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The local illustrations of this play are from original and his Queen, from a nearly contemporary drawing, exsketches by C. F. Sargent, for the Pictorial edition. hibits the royal dress; while the spirited sketch of the The architecture and scenery are more nearly those “angry parle" with “the sledded Polacks on the ice," of the poet's age than that of the period of the drama : by Harvey, delineates the arms and armour of the time but the designs cannot claim the merit of most of the with antiquarian accuracy. similar embellishments of this edition—that of suggest- Still there is little or nothing in the drama to coning to the reader some idea of the poet's own concep- nect it closely with the precise costume of any period : tion of the scenes which he filled with the ever-living the poet thought not of it; and provided the artist or creations of his mind. They are transferred to the the actor throws it back from any immediate associapresent edition, chiefly on account of the interest they tion with our own age, the spectator is not disturbed possess from being connected (in Mr. Knight's language) | by any incongruity, more than the reader is by the with the supposed scenes of Hamlet's history, and anachronism of the firing of cannon at the royal banwith the popular traditions which have most likely quet. The ordinary old English dress and armour of sprung from the European reputation of the drama.” the 15th and 16th centuries, have been found, for every
As Shakespeare has placed the period of his drama purpose of art, to answer all the demands of the most during the term of the Danish power over England, the sluggish imagination, and the most fastidious criticism. costume, in strictness, should be that of the age of They were indeed, probably, very nearly the costume Canute, which differed little in Denmark from that of in which his characters passed before the mind's eye the contemporary Anglo-Saxons. The outline of Canute of the poet himself.
CLAUDIUS, King of DENMAAL
GERTRUDE, Queen of DENMARK, and Mother of HAMLET OPHELIA, Daughter of POLONIOS.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Players, Clowns, Sailors,
Messengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE I.-Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle.
Ber. Who's there?
Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold
He. Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve: get thee to bed,
Fran. For this relief much thanks. Tis bitter
Ber. Have you had quiet guard ?
Not a mouse stirring.
Enter Horatio and MARCELLUS. Fran. I think I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who
Hor. Friends to this ground.
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
'Tis strange. Fran. Give you good night.
Mar. Thus, twice before, and just at this dead Mar. O! farewell, honest soldier:
hour, Who hath reliev'd you ?
With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. Fran. Bernardo has my place.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I Give you good night.
know not; Mar. Holla! Bernardo!
But in the gross and scope of mine opinion, Ber.
This bodes some strange eruption to our state. What! is Horatio there?
Mar. Good now, sit down; and tell me, he that Hor. A piece of him.
knows, Ber. Welcome, Horatio : welcome, good Mar- Why this same strict and most observant watch cellus.
So nightly toils the subject of the land ? Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again to- And why such daily cast of brazen cannon, night?
And foreign mart for implements of war? Ber. I have seen nothing.
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy,
Does not divide the Sunday from the week? And will not let belief take hold of him,
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste Touching this dreaded sight twice seen of us : Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day ? Therefore, I have entreated him along
Who is't, that can inform me? With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That can I; That, if again this apparition come,
At least, the whisper goes so.
Our last king, He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Whose image even but now appear’d to us, Hor. Tush, tush! 'twill not appear.
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, Ber.
Sit down awhile; Thereto prick'd on by a most emulate pride, And let us once again assail your ears,
Dard to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet That are so fortified against our story,
(For so this side of our known world esteem'd him) What we two nights have seen.
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a seal'd compact, Hor.
Well, sit we down, Well ratified by law and heraldry, And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Did forfeit with his life all those his lands, Ber. Last night of all,
Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror : When yon saine star, that's westward from the pole, Against the which, a moiety competent Had made his course t'illume that part of heaven Was gaged by our king; which had return'd Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself, To the inheritance of Fortinbras, The bell then beating one,
Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same cov'nant Mar. Peace! break thee off : look, where it And carriage of the article design'd, comes again!
His fell to Hamlet. Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimprov'd mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
But to recover of us, by strong hand Ber. It would be spoke to.
And terms compulsative, those 'foresaid lands Mar. Question it, Horatio.
So by his father lost. And this, I take it, Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of Is the main motive of our preparations, night,
The source of this our watch, and the chief head Together with that fair and warlike form,
Of this post-haste and romage in the land. In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Ber. I think, it be no other, but e'en so: Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee, Well may it sort, that this portentous figure speak!
Comes armed through our watch; so like the king Mar. It is offended.
That was, and is, the question of these wars. Ber. See! it stalks away.
Hor. A-mote it is to trouble the mind's eye. Hor. Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak! In the most high and palmy state of Rome.
[Erit Ghost. A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble, and look Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets :
pale. Is not this something more than fantasy? What think you on't ?
As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood, Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe, Disasters in the sun; and the moist star, Without the sensible and true avouch
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands, Of mine own eyes.
Was sick almost to doomsday with eclipse : Mar.
Is it not like the king ? And even the like precurse of fierce eventsHor. As thou art to thyself.
As harbingers preceding still the fates, Such was the very armour he had on,
And prologue to the omen coming on,When he th' ambitious Norway combated : Have heaven and earth together demonstrated So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
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,
[Cock crows. Speak of it:-stay, and speak!-Stop it, Marcellus. Mar. Shall I strike at it with my partisan ? Hor. Do, if it will not stand. Ber.
'Tis here! Hor.
'Tis here! Mar. 'Tis gone.
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started, like a guilty thing
Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock.