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Which is as dry as the remainder bisket
After a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'è
Invest me in my motley; give me leave
To fpeak my mind, and I will through and through
This mixture of melancholy and mifanthropy in the character of Jaques is more agreeable to human nature than the representation of either of the extremes; for a complete mifanthrope is as uncommon an object as a man who fuffers injury without refentment. Mankind hold a
fort of middle rank, and are in general too good for the one, and too bad for the other. As benevolence and fenfibility are manifeft in the temper of Jaques, we are not offended with his feverity. By the oddity of his manner, by the keenness of his remarks, and fhrewdness of his obfervations, while we are inftructed, we are alfo amused. He is precisely what he himfelf tells us, " often wrapped in a most "humourous fadnefs." His fadnefs, of a mild and gentle nature, recommends him to our regard; his humour amuses.
A picture of this kind fhews the fertility of Shakespeare's genius, his knowledge of human nature, and the accuracy of his pencil, much more than if he had reprefented in ftriking colours either of the component parts. By running them into one another, and by delineating their shades where they are gradually and almost imperceptibly blended together, the extent and delicacy of his conceptions, and his amazing
amazing powers of execution are fully evident. Violent and impetuous paffion's are obvious, their colours are vivid, their features ftrongly marked, they may eafily be difcerned and eafily copied. But the fenfibility of the foul flows out in a variety of emotions and feelings, whofe impulfes are less apparent, and whose progrefs and operation may escape the notice of superficial obfervers; but whose influence in governing the conduct, and fashioning the tempers of mankind, is more extenfive than we are apt to imagine. Affections and paffions which gain an afcendant in the foul by filent and unobferved approaches, which, instead of impelling, feduce, and are not perceptible in the geftures or countenance till they have established a peculiar habit or temper, are represented to us by those only whom nature has diftinguifhed; and whom, by rendering them exquifitely fufceptible of every feeling, fhe has rendered fupremely happy,
happy, or miferable beyond the common lot of humanity. To men of this character, endowed with lively imaginations, and a talent of eafy expreffion, the most delicate emotions and affections of the foul fubmit themselves, fuffering them to copy their true appearance, and exhibit them for the profit and pleasure of mankind: Like thofe aerial agents, the fylphs, fairies, and other divinities of the poets, that prefide over the feafons, and regulate the progress of vegetation, but which can only be rendered vifible by the fpells and authority of a skilful magician.
II. That Jaques, on account of disappointments in friendship, fhould become. referved and cenforious, is confiftent with human nature: But is it natural that he fhould abjure pleasure, and confider the world and every enjoyment of fenfe as frivolous and inexpedient? Ought he not rather to have recurred to them for confolation,
folation, and to have fought in them wherewithal to have relieved and folaced him? On the contrary, he expatiates with fatisfaction on the infufficiency of human happiness, and on the infignificance of our pursuits.
All the world's a ftage,
And all the men and women merely players:
Even in the cannon's mouth :-And then, the juftice,
In fair round belly, with good capon lin❜d,
With eyes fevere, and beard of formal cut,
And fo he plays his part :-The fixth age shifts
With fpectacles on nofe, and pouch on fide;