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Notes and Queries, Number 46, September 14, 1850   By:

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"When found, make a note of." CAPTAIN CUTTLE.

No. 46.] SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 1850 [Price Threepence. Stamped Edition 4d.



NOTES: Page The Meaning of "Risell" in Hamlet, by S.W. Singer. 241 Authors of the Rolliad. 242 Notes and Queries. 242 The Body of James II., by Pitman Jones. 243 Folk Lore: Legend of Sir Richard Baker Prophetic Spring at Langley, Kent. 244 Minor Notes: Poem by Malherbe Travels of Two English Pilgrims. 245

QUERIES: Quotations in Bishop Andrewes, by Rev. James Bliss. 245 Minor Queries: Spider and Fly Lexicon of Types Montaigue's Select Essays Custom of wearing the Breast uncovered Milton's Lycidas Sitting during the Lessons Blew Beer Carpatio Value of Money Bishop Berkeley, and Adventures of Gaudeatio di Lucca Cupid and Psyche Zund nadel Guns Bacon Family Armorials Artephius Sir Robert Howard Crozier and Pastoral Staff Marks of Cadency Miniature Gibbet. 245

REPLIES: Collar of S.S. by Rev. H.T. Ellacombe and J. Gough Nichols. 248 Sir Gregory Norton. 250 Shakspeare's Word "Delighted," by Rev. Dr. Kennedy. 250 Aerostation, by Henry Wilkinson. 251 Replies to Minor Queries: Long Lonkin Rowley Powley Guy's Armour Alarm Prelates of France Haberdasher "Rapido contrarius orbi" Robertson of Muirtown "Noli me tangere" Clergy sold for Slaves North Side of Churchyards Sir John Perrot Coins of Constantius II. She ne'er with treacherous Kiss California Bishops and their Precedence Elizabeth and Isabel Bever's Legal Polity Rikon Basilike, &c. 251

MISCELLANEOUS: Notes on Books, Sales, Catalogues, &c. 255 Notices to Correspondents. 255 Advertisements. 256



Few passages have been more discussed than this wild challenge of Hamlet to Laertes at the grave of Ophelia:

"Ham. I lov'd Ophelia! forty thousand brothers Could not, with all their quantity of love, Make up my sum. What wilt thou do for her?

Zounds! show me what thou'lt do? Woo't weep? Woo't fight? Woo't fast? Woo't tear thyself?

Woo't drink up Eisell? eat a crocodile?

I'll do't".

The sum of what has been said may be given in the words of Archdeacon Nares:

"There is no doubt that eisell meant vinegar, nor even that Shakspeare has used it in that sense; but in this passage it seems that it must be put for the name of a Danish river.... The question was much disputed between Messrs. Steevens and Malone: the former being for the river, the latter for the vinegar; and he endeavored even to get over the drink up, which stood much in his way. But after all, the challenge to drink vinegar, in such a rant, is so inconsistent, and even ridiculous, that we must decide for the river, whether its name be exactly found or not. To drink up a river, and eat a crocodile with his impenetrable scales, are two things equally impossible. There is no kind of comparison between the others."

I must confess that I was formerly led to adopt this view of the passage, but on more mature investigation I find that it is wrong. I see no necessary connection between eating a crocodile and drinking up eysell; and to drink up was commonly used for simply to drink. Eisell or Eysell certainly signified vinegar, but it was certainly not used in that sense by Shakspeare, who may in this instance be his own expositor; the word occurring again in his CXIth sonnet.

"Whilst, like a willing patient, I will drink Potions of eysell, 'gainst my strong infection; No bitterness that I will bitter think, Nor double penance, to correct correction."

Here we see that it was a bitter potion which it was a penance to drink... Continue reading book >>

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