Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Hamlet

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HAMLET, the hero of Shakespeare's greatest tragedy, but without a figure originally historical, mythological, or partly both, still remains uncertain. The legend of Amleth is first found in the 3d and 4th books of the Latin history of Denmark by Saxo Grammaticus, written about the end of the 12th century, but first printed at Paris in 1514. The story of Hamlet was freely translated in the fifth volume of François de Belleforest's "Tragic Histories" (1570), and a rough but literal English translation of this exists in a single copy (once Edward Capell's) in the library of Trinity College, Cambridge, entitled "The Hystorie of Hamblet" (London, 1608; reprinted in Collier's "Shakespeare Library," 1841).