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PRINCE OF DENMARK.
Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle.
Francisco on his post. Enter to him Bernardo.
Ber. Who's there?
Fran. Nay, answer me:: stand, and unfold Yourself.
Ber. Long live the king !
He. Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. BER. 'Tis now struck twelve ; 4 get thee to bed,
Francisco. Fran. For this relief, much thanks : 'tis bitter
Ber. Have you had quiet guard ?
Not a mouse stirring.
ime: ] 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 sentence appears to have been the watch-word. MALONE.
4 'Tis now struck twelve;] I strongly suspect that the true reading is now struck &c. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I. sc. i: “ But new ftruck nine." STEEVENS.
BER. Well, good night.
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, AA III. sc. v:
" having made use of him in the wars against Pompey, presently deny'd him rivality." STEEVENS.
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 Act II. sc. 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 honest 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 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 jame employment or office with another. Competitor, which is explained by Bullokar by the very same words which he has employed in the definition of rival, is in like manner (as Mr. M. Mason has oh. served,) 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 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-ftudent 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
MALONE. 5 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
Ber. Welcome, Horatio ; welcome, good Mar
cellus. Hor. What, has this thing appear'd again to
Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy;
HOR. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.
Sit down awhile;
6 Hor. What, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. STEVENS. 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.
approve our eyes,] Add a new teftimony to that of our cyes. 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-witneljes to it. To approve in Shakspeare's age, signified to make good, or establish, and is so defined in Cawdrey's Alphabetical Table of hard English words, 8vo, 1604. So, in King Lear:
“ Good king, that must approve the coinmon faw!
What we two nights have seen.'
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
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 me with fear, and
9 IVhat we two nights have seen.] This line is by Sir T. Hanmer given to Marcellus, but without necessity. JOHNSON.
2 Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.] It has always been a vul. gar 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,
“ And that will daunt the devil.” In like manner the honest butler in Mr. Addison's Drummer, recommends the steward to speak Latin to the ghost in that play.
REED. it harrovys me &c.] To harrozw is to conquer, to subdue.