265. Line 447: a chopine.-Chopine, chapine, or chapiney, was the name given to a high shoe, worn chiefly in Italy. Douce and Fairholt give illustrations. The best account we have of them is in Coryat's Crudities, 1611, p. 262: "There is one thing used of the Venetian women, and some others dwelling in the cities and townes subject to the signiory of Venice, that is not to be observed (I thinke) amongst any other women in Christendome: which is common in Venice, that no woman whatsoever goeth without it, either in her house or abroad, a thing made of wood and covered with leather of sundry colors, some with white, some redde, some yellow. It is called a chapiney, which they wear under their shoes. Many of them are curiously painted; some also of them I have seen fairely gilt: so uncomely a thing (in my opinion) that it is pitty this foolish custom is not cleane banished and exterminated out of the cittie. There are many of these chapineys of a great height, even half a yard high, which maketh many of their women that are very short, seeme much taller than the tallest women we have in England. Also I have heard it observed among them, that by how much the nobler a woman is, by so much the higher are her chapineys. All their gentlewomen and most of their wives and widowes that are of any wealth, are assisted and supported eyther by men or women, when they walke abroad, to the end they may not fall. They are borne up most commonly by the left arme, otherwise they might quickly take a fall." Elze observes that though Evelyn, in his journal (i. 190), says. that at Venice courtesans or citizens might not wear chopines, it is evident from the cuts in Cesare Vecelli's Habiti Antichi e Moderni, 1590, that by this time the custom of wearing them had passed from the ladies to the courtesans. The custom seems to have been introduced from the East. Compare Ram Alley, v. 1:

O, 't is fine

To see a bride trip it to church so lightly,

As if her new chopines would scorn to bruise
A silly flower. -Hazlitt's Dodsley, vol. x. p. 367.

266. Lines 448, 449: cracked within the ring." There was a ring or circle on the coin," says Douce, "within which the sovereign's head was placed: if the crack extended from the edge beyond the ring the coin was rendered unfit for currency." Compare Johnson's Magnetic Lady, and Gifford's note (Works, vol. vi. p. 76). The expression, which is used in sous-entendre, may be largely illustrated from Elizabethan plays.

267. Lines 449, 450: We'll e'en to't like French falconers, fly at any thing we see.-This is sometimes taken for a skit at the French "sportman" of that time, who may have been as indiscriminate as his descendant of the present day. But it may rather have been meant as a compliment, for Sir Thomas Browne, Miscellany Tracts, p. 116, says that "the French artists' 66 seem to have been the first and noblest falconers in the western part of Europe," and on p. 118 refers to a falcon of Henry of Navarre, "which Scaliger saith, he saw strike down a buzzard, two wild geese, divers kites, a crane and a swan."

268. Line 457: 't was CAVIARE to THE GENERAL.-Caviare seems to have been an object of wonder and almost of dread

in Shakespeare's day. Elze quotes Cartwright, The Ordinary, ii. 1:

Twelve yards of sausage by, instead of match, And caveary then prepar'd for wild-fire.

-Hazlitt's Dodsley, vol. xii. p. 236.

Reed quotes Giles Fletcher, who in his Russe Commonwealth, 1591, p. 41, says that in Russia they have "diver, kinds of fish very good and delicate: as the Bellouga and Bellougina of four or five elnes long, the Ositrina and Sturgeon, but not so thick or long. Then four kind of fish breed in the Wolgha and are catched in great plenty, and served thence into the whole realme for a good food. Of the roes of these four kinds they make very great store of scary or caveary." For the general, in the sense of the general public, compare Measure for Measure, ii. 4. 27, 28: The general, subject to a well-wish'd king, Quit their own part.

