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with a counterfait sigh) I would be glad to please your worship, but my good mony is abroad, and that I have, I dare not put in your hands. The gentleman thinking this conscience, where it is subtilty, and being beside that in some necessity, ventures on the crackt angels, some of which cannot flie, for soldering, and paies double interest to the miser under the cloake of honesty.” Lodge's Wit's miserie, 1596, 4to, p. 28. So much for the cracked gold. The cracking of the human voice proceeded from some alteration in the larynx which is here compared to a ring.
As metaphors are sometimes double, the present may be of that kind. A piece of cracked metal is spoiled for the ringing of it; so the human voice, when cracked, may be said to lose the clearness of its tone. All Mr. Steevens's quotations, except the last, are obscene, and none of them apply to Hamlet's simile."
Sc. 2. p. 137.
HAM. 'twas caviare to the general.
This word has been frequently mispronounced caveer on the stage. The other mode of spelling it in Mr. Reed's note, viz. caveary, as well as the Italian term in the text, which should rather
be caviaro, would have been sufficient for the purpose of demonstrating how it should be accented; but the following line from Sir J. Harrington's 33d epigram of the third book leaves no uncertainty in the matter:
"And căvěārě, but it little boots."
Dr. Ramsey, physician to King Charles the Second, wrote a curious treatise on the worms of the human body, in which he says, "Caviale also is a fond dish of the Italians, made of the roes of sturgion, and altogether as unwholsome, if not much worse; invented by idle brains, and fansjed by none but such as are ignorant what it is; wherefore I would have them consider the Italian proverb,
Chi mangia di Caviale,
Mangia moschi, merdi, & salę.
may be Englished thus,
He that eats Cavialies,
Eats salt, dung, and flies.
For it is only (as was said) the roes of sturgion powdred, pickled, and finely denominated Caviale, to be a bait for such woodcocks and dotrils that account every exotick fansie a real good." This commodity is still common in the North of
Europe, and was formerly a considerable article of commerce between England and Russia.
Sc. 2. p. 145.
1. PLAY. Would have made milch the burning eyes of heaven.
i. e. would have drawn tears from them. Milche-hearted, in Hulæt's Abcedarium, 1552, is rendered lemosus; and in Bibliotheca Eliota, 1545, we find "lemosi, they that wepe lyghtly." The word is from the Saxon melce, milky.
Scene 1. Page 158.
There is a good deal on this subject in Cardanus's Comforte, 1576, 4to, a book which Shakspeare had certainly read. In fo. 30, it is said, "In the holy scripture, death is not ac compted other than sleape, and to dye is sayde to sleape,"
Sc. 1. p. 162.
HAM, The undiscovered country, from whose bourn
The resemblance of this passage to the lines cited by Mr. Steevens from Catullus is very remarkable, yet no translation of that author into. English is known to have been made. It is true, they might have occurred to our poet in his native language through the medium of some quo tation; yet it is equally possible that both the writers have casually adopted the same sentiment. This is a circumstance that more frequently happens than they are aware of who hunt after imitations even in writers of the most original genius, Many of Shakspeare's commentators might seem to be implicated in this charge, if it were not that they have rather designed to mark coincidence than imitation.
On the present occasion our author alludes to a country altogether unknown to mortals. That of the Pagan poet is happily illustrated by Seneca, who cites the lines. from Catullus, when he causes Mercury to drag the emperor Claudius into the infernal regions. "Nec mora, Cyllenius illum collo obtorto trahit ad inferos." Lud. de morte Claudii.
Dekker, in his Seven deadlie sinns of London, 1606, 4to, apostrophizing that city, exclaims,
"Art thou now not cruell against thyselfe, in not providing (before the land-waters of affliction come downe againe upon thee) more and more convenient cabins to lay those in, that are to goe into such farre countries, who never looke to come back againe? If thou should'st deny it, the graves when they open, will be witnesses against thee."
In the History of Valentine and Orson, p. 63, edit. 1694, 4to, is this passage; "I shall send some of you here present into such a country, that you shall scarcely ever return again to bring tydings of your valour." As Watson, the translator of this romance, translated also The ship of fools into prose, which was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, it is probable that there was an edition of Valentine and Orson in Shakspeare's time, though none such is supposed now to remain. Perhaps the oldest we know of is that of 1649, printed by Robert Ibbitson. In 1586, The old book of Valentine and Orson was licensed to T. Purfoot.
Sc. 1. p. 166.
HAM. I have heard of your paintings too, well enough; God hath given you one face, and you make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance.