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accompanied him ; it is only the Friseur, who • comes to put up my boy's hair in papers. Pray • don't ask me why, for it is a great secret,
you • shall know it all to-morrow.'
• You must know,' said Mrs. Flint at breakfast, • that I am assured that Jemmy is very like the • Count de Provence, the King of France's own brother. Now Jemmy is sitting for his picture to • Martin ; and I thought it would be right to get • the friseur, whom you saw last night (he is just • arrived from Paris], to dress his hair like the Count . de Provence, that Mr. Martin might make the re• semblance more complete. Femmy has been under
his hands since seven o'clock. -Oh, here he comes !' Is it not charming ?' exclaimed Miss Juliana. “I wish Miss Punaise saw you.' added the happy mother. My pupil, lost in the labyrinth of cross curls, seemed to look about for himself. • What a powdered sheep's head have we got here?" cried Captain Winterbottom. We all went to Mr. Martin's to assist him in drawing Jemmy's picture. On our return, Mrs. Flint discovered that her son had got an inflammation in his right eye by looking stedfastly on the painter. She ordered a poultice of bread and milk, and put him to bed; so there was no more talk of · Omnibus in terris' for shat evering.
My pupil came down to breakfast in a complete suit of black, with weepers, and a long mourningeravat. The Count de Provence's curls were all de. mclished, and there remained not a vestige of powder on his hair. “Bless me,' cried I, what is the nat • ter?'— Oh, nothing,' said M-a. Flint ; • a relation
of mine is to be interred at twelve, and Jemmy has got a burial letter. We ought to acknowledge out • friends on such melancholy occasions. I mean to • send Jemmy with the coach and six. It will teach • him how to behave himself in public places.'
At dinner, my pupil expressed a vehement desire to go to the play. There is to be Harlequin High• lander, and the blowing up of the St. Domingo man of war,' said he ; . it will be vastly comical and curious.' Why, Jemmy,' said Mrs. Flint, “ since this is Saturday, I suppose your tutor will have no
objection ; but be sure to put on your great-coat, • and to take a chair in coming home.' " I thought,' said I, that we might have made some progress at • our books this evening - Books on Saturday • afternoon !' cried the whole company ; . it was
never heard of.?--I yielded to conviction; for, indeed, it would have been very unreasonable to expect that he, who had spent the whole week in idleness, should begin to apply himself to his studies on the evening of Saturday.
N 99. TUESDAY, APRIL 18, 1780.
Fuvat, aut impellit ad iram,
CRITICISM, like every thing else, is subject to the prejudices of our education, orof our country. National prejudice, indeed, is, of all deviations from justice, the most common and the most allowable; it is a near, though perhaps an illegitimate relation of that patriotism, which has been ranked among the first virtues of characters the most eminent and illustrious. To authors, however, of a rank so elevated as to aspire to universal fame, the partiality of their countrymen has been sometimes prejudicial ; in pro. portion as they have unreasonably applauded, the critics of other countries, from a very common sort of feeling, have unreasonably censured; and there are few great writers, whom prejudice on either side may not, from a partial view of their works, find some ground for estimating at a rate much above or much below the standard of justice.
No author, perhaps, ever existed, of whom opinion has been so various as Shakspeare. Endowed. with all the sublimity, and subject to all the irregularities, of genius, his advocates have room for unbounded praise, and their opponents for frequent blame. His departure from all the common rules which criticism, somewhat arbitrarily perhaps, has imposed, leaves no legal code by which the decision can be regulated ; and in the feelings of different readers, the same passage may appear simple or mean,
natural or preposterous, may excite admiration, or create disgust.
But it is not, I apprehend, from particular passages or incidents that Shakspeare is to be judged. Though his admirers frequently contend for beauty in the most distorted of the former, and probability in the most unaccountable of the latter; yet it must be owned, that, in both, there are often
gross defects which criticism cannot justify, though the situation of the poet, and the time in which he wrote, may easily excuse. But we are to look for the superiority of Shakspeare in the astonishing and almost supernatural powers of his invention, his absolute command over the passions, and his wonderful knowledge of Nature. Of the structure of his stories, or the probability of his incidents, he is frequently careless ; these he took at random from the legendary tale or the extravagant romance ; but his intimate acquaintance with the human mind seldom or never forsakes him; and amidst the most fantastic and improbable situations, the persons of his drama speak in the language of the heart, and in the style of their characters.
Of all the characters of Shakspeare, that of Hamlet has been generally thought the most difficult to be reduced to any fixed or settled principle. With the strongest purposes
revenge, he is irresolute and inactive ; amidst the gloom of the deepest melan. choly, he is gay and jocular ; and while he is described as a passionate lover, he seems indifferent about the object of his affections. It may be worth while to inquire, whether any leading idea can be found, upon which these apparent contradictions may. be reconciled, and a character so pleasing in the closet, and so much applauded on the stage, rendered as unambiguous in the general as it is striking in detail? I will venture to lay before my readers some observations on this subject, though with the diffidence due to a question of which the public has doubted, and much abler critics have already written.
The basis of Hamlet's character seems to be an extreme sensibility of mind, apt to be strongly impressed by its situation, and overpowered by the feelings which that situation excites. Naturally of the most virtuous and most amiable dispositions, the circumstances in which he was placed unhinged those principles of action, which, in another situation, would have delighted mankind, and made himself happy. That kind of distress which he suffered was, beyond all others, calculated to produce this effect. His misfortunes were not the misfortunes of accident, which, though they may overwhelm at first, the mind will soon call up reflections to alleviate, and hopes to cheer; they were such as reflection only serves to irritate, such as rankle in the soul's tenderest part, her sense of virtue and feelings of natural affection ; they arose from an uncle's villany, a mother's guilt, a father's murder !-Yet, amidst the gloom of melancholy and the agitation of passion, in which his calamities involve him, there are occasional breakings-out of a mind, richly endowed by nature and cultivated by education. We perceive gentleness in his demeanour, wit in his conversation, taste in his amusements, and wisdom in his reflections.
That Hamlet's character, thus formed by nature, and thus modelled by situation, is often variable and uncertain, I am not disposed to deny. I will content myself with the supposition, that this is the very character which Shakspeare meant to allot him. Finding such a character in real life, of a person endowed with feelings so delicate as to border on weakness, with sensibility too exquisite to allow of