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Whatever happens to him, we apply to ourselves; because he applies it so himself, as a means of general reasoning.

3. He is a great moralizer, and what makes him worth attending to, is, that he moralizes on his own feelings and expe. rience. He is not a commonplace pedant. If LEAR shows the greatest depth of passion, HAMLET is the most remarkable for the ingenuity, originality, and unstudied development of character. There is no attempt to force an interest : every thing is left for time and circumstances to unfold. The attention is excited without effort; the incidents succeed each other as matters of course; the characters think, and speak, and act, just as they might do, if left entirely to themselves. There is 10 set purpose, no straining at a point.

4. The observations are suggested by the passing scene—the gusts of passion come and go like sounds of music borne on the wind. The whole play is an exact transcript of what might be supposed to have taken place at the court of Denmark, at the remote period of time fixed upon, before the modern refinements in morals and manners were heard of. It would have been interesting enough to have been admitted, as a by-stander in such a scene, at such a time, to have heard and seen something of what was going on.

5. But here we are more than spectators. We have not only “the outward pageants and the signs of grief,” but “

we have that within which passes show." We read the thoughts of the heart, we catch the passions living as they rise. . Other dramatic writers give us very fine versions and paraphrases of nature; but Shakspeare, together with his own comment, gives us the original text, that we may judge for ourselves. This is a great advantage.

6. The character of Hamlet is itself a pure effusion of genius. It is not a character marked by strength of will, or even of passion, but by refinement of thought and sentimen'. Hamlet is as little of the hero as man well can be : but he is a young and princely novice, full of high enthusiasm and quick sensi. bility,—the sport of circumstances, questioning with fortune,

and refining on his own feelings; and forced from the natural bias of his disposition by the strangeness of his situation


THE PLAY or Hamlet is founded upon a story derived, it is said, by Shakspeare, from Saxo Grammaticus, a Danish historian, who died in the year 1204. Hamlet's father, the king of Denmark, while asleep in his orchard, is murdered by his own brother; the queen, Hamlet's mother, being privy to it. The story is given out, that he came to his death by the sting of a serpent. But the ghost of the murdered king appearing to Hamlet, reveals the terrible secret, and summons his son to the task of vengeance.



ELSINORE. Room of State in the Castle. The King, (Harc

let's uncle,) THE QUEEN, (his mother,) HAMLET, POLONIUS, (the Lord Chamberlain,) and others.

King. Though yet of Hamlet our dear brother's death
The memory

green ;

and that it us befitted
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;
Yet so far bath discretion fought with nature,
That we with wisest sorrow think on him,
Together with remembrance of ourselves.
Therefore, our sometime sister, now our queen,
The imperial jointress of this warlike state,
Have we, as 'twere, with a defeated joy,
Taken to wife; nor have we herein barred
Your better wisdoms, which have freely gone
With this affair along. For all, our thanks !
But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son,-

Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind.


King How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

If it be,

Ham. Not so, my lord, I am too much i' the sun.

Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
And let thine eye look like a friend on Denmark.
Do not, forever, with thy vailed lids,
Scek for thy noble father in the dust.
Thou know'st 'tis common; all that live must die,
Passing through nature to eternity.

Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.

Why seems it so particular with thee?

Ham. Seems, madam, nay, it is; I know not seems.
'Tis not alone my inky cloak, good mother,
Nor customary suits of solemn black,
Nor windy suspiration of forced breath,
No, nor the fruitful river in the eye,
Nor the dejected 'havior of the visage,
Together with the modes, forms, shows of grief,
That can denote me truly. These, indeed, seem;
For they are actions that a man might play;
But I have that within which passeth show;
These but the trappings and the suits of woe.

King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,
To give these mourning duties to your father,

you must know, your father lost a father;
That father lost, lost his; and the survivor bound
In filial obligation, for some term,
To do obsequious sorrow. But to persevere
In obstinate condolement, is a course
Of impious stubborness ; 'tis unmanly grief:
It shows a will most incorrect to Heaven,
A heart unfortified, or mind impatient;
An understanding simple and unschooled.
For what we know must be, and is as common

the most vulgar thing to sense,
Why should we, in our peevish opposition,
l'ake it to heart? Fie! 'tis a fault to Heaven,
A fault against the dead a fault to nature,

To reason most absurd; whose common theme
Is death of fathers, and who still hath cried,
From the first corse, till he that died to-day,–
This must be so! We pray you throw to earth
This unprevailing woe; and think of us
As of a father. For let the world take note,
You are the most immediate to our throne;
And with no less nobility of love,
Than that which dearest father bears his son,
Do I impart toward you.

[Exeunt all except Hamlet
Ham. O, that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter. O God ! O God !
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the uses of this world !
Fie on't! O fie! 'tis an unweeded garden
That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature,
Possess it merely. That it should come to this!
But two months dead !-nay, not so much, not two:
So excellent a king; that was, to this,
Hyperion * to a satyr; so loving to my mother,
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember?
Let me not think on't ;-Frailty, thy name is woman
A little month; or ere those shoes were old,
With which she followed my poor father's body,
Like Niobe, † all tears ;—why she, even she,-
O heaven! a beast that wants discourse of reason,
Would have mourned longer,-married with my uncle,
My father's brother; but no more like my father,
Than I to Hercules. Within a month,

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* Hypēlrion is but another name for Apollo, who was distinguished for his beauty; a ' tyr was a sort of demi-god monstrous in deformity,

Nil o be, daughter of an ancient king of Lydia, being deprived of her children, is said to have wept herself to stone !

Ere the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married.
It is not, nor it can not come to, good;
But break, my heart; for I must hold my tongue !

Enter HORATIO (a friend to Hamlet, BERNARDO and MAR.

CELLUS (officers.)
Hor. Hail to your lordship!

I am glad to see you well : Horatio, -or I do forget myself.

Por. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever
Ham. But what is your affair in Elsinore ?
Hor. My lord, I came to see your father's funeral.

Ham. I pray thee, do not mock me, fellow-student;
I think it was to see my mother's wedding.

Hor. Indeed, my lord, it followed hard upon.

Ham. Thrift, thrift, Horatio ! the funeral baked meats
Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.
Would I had met my dearest foe in Heaven
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio !
My father,-methinks I see my father.

O, where,
My lord ?
Ham. In

Hor. I saw him once; he was a goodly king.

Ham. He was a man, take him for all in all,
I shall not look upon his like again.

Hor My lord, I think I saw him yesternight.
Ham. Saw ! who?
Hor. My lord, the king, your father!

The king, my father
Hor. Season your admiration for a while,
With an attent ear; till I may deliver,
Upon the witness of these gentlemen,
This marvel to you.

For God's love, let me hoar


mind's eye,

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