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acknowledged “ a very noble youth," and leaps into the grave, as he anticipated the dignity of his sorrow would be established by the de claration of his presence, and all would stand rebuked and silent before his voice
“ Who is he, whose grief
Bears such an emphasis ? whose phrase of sorrow,
Conjures the wand'ring stars, and makes them stand
Like wonder-wounded hearers ? This is I,
Hamlet the Dane ! ”
Act V. Scene 1. During the scene this excited feeling is retained, and the resistance offered to its assertion, together with the moral conviction of the injustice of Laertes' execration, imparts the sense of injury to Hamlet, who, blind to acts, yet retentive of sensations, after he has interrupted the funeral, assaulted the chief mourner, and polluted the grave, reproachfully inquires of the nearest living relative of the dead
“Hear you, Sir;
What is the reason that you use me thus ?
I lov'd you ever; But it is no matter;
Let Hercules himself do what he may,
The cat will mew, the dog will have his day.” Thus, in his confusion, the impression of present wrong becomes confounded with former injury received from another person; and at Laertes he casts a threat which referred to his dethronement by his uncle, and his vague hope one day to regain his right. However, when the ebullition has subsided, and discourse on other subjects somewhat restored his consciousness, Hamlet partially perceives his error, and desires to make atonement,
“But I am very sorry, good Horatio,
That to Laertes I forgot myself;
For in the image of my cause, I see
The portraiture of his : I'll count his favours :
But sure the bravery of his grief did put me
Into a towering passion.”
Act V. Scene 2. The acknowledgment he then makes of forgetfulness, and the confession of excitement, being, so far as his evidence can be trusted, a confirmation of the view here taken of Hamlet's condition.
The unsettled state of his intellect is portrayed in Hamlet's inability to fix attention on his own affairs. This throughout has been a symptom of his disorder, and with it has increased, ultimately working the cure of the malady by which it was engendered. So now, notwithstanding the deep interest of his discourse with Horatio, the entrance of Osric diverts his thoughts, and on the antics of the fop he sinks again into that dreamy state of speculation, which, like an opium-sleep, though it be an unnatural repose, yet is medicinal in its obliviousness, and helps to restore him to a partial sanity. The glimmer of returning reason, preceding dissolution, does not, however, enable him to penetrate the designs of men, or light those lower perceptions which constitute human prudence. To the business of life he remains insensible; for though the two most powerful in Denmark (the King and Laertes, a nobleman whose influence could make family wrong a motive for national rebellion,) are his enemies; and in the narrative of
his escape from the assassination planned by the first, and in his determination to be reconciled to the last, he has only just before recognized them both in their true characters ; yet without inducement or prelude to deceive his thoughts, he blindly accepts their joint invitation to one of those jousts, which frequently ending fatally, were therefore the most likely to conceal, and were the commonest resorts of treachery.
The very acquiescence, however, while it indicates the mind still unhealthy, is also a sign of its approaching recovery, for it shows the irritation has subsided; and this relief restores Hamlet to a knowledge of his own sensations, and enables him to interpret them correctly, which renders him conscious of his previous affliction, prompting that pathetic acknowledgment to Laertes which the character of the speaker, the motives which actuate him, and the circumstances under which it is given, must remove from any conjecture it could be coloured or invented.
“Give me your pardon, Sir: I have done you wrong:
But pardon it as you are a gentleman.
This presence knows, and you must needs have heard,
How I am punished with a sore distraction.
What I have done,
That might your nature, honour, and exception,
Roughly awake, I here proclaim was madness.
Was't Hamlet wronged Laertes ? Never, Hamlet !
If Hamlet from himself be ta'en away,
And when he's not himself, does wrong Laertes,
Then Hamlet does it not, Hamlet denies it.
Who does it then? His madness. If't be so,
Hamlet is of the faction that is wronged;
His madness is poor Hamlet's enemy.
Sir, in this audience
Let my disclaiming from a purposed evil
Free me so far in your most generous thoughts,
That I have shot my arrow o'er the house,
And hurt my brother."
Act V. Scene 2. Here Hamlet speaks of himself as mad, and his confession is perhaps the best evidence of the conclusiveness of the view of his actions and character sketched in these pages; by which directed, we will attempt, in the next number of this Magazine, to explain those portions of the tragedy which have been variously regarded as inconsistencies, gratuitous introductions, unnecessary harshnesses, unnatural conceptions, or inexplicable mysteries,-as the actual extent of Hamlet's insanity, bis asperity to Polonius, his violence to Ophelia, bis dissertation to the Actors, his latitude of speech during the play, his reason for not killing the King, his disregard of Polonius's death, and his frequent delays ;-and to show that each and all of these are parts of one perfect whole, conceived in harmonious accordance with the laws of nature, and originating in that knowledge of mankind which Shakspere throughout his works discovers.
(To be continued.)
ILLUSTRATIONS OF DARTMOOR. MANATON* CHURCH-YARD.—THE UNKNOWN FEMALE
BY J. E, READE, AUTHOR OF “ ITALY, “ CATILINE," &c.
“ I MARVEL not, seeing your fixed regard :
A tale of thrilling interest is her life.
