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The Poet, indeed, has marked with a master hand the amiable and polished character of Hamlet. Ophelia designates him as having been

the glass of fashion, and the mould of form ;” and, though circumstances have unsettled him, and thrown over his natural disposition the clouds of melancholy, the kindness of his disposition, and his natural hilarity, break through on every occasion which arises to call them forth.

Mr. Boswell has remarked, that “ the scene with the grave-diggers shows, in a striking point of view, his good-natured affability. The reflections which follow afford new proofs of his amiable character. The place where he stands, the frame of his own thoughts, and the objects which surround him, suggest the vanity of all human pursuits ; but there is nothing harsh or caustic in his satire ; his observations are dictated rather by feelings of sorrow than of anger; and the sprightliness of his wit, which misfortune has repressed, but cannot altogether extinguish, has thrown over the whole a truly pathetic cast of humorous sadness. Those gleams of sunshine, which serve only to show us the scattered fragments of a brilliant imagination, crushed and broken by calamity, are much more affecting than a long, uninterrupted train of monotonous woe.”

“ Ophelia is a character almost too exquisitely touching to be dwelt upon. O rose of May! O flower too soon faded! Her love, her madness, her death, are described with the truest touches of tenderness and pathos. It is a character which nobody but Shakspeare could have drawn in the way that he has done ; and to the conception of which there is not the smallest approach, except in some of the old romantic ballads."*

a

* Hazlitt's Characters of Shakspeare's Plays, p. 112.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

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.
VOLTIMAND,
CORNELIUS,

Courtiers.
ROSENCRANTZ,
GuildENSTERN,
Osric, a Courtier.
Another Courtier.
A Priest.

MARCELLUS, } Oficers

.

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 to Hamlet.
OPHELIA, Daughter to Polonius.

Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Players, Grave-diggers,

Sailors, Messengers, and other Attendants.

SCENE. Elsinore.

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.

ACT I.

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

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

Fran. Nay, answer me; stand, and unfold Yourself.

Ber. Long live the king !
Fran.

Bernardo ?
Ber.

He. 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 ?
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.

1 i. e. me, who have a right to demand the watchword; which appears to have been, “Long live the king.”

2 Shakspeare uses rivals for associates, partners ; and competitor has the same sense throughout these plays. It is the original sense of rivalis. 1 To approve is to confirm.

you ?

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 relieved
Fran.

Bernardo hath my place.
Give you good night.

[Exit FRANCISCO. Mar.

Holla! Bernardo!
Ber.

Say,
What, is Horatio there?
Hor.

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

Mar. Horatio says 'tis but our fantasy;
And 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, if again this apparition come,
He may approve

approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Hor. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.
Ber.

Sit down awhile ;
And let us once again assail your ears,

,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we two nights have seen.
Hor.

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 comes

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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.
Mar.

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.
Ber. See! it stalks away.
Hor. Stay; speak: speak, 1 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,
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 armor he had on,
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
Su frowned he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polack ? on the ice.

3

'Tis strange.

1 It was a vulgar notion, that a supernatural being could only be spoken to, with effect, by persons of learning; exorcisms being usually practised by the clergy in Latin. 2 The first quarto reads, “it horrors me.”

3 i. e. the sledged Polander (Polaque, Fr.). The old copy reads Pollar.

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