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Laitab Gences, Ben Jonson, and John Vata, 100, sa egzdes of a tragedy. A footman nazei temi ees, zi a 23-bearer ass hin_" 'Sfoote,
The frequentatoes of contentary scthors to this play foScreatly how is prgciany. To, in Decker's Bel-man's Puis, *2 18:2, we are But if any med Hamlet, hearing this, fzell vinie, and reih in be violence to see what che taway diveis graes are doing, then they excuse the fa&t” &c. Again, in an cla coletiva of Satirical Poems, called The NightRais, is this couplet:
** I will not cry Haris Resvege my greeres,
STEEVENS. Surely no satire was intended in E: isrard Hz, which was acted at Shakspeare's own playhouse, Blackfriers,) by the children of the revels, in 1605. MALONE.
The following particulars relative to the date of this piece, are borrowed from Dr. Farmer's E Jay on the Learning of Sbalspeare, p. 85, 86, second edition :
“ Greene, in the Epistle prefixed to his Arcadia, hath a lash at fome 'vaine glorious tragedians,' and very plainly at Shakspeare in particular. I leave all these to the mercy of their mothertongue, that feed on nought but the crums that fall from the translator's trencher.—That could scarcely latinize their neck verse if they fhould have neede, yet Englij Seneca read by candlelight veelds many good sentences-hee will afford you whole Hamlets, I should say, handfuls of tragicall speeches. I cannot determine exactly when this Epiftle was first published; but, I fancy, it will carry the original Hamlet somewhat further back than we have hitherto done: and it may be observed, that the oldest copy now extant, is said to be • enlarged to almost as much againe as it was.' Gabriel Harvey printed at the end of the year 1592, · Foure Letters and certaine Sonnetts, especially touching Robert Greene :' in one of which his Arcadia is mentioned. Now Nash's Epistle must have been previous to these, as Gabriel is quoted in it with applause; and the Foure Letters were the beginning of a quarrel. Najb replied in · Strange News of the intercepting certaine Letters, and a Convoy of Verses, as they were going privilie to victual the Low Countries, 1593.' Harvey rejoined the same year in · Pierce's Supererogation, or a new Praise of the old Affe. And Nah again, in * Have with you to Saffron Walden, or Gabriell Harvey's Hunt is up;' containing a full answer to the eldest sonne of the halter-maker, 1596."--Nass died before 1606, as appears from an old comedy called The Return from Parnassus. STEVENS,
A play on the subject of Hamlet had been exhibited on the stage before the year 1589, of which Thomas Kyd was, I believe, the author. On that play, and on the bl. letter Historie of Hamblet, our poet, I conjecture, constructed the tragedy before us. The earliest edition of the prose-narrative which I have seen, was printed in 1608, but it undoubtedly was a republication.
Shakspeare's Hamlet was written, if my conjecture be well founded, in 1596. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of bis Plays, Vol. I. MALONE.
I'rancisco, a foldier.
Hamler,] i. e. Amleth. The h transferred from the end to the beginning of the name. STEVENS,
FRANCISCO on bis poft. Enter to him BERNARDO.
BER. Who's there?
Fran. Nay, answer me:: stand, and unfold Yourself.
BER. Long live the king !3
Ber. Have you had quiet guard?
Not a mouse stirring.
: -me:) i. e. me who am already on the watch, and have a right to demand the watch-word. STEEVENS.
3 Long live the king!] This fentence appears to have been the watch-word. Malone.
4 'Tis now ftruck twelve;] I ftrongly fufpect that the true reading is new ftruck &c. So, in Romeo and Juliet, A& I. sc. i: " But new ftruck nine.” STEEVENS.