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to single out different elements of the same through him, or to discern the source and fact, and then go on to reason from a part, as manner of his impressions upon us, brings from the whole. Hence, there naturally him closer to nature, and makes him apcome to be various opinions respecting the pear the more like a fact, and so widens and same fact : generalizing too hastily from deepens his hold on our thoughts. For the surface of things, men often arrive at where there is life, there must naturally be contradictory conclusions, forgetting, that more or less of change, the very law, of of a given fact, a vast many things may be life being identity in mutability, and in true in their place and degree, yet none of Hamlet, the variety and rapidity of chanthem true in such sort as to hinder the ges are so managed, as only to infer the truth of others. Human life is full of more intense, active, and prolific vitality. practical as well as speculative errors and in this multitude of changes, however, it is mistakes, resulting from this partial and extremely difficult to perceive the constant one-sided view of things: seizing some one principle; these outward contradictions principle, or being seized by it, men pro- make the character more powerful, indeed, ceed, as they say, to carry it out ; never on the feelings, but much less intelligible stopping to think how it is limited and re- to the mind; they help us to feel, but strained on all sides by other principles. hinder us from seeing, the inward vital Thus men often draw a button so near the 1 unity whence they spring. eye, as to shut out all the rest of creation, As is generally the case with Shakand then go smashing through the world, speare's characters, in order to apprehend mistaking their own ignorance or obstinacy Hamlet aright, it is necessary to go round for conscientiousness.
behind the text into the elements and proNow Hamlet is undoubtedly the most cesses of his mind, of which the text but complex character in dramatic literature. I gives the results. For one of the excelHe is all varieties of character in one; is lencies, in which Shakspeare is without a continually turning up a new side, appear competitor, is that of painting the interior ing under a new phase, undergoing some history of minds. While unfolding their new development; and before we can mea-l present condition, he, at the same time, sure and map him in any one form, he has suggests à long series of preceding condipassed into another. He thus touches us tions ; portrays in far-stretching perspecat all points, surrounds us, as it were, so tive the various stages and changes of a that great circumspection is required to see mind, each growing out of, and growing the whole of him at once, and so to avoid above, the one that preceded it. Among mistaking him for several persons. This these instances of historical perspective, complexity and versatility of character has perhaps there is none more worthy of study often been mistaken for inconsistency; | than Hamlet. hence the contradictory opinions respect- Up to his father's death, Hamlet's mind, ing him, different minds taking up very busied in developing its innate riches, had different impressions of him, and even the found room for no sentiments towards same mind taking up very different impres- others but a gentle and generous trust and sions of him at different times. Hamlet, confidence. Delighted with the appearin short, like other facts, is many-sided, ances of good, and protected by his rank and many men of many minds may see from the naked approaches of evil, he had themselves in different sides of him ; but no motive to pry through the semblances when, upon comparing notes, they find into the reality of surrounding characters. him agreeing with them all, they are per- | The ideas of princely elevation and of plexed, and conclude him inconsistent, be- moral rectitude, springing forth simulcause they are themselves too one-sided to taneously in his mind, had intertwisted recognize his consistency. In so great a their fibres closely and firmly together. diversity of elements and principles, they | While the chaste forms of youthful imagilose the perception of identity, and cannot nation had kept his own heart pure, he see how he can be so many and still be but had framed his conceptions of others acone. Doubtless, Hamlet seems the more cording to the model within himself. To real, for the very reason that we cannot the feelings of the son, the prince, the nnderstand him; our inability to see / gentleman, the friend, and the scholar, had lately been joined the feelings of the his affections. With a heart, cunning and lover; and his heart, oppressed by the prompt to discover and appropriate the redundancy of hopes and joys that enrich-remunerations of life, he could compensate ed it, had breathed forth its fullness in the loss of some objects, with a more free “almost all the holy vows of heaven.” | and tranquil enjoyment of such as reThough soaring at will into the loftiest, or mained. In the absence of his father, he grasping the widest, or scanning the deep- could collect and concentrate upon his est regions of thought, he yet felt how mother the feelings hitherto shared bepoor and paltry are all the gifts and shows tween them; and in cases like this, the of intellect, compared to purity, and gen- part of an object often exceeds the whole, tleness, and lowliness of heart ; could inasmuch as a religious feeling towards repose, with all the satisfaction which su- the dead comes in to enrich and sanctify perior natures alone can know, upon the an affection for the living. And even if bosom of virgin innocence and virgin love his mother also had but died, the loss, liness; and in the simple goodness which though unspeakably bitter, would not have is unconscious of itself, from its very per- been baleful to him ; for, though separated fection, could discern a worth which puts from the chief objects of his love, and to shame the proudest exhibitions and tri- | trust, and reverence, he would still have umphs of mind.
