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in the usages of the English theatre, or, I believe, in the theatres of the more polished nations of Europe. What nearest approach to it, and may be by some mistaken for it, are the Dumb-shows in Sackville's Gorboduc and Gascoign's Jocasta. But whoever considers these shows attentively will perceive that they are something essentially different from the exhibition of the very action which is immediately to follow with the accompanying dialogue. They are, in fact, but so many moralizations, resembling the choruses of the Greek drama, the moral lessons being read in action rather than in words. I do not recollect any other English play with a dumb-show even of this kind; and Ophelia's question, 'What means this, my lord?' and Will he tell us what this show meant?' prove that shows such as these made no part of the common dramatic entertainments of England." Hunter then proceeds to state his theory, that "such strange and unsuitable anticipations were according to the common practice of the Danish theatre." His argument, however, is founded on a totally mistaken inference, as Elze conclusively points out in his edition, pp. 187, 188. The fact remains that dumb-shows of this sort were unknown to the stage, and that Shakespeare must therefore have had a very definite reason for introducing this one-perhaps the reason thrown out by Caldecott, and also given by Knight.

354. Lines 147, 148: Marry, this is MICHING MALLECHO; it means mischief.-Miching mallecho is Malone's universally received rendering of the Miching Malicho of Ff.; munching Mallico of Qq. Mallecho is probably the Spanish malheco, which it is convenient to render mischief. The meaning is, more literally, a wicked deed. Micher occurs in I. Henry IV. ii. 4. 451, in the sense which it still has among boys, a truant: "Shall the blessed sun of heaven prove a micher and eat blackberries?" (a turn of phrase which recalls the French idiom for the same thing, faire l'école buissonière). Minsheu has: "To Miche, or secretly to hide himself out of the way, as Truants doe from schoole;" and Florio, coming somewhat nearer to the sense we want, defines Acciapinare: "To miche, to shrug or sneake in some corner." Miching mallecho may therefore not unreasonably be taken to mean underhand wickedness, or, as the Clarendon Press edd. put it, sneaking or skulking mischief. Maginn suggested in Fraser's Magazine, Dec. 1839, that the true reading was indicated in the Qq., and was mucho malhecho, much mischief.

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355. Line 162: Is this a prologue, or the posy of a ring? -Ft. print Poesie. See Merchant of Venice, v. 1. 147150, and note 355. These posies, or mottoes, chiefly for rings, are frequently referred to in Elizabethan plays. Compare Two Noble Kinsmen, iv. 1. 88-91:

Rings she made

Of rushes that grew by, and to 'em spoke

The prettiest posies,-" Thus our true love 's tide," "This you may loose, not me," and many a one. -Ed. Littledale (N. Shak. Soc.), p. 72. In his notes to the play Mr. Littledale refers to several plays of Beaumont and Fletcher for references to these pories-Knight of the Burning Pestle, v. 3; Loyal Subject, ii. 2 ("the jewels set within "); Pilgrim, i. 2 ("Be constant, fair, still?' 'Tis the posy here, and here without, "Be good"); Woman Hater, iv. 1 ("poesies for chim

neys"); Rule a Wife, iv. 1 ("a blind posy in 't, 'Love and a mill-horse should go round together'"). Compare Browning, The Ring and the Book, bk. i. line 1390: A ring without a posy, and that ring mine? -Vol. i. p. 72.

356. Line 165: Enter a King and a Queen.-Strachey observes in reference to the interlude, that its introduction, as in other plays, "heightens our feeling of the main Play being a real action of men and women, while the rhyme, &c., and the whole structure of the Interlude, distinguish it from the real dialogue, in a way corresponding with that which has been pointed out in reference to the player's recital of the speech of Eneas" (p. 66).

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362. Line 214: The great man down, you mark his FAVOURITE flies.-F. 1 has favourites, which Abbott defends and Furness adopts, considering flies one of the numerous instances of the third person plural in s. The sense is certainly much better in this reading, for it expresses (better than the singular would do) the defection of the diminished great man's swarm of favourites and flatterers. I should adopt it were it not for the hideous sound produced by the sequence favourites flies-an effect on the ear so grating that I cannot for a moment believe that Shakespeare would have tolerated it.

