Question: Explain: "Would not this, sir, and a forest of feathers - if the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with me - with two provincial roses on my razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry of players, sir?" III.ii.
Answer: "Forest of Feathers." The allusion is to the fact that a
great many feathers were worn by actors in Shakespeare's
"Turn Turk" that is, if my fortunes undergo a complete
revolution for the worse. Englishmen evidently had not a
very high opinion of the Turks, for the expression occurs in
Othello and other plays of Shakespeare.
Provincial roses in this case were nothing more than
rosettes worn on the shoe. The roses of Province were
noted for their beauty. Razed, that is slashed, inlaid with
different colored silks, stitched and embroidered perhaps.
Cry of players means a company of players. Cry was
commonly applied to a pack of hounds, though seldom to
Mertins, Emma. Shakespeare Examinations. Ed. William Taylor Thom, M. A. Boston: Ginn and Co., 1888. Shakespeare Online. 10 Aug. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/hamlet/examq/nineteen.html >.