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In which the majesty of buried Denmark
See! it stalks away. Hor. Stay; speak : speak I charge thee, speak.
[Erit 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
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 7 on the ice. 'Tis strange. Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump 8 at this dead
hour, With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
6 Parle, the same as parley, a conference between enemies.
7 i. e. the sledged Polander ; Polaque, Fr. The old copy reads Pollax. Malone therefore thinks that Shakspeare wrote Polacks, not considering that it was in a parley, and that a general slaughter was hardly likely to ensue. Mr. Boswell suggests that it is just possible the old reading may be right, pole-ax being put for the person who carried the pole-axe, a mark of rank among the Muscovites, as he has shown from Milton's Brief History of Muscovy.
8 Jump. So the quarto of 1603, and that of 1604. The folio reads just. Jump and just were synonymous in the time of Shakspeare. So in Chapman's May Day, 1611:
*Your appointment was jumpe at three with me.' • Thou bendest neither one way nor tother, but art even jumpe stark naught.--Baret, B. 486.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know
not9; 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; Why such impress 10 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? Hor.
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
9 That is, 'what particular train of thought to follow, I know not,' &c. The first quarto reads :
'In what particular to work I know not.' 10 To impress signifies only to retain shipwrights by giving them prest money for holding themselves in readiness to be employed. Thus in Chapman's second book of Homer's Odyssey :
'I from the people straight will press for you,
Free voluntaries.' See King Lear, Act iv. Sc. 2; and Blount's Glossography, in v. prest.
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,
11 Co-mart is the reading of the qua of 1604; the folio reads, covenant. Co-mart, it is presumed, means a joint bargain. No other instance of the word is known.
12 i. e. ' and import of that article marked out, assigned or appointed for that purpose.' Designed is here used in the sense of of designatus, Lat.
13 The first quarto reads, Of inapproved. Of unimproved mettle hot and full;' i. e. of unimpeached or unquestioned courage. To improve anciently signified to impeach, to impugn. Thus Florio: • Improbare, to improove, to impugn.' The French have still improuver, with the same meaning; from improbare, Lat. Numerous instances of improve in this sense may be found in the writings of Shakspeare's time. And yet Johnson explains it,'full of spirit, not regulated or guided by knowledge or experience,' and has been hitherto uncontradicted.
14 i. e. snapped up or taken up hastily. • Scroccare is properly to do any thing at another man's cost, to shark or shift for any thing. Scroccolone, a cunning shifter or sharker for any thing in time of need, namely for victuals; a tall trencher-man, shifting up and down for belly cheer. The same word also signifies to snap. This word has not yet lost its force in vulgar conversation.
15 Stomach is used for determined purpose.
16 Romage, now spelt rummage, and in common use as a verb, though not as a substantive, for making a thorough ransack or search, a busy and tumultuous movement.
[Ber. I think, it be no other, but even so: Well may
it sort 18, that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch; so like the king That was, and is, the question 19 of these wars.
Hor. A mote it is, to trouble the mind's eye. In the most high and palmy 20 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,
17 All the lines within crotchets in this play are omitted in the folio of 1623. The title-pages of the quartos of 1604 and 1605 declare this play to be .enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, accordi to the true and perfect copie.'
18 i. e. fall in with the idea of, suit, accord. 19 i. e. theme, or subject.
20 i. e. victorious; the Palm being the emblem of victory. Chapman, in his Middle Temple Masque, has 'high-palm'd hearts.'
21 A line or more is here supposed to be lost.
Marlowe's Hero and Leander. 23 Omen is here put by a figure of speech for predicted event.
24 The person who crossed the spot on wbich a spectre was seen, became subject to its malignant influence. Among the reasons for supposing the death of Ferdinand, Earl of Derby,
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
'Tis here! Hor.
'Tis here! Mar. "Tis gone!
[Exit Ghost. We do it wrong, being so majestical, To offer it the show of violence; For it is, as the air, invulnerable 25, And our vain blows malicious mockery.
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,
(who died young, in 1594), to have been occasioned by witchcraft, is the following:- On Friday there appeared a tall man, who twice crossed him swiftly; and when the earl came to the place where he saw this man he fell sick.'-Lodge's Illustrations of English History, vol. iii. p. 48.
Johnson remarks that the speech of Horatio to the spectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the causes of apparitions. 25 Thus in Macbeth:
' As easy may'st thou the intrenchant air
With thy keen sword impress.' And in King John:
'Against the invulnerable clouds of heaven.'