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Well ratify'd by law, and heraldry,
Did forfeit, with his life, all those his lands,
Which he food feiz'd of, to the conqueror;
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had return'd
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,

Had he been vanquisher; as, by that covenant,
3 And carriage of the articles defign'd,
His fell to Hamlet: Now, fir, young Fortinbras,
+ Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the fkirts of Norway, here and there,
5 Shark'd up a lift of landlefs refolutes,
For food and diet, to fome enterprize

That hath a ftomach in't; which is no other

of the Jus gentium] the law of heraldry in war is pofitive, &c. Hooker's Ecclefiaftical Polity." WARBURTON.

Mr. Upton fays, that Shakspeare fometimes expreffes one thing by two fubftantives, and that law and heraldry means, by the berald law. So Ant. and Cleop. act iv :

"Where rather I expect victorious life,

"Than death and honour, i. e. honourable death."


Puttenham, in his Art of Porfie, fpeaks of the Figure of Texyanes, horfes and barbes, for barbed horses, venim & Dartes, for venimous Dartes, &c." FARMER.

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as, by that cov❜nant

And carriage of the articles defign'd,} The old quarto reads: as by the fame comart ;

and this is right. Comart fignifies a bargain, and carrying of the articles, the covenants entered into to confirm that bargain. Hence we fee the common reading makes a tautology. WARBURTON. I can find no fuch word as comart in any dictionary.


3 And carriage of the articles defign'd,] Carriage, is import; defign'd, is formed, drawn up between them. JOHNSON. 4Of unimproved--] Unimproved, for unrefined.


Full of unimproved mettle, is full of spirit not regulated or guiðed by knowledge or experience. JOHNSON.

5 Shark'd up a lift, &c.] I believe to fhark up means to pick up without diftinction, as the ark-fifh collects his prey. The quartos read lawless instead of landless. STEEVENS.


6 That bath a stomach in't; J Stomach, in the time of our author, was used for confancy, refolution. JOHNзON.


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(As it doth well appear unto our ftate) But to recover of us, by ftrong hand, 7 And terms compulfatory, thofe forefaid lands So by his father loft: And this, I take it, Is the main motive of our preparations; The fource of this our watch; and the chief head Of this post-hafte and romage in the land.

Ber. [I think, it be no other, but even so : 'Well may it fort', that this portentous figure Comes armed through our watch; fo like the king That was, and is the queftion of thefe wars. Hor. A mote it is ', to trouble the mind's In the most high and palmy state of Rome, A little ere the mightiest Julius fell, The grave ftood tenantlefs, and the theeted dead Did fqueak and gibber in the Roman ftreets; Stars fhone with trains of fire; dews of blood fell *;


7 And terms compulfative,-] the old quarto, better, compul fatory. WARBURTON.


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romage] Tumultuous hurry. JOHNSON.

9 [I think, &c.] Thefe, and all other lines confin'd within crotchets throughout this play, are omitted in the folio edition, of 1623. The omiffions leave the play fometimes better and fometimes worfe, and feem made only for the fake of abbreviation.


JOHNSON. It may be worth while to obferve, that the title pages of the first quartes in 1604 and 1605, declare this play to be enlarged to almoft as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect copy,


Well may it fort,-] The caufe and the effect are proportion. ate and fuitable. JOHNSON.

2A mote it is,-] The first quarto reads, a moth. STEEVENS. 3 palmy fate of Rome,] Palmy, for victorious; in the other editions, flourishing. POPE.

4 Stars fhone with trains of fire, dews of blood fell; &c.] Thus Mr. Rowe altered thefe lines, which have no immediate connection with the preceding ones. The quartos read (for the pallage is not in the folio):

As ftars with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
Difafters in the fun,-

Perhaps an intermediate line is loft, STEEVENS.


Difafters veil'd the fun; and the moift ftar, Upon whofe influence Neptune's empire ftands,


2 Difafters veil'd the fun;-] Difafters is here finely used in its original fignification of evil conjunction of stars. WARBURTON.

Stars fhone with trains of fire; dews of blood fell;

Dijaflers veil'd the fun;The words fhone, fell, and veil'd, having been introduced by Mr. Rowe without authority, may be fately rejected. Might we not come nearer the original copy by reading

Afres, with trains of fire and dews of blood,
Difaftrous, dimm'd the fun.

