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When rest has restored some force to Ay, and since ten, merders have been per the human niachine, the fixed idea
Too terrible for the car: the times have been shakes him again, and drives him on
That, when the brains were out, the mai ward, like a pitiles, horseman, who has would die, left his panting horse only for a mo And there an end ; but now they rise again, ment,' to leap again into the saddle,
With twenty mortal murders on their crowne
And push us from our stools : : .. and spur him over precipices. The Avauntl and quit my sight I let the earth more he has done, the more he must hide thee! do:
Thy bones are marrowless, thy blood is cold
Thou hast no speculation in those cyes “I am in blood
Which thou dost glare with 1.** Stepp'd is so far that should I wade, no more. His body trembling like that of an Returning were as tedious as go o'er." .
epileptic, his teeth clenched, foaming He kills in order to preserve the fruit at the mouth, he sinks on the ground, of his murders. The fatal circlet of his limbs writhe, shaken with convul. gold attracts him like a magic jewel ; sive quiverings, whilst a dull sob swells and he beats down, from a sort of his panting breast, and dies in his swol. blind instinct, the heads which he sees len throat. What joy can remain for a between the crown and him :
man beset by such visions ? The wide “ But let the frame of things disjoint, both the dark country, which he surveys from his worlds suffer,
towering castle, is but a field of death, Ere we will eat our meal in fear and sleep haunted by ominous apparitions ; Scot. In the affliction of these terrible dreams That shake us nightly: better be with the land, which he is depopulating, a ceme. dead,
tery, Whom we, to gain our peace, have sent to
... the dead man's knell peace, Than on the torture of the mind to lie
Is there scarce ask'd for who; and good
men's lives In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave; After life's fitful fever he sleeps well ;
Expire before the flowers in their caps, Treason has done his worst: nor steel, nor
Dying or ere they sicken." + poison,
His soul is “full of scorpions." He Malice domestic, foreign ievy, nothing, Can touch him further." +
has “supp'd full with horrors,” and
the loathsome odor of blood has dis. Macbeth has ordered Banquo to be gusted him with all else. murdered, and in the midst of a great stumbling over the corpses which he teast he is informed of the success of has heaped up, with the mechanical his plan.
He smiles, and proposes and desperate smile of a maniac-mur Banquo's health. Unexpectedly, con derer. Thenceforth death, life, all is science-smitten, he sees the ghost of one to him; the habit of murder has the murdered man ; for this phantom, placed him out of the pale of humanwhich Shakspeare summons, is not a ity. They tell him that his wife is mere stage-trick : we feel that here dead : the supernatural is unnecessary, and that Macbeth would create it, even if
“ Macbeth. She should have died hereas hel' would not send it. With mus. There would have been a time for such a word cles !witching, dilated eyes, his mouth To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow, half open with deadly terror, he sees it Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time, shake its bloody head, and cries with And all our yesterdays have lighted fools that hoarse voice which is only to be The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief cas heard in maniacs' cells:
Life's but a waiking snaaow, a poor layer • Prithee, see there! Behold I look I lo! how That struts and frets his hour upon te stage say you?
And then is heard no more: it is a tale Why, what care I? If thou canst nod, speak Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing." I li charnel-houses and our graves must send Those that we bury back, our monuments
There remains for him the hardening Saall be the maws of kites.
of the heart in crime the fixed beliet Blood hath bee i shed ere now, i' the olden in destiny. Huntest down by hie time,
• Ibid. iïi. 4.
t Ibid. iv. 3. Macbeth üi. 4.
1 Ibid. iii. 2.
1 Ibid. v. 3.
• • •
enemies, “ bear-like, tied to a stake," A little month, oi ere tuse shoos were old he fights , troubled only by the predic
With which she follow'd my poor father's tion of the witches, sure of being in.
Ere yet the salt of most unsighteous tears vulnerable so long as the man whom Had left the flushing in her galled eyes, they have described, does not appear.
