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Hamlet Travestie ;
AFTER THE MANNER OF
GEORGE STEVENS, ESQ.
AND THE VARIOUS
Commentators each dark passage shun,
ACT THE FIRST.
(a)-My eye and Tommy.
This is rather an obscure phrase. I suspect the author wrote My own to me, and that the passage originally stood thus :
But I have that without you can't take from me,
my own to me.
The wbole passage, which before was unintelligible, is, by this slight alteration, rendered perfectly clear; and may be thus explained :—You may disapprove of my outward appearance, but you cannot compel me to alter it, having no controul over that which I wear without ; as my black clothes are all my own to me, i. e. my own personal property—not borrowed from the
royal ward-robe, but made expressly for me, and at my own expense.'
Here is an elaborate display of ingenuity without accuracy. He that will wantonly sacrifice the sense of his author to a supererogatory refinement, may gain the admiration of the unlearned, and excite the wonder of the ignorant; but of obtaining the praise of the illuminated, and the approbation of the erudite, let him despair.
My eye and Tommy (i. e. fudge) is the true reading ; and the passage, as it stands, is correct.
In the Ryghte Tragycall Hystorie of Master Thomas Thumbe, bl. let. no date, I find, “ 'Tis all my eye and Betty Martin” used in the same sense. If the substitution of “ Tommy” for “ Betty Martin" be allowed, Dr. Johnson's explanation is just.
From what follows (No more foul weather), it occurs
to me that our author intended a perfect and very beautiful metaphor from the weather, which the present reading has totally destroyed : if, instead of cheer up, we read clear up, it will be restored.
I was for some time of Mr. Malone's opinion; but a serious reconsideration of the arguments upon which it was founded, has convinced me of its fallacy. Cheer up is so frequently used by the King, as to leave but little doubt of its being one of his Danish Majesty's cant phrases.
(c)-My dear, take my Belcher
I question whether Belchers were known in Denmark as early as the time of Hamlet. This is an evident anachronism.
In a very old bl. let. Detaille of ye Workes of y. Loome, I find mention of “ BELLE-CHERE, a Kerchief (so called, because of ytts Beautie and of ytts Dearnesse) used only by Folke of Degree.” With greater propriety