269. Lines 462-464: there were no SALLETS in the lines to make the matter savoury.-Sallet is simply another formi of salad (used again in II. Henry VI. iv. 10. 9; see also All's Well, iv. 5. 18). Boyer gives it as the English of "une salade." Pope altered sallets to salts and then to salt, which Gifford approved of, on the strength of a line in one of Jonson's epigrams:

I have no salt, no bawdry he doth mean. -Works, vol. viii. p. 177. But there is no need for any change. Cotgrave defines Vinaigrettes: "Sallets or sawces which be seasoned with much vinegar; any hearbs or fruits in pickle"-showing that a sallet was not necessarily wanting in piquancy.

270. Line 469: Eneas' tale of Dido.-Very different opinions have been expressed by the commentators as to the lines that Hamlet quotes, and his evident admiration of them. Pope very naturally took the view that "this whole speech of Hamlet is purely ironical; he seems to commend the play to expose the bombast of it." Warburton lengthily, and on the whole admirably, argues to the contrary, thinking "that Hamlet spoke with commendation to upbraid the false taste of the audience of that time, which would not suffer them to do justice to the simplicity of the sublime of this production." This he reasons, "first, from the character Hamlet gives of the play from whence the passage is taken. Secondly, from the passage itself. And, thirdly, from the effect it had on the audience." The really final words on the subject have been said by Coleridge: "This admirable substitution of the epic for the dramatic, giving such a reality to the impassioned dramatic diction of Shakespeare's own dialogue, and authorized too by the actual style of the tragedies before his time (Porrex and Ferrex, Titus Andronicus, &c.), is well worthy of notice. The fancy that a burlesque was intended sinks below criticism; the lines, as epic narrative, are superb. In the thoughts, and even in the separate parts of the diction, this description is highly poetical: in truth, taken by itself, this is its fault, that it is too poetical!-the language of lyric vehemence and epic pomp, and not of the drama. But if Shakespeare had made the diction truly dramatic, where would have been the contrast between Hamlet and the play in Hamlet!" It is probable that the lines in Hamlet were composed with some reference to a passage in

Marlowe and Nashe's Dido, Queen of Carthage, which Steevens discovered. The passage is in ii. 1:

Eneas. At last caine Pyrrhus, fell and full of ire,
His harness dropping blood, and on his spear
The mangled head of Priam's youngest son;
And, after him, his band of myrmidons,
With balls of wildfire in their murderous paws,
Which made the funeral-flame that burnt fair Troy;
All which hemmed me about, crying "This is he!"
Dido. Ha! how could poor Æneas scape their hands?
En. My mother, Venus, jealous of my health,
Conveyed me from their crooked nets and bands;
So I escaped the furious Pyrrhus' wrath:
And, at Jove's altar finding Priamus,
About whose withered neck hung Hecuba,
Folding his hand in hers, and jointly both
Beating their breasts, and galling on the ground,
He with his falchion's point raised up at once,
And with Megara's eyes stared in their face,
Threatening a thousand deaths at every glance;
To whom the agèd king thus trembling spoke :-
"Achilles' son, remember what I was,
Father of fifty sons, but they are slain;

Lord of my fortune, but my fortune's turned !
King of this city, but my Troy is fired!
And now am neither father, lord, nor king!
Yet who so wretched but desires to live?
Oh, let me live, great Neoptolemus !"
Not moved at all, but smiling at his tears,
This butcher, whilst his hands were yet held up,
Treading upon his breast, struck off his hands.
Dido. O end, Æneas, I can hear no more.
En. At which the frantic queen leaped on his face,
And in his eyelids nanging by the nails,
A little while prolonged her husband's life.
At last, the soldiers pulled her by the heels,
And swung her howling in the empty air,
Which sent an echo to the wounded king:
Whereat, he lifted up his bed-rid limbs,
And would have grappled with Achilles' son,
Forgetting both his want of strength and hands;
Which he, disdaining, whisked his sword about,
And with the wind1 thereof the king fell down;
Then from the navel to the throat at once
He ripped old Priam, at whose latter gasp,
Jove's marble statue 'gan to bend the brow,
At loathing Pyrrhus for this wicked act.
Yet he, undaunted, took his father's flag,
And dipp'd it in the old king's chill-cold blood,
And then in triumph ran into the streets,
Through which he could not pass for slaughtered men;