She married. O, most wicked speed to Henceforth his thoughts dwell in a
With such dexterity to incestuous sheets! supernatural world, and to the last he
It is not nor it cannot come to good! walks with his eyes fixed on the dream, But break, my heart; for I must hold my which has possessed him, from the Grst. The history of Hamlet, like that of thought, a beginning of hallucination,
Here already are contortions of Macbeth, is a story of moral poisoning. the symptoms of what is to come after. Hanlet has a delicate soul, an impas- In the middle of conversation the im jioned imagination, like that of Shak
age of his father rises before his mind. speare. He has lived hitherto, occu. He thinks he sees him. How then pied in noble studies, skilful in mental will it be when the “canonized bones and bodily exercises, with a taste for have burst their cerements, art, loved by the noblest father, enam sepulchre hath oped his ponderous and ored of the purest and most charm. marble jaws,” and when the ghost ing girl, confiding, generous, not yet comes in the night, upon a high“ plat. having perceived, from the height of form” of land to tell him of the tor. the throne to which he was born, aught tures of his prison of fire, and of the but the beauty, happiness, grandeur fratricide, who has driven him thithof nature and humanity.* On this
Hamlet grows faint, but griet soul, which character and training strengthens him, and he has a desire make more sensitive than others, mis- for living: ortune suddenly falls, extreme, overwhelming, of the very kind to destroy
“ Hold, hold, my heart ; all faith and every motive for action : And you my sinews, grow not instant old,
But bear me stiffy up! Remember thee! with ore glance he has seen all the
Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a vileness of humanity; and this insight is given him in his mother. His mind In this distracted globe. Remember thee? is yet intact; but judge from the vio- Yea, from the table of my memory
I'll wipe away all trivial fond records, lence of his style, the crudity of his
All saws of books, all forms, all pressures exact details, the terrible tension of the
past, whole nervous machine, whether he And thy commandment all alone shall live, ... has not already one foot on the verge
O villain, villain, smiling, damned villain ! of madness :
My tables,-meet it is I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a vil. "O that this too, too solid desh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
At least I'm sure it may be so in Denmark: Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd
So, uncle, there you are." f [writing.) His canon 'gainst self-slaughter! O God! God!
This convulsive outburst, this fe. How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, vered writing hand, this frenzy of in Seem to me all the uses of this world! Fie on't! ah fie! 'tis an unweeded garden,
tentness, prelude the aj-roach of a That głows to seed ; things rank and gross in kind of monomania. When his
friends come up, he treats them with Possess it merely. That it should come to the speeches of a child or an idiou
this! But two inonths dead : nay, not so much, not He is no longer master of his words
hollow phrases whirl in his biain, and So excellent a king, so loving to my fall from his mouth as in a dream mother
They call him; he answers by imita. Thai he might not let e'en the winds of heaven
ting the cry of a sportsman whistling to Visit her face too roughly Heaven and his falcon: “ Hillo, ho, ho, roy! come, earth!
bird, come.” Whilst he is in the ac And yet, within a month of swearing them to secrecy, the Let me not think on't-Frailty, thy name is
ghost below repe:ats “Swear.” Ham
Goethe Wilhelm Maister.
• Hamlet, i. 3.
: Ibid. i. Se
let cries, with a nervous excitement | own ideas; when or soul is sick, we and a fitful gayety:
see nothing bat sickness in the uni. Ah ha, boy! say'st thou so ? art thou there, verse :
truepenny? Come on--you hear this fellow in the cella:.
“ This goodly frame, the earth, seems to me
a sterile promontory, this most excellent can. consent to swear. ...
opv, the air, look you, this brave o'er hanging Ghost (beneatk). Swear.
tirmament, this majestical roof fretted with Hamlet. Hic et ubique ? then we'll shift golden fire, why, it appears no other thing to
me than a foul and pestilent congregation of our ground. Come hither, gentlemen. .
Swear by my
vapours. What a piece of work is a man! how
noble in reason! how infinite in faculty. is sword.
form Ghost (beneath). Swear.
moving how express and adınirable ! Ham. Well said, old molel canst work i?
in action how like an angel ! in apprehension the earth so fast?
how like a god! the beauty of the world! the A worthy pioner! ".
paragon of animals! And yet, to me, what is
this quintestence of dust? 'man delights not Understand that as he says this his me: no, nor woman neither.” * eeth chatter," pale as his shirt, his
Henceforth his thought sullies what knees knocking each other.” Intense
ever it touches. He rails bitterly beanguish ends with a kind of laughter, fore Ophelia against marriage and love. a hich is nothing else than a spasm. Beauty! Innocence! Beauty is bäa l'henceforth Hamlet speaks as though means of prostituting innocence: “Get he had a continuous nervous attack. thee to a nunnery: why wouldst thou His madness is feigned, I admit; but be a breeder of sinners ? What his mind, as a door whose hinges are should such fellows as I do. crawling twisted, swings and bangs with every between earth and heaven? We are wind with a mad haste and with a dis- arrant knaves, all; believe none of cordant noise. He has no need to search for the strange ideas, apparent When he has killed Polonius by incoherencies, exaggerations, the del accident, he hardly repents ir; it is one age of sarcasms which he accumulates. fool less. He jeers lugubriously: He finds them within him; he does himself no violence, he simply gives
“ King. Now Hamlet, where's Polonius ?
