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Oph. Belike, this show imports the argument of the play.
Enter Prologue. Ham. We shall know by this fellow: the players cannot keep counsel; they 'll tell all.
Oph. Will he tell us what this show meant ?
Ham. Ay, or any show that you 'll show him: Be not you ashamed to show, he'll not shame to tell you what it means.
Where our poet met with the word mallecho, which in Minsheu's Spanish Dictionary, 1617, is defined malefactum, I am unable to ascertain. In the folio the word is spelt malicho. Mallico [in the quarto] is printed in a distinct character, as a proper name. Malone.
If, as Capell declares, (I know not on what authority) Malicho be the Vice of the Spanish Moralities, he should at least be distinguished by a capital. Farmer.
It is not, however, easy to be supposed that our readers discos ver pleasantry or even sense in “ this is miching (or munching] mallico," no meaning as yet affixed to these words has entitled them to escape a further investigation. Omit them, and the text unites without their assistance:
“ Oph. What means this, my lord ?
“ Ham. Marry, it means mischief.” Among the Shakspearian memoranda of the late Dr. Farmer, I met with the following—" At the beginning of Grim the Collier of Croydon, the ghost of Malbecco is introduced as a prolocutor.” Query, therefore, if the obscure words already quoted, were not originally :-" This is mimicking Malbecco;" a private gloss by some friend on the margin of the MS. Hamlet, and thence ignorantly received into the text of Shakspeare.”
It remains to be observed, that the mimickry imagined by Dr. Farmer, must lie in our author's stage-directions, &c. which, like Malbecco's legend, convey a pointed censure on the infidelity of married women. Or, to repeat the same idea in different words
-the drift of the present dumb show and succeeding dialogue, was considered by the glosser as too congenial with the wellknown invective in Spenser's Fairy Queen, Book III, or the contracted copy from it in the Induction to Grim the Collier &c. a comedy which was acted many years before it was printed. See Mr. Reed's Old Plays, Vol. XI, p. 189. Steevens.
4—- Be not you ashamed to show, &c.] The conversation of Hamlet with Ophelia, which cannot fail to disgust every modern reader, is probably such as was peculiar to the young and fashion. able of the age of Shakspeare, which was, by no means, an age of delicacy. The poet is, however, blameable; for extravagance of thought, not indecency of expression, is the characteristick of
Oph. You are naught, you are naught; I'll mark the play. Pro. For us, and for our tragedy,
Here stooping to your clemency,
We beg your hearing patiently.
Oph. 'Tis brief, my lord.
Enter a King and a Queen.
P. Queen. So many journeys may the sun and moon
madness, at least of such madness as should be represented on the scene. Steevens.
5_ cart -1 A chariot was anciently so called. Thus, Chaucer, in The Knight's Tale, Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 2024:
'“ The carter overridden with his cart.” Steevens. 6 Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash, &c.] This speech of the Player King appears to me as a burlesque of the following passage in The Comicall Historie of Alphonsus, by R. G. 1599:
“ Thrise ten times Phoebus with his golden beames
“ Since first in priesthood I did lead my life.” Todd.
- orbed-ground;] So also, in our author's Lover's Complaint:
“ Sometimes diverted, their poor balls are tied
“ To the orbed earth.” Steevens. 8 sheen,] Splendour, lustre. Johnson.
9- even as they love ;] Here seems to have been a line lost, which should have rhymed to love. Johnson.
And women's fear and love hold quantity;
P. King. 'Faith, I must leave thee, love, and shortly too;
This line is omitted in the folio. Perhaps a triplet was design. ed, and then instead of love, we should read lust. The folio gives the next line thus:
- For women's fear and love holds quantity.” Steevens. There is, I believe, no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time. Some trace of the lost line is found in the quartos, which read:
Either none in neither aught, &c. Perhaps the words omitted might have been of this import :
“ Either none they feel, or an excess approve;
“In neither aught, or in extremity." In two preceding passages in the quarto, half a line was in. advertently omitted by the compositor. See p. 115, “ then sense. less Ilium, seeming,” &c. and p. 133, “ thus conscience does make cowards of us all:"—the words in Italick characters are not found in the quarto. Malone. .
