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you :-(taking Guil. afide.] Why do you go about to recover the wind of me, as if you would drive me into a toil?
Guil. O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly
Ham. I do not well understand that. Will you play spon this pipe ? Guil. My lord, I cannot. Ham. I pray you. Guil. Believe me, I cannot. Ham. I do beseech you. Guil. I know no touch of it, my lord.
Ham. 'Tis as easy as lying: govern these ventages s with your fingers and thumb, give it breath with your
- to recover the wind of me,] So, in an ancient Ms. play entitled Tbe second Maidens Tragedy :
Is that next? “ Why then I have your ladyship in tbe wind." STEEVENS. 4 O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.] i. e. if my duty to the king makes me press you a little, my love to you makes me ft Il more importunate. If that makes me bold, this makes me even unmannerly. WARBURTON.
I believe we should sead-my love is not unmannerly. My concep. tion of this paffage is, that, in consequence of Hamlet's moving to take the recorder, Guildenstern also shifts his ground, in order to place himself benearb the prince in his new position. This Hamlet ludi. crously calls “ going about to recover i be wind," &c. and Guildenstern may answer properly enough, I think, and like a courtier; “ if my dury to the king makes me too bold in pressing you upon a disagreeable subject, my love to you will make me not unmannerly, in shewing you all posible marks of respect and attention." TYRWHITT.
ventages -] The holes of a flute. JOHNSON. - and ibumb, ] The firft quarto reads-with your fingers and the umber. This may probably be the ancient name for that piece of moveable brass at the end of a fute, which is either raised or depressed by the finger. The word umber is used by Stowe the chronicler, who, describing a single combat between two knights-says, “ he brait up his umber three times.” Here, the umber means the visor of the helmet. So, in Spenser's Faery Queene, b. 3. c. 1. ft. 42:
“ But the brave maid would not disarmed be,
“ But only vented up her umbriere, " And so did let her goodly visage to appere." STEEVENS. If a recorder had a brais key like the German Flute, we are to follow the reading of the quarto; for then the thumb is not concerned in the government of the ventages or stops. If a recorder was like a tabourer's
mouth, and it will discourse moft eloquent mufick. Look you, these are the stops?.
Guit. But these cannot I command to any utterance of harmony; I have not the skill.
Ham. Why, look you now, how unworthy a thing you make of me? You would play upon me; you
would seem to know my stops ; you would pluck out the heart of my mystery ; you would sound me from my lowest note to the top of my compass: and there is much musick, excellent voice, in this little organ; yet cannot you make it speak. 'Sblood, do you think, I am easier to be play'd on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.
Enter POLONIUS. God bless
fir! Pol. My lord, the queen would speak with you, and presently.
Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost in shape of a camel ?
Pol. By the mass, and 'tis like a camel, indeed.
tipt, which has no brass key, but has a stop for the thumb, we are to read -Govern these ventages with your finger and thumb. In Cote grave's Di&tionary, ombre, ombraire, ombriere, and ombrelle, are all from the Latin umbra, and lignify a shadow, an umbrella, or any thing that shades or hides the face from the sun; and hence they may have been applied to any thing that hides or covers another; as for example, they may have been applied to the brass key that covers the hole in the German flute. So Spenser used umbriere for the visor of the helmet, as Rous's history of the Kings of England uses umbrella in the same sense. TOLLET,
1- tbe stops.] The sounds formed by occasionally stopping the holes; while the instrument is played upon. So, in the Prologue to K. Henry V.
« Rumour is a pipe
“ And of so easy and so plain a flop,” &c. MALONE. & Metbinks, it is like a weazel.
Pol. It is back'd like a weazel.] Thus the quarto, 1604, and the folio. The weazel, Mr. Steevens observes, is remarkable for the length of its back. In a more modern quarto, that of 1611, back’d, the original reading, was corrupted into black., VOL. IX.
Ham. Or, like a whale ?
Ham. Then will I come to my mother by and by.
[Exit POLONIUS. Ham. By and by is easily said.-Leave me, friends.
