« PreviousContinue »
Mine and my father's death come not upon thee;
Ham. Heaven make thee free of if I follow thee.
Hor. Never believe it;
Ham. As thou’rt a man,—
r What warlike noise is this 2 Ost Young Fortinbras, with conquest come from Poland,
To the ambassadors of England gives
Ham. O, I die, Horatio;
Which have solicited,”—The rest is silence. [Dies. Hor. Now cracks a noble heart.—Good night, sweet prince ;
1 A sergeant was a bailiff or sheriff's officer.
2 To overcrow is to overcome, to subdue.
3 “The occurrents which have solicited ”—the occurrences or vocidents which have incited. The sentence is left unfinished.
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!
Enter ForTINBRAs, the English Ambassadors, and
others. Fort. Where is this sight? Flor. What is it you would see F
If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search.
Fort. This quarry cries on havoc '-O proud death !
1 Amb. The sight is dismal;
Hor. Not from his mouth,
1 “This quarry cries on havoc ' " To cry on was to exclaim against. Quarry was the term used for a heap of slaughtered game. See Macbeth, Act iv. Sc. 3.
2 It has been already observed that jump and just, or exactly, are synonymous. Wide note on Act i. Sc. 1.
3 Of sanguinary and unnatural acts, to which the perpetrator was instigated by concupiscence or “carnal stings.” The allusion is to the murder of old Hamlet by his brother.
4 i. e. instigated, produced. Instead of “forced cause,” the quartos read, “for no cause.”
Fallen on the inventors’ heads. All this can I
Fort. Let us haste to hear it,
Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
Fort. Let four captains Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage; For he was likely, had he been put on, To have proved most royally ; and, for his passage, The soldier's music, and the rites of war, Speak loudly for him.— Take up the bodies.—Such a sight as this Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go, bid the soldiers shoot. [A dead march.
[Eveunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which a peal of ordnance is shot off.
+ i. e. Some rights which are remembered in this kingdom,
THE following scene in the first quarto, 1603, differs so materially from the revised play, that it has been thought it would not be unacceptable to the reader:
Enter HoRATIo and the Queen.
Hor. Madam, your son is safe arrived in Denmarke;
VOL, WIHe 50
JF the dramas of Shakspeare were to be characterized, each by the particular excellence which distinguishes it from the rest, we must allow to the tragedy of Hamlet the praise of variety. The incidents are so numerous, that the argument of the play would make a long tale. The scenes are interchangeably diversified with merriment and solemnity— with merriment that includes judicious and instructive observations, and solemnity not strained by poetical violence above the natural sentiments of man. New characters appear from time to time in continual succession, exhibiting various forms of life and particular modes of conversation. The pretended madness of Hamlet causes much mirth, the mournful distraction of Ophelia fills the heart with tenderness; and every personage produces the effect intended, from the apparition that, in the first act, chills the blood with horror, to the fop, in the last, that exposes affectation to just contempt. The conduct is, perhaps, not wholly sor"re against objections. The action is indeed for the most part in continual progression; but there are some scenes which neither forward nor retard it. Of the feigned madness of Hamlet there appears no adequate cause ; for he does nothing which he might not have done with the reputation of sanity. He plays the madman most when he treats Ophelia with so much rudeness, which seems to be useless and wanton cruelty, - Hamlet is, through the whole piece, rather an instrument than an agent. After he has, by the stratagem of the play, convicted the king, he makes no attempt to punish him; and his death is at last effected by an incident which Hamlet had no part in producing. The catastrophe is not very happily produced; the exchange of weapons is rather an expedient of necessity, than a stroke of art. A scheme might easily be formed to kill Hamlet with the dagger, and Laeries with the bowl. The Poet is accused of having shown little regard to poetical justice, and may be charged with equal neglect of poetical probability. The apparition left the regions of the dead to little purpose; the revenge which he demands is not obtained but by the death of him that was required to take it; and the gratification which would arise from the destruction of a usurper and a murderer, is abated by the untimely death of Ophelia, the young, the beautiful, the harmless, and the pious,