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SAM. JOHNSON & GEO. STEEVENS,
A N D
THE VARIOUS COMMENTATORS,
-SIC ITUR AD ASTRA.
Printed for, and under the Direction of,
John BELL, British-Library, STRAND, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of WALES.
H A M L E T.
-ME:-] is e. me who am already on the watch, and have a right to demand the watch, word.
Steevens. 14. The rivals of my watch,-] By rivals of the watch, are meant those who were to watch on the next adjoining ground. Rivals, in the original sense of the word, were proprietors of neighbouring lands, parted only by a brook, which belonged equally to both.
HANMER. So in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1637: • And make thee rival in those governments." A ij
Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, act iii. sc. 5.-"hav. ing made use of him in the wars against Ponpey, presently denied him rivalry.”
STEEVENS. I should propose to point and alter this passage thus:
If you do meet Horatio, and Marcellus
The rival of my watch Horatio is represented throughout the play as a gentleman of no profession. Marcellus was an officer, and consequently did that through duty, for which Horatio had no motive but curiosity. Besides, there is but one person on each watch. Bernardo comes to relieve Francisco, and Marcellus to supply the place of some other on the adjoining station. The reason why. Bernardo, as well as the rest, expect Horatio, was because he knew him to be informed of what had happened the night before,
WARNER. Horatio, as it appears, watches out of curiosity. But in act ii. sc. 1. 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 greater 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.
28. What, &c.] The quarto gives this speech to Horatio.
34. --the minutes of this night;] This seems to have been an expression common in Shakspere's time. I find it in one of Ford's plays, The Fancies,
“ I promise ere the minutes of the night."
STEEVéns. 36. -approve our eyes -] Add a new testimony to that of our eyes.
JOHNSON So in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632 :
“ I can by grounded arguments approve
potency." STEEVENS. 51. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.] Thus Toby, in the Night-Walker, by Beaumont and Fletcher, says:
It grows still longer, “ 'Tis steeple-high now; and it sails away Nurse, “ Let's call the butler up, for he speaks Latin,
" And that will daunt the devil." In like manner the honest butler in Mr. Addison's Drummer, recommends the steward to speak Latin to the ghost.
REED. 53. -it harrows me, &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to subdue. The word is of Saxon origin. So in the old bl. let. romance of Syr Eglamour of Artoys : “ He swore by him that harowed hell.”
STEVENS, 74. an angry parle,] This is one of the affected