So, leaning on his sword, he stood stone still, Viewing the fire wherewith rich Ilion burnt. -Works, ed. Dyce (Moxon), p. 258. On this Strachey observes, I think justly, that "though there is not a line, hardly a thought of it, the same as the passage which the player recites, and which is of course Shakspeare's own, still the style is so like, that the audience would probably have been reminded of Marlowe's play, and so have experienced the sensation of hearing real men quoting a real play; nay, if they retained only a general recollection of the original, might have supposed that the quotation was actually from Marlowe's 'Tragedie of Dido, Queen of Carthage.'

271. Line 472: the Hyrcanian beast.-See note 176 to

1 This very close parallel with Shakespeare's "whiff and wind of his fell sword" rests on the authority of an emendation (certainly most probable) made by Collier. The original has wound.

Merchant of Venice. Compare the play cited above, Dido, Queen of Carthage, v. 2:

But though art sprung from Scythian Caucasus,
And tigers of Hyrcania gave thee suck.

-Marlowe's Works, ed. Dyce (Moxon), p. 272. 272. Line 479: Now is he total GULES.-Gules signifies red, in what Steevens calls "the barbarous jargon peculiar to heraldry." The word is from the French gueules, a spelling apparently hinted at in the misprint of F. 1: to take Geulles. The word occurs again in Timon of Athens, iv. 3. 59:

With man's blood paint the ground, gules, gules.

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277. Line 512: On MARS HIS armour, forg'd for proof ETERNE.-Qq. have Marses, Ff. Mars his, but misprint Armours. Eterne is used by Shakespeare in Macbeth, iii. 2. 38:

But in them nature's copy's not eterne.

278. Line 522: he's for a JIG.-Jig was formerly used, not only for a dance, but for "a ludicrous metrical composition." The word is from the Italian giga, originally meaning a fiddle; the word was thus at first spelt gigge in English. Cotgrave has: "Farce: f. A (fond and dissolute) Play, Comedie, or Enterlude; also, the Jyg at the end of an Enterlude, wherein some pretie knauerie is acted." Florio has: "Frottola, a countrie gigge, or round, or countrie song, or wanton verse."

279. Line 525: the MOBLED queen.-F. 1, by a misprint corrected in F. 2, reads inobled. The word was probably archaic in Shakespeare's time. It seems to have been a corruption of "muffled." Warburton quotes Sandys, Travels, vol. i. p. 69, ed. 1637, who says, speaking of the Turkish women: "their heads and faces are so mabled

in fine linen, that nothing is to be seen of them but their eyes. Farmer quotes Shirley's Gentleman of Venice: The moon does mobble up herself.

It seems generally to be used in the sense of muffling roughly or untidily. Below we are told that the Queen had a "clout" upon her head.

280. Line 529: With BISSON rheum; a clout UPON that head.-Bisson, blind, used here for blinding, occurs again in Coriolanus, ii. 1. 70: “bisson conspectuities," where it is beesome in Ff. See note 104 to that play.-The Ff., and many editors after them, read about instead of upon (the reading of Q4.); but it is past belief that Shakespeare should have made such a wretched jingle as "a clout about." Q.1 has a kercher on that head.

281. Line 536: When she saw Pyrrhus, &c.-Elze compares Marston's Insatiate Countesse, i. 1, where, as he says, "there is a remarkable allusion, not only to this passage, but to the whole of Eneas' tale."

Count Arsena. Sancta Maria! what thinkst thou of this change? A players passion ile beleeve hereafter,

And in a tragicke sceane weep for old Priam,
When fell revenging Pirrhus with supposde
And artificiall wounds mangles his breast,
And thinke it a more worthy act to me,
Than trust a female mourning ore her love.