363. Line 229: AN ANCHOR'S cheer in prison be my scope! -This and the preceding line are omitted in Ff. The reading in the text (an for the and of Qq.) is Theobald's, universally adopted and most probably right, though I think that and is not necessarily wrong. Anchor is of course anchorite, or hermit, from Anglo-Saxon ancor, an abbreviation of Greek άvaxwprs, one who is withdrawn. Compare The Vision of Piers Ploughman, 1. 55:

And ancres and heremites

That holden hem in hire selles;

and the Romance of Robert the Devil, printed by Wynkyn de Worde: "We have robbed and killed nonnes, holy aunkers, preestes," &c.

364. Line 249: Gonzago is the DUKE'S name.--Elze points out a similar confusion of duke and king in the tragedy of Gorboduc: in the argument and the names of the speakers Gorboduc is styled Kynge of Brittayne and Kynge of great Brittayne, whereas in "The Order of the dome shewe before the firste Acte" we read: "As befell vpon Duke Gorboduc deuidinge his Lande to his two Sonnes." Walker, Crit. Exam. ii. 280-282, Article CIV. points out that in Love's Labour's Lost the King is sometimes styled Duke; in Twelfth Night, Orsino is sometimes Duke, sometimes Count; in Two Gent. of Verona, Duke and Emperor are confounded; in Titus Andronicus, Emperor and King; in Beaumont and Fletcher, Cupid's Revenge, the Duke and his consort are styled Duke and Queen, and the heir to a dukedom talks of becoming a king; in Sidney's Arcadia, Basilius is sometimes called King, sometimes Duke. He winds up with: "king, count, and duke, were one and the same to the poet, all involving alike the idea of sovereign power; and thus might easily be confounded with each other in the memory."

365. Line 253: let the galled jade wince.-A proverbial expression. Steevens quotes Edwards, Damon and Pythias, 1582: "I know the gall'd horse will soonest wince;" and the Clarendon Press editors refer to Mother Bombie, i. 3, and Lyly's Euphues, p. 119 (ed. Arber): "For well I know none will winch except she be gaulded."

366. Lines 256, 257: I could interpret between you and your love, if I could see the PUPPETS dallying.-Compare Two Gentlemen of Verona, ii. 1. 100, 101: "O excellent motion! O exceeding puppet! Now will he interpret her." An interpreter, in the old puppet-shows, was the person who had charge of the dialogue. Steevens quotes Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1621: "It was I that penned the moral of man's wit, the dialogue of Dives, and for seven years' space was absolute interpreter of the puppets;" and Elze cites Nash, Pierce Pennilesse, ed. Collier, p. 21: "the puling accent of her voyce is like a fained treble, or ones voyce that interprets to the puppets."

367. Line 262: So you MUST TAKE your husbands.—Qq. read So you mistake your husbands; Ff. So you mistake Husbands; the reading in the text (that of Pope) is derived from Q. 1: So you must take your husband. It seems to me decidedly preferable; indeed, the arguments in favour of the mistake can only be qualified by the word which they prefer.

368. Line 264: "the croaking raven doth bellow for re

venge." This is a satirical condensation, as Simpson pointed out in the Academy, Dec. 19, 1874, of the following lines of the True Tragedy of Richard the Third: The screeking raven sits croking for revenge, Whole herds of beasts comes bellowing for revenge. -Sh. Soc. Reprint, p. 61.

369. Line 285: So runs the world away.-So F. 1. The reading Thus, adopted by many editors, seems to me much poorer.

370. Line 286: a forest of feathers.—Malone observes: "It appears from Decker's Gul's Hornbooke, that feathers were much worn on the stage in Shakespeare's time;" but the only reference that I can find to feathers on the stage (ch. vi. How a Gallant should behave himself in a Playhouse) does not refer to the actors, but to the "gallant" who takes his seat upon the stage. "But on the very rushes where the comedy is to dance, yea, and under the state of Cambyses himself, must our feathered estrich, like a piece of ordnance, be planted valiantly, because impudently, beating down the mews and hisses of the opposed rascality." Compare T. Randolph, The Muses Looking-Glass, i. 1 and 2 (Works, ed. W. C. Hazlitt, p. 182). The scene is at the Globe Theatre.

