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Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know
noto; But, in the
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 Dath make the night joint-labourer with the day; Who is't, that can iņform 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 quarto 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. Numerons 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, according 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 which 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.'
The cock, that is the trumpet of the morn 26,
Mar. It faded on the crowing of the cock 28.
• And now the cocke, the morning's trumpeter,
Drayton. 27 • The extravagant and erring spirit. Extra-vagans, wandering about, going beyond bounds. Thus in Othello :
* To an extravagant and wheeling stranger.? It is remarkable that stravagant is the reading of the first quarto, which Steevens points out as used in the sense of vagrant. “They took me up for a stravagant.' This is the stravagare' of the Italians; to wander, to gad, or stray beyond or out of the way.' Thus in a Midsummer Night's Dream :
* And yonder shines Aurora's harbinger,
Troop home. Erring is erraticus, straying or roving up and down. Mr. Douce has justly observed that the epithets extravagant and erring are highly poetical and appropriate, and seem to prove that Shakspeare was not altogether ignorant of the Latin language.'
28 This is a very ancient superstition. Philostratus, giving an account of the apparition of Achilles' shade to Apollonius of Tyanna, says, 'that it vanished with a little gleam as soon as the cock crowed.' There is a Hymn of Prudentius, and another of St. Ambrose, in which it is mentioned; and there are some lines in the latter very much resembling Horatio's speech. Mr. Douce has given them in his illustrations of Shakspeare.