by William Shakespeare
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[Footnote V.15: Cudgel thy brains no more about it;] i.e., beat about thy brains no more.]

[Footnote V.16: A stoup of liquor.] A stoup is a jug.]

[Footnote V.17: In youth, when I did love, did love.] The three stanzas sung here by the Grave-Digger, are extracted, with a slight variation, from a little poem called The Aged Lover renounceth Love, written by Henry Howard, Earl of Surrey, who was beheaded in 1547. The song is to be found in Dr. Percy's Reliques of Ancient English Poetry.]

[Footnote V.18: The hand of little employment hath the daintier sense.] i.e., its "palm less dulled or staled."]

[Footnote V.19: But to play at loggats with them?] A loggat is a small log, or piece of wood; a diminutive from log. Hence loggats, as the name of an old game among the common people, and one of those forbidden by a statute of the 33rd of Henry VIII. A stake was fixed into the ground, and those who played threw loggats at it.]

[Footnote V.20: For and a shrouding sheet:] For and is an ancient expression, answering to and eke, and likewise.]

[Footnote V.21: Where be his quiddits now, his quillets,] Quiddits are subtilties; quillets are nice and frivolous distinctions.]

[Footnote V.22: Knock him about the sconce] i.e., head.]

[Footnote V.23: How absolute the knave is!] Peremptory, strictly and tyrannously precise.]

[Footnote V.24: We must speak by the card,] The card is the mariner's compass. Properly the paper on which the points of the wind are marked. Hence, to speak by the card, meant to speak with great exactness; true to a point.]

[Footnote V.25: The very day that young Hamlet was born,] It would appear by this that Hamlet was thirty years old, and knew Yorick well, who had been dead twenty-two years.]

[Footnote V.26: Favour] Feature, countenance, or complexion.]

[Footnote V.27: 'Twere to consider too curiously,] Be pressing the argument with too much critical nicety, to dwell upon mere possibilities.]

[Footnote V.28: Imperial Caesar,] In some edition it is imperious Caesar. Imperious was a more ancient term, signifying the same as imperial.]

[Footnote V.29: The winter's flaw!] i.e., winter's blast.]

[Footnote V.30: Maimed rites?] Curtailed, imperfect.]

[Footnote V.31: Fordo its own life:] Destroy.]

[Footnote V.32: 'Twas of some estate.] i.e., of rank or station.]

[Footnote V.33: Command o'ersways the order,] The course which ecclesiastical rules prescribe.]

[Footnote V.34: Shards,] i.e., broken pots or tiles.]

[Footnote V.35: Virgin crants,] i.e., virgin garlands. Nares, in his Glossary, says that crants is a German word, and probably Icelandic.]

[Footnote V.36: Bringing home of bell and burial,] Conveying to her last home with these accustomed forms of the church, and this sepulture in consecrated ground.]

[Footnote V.37: A requiem,] A mass performed in Popish churches for the rest of the soul of a person deceased.]

[Footnote V.38: Churlish priest,] Churlish is, figuratively, ill-humoured, ill-bred, uncourtly, "rustic and rude."]

[Footnote V.39: Ingenious sense] Life and sense.]

[Footnote V.40: To o'ertop old Pelion,] Pelion is one of a lofty range of mountains in Thessaly. The giants, in their war with the gods, are said to have attempted to heap Ossa and Olympus on Pelion, in order to scale Heaven.]

[Footnote V.41: Outface me] i.e., brave me.]

[Footnote V.42: Our ground,] The earth about us.]

[Footnote V.43: Ossa] A celebrated mountain in Thessaly, connected with Pelion, and in the neighbourhood of Mount Olympus.]

[Footnote V.44: Her golden couplets are disclos'd,] To disclose, was anciently used for to hatch. A pigeon never lays more than two eggs.]

[Footnote V.45: The cat will mew, and dog, &c.] "Things have their appointed course; nor have we power to divert it," may be the sense here conveyed.]

[Footnote V.46: Strengthen your patience in our last night's speech;] Let the consideration of the topics then urged, confirm your resolution taken of quietly waiting events a little longer.]

[Footnote V.47: This grave shall have a living monument:] There is an ambiguity in this phrase. It either means an endurable monument such as will outlive time, or it darkly hints at the impending fate of Hamlet.]

[Footnote V.48: Image of my cause,] Representation or character.]

