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CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark.
Fortinbras, Prince of Norway.
Hamlet, Son to the former, and Nepliew to the present King
Polonius, Lord Chamberlain.
Horatio, Friend to Hamlet.
Laertes, Son to Polonius.
Ofrick, a Fop
Marcellus, an Officer.
Reynoldo, Servant to Polonius.
Ghost of Hamlet's Father.
Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Mother to Hamlet.
Ophelia, Daughter to Polonius, beloved by Hamlet.
Ladies attending on the Queen.
Players, Grave-makers, Sailors, Mesengers, and other Attendents
SCENE, a Platform before the Palace.
Enter BERNARDO and FRANCISCO; two Centinelso
Fran. Nay, answer me : stand, and un
Ber. Long live the King!
(?) Honest Langbaine (in his account of Dramatic Poet's )
having told us that he knew not whether this story were true
or false, not finding in the list given by Doctor Heylin such a
King of Denmark as Claudius; Mr Pope comes and tells
us, that this story was not invented by our Author, though
from whence he took it he knows not. Langbaine gives us
a sensible reason for his ignorance in this point; what to
make of Mr Pope's assertion, upon the grounds he gives us
for it, I confefs I know not. But we'll allow this gentle-
man, for once, a prophet in his declaration; for the story is
taken from Saxo Grammaticus, in his Danish history. I'H
subjoin a short extract of the material circumstances on
which the groundwork of the plot is built; and how hap-
pily the Poet has adapted his incidents, I shall leave to the
observation of every reader. The historian calls our Poet's
hero Amlethus; his father, Horwendillus; his uncle, Fengo;
and his mother Gerutha. The old King in fingle combat
New Collerus, King of Norway; Fengo makes away with
his brother Horwendillus, and marries his widow Gerutha.
Amlethus, to avoid being suspected by his uncle of designs,
assumes a form of utter madness.
A fine woman is planted upon him, to try if he would yield to the impressions of love. Fengo contrives that Amlethus, in order to found him,
Fran. You come most carefully tpon your bour,
Ber. ?Tis now fruck twelve; get thee to bed,
Fran. For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter
And I am fick at heart.
[cold, Ber. Have you had quiet guard? Fran. Not a mouse stirring.
Ber. Well, good-night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
Enter HORAT10 and MARCELLUS.
Fran. I think I hear them. Stand, ho! who is
Hor. Friends to this ground.
here? Mur. And licge-men to the Dane. Fran. Give you good night.
Mar. Oh, farewel, honest foldier; who hath re. lieved you?
Fran. Bernardo has my place; give you good night.
[Exit Francisco. Mar. Holla! Bernardo.
should be closeted by his mother. A man is concealed in the rushes to overhear their discourse, whom Amlethus dife covers and kills. When the Queen is frighted at this behaviour of his, he tasks her about her criminal courfe of life, and incestuous conversation with her former husband's murderer; confesses his madnefs is but counterfeited, to preferve himself and fecure bis revenge for his father; to which be injoins the Queen filence. Feogo sends imlethus to Britain; two of the King's servants attend hins, wirbluiters to the British King, frizzly pressing the death of Amlethus, who in the night time, coming at their commillion, overreads it, forms a new one, and turns the destruction, designed towards himself, on the bearers of the letters. àm lethus, returning home, by a wile surprizes and kills his uncle,
Ber. Say, what, is Horatio there?
Hor. A piece of him.
[cellus. Ber. Welcome, Horatio ; welcome, good MarMar. What, has this thing appeared again toBer. I have seen nothing.
[night? Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy; And will not let belief take hold of him, Touching this dreaded fight, twice feen of us : Therefore I have intreated him along With us, to watch the minutes of this night; That if again this apparition come, He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Hor. Tush! tush ! 'twill not appear.
Ber. Sit down a while,
And let us once again affail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we have two nights seen.
Hor. 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 heav'n
Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,
The bell then beating one,
Mar. Peace, break thee off;
Enter the Ghost. Look, where it comes again.
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, Horatio. Hor. Molt like: it harrows me with fear and
wonder. Ber. It would be spoke to. Mar. Speak to it, Horatio.
[night; Hor. What art thou, that usurpest this time
Together with that fair and warlike form,
In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did fometime march? by Heaven, 1 charge thee,
Mar. It is offended.
Ber. See! it italks away.
Hor. Stay; speak: I charge thee, speak.
[Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio? you tremble and look
Is not this something more than fantasy? (pale.
What think you of it?
Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe,
Without the sensible and true avouch
Of mine own eyes.
Mar. 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,
Hle smote the fleaded Polack on the ice.
[hour, Mar. Thus twice before, and just at this dead With martial stalk, he has gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know
But, in the gross and scope of my opinion, [not:
This bodes fome strange eruption to our state.
Mar. Good now sit down, and tell me, he that
Why this fame stri&t and most obfervant watch
So nightly toils the subjects of the land?
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war?
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose foie 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 days
Who is't that can inform me?