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ACT I. SCENE I.
LINE 4. Long live the king!] This sentence appears to have
been the watch-word.
Line 17. The rivals of my watch,] Rivals for partners.
WARBURTON. -it harrows me &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to subdue. STEEVENS. Line 89. He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.] Polack was, in that age, the term for an inhabitant of Poland: Polaque, French. Sled, is a sledge, and a carriage without wheels used in the cold countries.
Line 96. dency at large.
by law, and heraldry,] i. e. to be well ratified by the rules of law, and the forms prescribed jure feciali; such as proclamation, &c.
-gross and scope-] General thoughts, and tenJOHNSON.
-as, by the same co-mart,
And carriage of the article design'd,] Co-mart is,
I suppose, a joint bargain, a word perhaps of our poet's coin
Line 125. And carriage of the article design'd,] import: design'd is formed, drawn up between them.
Line 131. That hath a stomach in't:] Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for constancy, resolution. JOHNSON. Line 140. Well may it sort,] The cause and effect are proportionate and suitable. JOHNSON. -palmy state of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious. POPE.
·152. And even—] Not only such prodigies have been seen in Rome, but the elements have shown our countrymen like forerunners and foretokens of violent events. JOHNSON.
Line 159. If thou hast any sound,] The speech of Horatio to the spectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions. JOHNSON.
Line 186. Whether in sea, &c.] According to the pneumatology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits, who had dispositions different, according to their various places of abode. The meaning therefore is, that all spirits extravagant, wandering out of their element, whether aërial spirits visiting earth, or earthly spirits ranging the air, return to their station, to their proper limits in which they are confined. JOHNSON.
and the moist star, &c.] i. e. the moon.
Line 187. The extravagant-] i. e. got out of his bounds. WARBURTON. -erring spirit,] Erring is here used in the sense STEEVENS. Line 196. No fairy takes,] No fairy strikes with lameness or diseases. This sense of take is frequent in this author.
ACT I. SCENE II.
His further gait herein,] Gate or gait is here used in the northern sense, for proceeding, passage.
Line 2-17. -more than the scope-] More is comprized in the general design of these articles, which you may explain in a more diffused and dilated style. JOHNSON.
Line 281. Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.] Kind is the Teutonick word for child. Hamlet therefore answers with propriety, to the titles of cousin and son, which the king had given him, that he was somewhat more than cousin, and less than son. JOHNSON. . Line 284. -too much i'the sun.] I question whether a quibble between sun and son be not here intended. FARMER. vailed lids-] With lowering eyes, cast down JOHNSON.
Line 314. obsequious sorrow:] Obsequious is here from obsequies, or funeral ceremonies. JOHNSON. Line 334. Do I impart toward you.] I believe impart is, impart myself, communicate whatever I can bestow. JOHNSON.
Line 348. No jocund health,] The king's intemperance is very strongly impressed; every thing that happens to him gives him occasion to drink. JOHNSON. -resolve itself into a dew!] Resolve means the STEEVENS.
Line 353. same as dissolve. Line 361.
merely.] is entirely, absolutely.
·364. So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion to a satyr:] This similitude at first sight seems to be a little far-fetched; but it has an exquisite beauty. By the Satyr is meant Pan, as by Hyperion, Apollo. Pan and Apollo were brothers, and the allusion is to the contention between those gods for the preference in musick. WARBURTON. Line 392. -I'll change that name-] I'll be your servant, you shall be my friend. JOHNSON. Line 394. -what make you—] A familiar phrase for what are you doing. JOHNSON.
Line 411. the funeral buk'd meats-] It was anciently the general custom to give a cold entertainment to mourners at a funeral. COLLINS.
Line 414. dearest foe in heaven-] Dearest for direst, most dreadful, most dangerous. JOHNSON. Line 427. Season your admiration.-] That is, temper it. JOHNS.
Line 441. with the act of fear,] Fear was the cause, the active cause that distilled them by the force of operation which we strictly call act in voluntary, and power in involuntary agents, but popularly call act in both. JOHNSON.
ACT I. SCENE III.
Line 521. The perfume and suppliance of a minute ;] i. e. what was supplied to us for a minute: or, as Mr. M. Mason supposes, "an amusement to fill up a vacant moment, and render it agreeable." STEEVENS. Line 526. In thews,] i. e. in sineus, muscular strength. STEEVENS.
529. And now no soil, nor cautel, doth besmirch The virtue of his will;] Cautel is subtlety or deceit. MALONE. Virtue seems here to comprise both excellence and power, and may be explained the pure effect. JOHNSON.
Line 549. keep you in the rear &c.] That is, do not advance so far as your affection would lead you. JOHNSON. Line 551. The chariest maid-] Chary is cautious. STEEV. -566. —recks not his own read.] That is, heeds not his own lessons. POPE. -the shoulder of your sail,] This is a common STEEVENS.
Line 573. sea phrase.
And these few precepts in thy memory
Look thou charácter.] i. e. write, strongly infix.
Line 582. But do not dull thy palm with entertainment . Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade.] The literal sense is, Do not make thy palm callous by shaking every man by the hand. The figurative meaning may be, Do not by promiscuous conversation make thy mind insensible to the difference of characters. . JOHNSON.
Line 607. yourself shall keep the key of it.] The meaning is, that your counsels are as sure of remaining locked up in my memory, as if yourself carried the key of it. STEEVENS. Line 640. fashion you may call it ;] She uses fashion for manner, and he for a transient practice. JOHNSON.
Line 644. springes to catch woodcocks.] A proverbial saying, Every woman has a springe to catch a woodcock."
Line 652. Set your entreatments-] Entreatments here mean company, conversation; from the French entrétien. JOHNSON. Line 655. larger tether-] Tether is that string by which an animal, set to graze in grounds uninclosed, is confined within. the proper limits. JOHNSON.
Line 657. Do not believe his vows, for they are brokers-] A broker in old English meant a bawd or pimp. MALONE.
Line 662. I would not, in plain terms, from this time forth, Have you so slander any moment's leisure,] Polonius says, in plain terms, that is, not in language less elevated or embellished before, but in terms that cannot be misunderstood: I would not have you so disgrace your most idle moments, as not to find better employment for them than lord Hamlet's conversation.
ACT I. SCENE IV.
Line 676. quor, a debauch.
takes his rouse,] A rouse is a large dose of liSTEEVENS. Line 678. the swaggering up-spring-] The blustering upstart. JOHNSON.
Line 693. The pith and marrow of our attribute.] The best and most valuable part of the praise that would be otherwise attributed to us. JOHNSON.
-that too much o'er-leavens
The form of plausive manners ;] That intermingles too much with their manners; infects and corrupts them.
MALONE. Line 705. As infinite as man may undergo,)] As large as can be accumulated upon man. JOHNSON.
Line 716. questionable shape,] Questionable means capable of being conversed with. To question, certainly in our author's time signified to converse. MALONE.
Why thy canoniz'd bones, hearsed in death,
Have burst their cerements!] Hamlet, amazed at