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As hush as death? : anon the dreadful thunder
Pol. This is too long. · Ham. It shall to the barber's, with your beard.Pr'ythee, say on :-He's for a jig, or a tale of bawdry 4, or he sleeps :-say on: come to Hecuba. 1 Play. But who, ah woe'! had seen the mobled
1 — as we often see, AGAINST SOME STORM, -
“Even as the wind is hush'd before it raineth.” This line leads me to suspect that Shakspeare wrote-the bold wind speechless. Many similar mistakes bave happened in these plays, where the word ends with the same letter with which the next begins. Malone. 3 And never did the Cyclops' hammers fall
On Mars's armour, &c.] This thought appears to have been adopted from the 3d Book of Sidney's Arcadia : “Vulcan, when he wrought at his wive's request Æneas an armour, made not his hammer beget a greater sound than the swords of those noble knights did," &c. STEEVENS.
4 - He's for a sig, or a tale of bawdry,] See note on “ your only jig-maker," Act III. Sc. II. Steevens.
A jig, in our poet's time, signified a ludicrous metrical composition as well as a dance. Here it is used in the former sense. So, in Florio's Italian Dict. 1591 : “Frottola, a countrie jigg, or round, or countrie song, or wanton verses.” See The Historical Account of the English Stage, &c. vol. iii. Malone. • 5 But who, ah woe) Thus the quarto, except that it has a woe. A is printed instead of ah in various places in the old
Ham. The mobled queen ? Pol. That's good ; mobled queen is good. i Play. Run barefoot up and down, threat ning
the flames With bissun rheum?; a clout upon that head, Where late the diaaem stood; and, for a robe,
· The for all yource are we?
copies. Woe was formerly used adjectively for woeful. So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ Woe, woe are we, sir, you may not live to wear
“ All your true followers out." The folio reads—But who, O who, &c. Malone.
6 - the MOBLED queen -] Mobled or mabled signifies veiled. So, Sandys, speaking of the Turkish women, says, their heads and faces are inabled in fine linen, that no more is to be seen of them than their eyes. Travels. WARBURTON.
Mobled signifies huddled, grossly covered. Johnson.'
“ The moon does mobile up herself.” FARMER. Mobled is, I believe, no more than a depravation of muffled. It is thus corrupted in Ogilby's Fables, Second Part:
“ Mobbled nine days in my considering cap,
“ Before my eyes beheld the blessed day.” In the West this wora is still used in the same sense ; and that is the meaning of mobble in Dr. Farmer's quotation.
Holt White. The mabled queen, (or mobled queen, as it is spelt in the quarto,) means, the queen attired in a large, coarse, and careless head-dress. A few lines lower we are told that she had “a clout upon that head, where late the diadem stood."
To mab, (which in the North is pronounced mob, and hence the spelling of the old copy in the present instance,) says Ray in his Dict. of North Country words, is “to dress carelessly. Mabs are slatterns."
The ordinary morning head-dress of ladies continued to be distinguished by the name of a mab, to almost the end of the reign of George the Second. The folio reads—the inobled queen.
Malone. . In the counties of Essex and Middlesex, this morning cap has always been called--a mob, and not a mab. My spelling of the word therefore agrees with its most familiar pronunciation.
STEEVENS. 7 With Bisson rheum ;] Bisson or beesen, i. e. blind. A word still in use in some parts of the North of England.
So, in Coriolanus : “ What harm can your bisson conspectuities glean out of this character?" Steevens.
About her lank and all o'er-teemed loins, A blanket, in the alarm of fear caught up; Who this had seen, with tongue in venom steep'd, 'Gainst fortune's state would treason have pro
nounc'd: But if the gods themselves did see her then, When she saw Pyrrhus make malicious sport In mincing with his sword her husband's limbs ; The instant burst of clamour that she made, (Unless things mortal move them not at all,) Would have made milch & the burning eye of hea
Pol. Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and has tears in's eyes.—Pr'ythee, no more.
Ham. 'Tis well; I'll have thee speak out the rest of this soon.—Good my lord, will you see the players well bestowed ? Do you hear, let them be well used; for they are the abstract *, and brief chronicles, of the time: After your death you were better have a bad epitaph, than their ill report while you live up.
