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The earliest edition of “ Hamlet' known to exist is that of the players. The book is now the companion of our of 1603. It bears the following title : · The Tragicall lonely walks ;—its recollections hang about our most Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, by William cherished thoughts. We think less of the dramatic Shake-speare. As it hath beene diverse times acted by movement of the play, than of the glimjises which it his Highnesse servants in the Cittie of London : as also affords of the high and solemn things that belong to in the two Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and our being. We see Hamlet habitually subjected to elsewhere. At London, printed for N. L. and John the spiritual part of his nature,—comniuning with Trundell, 1603. The only known copy of this edition thoughts that are not of this world, -abstracted from is in the library of the Duke of Devonshire; and that the business of life,—but yet exhibiting a most vigorous copy is not quite perfect. It was reprinted in 1825. intellect, and an exquisite taste. But there is thao
The second edition of Hamlet' was printed in about him which we cannot understand. Is he essere 1604, under the following title : • The Tragicall His- tially “in madness," or mad "only in craft ?" Where torie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke. By William is the line to be drawn between his artificial and bis Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost real character? There is something altogether inde as much againe as it was, according to the true and finable and mysterious in the poet's delineation of this perfect coppie. Printed by J. R. for N. Landure, 1604, character ;-something wild and irregular in the cir4to.' This edition was reprinted in 1605, in 1609, in cumstances with which the character is associated, we 1611, and there is also a quarto edition without a date. see that Hamlet is propelled, rather than propelling.
In the folio of 1623 some passages which are found But why is this turn given to the delineation? We in the quarto of 1604 are omitted. In our text we have cannot exactly tell. Perhaps some of the very charm given these passages. In other respects our text, with of the play to the adult mind is its mysteriousness. It one or two minute exceptions, is wholly founded upon awakes not only thoughts of the grand and the beautithe folio of 1623. From this circumstance our edition ful, but of the incomprehensible. Its obscurity constiwill be found considerably to differ from the text of tutes a portion of its sublimity. This is the stage in Johnson and Steevens, of Reed, of Malone, and of all which most minds are content to rest, and, perhaps, the current editions which are founded upon these. advantageously so, with regard to the comprehension of
In the reprint of the edition of 1603, it is stated to Hamlet.' be“ the only known copy of this tragedy, as originally The final appreciation of the · Hamlet ’of Shakspete written by Shakespeare, which he afterwards altered belongs to the development of the critical faculty,and enlarged." We believe that this description is the cultivation of it by reading and reflection. Without correct; that this remarkable copy gives us the play as inuch acquaintance with the thoughts of others, many originally written by Shakspere. It may have been men, we have no doubt, being earnest and diligent piratical, and we think it was so. The · Hamlet' of students of Shakspere, have arrived at a tolerably ade 1603 is a sketch of the perfect · Hamlet,' and probably quate comprehension of his idea in this wonderful play. a corrupt copy of that sketch.
In passing through the stage of admiration they have The comprehension of this tragedy is the history of a utterly rejected the trash which the commentators bare man's own mind. In some shape or other, · Hamlet heaped upon it, under the name of criticism, the the Daue' very early becomes familiar to almost every solemn commonplaces of Johnson, the flippant and youth of tolerable education. He is sometimes pre-insolent attacks of Steevens. When the one says the sented through the medium of the stage; more fre- apparition left the regions of the dead to little purpose," quently in some one of the manifold editions of the -and the other talks of the "absurditios " which deform acted play. The sublime scenes where the Ghost ap- the piece, and “ the immoral character of Hamlet,"– pears are known even to the youngest school-boy, in his the love for Shakspere tells them, that remarks such as * Speakers ' and • Readers; and so is the soliloquy, these belong to the same class of prejudices as Voltaire's “ To be, or not to be.” As we in early life become monstruosités et fossoyeurs," But after they have acquainted with the complete acted play, we hate the rejected all that belongs to criticism without love, the King,--we weep for Ophelia, —we think Hamlet is very depth of the reverence of another school of critics cruel to her,—we are perhaps inclined with Dr. John- may tend to perplex them. The quantity alone that son to laugh at Hamlet's madness—(“the pretended has been written in illustration of · Hamlet' is emler madness of Hamlet causes much mirth ")—we wonder rassing. We have only one word here to say to the that Hamlet does not kill the King earlier,--and we anxious student of · Hamlet :' “ Read, and again, azad believe, as Garrick believed, that the catastrophe might again." These are the words which the Editors of the have been greatly improved, seeing that the wicked and folio of 1623 addressed “ to the great variety of readers" the virtuous ought not to fall together, as it were by as to Shakspere generally: “ Read him, therefore ; and accident.
