Abbildungen der Seite




SHAKSPEARE is supposed to have taken the Plot of this Play, ficm “the Hutory of lIamlet,"

as it is found narrated in Saxo Grammaticus, the Danish listorian. An English translation of this particular story was published during the Poet's life, entitled “ Historie of Hamblet, Prince of Denmark," and from this version, it is conjectured that Shakspeare drew the materials, which have assisted him in this master piece of tragic composition. As this Play is the most finished and the most popular of our Author's productions, we have incorporated into our selertions nearly all the prominent scenes.

We cannot better introduce the youthful student into a just discrimination of tho leading characteristics of Hamlet, than by furnishing the following clear analysis from the pen of Goethe. He says-

“It is clear to me that Shakspeare's intention was to exhibit tho effects of a great action imposed as a duty upon a mind too feeble for its accomplishment.

“In this sense, I find the character consistent throughout. There is an oak planted id a china vase, proper only to receive the most delicate flowers; the roots strike out, and the vessel flies to pieces. A pure, noble, highly moral disposition, but without that energy of soul which constitutes the hero, sinks under a load which it can neither support nor resolve to abandoa altogether. All his obligations are sacred to him ; but this alone is above his powers.

“An impossibility is required at his hands; not an impossibility in itself, but that which is so to him. Observe how he shifts, turns, hesitates, advances, and recedes ; how he is continually reminded and reminding himself of his great commission, which he, nevertheleus, in the end, seems almost entirely to lose sight of; and this without ever recovering his former tranquillity."

CLAUDIUS, King of Denmark.
HAMLET, son to the former, and nephew to the present King.
POLONIUS, Lord Chamberlain.
HORATIO, friend to Hamlet.
LAERTES, son to Polonius.



Osric, a Courtier.
Another Courtier.
A Priest.
FRANCISCO, a soldier.
REYNALDO, servant to Polonius.
A Captain.
An Ambassador.
Ghost of Hamlet's father.
FORTINBRAS, Prince of Norway.
GERTRUDE, Queen of Denmark, and mother of Hamlet.

OPHELIA, daughter of Polonius.
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Players, Grave-diggers, Sailor's, Mese

sengers, and other Attendants.



SCENE I.-Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle.

FRANCISCO on his post. Enter to him BERNARDO.
Ber. Who's there?

Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold

Ber. Long live the king !

Bernardo ?

Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour.
Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.

Fran. For this relief, much thanks : 'tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.

Ber. Have you had quiet guard ?

Not a mouse stirring.
Ber. Well, good night.
If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,
The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

Fran. I think I hear them-Stand, ho! Who is there?
Hor. Friends to this ground.

And liegemen to the Dane.
Fran. Give you good night.

O, farewell, honest soldier:
Who hath reliev'd you ?


Bernardo hath my place. Give you good n.ght.


Holla, Bernardo !

What, is Horatio there?

A piece of him.
Ber. Welcome, Horatio ; welcome, good Marcellus.
Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again to-night ?
Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy ;
Ind will not let belief take hold of him,
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated him, along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That, :f again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.

Hor. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.

Sit down awhile;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we two nights have seen.

Well, sit we dow'),
And let us héar Bernardo speak of this.

ber. Last night of all,
When yon same 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 comes again!

Enter Ghost.
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. Most like: it harrows me with fear, and wonder.
Ber. It would be spoke to.

Speak to it, Horatio.
Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of 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.

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 ?

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 lre 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.
'Tis strange.

Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this deed 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 scope of mine opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.
In the most high and palmy state of Rome,
A little ere the mightiest Junius fell,
The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead
Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.
As, stars with trains of fire shed dews of blood,
Disaster's dimm'd the sun; and the moist star,
Upon whose influence Neptune's empire stands,
Was sick almost to dooms-day with eclipse.
And even the like precurse of fierce events,
As harbingers preceding still the fates,
And prologue to the omen coming on,-
Have heaven and earth together demonstrated
Unto our climates 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,

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,
(), speak!
Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure from the depths of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death :
Speak of it:-stay, and speak.

[Exit Ghost.
Mar. 'Tis gone!
We do it wrong, being so majestical,
To offer it the show of violence.

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,

« ZurückWeiter »