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it is difficult to prevent a certain degree of hatred and disgust from taking place. The more susceptible the two persons were of the strong attachments of friendship, the more warmly and the more closely they were once united, so much the more difficult does it become to bring about a re-union or reconcilement. The fanguine and romantic opinions they had formed of one another's worth, and the disappointment which both or either of them feel from the behaviour of the other, inflicts a wound which rankles in the soul, and prevents all future confidence. The same conduct in another person not so dear, with whom there was not so close an union, would have been paffed over, and made little impreffion; the former distant and cold acquaintance would have gone on as usual, and forgiveness would easily have taken place. · Somewhat similar to the situation of a person who has been disappointed in the conduct of one from whom he expected much happiness and much friendship, is that of him who, having conceived warm and elevated notions of the world, has been disappointed in all these better expectations. The world, with its pursuits, will appear in an unfavourable light; he will be apt to quit its fociety, and to indulge in solitude his gloomy reflections. His dislike of the world, however, will be of a calm and gentle kind; it will rather be pity than hatred; though he may think ill of the species, he will be kind to individuals; he may dislike man, but will assist John or James.
Shakespeare, from whose writings much knowledge of the human heart is to be acquired, has presented us, in several of his characters, with a history of that melancholy and misanthropy I have described above.
Of the character of Hamlet, one of my predecessors * has given a delineation which appears to me to be a just one. Naturally of the most amiable and virtuous disposition, and endued with the most exquisite sensibility, he is unfortunate ; and his misfortunes proceed from the crimes of those with whom he was the most nearly connected, for whom he had the strongest feelings of natural affection. From these circumstances, he is hurt in his souls tendereft part ; he is unhinged in his principles of action, falls into melancholy, and conceives disgust at the world ; yet amidst all his disgust, and the misanthropy which he at times discovers, we conftantly perceive, that goodness and benevolence are the prevailing features of his character; amidft all the gloom of his melancholy, and the agitation in which his calamities involve him, there are occasional outbreakings of a mind richly . ; • Mirror, No-99, 100.
endowed by nature, and cultivated by education. Had Hamlet possessed less sensibility, had he not been so easily hurt by the calamities of life, by the crimes of the persons with whom he was connected, he would have preserved more equanimity, he would not have been the prey of dark · desponding melancholy; the world and all its uses would not have appeared to him “ stale, “ flat, and unprofitable ; an unweeded garden « that grows to feed, pofseffed merely by things “ rank and gross in nature.”
In the play of “ As you like it,” there is brought upon the stage a personage of a more fixed and systematic melancholy than that of Hamlet. Hamlet's melancholy and disgust with the world, is occasioned by the particular nature of the misfortunes he meets with. But in Faques we see a settled and confirmed melancholy, not proceeding from any misfortune peculiar to himself, but arising from a general feeling of the vanity of the world, and the folly of those engaged in its pursuits. His melancholy is therefore more settled than that of Hamlet, and is in truth more deeply rooted. He takes no share in the enjoyments of life, but abandons society, and lives in folitude. Hamlet, wounded to the heart by the misfortunes which befal him, and irritated by the crimes of others, feels more poignantly at the time. The feelings of Jaques
are more general, and therefore the more calm, but from that very cause are deeper and more fixed. It is to be observed, however, that the melancholy and misanthropy of Jaques, like that of Hamlet, proceeds from excefs of tenderness, from too much sensibility to the evils of the world and the faults of mankind. His moralizing on the poor sequestered stag, is a most beautiful illustration of his tenderness, and of his nice perception and sorrow for the follies and vices of men ;-as his comparison of the world to a stage affords a highly finished picture of the estimation in which he holds human life. , ,
In “ Timon of Athens," we are presented with a character in many respects different from that of Hamlet or Jaques. Here we have misanthropy of a much darker hue. Soured with difappointment; fallen from the height of prosperity into the lowest state of adversity; deceived by flattering friends ; forsaken by the buzzing attendants on wealth and greatness, Timon conceives difgust at the world and its enjoyments; and that disgust produces hatred and aversion at mankind. Yet even here it is observable, that with all Timon's misanthropy, there is a great mixture of original goodness and benevolence. At his first out set in life, he was unsuspicious; and wished to contribute to the happiness of all around him. “ Being free himself, he thought
« all others so." Disappointed in the opinion he had formed of the world, and shocked with the ingratitude he met with ; « brought low,” as he is said to be, “ by his own heart, undone “ by goodness,” he becomes a prey to deep gloom and misanthropy; but with all his mifanthropy, he preserves a sense of honour and of right.
It is to be admitted, however, that as Timon's is a character much inferior to, and much less amiable than that of Hamlet or of Jaques, so his misanthropy is of a much blacker and more savage nature. Hamlet's misanthropy arises from a deep sense of the guilt of others; Jaques's from a general impression of the follies and weaknesses of the world ;-Timon's is produced by a selfish sense of the ingratitude of others to himself. His disgust at the world, therefore, is not mixed with the same gentleness and amiable tenderness which are displayed by the other two; and he pofseffes as much misanthropy of the blackest sort as it is possible for human nature to arrive at. Shakespeare indeed holds him forth as a person altogether bereft of reason. He seems · to have thought, that such a degree of misanthropy as Timon is described to be possessed of, was inconsistent with the use of that faculty.
In the criticism on Hamlet which I before quoted, it is observed, that amidst all his melan,