Page:Hamlet (1917) Yale.djvu/172

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160
The Tragedy of Hamlet,
 

II. ii. 79. regards . . . allowance. I.e., terms securing the safety of the country and regulating the passage of troops through it. (Clarendon.)

II. ii. 123. machine. Such endings were not uncommon in Euphuistic letters.

II. ii. 174. fishmonger. The word is probably used here in some cant coarse sense, such as 'wencher' or 'seller of women's chastity.'

II. ii. 184. good hissing. I.e., carrion fit for kissing by the sun. Warburton suggested the emendation 'God kissing carrion' but there appears no necessity for accepting this.

II. ii. 187. conception. There is a quibble here on conception as 'understanding' and as 'the state of being pregnant.'

II. ii. 198. Between who? Hamlet deliberately misunderstands 'matter' to mean a cause of dispute.

II. ii. 204. amber . . . gum. I.e., in reference to the exudings from the weak eyes of old men.

II. ii. 237. on . . . button. I.e., we have not reached the summit of good fortune.

II. ii. 244. strumpet. I.e., because of Fortune's fickleness.

II. ii. 274. beggars bodies. I.e., if ambition is but a shadow, then monarchs and heroes, who have attained ambition, are in possession only of a shadow; whereas beggars, who have not attained ambition, at least possess something material—i.e., their bodies. But every beggar may long for ambition—a shadow—and hence the monarchs and heroes who are in possession of their ambitions, are but the beggars' shadows—i.e., have this shadow for which the beggar longs in vain.

II. ii. 288. dear a halfpenny. Too dear at a halfpenny, of insignificant value.

II. ii. 328. quintessence. A term in alchemy. The fifth essence of ancient and mediaeval philosophy, supposed to be the substance of which the heavenly bodies