The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 14.1843 Tuesday, 23 September 2003
From: Bill Arnold <
Date: Monday, 22 Sep 2003 06:24:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Season comes wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated...no
spirit dares stir
OK: here's the opening scene, in a nutshell, no Claudius, no Gertrude,
just some guards in the dark, on the castle wall, and a "spirit" which
"dares stir" and Hamlet, for whom the play is named, is invoked, to an
audience, chilled to the bone at this chilling opening, to set the world
right, again, at the anniversary of the birth of the "Saviour" of them
all, agreed? Quite English, wouldn't you agree?:
SCENE I. Elsinore. A platform before the castle.
"It faded on the crowing of the cock.
Some say that ever 'gainst that season comes
Wherein our Saviour's birth is celebrated,
The bird of dawning singeth all night long:
And then, they say, no spirit dares stir abroad;
The nights are wholesome; then no planets strike,
No fairy takes, nor witch hath power to charm,
So hallow'd and so gracious is the time."
"So have I heard and do in part believe it.
But, look, the morn, in russet mantle clad,
Walks o'er the dew of yon high eastward hill:
Break we our watch up; and by my advice,
Let us impart what we have seen to-night
Unto young Hamlet; for, upon my life,
This spirit, dumb to us, will speak to him.
Do you consent we shall acquaint him with it,
As needful in our loves, fitting our duty?"
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