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158 HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK:

Fall'n on the inventors heads: all this can I
Truly deliver.

Fort. Let us haste to hear it,

And call the noblest to the audience.

For me, with sorrow 1 embrace my fortune;
I have some rights of memory in this kingdom,
Which now to claim my vantage doth invite me.

Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to speak, And from his mouth whose voice will draw on more:

But let this same be presently perform'd,

Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mischance.

On plots, and errors, happen.

Fort. Let four captains

Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage;
For he was likely, had he been put on,
To have prov'd most royally and, for his
The soldiers' musick, and the rites of war,
Speak loudly for him.-

passage,

Take up the bodies:- Such a sight as this Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go, bid the soldiers shoot. [A dead march. [Exeunt, bearing off the dead bodies; after which, a peal of ordnance is shot off.

A

SELECTION

OF THE

MOST IMPORTANT NOTES

EXTRACTED

FROM

THE BEST COMMENTATORS

TO THE PLAYS

OF

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.

VOLUME XVII.

NOTES TO 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 collection 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. 1. 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.sort 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 sort, 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 servautes."

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 sufficiently 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 Night Raven, is this couplet:

"I will not cry Hamlet Revenge my greeves, "But I will call Hangman, Revenge on Thie

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STEEVENS. Surely no satire was intended in Eastward Hoe, which was acted at Shakspeare's own playhouse, (Black friers,) 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 Essay 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 mother-tongue, that feed on nought but the crums that fall from the translator's trencher. That could scarcely latinize their neck verse if they should have neede, yet English Seneca read by candlelight yeelds anany good sentences → hee will afford you whole

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