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This is the earliest known reference to Hamlet, in a note made by the scholar Gabriel Harvey in his copy of the works of Chaucer. Here he notes that ‘The younger sorte takes much delight in Shakespeare’s Venus, & Adonis: but his Lucrece & his tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, have it in them, to please the wiser sort’.

This casual note has been used as one piece of evidence in dating the play to about 1600, based on other allusions in the annotations. It also shows that Hamlet, which must have been a relatively new play, had already been well-received.

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