There is, I acknowledge, no authority for the word afire; but our author has coined many words, and in this very speech there are two, gibber and precurfe, that are ufed, I believe, by no other writer. He feems to have laboured here to make his language correfpond with the preternatural appearances that he defcribes. Aftres from aftrum] is of exactly the fame formation as antres, which he has introduced in Othello, and which is not, I believe, found elsewhere, The word now propofed being uncommon, it is not furprising that the tranfcriber's ear fhould have deceived him, and that he fhould have written, instead of it, two words (As fars) of nearly the fame found. The word far, which occurs in the next line, is thus rendered not fo offenfive to the ear, as it is as the text now ftands. If, however, this be thought too licentious, we might read, with lefs departure from the old copy than Mr. Rowe's text,

"His ftars, with trains of fire, and dews of blood,
"Difaftrous, dimm'd the fun;".

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i, e. the stars that prefided over Cæfar's fortunes. So, in our author's 26th Sonnet :

Again, in King Richard III:

"Till whatfoever far, that guides my moving,
"Points on me gracioufly with fair afpéct."

Each of the words propofed, and printed above in italicks, might have been easily confounded by the ear with thofe that have been fubftituted in their room. The latter, dimm'd, is fully fupported not only by Plutarch's account in the life of Cæfar, ["alfo the brightness of the funne was darkened, the which, all that yeare through, rofe very pale, and fbined not out," but by various paffages in our author's works. So, in the Tempeft:


I have be-dimm'd "The noon-tide fun."

"As doth the blufhing difcontented fun,-
"When he perceives the envious clouds are bent
"To dim his glory."




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Was fick almoft to dooms-day with eclipfe.
And even the like precurfe of fierce events,-
As harbingers preceding ftill the fates,


And prologue to the omen coming on,Have heaven and earth together demonftrated Unto our climatures and countrymen.-]

Re-enter Ghoft.

But, foft; behold! lo, where it comes again!
I'll crofs it, though it blaft me.-Stay, illufion!
If thou haft any found, or ufe of voice,

Again, in our author's 18th Sonnet :

"Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven fhines,
"And often is his gold complexion dimm'd."

In the first act of this play the quarto, 1611, reads " 'Tis not my inky cloke could fmother"-[for good mother]. If, as in the prefent inftance, there had been but one copy, how could this trange error have been rectified but by the boldness of conjecture ?


3 And even -] Not only fuch prodigies have been seen in Rome, but the elements have fhewn our countrymen like forerunners and foretokens of violent events. JOHNSON.

-precurfe of fierce events,] Fierce, for terrible. WARBURTON. I rather believe that fierce fignifies confpicuous, glaring. It is used in a fomewhat fimilar fenfe in Timon.-O the fierce wretchedness that glory brings! STEEVENS.

5 And prologue to the omen coming on,] But prologue and omen are merely fynonymous here. The poet means, that thefe ftrange phænomena are prologues and forerunners of the events prefag'd: and fuch fenfe the fight alteration, which I have ventured to make, by changing omen to omen'd, very aptly gives. THEOBALD. Omen, for fate. WARBURTON. Hanmer follows Theobald.

A diftich from the life of Merlin, by Heywood, will fhew that there is no occafion for correction:

"Merlin well vers'd in many an hidden fpell,

"His countries omen did long fince foretell." FARMER. Again, in the Vowbreaker:

And much I fear the weakness of her braine

"Should draw her to fome ominous exigent.' STEEVENS. 6 If thou hast any found,-] The fpeech of Horatio to the fpectre is very elegant and noble, and congruous to the common traditions of the caufes of apparitions. JOHNSON.


Speak to me :

If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do eafe, and grace to me,
Speak to me:

If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Which, hapily, foreknowing may avoid,
O, speak!

Or, if thou haft uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they fay, you fpirits oft walk in death,
[Cock crows.
Speak of it :-ftay, and fpeak.-Stop it, Marcellus,-
Mar. Shall I ftrike at it with my partizan ?
Hor. Do if it will not ftand.

Ber. 'Tis here!

Hor. 'Tis here!

Mar. "Tis gone!

We do it wrong, being fo majestical,
To offer it the fhew of violence;

[Exit Ghoft.

For it is, as the air invulnerable,
And our vain blows malicious mockery.
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing
Upon a fearful fummons. I have heard,
The cock, that is the trumpet to the morn,
Doth with his lofty and fhrill-founding throat
Awake the god of day; and, at his warning,
? Whether in fea or fire, in earth or air,


7 Whether in fea, &c.] According to the pneumatology of that time, every element was inhabited by its peculiar order of spirits, who had difpofitions different, according to their various places of abode. The meaning therefore is, that all fpirits extravagant, wandering out of their element, whether aerial fpirits vifiting earth, or earthly fpirits ranging the air, return to their station, to their proper limits in which they are confined. We might read, 66 And at his warning


"Th' extravagant and erring spirit hies

To his confine, whether in fea or air, "Or earth, or fire. And of," &c.

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