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But, in the grofs and scope of my opinion,
This bodes fome ftrange eruption to our State.

Mar. Good now fit down, and tell me, he that knows,

Why this fame ftrict and most observant Watch
So nightly toils the Suojects of the Land?
And why fuch daily caft of brazen Cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war?
Why fuch imprefs of fhipwrights, whose fore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week?
What might be toward, that this sweaty hafte
Doth make the night joint labourer with the day,
Who is't, that can inform me?

Hor. That can I;

At least, the whisper goes fo. Our laft King,
Whofe image but even now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prickt on by a most emulate pride,
Dar'd to the fight: In which, our valiant Hamlet
(For fo this fide of our known world efteem'd him)
Did flay this Fortinbras, 7 who by feal'd compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,

7 who by feal'd compact, Well ratified by law AND beraldry,] The fubject spoken of is a duel between two monarchs, who fought for a wager, and entered into articles for the just performance of the terms agreed upon. Two forts of law then were neceffary to regulate the decifion of the affair: the Coil Law, and the Law of Arms; as, had there been a wager without a duel, it had been the civil law only; or a duel without a wager, the law of arms only. Let us fee now how our


author is made to exprefs this fenfe.

-a fear'd compact,

Well ratified by lary AND he

raldry. Now law, as diftinguished from heraldry, fignifying the civil law; and this feal'd compact being a civil law act, it is as much as to fay, An act of law well ratified by law, which is abfurd. For the nature of ratification requires that which ratifies, and that which is ratified, fhould not be one and the fame, but different. For thefe reafons K 3

I con

Did forfeit, with his life, all thofe his Lands,
Which he stood feiz'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 that cov❜nant,
And carriage of the articles defign'd,
His fell to Hamlet. Now young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Shark'd up a lift of landlefs refolutes,
For food and diet, to fome 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 ftrong hand,

And terms compulfative, thofe forefaid Lands
So by his father loft and this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations,

The fource of this our watch, and the chief head
Of this post-hafte and romage in the Land.

I conclude Shakefeare wrote,"

-who by feal'd compact Well ratified by law or beraldry.

i. e. the execution of the civil compact was ratified by the law of arms; which, in our author's time, was called the law of healdry. So the best and exacteft fpeaker of that age: In the third kind, [i. e. of the Jus gentium]

the LAW OF HERALDRY in war

i pofitive, &c. Hooker's Ecclefiaftical Polity. WARB.

8 as by THAT COV'NANT, And carriage of the articles defign'd,] The old quarto reads,

the articles, the covenants entered into to confirm that bargain. Hence we fee the common reading makes a tautology. WAR B. 9 And carriage of the articles

defign'd,] Carriage, is import: defigned, is formed, drawn up between them.

1 Of unimproved mettle-] Unimproved, for unrefined. WAR • Full of unimproved mettle, is full of spirit not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience.

2 That bath a fomach in't :-] Stomach, in the time of our authour, was used for confiancy, refolution.

us by the fame COMART; and this is right. Comart figniBes a bargain, and Carriage of fatory.

3 And terms compulfative,—] The old quarto, better, compul WARBURTON, Ber.

Ber. I think, it be no other; but even fo
Well may it fort, that this portentous figure
Comes armed through our watch fo like the King,
That was, and is, the question of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is to trouble the mind's eye.
In the most high and palmy State of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Julius fell,


The Graves flood tenantlefs; and the sheeted Dead
Did Squeak and gibber in the Roman fireets;
Stars fhone with trains of fire, Dews of blood fell;
Difafters veil'd the Sun; and the moist Star,
Upon whofe influence Neptune's Empire ftands,
Was fick almost to dooms-day with eclipse.
And even the like precurfe of fierce events,
As barbingers preceding fill the fates,
And prologue to the omen'd coming on,
Have beav'n and earth together demonftrated
Unto our climatures and country-men.


Enter Ghoft again.

But foft, behold! lo, where it comes again!
I'll cross it, though it blaft me. Stay, illufion!

• These, and all other lines printed in the Italick letter, throughout this play, are omitted in the folio edition of 1623. The omiffions leave the play fometimes better and fometimes worse, and feem made only for the fake of abbreviation.

4-palmy State of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious; in the other editions, flourishing. POPE.

s Difafters veil'd the Sun ;-] Difafiers is here finely used in its original fignification of evil conWARB. junction of ftars.

[Spreading his Arms.

6-precurse of fierce events,] Fierce, for terrible.


that these

7 And prologue to the omen coming on. But prologue and omen are merely fynonomous here. The Poet means, ftrange Phænomena are prologues and forerunners of the events prefag'd: And fuch fenfe the flight alteration, which I have ventured to make, by changing omen to omen'd, very aptly gives.

K 4


Omen, for fate.
Hanmer follows Fheobald.


* If thou haft any found, or use of voice,
Speak to me.

If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do eafe, and grace to me,
Speak to me.

If thou art privy to thy Country's fate,
Which happily foreknowing may avoid,
Oh speak!

Or, if thou haft uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,

For which, they say, you Spirits oft walk in death,

[Cock crows. Speak of it. Stay, and fpeak-Stop it, Marcellus.Mar. Shall I ftrike at it with my partizan?

Hor. Do, if it will not stand.

Ber. 'Tis here

Hor. 'Tis here

Mar. 'Tis gone.

We do it wrong, being fo majeftical,
To offer it the fhew of violence;
For it is as the air, invulnerable,

And our vain blows, malicious mockery.

[Exit Gboft.

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 fhrill-founding throat
Awake the God of day; and, at his warning,
• Whether in fea or fire, in earth or air,

If thou haft any found,] The fpeech of Horatio to the fpectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions.

According to the pneuma


tology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of fpirits, who had difpofitions different, according to their various places of abode, The meaning therefore is, that all Spirits extravagant, wandering


'Th' extravagant and erring Spirit hies
To his Confine: And of the truth herein
This prefent object made probation.

Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some fay, that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of Dawning fingeth all night long:
And then, they fay, no Spirit can walk abroad,
The nights are whole fome, then no planets ftrike,
No fairy takes, no witch hath power to charm;
So hallow'd and fo gracious is the time.


Hor. So have I heard, and do in part believe it.
But look, the morn, in ruffet 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 feen to night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This Spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him:
Do you confent, we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?

Mar. Let's do't, I pray; and I this morning know

Where we shall find him most conveniently. [Exeun..

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