« PreviousContinue »
That are so fortified against our story,
Well, sit we down, And let us hear 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
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, Ho
ratio. Hor. Most like :--it harrows me with fear, and
wonder. Ber. It would be spoke to. Mar.
Speak to it, Horatio, Hor. What art thou, that usurp’st this time of
See! it stalks away.
[Exit Ghost. Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
+ Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.] It has always been a vulgar notion that spirits and supernatura beings can only be spoken to with propriety or effect by persons of learning,
it harrows me, &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to subdue. The word is of Saxon origin.
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, 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, He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.7 "Tis strange. Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead
hour, With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know
--- sledded —). A sled, or sledge, is a carriage without wheels, made use of in the cold countries.
? Hé smote the sledded Polack on the ice.] He speaks of a Prince of Poland whom he slew in battle. Polack was, in that age,
the term for an inhabitant of Poland.
jump at this dead hour,] Jump and just were synonymous in the time of Shakspeare.
9 In what particular thought to work,] i. e. What particular train of thinking to follow.
gross and scope -] General thoughts, and tendency at large.
Why such impress of shipwrights," whose sore task
That can I ;
Our last king, Whose image even but now appear'd to us, Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway, Thereto prick' on by a most emulate pride, Dar'd to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet (For so this side of our known world esteem'd him,) Did slay this Fortinbras'; who, by a seal'd compact, Well ratified by law, and heraldry, Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands, Which he stood seiz'd of, to the conqueror : Against the which, a moiety competent Was gaged by our king; which had return'd To the inheritance of Fortinbras, Had he been vanquisher; as, by the same co-mart, And carriage of the article design'd, His fell to Hamlet: Now, sir, young Fortinbras, Of unimproved mettle hot and full, Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there, Shark'd up a list of landless resolutes, For food and diet, to some enterprize
Why such impress of shipwrights,] Impress signifies here the act of retaining shipwrights by giving them what was called prest money (from pret, Fr.) for holding themselves in readiness to be employed.
as, by the same co-mart, And carriage of the article design'd,] Co-mart is, I suppose, a joint bargain,
a word perhaps of our poet's coinage. Carriage is import: design'd, is formed, drarun up between them.
Of unimproved, &c.] Full of unimproved mettle, is full of spirit not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience.
5 Shark'd up a list, &c.] Picked up without distinction, as the shark-fish collects his prey.
That hath a stomach in't :6 which is no other
[Ber. I think,” it be no other, but even so:
it sort, that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch; so like the king That was, and is, the question of these wars. Hor. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's
eye. In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The graves stood tenantless, and the sheeted dead Did squeak and gibber in the Roman streets.
As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
6 That hath a stomach in't:) Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for constancy, resolution.
romage ---] Commonly written-rummage. I am not, however, certain that the word romage has been properly explained. Romage, on shipboard, must have signified a scrupulous examination into the state of the vessel and its stores. Respecting land-service, the same term implied a strict inquiry into the kingdom, that means of defence might be supplied where they were wanted. Rummage, is properly explained by Johnson himself in his Dictionary, as it is at present daily used, -to search for any thing.
8 (I think, &c.] These, and al} other lines, confined within crotchets, throughout this play, are omitted in the folio edition of 1623. The omissions leave the play sometimes better and sometimes worse, and seem made only for the sake of abbreviation.
Johnson. 9 Well may it sort,] The cause and effect are proportionate and suitable.
the question of these wars.] The theme or subjecta
Disasters in the sun ;3 and the moist star,
Re-enter Ghost. ;
3 As, stars with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Disasters in the sun ;] This passage is not in the folio. By the quartos therefore our imperfect text is supplied; for an intermediate verse being evidently lost, it were idle to attempt à union that never was intended. I have therefore signified the supposed deficiency by a vacant space. Malone,
and the moist star, &c.] i. e. the moon. 5 And even
-] Not only such prodigies have been seen in Rome, but the elements have shown our countrymen like forerunners and foretokens of violent events.
• And prologue to the omen coming on,] i. e. the approaching dreadful and portentous event.
7 If thou hast any sound,] The speech of Horatio to the spectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions. JOHNSON. VOL. XI.