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La. Mac. Come on; gentle my lord,
Mac. O, full of fcorpions is my mind, dear wife! Thou know'ft, that Banquo, and his Fleance lives. La. Mac. What's to be done?
Mac. Be innocent of the knowledge,
Till thou applaud the deed. Come, feeling night,
And with thy bloody and invisible hand
Macbeth, inftigated by his terrors, adds one act of cruelty to another; and thus, inftead of vanquishing his fears, he augments them. His agony increases, and renders him ftill more barbarous and diftruftful.
There's not a thane of them, but in his house I keep a fervant fee'd.
The caftle of Macduff I will furprize, &c.
He, at length, meets with the punish
ment due to his enormous cruelty.
Macduff. Hail, king! for fo thou art. Behold,
Th' ufurper's curfed head.
Thus, by confidering the rife and progrefs of a ruling paffion, and the fatal confequences of its indulgence, we have fhown, how a beneficent mind may become inhuman: And how these who are naturally of an amiable temper, if they fuffer themselves to be corrupted, will become more ferocious and more unhappy than men of a constitution originally hard and unfeeling. The formation of our characters depends confiderably upon ourfelves; for we may improve, or vitiate, every principle we receive from nature.
N analyzing the mind of Hamlet, I
fituations. I fhall obferve the various principles of action that govern him in various circumftances; and fum up the whole with a general view of his character.
In his first appearance, he discovers grief, averfion, and indignation. These emotions are in themselves indifferent: they are neither objects of cenfure nor of applause: They are of a fecondary nature, and arife from fome antecedent paffion or affection,
affection. To judge, therefore, of their propriety, we must examine their motives, and the temper or state of mind that produces them. For we may grieve for the lofs of a vitious gratification; no less than for those that are virtuous: And we may conceive averfion at worthy characters, no lefs than at their oppofites. But the grief of Hamlet is for the death of a father: He entertains averfion against an incestuous uncle, and indignation at the ingratitude and guilt of a mother. Grief is paffive: If its object be irretrievably loft, it is attended with no defires, and roufes no active principle. After the firft emotions, it difpofes us to filence, folitude, and inaction. If it is blended with other paffions, its operations will pafs unnoticed, loft in the violence of other emotions, though even these it may have originally excited, and may fecretly ftimulate. Accordingly, though forrow be manifeft in the features and demeanour of Hamlet, F 2
averfion and indignation are the feelings he expreffes. Averfion not only implies diflike and disapprobation of certain qualities, but also an apprehenfion of fuffering by their communion; and, confequently, a defire of avoiding them. As it arises on the view of groveling and fordid qualities, we treat the character they belong to with contempt, rather than with indignation. They influence the imagination; we turn from them with disgust and loathing, as if they were capable of tainting us by their contagion; and, if those that poffefs them discover any expectation of our regarding them, we are offended at their pretenfions. Claudius, endeavouring to carefs and flatter Hamlet, of whofe virtues and abilities he is afraid, thinks of honouring him by a claim of confanguinity, and is replied to with fymptoms of averfion and deep contempt. Yet Hamlet delivers himself ambiguously, inclined