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And, with wild looks, bid me devise some means
To rid her from this second marriage,
Or in my cell there would she kill herself.
Then gavs I her, so tutord by my art,
A sleeping potion ; which so took effect
As I intended, for it wrought on her
The form of death : meantime I writ to Romeo,
That he should hither come, as this dire night,
To help to take her from her borrow'd grave,
Being the time the potion's force should cease.
But he which bore my letter, friar John,
Was stay'd by accident; and yesternight
Return’d my letter back. Then, all alone,
At the prefixed hour of her waking,
Came I to take her from her kindred's vault;
Meaning to keep her closely at my cell,
Till I conveniently could send to Romeo :
But, when I came, (some minute ere the time
Of her awakening,) here untimely lay
The noble Paris and true Romeo dead.
She wakes ; and I entreated her come forth,
And bear this work of Heaven with patience :
But then a noise did scare me from the tomb;
And she, too desperate, would not go with me,
But, as it seems, did violence on herself.
All this I know; and to the marriage
Her nurse is privy; and, if aught in this
Miscarried by my fault, let my old life
Be sacrific'd, some hour before his time,
Unto the rigour of severest law.
Prince. We still have known thee for a holy

man. — Where's Romeo's man? what can he say in this ? Bal. I brought my master news of Juliet's


And then in post he came from Mantua,
To this same place, to this same monument.
This letter he early bid me give his father;
And threaten'd me with death, going in the vault,
If I departed not, and left him there.

Prince. Give me the letter, I will look on it.
Where is the county's page, that rais'd the watch?
Sirrah, what made your master in this place?
Page. He came with flowers to strew his lady's

grave, And bid me stand aloof, and so I did: Anon, comes one with light to ope the tomb, And, by and by, my master drew on him ; And then I ran away to call the watch. Prince. This letter doth make good the friar's

words, Their course of love, the tidings of her death; And here be writes, that he did buy a poison Of a poor 'pothecary, and therewithal Came to this vault to die, and lie with Juliet. — Where be these enemies ? — Capulet! Montague ! See, what a scourge is laid upon your hate, That Heaven find means to kill your joys with love! And I, for winking at your discords, too, Have lost a brace of kinsmen : 19 -- all are punish’d.

Cap. O, brother Montague! give me thy hand : This is my daughter's jointure ; for no more Can I demand. Mon.

But I can give thee more ; For I will raise her statue in pure gold ; That, while Verona by that name is known,

19 Mercutio and Paris. Mercutio is expressly called the Prince's kinsman in Act iii. sc. 4; and that Paris was also the Prince's kinsman, may be inferred from what Romeo says: “Let me pe ruse this face ; Merculio's kinsman, noble county Paris."

There shall no figure at such rate be set,
As that of true and faithful Juliet.

Cap. As rich shall Romeo by his lady lie;
Poor sacrifices of our enmity!
Prince. A glooming peace this morning with it

brings ; 20 The sun for sorrow will not show his head. Go hence, to have more talk of these sad things ; Some shall be pardon'd, and some punished : 21 For never was a story of more woe, Than this of Juliet and her Romeo. (Exeunt.

20 The quarto of 1597 reads, “A gloomy peace." To gloom is an ancient verb, used by Spenser and other old writers.

23 This line has reference to the poem from which the fable is taken ; in which the Nurse is banished for concealing the marriage ; Romeo's servant set at liberty, because he had only acted in obedience to his master's orders; the Apothecary is banged ; while Friar Laurence was permitted to retire to a hermitage neai Veroua, where he ended his life in penitence and tranquillity.




The story on which Shakespeare founded THE TRAGEDY OF HAMLET, PRINCE OF DENMARK, was told by Saxo Grammat. icus, the Danish historian, whose work was first printed in 1514, though written as early as 1204. The incidents as related by him were borrowed by Belleforest, and set forth in his Histoires Tra. giques, 1564. It was probably through the French version of Belleforest that the tale first found its way to the English stage. The only English translation that has come down to us was printed in 1608 ; and of this only a single copy is known to have survived. The edition of 1608 was most likely a reprint ; but, if so, we have no means of ascertaining when it was first printed : Mr. Collier thinks there can be no doubt that it originally came from the press considerably before 1600. The only known copy is preserved among Capell's books in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, and has been lately republished by Collier in his Shakespeare's Library. It is entitled “The History of Hambiet."

As there told, the story is, both in matter and style, uncouth and barbarous in the last degree ; a savage, shocking tale of lust and murder, unredeemed by a single touch of art or fancy in the nar. rator. Perhaps there is nothing of the Poet's achieving more won. derful than that he should have reared so superb a dramatic struct. ure out of materials so scanty and so revolting. The scene of iho incidents is laid before the introduction of Christianity into Dewmark, and when the Danish power held sway in England : further than this, the time is not specified. So much of the story as was made use of for the drama is soon told.

Roderick, king of Denmark, divided his kingdom into prov. inces, and placed governors in them. Among these were two val. iant and warlike brothers, Horvendile and Fengon. The greatest honour that men of noble birth could at that time win, was by ex. ercising the art of piracy on the seas; wherein Horvendile sur. passed all others. Collere, king of Norway, was so wrought upon by his faine, that he challenged him to fight body to body; and the challenge was accepled on condition that the vanquished should lose all the riches he had in his ship, and the vanquisher should cause his body to be honourably buried. Collere was slain ; and Horvendile, after making great havoc in Norway, returned home with a mass of treasure, most of which he sent to King Roderick, who thereu pon gave him his daughter Geruth in marriage. Of this marriage proceeded Hamblet, the hero of the tale.

All this so provoked the envy of Fevgon, that he determined to kill his brother. So, baving secretly asseinbled certain men, when Horvendile was at a banquet with his friends, he suddenly set upon him and slew him; hul managed his treachery with so much cun ning that no man suspected him. Before doing this, lie bad cor rupted his brother's wife, and was allerwards married to her. Young Hamblet, thinking that he was likely to fare no better than his father had done, went to feigning himself mad, and made as if he bad utterly lost his wils ; wherein he used such craft that he became an object of ridicule to the satellites of the court. Many of his actions, however, were so shrewd, and his answers were often so fit, ibat men of a deeper reach began 10 suspect somewhat, thinking that bencath his folly there lay bid a sharp and pregnant spirit. So they counselled the king to try measures for discovering his meaning. The plan hit upon for entrapping him was, to leave him with some beautiful woman in a secret place, where she could use her art upon him. To ibis end they led him out into the woods, and arranged that the woman should there meet with him. One of the men, however, who was a friend of the Prince, warned him, by certain signs, of the danger that was threatening him : so he escaped that treachery.

Among the king's friends there was one who more than all the rest suspected Hamblet's madness to be feigned ; and be counselled the king to use some more subtle and crafty means for discovering his purpose. His device was, that the king should make as though he were going out on a long hunting excursion ; and tbat, meanwhile, Hamblet should be shut up alone in a chamber with his mother, some one being hidden behind the hangings to hear their speeches. It was thought that, if ibere were any craft in the Prince, he would easily discover it to his mother, not fear. ing that she would make known his secret intent. So, the plot being duly arranged, the counsellor went into the chamber secretly and hid himself behind the arras, not long before the queen and Hamblet came thither. But the Prince, suspecting some treacherous practice, kept up his counterfeit of madness, and went to beating with bis arms, as cocks use to strike with their wings, upon the hangings : feeling something stir under them, he cried, “A rat, a rat!” and thrust his sword into them; which done, he pulled the counsellor out half dead, and made an end of him.

Hamblet then has a long interview with his mother, who weeps

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