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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
SCENE I. Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle.
FRANCISCO on his post. Enter to him, Bernardo.
Bernardo. WHO's there?
Nay, answer me;1 stand, and unfold
Ber. Long live the king!
Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed,
Fran. For this relief, much thanks; 'tis bitter cold, And I am sick at heart.
Ber. Have you had quiet guard?
Ber. Well, good night.
Not a mouse stirring.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals 2 of my watch, bid them make haste.
1 i. e. me, who have a right to demand the watchword; which appears to have been, "Long live the king."
2 Shakspeare uses rivals for associates, partners; and competitor has the same sense throughout these plays. It is the original sense of rivalis.
Enter HORATIO and MARCellus.
Fran. I think I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who is
Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus. Hor. What, has this thing appeared again to-night? Ber. I have seen nothing.
Mar. Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy;
And will not let belief take hold of him,
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us.
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
Sit down awhile;
Well, sit we down,
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Ber. Last night of all,
When yon same star, that's westward from the pole, Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself,
The bell then beating one,
Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!
1 To approve is to confirm.
Ber. In the same figure like the king that's dead.
Ber. It would be spoke to.
Hor. What art thou, that
Speak to it, Horatio.
usurp'st this time of
Together with that fair and warlike form
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? By Heaven, I charge thee,
Mar. It is offended.
Ber. See! it stalks away.
Hor. Stay; speak: speak, I charge thee speak.
Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio? you tremble, and look
Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you of it?
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Is it not like the king?
Hor. As thou art to thyself.
Such was the very armor he had on,
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
He smote the sledded Polack 3 on the ice.
1 It was a vulgar notion, that a supernatural being could only be spoken to, with effect, by persons of learning; exorcisms being usually practised by the clergy in Latin.
2 The first quarto reads, "it horrors me."
3 i. e. the sledged Polander (Polaque, Fr.). The old copy reads Pollar.
Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump1 at this dead
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not; 2
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
Why this same strict and most observant watch
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
That can I;
Our last king,
At least, the whisper goes so.
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
1 Jump. So the quarto of 1603, and that of 1604. The folio reads just. Jump and just were synonymous. So in Chapman's May Day, 1611:
"Your appointment was jumpe at three with me."
2 That is, "what particular train of thought to follow," &c. The first quarto reads:
"In what particular to work I know not."
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart,1
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
For food and diet, to some enterprise
That hath a stomach 5 in't; which is no other,
And terms compulsative, those 'foresaid lands
The source of this our watch; and the chief head
[Ber. I think it be no other, but even so.
may it sort, that this portentous figure
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
1 Co-mart is the reading of the quarto of 1604; the folio reads covenant. Co-mart, it is presumed, means a joint bargain. No other instance of the word is known.
2 i. e. "and import of that article marked out for that purpose."
3 The first quarto reads, "Of unapproved." Dr. Johnson explains it, "full of spirit, not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience," and has been hitherto uncontradicted.
4 i. e. snapped up or taken up hastily. Scroccare is properly to do any thing at another man's cost, to shark or shift for any thing. 5 Stomach is used for determined purpose.
6 Romage, now spelt rummage, and in common use as a verb, for making a thorough search, a busy and tumultuous movement.
7 All the lines within crotchets, in this play, are omitted in the folio of 1623. The title-pages of the quartos of 1604 and 1605 declare this play to be "enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect copie."