Imágenes de páginas

A piece of him."

HOR. BER. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus.


HOR. What, has this thing appear'd again tonight?

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. A piece of him,] But why a piece? He says this as he gives his hand. Which direction should be marked.


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 dead queen.” STEEVENS.


7 Hor. What, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. STEEVENS. 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 found 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 testimony to that of our eyes. JOHNSON.

[blocks in formation]

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 eyewitnesses to it. To approve in Shakspeare's age, signified to

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 yon same 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 comes again!

Enter Ghost.

BER. In the same figure, like the king that's dead.

MAR. Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.o

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 common saw!
"Thou out of heaven's benediction com'st
"To the warm sun."


What we two nights have seen.] This line is by Sir Thomas Hanmer given to Marcellus, but without necessity. JOHNSON.

Thou art a scholar, speak to it, Horatio.] It has always been a vulgar 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,

""Tis steeple-high now; and it sails away, nurse.
"Let's call the butler up, for he speaks Latin,
"And that will daunt the devil.”

[ocr errors]

BER. Looks it not like the king? mark it, Ho


HOR. Most like:-it harrows me3 with fear, and wonder.

BER. It would be spoke to.


Speak to 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
Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,

MAR. It is offended.


See! it stalks away.

HOR. Stay; speak: speak I charge thee, speak. [Exit Ghost.

MAR. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.

BER. How now, Horatio? you tremble, and look pale:

Is not this something more than fantasy?
What think you of it?

HOR. Before my God, I might not this believe, Without the sensible and true avouch

Of mine own eyes.

[ocr errors]

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 harrows me &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to subdue. The word is of Saxon origin. So, in the old black letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys:

"He swore by him that harrowed hell." Milton has adopted this phrase in his Comus:

"Amaz❜d I stood, harrow'd with grief and fear."


MAR. 3bIs it not like the king?

HOR. As thou art to thyself:

Such was the very armour he had on,
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded5 Polack on the ice."
'Tis strange.


an angry parle,] This is one of the affected words in troduced by Lyly. So, in The Two wise Men, and all the rest Fools, 1619:


that you told me at our last parle." STEEVENS. 5sledded-] A sled, or sledge, is a carriage without wheels, made use of in the cold countries. So, in Tamburlaine, or the Scythian Shepherd, 1590



te upon an ivory sled a "Thou shalt be drawn among the frozen poles." JTTON STEEVENS.

[ocr errors]

6 He smote the sledded Polack on the ice.] Pole-ar in the common editions. He speaks of a Prince of Poland whom he slew in battle. He uses the word Polack again, Act II. sc. iv.'


[ocr errors]


Polack was, in that age, the term for an inhabitant of Poland: Polaque, French. As in F. Davison's translation of Passeratius's epitaph on Henry III. of France, published by Camden:

"Whether thy chance or choice thee hither brings, "Stay, passenger, and wail the hap of kings. "This little stone a great king's heart doth hold, "Who rul'd the fickle French and Polacks bold: "Whom, with a mighty warlike host attended, "With trait'rous knife a cowled monster ended. "So frail are even the highest earthly things! "Go, passenger, and wail the hap of kings." JOHNSON. Again, in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, &c. 1612:


I scorn him

"Like a shav'd Polack-."


All the old copies have Polar. Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors read-Polack; but the corrupted word shows, I think, that Shakspeare wrote-Polacks. MALONE.

With Polack for Polander, the transcriber, or printer, might

[ocr errors]

MAR. Thus, twice before, and jump at this dead hour,"

With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. HOR. In what particular thought to work, I know not;

But, in the gross and scope of mine opinion, This bodes some strange eruption to our state. MAR. Good now, sit down, and tell sit down, and tell me, he that knows,

Why this same strict and most observant watch So nightly toils the subject of the land?

have no acquaintance; he therefore substituted pole-ax as the only word of like sound that was familiar to his ear. Unluckily, however, it happened that the singular of the latter has the same sound as the plural of the former. Hence it has been supposed that Shakspeare meant to write Polacks. We cannot well suppose that in a parley the King belaboured many, as it is not likely that provocation was given by more than one, or that on such an occasion he would have condescended to strike a meaner person than a prince. STEEvens.


-jump at this dead hour,] So, the 4to. 1604. The folio just. STEEvens.

The correction was probably made by the author. Johnson.

In the folio we sometimes find a familiar word substituted for one more ancient. MALOne.

Jump and just were synonymous in the time of Shakspeare. Ben Jonson speaks of verses made on jump names, i. e. names that suit exactly. Nash says" and jumpe imitating a verse in As in præsenti." So, in Chapman's May Day, 1611: "Your appointment was jumpe at three, with me." Again, in M. Kyffin's translation of the Andria of Terence, 1588:


"Comes he this day so jump in the very time of this marriage?" STEEVENS.

In what particular thought to work,] i. e. What particular train of thinking to follow. STEEVENS.


-gross and scope-] General thoughts, and tendency at large. JOHNSON.

« AnteriorContinuar »