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NASH, in an Epistle “ To the Gentlemen Students of both Uniuersities,” prefixed to Greene's Jenaphon. Camillas alarum to slumbering Euphues, &c., 1589 [qy. if first printed in 1587?], writes thus: “Ile turne backe to my first text, of studies of delight; and talke a little in friendship with a few of our triuiall translators. It is a common practise now a daies amongst a sort of shifting companions, that runne through euery arte and thriue by none, to leaue the trade of Nouerint whereto they were borne, and busie themselues with the indeuors of art, that could scarcelie latinize their necke-verse if they should haue neede ; yet English Seneca read by candle-light yeeldes manie good sentences, as Bloud is a begger, and so foorth : and if you in. treate him faire in a frostie morning, he will affoord you whole Hamlets, I should say handfulls of tragical speaches.” Sig. **3, ed. 1589.—Henslowe mentions (and without the mark by which he generally distinguishes new plays) a hamletas having been acted at the Newington Butts Theatre on June 9th, 1594. Diary, p. 35, ed. Shakespeare Soc.-Again, Lodge in his Wits Miserie, and the Worlds Vadnesse, &c., 1596, thus describes a certain fiend : "he walks for the most part in black vnder colour of grauity, and looks as pale as the visard of i ghost which cried so miserally [sic] at ý theator like an oisterwife, Hamlet, reuenge.” Sig. H 4.—But had Shakespeare written his Hamlet at the above dates? My own conviction is, that he had not, and that the piece alluded to by Nash and Lodge, and acted at Newington, was an earlier tragedy on the same subject, which no longer exists, and which most probably (like many other old dramas) never reached the press.-Our author's tragedy, it seems evident, was first produced not . long before July 26th, 1602; for on that day Roberts made an entry in the Stationers' Registers of “A booke, The Revenge of Hamlett prince of Denmarke, as yt was latelie acted by the Lord Chamberlayn his servantes." According to Mr. Collier, “The object of Roberts in making the entry was to secure it (Shakespeare's Hamlet] to himself, being, no doubt, aware that other printers and booksellers would endeavour to anticipate him. It seems probable that he was unable to obtain such a copy of 'Hamlet as he would put his name to ; but some inferior and nameless printer, who was not so scrupulous, having surreptitiously secured a manuscript of the play, however imperfect, which would answer the purpose, and gratify public curiosity, the edition bearing date in 1603 was published.” Introd. to Hamlet. We have, however, no proof that Roberts was not " the nameless printer” of the quarto of 1603 : on the contrary, there is reason to suspect that he was, since we find that he printed the quarto of 1604 for the same Nicholas Ling who was one of the publishers of the quarto of 1603. Be that as it may, it seems certain that in the quarto of 1603* (as

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* In my former edition I expressed myself less fully on the subject of the quarto of 1603, and consequently have been misunderstood by Professor Gervinus, who writes as follows; “We possess a quarto-edition of 1603, which is regarded indeed by Collier, Dyce, and Mommsen, as a faulty and illegal print of the complete piece ; but on the other hand, according to the indisputably more just opinion of Knight, Delius, and Staunton, it contains an earlier design of the poet's, though in a mutilated form,” &c. Shakespeare Commentaries, vol. ii. p. 108, English trans.

