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speech, that one might almost suppose Shak
speare had seen them:
"Preco diei jam sonat,
Noctis profundæ pervigil;
Nocturna lux viantibus,
Solvit polum caligine;
Hoc omnis errorum chorus
Viam nocendi deserit.
Gallo canente spes redit, &c."
See Expositio hymnorum secundum usum Sarum, pr. by R. Pynson, n. d. 4to, fo. vii. b. The epithets extravagant and erring are highly poetical and appropriate, and seem to prove that Shakspeare was not altogether ignorant of the Latin language.
Sc. 2. p. 35.
HAM. Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
Mr. Steevens says, "there are yet those who suppose the old reading (cannon, in the sense of artillery) to be the true one." He himself was not of the number. It must be owned that fixing a cannon is an odd mode of vengeance on the part of the Deity; yet it is still more difficult
to conceive in what manner this instrument could operate in avenging suicide. The pedants of Hierocles, who were the Gothamites of their time, might, if now existing, be competent to explain all this; or, indeed, we might ourselves suppose that suicides could be blown into atoms as the seapoys sometimes are, by tying them to the cannon's mouth, a method equally humane with the prac tice of driving stakes through their bodies. Mr. Malone's happy quotation has for ever fixed the proper meaning.
Sc. 2. p. 40.
the funeral bak'd meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
The practice of making entertainments at funerals which prevailed in this and other countries, and which is not even at present quite disused in some of the northern counties of England, was certainly borrowed from the cœna feralis of the Romans, alluded to in Juvenal's fifth satire, and in the laws of the twelve tables. It consisted of an offering of a small plate of milk, honey, wine, flowers, &c., to the ghost of the deceased. In the instances of heroes and other great characters,
the same custom appears to have prevailed among the Greeks. With us the appetites of the living are consulted on this occasion. In the North this feast is called an arval or arvil-supper; and the loaves that are sometimes distributed among the poor, arval-bread. Not many years since one of these arvals was celebrated in a village in Yorkshire at a public-house, the sign of which was the family arms of a nobleman whose motto is VIRTUS POST FUNERA VIVIT. The undertaker, who, though a clerk, was no scholar, requested a gentleman present to explain to him the meaning of these Latin words, which he readily and facetiously did in the following manner : Virtus, a parish clerk, vivit, lives well, post funera, at an arval. The latter word is apparently derived from some lost Teutonic term that indicated a funeral pile on which the body was burned in times of Paganism. Thus ærill in Islandic signifies the inside of an oven. The common parent seems to have been ar, fire; whence ara, an altar of fire, ardeo, aridus, &c. &c. So the pile itself was called ara by Virgil, En. vi. 177:
"Haud mora, festinant flentes; aramque sepulchri
Sc. 2. p. 41.
HAM. He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.
In further support of the proposed elegant emendation," Eye shall not look, &c.," this passage in 1 Corinth. ch. ii. v. 9, may be adduced,—
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, the things which he hath prepared for them that love him." An objection of some weight may however be made to this change; which is, that in recitation some ambiguity might arise, or at least the force of it would not be perceived; whereas the other reading could not be mistaken.
Sc. 3. p. 51.
POL. But do not dull thy palm with entertainment
In Taverner's Proverbes or Adagies, gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus, 1569, 12mo, is the following adage: "Ne cuivis porrigas dexteram. Holde not forth thy hande to every man. He meaneth wee should not unadvisedlie admitte every body into our frendship and fami
liaritie." In the margin of the copy from which this extract is made, some person has written the above lines from Hamlet, on which the whole serves as an excellent comment, supporting Dr. Johnson's explanation of them in a remarkable
Sc. 4. p. 59.
HAM. The king doth wake to-night, and takes his rouse. This word is used in the various significations of a riotous noise, a drunken debauch, and a large portion of liquor. We had it probably from our Saxon or Danish progenitors; and though the original word is lost, it remains in the German rausch. Hence our carouse; roister is of the same family, and perhaps the word row, which was very much used a few years since. The Greeks too had their nimia ebrietas.
Sc. 4. p. 60.
HAM. And as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down,
The triumph of his pledge.
Thus Cleaveland in his Fuscara, or The bee
"Tuning his draughts with drowsie hums
As Danes carowse by kettle-drums."