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PRINCE OF DENMARK.
SHAKSPEARE is supposed to have taken the Plot of this Play, ficm “the Hiutory of IIamlet," as it is found narrated in Saxo Grammaticus, the Danish llistorian. An English Lranslation of this particular story was published during the Poet's life, entitled “ Historie of Hamblet, Prince of Denmark," and from this version, it is conjectured that Shakspeare drew the materials, which have assisted him in this master-piece of tragic composition. As this Play is the most finished and the most popular of our Author's froductions, we have incorporated into our sele tions nearly all the prominent scenes.
We cannot better introduce the youthful student into a just discrimination of the leading characteristics of Hamlet, than by furnishing the following clear analysis from the pen of Goethe. He says-
“It is clear to me that Shakspeare's intention was to exhibit the effects of a great action imposed as a duty upon a mind too feeble for its accomplishment.
“In this sense, I find the character consistent throughout. There is an oak planted in a china vase, proper only to receive the most delicate flowers; the roots strike out, and the vessel flies to pieces. A pure, noble, highly moral disposition, but without that energy of soul which constitutes the hero, sinks under a load which it can neither support nor resolve to abandoa altogether. All his obligations are sacred to him; but this alone is above his powers.
“An impossibility is required at his hands; not an impossibility in itself, but that which is so to him. Observe how he shifts, turns, hesitates, advances, and recedes ; how he is continually reminded and reminding himself of his great commission, which he, nevertheleus, in the end, seems almost entirely to lose sight of; and this without ever recovering his former tranquillity.”
OPHELIA, daughter of Polonius.
sengers, and other Attendants.
SCENE I.-Elsinore. A Platform before the Castle.
FRANCISCO on his post. Enter to him BERNARDO.
Nay, answer me : stand, and unfold
Ber. Long live the king !
Fran. For this relief, much thanks : 'tis bitter cold,
Ber. Have you had quiet guard ?
Not a mouse stirring.
Enter HORATIO and MARCELLUS.
And liegemen to the Dane.
O, farewell, honest soldier:
Bernardo hath my place. Give you good night.
[Exit FRANCISCO Mar.
Holla, Bernardo !
A piece of him.
Mar. Horatio says, 'tis but our fantasy ;
Hor. Tush! tush! 'twill not appear.
Sit down awhile;
Well, sit we down,
ber. Last night of all,
Speak to it, Horatio.
Mar. It is offended.
See! it stalks away.
Ber. How now, Horatio ? you tremble, and look pale :
I might not this believe.
Without the sensible and true avouch
Is it not like the king ?
Mar. Thus, twice before, and jump at this deed hour, With martial stalk hath he gone by our watch.
Hor. In what particular thought to work, I know not ;
Ber. It was about to speak, when the cock crew.
Hor. And then it started like a guilty thing Upon a fearful summons. I have heard,