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ACT THE SECOND.
(a) he's up to snuff This is highly figurative. To snuff up is to scent. Guildenstern says,
he knows well enough 66 The game we're after : Zooks, he's up to snuff.” that is, he has got scent of the game we are in pursuit of. The metaphor, which is striking and apposite, is borrowed from the Chase.
WARBURTON. • Without having recourse to a far-fetched explanation, I choose to understand the passage in it's common acceptation : The game we're after means. nothing more than the trick by which we are en
deavouring to worm from him his secret; but which, as he is up to snuff, i. e, as he is a knowing one, he will, assuredly, render inefficacious.
(6) Recitative, (accompanied) and Duett. This, and all that follows to the end of the scene, is, in almost all the old copies, (for what reason I know not) omitted. By restoring it, I remove the languor under which, for want of a pathetic love. scene, the play has, hitherto, laboured.
(c) that's all gammon. . It is probable that the author intended game, man ! By game may be understood fudge, or blarney. When we recollect that many of our author's plays were taken down in writing during the performance, and consider that the copyists may have been misled by the indistinct articulation of the actors, the error may be easily accounted for.
POPE. The passage, as it stands, is correct; and, to me, appears perfectly intelligible: that's all gammon, is equivalent to that's all my eye.
Mr. Pope, not readily understanding the passage, seems willing to plunge it still deeper into unintelligi. bility : like him who, deprived of the organs of vision, excludes the light from his chamber, and immerses it in impenetrable tenebrosity, in order that his visitors may partake of, and be involved in, that obscurity, under which he himself is doomed to suffer.
(d) row. A breeze; a kick-up.
I find this word used, in the same sense in an old ballad (which, no doubt, was within our author's · knowledge) called Molle in ye Wadde. bl. let. 1564:
66 Molle in ye Wadde and I felle outte,
(e) Jump oʻer a broomstick. We might, with more propriety, read mop-stick ;
but as I do not approve of alterations unsupported by authority, or of emendations, captious or arbitrary, I leave the text as I found it.
JOHNSON. Broomstick is certainly right. The allusion is to an ancient custom noticed in Quiz'em's Chronicles, printed by Stephen Typpe, at the Sign of the Catte and Fiddelle, London, 1598. bl. let. and entered in the hooks of the Stationers Compåny, November 1598.
" And ye Bryde and ye Brydegroome, not " handyely fyndeing a Parson, and being in grievous " haste to bee wed; they did take a Broome-stycke, 16 and they did jumpe from one syde of ye Broome. « " stycke over to ye other syde thereof; and haveing 66 so done, they did thinke them lawfulle Man and 66 Wyffe.”