"Mrs. Flowerdew (wife to a haberdasher of small-wares). I come to sell 'em pins and looking glasses.

Bird (the feather-man). I have their custom too for all their feathers.

Enter Roscius, a Player.
Bird, Master Roscius, we have brought the things you spake for.
Roscius. Why, 't is well.

Mrs. Flowerdew. Pray, sir, what serve they for?
Roscius. We use them in our play."

371. Line 287: if the rest of my fortunes TURN TURK with me.-Steevens cites Greene's Tu Quoque, 1614: "This it is to turn Turk, from an absolute and most compleat gentleman, to a most absurd, ridiculous, and fond lover" (Hazlitt's Dodsley, xi. 226). Compare Much Ado, iii. 4. 57.

372. Line 288: with two PROVINCIAL ROSES on my RAZED shoes.-Roses were the rosettes worn on shoes, much as they are still used, sometimes, by ladies on their slippers. The word is of very frequent recurrence in the dramatists; one of the stage-directions in Massinger's City Madam, i. 1, is: "Enter Luke, with shoes, garters, fans, and roses,” Provincial roses are rosettes in the shape of roses of Proence or of Provins. Cotgrave has: "Rose de Provence. The Prouince Rose, the double Damaske Rose;" and "Rose de Provins. The ordinary double red Rose." Gerarde in his Herbal speaks of the damask rose as Rosa provincialis. Hunter (Illustrations of Shakespeare, vol. ii. p. 254) gives an extract from Peacham's Truth of our Times, 1638, showing that as much as £30 was sometimes given for a pair of roses.-Razed shoes were probably slashed shoes. See Stubbes, Anatomie of Abuses, ed. 1583; p. 57, New Sh. Soc. Reprint, ed. F. J. Furnivall, 1877: “To these their nether-stocks, they have corked shooes, pinsnets, and fine pantofles, which beare them vp a finger or two [two inches or more, ed. 1505] from the ground; wherof some be of white leather, some of black, and some of red, some of black veluet, some of white, some of red, some of green, raced, carued, cut, and stitched all ouer with silk, and laid on with golde, siluer, and such like." The Clarendon Press edd. quote Randle Holme, Academy of Armory,

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374. Line 295: pajock.-This is the reading of F. 3, F. 4. Q. 2, Q. 3, Q. 4, Q. 5 have paiock; F. 1, Q. 6 paiocke; F. 2 pajocke; Q. (1676) paicock; Q. (1095) pecock. A number of explanations and of emendations has been suggested, Polish, Phoenician, and Swedish being laid under contribution, though one may wonder where Shakespeare got his knowledge of these not very generally known languages. The most fascinating suggestion is that of F. Leo (Notes and Queries, Jan. 21, 1865), who calmly conjectures that the mysterious word is merely a stage-direction for "hiccups"-the said hiccup being produced by Hamlet as a polite substitution for the word, which is on the tip of his tongue. Dyce, with less originality, defends the common reading pajock, which he says is "certainly equivalent to peacock. I have often heard the lower classes in the north of Scotland call the peacock 'the peajock, and their almost invariable name for the turkeycock is 'bubbly-jock.'" F. A. Marshall, Study of Hamlet, p. 157, note, remarks that Mr. Irving, in speaking these lines, gives" a new force to the word 'pajock' or 'peacock,' which Hamlet substitutes for the manifest rhyme 'ass,' by looking at the fan of peacock's feathers which he had borrowed from Ophelia, and held in his hand during the representation of the play, as if that had suggested to him the substitution."

375. Line 303: the recorders.-The recorder was an instrument like a flageolet, or flute with a mouthpiece. It was held in great esteem on account of its "approaching nearest to the sweet delightfulness of the human voice." See Chappell's Popular Music of the Olden Time, p. 246 (quoted in Furness, p. 268), and compare Midsummer Night's Dream, v. 1. 123, 124 ("he hath play'd on his prologue like a child on a recorder"), and note 264 to that play. At line 359 below, the stage-direction is: "Re-enter Players with Recorders;" and Hamlet says: "O, the recorders! let me see one."

