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high defert of his father, even this admiration contributes to his uncafinefs: Averfion to his uncle, arifing from the fame origin, has a fimilar tendency, and augments his anguifh. All these feelings and emotions uniting together, are rendered ftill more violent, exafperated by his recent interview with the Queen, struggling for utterance, but reftrained. Agitated and overwhelmed with afflicting images, no foothing, no exhilarating affection can have admiffion into his heart. His imagination is vifited by no vision of happiness; and he wishes for deliverance from his afflictions, by being delivered from a painful existence.
O, that this too too folid flesh would melt, Thaw, and refolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
His canon 'gainft felf-flaughter. O God, O God!
How weary, ftale, flat, and unprofitable
Seem to me all the ufes of this world!
Fie on't! O fie! 'Tis an unweeded garden,
That grows to feed; things rank, and grofs in nature, Poffefs it merely.
By giving vent to any paffion, its vio lence at the time increases. Thofe, for inftance, who exprefs their forrow by fhedding tears, find themselves at the inftant of weeping more exceffively affected than perfons of a more referved and inflexible conftitution. Yet, by thus giving vent to their inquietude, they find relief, while those of a taciturn humour are the victims of painful and unabating anxiety: And, the reafon is, that the emotion, raised to its higheft extreme, can no longer continue equally violent, and fo fubfides. In cafes of this nature, that is, when emotions, by being expreffed, become exceffive, the mind paffes from general reflections to minute and particular circumstances: And imagination, the pliant flatterer of the paffion in power, renders thefe circumstances still more particular, and better adapted to promote its vehemence. In the foregoing lines the reflections are general; but, in these that follow,
low, they become particular; and the emo tion waxing stronger, the imagination, by exhibiting suitable images, and by fitting to its purpose even the time between the death and the marriage, renders it exceffive.
That it fhould come to this!
But two months dead! nay, not fo much; not two:
The emotion grows ftill more vehement, and overflows the mind with a tide of correfponding images.
Heaven and earth!
Muft I remember? Why, fhe would hang on him,
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month
Obferve too, that Hamlet's indignation is augmented gradually, by admiration of ' his father, So excellent a king;' by abhorrence of Claudius, That was to this,
Hyperion to a Satyr;' and, finally, by a ftinging reflection on the Queen's inconftancy:
Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on: and yet, within a month
This affects him fo feverely, that he ftrives to obliterate the idea:
Let me not think on't
By this effort he lofes fight, for a moment, of the particular circumstances that gave him pain. The impreffion, however, is not entirely effaced; and he expresses it by a general reflection.
Frailty, thy name is woman!
This expreffion is too refined and artificial for a mind strongly agitated: Yet, it agrees entirely with just such a degree of emotion and penfiveness as difpofes us to moralize. Confidered as the language of a man violently affected, it is impro
per: Confidered in relation to what goes before and follows after, it appears perfectly natural. Hamlet's laboured composure is imperfect; it is exceedingly tranfient; and he relapfes into deeper anguish. Though he turned afide from a painful idea, he was unable to remove the impreffion, or vary in any confiderable degree his ftate of mind: The impreffion remained, and restored the idea in its fulleft vigour.
A little month; or ere thofe fhoes were old, With which the follow'd my poor father's body, Like Niobe, all tears-Why, fhe, even she→ O heaven! a beast, that wants difcourfe of reason, Would have mourn'd longer-married with my uncle, My father's brother; but no more like my father Than I to Hercules.
It is also obfervable, that, in confequence of the increafing violence of his emotion, the time fo dexterously diminished from two months, to a little month, and to even less than a little month, is G 2 rendered