Page:Hamlet (1917) Yale.djvu/170

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158
The Tragedy of Hamlet,
 

I. iii. 7. violet. Early violets were proverbial examples of transitory things.

I. iii. 26. place. The reading of the first Folio is 'peculiar Sect and force.'

I. iii. 53. double. I.e., because Laertes had already taken leave of his father.

I. iii. 56. wind . . . of. Wind blowing from a stern quarter, hence 'behind,' 'favorable.'

I. iii. 58. precepts. Many parallels for several of these precepts have been discovered.

I. iii. 74. Are . . . that. Various conjectures have been suggested: 'are most select and generous in that(White); 'select and generous, are most choice in that' (Steevens); 'are most select and generous, chiefly in that.' The emendation of the text here followed is that commonly accepted.

I. iii. 99. tenders. Polonius, in 1. 106, uses 'tenders' in the sense of promises to pay, which, as he says, are not 'legal currency.'

I. iii. 115. woodcocks. The woodcock was supposed to be a witless bird easily snared.

I. iv. 36. dram of eale. Possibly 'eale' is a corruption of 'e'il,' the contracted form of 'evil.' The rest of the passage is equally uncertain. The Cambridge Shakespeare records about forty conjectures. Dowden's conjecture seems to come nearest to the sense of the passage; 'out of a mere doubt or suspicion the dram of evil degrades in reputation all the noble substance to its own [substance].'

I. iv. 83. Nemean lion's. One of the powerful monsters slain by Hercules.

I. V. 21. blazon. Literally, to portray armorial bearings in their proper colors.

I. V. 32. fat weed. It has been suggested that Shakespeare meant by this the asphodel referred to by Lucian in connection with Lethe. However, there is a reference in Seneca's Hercules Furens to the Taxus tree overleaning the quiet lake of Lethe. This