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Prince of Denmark
167
 

III. ii. 295. share. Theatrical companies were organized on a profit-sharing basis.

III. ii. 297. Damon. An allusion to the classical story of the friendship of Damon and Pythias (or Phintias).

III. ii. 300. pajock. Various conjectures, but in Scotland a peacock is often called a "peajock." Skeat, however, derives 'pajock' from 'patch,' a pied fool.' Spenser calls a ragamuffin a 'patchocke.'

III. ii. 317. distempered. This word was used both of mental and of bodily disorder. Hamlet pretends to understand it in the latter sense.

III. ii. 320. choler. The other meaning of 'choler' is bilious disorder, and so again Hamlet pretends to misunderstand it.

III. ii. 323. purgation. Another word of double meaning: (I) clearing from the accusation or suspicion of guilt; (2) purging in the medical sense.

III. ii. 355. pickers and stealers. An allusion to the phrase in the Catechism, "Keep my hands from picking and stealing."

III. ii. 365. 'While . . . grows.' A proverb of frequent occurrence. Cf. Heywood's Proverbs "while the grass groweth the horse sterveth," and Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra (1578), "Whylst grass doth growe, oft sterves the seely steede."

III. ii. 368. recover the wind of. A hunting term, meaning, keep watch upon (as upon the game, when following it down the wind).

III. ii. 395. fret. Frets are stops of instruments of the lute or guitar kind. Hamlet also uses it quibblingly to mean 'annoy.'

III. ii. 409. bent. An expression derived from archery; the bow has its 'bent' when it is drawn as far as it can be.

III. ii. 419. Nero. He murdered his mother, Agrippina.