282. Line 540: Would have made MILCH the burning eyes of heaven.-Dryden, in his Preface to Troilus and Cressida, 1679, says: "His making milch the burning eyes of Heaven was a pretty tollerable flight too; and I think no man ever drew milk out of eyes before him: yet to make the wonder greater, these eyes were burning." The word milch was, however, used in a free sense for moist, as in Drayton's Polyolbion, xiii. 171: "exhaling the milch dewe" (quoted by Steevens). Douce compares the expression "milche-hearted" in Hulæt's Abecedarium, 1552, rendered "lemosus;" and cites Bibliotheca Eliotæ, 1545: "lemosi, they that weep lyghtly."

283. Lines 565-568: You could, for a need, study a speech of some dozen or sixteen lines, which I would set down and insert in 't, could you not?-Did Hamlet write his dozen or sixteen lines, and if so, where are they to be found? This question has been largely, but, as I think, fruitlessly discussed. Mr. and Mrs. Cowden Clarke held that Hamlet's lines are to be found in iii. 2. 196–225, on the ground that the diction is different from that of the remainder of the dialogue, and signally like Hamlet's own argumentative mode. Professor Seeley (and, on a hint from him, Mr. Furnivall) independently decided on the same passage. A very elaborate discussion of the subject will be found in the New Shakspere Society's Transactions, 1874, pp. 465-498. A great many cobwebs were brushed away by a subsequent paper of Ingleby's, read before the New Sh. Soc. on Feb. 9, 1877. A summary of it is given in Furness, vol. i. pp. 250, 251, from which I quote. Dr. Ingleby maintains his view that "the court play is but a part of Hamlet; that Hamlet writes no speech at all, whether of six, twelve, or sixteen lines, nor recites such a speech; Shakespeare simply wrote the entire play, not writing any additions in persona Hamleti; still less writing an addition to a play which he had previously written in the character of the author of an Italian morality. . . . In real life a Hamlet might compose and insert a few lines to add


point and force to an ordeal, like that of the court-play, to which the fictitious Hamlet subjects the supposed criminal; [but] to suppose that Shakespeare in composing Hamlet followed out the exact course that a real living prince would have followed, is to impute to him a lack of the simplest art of the playwright, and a neglect of the artifices which the drama places at his command." Dr. Ingleby hereupon argues that Shakespeare's reason for making the allusion to certain lines to be inserted was to give himself an opportunity of bringing in the scene in which Hamlet instructs the players; this opportunity once provided, nothing more is heard of the lines, or need be. Furness adds, in one of his too infrequent notes: "It is to task the credulity of an audience too severely to represent the possibility of Hamlet's finding an old play exactly fitted to Claudius's crime, not only in the plot, but in all the accessories, even to a single speech which should tent the criminal to the very quick. In order, therefore, to give an air of probability to what every one would feel to be thus highly improbable, Shakespeare represents Hamlet as adapting an old play to his present needs by inserting in it some pointed lines. Not that such lines were actually inserted, but, mindful of this proposal of Hamlet's, the spectator is prepared to listen to a play which is to unkennel the King's occulted guilt in a certain speech: the verisimilitude of all the circumstances is thus maintained.

The discussion, therefore, that has arisen over these 'dozen or sixteen lines' is a tribute to Shakespeare's consummate art."

284. Line 580: That, from her working, all his vision WANN'D.-Qq. print wand; Ff. warm'd, which makes a good sense of its own, and has been followed by several editors. Wann'd, however, is decidedly the more expressive word. The same word occurs, in all probability, in Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 1. 20, 21:

But all the charms of love, Salt Cleopatra, soften thy wann'd lip

where the Ff. print wand, generally printed, in modern editions, waned. See note 90 to the play.

285. Line 594: peak; i.e. pine away; here used more in the sense of mope. Compare Macbeth, i. 3. 22, 23:

Weary se'nnights nine times nine

Shall he dwindle, peak, and pine.

