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The rivals of my watch,2 bid them make haste.

Enter HORATIO and MARCEllus.

Fran. I think, I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who is there!

Hor. Friends to this ground.

Fran. Give you good

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And liegemen to the Dane. night.

O, farewell, honest soldier:

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What, is Horatio there?


A piece of him.

Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Mar


Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again tonight?

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

Sit down awhile;

And let us once again assail your ears,

2 The rivals of my watch,] Rivals for partners.

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approve our eyes,] He may make good the testimony of our eyes; be assured by his own experience of the truth of that which we have related, in consequence of having been eye-witnesses to it. To approve in Shakspeare's age, signified to make good, or establish.

That are so fortified against our story,

What we two nights have seen.


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 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.


Speak to it, Horatio. Hor. What art thou, that usurp'st this time of


Together with that fair and warlike form

In which the majesty of buried Denmark
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,


Mar. It is offended.


See! it stalks away.

[Exit Ghost.

Hor. Stay; speak: speak I charge thee, speak.

Mar. "Tis gone, and will not answer.

4 Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.] It has always been a vulgar notion that spirits and supernatural 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


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

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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,8

With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know

But, in the gross and scope' of mine opinion,
This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that knows,

Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land?
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;


6 sledded-] A sted, or sledge, is a carriage without wheels, made use of in the cold countries.

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" He 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.

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gross and scope-] General thoughts, and tendency at


Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week:
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day;
Who is't, that can inform me?


That can I;

At least, the whisper goes so.
Our last king,
Whose image even but now appear'd to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto prick'd 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,3

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, drawn up between them.

4 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
(As it doth well appear unto our state,)
But to recover of us, by strong hand,
And terms compulsatory, those 'foresaid lands
So by his father lost: And this, I take it,
Is the main motive of our preparations;

The source of this our watch; and the chief head
Of this post-haste and romage' in the land.
[Ber. I think," it be no other, but even so:



may it sort, that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch; so like the king That was, and is, the question of these wars.1


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.

7 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 all 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 subject.
palmy state of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious.

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