retained those sentiments themselves in all In his father, endowed with every royal their strength and beauty. Nay, death and manly quality, Hamlet had realized would not so much have taken her away the bright ideal of character which he as- | from him, as brought her nearer to his pired to exemplify in himself. Whatever feelings and raised her to a higher place noble images and ideas he had gathered in them; as her form vanished from his from the fields of pcetry and philosophy, sight, the sweet, sacred image of a mother, he had learned to associate with that which filial piety loves to cherish, would sacred name. To the throne he looked have come, forward with hope and with fear, as an elevation from whence to diffuse the bless
“ Apparelled in more precious habit, ings of a wise sovereignty, and receive the More moving, delicate, and full of life, homage of a grateful submission. To re
Into the eye and prospect of his soul, produce in himself his father's character,
Than when she lived indeed.” was, in his view, to deserve, and therefore to secure, his father's place; and as the | For when those whom such a being loves crown was not hereditary, he regarded his die with their honors fresh and bright own prospects of succession as suspended about them, they become, in some sort, on the continuance of his father's life, until omnipresent and immortal to him : he could discover in himself the virtues that originated his father's title. In his father's " The future brightens on his sight, death, therefore, he lost the chief support
For on the past has fallen a light of both his affections and his pretensions.
That tempts him to adore." But though bereavement and disappointment had thus united to teach Hamlet the It is not with his mother, however, but power of sorrow, the foundations of his with his faith in her, that Hamlet is forced peace and happiness were yet unshaken. / to part; it is not herself, but her honor, The prospects of the prince had perhaps that dies to him. To his prophetic soul vanished, only to disclose still brighter her hasty and incestuous marriage brings prospects for the man. He could still love, at once conviction of his mother's infideland trust, and revere; the fire-side and the ity and suspicion of his uncle's treachery student's bower were yet open to him ; | to his father. In the disclosure of her truth and beauty, thought and affection, guilt and baseness his best affections themhad not yet hidden their faces from him. selves suffer death; for while, to such a His mind, though deeply saddened and mind, death immortalizes the objects of its subdued, was not diseased; and his be- love, infamy annihilates them. Where he reavement had the effect to quicken and has most loved, and trusted, and revered, chasten his sensibility without disordering there he finds himself most deceived. The sadness of bereavement now settles into | sure, than to kill at once his uncle, his the deep, dark gloom of a wounded spirit; | mother's husband, and his anointed sovand life appears a burden to be borne, not ereign. And this deed, thus involving a blessing to be cherished. In this condi- homicide, parricide, and regicide, all rolled tion, the appearance of his father's ghost, into one, he is called to perform, not as an its awful disclosures and still more awful act of justice, and in a judicial manner, but injunctions, confirming the suspicion of his as an act of revenge, and by assassination. uncle's treachery, and implicating his Surely this could hardly be expected of mother in the crime, complete his desola- one who had the misfortune to live before tion of mind.
the dawn of that wisdom which so admiBut this is not all. The garden of his | rably teacheth, that to kill a father, or own life having now become a desert, he mother, or bishop, or king, is but common feels that he can breathe nothing but des- homicide! How shall Hamlet justify such olation over the life which he has once a deed to the world? How vindicate himsweetened with the music of his vows. In self from the reproach of the very crime his terrible visitation he reads the neces- | he is called upon to revenge ? For the sity of giving up the gentle, the cherished | evidence upon which he is required to act is Ophelia ; for he loves her too well to en- | in its nature available at best only in the tangle her in the web of horrors from court of his own conscience. In view of which he sees no escape for himself. But, such an act he might well say to himthough he resigns the object of his love, self: he does not and cannot resign the love itself; and the consciousness that he must
“If I could find example leave her whom he loves, and leave her
Of thousands who had struck anointed kings, even because he loves her, finishes the
And flourished after, I'd not do't ; but since death and burial of his hopes.
