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PRINCE OF DENMARK.
ACT I. SCENE 1.
FRANCISCO on his poft. Enter to him BERNARDO.
BER. Who's there?
FRAN. Nay, answer me:* ftand, and unfold Yourself.
BER. Long live the king!'
FRAN. For this relief, much thanks: 'tis bitter cold,
And I am fick at heart.
BER. Have you had quiet guard?
Not a mouse stirring.
-me:] 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 fentence appears to have been the watch-word. MALONE.
4 'Tis now ftruck twelve;] I ftrongly fufpect that the true reading is-new ftruck &c. So, in Romeo and Juliet, Act I. fc. i: "But new ftruck nine." STEEVENS.
BER. Well, good night.
do meet Horatio and Marcellus, The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.
4 The rivals of my watch,] Rivals for partners.
So, in Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1636:
"Tullia. Aruns, affociate him.
"Aruns. A rival with my brother," &c. Again, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1637:
"And make thee rival in thofe governments." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, A& III. fc. v:
having made ufe of him in the wars against Pompey, prefently deny'd him rivality." STEEVENS.
By rivals the fpeaker certainly means partners (according to Dr. Warburton's explanation,) or thofe whom he expected to watch with him. Marcellus had watched with him before; whether as a centinel, a volunteer, or from mere curiofity, we do not learn: but, which ever it was, it seems evident that his station was on the fame fpot with Bernardo, and that there is no other centinel by them relieved. Poffibly Marcellus was an officer, whose business it was to vifit each watch, and perhaps to continue with it fome time. Horatio, as it appears, watches out of curiofity. But in Act II. fc. i. to Hamlet's queftion,-" Hold you the watch_to-night?" Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo, all anfwer," 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 fuch good company, we might have taken him to have been like Francifco whom he relieves, an honeft but common foldier. The ftrange indifcriminate use of Italian and Roman names in this and other plays, makes it obvious that the author was very little converfant in even the rudiments of either language. RITSON.
Rival is conftantly used by Shak fpeare for a partner or associate, In Bullokar's English Expofitor, Svo. 1616, it is defined, "One that fueth for the fame thing with another;" and hence Shakspeare, with his ufual licence, always ufes it in the fenfe of one engaged in the Same employment or office with another. Competitor, which is explained by Bullokar by the very fame words which he has employed in the definition of rival, is in like manner (as Mr. M. Mafon has obferved,) always used by Shakspeare for affociate. See Vol. III. P. 221, n. 5.
Mr. Warner would read and point thus:
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS.
FRAN. I think, I hear them.-Stand, ho! Who is there?
HOR. Friends to this ground.
And liegemen to the Dane.
O, farewell, honeft foldier:
Give you good night
What, is Horatio there?
Bernardo hath my place. [Exit FRANCISCO.
A piece of him.3
because Horatio is a gentleman of no profeffion, and because, as he conceived, there was but one perfon 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 curiofity, our poet confiders him very properly as an affociate with them. Horatio himself says to Hamlet in a fubsequent scene,
"This to me
"In dreadful fecrecy impart they did,
"And I with them the third night kept the watch.”
Hor. A piece of him.] But why a piece? He fays this as he gives his hand. Which direction fhould be marked.
A piece of him, is, I believe, no more than a cant expreffion. It is ufed, however, on a ferious occafion in Pericles:
"Take in your arms this piece of
BER. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus.
HOR. What," has this thing appear'd again tonight?
BER. I have feen nothing.
MAR. Horatio fays, 'tis but our fantasy;
Sit down awhile;
6 Hor. What, &c.] Thus the quarto, 1604. STEEVENS. These words are in the folio given to Marcellus. MALONE.
"—the minutes of this night;] This feems to have been an expreffion common in Shakspeare's time. I find it in one of Ford's plays, The Fancies chafte and noble, A&t V:
"I promise ere the minutes of the night." STEEVENS.
approve our eyes,] Add a new teftimony to that of our eyes. JOHNSON.
So, in King Lear:
this approves her letter, "That the would foon be here." See Vol. XII. p. 413, n. 7. STEEVENS.
He may approve our eyes,] He may make good the teftimony of our eyes; be affured by his own experience of the truth of that which we have related, in confequence of having been eye-witnesses to it. To approve in Shakspeare's age, fignified to make good, or eftablish, and is fo defined in Cawdrey's Alphabetical Table of hard English words, 8vo, 1604. So, in King Lear:
"Good king, that must approve the common faw!
"To the warni fun."
What we two nights have seen.'
BER. Laft night of all,
When yon fame ftar, that's weftward from the
Well, fit we down,
Had made his courfe to illume that part of heaven
MAR. Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!
BER. In the fame 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, Horatio.
HOR. Moft like:-it harrows me3 with fear, and wonder.
9 What we two nights have feen.] This line is by Sir T. Hanmer given to Marcellus, but without neceffity. JOHNSON.
Thou art a fcholar, fpeak to it, Horatio.] It has always been a vulgar notion that fpirits and fupernatural beings can only be spoken to with propriety or effect by perfons of learning. Thus, Toby in The Night-walker, by Beaumont and Fletcher, fays:
It grows ftill longer,
" "Tis fteeple-high now; and it fails away, nurse.
In like manner the honest butler in Mr. Addison's Drummer, recommends the steward to speak Latin to the ghoft in that play.
REED. 3 it harrows me &c.] To harrow is to conquer, to fubdue.