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CLAUDIU S, King of Denmark.
Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Mother to Hamict.
Η Α Μ Ι Ε Τ. (1)
A C Τ Ι.
Scene, a Platform before the Palace.
Enter BERNARDO and FRANCISCO, two Centinelso
fold yourself. Ber. Long live the King!
(1) Honest Langbaine (in his account of Dramatic Poets) having told us that he knew not whether this story were true or false, not finding in the list given by Doctor Heylin such a King of Denmark as Claudius; Mr Pope comes and tells us, that this story was not invented by our Author, though from whence he took it he knows not. Langbaine gives us a sensible reason for his ignorance in this point; what to make of Mr Pope's assertion, upon the grounds he gives us for it, I confefs I know not. But we'll allow this gentleman, for once, a prophet in his declaration; for the ttory is taken from Saxo Grammaticus, in his Danish history. I'll subjoin a short extract of the material circumstances on which the groundwork of the plot is built; and how hapa pily the Poet has adapted his incidents, I shall leave to the observation of every reader. The historian calls our Poet's hero Amlethus; his father, Horwendillus; his uncle, Fengo; and his mother Gerutha. The old King in fingle combat New Collerus, King of Norway; Fengo makes away with his brother Horwendillus, and marries his widow Gerutha. Amlethus, to avoid being suspected by his uncle of designs, assumes a form of utter madness. A fine woman is planted upon him, to try if he would yield to the impressions of love. Fengo contrives that Amlethus, in order to found him,
hour, Ber. 'Tis now struck twelve; get thee to bed,
Francisco. Fran. For this relief, much thanks : 'tis bitter And I am fick at heart.
[cold, Ber. Have you had quiet guard ? Fran. Not a mouse stirring.
Ber. Well, good-night. If
you do meet Horatio and Marcellus, The rivals of my watch, bid them make halte.
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS. Fran. I think I hear them. Stand, ho! who is Hor. Friends to this ground.
[there? Mur. And licge-men to the Dane. Fran. Give you good night.
Mar. Oh, farewel, honelt foldier; who hath re. Lieved you?
Fran. Bernardo has my place; give you good night.
Èxit Francisco Mar. Holla! Bernardo.
should be closeted by his mother. A man is concealed in the rules to overhear their discourse, whom Amlethus dif. covers and kills. When the Queen is frighted at this behaviour of his, he tasks her about her criminal course of life, and incestuous conversation with her former husband's murderer; confesses his madnefs is but counterfeited, to preferve himself and fecure bis revenge for his father; to which be injoins the Queen frlence. Fengo fends amlethus to Britain; two of the King's servants attend hini, with liters to the British King, strictly pressing the death of Amlethus, who in the night time, coming at their commiflion, overreads it, forms a new one, and turns the destruction, designed towards himself, on the bearers of the letters. bethus, returning home, by a wile surprizes and kills his uncle,
Ber. Say, what, is Horatio there?
[cellus. Ber. Welcome, Horatio ; welcome, good MarMar. What, has this thing appeared again toBer. I have seen nothing.
(night? Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy ; And will not let belief take hold of him, Touching this dreaded fight, twice feen of us : Therefore I have intreated 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. Tush! tush ! 'twill not appear.
Ber. Sit down a while,
Hor. Well, sit we down,
Ber. Last night of all,
yon fame star, that's westward from the pole, Had made his course to illume that part of heav'n Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself, The bell then beating one, Mar. Peace, break thee off;
Enter the Ghost.. Look, where it comes again.
Ber. In the fame figure, like the King that's dead.
[night; Hor. What art thou, that usurpest this time f
[Exit Ghost. Mar, 'Tis gone, and will not answer.
Ber. How now, Horatio? you tremble and look Is not this something more than fantasy? [pale. What think
Mar. Is it not like the King?
Hor. As thou art to thyself.
[hour, Mar. Thus twice before, and just at this dead With martial ftalk, he has gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know