Page images
PDF
EPUB

Ber. Weli, good night. If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, The rivals of my watch,* bid them make haste.

BURTON.

-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." . $TeeVENS.

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, which ever 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 A&t II, fc. i. to Hamlet's question,-“ Hold you the watch to-night?" Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo, all anriver,-"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 honeft 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 defined, “ One that sueth for the same thing with another;" and hence Shakspeare, with his usual licence, always uses it in the sense of one engaged in the Jame employment or office with another. Competitor, which is explained by Bullokar by the very fame 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. III, P. 221, n. 5. Mr. Warner would read and point thus:

If you do meet Horatio, and Marcellus
The rival of my watch,-

PRINCE OF DENMARK.

OF DENMARK.

7

Enter Horatio and Marcellus.

MAR.

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

is there? Hor. Friends to this ground. Mar.

And liegemen to the Dane. Fran. Give you good night.

O, farewell; honest soldier: Who hath reliev'd you?

Bernardo hath my place. Give you good night

[Exit FRANCISCO. MAR.

Holla! Bernardo!
Ber.

. Say, What, is Horatio there?

A piece of him. ;

Fran.

HOR,

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 scene,

« This to me
" In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
“ And I with them the third night kept the watch."

MALONE. s Hor. A piece of him.] But why a piece? He says this as he gives his hand. Which direction should be marked.

WARBURTON. A piece of him, is, I believe, no more than a cant expression. It is used, however, on a serious occasion in Pericles: “ Take in your arms this piece of your dead queen," .

STEEVENS.

Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Mar

cellus. Hor. What,“ has this thing appear'd again to

night?
· Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy;
And will not let belief take hold of him,
Touching this dreaded fight, 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.
Ber.

Sit down awhile;
And let us once again affail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,

6 Hor. What, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. Steevens. These words are in the folio given to Marcellus. MALONE.

the minutes of this night;} This seems to have been an expression common in Shakspeare's time. I find it in one of Ford's plays, The Fancies chaste and noble, Act V:

“ I promise ere the minutes of the night." Steevens. 8 approve our eyes,] Add a new testimony to that of our eyes. JOHNSON. So, in King Lear:

" this approves her letter,

" That she would soon be here."
See Vol. XII. p. 413, n. 7. Steevens.

He may 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, and is so defined in Cawdrey's Alphabetical Table of bard English words, 8vo, 1604. So, in King Lear:

« Good king, that must approve the common faw!
“ Thou out of heaven's benediction com'ft
“ To the warm sun." MALONE.

[ocr errors]

What we two nights have seen.
Hor.

Well, sit we down, And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.

Ber. Last night of all, When yon fame 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, Ho

ratio. Hor. Most like:-it harrows mę3 with fear, and

wonder.

9 Wbat we two nights have seen.] This line is by Sir T. Hanmes given to Marcellus, but without necessity. JOHNSON.

2 Tbou 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. 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,

56 And that will daunt the devil.In like manner the honeft butler in Mr. Addison's Drummer, recommends the fteward to speak Latin to the ghoft in that play.

REED. } it harrows me &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to subdue, BER.

Ber. It would be spoke to.
MAR.

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

night, Together with that fair and warlike form In which the majesty of buried Denmark Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,

speak. . MAR. It is offended.

See! it stalks away. Hor. Stay; speak; speak I charge thee, speak.

[Exit 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 you 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,“

The word is of Saxon origin. So, in the old bl. 1. romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys:

“ He sworę by him that harowed hell.” Milton has adopted this phrase in his Comus : *Amaz'd I stood,'harrow'd with grief and fear!

STEEVENS, 4 an angry parle,] This is one of the affected words introduced by Lyly. So, in Two Wise Men and all the Reft Fools, 1619:

that you told me at our last parle." STEVENS,

« PreviousContinue »