in English is, “Sir, he suffers nothing in your account of him, though to enumerate his good qualities particularly
---though, I know, to divide him inventorially, would dizzy the arithmetick of memory; and yet but raw neither, in respect of his quick sail. But, in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article;9 and his infusion of such dearth and rareness, as, to make true diction of him, his semblable is his mirrour; and, who else would trace him, bis umbrage, nothing more.
Osr. Your lordship speaks most infallibly of him.
Ham. The concernancy, sir? why do we wrap the gentleman in our more rawer breath?
Hor. Is 't not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do 't, sir, really.2
would be endless; yet when we had done our best, it would still come short of him. However, in strictness of truth, he is a great genius, and of a character so rarely to be met with, that to find any thing like him we must look into his mirrour, and his imitators will appear no more than his shadows." Warburton. and yet but raw neither.] We should read-slow.
Warburton. I believe raw to be the right word; it is a word of great lati tude ; raw signifies, unripe, immature, thence unformed, imperfect, unskilful. 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. Fohnson.
a soul of great article ;] This is obscure. I once thought it might have been, a soul of great altitude; but, I suppose, a soul of great article, means a soul of large comprehension, of many contents; the particulars of an inventory are called articles. Johnson.
of such dearth – ] Dearth is dearness, value, price And his internal qualities of such value and rarity. Johnson.
2 Is’t not possible to understand in another tongue? You will do't, sir, really.] Of this interrogatory remark the sense is very obscure. The question may mean, Might not all this be understood in plainer language. But then, you will do it, sir, really, seems to have no use, for who could doubt but plain language would be intelligible? I would therefore read, Is 't, possible not to be understood in a mother tongue? You will do it, sir, really. Johnson.
Suppose we were to point the passage thus: “Is 't not possible to understand? In another tongue you will do it, sir, really."
The speech seems to be addressed to Osric, who is puzzled by Hamlet's imitation of his own affected language. Steevens.
Theobald has silently substituted rarely for really. I think Horatio's speech is addressed to Hamlet. Another tongue does not mean, as I conceive, plainer language, (as Dr. Johnson supposed) but “language so fantastical and affected as to have the appear. ance of a foreign tongue :” and in the following words Horatio, I
Ham. What imports the nomination of this gentleman?
Osr. Of Laertes?
Hor. His purse is empty already; all his golden words are spent.
Ham. Of him, sir.
Ham. I would, you did, sir; yet, in faith, if you did, it would not much approve me;3-Well, sir.
Osr. You are not ignorant of what excellence Laertes is
Ham. I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him in excellence ;t but, to know a man well, were to know himself.
Osr. I mean, sir, for his weapon; but in the imputation laid on him by them, in his meed: he's unfellowed.
Ham. What 's his weapon?
Osr. The king, sir, hath wagered with him six Barbary horses: against the which he has impawned, as I take it, six French rapiers and poniards, with their as
think, means to praise Hamlet for imitating this kind of babble so happily. I suspect, however, that the poet wrote-Is 't possible not to understand in a mother tongue?
Since this note was written, I have found the very same error in Bacon's Advancement of Learning, 4to. 1605, B. II, p. 60:
the art of grammar, whereof the use in another tongue is small, in a foreine tongue more.” The author in his table of Errata says, it should have been printed-in mother tongue. Malone.
if you did, it would not much approve me:) If you knew I was not ignorant, your esteem would not much advance my reputation. To approve, is to recommend to approbation. Fohnson.
4 I dare not confess that, lest I should compare with him &c.] I dare not pretend to know him, lest I should pretend to an equality: no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself, which is the utmost extent of human wisdom. Johnson.
in his meed-) In his excellence. Fohnson. See Vol. X, p. 401, n. 8. Malone.
impawned, ] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio reads impon'd. Pignare in Italian signifies both to pawn, and to lay a wager. Malone. Perhaps it should be, deponed. So, Hudibras :
“'I would upon this cause depone,
signs, as girdle, hangers, and so: Three of the cars riages, in faith, are very dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most delicate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
Ham. What call you the carriages?
But perhaps imponed is pledged, impawned, so spelt to ridicule the affectation of uttering English words with French pronunciation. Johnson.
To impone is certainly right, and means to put down, to stake, from the verb impono. Ritson.
7—hangers, ] Under this term were comprehended four graduated straps, &c. that hung down in a belt on each side of its receptacle for the sword. I write this, with a most gorgeous belt, at least as ancient as the time of James I, before me. It is of crimson velvet embroidered with gold, and had belonged to the Somerset family.
In Massinger's Fatal Dowry, Liladam (who, when arrested as a gentleman, avows himself to have been a tailor,) says:
This rich sword
“ These hangers from my vails and fees in hell" &c. i. e. the tailor's hell; the place into which shreds and remnants are thrown. Again, in The Birth of Merlin, 1662:
“ He has a fair sword, but his hangers are fallen.” Again, in Rhodon and Iris, 1631:
a rapier “ Hatch'd with gold, with hilt and hangers of the new
fashion." The same word occurs in the Eleventh Iliad, as translated by Chapman : “ The scaberd was of silver plate, with golden hangers
graet.” Mr. Pope mistook the meaning of this term, conceiving it to sig. nify---shori pendulous broad swords. Steevens.
The word hangers has been misunderstood. That part of the girdle or belt by which the sword was suspended, was in our poet's time called the hangers. See Minsheu's Dictionary, 1617 : " The hangers of a sword. G. Pendants d'espée, L. Subcingulum,” &c. So, in an Inventory found among the papers of Hamlet Clarke, an attorney of a court of record in London, in the year 1611, and printed in The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol. LVIII,
“ Item, One payre of girdle and hangers, of silver purle, and cullored silke.
“ Item, One payre of girdler and hangers upon white sattene."
The hangers ran into an oblique direction from the middle of the forepart of the girdle across the left thigh, and were attached to the girdle behind. Malont.