Metaphor of baseball and dating
The reference is to the play Hamlet in which the central character is the prince (of Denmark), namely Hamlet himself.It was Wordsworth who first noted, in a letter of 1793, the story of a company of strolling players who advertised a performance of Hamlet and announced, at the beginning of the performance, that they hoped the audience would forgive the omission of the character of the prince.
This was originally 'hand over hand', a nautical expression applied to the speedy hauling in or descent of a rope by using alternate hands, rather than by the slower method of using both hands together.
This indicates that 'jolly as a sandboy' was familiar enough to have an inn named from it, bit if sandboys' jollity was really inspired by their proverbial intake of alcohol it is hard to believe that an inn-sign would celebrate the fact, unless the sandboys were actually men.
Probably they were just happy because what they sold for money cost them very little or nothing.
not a thoroughbred) suitable for general use, especially for riding by ladies; the name may have come from Hackney in London, where horses used to be raised.
Shortened to hack, the word is still in use for a horse of this kind.
The ship's helplessness is compared to that of a drunken person equally unable to steer a course.