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both at the first, and now, was, and is, to hold as 'twere the mirrour up to nature; to Thew virtue her own feature, scorn her own image, and the very age and body of the time?, his form and pressure. Now this, over-done, or come tardy off, though it make the un, fkilful laugh, cannot but make the judicious grieve; the censure of which one“, must, in your allowances, o'er-weigh a whole theatre of others. O, there be players', that I have seen play,—and heard others
praise, - age and body of ebe time,-) To exhibit the form and pressure of the age of the time, is, to represent the manners of the time suitable to the period that is treated of, according as it may be ancient, or modern. STEEVENS.
Dr. Johnson fays, “ibe age of the time can hardly pass." Mr. Steevens has endeavoured to explain it. But perhaps Shakspeare did not mean to connect these words. It is the end of playing, says Hamlet, to thew the age in which we live, and the body of the time, its form and presiure: to delineate exactly the manners of the age, and the particular humour of the day. MALONE.
3 – prelure-Resemblance, as in a prist. JOHNSON.
“ If tragedy have a more kind aspect;
“ A theatre unto me." MALONE.
0, bere be players, &c.] I would read thus: “ There be players, that I have seen play, and heard others praise, and that highly (not to speak profanely) that neither having the accent nor the gait of christian, pagan, nor Muflulmar, have lo strutted and bellowed, that I thought fome of nature's journeymen had made tbe men, and not made them well," &c. FARMER.
I have no doubt that our authour wrote that I thought some of nature's journeymen had made them, and not made them well," &c. Tbem and men are frequently confounded in the old copies. See the Comedy of Errors, Act. II. sc. ii. folio, 1623:-“ because it is a blessing that he bestows on beasts, and what he hath scanted them [r. men] in hair, he hath given them in wit."-In the present instance the compositor probably caught the word men from the last fyllable of journeymen, Shakspeare could not mean to assert as a general truch, that nature's journeymen had made men, i. c. all mankind;
I will try
praise, and that highly,—not to speak it profanely ?, that, neither having the accent of christians, nor the gait of christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted, and bellow'd, that I have thought some of nature's journeymen had made men, and not made them well, they imitated humanity fo abominably.
1. Play, I hope, we have reform’d that indifferently with us.
Ham. O, reform it altogether. And let those, that play your clowns, speak no more than is set down for them 8 : for there be of them, that will themselves
laugh, for, if that were the case, these strutting players would have been on a footing with the rest of the species. Nature herself, the poet means to say, made all mankind except these strutting players, and they were made by Nature's journeymen.
A passage in King Lear, in which we meet with the same sentiment, in my opinion, fully supports the emendation now proposed :
« Kent. Nature disclaims in THEE, a sailor made THEE.
“ Kent. Ay, a tailor, fir; a stone-cutter or a painter (Nature's journeymen) could not have made bim fo ill, though he had been but two hours at the trade." MALONE.
- not to speak, it profanely-) Profanely seems to relate, not to the praise which he has mentioned, but to the censure which he is about to utter. Any gross or indelicate language was called profane,
JOHNSON, So, in Oibello :—" he is a most profane and liberal counsellor.”
MALONES 8 - Speak no more than is set down for them :] So, in The Antipodes, by Brome, 1638:
• you, fir, are incorrigible, and
“ Before the stage was purg'd from barbarism,'' &c. Stowe informs us, (p• 697, edit. 1615,) that among the twelve players who were sworn the queen's servants in 1583, “ were two rare men, viz. Thomas Wilson, for a quicke delicate refined extemporall wirt; and Richard Tarleton, for a wondrous plentifull, pleasant extemporall wilt,” &c.
Again, in Tarleton's Newes from Purgatory : “ - I absented myself from all plaies, as wanting that merrye Roscius of plaiers that famosed all comedies fo with his pleasant and extemporall invenion." STIEVINS.
M L ET
T laugh, to set on some quantity of barren fpe&tators to laugh too; though, in the mean time, fome necessary question of the play be then to be considered : that's villainous; and Thews a most pitiful ambition in the fool that uses it. Go, make you ready.