376. Line 315: No, my lord, RATHER with choler.-This is the reading of Ff.; rather is omitted in Qq., which many editors follow.

377. Lines 348, 349: by these pickers and stealers.-An allusion, doubtless, to the admonishment in the Church Catechism to keep our hands from picking and stealing. Elze quotes A Larum for London: "Or with my sword I'll hack your filchers off" (Simpson's School of Shakspere, 1872, p. 72). "By this hand!" is used as a mild oath in Merchant of Venice, v. 1. 161, and elsewhere in Shakespeare. In II. Henry VI. i. 3. 193, Peter, the armourer's man, swears "By these ten bones, my lords." Compare Beaumont and Fletcher, Philaster, ii. 2, where Pharamond says to Galatea: "By this sweet hand."


378. Line 358: "While the grass grows."- Malone cites the whole proverb from Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578:

Whylst grass doth growe, oft sterves the seely steede; and from the Paradise of Dainty Devices, 1578: To whom of old this proverbe well it serves,

While grass doth growe, the silly horse he sterves.

379. Line 360: To withdraw with you.-It is a matter of still unsettled conjecture to whom these words are addressed, and what is their precise meaning. Malone added the stage-direction: "Taking Guildenstern aside;" Steevens supposed the words to be said interrogatively in response to a gesture of Guildenstern's; and emendations of the text have been proposed. It seems to me that the words are capable of either of two meanings. The players have just re-entered with recorders. Hamlet turns to them, takes an instrument, and then, turning again to Guildenstern and Rosencrantz, takes up the thread of conversation with "To withdraw with you-" moving apart with them as he speaks, so as to be out of the players' hearing. Or it may be, as the players come in, Hamlet is about to leave his friends and join them-"To withdraw with you," as he says, parenthetically; when, a thought striking him-a thought suggested by the pipe he has in his hand-he turns back to his friends with the words which follow.

380. Lines 363, 364: O, my lord, if my duty be too bold, my love is too unmannerly.-This is a vague compliment, which need not be forced into a special meaning. As far as any explanation is necessary, or feasible, it is given by Warburton: "If my duty to the king makes me press you a little, my love to you makes me still more importunate. If that makes me bold, this makes me even unmannerly.”

381. Line 373: fingers and THUMB.-Q. 2, Q. 3 have the umber instead of thumb, an evident misprint, which Steevens tried to justify by supposing umber to be an old name for a brass key at the end of the recorder. But in the first place it is by no means certain, or even likely, that the recorders of Shakespeare's time had such a brass key; and if they had, we have no reason to suppose that umber (which is used in the Faerie Queene for "visor") was the name for them.

382. Line 375: most ELOQUENT music.-So Qq.; Ff. have excellent.

383. Lines 388, 389: though you can fret me, you cannot play upon me.-Q. 1 has "yet you cannot play upon me," which is perhaps a preferable reading, though there is not much to choose between the two. It is adopted by the Cambridge editors.

384. Lines 409, 410:

And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.

So Ff.; Qq. have "business as the bitter day," which a few editors have followed. I do not see what Warburton means by saying that the expression bitter business is "almost burlesque." I see nothing burlesque in it, nor anything reasonable or admirable in his suggestion of "better day.'

385. Line 416: How in my words soever she be SHENT.The participle shent (the only part of the verb then in 129 200

use) occurs in three other places: Merry Wives, i. 4. 38; Twelfth Night, iv. 2. 112; and Coriolanus, v. 2. 104.


386. Line 6: Hazard so NEAR US.-This is the reading of Qq. (neer's); Ff. have dangerous. Editors are much at variance in their preferences, but the former text seems to me the preferable.

387. Line 7: lunacies.-So Ff.; Qq. have the evident misprint browes, a misprint, however, which may stand, as Theobald supposed, for lunes. See, on that word, note 65 to Winter's Tale.

388. Line 9: To keep those MANY MANY bodies safe.Compare "too too solid flesh," i. 2. 129 above; "A very little little let us do," Henry V. iv. 2. 33; and the Italian doubling of adjectives for emphasis, as molto molto.

389. Line 14: That spirit upon whose WEAL depends and rests.-Ff., instead of weal, have spirit, a perfectly obvious misprint which has found favour in a few quarters.