Pol. My lord, I will use them according to their desert.
HAM. Odd's bodikin, man, much better : Use every man after his desert, and who shall s 'scape whipping ? Use them after your own honour and dignity: The less they deserve, the more merit is in your bounty. Take them in. Pol. Come, sirs.
[Exit Polonius, with some of the Players. HAM. Follow him, friends : we'll hear a play to* First folio, abstracts.
† First folio, lived. First folio, should.
8 — made MILCH - ] Drayton in the 13th Song of his Polyolbion gives this epithet to dew: “ Exhaling the milch dew," &c. STEEVENS.
morrow.-Dost thou hear me, old friend ; can you play the murder of Gonzago ?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. We'll have it to-morrow night. You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down, and insert in't ? could you not ?
1 Play. Ay, my lord.
Ham. Very well.-- Follow that lord ; and look you mock him not. [Exit I layer.] My good friends, [To Ros. and Guil.] I'll leave you till night : you are welcome to Elsinore. Ros. Good my lord !
[Ereunt RosENCRANTZ and GuildENSTERN. HAM. Ay, so, good bye to you:-Now I am
9 Is it not monstrous, that this player here,] It should seem from the complicated nature of such parts as Hamlet, Lear, &c. that the time of Shakspeare had produced some excellent performers. He would scarce have taken the pains to form characters which he had no prospect of seeing represented with force and propriety on the stage.
His plays indeed, by their own power, must have given a different turn to acting, and almost new-created the performers of his age. Mysteries, Moralities, and Enterludes, afforded no materials for art to work on, no discriminations of character or variety of appropriated language. From Tragedies like Cambyses, Tamburlaine, and Jeronymo, nature was wholly banished ; and the comedies of Gammer Gurton, Common Condycyons, and The Old Wives Tale, might have had justice done to them by the lowest order of human beings.
Sanctius his animal, mentisque capacius altæ, was wanting, when the dramas of Shakspeare made their first appearance; and to these we were certainly indebted for the excellence of actors who could never have improved so long as their sensibilities were unawakened, their memories burthened only by pedantick or puritanical declamation, and their manners vulgarized by pleasantry of as low an origin. Steevens.
Could force his soul so to his own conceit,
* Quarto, in his aspect.
1 - all his visage wann'd;] [The folio warm'd.] This might do, did not the old quarto lead us to a more exact and pertinent reading, which is - visage wan'd ; i. e. turned pale or wan. For so the visage appears when the mind is thus affectioned, and not warmd or Aushd. WARBURTON. 2 That, from her working, all his visage wanN'D;
TEARS IN HIS EYES, DISTRACTION in's aspect,] Wan'd (wann'd it should have been spelt,) is the reading of the quarto, which Dr. Warburton, I think rightly, restored. The folio reads warm'd, for which Mr. Steevens contends in the following note :
“ The working of the soul, and the effort to shed tears, will give a colour to the actor's face, instead of taking it away. The visage is always warm'd and flush'd by any unusual exertion in a passionate speech; but no performer was ever yet found, I believe, whose feelings were of such exquisite sensibility as to produce paleness in any situation in which the drama could place him. But if players were indeed possessed of that power, there is no such circumstance in the speech uttered before Hamlet, as could introduce the wanness for which Dr. Warburton contends." The same expression, however, is found in the fourth book of Stanyhurst's translation of the Æneid :
“ And eke all her visage waning with murther approaching." · Whether an actor can produce paleness, it is, I think, unnecessary to enquire. That Shakspeare thought he could, and considered the speech in question as likely to produce wanness, is proved decisively by the words which he has put into the mouth of Polonius in this scene ; which add such support to the original reading, that I have without hesitation restored it. Immediately after the Player has finished his speech, Polonius exclaims,
“Look, whether he has not turned his colour, and has tears in his eyes.” Here we find the effort to shed tears, taking away, not giving a colour. If it be objected, that by turned his colour, Shakspeare meant that the player grew red, a passage in King Richard III. in which the poet is again describing an actor, who is master of his art, will at once answer the objection : . “ Rich. Come, cousin, canst thou quake, and change thy co
lour? “ Murder thy breath in middle of a word; “ And then again begin, and stop again, " As if thou wert distraught and mad with terror?