[Exeunt Ros. Guil. Hor. &c. 'Tis now the very witching time of night; When church-yards yawn, and hell itself breathes out Contagion to this world: Now could I drink hot blood, And do such business as the bitter day" Would quake to look on. Soft ; now to my mother. 0, heart, lose not thy nature; let not ever
Perhaps in the original edition the words camel and weazel were futtled out of their places. The poet might have intended the dialogue to proceed thus :
Ham. Do you see yonder cloud, that's almost in the fhape of a
Pol. It is back'd like a camel. The protuberant back of a camel seems more to resemble a cloud; than the back of a weazel does. MALONE,
Mr. Tollet observes, that we might read-_" it is beck'd like a weasel," i. e. weasel-snouted. So, in Holinhed's Descriprion of England, p. 172: “ if he be wesell-becked." Quarles uses this term of reproach in his Virgin Widow : "Go, you weazel-fnouted, addle-pated," &c. Mr. Tollett adds, that Milton, in his Lycidas, calls a promontory beaked, i. e. prominent like the beak of a bird. STEEVENS.
9 They fool me to the top of my bent.- ] They compel me to play the fool, till I can endure it no longer. JOHNSON See p. 246, n. 5. MALONE.
And do fuck business as the bitter day-] Thus the quarto. The folio reads:
And do such bitter bufiness as the day, &c. MALONE. The expression bitter business is still in use, and though at present a sulgar phrase, might not have been such in the age of Shakspeare. The bitter day is the day rendered hateful or bitter by the commission of fome act of mischief.
Watts, in his Logic, says: “ Bitter is an equivocal word: there is bitter wormwood, there are bitter words, there are biller enemies, and a bitter cold morning." It is, in lort, any thing unpleasing or hurtful.
The foul of Nero enter this firm bosom :
A Room in the fame.
King. I like him not; nor stands it safe with us,
2 I will speak daggers to ber,] A fimilar expression occurs in The Return from Parnalus: “ They are pestilent fellows, they speak no. thing but bodkins." It has been already observed, that a bodkin an. ciently fignified a port dagger. STEEVENS.
be shent,) To shend, is to reprove harshly, to treat with inju; riogs language. So, in Tbe Coxcomb of B. and Fletcher:
We shall be sent foundly." STEEVENS. See Vol. VII. p. 286, n. 3. MALONE. 4 T. giove ebem seals-] t. e. put them in execution, WARBURTON, 5 I like bim not; nor ftands it safe with us, To let bis madness range. Therefore, prepare you; I your commission will fortbwitb dispatcb,
And be to England shall along with you :) In The History of Hamblert, bl. let. the king does not adopt this scheme of fending Hamlet to England till after the death of Polonius; and though he is described as doubtful whether Polonius was Nain by Hamlet, his apprehenfion left he might himself meet the same fate as the old courtier, is affigned as the motive for his wishing the prince out of the kingdom. This at first inclined me to think that this short scene, either from the Degligence of the copyist or the printer, might have been misplaced ; but it is certainly printed as the authour intended, for in the next scene Hamlet fays to his mother, “ I must to England; you know that?" before the king could have heard of the death of Polonius.
Out of his lunes 6.
Guil. We will ourselves provide :
Rof. The single and peculiar life is bound,
6 Out of bis lunes.] The quarto reads out of his brows; the folia out of his lunacies. Lunes was introduced by Mr. Theobald. Shakspeare probably had here the following passage in The History of Hamba lett, bl.l. in his thoughts : “ Fengon could not content himselfe, but still his mind gave him that the foole (Hamlei] would play him fome cricke of legerdemaine. And in that conceit seeking to be rid of him, determined to find the meanes to doe it, by the aid of a stranger; making the king of England minister of his massacrous resolution, to whom he purposed to send him." MALONE.
i take brows to be, properly read, frows, which, I think, is a provincial word for perverse bumours; which being, I suppose not underftood, was changed to luracies. But of this I am not confident. Johnson.
I would receive Theobald's emendation, because Shakspeare uses the word lunes in the same sense in The Merry Wives of Windsor, and Tbe Winter's Tale. From the redundancy of the measure nothing can be inferred,
Since this part of my note was written, I have met with an instance in support of Dr. Johnson's conjecture : - were you but as favourable as you are frowis,-."
Tully's Love, by Greene, 1616. Perhaps, however, Shakspeare designed a metaphor from horned cattle, whose powers of being dangerous encrease with the growib of tbeir brows. STEEVENS. 1 Tbat spirit upon wbose wcal-) So the quarto. The folio gives,
That spirit, upon whose spirit,- STEEVENS. : 8 - it is a mally wheel,] Thus the folio. The quarto readsm-Or it is, &c. MALONE.