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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York,
STEREOTYPED AT THE
H A M Ꮮ Ꭼ Ꭲ . “The Tragicall Historie of HAMLET Prince of Denmarke. By William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diuerse times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the Cittie of London : as also in the two Vniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else-where. At London printed for N. L. and Iohn Trundell.” 1603. 4to. 33 leaves.
“The Tragicall Historie of HAMLET, Prince of Denmarke. By William Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the truc and perfect Coppie. AT LONDON, Printed by I. R. for N. L. and are to be sold at his shoppe vnder Saint Dunstons Church in Fleet. street." 1604. 4to. 51 leaves.
The same : 1605.
* At London, Printed for bohn Smethwicke and are to be sold at his shoppe in Saint Dunstons Church yeard in Fleetstreet. Vnder the Diall." 1611. 4to. 51 leaves.
". The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. Newly Imprinted and inlarged, according to the true and perfect Copy lastly Printed. By William Shakespeare. London, Printed by W. S. for Iohn Smethwicke, and are to be sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstans Church-yard in Fleetstreet: Vnder the Diall.”
51 leaves. Hamlet occupies thirty-one pages in the folio of 1623, viz., from p. 152 to p. 280, inclusive, in the division of Tragedies, there being a mistake of 100 pages after p. 156, the page which should have been numbered 157 having been numbered 257. It is divided into Acts and Scenes as far as Scena Secunda of Actus Secundus. Rowe completed the division, and added a list of Dramatis Personæ.
NLY one Hamlet is known to English dramatic literature.
But there appears to be little room for doubt that before Shakespeare wrote for the stage the legend of the Danish prince had been made the subject of a tragedy which passed into oblivion upon the appearance of the one that was to live in the world's memory forever. The earliest form in which the story of Hamlet has survived is that in which it is found in the chronicle of Saxo Grammaticus, the historian of the Danish kings and heroes, who wrote towards the end of the twelfth century, but whose work was first published in 1514. Thence it was transferred, in a French version, to Belleforest's Collection of Tales, published at Paris in 1571,* which, in turn, was translated very vilely into English, and published, probably, early in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. But no edition of an earlier date than 1608 is known ; and of this only one copy is supposed to have survived the ravages of time.f The points of resemblance between The Historie of Hamblet and Shakespeare's play are neither so numerous nor so striking as they surely would have been were either of them directly founded upon the other. The likeness and the difference between them need not be set forth more particularly here than by recapitulating, in the language of the old quarto Historie" itself, the contents of the eight chapters into which it is divided. Chap. I. How Horvendile and Fengon were made Governours Geruth, the daughter to Roderick, chief K. of Denmark by whom he had Hamblet : and how after his marriage his brother Fengon slewe him trayterously, and marryed his
of the Province of Ditmarse, and how Horvendile maryed
* See the Introduction to Romeo and Juliet, Vol. X. p. 6.
† " The Hystorie of Hanıblet." 4to. London, 1608. -- Among Capell's books preserved at Cambridge. — Reprinted in Collier's Shakespeare's Library.
brothers wife, and what followed. Chap. II. How Hamblet counterfieted the mad man, to escape
the tyrannie of his uncle, and how he was tempted by a woman (through his uncles procurement) who thereby thought to undermine the Prince, and by that meanes to finde out whether he counterfieted madnesse or not: and how Hamblet would by no meanes bee brought to consent unto her, and
what followed. Chap. III. How Fengon, uncle to Hamblet, a second time to
entrap him in his politick madnes, caused one of his counsellors to be secretly hidden in the queenes chamber, behind the arras, to heare what speeches passed between Hamblet and the Queen ; and how Hamblet killed him, and escaped
that danger, and what followed. Chap. IIII. How Fengon the third time devised to send Ham
blet to the king of England, with secret letters to have him put to death : and how Hamblet, when his companions slept, read the letters, and instead of them counterfieted others, willing the king of England to put the two messengers to death, and to marry his daughter to Hamblet, which was
effected ; and how Hamblet escaped out of England. Chap. V. How Hamblet, having escaped out of England,
arrived in Denmarke the same day that the Danes were celebrating his funerals, suposing him to be dead in England ; and how he revenged his fathers death upon his uncle and the
rest of the courtiers; and what followed. Chap. VI. How Hamlet, having slaine his Uncle, and burnt
his Palace, made an Oration to the Danes to shew them what he done ; and how they made him King of Denmarke; and
what followed. Chap. VII. How Hamlet, after his coronation, went into Eng
land; and how the king of England secretly would have put him to death ; and how he slew the king of England, and returned againe into Denmarke with two wives ; and what
followed. Chap. VIII. How Hamblet, being in Denmarke, was assailed
by Wiglerus his Uncle, and after betrayed by his last wife called Hermetrude, and was slaine ; after whose death she marryed his enemie, Wiglerus.
With Hamlet's return from England all likeness between Shakespeare's play and the story from which its chief incidents were indirectly taken is at an end. Nor are the incidents of both even thus far so nearly identical as at the first blush they seem. In the story Hamlet's father is not King of Denmark,