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verse if they should have neede, yet English Seneca, read by candlelight yeelds many good sentences-hee will afford you whole Hamlets, I should say, handfuls of tragicall speeches.'I cannot determine exactly when this Epistle was first published; but, I fancy, it will carry the original Hamlet somewhat further back than we have hitherto done: and it may be observed, that the oldest copy now extant, is said to be enlarged to almost as much againe as it was.' Gabriel Harvey printed at the end of the year 1592, Foure Letters and certaine. Sonnetts, especially touching Robert Greene:' in one of which his Arcadia is mentioned. Now Nash's Epistle must have been previous to these, as Gabriel is quoted in it with applause; and the Foure Letters were the beginning of a quarrel. Nash replied in Strange News of the intercepting certaine Letters, and a Convoy of Verses, as they were going privilie to victual the Low Countries, 1593.' Harvey rejoined the same year in Pierce's Supererogation, or a new Praise of the old Asse.' And Nash again, in Have with you to Saffron Walden, or Gabriell Harvey's Hunt is up; containing a full answer to the eldest sonne of the haltermaker, 1596."-Nash died before 1606, as appears from an old comedy called The Return from Parnassus. STEEVENS.A
A play on the subject of Hamlet had been exhibited on the stage before the year 1589, of which Thomas Kyd was, I believe, the author. On that play, and on the bl. 1. Historie of Hamblet, our poet, I conjecture, constructed the tragedy before us. The earliest edition of the prose-narrative which I have seen, was printed in 1608, but it undoubtedly was a republication.
Shakspeare's Hamlet was written, if my conjecture be well founded, in 1596. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of his Plays, Vol. II. MALONE.
Claudius, King of Denmark.
Hamlet,1 Son to the former, and Nephew to the
Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Mother of
Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Players, GraveDiggers, Sailors, Messengers, and other Attendants.
Hamlet,] i. e. Amleth. The h transferred from the end to the beginning of the name. STEEVENS.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle.
FRANCISCO on his Post. Enter to him BERNARDO.
PRINCE OF DENMARK.
BER. Who's there?
FRAN. Nay, answer me:2 stand, and unfold Yourself.
BER. Long live the king!"
He. FRAN. You come most carefully upon your hour. BER. 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed, Francisco.
me: :] i. e. me who am already on the watch, and have a right to demand the watch-word. STEEVENS.
Long live the king!] This sentence appears to have been the watch-word. MALONE.
* 'Tis now struck twelve;] I strongly suspect that the true reading is-new struck, &c. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I. sc. i:
"But new struck nine." STEEVENS.
FRAN. For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter
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,] Rivals for partners.
So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1636: "Tullia. Aruns, associate him. "Aruns. A rival with my brother," &c. Again, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1637:
"And make thee rival in those governments." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act III. sc. v:
having made use of him in the wars against Pompey, presently deny'd him rivality." STEEVENS.
By rivals the speaker certainly means partners (according to Dr. Warburton's explanation,) or those whom he expected to watch with him. Marcellus had watched with him before; whether as a centinel, a volunteer, or from mere curiosity, we do not learn: but, whichever it was, it seems evident that his station was on the same spot with Bernardo, and that there is no other centinel by them relieved. Possibly Marcellus was an officer, whose business it was to visit each watch, and perhaps to continue with it some time. Horatio, as it appears, watches out of curiosity. But in Act II. sc. i. to Hamlet's question,-"Hold you the watch to-night?" Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo, all answer," We do, my honour'd lord." The folio indeed, reads both, which one may with great propriety refer to Marcellus and Bernardo. If we did not find the latter gentleman in such good company, we might have taken him to have been like Francisco whom he relieves, an honest but common soldier. The strange indiscriminate use of Italian and Roman names in this and other plays, makes it obvious that the author was very little conversant in even the rudiments of either language. RITSON.
Rival is constantly used by Shakspeare for a partner or asSociate. In Bullokar's English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, it is de
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS.
FRAN. I think, I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who is there?
HOR. Friends to this ground.
Give you good night.
And liegemen to the Dane.
O, farewell, honest soldier:
What, is Horatio there?
Bernardo hath my place. [Exit FRANCISCO.
fined "One that sueth for the same thing with another;" and hence Shakspeare, with his usual licence, always uses it in the same sense of one engaged in the same employment or office with another. Competitor, which is explained by Bullokar by the very same words which he has employed in the definition of rival, is in like manner (as Mr. M. Mason has observed,) always used by Shakspeare for associate. See Vol. IV. p. 233, n. 6. Mr. Warner would read and point thus: t If you do meet Horatio, and Marcellus The rival of my watch,
because Horatio is a gentleman of no profession, and because, as he conceived, there was but one person on each watch. But there is no need of change. Horatio is certainly not an officer, but Hamlet's fellow-student at Wittenberg: but as he accompanied Marcellus and Bernardo on the watch from a motive of curiosity, our poet considers him very properly as an associate with them. Horatio himself says to Hamlet in a subsequent
This to mevan
"In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
"And I with them the third night kept the watch."