390. Line 17: it is a MASSY wheel.-Massy is used by Shakespeare in four other places, "massive" not at all. See Much Ado, iii. 3. 147; Troilus and Cressida, Prol. 17, and ii. 3. 18; and Tempest, iii. 3. 67:

Your swords are now too massy for your strengths.

391. Line 56: May one be pardon'd, and retain the offence? This line, full of intense meaning, might well be affixed as motto to Browning's Red Cotton Night-cap Country. The whole book is the subtlest of commentaries on this text.

392. Line 57: the corrupted CURRENTS of this world.On the conjecture of S. Walker, Dyce in his second edition, and Furness in his Variorum, printed 'currents, i.e. occurrents (I. Henry IV. ii. 3. 58). The conjecture is a very ingenious one, and may not improbably be right. But it is not at all necessarily right. Shakespeare has metaphors quite as hasty and elliptical as this, in all parts of his work. And in several places he uses the word current almost as if it had passed from a metaphor into a received synonym for "course." See, for example, Merchant of Venice, iv. 1. 64:

To excuse the current of thy cruelty.

393. Line 73: Now might I do it PAT, now he is praying. -Qq. have but now a is praying. This speech of Hamlet has given great concern to the commentators, and is not easily reconciled with a too amiable view of the character of a man who could utter it. A writer in the Quarterly Review (vol. lxxix. 1847, p. 333, note-quoted in Furness, vol. ii. p. 169) interprets it thus: "His reasons for not killing the king when he is praying have been held to be an excuse. But if Shakespeare had anticipated the criticism, he could not have guarded against it more effectually. Hamlet has just uttered the soliloquy:

-Now could I drink hot blood,
And do such bitter business as the day
Would quake to look on.

In this frame he passes his uncle's closet, and is for once, at least, equal to any emergency. His first thought is to kill him at his devotions; his second, that in that case Claudius will go to heaven. Instantly his father's suffer

ings rise into his mind; he contrasts the happy future of the criminal with the purgatory of the victim, and the contemplation exasperates him into a genuine desire for a fuller revenge, The threat relieves him from the reproach of inactivity, and he falls back into his former self." This seems to me a very reasonable view; and the following passage from Strachey (pp. 71, 72) does something to explain the passage yet further: "Hamlet enters, and sees that now he might do it pat;' but only the coward or the assassin would willingly kill a sleeping, or a praying man, and when to this instinctive feeling are united Hamlet's undoubted reluctance to shed his uncle's blood, even as the just avenger of his father's murder, and his habitual disposition to procrastinate, and put off action of every kind,-these motives are enough to stay his hand for the present. And to excuse his procrastination to himself and also to gratify that inclination 'to unpack his heart with words' which impels every man who, having deep thoughts and strong feelings, does not carry them out by action, he falls into language which, if he meant what he said, would certainly be as horrible and infernal as Dr. Johnson and others have called it. The commentators show, that this thought of killing an enemy under circumstances that might destroy his soul at the same time, has not only been adopted by more than one of Shakspeare's dramatic contemporaries, but is said to have been really uttered and acted upon. And this may warn us not to think the words mere pretext, even in Hamlet's case. Though assuredly Hamlet would not have deliberately done anything to cause his uncle's damnation, he gratifies his bitter hatred by saying that he desires, and will contrive it: he gives way (as I have observed on another occasion) to evil inclinations, instead of strictly restraining them, because he feels that they are not so bad, that is, so strong, as to lead to guilt of action. To avenge his father's murder with his own hand, is, under all the circumstances of country, age, form of government, and social condition, in which Shakspeare has laid the scene of the play, a judicial act required of him by the strictest laws of public and private duty: but with the universal infirmity and sinfulness of human nature, he mixes up more or less of bad feelings with the perfor mance of his duty."

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iii. 2. 350: "your cause of distemper," i.e. the cause of your distemper. Circumstance is used, as often in Shakespeare, for details.

