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nature, but begins at a certain time from some external cause, and being always subject to the operations of time, suffers change and diminution. JOHNSON.
Line 661. passages of proof,] In transactions of daily experience. JOHNSON.
And then this should is like a spendthrift sigh, That hurts by easing.] A spendthrift sigh is a sigh that makes an unnecessary waste of the vital flame. It is a notion very prevalent, that sighs impair the strength, and wear out the animal powers. JOHNSON. Line 694. A sword unbated,] Not blunted, as foils are by a button fixed to the end. So, in Love's Labour's Lost:
"That honour, which shall bate his scythe's keen edge." MALONE.
Line 713. -blast in proof.] The word proof shows the me taphor to be taken from the trying or proving fire-arms or cannon, which often blast or burst in the proof. STEEVENS.
-ascaunt the brook,] askew, aside, sideways. STEEVENS.
and long purples,] By long purples is meant à plant, the modern botanical name of which is orchis morio mas, anciently testiculus morionis. STEEVENS.
One of the grosser names of this plant Gertrude had a parti cular reason to avoid :-the rampant widow. MALONE.
Line 754. The woman will be out.] i. e. tears will flow. So, in King Henry V:
"And all the woman came into my eyes." MALONE.
ACT V. SCENE I.
Line 11. -an act hath three branches; it is, to act, to do, and to perform:] Ridicule on scholastic divisions without distinction; and of distinctions without difference. WARBURTON. Line 30. —their even christian.] So, all the old books, and rightly. An old English expression for fellow-christian.
THIRLBY. Line 95.- -to play at loggats with them ?] This is a game played in several parts of England even at this time. STEEV.
Line 144. by the card,] The card is the paper on which the different points of the compass were described. thing by the card, is, to do it with nice observation. * Line 146. -the age is grown so picked,] i. e. quaint, so affected.
To do ang
so spruce, so
-to this favour-] i. e. to this countenance or MALONE.
Line 230. 233.
-winter's flaw!] Winter's blast, JOHNSON. -maimed rites!] Imperfect obsequies. JOHNS. -allow'd her virgin crants,] I have been informed by an anonymous correspondent, that crants is the German word for garlands, and I suppose it was retained by us from the Saxons. JOHNSON. Burial here signifies interWARBURTON.
-quiddits &c.] i. e. subtilties. STEEVENS. -his quillets,] Quillets are nice and frivolous MALONE.
Line 251. -bell and burial.] ment in consecrated ground.
Line 255. To sing a requiem,] A requiem is a mass performed in popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased. STEEVENS.
Line 304. Woul't drink up esil? cat a crocodile ?] Eisil or eisel is vinegar. The word is used by Chaucer and Skelton, and Sir Thomas More, Works, p. 21, edit. 1557.
Mr. Steevens supposes, that by " Esel" a river was meant, either the Yssel, or Oesil, or Weisel, a considerable river which falls into the Baltick ocean. MALONE.
Line 316. When that her golden couplets are disclos'd,] To dis close was anciently used for to hatch. STEEVENS.
ACT V. SCENE II.
Line 338. mutines in the bilboes.] Mutines, the French word for seditious or disobedient fellows in the army or fleet. Bilbocs, the ship's prison. JOHNSON. The bilboes is a bar of iron with fetters annexed to it, by which mutinous or disorderly sailors were anciently linked together.
Line 356. With, ho! such bugs and goblins in my life,] With such causes of terror, rising from my character and designs.
Line 369. 372.
JOHNSON -as our statists do,] statist, i. e. a statesman. -yeoman's service :] i. e. did me eminent ser
Not shriving-time allow'd.] No confession allowed. 392. The changeling never known:] A changeling is a child which the fairies are supposed to leave in the room of that which they steal. JOHNSON.
Line 407. Thrown out his angle-] An angle in Shakspeare's time signified a fishing-rod. MALONE.
Line 427. Dost know this water-fly?] A water-fly skips up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler. JOHNSON. Line 433. -Tis a chough ;] A kind of jackdaw. JOHNS. ·453. —full of most excellent differences,] Full of distinguishing excellencies. JOHNSON.
Line 461. and yet but raw neither.] 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. JOHNSON.. Line 464. of such dearth-] Dearth is dearness, value, price. And his internal qualities of such value and rarity.
Line 490. 503.
-in his meed-] In his excellence. JOHNSON. -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.
-more german—] More a-kin.
539. -a kind of yesty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions;] The meaning is, "these men have got the cant of the day, a superficial readiness of slight and cursory conversation, a kind of frothy collection of fashionable prattle, which yet carries them through
the most select and approving judgments. This airy facility of talk sometimes imposes upon wise men." Who has not seen this observation verified? JOHNSON,
Line 541. do but blow them &c.] These men of show, without solidity, are like bubbles raised from soap and water, which dance and glitter, and please the eye, but if you extend them by blowing hard, separate into a mist; so if you oblige these specious talkers to extend their compass of conversation, they at once discover the tenuity of their intellects. JOHNSON.
Line 574. Since no man, of aught he leaves, knows, what is't to leave betimes?] The meaning may be this,-Since no man knows aught of the state of which he leaves, since he cannot judge what other years may produce, why should he be afraid of leaving life betimes? Why should he dread an early death, of which he cannot tell whether it is an exclusion of happiness, or an interception of calamity. I despise the superstition of augury and omens, which has no ground in reason or piety; my comfort is, that I cannot fall but by the direction of Providence. JOHNSON.
Line 578. Give me your pardon, sir:] I wish Hamlet had made some other defence; it is unsuitable to the character of a good or a brave man, to shelter himself in falsehood. JOHNSON. Line 629. the stoups of wine-] A stoop is a kind of flagon, containing somewhat more than two quarts. MALONE. Line 717. That are but mutes und audience to this act,] That are either auditors of this catastrophe, or at most only mute per formers, that fill the stage without any part in the action.
JOHNSON. Line 745. -the occurrents,] i. e. incidents. The word is now disused. STEEVENS.
END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON HAMLET.
ACT I. SCENE I.
―certes,] i. e. certainly, in truth.
Line 27. theorick,] Theorick, for theory.
28. Wherein the toged consuls-] Consuls, for counsellors.
By toged perhaps is meant peaceable.
Line 33. must be be-lee'd and calm'd-] Be-lee'd and becalm'd are terms of navigation. I have been informed that one vessel is said to be in the lee of another, when it is so placed that the wind is intercepted from it. Iago's meaning therefore is, that Cassio had got the wind of him, and be-calm'd him from going on. STEEVENS. Line 35. this counter-caster;] It was anciently the pracSTEEVENS. tice to reckon up sums with counters. by letter,] By recommendation from powerful JOHNSON. Line 46. Whether I in any just term am affin'd-] Do I stand within any such terms of propinquity, or relation to the Moor, JOHNSON. as that it is my duty to love him?
Line 43. friends.
Line 58. -honest knaves:] Knave is here for servant, but JOHNSON. with a sly mixture of contempt.