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With
THE CORRECTIONS AND ILLUSTRATIONS
OF
DR. JOHNSON, G. STEEVENS, AND OTHERS.

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Time, which is continually washing away the dissoluble Fabrics of other Poets,
passes without Injury by the Adamant of Shakespeare. Dr. Johnson's Preface.

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HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK,

OBSERVATIONS.

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 Shakespeare'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 fling at the hero of this tragedy. A footman named Hamlet enters, and a tankardbearer asks him—“’Sfoote, Hanlet, 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,
“But I will call Hangman, Itevenge on thieves.”

STEEvens. * Surely no satire was intended in Eastward Hoe, which was acted at Shakespeare's own playhouse, (Blackfriers,)

by the children of the revels, in 1605. Malone

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