[Footnote V.49: Dost know this water-fly?] Dr. Johnson remarks that a water-fly skips up and down upon the surface of the water, without any apparent purpose or reason, and is thence the proper emblem of a busy trifler.]

[Footnote V.50: All diligence of spirit.] "With the whole bent of my mind." A happy phraseology; in ridicule, at the same time that it was in conformity with the style of the airy, affected insect that was playing round him.]

[Footnote V.51: Very sultry and hot,] Hamlet is here playing over the same farce with Osric which he had formerly done with Polonius. The idea of this scene is evidently suggested by Juvenal.]

[Footnote V.52: For mine ease, in good faith.] From contemporary authors this appears to have been the ordinary language of courtesy in our author's own time.]

[Footnote V.53: An absolute—a great showing:] A finished gentleman, full of various accomplishments, of gentle manners, and very imposing appearance.]

[Footnote V.54: To speak feelingly of him,] With insight and intelligence.

[Footnote V.55: Card or calendar of gentry,] The card by which a gentleman is to direct his course; the calendar by which he is to choose his time, that what he does may be both excellent and seasonable.]

[Footnote V.56: The continent of what part a gentleman would see.] The word continent in this sense is frequently used by Shakespeare; i.e., you shall find him containing and comprising every quality which a gentleman would desire to contemplate for imitation.]

[Footnote V.57: What imports the nomination, &c.] What is the object of the introduction of this gentleman's name?]

[Footnote V.58: I dare not—lest I should compare—were to know himself.] No one can have a perfect conception of the measure of another's excellence, unless he shall himself come up to that standard. Dr. Johnson says, I dare not pretend to know him, lest I should pretend to an equality: no man can completely know another, but by knowing himself, which is the utmost extent of human wisdom.]

[Footnote V.59: He has imponed,] i.e., to lay down as a stake or wager. Impono.]

[Footnote V.60: Hangers,] That part of the girdle or belt by which the swords were suspended was, in our poet's time, called the hangers.]

[Footnote V.61: Very dear to fancy—very liberal conceit.] Of exquisite invention, well adapted to their hilts, and in their conception rich and high fashioned.]

[Footnote V.62: More german] More a-kin.]

[Footnote V.63: Vouchsafe the answer.] Condescend to answer, or meet his wishes.]

[Footnote V.64: How if I answer, no?] Reply.]

[Footnote V.65: I shall win at the odds.] I shall succeed with the advantage that I am allowed.]

[Footnote V.66: Gain-giving,] Misgiving.]

[Footnote V.67: If your mind, &c.] If you have any presentiment of evil, yield to its suggestion.]

[Footnote V.68: Like a star i'the darkest night, stick fiery off] Be made by the strongest relief to stand brightly prominent.]

[Footnote V.69: Better'd,] He stands higher in estimation.]

[Footnote V.70: Stoups of wine] Flagons of wine.]

[Footnote V.71: Quit in answer] Make the wager quit, or so far drawn.]

[Footnote V.72: An union shall he throw,] i.e., a fine pearl. To swallow a pearl in a draught seems to have been equally common to royal and mercantile prodigality. It may be observed that pearls were supposed to possess an exhilarating quality. It was generally thrown into the drink as a compliment to some distinguished guest, and the King in this scene, under the pretence of throwing a pearl into the cup, drops some poisonous drug into the wine.]

[Footnote V.73: Kettle] i.e., kettle drum.]

[Footnote V.74: The Queen carouses to thy fortune, Hamlet.] i.e., drinks to your success.]

[Footnote V.75: You make a wanton of me.] i.e., you trifle with me as if you were playing with a child.]

[Footnote V.76: As a woodcock to my own springe.] I have run into a springe like a woodcock, and into such a noose or trap as a fool only would have fallen into; one of my own setting.]

[Footnote V.77: Unbated, and envenom'd:] i.e., having a sharp point envenomed with poison.]

[Footnote V.78: The foul practice] i.e., the wicked trick which I have practised.]

[Footnote V.79: Fell sergeant, death,] i.e., cruel sergeant—sergeant being an officer of the law.]

[Footnote V.80: Live behind me!] Survive me.]

[Footnote V.81: Quite o'ercrows my spirit;] Overpowers, exults over; no doubt an image taken from the lofty carriage of a victorious cock.]


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