Hamlet. At supper. himself up to himself. When he has
K. At supper ! where? the piece played which is to unmask his H. Not where he eats, but where he is uncle, he raises himself, lounges on
eaten : a certain convocation of politic worms the floor, lays his head in Ophelia's are e’en at him.”+ lap; he addresses the actors, and And he repeats in five or six fashions comments on the piece to the specta. these grave-digger jests. His thoughts tors ; his nerves are strung, his excited already inhabit a churchyard; to this thought is like a surging and crackling hopeless philosophy a genuine man is Hane, and cannot find fuel enough in a corpse. Public functions, honors the multitude of objects surrounding passions, pleasures, projects, science, it, upon all of which it seizes. When all this is but a borrowed mask, which the king rises unmasked and troubled, death removes, so that people may see Hamlet sings, and says, “ Would not what we are, an evil-smelling and g in. this, sir, and a forest of feathers--if ning skuil. It is this sight he goes to the rest of my fortunes turn Turk with see by Ophelia's grave.
He counis ne-with two Provincial roses on my the skulls which the grave-digger turni razed shoes, get me a fellowship in a up; this was a lawyer's, that a cour. cry of players, sir !”. And he laughs tier’s. What bcws, intrigues, preter terribly, for he is resolved on murder. sions, arrogance! And here now is a It is clear that this state is a disease, clown knocking it about with his spade, and that the man will not survive it. and playing
at loggats with 'em." In a soul so ardent of thought, and Cæsar and Alexander have turned to so mighty of feeling, what is left but clay and make the earth fat; the mas disgust and despair ? We tinge all ters of the world have served to “patch nature with the color of our thoughts ; a wall.” “Now get you to my lady's we shape the world according to our
• Ibid. ii. 2.
1 lbid. iii. . • Hamlet, i. 5.
Ibid. iii. 2. Ibid. iv. 3.
chamber, and tell her, let her paint an and will, dwelling in palaces cr pcrti. nch thick, to this favor she must cos, made for conversation and society, come; make her laugh at that.” * whose harmonious and ideal action is When a man has come to this, there is developed by discourse and replies, ir nothing left but to die.
a world constructed by logic beyond This heated imagination, which ex- the realms of time and piace. plains Hamlet's nervous disease and If Shakspeare had framed a psychol his moral poisoning, explains also his ogy, he would have said, with Ésqui conduct. If he hesitates to kill his rol : * Man is a nervous machine, gov ancle, it is not from horror of blood or erned by a mood, disposed to hallucifrom ur modern scruples. He belongs nations, carried away by unbridled pas to the sixteenth century. On board sions, essentially unreasoning, a miy ship he wrote the order to behead ture of animal and poet, having instead Rosencrantz and Guildensterr., and to of mind rapture, instead of virtue sen. do so without giving them “ shriving: sibility, imagination for prompter and time.” He killed Polonius, he caused guide, and led at random, by the most Ophelia's death, and has no great re- determinate and complex circumstanmorse for it. If for once he spared ces, to sorrow, crime, madness, and his uncle, it was because he found him death. praying, and was afraid of sending him to heaven. He thought he was kill
IX. ing him, when he killed Polonius. What his imagination robs him of, is the Could such a poet always confine coolness and strength to go quietly and himself to the imitation of nature ? with premeditation to plunge a sword Will this poetical world which is going into a breast. He can only do the on in his brain, never break loose from thing on a sudden suggestion; he the laws of the world of reality? Is he must have a moment of enthusiasm ; not powerful enough to follow his own he must think the king is behind the laws? He is; and the poetry of Shak arras, or else, seeing that he himself is speare naturally finds an outlet in the poisoned, he must find his victim under fantastical. This is the highest grade his foil's point. He is not master of of unreasoning and creative imaginahis acts ; opportunity dictates them ;
tion. Despising ordinary logic, it he cannot plan a murder, but must im- creates another; it unites facts and provise it. A too lively imagination ideas in a new order, apparently absurd, exhausts the will, by the strength of in reality regular ; it lays open the land images which it heaps up, and by the of dreams, and its dreams seem to 'is fury of intentness which absorbs it. the truth. You recognize in him a poet's soul, When we enter upon Shakspeare's made not to act, but to dream, which comedies, and even his half-dramas,t it is lost in contemplating the phantoms is as though we met him on the thres. of its creation, which sees the imaginary hold, like an actor to whom the proworld too clearly to play a part in the logue is committed to prevent misunreal world; an artist whom evil chance derstanding on the part of the public, has made a prince, whom worse chance and to tell them: “Do not take too has made an avenger of crime, and seriously what you are about to hear : who, destined by nature for genius, is I am amusing myself
. My brain, being condemned by fortune to madness and full of fancies, desired to array them, s'happiness. Hamlet is Shakspeare, and here they are. Palaces, distant and, at the close of this gallery of por- landscapes, transparent clouds which traits which have all some features of blot in the morning the horizon with his own, Shakspeare has painted him their gray mists, the red and glorious self in the most striking of all.
