Puslapio vaizdai

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 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.7

'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; But, in the gross and scope1 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:

6 · sledded —] A sled, or sledge, is a carriage without wheels, made use of in the cold countries.

7 He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.] He speaks of a prince of Poland whom he slew in battle. Polack was, in that age, the term for an inhabitant of Poland. Mr. Malone reads Polacks.

[ocr errors]

jump at this dead hour,] Jump and just were synonymous in the time of Shakspeare.

9 In what particular thought to work,] i. e. what particular train of thinking to follow.

[ocr errors][merged small]

· gross and scope-] General thoughts, and tendency at

2 Why such impress of shipwrights,] Impress signifies here the act of retaining shipwrights by giving them what was called prest money (from prêt, Fr.) for holding themselves in readiness to be employed.

What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day;
Who is't, that can inform me?


That can I;

Our last king,

At least, the whisper goes so.
Whose image even but 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,
And carriage of the article design'd,3

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

[blocks in formation]

And carriage of the article design'd,] Co-mart is supposed to mean a joint bargain, a word perhaps of our poet's coinage. Carriage is import: design'd, is formed, drawn up between them.

+ Of unimproved, &c.] Full of unimproved mettle, is full of spirit not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience.

5 Shark'd up a list, &c.] Picked up without distinction, as the shark-fish collects his prey.

6 That hath a stomach in't:] Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for constancy, resolution.

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.1
Hor. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome, 2
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,

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

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,



romage - Commonly written - rummage. It is not, however, certain that the word romage has been properly explained. Romage, on shipboard, must have signified a scrupulous examination into the state of the vessel and its stores. Respecting land-service, the same term implied a strict inquiry into the kingdom, that means of defence might be supplied where they were wanted. Rummage, is properly explained by Johnson in his dictionary, as it is at present daily used, to search for any thing.

8 [I think, &c.] These lines, confined within crotchets, throughout this play, and some others which we have not noticed, are omitted in the folio edition of 1623. The omissions leave the play sometimes better and sometimes worse, and seem made only for the sake of abbreviation. JOHNSON.

9 Well may it sort,] The cause and effect are proportionate and suitable.



the question of these wars.] The theme or subject.
palmy state of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious.

3 As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,

Disasters in the sun;] This passage is not in the folio. By the quartos therefore our imperfect text is supplied; for an intermediate verse being evidently lost, it were idle to attempt a union that never was intended. I have therefore signified the supposed deficiency by a vacant space. MALONE.

and the moist star, &c.] i. e. the moon.

[ocr errors]

Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of fierce events,-
As harbingers preceding still the fates,

And prologue to the omen coming on, —6
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:

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,

Speak of it: stay, and speak.

[ocr errors]

[Cock crows.

Stop it, Marcellus. Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partizan?

Hor. Do, if it will not stand.



Mar. 'Tis gone!

"Tis here!

'Tis here! [Exit Ghost.

We do it wrong, being so majestical,

› And even—] Not only such prodigies have been seen in Rome, but the elements have shown our countrymen like forerunners and foretokens of violent events.

• And prologue to the omen coming on,] i. e. the approaching dreadful and portentous event.

7 If thou hast any sound,] The speech of Horatio to the spectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions. JOHNSON.

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,8
The extravagant and erring spirit9 hies
To his confine: and of the truth herein
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 up; and, by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Hamlet: for, upon my life,

Unto young

8 Whether in sea, &c.] According to the pneumatology of that 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 ranging the air, return to their station, to their proper limits in which they are confined.

[ocr errors]


erring spirit,] Erring is here used in the sense of wan

1 No fairy takes,] No fairy strikes with lameness or diseases. This sense of take is frequent in this author.

« AnkstesnisTęsti »