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cannot fail, even though less advantageoufly represented than by a Garrick and a Pritchard, to agitate every audience. The time, the very witching time of night,' and the state of Hamlet's mind, when he
could drink hot blood, and do such • bitter business as the day would quake to • look on,' prepare us for this important conference. The situation, that of a fon endeavouring to reclaim a parent, is exceedingly interesting. All the sentiments and emotions are animated, and expressive of character. In the Queen we discern the confidence of a guilty mind, that, by the artifices of self-deceit, has put to filence the upbraidings of conscience. We discern in her the dexterity of those perverted by evil habits, to abuse their own understandings, and conceal from themfelves their blemishes. We also perceive in her the anguish and horror of a mind, appalled and confounded by the consciousness of its depravity, and its eager follici
tude to be rescued, by any means, from the persecuting and painful feeling. Hamlet, full of affection, studies to secure her tranquility : And, guided by moral principles, he endeavours to establifh it on the foundation of virtue. Animated by every generous and tender sentiment, and convinced of the superior excellence and dignity of an unblemished conduct, he cannot bear that those who are dear to him should be depraved. It is to gratify this amiable temper, that he labours to renew, in the misguided Gertrude, a sense of honour and of merit, to turn her attention, without subterfuge or disguise, on her own behaviour; and so restore her to her former fame. He adminifters his medicine with reluctance: It is harsh, but the disease is desperate. It is not suitable to the agitated state of his mind, to enter sedately into a formal arid argumentative discussion of the impiety and immorality of her conduct: He mentions these in a
fummary manner; and, following the impulse of his own mind, he speaks the language of strong emotion, addresses her feelings, and endeavours to convey into her heart some portion of the indignation with which he is himself inflamed.
upon this picture, and on this; The counterfeit presentment of two brothers, See, what a grace was seated on this brow : Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself; An eye, like Mars, to threaten or command; A station, like the herald Mercury, New-lighted on a heaven-kisling hill; A combination, and a form, indeed, Where every god did seem to set his seal, To give the world afsurance of a man: This was your husband.-Look you now, what follows; Here is your husband ; like a mildew'd ear, Blafting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes ? Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed, "And batten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes ?
The contrast in these lines co-operating with other causes, has a very striking effect. The transition from admiration to abhorrence, in a remarkable degree,
heightens heightens the latter. Hamlet dwells minutely on every circumstance of his father's character : But, passing from that to the picture of Claudius, his perturbation is visibly augmented; his indignation and abhorrence are almost too excessive for utterance: And the difference between the two characters appearing to him so manifest as to render a particular illustration needless, he reflects with severity on that woeful perversion of mind that blunted the feelings and perceptions of Gertrude.
You cannot call it, love ; for, at your age, The hey-day in the blood is tame, it's humble, And waits upon the judgment; and what judgment Would step from this to this?
He convinces her of her guilt: But fa fallacious and so imposing are evil habits, that, in spite of her recent conyiction, the would yield herself to their suggestions : By supposing her son disordered, the would lessen the authority of his arguI 3
ment, and so relapfe. Hamlet, perceiving the workings of her invention, and anxious for her recovery, touches the distempered part of her soul with a delicate and skillful hand : He infuses such golden in. struction, and discovers such penetration and knowledge of human nature, as would have dignified à philosopher. He tempers the severity of his admonition with mildness; and assures her in a pathetic manner, that affection, and zeal for her welfare, are his only motives.
Mother, for love of grace,
R: Oh Hamlet! thou hart cleft my heart in twaisi,
my virtue :