286. Line 595: John-a-dreams.-This seems to have been a coinage of Shakespeare's on the lines of the numerous John and Jack nicknames current in his time, such as John-a-droynes (a nickname for a sleepy, apathetic fellow), Jack-a-lent, Jack-a-lanthorn, &c. The only other mention of John-a-dreams that has been found is in Armin's Nest of Ninnies, 1608: "His name is John, indeede, saies the cinnick; but neither John a nods, nor John a dreames, yet either as you take it" (Sh. Soc. vol. x. p. 49).

287. Line 598: A damn'd DEFEAT was made.-Defeat is used here in the sense of destruction. Steevens compares Chapman's Revenge for Honour:

That he might meantime make a sure defeat
On our good aged father's life.

For the word in this sense as a verb, compare Othello, iv. 2. 160, and see note 217 to that play.

288. Lines 602, 603: ha? 'S wounds.-F. 1 has Ha? Why; Q. 1, Sure. Elze very reasonably suggests that Ha and Why are both "substitutions for the objectionable oath 'S wounds, the elimination of which has caused an evident confusion in the text, in so far as Q. 2 contains the oath as well as its substitute, and F. 1 offers two substitutes at one and the same time."

289. Line 612: That I, the son of a dear FATHER murder'd. This is (but for variations of spelling) the reading of Q. 4; the earlier Qq. and the Ff. omit the word father -a construction which Halliwell attempts, very lamely, to defend on the analogy of our common phrase "the dear departed." Q. 1 confirms the reading of Q. 4: that I the sonne of my deare father.

290. Lines 617-623:

I have heard That guilty creatures sitting at a play, &c. Compare Massinger, The Roman Actor, ii. 1:

I once observed,

In a tragedy of ours, in which a murder

Was acted to the life, a guilty hearer

Forced by the terror of a wounded conscience,
To make discovery of that which torture
Could not wring from him;

and A Warning for Faire Women, 1599 (quoted by Todd):

Ile tell you, sir, one more to quite your tale.
A woman that had made away her husband,

And sitting to behold a tragedy

At Linne a towne in Norffolke,
Acted by players trauelling that way,
Wherein a woman that had murtherd hers
Was euer haunted with her husband's ghost:
The passion written by a feeling pen,
And acted by a good tragedian,

She was so moued by the sight thereof,

As she cried out, the play was made for her, And openly confesst her husband's murder. Heywood, in his Apology for Actors (Sh. Soc. vol. vii. p. 57-59), refers to this incident, and to another which took place at Amsterdam.

291. Lines 632, 633:

I'll have grounds
More relative than this.

The best comment which has been made on these lines is to be found in Mr. Irving's acting. As Marshall says, Study of Hamlet, p. 153: "He takes his tablets out of his pocket before speaking the words

I'll have grounds
More relative than this.

The precise meaning of the word 'this' and what it refers to never seemed very clear: but this action explains it. In the first act, after the Ghost has left him, it will be remembered that Hamlet has written down in his tablets that Claudius was a villain. These same tablets he holds now in his hand; in them he is going to put down some ideas for the speech which he intends to introduce into the play to be performed before Claudius, with the object of making

his occulted guilt

itself unkennel

(Act III. scene 2, lines 85, 86.) Can there be any more natural action than this, that he should touch these tablets with the other hand while he says

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301. Lines 59, 60:

Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them.


