I, ii, 44.

12. Leigemen. Minsheu says, 'a liege or liefe man is he that

oweth legeancie (from liga, Italian, a bond or obligation) to his liege lord; and that liege lord signifies he who acknow

ledges no superior.' The Dane- the king of Denmark, as in 13. Give you good-night. Resolve as grammatically, (God) give (to) you.

This adieu, which is in the Fratricide Avenged spoken by the First Sentinel, who represents Francisco here, and who avers that he has seen 'a ghost in the front of the castle,' is tauntingly responded to by the Second Sentinel in these words, Only be off; perhaps you were born on a Sunday, and can see ghosts of all sorts. This reference to the supposed) activity of the imagination in Sunday-born children, an idea which was widely prevalent in Shakespeare's time, acquires some importance when we remember that 23d April 1564, the traditional day of that poet's birth, was a Sunday, as it seems to hint at a settlement of the birth-date and to indicate a Shakespearian origin for the German ver

sion of the play above-named. 16. A piece of him. Horatio calls his hand, as he touches that of

the soldier, a piece of himself, because he could not be distinctly seen in the dark shade of the battlement'-Dr C. M. Ingleby's The Still Lion, p. 136. Perhaps he means

his presence, not his heart. 18. This thing. Here is another masterly fore-touch of the vaguely

terrible. No name has yet suggested itself for this seeming, shadowy something which has excited fear, yet has not stepped forth into knowableness, and may be but a 'fantasy'

born of thought. 20. Fantasy—'The shaping spirit of imagination,' fancy. An idea

conjured up by the disturbed senses, deceiving the intellect. 21. Will not let belief take hold of him. This resistance of the will

to the evidence of the sight is a fine preparation for the acceptance of the 'apparition as a reality when it enters to

approve our eyes. 24. Minutes of this night-a pleonasm to indicate the careful weari.

ness of the watch to be undergone. Used also by Ford in

Fancies Chaste and Noble, V, i, 151. 26. Approve-from Italian approvare, furnish evidence. 28. Assail. fortified. Soldierly phrases for tell the tale once

more which you are so unwilling to regard as true. 30. Two nights. The number three, the mysterious proof-number

in all things relative to dreams, apparitions, etc., was now within a moment of giving the requisite attestation, and hence the poetic need of this reference to the experiences of the past. Three and its multiples constitute the favourite figures

of fantasy and fairy-land, witchcraft and magic. 32. Last night of all (nights]. 'Of all’ signifies especially, particu•


[ocr errors]

33. Yon same star the bell then beating one.

The circumstantial and elaborate description of self-sameness of time is tellingly introduced as an immediate preface to the Ghost's

appearance. 37. Break thee off. 'For reasons of euphony the ponderous thou is

often, ungrammatically, replaced by thee.' . Thee, thus used, follows imperatives which, being themselves emphatic, require an unemphatic pronoun. The Elizabethans reduced thou to thee; we have gone further, and reject it altogether. See

Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar, pars. 205, 212. 39. A scholar. One able to speak Latin, the language in which

exorcisms (conjuro te, etc.) were written and spoken. So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Night Walker, Toby proposes to

* Call the butler up, for he speaks Latin,

And that will daunt the devil'-II, i, 103, 104. The exorcist employed this palindrome, or line spelling the same backwards as forwards:

Signa te signa temere me tangis et angis.' 40. This line does not appear in the quarto 1611. Caldecott re

gards it as an interpolation, and remarks that 'for the purpose of making Horatio's answer more obviously intelligible, our player-editors or the taste of the age interposed this speech of Bernardo's,' and thus defends the old quarto's omission of the line: 'It is natural that the surprise and terror of the speaker should bear some proportion to the degree of his former confidence and incredulity; and the art and address of our poet is shown by making Horatio's answer (a reply not to the last speech and request made, but an observation upon an observation of a preceding speaker) expressive of

that alarm in which he was absorbed.' 41. Harrows.

