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tellect and of feeling are admirably blended: his fine and varied countenance exhibits humour and sensibility, wit and philosophy, in the justest proportions: yet over all, and through all, there is still visible that "pale cast of thought," which might lead even the mere unacquainted spectator to infer, that the possessor had been burthened with a weight of mysterious care, which long oppressed, and finally overwhelmed him. This is that interesting and ever-eloquent friend, with whom we have held delightful converse from boyhood, even to the present hour; whose thoughts have penetrated to the innermost parts of our being; and whom, in despite of his occasional waywardness, weakness, and inconsistency, we have ever loved and respected as a dear and intimate personal friend.-This, in a word, is HAMLET. Of all human compositions, there is, perhaps, not one which in the same compass contains so much just, original, and profound thought, as this gigantic effort of genius; none so suggestive, so imaginative, and yet so practical; none which in an equal degree charms alike the philosopher and the simple rustic, the poet and the man of the world. From the hour of its first appearance, it has been the especial darling of all classes; and has thus tended, more than anything else, to shew the high capabilities of the universal human mind;-to justify the high eulogium which Hamlet himself, "the general favourite, as the general friend," pronounces so emphatically on his kindred "quintessence of dust." In reference to this point, it may be appropriately mentioned, that in the most remote eastern minor theatre -a locality which an inhabitant of more genial theatric climes would be apt to regard as a mere Boeotia, helplessly devoted to Pantomime and Melodrame-even here, the subtile wisdom and poetic beauty of the play before us, drew crowded houses, at a recent period, for upwards of sixty nights in a single season! The main incidents on which the play of "HAMLET" is founded, are related by Saxo-Grammaticus, the Danish historian. The story is also told in the novels of Belleforest, and in a small black-letter volume, entitled "THE HISTORIE OF HAMBLETT." Shakspere's drama was first printed in 1603; a copy of this edition (supposed to be unique), was discovered of late years, and reprinted in 1825. The title runs thus:-"The Tragicall Historie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, by William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diverse times acted by his Highnesse servants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two Universities of Cambridge and Oxford, and elsewhere. At London, printed for N. L. and John Trundell." The title to the second quarto edition, published in 1604, states the play to have been "enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect coppie." It exhibits also some variations, both of plot and in the names of the characters, as compared with the original sketch. There were reprints of the enlarged quarto in 1605, 1609, and 1611; besides another edition without date. These various evidences of the great popularity of the play, were all precursors of the general folio collection, published by the Poet's "fellows," in 1623. Some further remarks on the different versions of " HAMLET" will be found in the Notes.

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A piece of him.

Ber. Welcome, Horatio; welcome, good Marcellus.

Hor. What, has this thing appeared again tonight?

Ber. I have seen nothing.

Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy;
And will not let belief take hold of him,
Touching this dreaded sight, twice seen of us :
Therefore I have entreated him along
With us to watch the minutes of this night;
That, if again this apparition come,
He may approve our eyes, and speak to it.
Hor. Tush, tush! 't will not appear.
Sit down awhile;

And let us once again assail your ears,
That are so fortified against our story,
What we two nights have seen.


Well, sit we down,

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Is it not like the king?

Hor. As thou art to thyself:

Such was the very armour he had on,
When he the ambitious Norway combated;
So frowned he once, when, in an angry parle,
He smote the sledded Polacks on the ice.
'Tis strange.

Mar. Thus twice before, and just at this dead hour,

With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch. Hor. In what particular thought to work, I

know not;

But, in the gross and scope of mine opinion, This bodes some strange eruption to our state.

Mar. Good now, sit down, and tell me, he that


Why this same strict and most observant watch
So nightly toils the subject of the land?
And why such daily cast of brazen cannon,
And foreign mart for implements of war;
Why such impress of shipwrights, whose sore task
Does not divide the Sunday from the week:
What might be toward, that this sweaty haste
Doth make the night joint-labourer with the day;
Who is 't that can inform me?
That can I;

At least, the whisper goes so.
Our last king,
Whose image even but now appeared to us,
Was, as you know, by Fortinbras of Norway,
Thereto pricked on by a most emulate pride,
Dared to the combat; in which our valiant Hamlet
(For so this side of our known world esteemed him)
Did slay this Fortinbras; who, by a sealed compact,
Well ratified by law and heraldry,

Did forfeit with his life, all those his lands
Which he stood seized of, to the conqueror:
Against the which, a moiety competent
Was gaged by our king; which had returned
To the inheritance of Fortinbras,

Had he been vanquisher; as by the same cov❜nant,
And carriage of the article designed,
His fell to Hamlet.-Now, sir, young Fortinbras,
Of unimproved mettle hot and full,
Hath in the skirts of Norway, here and there,
Sharked up a list of landless resolutes,

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