Every critick, before he controverts the assertions of his pre. decessor, ought to adopt the resolution of Othello:
" I'll see, before I doubt, what I doubt, prove." In Phaer and Twine's Virgil, 1584, the triplets are so frequent, that in two opposite pages of the tenth Book, not less than seven are to be met with. They are likewise as unsparingly employed in Golding's Ovid, 1587. Mr. Malone, in a note on The Tempest, Vol. II, p. 119, has quoted a passage from this very work, containing one instance of them. In Chapman's Homer they are also used, &c. &c. &c. In The Tempest, Act IV, sc. i. Many other examples of them occur in Love's Labour's Lost, Act II1, sc. i, as well as in The Comedy of Errors, Act II and III, &c. &c.and, yet more unluckily for my opponent, the Prologue to the Mock Tragedy, now under consideration, consists of a triplet, which in our last edition stood at the top of the same page in which he supposed “no instance of a triplet being used in our author's time.” Steevens.
1 And as my love is siz'd, my fear is so.] Cleopatra expresses herself much in the same manner, with regard to her grief for the loss of Antony: "
our size of sorrow,
“ As that which makes it.” Theobald. 2 Where love &c.] These two lines are omitted in the folio.
My operant powers3 their functions leave to do:
O, confound the rest!
Ham. That's wormwood.
P. Queen. The instances, 4 that second marriage move, Are base respects of thrift, but none of love; A second time I kill my husband dead, When second husband kisses me in bed.
P. King. I do believe, you think what now you speak;
To pay ourselves what to ourselves is debt :*
3 --- operant powers -] Operant is active. Shakspeare gives it in Timon of Athens as an epithet to poison. Heywood has like. wise used it in his Royal King and Loyal Subject, 1637;
“ may my operant parts
“ Each one forget their office !" The word is now obsolete. Steevens.
4 The instances,] The motives. Fohnson.
5 Purpose is but the slave to memory;] So, in King Henry IV, Part I:
“ But thought is the slave of life.” Steevens. 6- what to ourselves is debt :] The performance of a resolution, in which only the resolver is interested, is a debt only to himself, which he may therefore remit at pleasure. Johnson. 7 The violence of either grief or joy
Their own enactures with themselves destroy: 7 What grief or joy enact or determine in their violence, is revoked in their abatement. Enactures is the word in the quarto; all the modern edi. tions have enactors. Fohnson.
Grief joys, joy grieves, on slender accident.
8 seasons him his enemy.] This quaint phrase infests almost every ancient English composition. Thus, in Chapman's translation of the fifteenth Book of Homer's Odyssey:
“ taught with so much woe
“ As thou hast suffer'd, to be season'd true.” Steevens. 9 Nor earth to me give food,] Thus the quarto, 1604. The folio and the late editors read:
Nor earth to give me food, An imperative or optative verb was evidently intended here, as in the following line:
“ Sport and repose lock from me,” &c. Malone. A very similar imprecation,
" Day, yield me not thy light; nor night, thy rest!” &c. occurs in King Richard III. See Vol. XI, p. 155. Steevens.
1 To desperation &c.] This and the following line are omitted in the folio. Steevens.
2 An anchor's cheer in prison be my scope ! ] May my whole liberty and enjoyment be to live on hermit's fare in a prison. Anchor is for anchoret. Fohnson.
This abbreviation of the word anchoret is very ancient. I find it in the Romance of Robert the Devil, printed by Wynken de Worde: “We haue robbed and killed nonnes, holy aunkers, preestes, clerkes," &c. Again: “ the foxe will be an aunker, for he begynneth to preche.”