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in the verity of extolment, I take him to be a soul of great article?; 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, his 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?
Osr. Sir ?
Hor. Is't not possible to understand in another tongue ? You will do't, sir, really”.
7 — 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.
9 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 [as Mr. Jennens has remarked] we were to point the
“ 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 appearance of a foreign tongue : " and in the following words Horatio, I think, means to praise Hamlet for imitating this kind of babble so happily. I suspect
, however, that the poet wrote Ist 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
passage thus :
Han. 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?;-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 ? ; 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
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.
Johnson. 2 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. 3 — in his meed-] In his excellence.
JOHNSON. See Henry VI. Part III. Act IV. Sc. III. Malone.
4 — impawned,] Thus the quarto 1604. The folio reads impon'd. Pignare in Italian signifies both to pawn, and to lay a wager. MALONE. VOL. VII.
poniards, with their assigns, as girdle, hangers', and so 6: Three of the carriages, in faith, are very
Perhaps it should be, deponed. So, Hudibras :
“ I would upon this cause depone,
“ As much as any I have known.” 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.
5 - hangers,] 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. p. 111:
“ 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. Malone.
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 signify~" short pendulous broad swords." STEEVENS.
dear to fancy, very responsive to the hilts, most deli. cate carriages, and of very liberal conceit.
HAM. What call you the carriages ?
Hor. I knew, you must be edified by the mar, gent", ere you had done.
Osr. The carriages, sir, are the hangers.
Han. The phrase would be more german’ to the matter, if we could carry a cannon by our sides; I would, it might be hangers till then. But, on: Six Barbary horses against six French swords, their assigns, and three liberal-conceited carriages; that's the French bet against the Danish : Why is this impawned, as you call it ?
Osr. The king, sir, hath laid, that in a dozen
- you must be edified by the MARGENT] Dr. Warburton very properly observes, that in the old books the gloss or comment was usually printed on the margent of the leaf. So, in Decker's Honest Whore, Part II. 1630:
I read “ Strange comments in those margins of your looks." Again, in The Contention betwyxte Churchyeard and Camell, &c. 1560:
“ A solempne processe at a blusshe
“ He quoted here and there,
“ With matter in the margent set,” &c. This speech is omitted in the folio. Steevens. 7
more GERMAN] More a-kin. Johnson. So, in The Winter's Tale: “ Those that are german to him, though removed fifty times, shall come under the hangman."
Steevens. 8 The king, sir, hath laid,] This wager I do not understand. In a dozen passes one must exceed the other more or less than three hits. Nor can I comprehend, how, in a dozen, there can be twelve to nine. This passage is of no importance; it is sufficient that there was a wager. The quarto has the passage as it stands. The folio-He hath one twelve for mine. Johnson.
As three or four complete pages would scarcely hold the remarks already printed, together with those which have lately been communicated to me in MS. on this very unimportant passage, I shall avoid both partiality and tediousness, by the omission of them all. I therefore leave the conditions of this wager to be adjusted by the members of Brookes's, or the Jockey-Club at Newmarket, passes between yourself and him, he shall not exceed you three hits; he hath laid, on twelve for nine; and it would come to immediate trial, if your lordship would vouchsafe the answer.
Ham. How, if I answer, no?
Osr. I mean, my lord, the opposition of your person in trial.
Ham. Sir, I will walk here in the hall: If it please his majesty, it is the breathing time of day with me: let the foils be brought, the gentleman willing, and the king hold his purpose, I will win for him, if I can; if not, I will gain nothing but my shame, and the odd hits.
Osr. Shall I deliver you so * ?
HAM. To this effect, sir ; after what flourish your nature will. Osr. I commend my duty to your lordship.
[Exit. Ham. Yours, yours.--He does well, to commend it himself; there are no tongues else for's turn.
Hor. This lapwing runs away with the shell on his head
* First folio, Shall I deliver
who on such subjects may prove the most enlightened commentators, and most successfully bestir themselves in the cold unpoetick dabble of calculation, Steevens.
9 This lapwing runs away with the shell his head.] I see no particular propriety in the image of the lapwing. Osric did not run till he had done his business. We
read—“This lapwing ran away.'—That is, “That fellow was full of unimportant bustle from his birth.' Johnson. The same image occurs in Ben Jonson's Staple of News :
“ Thorough the streets." And I have since met with it in several other plays. The meaning, I believe, is—This is a forward fellow. So, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612 :