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And bear this work of heaven with patience:
Prince. We still have known thee for a holy
Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this?
Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's death; And then in post he came from Mantua, To this same place, to this same monuinent. This letter he early bid ine give his father; And threaten'd me with death, going in the vault, If I departed not, and left him there.
Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch ?Sirrah, what made your master in this place? Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's
grave; And bid me stand aloof, and so I did: Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb; And, by and by, my master drew on him; And then I ran away to call the watch. Prince. This letter doth make good the friar's
words, Their course of love, the tidings of her death: And here he writes—that he did buy a poison Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet. Where be these enemies? Capulet! Montague!See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That heaven finds means to kill your joys with love! And I, for winking at your discords too,
Have lost a brace of kinsmen:-all are punish'd.
Cap. O, brother Montague, give me thy hand:
But I can give thee more:
Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
brings; The sun, for sorrow, will not show his head: Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things;
Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished: For never was a story of more woe Than this of Juliet and her Romeo. [Exeunt. '
& Have lost a brace of kinsmen :) Mercutio and Paris: Mercutio is expressly called the prince's kinsman in Act III. sc. iv. and that Paris also was the prince's kinsman, may be inferred from other passages.
• Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished :] This line has reforence to the novel from which the fable is taken. Here we read that Juliet's female attendant was banished for concealing the marriage; Romeo's servant set at liberty because he had only acted in obedience to his master's orders; the apothecary taken, tortured, condemned, and hanged; while friar Laurence was permitted to retire to a hermitage in the neighbourhood of Verona, where he ended his life in penitence and tranquillity. STEEVENS.
· This play is one of the most pleasing of our author's performances. The scenes are busy and various, the incidents numerous and important, the catastrophe irresistibly affecting, and the process of the action carried on with such probability, at least with such congruity to popular opinions, as tragedy requires.
Here is one of the few attempts of Shakspeare to exhibit the conversation of gentlemen, to represent the airy sprightliness of juvenile elegance. Mr. Dryden mentions a tradition, which might easily reach his time, of a declaration made by Shakspeare, that he was obliged to kill Mercutio in the third Act, lest he should have been killed by him. Yet he thinks him no such formidable person,
but that he might have lived through the play, and died in his bed, without danger to the poet. Dryden well knew, had he been in quest of truth, in
pointed sentence, that more regard is commonly had to the words than the thought, and that it is very seldom to be rigorously understood. Mercutio's wit, gaiety, and courage, will always procure him friends that wish him a longer life; but his death is not precipitated, he has lived out the time allotted him in the construction of the play ; nor do I doubt the ability of Shakspeare to have continued his existence, though some of his sallies are perhaps out of the reach of Dryden; whose genius was not very fertile of merriment, nor ductile to humour, but acute, argumentative, comprehensive, and sublime.
The Nurse is one of the characters in which the author delighted : he has, with great subtilty of distinction, drawn her at once loquacious and secret, obsequious and insolent, trusty and dishonest.
His comick scenes are happily wrought, but his pathetick strains are always polluted with some unexpected depravations. His persons, however distressed, have a conceit left them in their misery, a miserable conceit. * JOHNSON.
• This quotation is also found in the Preface to Dryden's Fables : “ Just John Littlewit in Bartholomew Fair, who had a conceit (as he tells you) left him in his misery ; a miserable conceit." STEEVENS.
* HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.) The original story on which this play is built, may be found in Saxo Grammaticus the Danish historian. From thence Belleforest adopted it in his collection of novels, in seven volumes, which he began in 1564, and continued to publish through succeeding years. From this work, The Hystorie of Hamblett, quarto, bl. 1. was translated. I have hitherto met with no earlier edition of the play than one in the year 1604, though it must have been performed before that time, as I have seen a copy of Speght's edition of Chaucer, which formerly belonged to Dr. Gabriel Harvey, (the antagonist of Nash) who, in his own hand-writing, has set down Hamlet, as a performance with which he was well acquainted, in the year 1598. His words are these: “ The younger sort take much delight in Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis; but his Lucrece, and his tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, have it in them to please the wiser sort, 1598."
In the books of the Stationers' Company, this play was entered by James Roberts, July 26, 1602, under the title of “ A booke called The Revenge of Hamlett, Prince of Denmarke, as it was lately acted by the Lord Chamberlain his servantes."
In Eastward Hoe, by George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and John Marston, 1605, is a Aing at the hero of this tragedy. A footman named Hamlet enters, and a tankard-bearer asks him-“'Sfoote, Hamlet, are you mad?"
The frequent allusions of contemporary authors to this play sufficiently show its popularity. Thus, in Decker's Bel-man's Nightwalkes, 4to. 1612, we have—“But if any mad Hamlet, hearing this, smell villainie, and rush in by violence to see what the tawny diuels (gypsies) are dooing, then they excuse the fact" &c. Again, in an old collection of Satirical Poems, called The Night-Raven, is this couplet:
" I will not cry Hamlet, Revenge my greeves,
STEEVENS. Surely no satire was intended in Eastward Hoe, which was acted at Shakspeare's own playhouse, (Blackfriers,) by the children of the revels, in 1605. Malone.
The following particulars relative to the date of this piece, are borrowed from Dr. Farmer's Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare, p. 85, 86, second edition:
“ Greene, in the Epistle prefixed to his Arcadia, hath a lash at some 'vaine glorious tragedians,' and very plainly at Shakspeare in particular.— I leave all these to the mercy of their mothertongue, that feed on nought but the crums that fall from the translators trencher.—That could scarcely latinize their neck verse if they should have neede, yet English Seneca, read by candlelight