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Page:Hamlet (1917) Yale.djvu/175

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Prince of Denmark
163
 

II. ii. 475. handsome. I.e., its beauty was not that of elaborate diction or polish, but that of structure and proportion.

II. ii. 477. Æneas' tale to Dido. The passage inserted here should be compared with Marlowe and Nash's Dido, Queen of Carthage (1594), II. 1. 214 ff. It is a matter of critical dispute whether Shakespeare intended this passage as burlesque or whether he selected deliberately the earlier turgid romantic style to contrast with his more realistic dramatic method in this scene. The latter seems the more probable.

II. ii. 481. Hyrcanian beast. The tiger. So described by Virgil. Cf. Æneid, IV. 366.

II. ii. 485. ominous horse. The wooden horse in which the Greeks lay hidden until the Trojans dragged it within the walls.

II. ii. 532. Hecuba. The wife of Priam.

II. ii. 533. mobled. The first Folio has 'inobled,' which is probably a misprint. 'Mobled' is a debased form of 'muffled.' It is clearly Shakespeare's intention to make use of an unusual word here, as may be seen by Hamlet's query and Polonius' approval.

II. ii. 561. God's bodikins. A corruption of an oath 'by God's body.'

II. ii. 573. dozen or sixteen lines. There has been much discussion concerning the possibility of identifying the passage written by Hamlet. Chambers (Warwick Shakespeare) suggests Lucianus' speech, III. ii. 270 ff., which is interrupted by the King's rising. Others point to the Player King's speech, III. ii. 198 ff., because its philosophy is characteristic of Hamlet. The question is not one to which an authoritative answer can be given.

II. ii. 595. cue. A technical stage term for the last words of an actor's line to which another actor replied.

II. ii. 603. John-a-dreams. Armin's Nest of Ninnies (1608) contains the following definition: "His