« PreviousContinue »
Enter Horatio and MARCELLUS.
Fran. I think, I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who
is there? HOR. Friends to this ground. MAR.
And liegemen to the Dane. Fran. Give you good night. Mar.
O, farewell, honest soldier : Who hath reliev'd you? FRAN.
Bernardo hath my place. Give you good night
[Exit Francisco. Mar.
Holla! Bernardo !
A piece of him.
because Horatio is a gentleman of no profession, and because, as he conceived, there was but one person on each watch. But there is no need of change. Horatio is certainly not an officer, but Hamlet's fellow-student at Wittenberg : but as he accompanied Marcellus and Bernardo on the watch from a motive of curiosity, our poet considers him very properly as an associate with them. Horatio himself says to Hamlet in a subsequent scene,
This to me
MALONE. s Hor. A piece of him.) But why a piece? He says this as he gives his hand. Which direction should be marked.
WARBURTON. A piece of him, is, I believe, no more than a cant expresion. It is used, however, on a serious occasion in Pericles: “ Take in your arms this piece of
Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Mar
cellus. Hor. What,' has this thing appear'd again to
MAR. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy;
Hor. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.
Sit down awhile;
6 Hor. What, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. STEVENS. These words are in the folio given to Marcellus. MALONE.
the minutes of this night;} This seems to have been an expression common in Shakspeare's time. I find it in one of Ford's plays, The Fancies chaste and noble, Act V:
“ I promise ere the minutes of the night." Steevens.
approve our eyes,] Add a new testimony to that of our eyes. JOHNSON. So, in King Lear:
- this approves her letter, * That she would soon be here." See Vol. XII. p. 413, n. 7.
STEEVENS. He may approve our eyes,] He may make good the testimony of our eyes ; be assured by his own experience of the truth of that which we have related, in consequence of having been eye-witnesses to it. To approve in Shakspeare's age, fignified to make good, or establish, and is so defined in Cawdrey's Alphabetical Table of hard English words, 8vo, 1604. So, in King Lear:
“ Good king, that must approve the common faw!
What we two nights have seen.
Well, fit we down, And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.
Ber. Last night of all, When yon fame star, that's westward from the
pole, Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, Marcellus, and myself, The bell then beating one, Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it
Ber. In the same figure, like the king that's
dead. MAR. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.” BER. Looks it not like the king ? mark it, Ho
ratio. Hor. Most like:-it harrows me with fear, and
9 What we two nights have seen.] This line is by Sir T. Hanmer given to Marcellus, but without necessity. Johnson.
2 Thou art a scholar, Speak to it, Horatio.] It has always been a vul. gar notion that spirits and supernatural beings can only be spoken to with propriety or effect by persons of learning. Thus, Toby in The Night-walker, by Beaumont and Fletcher, says:
It grows still longer,
“ And that will daunt the devil.” In like manner the honest butler in Mr. Addison's Drummer, recommends the steward to speak Latin to the ghost in that play.
Reed. 3- it harrows me &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to subdue.
BER. It would be spoke to.
Speak to it, Horatio.
night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,
speak. MAR. It is offended. Ber.
See! it stalks away. Hor. Stay ; speak; speak I charge thee, speak.
Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer. : Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble, and look
pale: Is not this something more than fantasy? What think you of it?
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe,
Is it not like the king ?
The word is of Saxon origin. So, in the old bl. 1. romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys:
“ He swore by him that harowed hell.” Milton has adopted this phrase in his Comus : “ Amaz'd I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear.!"
STEEVENS, an angry parle,] This is one of the affected words introdụced by Lyly. So, in Two Wise Men and all the Ref Fools, 1619:
that you told me at our last parle." STEEVENS.
He smote the sledded s Polack on the ice. 'Tis strange. Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead
-fledded-) A sled, or fledge, is a carriage without wheels, made use of in the cold countries. So, in Tamburlaine, or the Scythian Shepherd, 1590:
upon an ivory fled
Steevens. 6 He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.) Pole-ax in the common editions. He speaks of a prince of Poland whom he flew in battle. He uses the word Polack again, Act II. sc. iv. Pope.
Polack was, in that age, the term for an inhabitant of Poland : Polaque, French. As in F. Davison's translation of Passeratius's epitaph on Henry III, of France, published by Camden:
" Whether thy chance or choice thee hither brings,
“ Go, passenger, and wail the hap of kings.” Johnson, Again, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombana, &c. 1612:
I scorn him “ Like a shav'd Polack -." STEEVENS. All the old copies have Pulax. Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-Polack; but the corrupted word thews, I think, that Shakspeare wrote-Polacks. Malone.
With Polack for Polander, the transcriber, or printer, might have no acquaintance; he therefore substituted pole-ax as the only word of like found that was familiar to his ear. Unluckily, however, it happened that the fingular of the latter has the same found as the plural of the former. Hence it has been supposed that Shakspeare meant to write Polacks. We cannot well suppose that in a parley the King belaboured many, as it is not likely that provocation was given by more than one, or that on such an occasion he would have condescended to trike a meaner person than a prince.
SteeVENS, jump at this dead hour,] Co, the 4to. 1604. The foliojuft. Steevens. The correction was probably made by the author. JOHNSON