again, and again : and if then you do not like him, A few years onward, and we have become acquainted surely you are in some manifest danger not to under with the · Hamlet' of Shakspere, -not the · Hamlet 'stand him."
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.
CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark,
A Courtier. Appears. Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. I ; c. 2; sc. 3
Appeurs, Act IV. sc. 5. Act IV. sc. 1 ; se. 3; sc. 5; sc. 6. Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2.
Appears, Act V. sc. I.
MARCELLUS, an officer.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 4; &c. 3 se 2; sc. 3; sc. 4. Act IV. sc. 2; sc. 3 ; s. 4. Act V. sc. 1;
BERNARDO, an officer. s. 2.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1; sc. 2.
Francisco, a soldier.
Appears, Act I. sc. 1.
REYNALDO, servant to Polonius.
Appears, Act II. sc. 1. appears, Act I. se. l; sc. 2; sc. 4; sc. 5. Act III.sc. 2. Act IV. se. 5; sc. 6. Act V. sc. 1 ; sc. 2.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 4.
Appears, Act V. sc. 2.
Ghost of Hamlet's Father.
Appears, Act I. sc. I; sc. 4; sc. 5. Act III. st. y.
FORTINBRAS, Prince of Norway.
Appears, Act IV. sc. 4. Act V. sc. 2.
GERTRUDE, Queen of Denmark, and mother of Hamlet Appents, Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. 1; sc. 2; sc. 3. Act IV
Appears, Act I. sc. 2. Act II. sc. 2. Act III. sc. I; sc. 2; sc. i. sc. 1 ; sc. 2; sc. 3; se. 4.
Act IV. sc. : ; sc. 5; sc. 6. Act V. sc. 1; sc. 2.
OPHELIA, daughter of Polonius.
Appears, Act I. sc. 3. Act II. sc. 1. Act III. sc. 1 ; sc. 2. Act se. l; sc. 2; sc. 3; sc. 4.
IV. sc. 5.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Players, Gravo.
diggers, Sailors, Messengers, and other Attendants. SCENE,—ELSINORE.
SCENE I.—Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle. Mar.
0, farewell, honest soldier : FRANCISCO on his post. Enter to him BERNARDO.
Who hath reliev'd you
? Ber. Who's there?
Bernardo hath my place. Fran.
(Exit Fran. Nay, answer me :* stand, and unfold Give you good night.
Holla! Bernardo ! Yourself.
What, is Horatio there?
A piece of him.
Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus. Ber. *T is now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Fran
Mar. What, has this thing appear'd agaii tucisco.
Ber. I have seen nothing. Fran. For this relief, much thanks : 't is bitter cold,
Mar. Horatio says, 't is but our fantasy ;
And will not let belief take hold of him,
Not a mouse stirring. Therefore I have entreated him along
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us :
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That, if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Hor. Tush! tush! 't will not appear.
Sit down awhile, lor. Friends to this ground.
And let us once again assail your ears, Mar.
And liegemen to the Dane. That are so fortified against our story, Fran. Give you good night.
What we two nights have seen.
Hor. • Answer wie. I, the sentinel, challenge you. Bernardo then
Well, sit we down, pires the answer to the challenge, or watch-word-—" Long live
And let us hear Bernardo speak of this. the king !"
Ber. Last night of all, Rwals-partners, companions.
When yon same star, that 's westward from the poie. • This form of expression is an abbreviation of " Give you good night;" and our “good night” is an abbre
Had made his course to illume that part of heaven vizon abreviated.
a Confirm what we have seen.
Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full, The bell then beating one,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, Mar. Peace, break thee of'; look, where it comes Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes, again!
For food and diet, to some enterprize
That hath a stomach in 't: which is no other
(And it doth well appear unto our state,) Ber. In the same figure, like the king that 's dead.
But to recover of us by strong hand, Mar. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.a
And terms compulsative, those 'foresaid lands Ber. Looks it not like the king ? mark it, Horatio.
So by his father lost : And this, I take it, Hor. Most like :-it harrows me with fear, and won
Is the main motive of our preparations ; der.
The source of this our watch; and the chief head Ber. It would be spoke to.
Of this post-haste and romage in the land.
Ber. I think it be no other, but even so :
Comes armed through our watch : so like the king In which the majesty of buried Denmark
That was, and is, the question of these wars. Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, speak.
Hor. A moth it is to trouble the mind's eye. Mar. It is offended. Ber. See! it stalks away.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius sell, Hor. Stay; speak : speak I charge thee, speak.
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
[Exit Ghost. Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets : Mar. 'T is gone, and will not answer.
As stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Ber. How now,
Horatio ? you tremble, and look Disasters in the sun ; and the moist star, pale:
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands, Is not this something more than fantasy?
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse. What think you on 't?
And even the like precurse of fierce events, Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe,
As harbingers preceding still the fates, Without the sensible and true avouch
And prologue to the omend coming on,
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climatures and countrymen.
But, soft; behold! lo, where it comes again! So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
I 'll cross it, though it blast me.--Stay, illusion! He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice, 'T is strange.
S; eak to me:
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, happily, foreknowing may avoid, This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
O, speak! Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life knows,
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth, Why this same strict and most observant watch For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in deati, So nightly toils the subject of the land ?
(Cock cru* And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
Speak of it :-stay, and speak.--Stop it, Marcellus. And foreign mart for implements of war :
Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partizan! Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Hor. Do, if it will not stand. Does not divide the Sunday from the week :
'T is here! What might be toward that this sweaty haste
T is here! Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day; Mar. *T is gone!
(Ezi GRU Who is 't that can inform me?
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence;
For it is, as the air, invulnerable, Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
And our vain blows malicious mockery. Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock cres. Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride,
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing Dard to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet Upon a fearful summons. I have heard, (For so this side of our known world esteem'd bim) The cock, that is the trumpet to the mom, Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd compact, Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat Well ratified by law and heraldry,
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning, Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air, Which he stood seiz'd on, to the conqueror :
The extravagant and erring spirit hies Against the which, a moiety competent
To his confine : and of the truth herein Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
This present object made probation. To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock. Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same cov'nant
that ever 'gainst that season comes And carriage of the article design'd,
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated, His fell to Hamlet : Now, sir, young Fortinbras, The bird of dawning singeth all night long :
* Exorcisms were usually performed in Latin--the language * Unimproved. Improve was originally used for reper. of the church-service.
b Rumage. The stowing of a ship is the romage, the stort b Polacks—Poles.
is the romager. What might !e in preparation. To-weard, to-toard, is the © The moist star is the moon. Awlo-Saxon participle, equivalent to coming, abuut to rume. d Omen is here put for “ portentous event."
And then, they say, no spirit can walk abroad ; The hand more instrumental to the mouth,
Dread my lord, Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it, Your leave and favour to return to France; But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
From whence though willingly I came to Denmark, Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastern hill:
To show my duty in your coronation ; Break we our watch up; and, by my advice,
Yet now, I must confess, that duty done, Let us impart what we have seen to-night
My thoughts and wishes bend again towards France, Unto young Hamlet : for, upon my life,
And how them to your gracious leave and pardon. This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him :
King. Have you your father's leave? What says Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
Polonius? As needful in our loves, fitting our duty ?