In quarto 1603 this word is given as horrors, that is, stirs a terrible fear within me. It is a peculiarity of Shakespeare to use nouns as verbs, in this manner. Compare scandal,' Cymbeline, III, iv; 'virgined,' Coriolanus, V, iii; 'niggard,' Yulius Cæsar, IV, iii. Modern editors after first folio

read harrows, troubles and distresses me, taking the force of the word to be a figurative transfer of the action of the harrow upon the clods and furrows to the mind, and making the word akin to harry, to tease, vex, torment, and overcome, distract ; but taking up: too, the meaning of harry, to ravage, and harass, to annoy. Harrow is derived, (1) from harrow, Danish harr, German harke, a rake; (2) herry, to seize; (3) Norman-French haroo, an interjection indicating need of help. Harry comes from Anglo-Saxon hergian, to tease; and harass from French harasser, to lay waste, to desolate.

See 'harrow up,' I, v, 16. 43. Usurp'st—assumest unwarrantedly and takest as thine own.


52. Onl. On used for of, in the sense of about it.'
54. Avouchfor avouchment, unmistakable evidence.
55. Like .... as thou art to thyself. So in The Historie of King

Leir and his Three Daughters, 1605, we have (Hazlitt's
Shakespeare's Library, vol. vi, p. 327), 'So like to me as I

am to myself.' 58. Norway-sovereign of Norway. 59. Parlefrom French parler, to speak, as we now use parley. Conference held between enemies with a view to come to

So Giles Fletcher uses it, "When they besiege a towne or fort they offer much parle, and send many flattering messages to persuade a surrendring'-Of the Russe Commonwealth, 1591. Compare The Taming of the Shrew, I, i, 117;

King John, II, i, 205, 226; Richard II, I, i, 192, etc. 60. Sledded Polacks—the sledge-driving Polanders. Sled is a sledge,

a dray. See Synonymorum Sylva, 1595. Polack is the term constantly used for Pole by Blase de Vignere in his Chroniques et Annales de Poloigne, 1573. The old copies give Pollax, representing the pronunciation of Polacks.' In The Russe Commonwealth, by Giles Fletcher the elder, 1591, we find this explanation of the term: “The Polonian, whom the Russe calleth Laches, noting the first author or founder of the nation, who was called Laches or Leches, whereunto is added Po, which signifieth people, and so is made Polaches ; that is, the people or posteritie of Laches, which the Latins after their manner of writing call Polanos' (p. 65). Henry III, in his epitaph by Passeratius, as translated by F. Davi. son in Camden's Remaines, is spoken of as the great king

"That ruled the fickle French and Polacks bold.'

Boswell says it is just possible that Polax may be right,

being put for the person who carried the pole-axe,' which he shows, from a passage in Milton's Briefe History of Muscovie, was a mark of rank among the Muscovites. It must be remembered that Finland, Esthonia, and Livonia, the icy regions along the Baltic, where sledges would be most used, belonged to the kingdom of Poland before they were ceded to Charles XI. of Sweden; and that it was only in 1703 that Russia began to come into contact with the Baltic'

-REV. C. E. MOBERLY. 62. Just. The quartos 1603 and 1604 have jump; the folio gives

just. In the translation of the Andria of Terence by Maurice Kyffin, 1588, we have : 'Comes he this day so jump in the very time of this marriage' (V, i); and in George Chapman's May Day, 1611, there occurs:

'Your appointment was jump at three with me.'

See-' Ita attemperate venit hodie, he comes so jump, or in

the very nick to-day; in season, at the very point'-R. Ber

nard's Terence, in English (1598), p. 101, 1607. 65. Gross and scope-whole field of thought taken in at one view. 69. Toilscauses to overlabour. Subject-people. 74. Toward-on hand, about to happen, imminent. See V, ii, 352. 82. This side of our known world. The eastern hemisphere as

distinguished from the western, a somewhat anachronistic

phrase. 83. Compáct. Accent on last syllable, as in As You Like It, V, iv, 5. 84. Law and heraldryfor heraldic law. George Puttenham, in

the Art of English Poesie, speaks of a manner of speech wherein we seeme to make two of one not thereunto constrained, which therefore we call the figure of Twynnes, the Greeks, Endiadis, thus: “Horses and barbes," for barbed horses; “ with venim and with darts,” for venimous dartes'

