in ignorant admiration, and claim no kindred with his abilities. All the incidents, all the parts, look like chance, while we feel, and are sensible, that the whole is design.

His characters not only speak and act in strict conformity to nature, but in strict relation to us : just so much is shown as is requisite, – just so much is impressed; he commands every passage to our heads and to our hearts, and moulds us as he pleases; and does it with so much ease, that he never betrays his own exertions. We see these characters act from the mingled motives of passion, reason, interest, and habit, in all their proportions, when they are supposed to know it not themselves; and we are made to acknowledge that their actions and sentiments are, from those motives, the necessary result. He at once blends and distinguishes every thing; every thing is complicated, every thing is plain. I restrain the further expressions of my admiration, lest they should not seem applicable to man; but it is really astonishing, that a mere human being, a part of humanity only, should so perfectly comprehend the whole; and that he should possess such exquisite art, that whilst every woman and every child shall feel the whole effect, his learned editors and commentators should yet so very frequently mistake, or seem ignorant of the cause.

A sceptre or a straw is, in his hands, of equal efficacy; he needs no selection; he converts every thing into excellence; nothing is too great, nothing is too base.

Is a character efficient, like Richard ? It is every thing we can wish. Is it otherwise, like Hamlet? It is productive of equal admiration. Action produces one mode of excellence, and inaction another : the chronicle, the novel, or the ballad; the king or the beggar; the hero, the madman, the sot, or the fool; it is all one: nothing is worse, nothing is better. The same genius pervades, and is equally admirable, in all. Or is a character to be shown in progressive change, and the events of years comprised within the hour ? With what a magic hand does he prepare and scatter his spells ! The understanding must, in the first place, be subdued ; and, lo! how the rooted prejudices of

the child spring up to confound the man! The weird sisters rise, and order is extinguished. The iaws of nature give way, and leave nothing in our minds but wildness and horror. No pause is allowed us for reflection; horrid sentiment, furious guilt, and compunction, air-drawn daggers, murders, ghosts, and enchantment shake and possess us wholly. In the mean time, the process is completed. Macbeth changes under our eye; the milk of human kindness is converted into gall : he has “supped full of horrors ;” and his “May of life has fallen into the sere, the yellow leaf;” whilst we, the fools of amazement, are insensible to the shifting of place and the lapse of time, and, till the curtain drops, never once wake to the truth of things, or recognize the laws of existence.


74. Hamlet and Horatio.

Horatio. Hail to your lordship!

Hamlet. I am glad to see you well; Horatio or I do forget myself.

Hor. The same, my lord, and your poor servant ever

llam. Sir, my good friend ; I'll change that name with you; And what make you from Wittemberg, Horatio ?

Hor. A truant disposition, good my lord.

Ham. I would not hear your enemy say so;
Nor shall you do mine ear that violence,
To make it truster of your own report
Against yourself. I know you are no truant ;
But what is your affair in Elsinore ?
We'll teach you to drink deep ere you depart.

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 table.
Would I had met my dearest foe in heaven,
Or ever I had seen that day, Horatio.
My father — methinks I see my father.

Hor. Where, my lord ?
Ham. In my mind's eye, Horatio.
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.
Ham. The king my father !

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

Ham. For Heaven's love, let me hear.

Hor. Two nights together had these gentlemen,
Marcellus and Bernardo, on their watch,
In the dead waste and middle of the night,
Been thus encountered: A figure like your father,
, Armed at points exactly, cap-a-pie,
Appears before them, and with solemn march
Goes slow and stately by them; thrice he walked
By their oppressed and fear-surprised eyes,
Within bis truncheon's length; whilst they, distilled
Almost to jelly with the act of fear,
'Stand dumb, and speak not to him. This to me
In dreadful secrecy impart they did,
And I with them the third night kept the watch,
Where, as they had delivered, both in time,
Form of the thing, each word made true and good,
The apparition comes. I knew your father :
These hands are not more like.

Ham. But where was this?

Hor. My lord, upon the platform where we watched.
Ham. Did you not speak to it?

Hor. My lord, I did;
But answer made it none. Yet once methought
It lifted up its head, and did address
Itself to motion, like as it would speak;
But even then the morning cock crew loud,
And at the sound it shrunk in haste away,
And vanished from our sight.

Ham. 'Tis very strange.

Hor. As I do live, my honored lord, 'tis true;
And we did think it writ down in our duty
To let you know of it.

Ham. Indeed, indeed, sir, but this troubles me.
Hold you the watch to-night?

Hor. We do, my lord.
Ham. Armed, say you !
Hor. Armed, my lord.
Ham. From top to toe ?
Hor. My lord, from head to foot.
Ham. Then saw you not his face ?
Hor. O, yes, my lord; he wore his beaver up.
Ham. What, looked he frowningly?
Hor. A countenance more in sorrow than in anger.
Ham. Pale, or red ?
Hor. Nay, very pale.
Ham. And fixed his eyes upon you ?
Hor. Most constantly.
Ham. I would I had been there!
Hor. It would have much amazed you.
Ham. Very like, very like. Staid it long?
Hor. While one with moderate haste might tell a hundred.
Ham. His beard was grizzled ?-

Hor. It was, as I have seen it in his life,
A sable silvered.

Ham. I'll watch to-night; perchance 'twill walk again. Hor. I warrant 'twill.


If you

Ham. If it assume my noble father's person,
I'll speak to it, though earth itself should gape,
And bid me hold my peace. I pray you, sirs,

have hitherto concealed this sight,
Let it be tenable in your silence still;
And whatsoever else shall hap to-night,
Give it an understanding, but no tongue;
I will requite your love; so fare you well.
Upon the platform 'twixt eleven and twelve
I'll visit you.


It can hardly be too frequently impressed on the mind of the learner, that when the style of a writer is very suggestive, when his glimpses of character are very significant, when his expressions have reference to something presupposed — to something unsaid, the true idea will not be developed by what is said independently of the manner in which it is said.

When the above dialogue is read, if the pupil should be allowed to utter the phrase, “ Very like, very like,” as if it were merely an assent to the declaration — “It would have much amazed you,” – the idea intended to be conveyed by the writer will not be expressed. — Hamlet suspected that his father had been murdered, and when Horatio detailed to him the circumstances respecting the appearance of the ghost, he became distressed and agitated, and said — “Indeed, indeed, sir, but this troubles me.”He then makes anxious and earnest inquiry relative to the dress, looks, and appearance of the ghost and learning that it resembled his father in every particular — that its coautenance was pale and sorrowful, he must have been overpowered by the force of his feelings - and oppressed with the wciyni of fisial distress, he utters the words — “I would I had been there!” – in the manner of a soliloquy; and then pausing a moment, as one in deep thought, and without looking at Horatio, or even regarding the words — “ It would have much amazed you" — he gives utterance to the painful conviction that his father had been murdered, in the exclamation- .“ Very like" – then after a moment's delay occasioned by the agony of his feelings, he reiterates the exclamation — “Very like " — with increased force of expression. He then turns to Horatio, and with a suitable transition of voice :- a tone indicating tenderness, grief, and sorrow, says,

“Staid it long ?” It is conceded that the attitude of the reader and the cast of his countenance will aid somewhat in giving a full and vivid expression to the sentiment in this case; still, unless he fully understand such elocutionary principles as are arranged and illustrated in the Practical Reader, and also in the introductory portion of this book, he will, in most cases, utter merely words, — sounds, not thought or sen timents.

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