Pol. He hath, my lord, wrung from me my slow leave, Mar. Let 's do it, I pray : and I this morning kuow By laboursome petition; and, at last, Where we shall find him most conveniently. [Exeunt. Upon his will I seald my hard consent :
I do beseech you, give him leave to go. SCENE II.—The same. A Room of State in the King. Take thy fair hour, Laertes ; time be thine,
And thy best graces spend it at thy will!
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,Enter the KING, QUEEN, HAMLET, POLONIUS, LA
Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind." ERTES, VOLTIMAND, CORNELIUS, and Lords Attend
King. How is it that the clouds still hang on you ? King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the sun. The memory be green; and that it us befitted
Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nightly colour off, To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark. To be contracted in one brow of woe;
Do not, for ever, with thy vailed lids Yet so far hath discretion fought with nature,
Seek for thy noble father in the dust : That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Thou know'st, 't is common ; all that lives must die, Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Passing through nature to eternity. Therefore our sometime sister, now our queen,
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common. The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
If it be, Have we, as 't were, with a defeated joy,
Why seems it so particular with thee? With one auspicious and one dropping eye ;
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is; I know not seems. With mirtb in funeral, and with dirge in marriage 'T is not alone my inky cloak, good mother, In equal scale, weighing delight and dole,
Nor customary suits of solemn black, Taken to wife: nor have we herein barr'd
Nor windy suspiration of forc'd breath, Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
No, nor the fruitful river in the
eye, With this affair along :-For all, our thanks.
Nor the dejected haviour of the visage,
That can denote me truly: These, indeed, seem, Or thinking, by our late dear brother's death,
For they are actions that a man might play: Our state to be disjoint and out of frame,
But I have that within which passeth show; Colleagued with the dream of his advantage,
These, but the trappings and the suits He hath not fail'd to pester us with message,
King. 'T is sweet and commendable in your nature, Importing the surrender of those lands
Hamlet, Lost by his father, with all bonds of law,
To give these mourning duties to your father : To our most valiant brother.-So much for him.
But, you must know, your father lost a father; Now for ourself, and for this time of meeting.
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound Thus much the business is : We have here writ
In filial obligation for some term To Norway, uncle of young Fortinbras,
To do obsequious sorrow : But to persever Who, impotent and bed-rid, scarcely hears
In obstinate condolement, is a course Of this his nephew's purpose, to suppress,
Of impious stubbornness; 't is unmanly grief : His further gaith herein; in that the levies,
It shows a will most incorrect to heaven; The lists, and full proportions, are all made
A heart unfortified, a mind impatient, Out of his subject :c and we here despatch
An understanding simple and unschool'l: You, good Cornelius, and you, Voltimand,
For what, we know, must be, and is as common For bearing of this greeting to old Norway;
As any the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
A fault against the dead, a fault to nature,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day, King. We doubt it nothing; heartily farewell. “ This must be so." We pray you, throw to earth
[Exeunt Vol. and Cor. This unprevailing woe; and think of us And now, Laertes, what is the news with you? As of a father : for let the world take note, You told us of some suit? What is 't, Laertes ? You are the most immediate to our throne, You cannot speak of reason to the Dane,
And, with no less nobility of love, And lose your voice: What wouldst thou beg, Laertes,
* The King has called him “my cousin Hamlet." He says, That shall not be my offer, not thy asking!
in a suppressed tone, “ A little more than kin"-a little more The bead is not more native to the heart,
than cousin. The King adds, "and my son." Hamlet says,
"less than kind;"-I am little of the game nature with you. * Takes-seizes with disease.
Kind is constantly used in the sense of nature by Ben Jonson Gais-progress, the act of going.
and other contemporaries of Shakspere. • Oat of his subject--out of those subject to lim.
• Obsequious sorrow-funereai sorrow,--from cse, wies.