Democracy

 

In the 1603 Quarto of the play "Hamlet," we find the following:

"Hamlet- An excellent fellow, by the Lord Horatio,
This seaven years have I noted it; the toe of the peasant
Comes so neere the heele of the courtier
That he gawles his Kibe."

In the 1604 Quarto the same passage reads thus:

"Hamlet- By the Lord Horatio, this three
Yeeres I have took note
of it, the age is growne so picked,
That the toe of the pesant comes so neere
The heele of the courtier he galls his Kibe."

It will be observed that the period of seven years has been reduced to three years in the 1604 quarto.

Is it a coincidence that Hamlet was on the stage in 1586, at which time Francis Bacon had been observing the events of the period since his return from abroad in 1579 (i.e. for seven years) but that in 1603 he was greatly perturbed by the advance of democratic ideas, as evidenced in the last Parliament of Queen Elizabeth,1601-3, which shows that for three years he had been observing this change of attitude of Parliament?

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