Open main menu
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
The Tragedy of Hamlet,

V. i. 256. crants. Garlands appear to have been borne before the bodies of unmarried women to the grave, and were hung up in church.

V. i. 277. Pelion. Pelion, Olympus, and Ossa (l. 305) are three mountains in the north of Thessaly. The Titans, warring with the gods, are said to have attempted to pile Ossa on Pelion in an effort to scale Olympus.

V. i. 300. eisel. Some commentators have taken this word for the name of a river, but there seems no plausible basis for such an interpretation. Cf. The Salisbury Primer (1555): "I beseech thee for the bitterness of the aysell and gall that thou tasted."

V. i. 308. This . . . drooping. The first Folio assigns this speech to the King.

V. i. 311. golden couplets. The dove lays but two eggs and the young, when first disclosed, are covered with a yellow down. Cf. III. i. 174.

V. ii. 13. sea-gown. "A coarse, high-collared and short-sleeved gown, reaching down to the mid leg, and used most by seamen and sailors." (Onions.)

V. ii. 22. bugs . . . life. I.e., with such enumeration of bugbears and imaginary terrors if Hamlet were allowed his life.

V. ii. 30. prologue . . . play. I.e., before I had formed my real plan, my brains had done their work.

V. ii. 42. comma. There have been many conjectures, but the meaning of the text appears obvious as it stands.

V. ii. 43. 'As'es. A quibble on 'as,' the conditional particle, and 'ass,' the beast of burden.

V. ii. 65. election. The Danish throne was elective.

V. ii. 84. water-fly. Used for a vain or idly busy person, but probably also with reference to the gaudy attire of the foolish courtier.

V. ii. 90. mess. "One of the groups of persons,