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SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.

FRANCISCO at his post.

Ber. Who's there?

Enter to him BERNARDO.

Fran. Nay, answer me: stand, and unfold yourself. Ber. Long live the king!

Fran. Bernardo?

Ber. He.

Fran. You come most carefully upon your hour. Ber. 'T is now struck twelve; get thee to bed,


Fran. For this relief much thanks: 't is bitter


And I am sick at heart.

Ber. Have you had quiet guard?


Ber. Well, good night.

Not a mouse stirring. 10

If you do meet Horatio and Marcellus,

The rivals of my watch, bid them make haste.

3. [Long live the king! Pye believes that "this sentence corresponds to the former usage in France, where, to the common challenge Qui vive? the answer was Vive le Roi, like the modern answer A friend.'" The latter is given, in effect, in

1. 15.]


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13. rivals partners, having the same occupation and purpose. ["Partners " is the word used in the quarto of 1603.]

Fran. I think I hear them. Stand, ho! Who's



Hor. Friends to this ground.

Fran. Give you good night.

Who hath relieved you?


And liegemen to the Dane.

Oh, farewell, honest soldier:

Bernardo has my place.

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Ber. Welcome, Horatio: welcome, good Marcel



Mar. What, has this thing appear'd again to-night? Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. Horatio says 't is but our fantasy,

And will not let belief take hold of him

Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us:
Therefore I have entreated 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, 't will not appear.

Sit down awhile; 30

And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story
What we have two nights seen.

15. the Dane: emphatical; the chief Dane, the King. 29. approve= confirm, prove that our eyes are right. 32, 33. [The construction here may be either "Let us assail your ears," i. e., tell you, "what we have two nights seen," line


Well, sit we down,

And let us hear Bernardo speak of this.

Ber. Last night of all,

When yond same star that's westward from the pole Had made his course to illume that part of heaven Where now it burns, Marcellus and myself,

The bell then beating one,

Enter Ghost.

Mar. Peace, break thee off; look, where it comes again!


Ber. In the same 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. Most like: it harrows me with fear and


Ber. It would be spoke to.


Question it, Horatio. Hor. What art thou that usurp'st this time of


Together with that fair and warlike form

In which the majesty of buried Denmark

32 being parenthetical, or “Let us assail your ears,

which are

so fortified against our story what we have seen for two nights," line 33 to this point being merely explanatory of story. Which construction does the present punctuation favor? The first folio has a comma after story.]

42. a scholar and could speak Latin, the only language that ghosts were supposed to understand, because it was in that language that priests exorcised them. [Horatio, however, addresses the Ghost in his own tongue, as he would have addressed the living King; apparently forgetting, in his "fear and wonder," the current notion just explained.]

45. [would be should be, ought to be. See Act III., sc. iii., 1. 75; also Macbeth, Act III., sc. i., 1. 51.]

48. [Denmark=the King of Denmark, as in sc. ii., 1. 69. See Norway, sc. ii., lines 28 and 35.]

Did sometimes march? by heaven I charge thee,


Mar. It is offended.


See, it stalks away!

Hor. Stay! speak, speak! I charge thee, speak!

Mar. 'Tis gone, and will not answer.


[Exit Ghost

Ber. How now, Horatio! you tremble and look pale:

Is not this something more than fantasy?

What think you on 't?

Hor. Before my God, I might not this believe Without the sensible and true avouch

Of mine own eyes.


Is it not like the King?

Hor. As thou art to thyself:

Such was the very armour he had on
When he th' ambitious Norway combated;
So frown'd he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.

'Tis strange.


Mar. Thus twice before, and jump at this dead hour,

49. sometimes in time past.

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57. [avouch attestation; an instance of that use of the verb as a noun in which the Elizabethans frequently indulged. Keats followed their example; in Endymion, Book I., we find “in blind amaze," and "with glad exclaim."- Find another instance of this usage, in the present scene.]

62. parle: loosely used as debate, in the sense of quarrel.

63. Polacks Poles. [The picturesque epithet sledded has given disproportionate trouble to some commentators. It seems merely to mean that the Poles commonly used sleds, and to be an incidental touch like Othello's "turban'd Turk."]


65. [jump just, Act V., sc. ii., 1. 380.]

which is used in the folios. See, also,

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