(1589, p. 147). Compare 'gross and scope,' line 65. 90. Cov'nant. This is the reading of the folio 1623; the quarto

1604 reads co-mart,' which, as no other instance of the

word is known, is understood to signify joint-bargain. 91. Carriage—fair interpretation or inference. Design'd-aforesaid. 92. Young Fortinbras, of unimproved mettle hot and full. Here

the wise poet, with admirable preparatory foresight, allows Fortinbras to pass before our imagination in the opening scene, just after the first appearance of the Ghost. He comes stili nearer to us in the audience-scene with the king (I, ii, 17), and in the report of Voltimand and Cornelius (II, ii, 68). In IV, iv, he actually enters in person, and announces himself in a few words, as going directly to the performance of his duty; and in V, ii, he reappears, the hero of accomplished duty, to wear the lapsed crown of Denmark. Thus the poet himself rebuts the objection raised by the Rev. Joseph Hunter regarding the introduction of Fortinbras as a new character. These external relations, the old feud resulting in the fresh intrigues in Norway, the diplomatic action between the two sovereignties, and the war with Poland, place the piece in the world-whirl of events, and show us that the tragedy is

only a view of a part of the mystery of life. 93. Mettle hot and full. So in the Gentleman's Recreations hawks

are spoken of as 'hardy and full of mettle.' 94. Skirts-outlying parts, borderlands. 95. Shark'd-gathered together hastily and stealthily. Scroccare,

to shark up or shift for anything, to snap. By a natural metaphor from the indiscriminate voracity of the fish, we

use the words shark, to steal, sharker, a thief. Ib. List-muster-roll. Quarto 1603 reads sight. 97. Stomach—adventurousness, courage-Henry V, IV, iii, 35. 100. Compulsative. From the frequentative compulso. This is the

reading of the folios; the quartos give conipulsatory as if from compulsator. In Hamlet, III, iv, 87, and Othello, III, iii,


454, we have compulsive from compello, and these words are

not elsewhere used by Shakespeare. 104. Romage-rummage, thorough ransack or search, busy and

disorderly stir. The term was formerly used among sailors for the complete clearing out of a cargo; making room and

the roaming about while doing so. 105-122. These lines are omitted in folio 1623; but they occur in

all the quartos except that of 1603. 108. Question ofthe main cause of stir in regard to. 109. Mote. Matt. vii, 3-5. uli. The mightiest Julius-Cæsar. See Julius Cæsar, II, iv. Com.

pare also Julius Cæsar, II, ii, 18-24, Plutarch's Cæsar, and

Lucan's Pharsalia, by C. Marlow, 1600, i, 507-565. 114. As stars, etc. This passage commentators regard as "hope

lessly mutilated.' It has given rise to many conjectures. Rowe printed :

Stars shone with trains of fire, dews of blood fell,
Disasters veiled the sun,' etc.

Boaden thought a line is lost, probably of this kind:

'[The heavens too, spoke in silent prodigies,]
As stars,' etc.

S. W. Singer thinks we might read:

'[And as the earth, so portents fill the sky,)

As stars,' etc.

Rev. Charles E. Moberly suggests that 'if a line is supposed to be omitted, it would be better to borrow from Julius Cæsar, II, ii, and read :'

'[Fierce fiery warriors fought upon the clouds,)

As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood.

Perhaps the simplest resolution of the difficulty would be to

read : Roman streets, astir with,' etc. 115. The moist star—the moon, ruler of the tides. See:

"The chaste beams of the watery moon

-Midsummer Night's Dream, II, i, 162;

'Nine changes of the watery star'

r'-Winter's Tale, I, ii, 1;

and Christopher Marlow's Hero and Leander, 1590:

‘Nor that night-wandering, pale and watery star'-i, 107.

118. Precurse—precedents and foreshadowings. 119. Harbingers. Macbeth, I, iv, 45. 120. Prologue to the omen coming on—announcer of the fate im

« ElőzőTovább »