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Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Without the sensible and true avouch

Of mine own eyes.

Mar. Is it not like the king?

Hor. As thou art to thyself:

Such was the very armour he had on,
When he the ambitious Norway combated ;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.

'Tis strange.


Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour, With martial stalk, hath he gone by our watch.

Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not :7 But, in the gross and scope of mine opinion,


This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows, Why this same strict and most observant watch

So nightly toils the subject of the land?
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;

Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week:
What might we toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day;
Who is't, that can inform me ?

Hor. That can I; ✨,

Our last king,

At least, the whisper goes so.
Whose image but even now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Dar'd to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him,)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd compact,
Well ratified by law, and heraldry,

Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror :
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,

Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,

[5] He speaks of a prince of Poland whom he slew in battle. Polack was, in that age, the term for an inhabitant of Poland.

Jump and just were synonymous in the time of Shakespeare. What particular train of thinking to follow. STEEVENS. [8] Gross and scope,---general thoughts, and tendency at large.




And carriage of the article design'd,'

His fell to Hamlet: Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,'

Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes,*

For food and diet to some enterprize
That hath a stomach in't; which is no other
(As it doth well appear unto our state,)
But to recover of us, by strong hand,
And terms compulsatory, those 'foresaid lands
So by his father lost: And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations;
The source of this our watch; and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
Ber. I think, it be no other, but even so :
Well may it sort,' that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king
'That was, and is, the question of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,

The grave stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.

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As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun; and the moist star,*
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to dooms-day with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates,
And prologue to the omen coming on,-
Have heaven and earth together démonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.-

Re-enter Ghost.

But, soft; behold! lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blast me.-Stay, illusion!
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me :


[9] Carriage is import: Design'd is formed, drawn up between them.
[1] Full of spirit not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience.


[2] I believe to shark up means to pick up without distinction, as the shark-fish oollects his prey. STEEVENS.

[3] The cause and the effect are proportionate and suitable. JOHNSON. [4] The moon. MALONE. [5] Fierce for terrible. WARBURTON.

[6] The speech of Horatio to the spectre is very elegant ard noble, and congrucus to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions.



HAMLET.- Prince of Denmark


If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease, and grace to me,
Speak to me :

If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid,
O, speak!

Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life

Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,

For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,

[Cock crows

Speak of it stay, and speak.-Stop it, Marcellus,
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partizan?

Hor. Do, if it will not stand.

[Exit Ghost.

Ber. 'Tis here!

Hor. 'Tis here!

Mar. 'Tis gone!

We do it wrong, being so majestical,

To offer it the show of violence;

For it is, as the air, invulnerable,

And our vain blows malicious mockery.

Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air,9
The extravagant and erring spirit hies1
To his confine and of the truth herein


[8] Bourne of Newcastle, in his Antiquities of the common People, informs us, it is a received tradition among the vulgar, that at the time of cock-crowing, "the midnight spirits forsake these lower regions, and go to their proper places.---Hence it is, says he, that in country places, where the way of life re"quires more early labour, they always go cheerfully to work at that time; whereas "if they are called abroad sooner, they imagine every thing they see a wandering "ghost." FARMER.

[9] According to the pneumatology of the time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits, who had dispositions different, according to their various places of abode. The meaning therefore is, that all spirits extravagant, wandering out of their element, whether aerial spirits visiting earth, or earthly spirits rang ing the air, return to their station, to their proper limits in which they are confined. We might read,

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-And at his warning

"Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies
"To his confine, whether in sea or air,
"Or earth, or fire. And of," &c.

But this change, though it would smooth the construction, is not necessary, and being unnecessary, should not be made against authority. 11] Extravagant, out of bounds. Erring, erratic.


This present object made probation.

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
This bird of dawning singeth all night long :
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad ;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time.

Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill
Break we our watch; and, by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet : for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him:
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know Where we shall find him most convenient.


The same. A Room of State in the same.


Enter the King,


King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death The memory be green; and that it us befitted

To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;

Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,-
With one auspicious, and one dropping eye;
With mirth in funeral, and with dirge in marriage,
In equal scale weighing delight and dole,-
Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along :-For all, our thanks.
Now follows, that you know, young Fortinbras,--

[2] No fairy strikes with lameness or disease.


Holding a weak supposal of our worth ;
Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death,
Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
Colleagued with this dream of his advantage,
He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
Importing the surrender of those lands

Lost by his father, with all bands of law,

To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
Thus much the business is: We have here writ
To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,-
Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress
His further gait herein; in that the levies,
The lists, and full proportions, are all made
Out of his subject:-and we here despatch
You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For bearers of this greeting to old Norway;
Giving to you no further personal power
To business with the king, more than the scope
Of these dilated articles allow.

Farewell; and let your haste commend your duty.
Cor. Vol. In that, and all things, will we show our duty
King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell.


And now, Laertes, what's the news with you?
You told us of some suit; What is't, Laertes ?
You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,

And lose your voice: What would'st thou beg, Laertes,
That shall not be my offer, not thy asking?
The head is not more native to the heart,3
The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Than is the throne of Denmark to thy father.
What wouldst thou have, Laertes ?

Laer. My dread lord,

Your leave and favour to return to France;
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark,
To show my duty in your coronation ;

Yet now, I must confess, that duty done,

My thoughts and wishes bend again toward France,
And bow them to your gracious leave and pardon.

King. Have you your father's leave? What says Polo

nius ?

[8] Formerly the heart was supposed the seat of wisdom, and hence the poet speaks of the close connexion between the heart and head. MALONE.

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