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Ham. O, throw away the worser part of it,
As the contrition of Gertrude, and her confequent good intentions were the effect of a sudden emotion, its violence no sooner abates, than her former habits resume their influence. She appears irresolute : And Hamlet, full of astonishment and indignation, expresses himself with keenness. He inveighs with acrimony against his uncle; And the Queen, vanquished by his invective, assures him of her repentance. All the business of the tragedy, in re
gard gard to the display of character, is here concluded. Hamlet, having detected the perfidy and inhumanity of his uncle, and having restored the Queen to a sense of her depravity, ought immediately to have triumphed in the utter ruin of his enemies, or to have fallen a victim to their deceit. The succeeding circumstances of the play are unnecessary; they are not essential to the catastrophe : And, excepting the madness of Ophelia, and the scene of the grave-diggers, they exhibit nothing new in the characters. On the contrary, the delay cools our impatience; it diminishes our sollicitude for the fate of Hamlet, and almost leffens him in our esteem. Let him perish immediately, since the poet dooms him to perish : Yet poetical justice would have decided otherwise.
On reviewing this analysis, a sense of virtue, if I may use the language of an eminent philosopher, without professing myself of his fect, seems to be the ruling
principle. In other men, it may appear with the ensigns of high authority ; In Hamlet, it possesses absolute power. United with amiable affections, with every graceful accomplishment, and every agreeable quality, it embellishes and exalts them. It rivets his attachment to his friends, when he finds them deserving ; It is a source of sorrow, if they appear corrupted. It even tharpens his penetration ; and, if unexpectedly he discerns turpitude or impropriety in any character, it inclines him to think more deeply of their transgreffion, than if his sentiments were less refined. It thus induces him to scrutinize their conduct, and may lead him to the discovery of more enormous guilt. As it excites uncommon pain and abhorrence on the appearance of perfidious and inhuman actions, it provokes and stimulates his resentment: Yet, attentive to justice, and concerned in the interests of human nature, it governs the impetuofity
of that unruly passion. It disposes him to be cautious in admitting evidence to the prejudice of another: It renders himn diftruftful of his own judgment, during the árdeur and the reign of paffion; and directs him in the choice of associates, on whose fidelity and judgment he may depend. If softened by a beneficent and gentle temper, he hefitates in the execution of any lawful enterprize, it reproves him. And if there is any hope of restoring those that are fallen, and of renewing in them habits of virtue and of selfcommand, it' renders him affiduous in his endeavours to serve them. Men of other dispositions would think of gratifying their friends by contributing to their affluence, to their amufement, or external honour: But, the acquifitions that Hamlet values, and the happiness he would confer, are a conscience void of offence, the peace and the honour of virtue. Yet, with all this purity of moral sentiments with eminent abilities, exceedingly cultivated and improved, with manners the most elegant and becoming, with the -utmost rectitude of intention, and the most active zeal in the exercise of every duty, he is hated, persecuted, and destroyed,