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Its vanishing at the crowing of the cock is another circumstance of the established superftition.

Young Hamlet's indignation at his mother's hafty and incestuous marriage, his forrow for his father's death, his character of that prince, prepare the fpectator to fympathize with his wrongs and fufferings. The fon, as is natural, with much more vehement emotion than Horatio did, addreffes his father's fhade. Hamlet's terror, his aftonishment, his vehement defire to know the cause of this vifitation, are irrefiftibly communicated to the fpectator by the following speech.

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Angels and minifters of grace defend us!

Be thou a fpirit of health, or goblin damn'd,

Bring with thee airs from heav'n, or blafts from hell,

Be thy intents wicked or charitable,

Thou com'ft in fuch a questionable shape,

That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: oh! answer me;
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell,

L 4


Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Have burft their cearments? Why the fepulchre,
Wherein we saw thee quietly in-urn'd,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,

To caft thee up again? What may this mean,
That thou, dead corfe, again, in compleat steel,
Revifit'ft thus the glimpses of the moon,
Making night hideous?

Never did the Grecian mufe of tragedy relate a tale fo full of pity and terror as is imparted by the ghoft. Every circumftance melts us with compaffion; and with what horror do we hear him fay!


But that I am forbid

To tell the fecrets of my prifon-house,

I could a tale unfold; whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy foul, freeze thy young blood,

Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:
But this eternal blazon muft not be
To ears of flesh and blood.


All that follows is folemn, fad, and deeply affecting.

Whatever in Hamlet belongs to the præternatural is perfectly fine; the rest of the play does not come within the subject of this chapter.

The ingenious criticism on the play of the Tempest, published in the Adventurer, has made it unneceffary to enlarge on that admirable piece, which alone would prove our author to have had a fertile, a fublime, and original genius.







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