398. Line 88: Up, sword, and know thou a more horrid HENT.-Hent is used as a verb in Measure for Measure, iv. 6. 14, and in Winter's Tale, iv. 3. 133; only here as a noun. In the latter passage,

And merrily hent the stile-a,

the word seems to be used in the sense of "lay hold of," "seize" (and thus clear the stile), as in Chaucer, Prologue, line 698: "til Jhesu Crist him hente" (spoken of Saint Peter's attempt to walk upon the water). Here, then, it may mean a hold or grip. Dyce in his Glossary explains hent, "a hold, an opportunity to be seized;" and the Clarendon Press edd. say: "Hamlet, as he leaves hold of his sword, bids it wait for a more terrible occasion to be grasped again." Theobald conjectured that hent might be a misprint for hint; and Warburton considered the word to be plainly hest. The latter is too rash a conjecture, and the former makes very bad poetry.

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401. Line 4: I'll SCONCE me EVEN here. -Qq. read: "silence me even here;" Ff.: "silence me e'en here;" the reading in the text is Hanmer's, advocated by the text of the corresponding passage in Q. 1: "I'll shroud myself behind the arras." Compare Merry Wives, iii. 3. 96, 97: "I will ensconce me behind the arras." Silence, however, is a reading not without its justifications.

402. Line 13: Go, go, you question with a WICKED tongue. -So Qq.; Ff. have idle, which in its precise echo of the preceding line seems more likely to have been a misprint -such printers' errors being very common-than an intentional effect of sound.

403. Line 18: budge.-Used only here and in Tempest, v. 1 11.

404. Line 23: Dead, FOR A DUCAT, dead!-Elze compares Dekker's Honest Whore, part I. i. 1 (Works, vol. ii. p. 5): "Wrestle not with me; the great fellow gives the fall, for a ducat."

405. Lines 28-30:

Ham. A bloody deed! almost as bad, good mother, As kill a king, and marry with his brother.

Queen. As kill a king!

This passage, indefinite as it is, affords the most definite ground that we get in the play for argument as to the queen's guilt or innocence in connection with the murder of her first husband. Marshall, Study of Hamlet, p. 49, remarks that Hamlet's words are "most probably a tentative reproach uttered by Hamlet as an experiment on his mother's conscience; the Queen's answerAs kill a king!must, I think, be held to be entirely free from any taint of hypocrisy, and should be uttered with simple earnestness." It may be observed, however, that the matter is entirely left open by Shakespeare, and no doubt deliberately, as in Q. 1 the Queen declares her innocence in the most unmistakable terms:

But as I haue a soule, I sweare by heauen, I neuer knew of this most horride murder

In the Hystorie of Hamblet (ch. iii., Furness, vol. ii. p. 100) the Queen is equally distinct in her disavowal. May not Shakespeare have left the point in doubt for the sake of adding a vague impressiveness to the character, otherwise uninteresting, of the Queen?

406. Line 36: penetrable.-This word is used in only two other places, Lucrece, 559, and Richard III. iii. 7. 225: "penetrable to your kind entreats."

407 Line 37: If damned custom have not BRAZ'D it so. -Compare Lear, i. 1. 10, 11: "I have so often blush'd to acknowledge him, that now I am braz'd to 't." Boyer, French Dictionary, has "To Braze, V. A. Couvrir de Cuivre, Bronzer." Compare Chapman's part of Hero and Leander, iii. 267:

Yet braz'd not Hero's brow with impudence.

408. Line 44: And sets a blister there.-An allusion to the practice of branding harlots on the forehead. Compare Comedy of Errors, ii. 2. 138, and see note 48.

409. Line 46: contraction.-This word seems evidently to be used in the sense of the marriage contract: no similar use of it in this sense has been met with.

410. Line 48: A RHAPSODY of words.-The Clarendon Press edd. rightly say that the meaning of the word rhap sody is well illustrated by the following passage from Florio's Montaigne, p. 68, ed. 1603: "This concerneth not those mingle-mangles of many kindes of stuffe, or as the Grecians call them Rapsodies."

411. Line 50: With TRISTFUL visage, as against THE DOOM.-Tristful (i.e. sorrowful) occurs in only one other part of Shakespeare, I. Henry IV. ii. 4. 434: "my tristful queen." The doom occurs again in Macbeth, ii. 3. 83: "The great doom's image," for the day of judgment, doomsday.

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