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Ber. Weli, good night. If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, The rivals of my watch,“ bid them make hafte.
4.The rivals of my watch,] Rivals for partners.
WARBURTON. 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." STEVENS.
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. Pollibly 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 AA 11. fc. i. to Hamlet's question, Hold you the watch to-night?" Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo, all answer,-“ 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 cither language. Ritson.
Rival is constantly used by Shakspeare for a partner or affociate. In Bullokar’s English Expositor, 8vo. 1616, it is defined, “ One that fueth for the same thing with another;” and hence Shakspeare, with his usual licence, always uses it in the sense of one engaged in the fame 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
Enter Horatio and MARCELLUS.
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. Mar.
O, farewell, honest soldier: Who hath reliev'd you? FRAN.
Bernardo hath my place. Give you good night
[Exit Francisco. MAR.
A piece of him.
because Horatio is a gentleman of no profeffion, 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 fays to Hamlet in a subsequent scene,
“ — This to me
MALONE. s Hor. A piece of bim.] But why a piece? He says this as he gives his hand. Which direction should be marked.
WARBURTON. A piece of bim, is, I believe, no more than a cant expression. It is used, however, on a serious occafion in Pericles: “ Take in your arms this piece of
HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK.) The original story on which this play is built, may be found in Saxo Grammaticus the Danish historian. From thence Belleforest adopted it in his col. lection of novels, in seven volumes, which he began in 1564, and continued to publish through succeeding years. From this work, The Hystorie of Hamblett, quarto, bl. l. was translated. I have hitherto met with no earlier edition of the play than one in the year 1604, though it must have been performed before that time, as I have seen a copy of Speght's edition of Chaucer, which formerly belonged to Dr. Gabriel Harvey, (the antagonist of Nash) who, in his own hand-writing, has set down Hamlet, as a performance with which he was well acquainted, in the year 1598. His words are these: “ The younger fort take much delight in Shakspeare's Venus and Adonis; but his Lucrece, and his tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, have it in them to please the wiser fort, 1598."
In the books of the Stationers' Company, this play was entered by James Roberts, July 26, 1602, under the title of “ A booke called The Revenge of Hamlett, Prince of Denmarke, as it was lately acted by the Lord Chamberlain his servantes.
In Eastward Hoe, by George Chapman, Ben Jonson, and John Marston, 1605, is a fling at the hero of this tragedy. A footman named Hamlet enters, and a tankard-bearer asks him—“'Sfoote, Hamlet, are you mad?”
The frequent allusions of contemporary authors to this play fufficiently show its popularity. Thus
, in Decker's Bel-man's Nightwalkes, 4to. 1612, we have—" But if any mad Hamlet, hearing this, smell villainie, and rush in by violence to see what the tawny diuels (gypsies) are dooing, then they excuse the fact” &c. Again, in an old collection of Satirical Poems, called The NightRaven, is this couplet:
« I will not cry Hamlet Revenge my greeves,
STBEVENS. Surely no satire was intended in Eastward Hoe, which was acted at Shakspeare's own playhouse, (Blackfriers,) by the children of the revels, in 1605. Málone.
The following particulars relative to the date of this piece, are borrowed from Dr. Farmer's Esay on the Learning of Shakspeare, p. 85, 86, second edition :
Greene, in the Epistle prefixed to his Arcadia, hath a lash at some · vaine glorious tragedians,' and very plainly at Shakspeare in particular. I leave all these to the mercy of their mothersongue, that feed on nought but the crums that fall from the translator's trencher.-That could ely latinize their neck verse if they should have neede, yet English Soneca read by candlelight