[Exeunt Players. Enter POLONIUS, ROSENCRANTZ, and GUILDEN.
How now, my lord? will the king hear this piece of works
Pol. And the queen too, and that presently.
Ham. Bid the players make haite.- [Exit POLONIUS. Will you two help to halten them?
Both. Ay, r.y lord. [Exeunt Ros. and Guil.
Ham. Horatio, thou art e’en as just a man
Hor. O, my dear lord,
Ham. Nay, do not think I fatter:
The clown very often addressed the audience, in the middle of the play, and entered into a contest of raillery and sarcasm with such of the audience as chose to engage with him. It is to this absurd practice that Shakspeare alludes. See the Historical Account of our old English Tbeatres. Vol. I. Part II. MALONE.
- the pregnant binges of tbe knee,] I believe the sense of prego nant in this place is, quick, ready, prompt. Johnson.
my dear soul -] Dear soul is an expreslion equivalent to the pira yuvala, vihov stog, of Homer. STLIVIN8,
She hath seal'd thee for herself? : for thou hast been
Hor. Well, my lord :
Ham. They are coming to the play; I must be idle :
And could of men distinguish, her election
Harb seal'd thee for herself. MALONE. 3 Wbofe blood and judgment-] According to the doctrine of the four humours, desire and confidence were feated in the blood, and judgment in the phlegm, and the due mixture of the humours made a perfect character. JOHNSON.
4 co-mingled,] Thus the folio. The quarto reads--comedled; which had formerly the same meaning. MALONE.
5-Vulcan's ftithy.) Stirby is a smith's anvil. JOANS So, in Troilus and Cressida :
“ Now by the forge that fitbied Mars's helm." So, in Greene's Card of Fancy, 1608:-“determined to Atrike on the birb while the iron was hot," STIEVENS,
Danish march. A flourish. Enter King, Queen, Polo
NIUS,OPHELIA, ROSENCRANTZ,GUILDENSTERN, and Others. King. How fares our cousin Hamlet?
Ham. Excellent, i' faith; of the camelion's dith: I eat the air, promise-cramm'd: You cannot feed capons fo.
King. I have nothing with this answer, Hamlet; these words are not mine.
Ham. No, nor mine now My lord,—you play'd once in the university", you say? [to Polonius.
6 — ror mine now.] A man's words, says the proverb, are his own no longer than he keeps them unspoken. JOHNSON.
7 you play'd once in tbe university,] The practice of acting Latin plays in the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, is very ancient, and continued to near the middle of the laft century. They were performed occafionally for the entertainment of princes and other great personages; and regularly at Christmas, at which time a Lord of misrule was appointed at Oxford, to regulate the exhibitions, and a fimilar officer with the title of Imperator, at Cambridge. The most celebrated actors at Cambridge were the itudents of St. John's and King's colleges : at Oxford, those of Christ Church. In the hall of that college a Latin comedy called Marcus Geminus, and the Latin tragedy of Progne, were performed before Queen Elizabeth in the year 1566; and in 1564, the Latin tragedy of Dido was played before her majesty, when the vihted the university of Cambridge. The ex. hibition was in the body or nave of the chapel of King's college, which was lighted by the royal guards, each of whom bore a stafftorch in his hand. See Peck's Defider. Cur. p. 36. n. x. The actors in this piece were all of that college. The authour of the tragedy, who in the Latin account of this royal visit, in the Museum, (MSS. Baker, 7037, p. 203,] is said to have been Regalis Collegii olim focius, was, I believe, John Rightwise, who was elected a fellow of King's college, in 1507, and according to Anthony Wood, “made the tragedy of Dido out of Virgil, and acted the same with the scholars of his school, (St. Paul's, of which he was appointed master in 1522,] before Cardinal Wolsey with great applause.” In 1583, the same play was performed at Oxford, in Christ Church hall, before Albertus de Alasco, a Polish prince Palatine, as was William Gager's Latin comedy, entitled Rivales. On Elizabeth's second visit to Oxford, in 1592, a few years before the writing of the present play, she was entertained on the 24th and 26th of September, with the representa