factory explanation upon any other supposition. Nothing, however, was more natural than to suspect the daughter of the heartless courtier Polonius, at a time when the state manners rendered a daughter little more than an instrument to serve the purposes of a father's ambition. What a concentration of wretchedness, to have a mind bursting with horrid forms and mighty purposes, and awful misgivings, and to dare to disburthen his sorrows only in soliloquy to the air, itself not free from the suspicion of treachCan any thing be more natural in such a strait, than to exclaim?

"O! that this too, too solid flesh would melt,
Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew!"

Goethe's notion of this character is not so explicit as that which we have attempted to develope, yet it is not inconsistent with our views, and is in the main strikingly just, and eloquently written.

"You all know (says Wilhelm) Shakspeare's incomparable Hamlet : our public reading of it at the Castle, yielded every one of us the greatest satisfaction. On that occasion we proposed to act the piece; and I, not knowing what I undertook, engaged to play the Prince's part.This I conceived that I was studying, while I began to get by heart the strongest passages, the soliloquies, and those scenes in which force of soul, vehemence and elevation of feeling have the freest scope; where the agitated heart is allowed to display itself with touching expressive


"I further conceived that I was penetrating quite into the spirit of the character, while I endeavoured to take upon myself the load of deep melancholy under which my prototype was labouring, and in this hu mour to pursue him through the strange labyrinths of his caprices and his singularities. Thus learning, thus practising, I did not doubt that I should by and by become one person with my hero.

"But the further I advanced, the more difficult did it become for me to form any image of the whole, in its general bearings; till at last this seemed to me almost impossible. I next went through the piece entirely and all at once; but here also I found much that I could not away with. At one time the characters, at another time the manner of displaying them seemed inconsistent; and I almost despaired of finding any general tint, in which I might present my whole part in all its shadings and variations. In such devious paths I toiled, and wandered long in vain; till at length a hope arose, that I might reach my aim in quite a new way.

"I set about investigating every trace of Hamlet's character, as it had shown itself before his father's death. I endeavoured to distinguish what in it was independent of this mournful event; independent of the terrible events that followed; and what most probably the young man would have been, had no such things occurred.

VOL. III.-No. 6.


"Soft, and from a noble stem, this royal flower had sprung up under the immediate influences of majesty; the idea of moral rectitude with that of princely elevation, the feeling of the good and the dignified, together with the consciousness of high birth, had in him been unfolded simultaneously. He was a prince, by birth a prince; and he wished to reign, only that good men might be good without obstruction. Pleasing in form, polished by nature, courteous from the heart, he was meant to be the pattern of youth, and the joy of the world.

"Without any prominent passion, his love of Ophelia was a still presentiment of sweet wants. His zeal in knightly accomplishments was not entirely his own; it needed to be quickened and inflamed by praise bestowed on others for excelling in them. Pure in sentiment, he knew the honourable minded, and could prize the rest, which an upright spirit tastes on the bosom of a friend. To a certain degree he had learned to discern and value the good and the beautiful in arts and sciences; the mean, the vulgar was offensive to him; and if hatred could take root in his tender soul, it was only so far as to make him properly despise the false and changeful insects of a court, and play with them in easy scorn. He was calm in his temper, artless in his conduct, neither pleased with idleness, nor too violently eager for employment. The routine of an university he seemed to continue when at court. He possessed more mirth of humour than of heart; he was a good companion-pliant, courteous, discreet, and able to forget and forgive an injury; yet never able to unite himself with those who overstept the limits of the right, the good and the becoming " Vol. ii. pp. 20-22.

The observations on this play are again taken up in a subsequent chapter; but the general substance has been already given.

Philina, the giddy, the gay, yet not unfeeling coquette, and Aurelia, the victim of an unhappy passion, which her lofty spirit will not permit her to forget, seem to have engaged a large portion of our author's care. From their very nature, however, they are not calculated to tell well in extracts, which must be quite incongruous and unintelligible, without a world more of explanation, than we have time or inclination to give.

The mental alienation of the old harper, in reality the father of Mignon, by an incestuous intercourse with an unknown sister, whose whole story is given in the sequel with dreadful truth, gives occasion for introducing some striking observations on insanity. They indicate the vigour of a mind, familiar with almost every subject, and capable of delivering a valuable opinion upon any which it thinks proper to canvass.

"Except physical derangements,' observed the clergyman, 'which often place insuperable difficulties in the way, and in regard to which I follow the prescriptions of a wise physician, the means of curing madness seem to me extremely simple. They are the very means by which

you hinder sane persons from becoming mad. Awaken their activity; accustom them to order; bring them to see that they hold their being and their fate in common with many millions; that extraordinary talents, the highest happiness, the deepest misery, are but slight variations from the general destiny: in this way, no insanity will enter; or, if it has entered, will gradually disappear. I have portioned out the old man's hours; he gives lessons to some children on the harp; he labours in the garden; he is already much more cheerful. He wishes to enjoy the cabbages he plants; my son, to whom in case of death he has bequeathed his harp, he is ardent to instruct, that the boy may be able to make use of his inheritance. I have said but little to him, as a clergyman, about his wild mysterious scruples; but a busy life brings on many incidents, that ere long he must feel how true it is, that doubt of any kind can be removed only by activity. I go softly to work; yet if I could get his beard and hood removed, I should reckon it a weighty point; for nothing more exposes us to madness than distinguishing ourselves from others, and nothing more contributes to maintain our common sense than living in the universal way with multitudes of men.Alas! how much there is in education, in our social constitutions, to prepare us and our children for insanity.'" Vol. ii. pp. 175, 176.