This rapid and commingled metaphor has given rise to a great deal of commentary. I do not think that any of the numerous attempts which have been made to reduce the expression to a literal consistency-desperate special pleadings which reach a climax in Hackett's profound suggestion, "The 'sea' here is the heart," &c.-can be accepted really as explanations. Shakespeare's idea, as the Clarendon Press edd. very sensibly say, "would be fully expressed by 'take arms against a host of troubles which break in upon us like a sea.' Shakespeare's metaphors are the result, not of careful seeking, but of intuitive flashes; and for swift expressiveness they are unrivalled. Swift and subtle expressiveness is the first requirement of a metaphor; minute accuracy comes a long way after, and can be dispensed with, as Shakespeare saw, if by so doing the effect on the mind of the hearer or reader be increased. Theobald has noted that the expression a sea of troubles is the equivalent of the Greek zazã bàìæson. Since this was written, a very interesting letter from Dr. Furnivall has appeared in the Academy, May 29, 1889, on the metaphor, a sea of troubles, and its bearing on Hamlet's argument. I give the main part of it, though I doubt whether Shakespeare's "small Latin and less Greek" was equal to so much research in the quest of so far-fetched a metaphor. The passage from Ælian and those from Aristotle are quoted by Ingleby in The Still Lion, 1874, pp. 88, 89. Dr. Furnivall writes: "Shakspere critics and students have hitherto failed to make clear the meaning of Hamlet's

Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles, And by opposing, end them,

because they have not been able to show that the Kelts, Gauls, and Kimbri, who were said to take arms against the oncoming billows and resist them, fought till they themselves were drowned, so that the lines above must be equivalent to Hamlet's not to be.' The reason is, that the said critics and students have, in their pride, not had recourse to that most helpful refuge for the destitute-those who have forgotten the little classics they once knew-Bohn's Library translations, and found in

Strabo's Geography, Book VII., ch. ii. § 1, englisht by Falconer (Bohn, 1854, p. 449):

Neither is it true, as has been related,1 that the Cimbri 2 take arms against the flood-tides, or that the Kelts, as an exercise of their intrepidity, suffer their houses to be washed away by them, and afterwards rebuild them

with the notes:

"On turning up the Nicolas-of-Damascus passage in the 'Excerpts and Fragments from the Histories of the Greek Nicolas of Damascus, with a Latin Version, Leipsic, 1804,' p. 144-5, I find that it runs thus . . . [in English]

Kelts living near the sea think it disgraceful to fly from a falling wall or house.

When a high wave [or tide] comes upon them from the sea, they meet it and withstand it till they are washed down [destroyed], that they, flying [taking to flight], may not be thought to fear death.

"The fair inference from this passage is, that Hamlet's words, by opposing, end them, mean die,' though they seem to mean fight evils and conquer them. It also follows that 'To be, or not to be,' applies to this life, as most folks hold, and not to the future life; and that 'Whether 'tis Nobler to end them' is in apposition to, and expands 'To be, or not to be,' and is not an introductory adverb-clause to it, as some able men think, as if the sense was. 'Whether it is nobler to suffer ills here, or resist them, the question is, is there a future life. Shakspere, no doubt, got his sea-metaphor-first, from an after continuer of Holinshed: A Registre of Hystories written in Greeke by Elianus, a Romane, and de liuered in Englishe. by Abraham Fleming.' London, 1576, the Twelfth Booke, leaf 127, back:

OF THE AUDACITIE AND BOULDNES OF THE PEOPLE CELTAE. The people Celtae are most ready, and able, to take any kinde of daungerous aduenture, and are not afrayde of any blustringe storme. They count runninge away so reprochfull, that oftentimes they will skarce moue when a house is ruinous, and ready to fall vpon their heades, or when it burneth eagerly in euery corner, and is in a bright flame rounde about them: Moreouer some of them are so boulde, or rather desperate, that they throw themselues into ye fomey floudes with their swordes drawne in their handes, and shaking their iauelines, as though they were of force and violence to withstand the rough waues, to resist the strength of the streame, and to make the floudes affraide least they should be wounded with their weapons.

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1 Aristotle, Ethics, Eudem., lib. iii., cap. 1, Nicolas of Damascus, and Aelian, Var. Histor., lib. xii., cap. 23, have attributed the like extravagant proceedings to the Kelts or Gauls. Nicolas of Damascus, Reliq., pp. 272, 273, says that the Kelts resist the tides of the ocean with their swords in their hands, till they perish in the waters, in order that they may not seem to fear death by taking the precaution to fly.

2 The Cimbri inhabited Denmark and the adjacent regions, p. 292.

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