Nor brass, nor stone, nor parchment, bears not
Let villany itself forswear't.” “ The sigh so piteous and profound, As it did seem to shatter all his bulk,
Hamlet, then, is called upon to punish And end his being,"
one crime, by committing what seems to
him another crime ; for the same religion could only spring from the depths of a which in his mind enjoins filial piety also wounded spirit, as he gazed, in the anguish forbids revenge ; so that he dare neither of despair, on the beloved one who had reject nor perform the mandate from the written her name all over his thoughts. ghost. Thus his conscience is divided, not
So much for Hamlet's internal history merely against his inclination, but against until the extinction of his earthly pros- itself; it plucks him on, and plucks him pects and purposes in the awful words, off ; it provokes the resolution, but prevents “Remember me.” But amid these accu- the performance. However much he mulmulated agonies, and though suffering all tiplies reasons and motives upon himself that he can suffer save remorse and self- | in favor of the deed, there yet springs up, reproach, he yet retains all his original in- from a depth in his nature which reflectegrity and uprightness of soul, and his tion has never fathomed, an impulse against quick moral sensibilities shrink from the it, which he can neither account for nor very conception of meanness and wrong. | resist. The truth is, his moral instincts In the depths of his being, even below the are too strong for his intellectual convicregion of distinct consciousness, there tions. It is the triumph of a pure moral lurks the instinct and impulse of a moral nature over temptation in its most imposing law that forbids revenge, especially sucha and insinuating form—in the form of a revenge as he is called upon to administer. sacred call from heaven, or what is such With this impulse of rectitude thus dimly to him. He thinks, indeed, that he ought and deeply working within him, the in- | to perform the act, resolves that he will do junction of his father's ghost comes in con- it, and blames himself for not doing it ; but
there is a power within him and yet above What, indeed, is the quality of the act him, which, in spite of himself, overmasenjoined upon him ? Nothing less, to be ters his resolutions and thwarts them; and
he cannot do the thing for the simple rea- 1 And it should be especially remarked son, though he knows it not, and believes withal, that the same voice which calls it not, that he is too good to do it. The Hamlet to this terrible undertaking, also trouble with him, in short, lies not in him- reveals to him the fearful retributions of self, but in bis situation ; it all arises from futurity ; so that in proportion as he is the impossibility of translating the outward nerved by a sense of the duty, he is at the call of duty into a free, spontaneous moral same time shaken by a dread of the responsiimpulse ; and of course he cannot perform bility. “The eternal blazon,” which “must it, until he has so translated it; for he is not be to ears of flesh and blood,” hurries so constituted, that in such an undertaking him away from action into meditation on he must act from himself, not from another. the dread realities of the invisible world ;
It is from this strife between incompati- and his resolution is suspended by the ble duties, that Hamlet's perplexity and apprehensions started up in his mind by the indecision spring. For escape from this ! ghost's disclosures respecting “the secrets dilemma all his faculties and resources are of its prison house." Nay, his filial revertaxed and strained to the uttermost. His ence itself leads him, first to regret, then moral sensitiveness, shrinking from the to doubt, and finally to disbelieve, that his dreadful summons to revenge, throws him father has laid upon him an injunction so back upon his reflective powers, and sends repugnant to his sense of right. Upon him through the abysses of thought, in reflection he discerns in the nature of the quest of a reconciliation between his con- | mandate something that makes him quesflicting duties, so that he may shelter either tion and distrust its source; it clashes with the performance of the deed from the his sentiment of moral rectitude ; and he reproach of irreligion, or the non-perform- wisely thinks, that “light which leads ance from the reproach of filial impiety. astray cannot be light from heaven.” It In this condition springs of thought, and seems to him more probable, that the feeling, and action, beyond the reach of ghost should be a counterfeit of his father, our minds, are opened within him. Here, than that his father should give such an then, we have an example of a great mind order. He must “ have grounds more so circumstanced that all its greatness has relative than this.” to come out in thought; which, indeed, seems to have been the poet's design. T [To be concluded in our next number.] ,
· FOREIGN MISCELLANY.
The intelligence from Europe is of more than | The change in the persons of the members, ordinary interest. The British Parliament has is said to be vastly greater than was ever known met at an earlier period than usual, for the dis- | before-excepting only the election which sucpatch of business. The only proceeding of ceeded the passage of the Reform Act. There which we yet have information, is the re-election were then 280 new members, and in the presof the Speaker of the House of Commons. The ent instance the number is 223, which, under composition of that body is stated by the Lon- the circumstances, is a more remarkable don Quarterly Review to consist of
change. The alteration in the pursuits of the
members is also indicative of political or social Whigs, Radicals, Repealers and
change. The number of railway directors, Chartists, • - - - 327 engineers and contractors, of barristers, merPeelites, - .