Our readers would form a most incorrect and unworthy opinion of the work before us, if they suffered themselves to suppose that such passages as that just quoted, were mere appendages; the baubles of a fertile mind, exhibited with the ostentation of a savage. There is scarcely an observation, of any kind, introduced, that does not fall into the natural current of association, and that the reader, when put in possession of the whole narrative, does not acknowledge to conduce to the combined effect of the whole. In the present instance, whilst Wilhelm is discoursing with the clergyman and his friend the physician concerning insanity, the mind of the reader is gradually undergoing a preparation for the denouement of the piece.

"For man,' he (the physician) used to say, 'there is but one misfortune; when some idea lays hold of him, which exerts no influence on active life, or still more, which withdraws him from it. At the present time,' continued he, on this occasion, I have such a case before me; it concerns a rich and noble couple; and hitherto has baffled all my skill. The affair belongs, in part, to your department, worthy pas tor; and your friend here will forbear to mention it again.'

"In the absence of a certain nobleman, some persons of the house, in a frolic not entirely commendable, disguised a young man in the master's clothes. The lady was to be imposed upon by this deception: and although it was described to me as nothing but a joke, I am very much afraid the purpose of it was to lead this noble and most amiable lady from the path of honour. Her husband, however, unexpectedly returns, enters his chamber; thinks he sees his spirit; and from that time falls into a melancholy temper, firmly believing that his death is near.

"He has now abandoned himself to men who pamper him with religious ideas; and I see not how he is to be prevented from going among the Herrnhuthers with his lady; and as he has no children, from depriving his relations of the chief part of his fortune.'

"With his lady?' cried our friend, in great agitation; for this story had affrighted him extremely

"And alas!' replied the doctor,' who regarded Wilhelm's exclamation only as the voice of a common sympathy; this lady is herself possessed with a deeper sorrow, which renders a removal from the world desirable to her also. The same young man was taking leave of her: she was not circumspect enough to hide a recent inclination towards him; the youth grew bolder, clasped her in his arms, and pressed a large portrait of her husband, which was set with diamonds, forcibly against her breast. She felt a sharp pain, which gradually went off, leaving first a little redness, then no trace at all. As a man, I am convinced that she has nothing more with which she can reproach herself in this affair; as a physician, I am certain that this pressure could not have the smallest ill effect. Yet she will not be persuaded that an induration is not taking place in the part; and if you try to overcome her notion by the evidence of feeling, she maintains, that though the evil is away this moment, it will return the next. She conceives that the disease will end in cancer; and thus her youth and loveliness be altogether lost to others and herself.'

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"Wretch that I am!' cried Wilhelm, striking his brow, and rushing from the company into the fields. He had never felt himself in such a miserable case before." Vol. ii. pp. 178–180.

The "Confessions of a fair Saint" occupy the whole of the sixth book. They are exquisitely written, and display a knowledge of the human heart, particularly as it appears, when at once humbled and purified by the influence of religious faith. It is occasionally somewhat mystical, and we felt at first inclined to quarrel with it as an unnecessary halt in the march of the narrative. The marvellous skill with which it is connected, both with the preceding and succeeding events of the story, have nevertheless quite pacified our critical spleen. Indeed, Goethe has pared off a large portion from the frightful amplitude of our lion's claws, and we have become as docile as it becomes us.

In the course of the subsequent books, many new characters are introduced, and the whole plot is unravelled with inimitable skill. Many of the events appear strange, yet the magic of the author's genius has managed to clothe them with an air of probability. Twenty-five years of increasing reputation warrants us in the prediction, that Wilhelm Meister is destined to a fame as lasting as that of any work of genius, which has ever been produced. Who shall say that the illustrious author does not deserve his immortality, when he reflects that this work, the darling child of its parent, engaged fifteen years of his best

labours and most matured judgment in bringing it to perfection. Let no one presume, with indecent speed, to judge of such a production in as many hours. We have been reluctantly compelled to form an opinion of it through the medium of a translation, and yet under this disadvantage, it displays beauties, which seem to multiply themselves in exact proportion to the intensity with which we gaze upon them.

ART. VI.-1. Memoirs of the Life, Writings and Opinions of the Rev. Samuel Parr, L.L. D.; with Biographical Notices of many of his friends, pupils and contemporaries. By the Rev. WILLIAM FIELD. 2 vols. 8vo. Colburn. London. 1828.

2. Parriana: or Notices of the Rev. Samuel Parr, L. L. D. collected from various sources, printed and manuscript, and in part written by E. H. BARKER, Esq. of Thetford, Norfolk. Vol. 1st. Colburn. London. 1828.

"ENGLAND has seen but three Greek scholars, I mean real scholars," was wont to say, with a full pompous voice and strong lisp, an old gentleman arrayed in black velvet, and an ample cauliflower wig, surmounted by a cocked hat. "The first of these scholars was the immortal Bentley, the second is Porson, and the third," continued he, with a swelling satisfaction that belied his words-"the third, modesty forbids me to mention." It is to this third Grecian that we now introduce our readers.

More than thirty years ago, Dr. Parr was ranked by many as "by far the most learned man of his day;" by others proclaimed a second Dr. Johnson; and ever since, public opinion in the United Kingdoms has accorded him a reputation which, on this side of the Atlantic, we have for the most part taken on hearsay in absence of better proof. His various claims to immortality are at last fully before us, and if we cannot laud very highly the talents and taste of his biographers, their industry and fairness seem to merit our confidence. We could, indeed, have wished

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See Seward's Letters, Pursuits of Literature, Edinburgh Review, &c.

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