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Line 1350-1 - Commentary Note (CN) More Information

1350-1 man, how noble in | reason, how infinit in {faculties,} <faculty?> in forme and  
1784 davies
davies
1350-1 how...forme] Davies (1784, p.45):"In uttering this beautiful description of man and his powers, the energy of Garrick was very striking; and the noble figure and movement of Barry added a double force to the sentiment. Notwithstanding this, I am of opinion, that, in this argument, in which Hamlet pretends to account for his melancholy, the actor is generally too tame and temperate in speech and action, and too forgetful of the part he has assumed."
1872 cln1
cln1
1351 faculties] Clark & Wright (ed. 1872): "See the folios. The quartos have ’faculties.’ "
1882 elze
elze
1350-1 Elze (ed. 1882): “This celebrated passage has been imitated in Marston’s Malcontent (1604), I, 5 (Works, ed. Halliwell, II, 217): In body how delicate, in soule how wittie, in discourse how pregnant, in life how warie, in favours how juditious, in day how sociable, and in night, how! — O pleasure unutterable! Dr Ingleby, however, has not admitted this allusion into his Centurie of Prayse.”
1899 ard1
ard1
1350 man] DOWDEN (ed. 1899): “Dyce (ed. 2) thinks ‘a’ in Qq. 2-5 was shuffled out of its place before piece, and that Ff, instead of transposing ‘a,’ added another before piece.”
1934a cam3
cam3
1350-55 Wilson (ed. 1934): “Such is the pointing of Q2. Cf. that of the F1 text, accepted by all edd., substituting notes of exclamation for the orig. queries, the two being alternatives in old printing: What a piece of worke is a man! how noble in Reason! how infinite in faculty! in forme and mouing how expresse and admirable! in Action, how like an Angel! in apprehension, how like a God! the beauty of the world, the Parragon of Animals; This rhetorical, the declamtion of a player; Q2 without an exclamation of any kind, gives us the brooding Ham. The sense too is different, to the bewilederment of some critics. But the absolute ‘how like a god’ makes a fine climax, esp. as followed at once by ‘this quint--essence of dust’; ‘how like an angel in apprehension’ recalls ‘with wings as swift | As meditation of the thoughts of love’ [(714-6)]; while ‘how infinite in faculties, in form and moving’ may be paraphrased ‘how infinitely varied in his bodily powers: in sight, hearing and other qualities of sense (cf. ‘the very faculties of eyes and ears’ [(1606)]; in facial expression and gesture (cf. ‘his whole function suiting | With forms to hes cocnceit ‘ [(1596-7)]); and in the motion and activity of his body.’ The traditional (F1) rendering, on the other hand, involves two grave difficulties: (I) to a thinking Eliz. angels were discarnate spirits whose onlly form of action was ‘apprehension’ (cf. Aquinas, Summa, I. 50-8). To make Ham. compare human action to that of an angel is, therefore, to make him talk nonsense. (ii) The epithet ‘express’ goes so awkwardky with ‘form and moving’ that N.E.D. has had to devise a nonce--use, i.e. ‘well framed’ or ‘modelled’ to wxplain it; whireas its ordinary meaning, i.e. ‘direct and purposive’ is exactly suited to ‘action.’ MSH. pp.210-14.”
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