80 chants, retail traders, political writers and lecProtectionists, . . 236 turers, is greater; while the naval and military Two double returns, - - 2 officers, the connections of aristocratic and Sudbury disfranchised, .
wealthy families, have diminished in numerical Undeclared and doubtful, ..
force. The intentions of the Russell ministry
are yet unknown, not even the Queen's Speech Total, . . . 668 on the opening of Parliament having yet arrived here. Several failures have taken place in rowed money to effect large improvements on the commercial part of the community, but not so his estate, by which he expected to employ a serious in amount as those which have preced- large number of persons during the coming ed; and it is confidently hoped that the severity winter. While engaged in this and other beneof the crisis has passed. A steady influx officent employments, he was shot down on his gold and silver has rendered the currency less own estate—an occurrence, among others, restricted ; although discounts still remain at which most painfully shows the disorganized very high rates, and money very difficult to be state of society. A number of Irish members obtained. The Directors of the Bank of Eng. of Parliament, and influential persons, organland availed themselves of one portion of theized, for the purpose of demanding from the recommendation of the ministry, mentioned in government employment for the people, on the our last-the charging “a high rate of inter- unfinished improvements which were comest;" but omitted to comply with that which menced last year; and, it is to be hoped, that urged an enlargement of the amount of dis- in the present state of the peasantry, their efcounts and advances; and their proceedings in forts will be directed to measures of a purely this respect have called forth considerable ani- practical character, and that no political feeling madversion. The number of bills drawn in the will be allowed to thwart the measures so imcolonies, which have been returned in conse- | peratively demanded. quence of the late failures, together with the Intelligence has been received of the total low price of sugar and other colonial products, loss of the packet ship Stephen Whitney, which will yet cause considerable embarrassment; left New-York on the 8th October. Mistaking but on the other hand, the slight rise in cotton the light upon Rock Island, near Cape Clear, and grain, will cause a greater buoyancy in on the South Coast of Ireland, for the old Head the trade with this country; and, although upon of Kinsale, she went broadside on a rock called the whole, the amelioration is but small, the the West Calf, about four miles inside the change will operate to restore confidence, and ) Cape, and in less than ten minutes was dashed may prove more stable from being of slow mo to atoms, involving in her destruction, the tion. . Strong hopes are entertained that the melancholy loss of her captain and no less than Royal Bank of Liverpool and the Bank of North 92 of her crew and passengers-18 only, out of and South Wales, both of which have suspend- | 110, having escaped with life--the ship with ed payment, will be enabled to resume business. many articles on board being totally lost. Government stocks are more firm in price; and The commercial and financial difficulties of although the Bank of England still charges | England do not appear to have reached France : eight per cent. discount, many private establish on the contrary securities have been steady, ments are content with seven and six and a and notwithstanding the negotiation of a loan half per cent. Accounts from the manufac- of 250 millions of francs which was taken by turing districts are still unfavorable, and not the Rothschilds, and by which a large amount withstanding some little improvement has been of fresh stock was created, the price of funds evinced, it is to be apprehended that short work rose at the Bourse. A political agitation for and a high price of provisions will be produc the extension of the elective franchise is active tive of very great distress among the opera- | in France, and though greatly discouraged by tives and the laboring population generally. the government, large meetings are held, at
Ireland still continues to present a melan- / which the name of the king is not very respectcholy spectacle, and must cause very consider- fully greeted. Louis Philippe suffers much in able embarrassment to the present Parliament. | public estimation from a belief of his interfering Famine appears again to threaten its appear- personally, with all the details of government, ance, while murder and agrarian outrages are in a greater degree than is consistent with a so much on the increase, as to have produced limited and constitutional monarchy, where the a proclamation from the Lord Lieutenant, call- | responsibility for such acts is exclusively coning on all well-disposed persons to assist in fined to the ministers. Count Bresson, who their repression, and threatening offenders with figured considerably in negotiating the marthe utmost rigor of punishment. The worst riage of the Queen of Spain, and also of her features in these offences are, that they seem sister to the Duc de Montpensier, lately comto be committed by persons who have not the mitted suicide, while ambassador at Naples; excuse of destitution; and that in many in- and his immediate predecessor at that post, stances the victims are resident proprietors, Count Mortier, made a like attempt while who are exerting themselves to benefit the laboring under mental alienation. Monsieur peasantry in their neighborhoods. The assas- Deschappelles, the celebrated chess-player, died sination of Major Rowan, of Stokestown, in in Paris about the beginning of the past month; the county of Roscommon, appears an offence and Monsieur Parmentier, who was so disof a most unaccountable character. With three gracefully connected with the late proceedings years' rent due from the tenants of his estate, of General Cubieres and Monsieur Teste, died he last year chartered two vessels to assist a of grief at Lure. It is said that the Archportion of them to emigrate, and had just bor- duchess of Parma, Maria Louisa, widow of