fames into which the evening sun de. If Racine or Corneille had framed a
* A French physician (1772-1844), celebrated psychology, they would have said, with for his endeavors to improve the treatment of Descartes : Man is an incorporeal soul, the insane.- TR. served by organs, endowed with reason
+ Twelfth Night, As you Like it, Tempest,
Winter's Tale, etc., Cymbeline, Merchant • Hamlet, v. 1.
scends, white cloisters in enuless vista fine gentlemen pass by. I hear the through the ambient air, grottos, cot rolling fire of their metaphors, and I tages, the fantastic pageant of all hu- follow their skirmish of wit
. Here in man passions, the irregular sport of a corner is the artless arch face of a unlooked-for adventures,—this is the young wench. Do you forbid me to medley of forms, colors, sentiments, linger by her, to watch her smiles, her which I let become entangled and con- sudden blush:s, the childish pout of fused in my presence, a many-tinted her rosy lips, the coquetry of her pretty skein of glistening silks, a slender motions? You are in a great hurry if arabesque, whose sinuous curves, cross the prattle of this fresh and musica? ing and mingled, bewilder the mind by voice can't stop you. Is it no pleasure the whimsical variety of their infinite to view this succession of sentiments complications. Don't regard it as a and faces ? Is your fancy so dull, that picture. Don't look for a precise com- you must have the mighty mechanism position, a sole and increasing interest, of a geometrical plot to shake it? My the skilful management of a well-order. sixteenth century playgoers were easier ed and congruous plot. I have tales and to move. A sunbeam that had lost its novels before me which I am cutting way on an old wall, a foolish song up into scenes. Never mind the finis, thrown into the middle of a drama, I am amusing myself on the road. It occupied their mind as well as the is not the end of the journey which blackest of catastrophes. After the pleases me, but the journey itself. Is horrible scene in which Shylock branthere any need in going so straight and dished his butcher's knife before Anquick? Do you only care to know tonio's bare breast, they saw just as whether the poor merchant of Venice willingly the petty household wrangle, will escape Shylock's knife ? Here are and the amusing bit of raillery which two happy lovers, seated under the ends the piece. Like soft moving palace walls on a calm night; wouldn't water, their soul rose and sank in an you like to listen to the peaceful rev- instant to the level of the poet's orie which rises like a perfume from emotion, and their sentiments readily the bottom of their hearts ?
flowed in the bed he had prepared for
them. They let him stray here and • How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this there on his journey, and did not for
bank! Here will we sit and let the sounds of music bid him to make two voyages at once. Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the They allowed several plots in one. If night
but the slightest thread united them it Become the touches of sweet harmony. Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
was sufficient. Lorenzo eloped with Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold:
Jessica, Shylock was frustrated in his There's not the smallest orb which thou be- revenge, Portia's suitors failed in the
hold'st, But in his motion like an angel sings,
test imposed upon them; Portia, disStill quiring to the young-eyed cherubims;
guised as a doctor of laws, took from Such harmony is in immortal souls ; her husband the ring which he had But whilst this muddy vesture of decay promised never to part with; these Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it. three or four comedies, disunited, min
[Enter musicians. Come, hol and wake Diana with a hymn :
gled, were shuffled and unfolded to With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' gether, like an unknotted skein in which
threads of a hundred colors are And draw her home witha music.
twined. Together with diversity, my Jessica. I am never merry when I hear sweet music." *
spectators allowed improbability. Con “ Have I not the right, when I see fitters from dream to dream, whose
edy is a slight winged creature, which the big laughing face of a clownish wings you would break if you held it servant, to stop near him, see him captive in the narrow prison of common gesticulate, frolic, gossip, go through sense. Do not press its fictions too his hundred pranks and his hundred hard; do not probe their contents. grimaces, and treat myself to the com- Let them float befcre your eyes like a edy of his spirit and gayety? Two charming swift dream. Let the fleet
* Merchant of Venice, v. 1. ing apparition plunge back into the