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the king and queen moult no feather. I have of late (but, wherefore, I know not,) lost all my mirth, forgone all custom of exercises: and, indeed, it goes so heavily with my disposition, that this goodly frame, the earth, seems to me to be a steril promontory; this most excellent canopy, the air, look you, this brave o'erhanging firmament, this majestical roof fretted with golden fire 34, why, it appears no other thing to me, than a foul and pestilent congregation of vapours. What a piece of work is a man! How noble in reason! how infinite in faculties ! in form, and moving, how express and admirable! in action, how like an angel! in apprehension, how like a god! the beauty of the world! the paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is this quintessence of dust? man delights not me, no nor woman neither; though, by your smiling, you seem to say so.
Ros. My lord, there is no such stuff in my thoughts.
Ham. Why did you laugh then, when I said, Man delights not me?
Ros. To think, my lord, if you delight not in man, what lenten 35 entertainment the players shall receive from you: we coted 36 them on the way; and bither are they coming, to offer you service.
Ham. He that plays the king, shall be welcome; his majesty shall have tribute of me: the adven34 :. Look how the floor of heaven . Is thick inlaid with patins of bright gold.
Merchant of Venice.
Return from Parnassus.
Golding's Ovid, Metam. ii. It was a familiar hunting term, and its origin from à côté, French, . is obvious.
turous knight shall use his foil, and target: the lover shall not sigh gratis; the humorous man shall end his part in peace: [the clown shall make those laugh, whose lungs are tickled o’the sere 37 ;] and the lady shall say her mind freely, or the blank verse shall halt for't.-What players are they?
Ros. Even those you were wont to take such delight in, the tragedians of the city.
Ham. How chances it, they travel 38 ? their resi
37 The first quarto reads :— The clown shall make them laugh that are tickled in the lungs. The words as they now stand are in the folio. The meaning appears to be, the clown shall make even those laugh whose lungs are tickled with a dry cough, or huskinéss; by his merriment shall convert even their coughing into laughter. The same expression occurs in Howard's Defensative against the Poyson of supposed Prophecies, 1620, folio: - Discovering the moods and humours of the vulgar sort to be so loose and tickle of the seare.
38 In the first quarto copy this passage stands thus:* Ham. How comes it that they travel ? do they grow restie? • Gil. No, my lord, their reputation holds as it was wont. · Ham. How then ?
• Gil. I faith, my lord, novelty carries it away, for the princi. pal publike audience that came to them, are turned to private plays, and to the humour of children.'
By this we may understand what Hamlet means in saying • their inhibition comes of the late innovation,' i. e. their prevention or hinderance comes from the late innovation of companies of juvenile performers, as the children of the revels, the children of St. Pauls, &c. They have not relaxed in their endeavours 'to please, but this (brood) aiery of little children are now the fashion, and have so abused the common stages as to deter many from frequenting them. Thus in Jack Drum's Entertainment, or Pasquil and Catherine, 1601 :
. I sawe the children of Powles last night,
Bra. 'Tis a good gentle audience, and I hope
dence, both in reputation and profit, was better both ways.
Ros. I think, their inhibition comes by the means of the late innovation.
Ham. Do they hold the same estimation they did when I was in the city? Are they so followed ?
Ros. No, indeed, they are not.
Ros. Nay, their endeavour keeps in the wonted pace: But there is, sir, an aiery 39 of children, little eyases 40, that cry out on the top of question 41, and are most tyrannically clapped for't: these are now the fashion; and so berattle the common stages (so they call them), that many, wearing rapiers, are afraid of goose quills, and dare scarce come thither.
Ham. What, are they children? who maintains them ? how are they escoted 42 ? Will they pursue the quality 43, no longer than they can sing? will they not say afterwards, if they should grow themselves to common players (as it is most like, if their means are no better,) their writers do them wrong, to make them exclaim against their own succession ?
Ros. 'Faith, there has been much to do on both 39 i. e. a brood. 40 i. e. young nestlings; properly young unfledged hawks.
41 Question is speech, conversation. The meaning may therefore be, they cry out on the top of their voice.
42 i. e. paid.
43 i.e. profession. Mr. Gifford has remarked that this word seems more peculiarly appropriated to the profession of a player by our old writers. But in Measure for Measure, Angelo, when the Bawd and Tapster are brought before him, inquires what quality they are of. In The Two Gentlemen of Verona, the Outlaws speak of men of our quality. And Sir Thomas Eliot, in his Platonic Dialogue, 1534 :- According to the profession or qualitee, wherein men have opinion that wisdome doth rest, so ought to be the forme of livinge, countenance, and gesture. He is speaking of philosophers.
•No longer than they can sing,' i. e. no longer than they keep the voices of boys, and sing in the choir.
sides; and the nation holds it no sin, to tarre 44 them on to controversy : there was, for a while, no money bid for argument, unless the poet and the player went to cuffs in the question.
Ham. Is it possible?
Guil. O, there has been much throwing about of brains.
Ham. Do the boys carry it away?
Ros. Ay, that they do, my lord; Hercules and his load too 45.
Ham. It is not very strange: for my uncle is King of Denmark, and those, that would make mouths 46 at him while my father lived, give twenty, forty, fifty, a hundred ducats a-piece, for his picture in little. 'Sblood, there is something in this more than natural, if philosophy could find it out.
' [Flourish of Trumpets within. Guil. There are the players. · Ham. Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore. Your hands. Come then : the appurtenance of welcome is fashion and ceremony: let me comply 47
44 i. e. set them on, a phrase borrowed from the setting on a dog. Thus in King John :
· Like a dog that is compelled to fight,
Snatch at his master that doth tarre him on.' 45 i. e. carry all the world before them : there is perhaps an allasion to the Globe theatre, the sign of which is said to bave been Hercules carrying the globe.
46 First copy, ' mops and moes. Folio, 'mowes.'
47 "Let me comply with you in this garb. Hanmer, with bis usual temerity, changed comply to compliment, and Steevens bas contented himself with saying that he means ' to compliment with,' here and in a passage in the fifth act, · He did comply with bis dug before he sucked it,' where that sense would be even more absurd. He evidently never looked at the context. Hamlet has received his old schoolfellows with somewhat of the coldness of suspicion hitherto, but he now remembers that this is not courteous : He therefore rouses himself to give them a proper reception, 'Gentlemen, you are welcome to Elsinore.Your hands. Come then, the appartenance of welcome is fashion
with you in this garb; lest my extent to the players, which, I tell you, must show fairly outward, should more appear like entertainment than yours. You are welcome: but my uncle-father, and aunt-mother, are deceived.
Guil. In what, my dear lord ?
Ham. I am but nad north-northwest ; when the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw 48
Ham. Hark you, Guildenstern;—and you too; --at each ear a hearer: that great baby, you see there, is not yet out of his swaddling-clouts.
Ros. Happily, he's the second time come to them; for, they say, an old man is twice a child.
Ham. I will prophesy, he comes to tell me of the players; mark it.—You say right, sir: o’Monday morning; 'twas then, indeed.
Pol. My lord, I have news to tell you.
and ceremony: let me EMBRACE you in this fashion : lest I should seem to give you a less courteous reception than I give the players, to whom I must behave with at least exterior politeness. That to comply with was to embrace will appear from the following passages in Herrick :
- witty Ovid, by
His eye in dew of kisses, while he sleeps.'
a rug of carded wool
Dr. Nott's Selections from Herrick, pp. 127 and 153. 48 The original form of this proverb was undoubtedly · To know a hawk from a hernshaw,' that is, to know a hawk from the heron which it pursues. The corruption is said to be as old as the time of Shakspeare.