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is the case with respect to the earliest quartos of The Merry Mixes of Irind-
for and Romeo and Juliet) we have Shakespeare's first conception of the
play, though with a text mangled and corrupted throughout, and perhaps
formed on the notes of some short-hand writer, who had imperfectly taken
it down during representation. Not to dwell on other particulars, the names
borne by Polonius and Reynaldo in the quarto of 1603, where they are
called Corambis and Montano, are alone sufficient to show that the said
quarto exhibits a form of the tragedy very different from that which it
afterwards assumed in the quarto of 1604 and the folio of 1623. Mr. Collier
(thi supra) conjectures that Corambis and Montano “ were names in the
older play on the same story, or names which Shakespeare at first intro-
duced, and subsequently thought fit to reject :" perhaps they were names
which Shakespeare had originally retained from the earlier drama, and
which, on revising and altering his tragedy, he changed to Polonius and
Reynaldo. (Of the quarto of 1603 only two copies are known, one of them
wanting the last leaf, and one without the title-page : but it is now pro-
curable in more than one reprint.) The quarto of 1604 gives Hamlet
larged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect
coppie," and has a great deal which is omitted in the folio of 1623, though
the folio has some passages which are omitted in the quarto of 1604, and
which have their parallelisms in the quarto of 1603.- Mr. Albert Cohn's
curious volume, entitled Shakespeare in Germany in the Sixteenth and
Serenteenth Centuries, &c. contains (both in German and English), p. 237,
the "Tragedy of Fratricide punished, or Prince Hamlet of Denmark, acted
in Germany, about the year 1603, by English Players :"". but which has
been preserved to us only by a late and modernised copy of a much older
manuscript.” In this piece Polonius is called Corambus, which, with the
variation of a single letter, is his name in the quarto of 1603 ; and to that
form of the play the German version approaches more nearly than to that
of the later editions ; but, as it gives certain passages which are parallel
to those in the received text of Hamlet, and of which there is no trace in
the quarto of 1603, the translator must have employed some other edition
of the original besides that of 1603. To the “ Tragedy of Fratricide” is
prefixed a Prologue, spoken by Night, Alecto, Tisiphone, and Megæra, which
in composition is superior to the play itself. The latter, indeed, is miserably
bald

, and its occasional absurdity may be judged of by a stage-direction in the First Act, “ Ghost giccs to Sentinel a box on the ear from behind, and makes him drop his musket." —A novel entitled The Hystorie of Hamblet, translated most vilely from one of the Histoires Tragiques of Belleforest (who founded his tale on a portion of the chronicle

of Saxo Grammaticus), has several incidents in common with our author's play ; but whether he derived those incidents from The Hystorie, or from the older drama on the

we are left to guess. (In Mr. Collier's Shakespeare's Library, yol. i., is a reprint of the Hystorie of Hamblet from the only entire copy known, which is dated 1608 : the first edition was no doubt published many

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1

DRAMATIS PERSONÆ.

CLAUDIUS, king of Denmark. 1
HAMLET, son to the former, and nephew to the present king.
POLONIUS, lord chamberlain.
HORATIO, friend to Hamlet.
LAERTES, son to Polonius.
VOLTIMAND,
CORNELIUS,
ROSENCRANTZ,

courtiers.
GUILDENSTERN,
OSRIC,
A Gentleman,
A Priest.
MARCELLUS,

} officers.
BERNARDO,
FRANCISCO, a soldier.
REYNALDO, servant to Polonius.
Players.
Two Clowns, grave-diggers.
FORTINBRAS, prince of Norway.
A Captain.
English Ambassadors,

GERTRUDE, queen of Demark, and mother to Hamlet.
OPHELIA, daughter to Polonius.

Lords, Ladies, Officers, Soldiers, Sailors, Messengers, and other Attendants.

Ghost of Hamlet's Father,

SCENE—Elsinore ; except in the fourth scene of the fifth act, where it is

a plain in Denmark,

HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.

ACT I.

SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.

Francisco at his post. Enter to him BERNARDO.
Ber. Who's there?
Fran. Nay, answer me : stand, and unfold yourself.
Ber. Long live the king !
Fran. Bernardo?
Ber. He.
Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour.
Ber

. 'Tis now struck twelve ;(1) get thee to bed, Francisco.
Fran. For this relief much thanks : 'tis bitter cold,
And I am sick at heart.
Ber. Have you had quiet guard ?

Not a mouse stirring. Ber. Well, good night.

do meet Horatio and Marcellus, The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

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

Fran.

If y

you

Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS.
Hor. Friends to this ground.

And liegemen to the Dane.

Mar.
Fran. Give you good night.

Mar.
Who hath reliev'd you?

O, farewell, honest soldier :

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Fran.

Bernardo has my place.
Give you good night.

Erit.
Mar.

Holla! Bernardo !
Ber.

Say,–
What, is Horatio there?
Hor.

A piece of him.
Ber. Welcome, Horatio :-welcome, good Marcellus.
Mar. 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 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.
Ber.

Sit down awhile ;
And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
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 yond same star that's westward from the pole
Had made his course t'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.
Mar.

Question 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

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