Five years have past since first that Stranger came
With one Attendant here, a female, dark
As her mistress she, of the Spanish race.
That cot they hired, its adornments adding :
The housewives' wonder roused, perchance their fear,
But charities that came unsought and fast
From that dark lady's hand, and gentlest words
To children, surest proof of kindly nature,
Soon reconciled her presence to the few.
A resident among my Aock become,
I deemed it duty as a courtesy bound,
To attend her-not alone: my daughter joined me,
Neither uninterested to behold
Her with whose name benevolence and beauty,
And deepest mystery were strangely joined.
She was not absent : yet availed herself
Of the conventional laws of courtesy,
Declining to receive us.
Years passed on,
And she was still remembered with regret,
Yet still by us unseen, her Catholic faith
Denying entrance to our holy pile,
When, suddenly, a message sent, surprised us,
To see myself and daughter. We obeyed,
Without an hour's delay, for something warned me
A crisis was at hand. Entering her room,
Which was unoccupied, a moment's leisure
Was given us to dwell on what we saw;
For often the familiar abode
Gives manifold signs of in ward character.
The casement darkened by Venetian blinds,
O'er the empanelled walls deep shadows threw :
The floor of oak was richly carpetted ;
On a small ebony table near the fire,
Books were dispersed, and, on the sofa near,
Of foreign fashion, an unstrung guitar.
One painting hung suspended from the wall :
A crucified Jesus—but it filled the mind;
The spirit of some great Master ruling there.
There were the arms stretched out and nailed in blood;
The strained white-gleaming eyeballs upward rolled
In supplicating silent agony !
Appealing that the cup might yet pass from him,
Yet with submissive will to his great Sire ;*
The pale meek brow dabbled in sweat and blood;
The gasping lips all colourless and parted;
The downward drooping head in languor sunk,
Like some crushed flower overcharged with rain !
The livid lips-all beautiful-but shrunken
In marble coldness—rigid now in death!
The human group beneath unmarked by him
Save in his spiritual being—they,
Denying, doubting, “ following him far off,"+
Now prostrate in remorseful anguish there,
The human Magdalen !-her arms thrown up;
Her upraised eyeballs gleaming through her tears ;
Her form, all contrite, kneeling at the Cross
Of Him whom she had loved through life so well!
That human Mother ! all forgotten now,
The promise-hope-fear-death-and after life-
All, in the loss of her too human son !
All now forgot, save that dead naked form
Exposed to the wild night storms !--all unfelt
Save that one pang that told she was alone!
The darkening Night behind-the grey Cross shown:
By Lightnings—the vailed Temple--rent in twain :
The wild woods tossing to the storm behind :
The desolate solitude where God alone
Was watching o'er them !-all the Spirit told
Of him who imaged forth the living scene, i
Till, Prophet-like, he saw and felt the truth;
Until to manifest it in palpable hues,
Became an obligation and a law.
A cushion lay beneath for kneeling placed :
The delicate presence of a taste refined
Was felt diffused, and in that little cot
Acknowledged: but the chamber's opening door
Absorbed attention on herself. She entered
More like a queen than ordinary woman;
So much of dignity was in her presence,
Yet blended with exceeding grace that made
* “ Nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt." + “And his disciples followed him afar off.”
From a recollection of Guido's Crucifixion and master-piece, in the Milanese Gallery. VOL. XCVI.
Its presence beautiful. In her simplest gesture
There was a winning character of softness
That made us yearn towards her; moved already
By the expression of her speaking face,
A face that, once seen, could not be forgot.
I should not dwell upon its character
Of beauty so familiar, so oft making
The keeper of its temple negligent,
But that I felt, her story known, became
A silent illustration of her life.
The twofold spirit of the living soul,
The quiet and unquiet, were stamped there :
The forehead high spoke of ancestral pride ;
The braided hair was richly massed above :
Her eyes were of the deepest darkest blue,
Like the intense depths of the twilight sky,
Where the eye loves to lose itself in veils
Mysterious and undefinable;
The arched and silken lashes downward cast
O'er them a deepest shade : but in her mouth
The ruling feeling lay. The lips depressed,
Were stamped by an habitual melancholy :
A blight fallen upon roses colourless ;
More touching their expression than if raised
By animating hope; even as our hearts
Answer responsive rather pain than joy.
Stamped there was an imploring character:
As if one vital feeling but remained :-
But to contend no more with destiny ;
As if she asked but rest—to part in peace ;
A feeling by the past, or sickness fed,
For the deep shadows lined beneath her eyes,
Spoke of internal suffering and decline.
Touched with an interest profound, I spoke :
A disappointed feeling I confessed,
Of being an unwilling stranger made ;
As of the friend or guide my daughter lost.
She sate as one who passively endured,
But heard not: her abstracted air expressed
A more absorbing interest. I observed
She looked once on my daughter as she entered,
But never afterwards. She spoke—and now,
Even now falls on my ear that low deep voice
Of tone so exquisitely mournful: tones
Whose music told more than her eyes and face
All she had felt and suffered.
· The indulgence, So much which I must ask of you, I fear