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And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain,
[March afar off, and Shot within.
What warlike noise is this?
0, I die, Horatio;
sweet prince; And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest! Why does the drum come hither?
Enter FORTIN BRAS, the English Ambassadors, and
Fort. Where is this sight?
What is it, you
would see? If aught of woe, or wonder, cease your search. Fort. This quarry' cries on hayock!2-0 proud
deill! What feast is toward in thine eternal cell,
70'er-comes. 8 Incidents. 9 Incited.
of dead game. 2 A word of censure when more game was destroyed than wat
That thou so many princes, at a shot,
The sight is dismal;
Not from his mouth,
Fort. Let us haste to hear it,
Hor. Of that I shall have also cause to speak,
31.e. The king's.
4 By chance.
Even while men's minds are wild; lest more mis
chance, On plots and errors, happen. Fort.
Let four captains Bear Hamlet, like a soldier, to the stage; For he was likely, had he been put on, To have prov'd most royally : and, for his passage, The soldier's musick, and the rites of war, Speak loudly for him.Take up
the bodies :-Such a sight as this Becomes the field, but here shows much amiss. Go, bid the soldiers shoot.
[A dead March [Exeunt, bearing off the dead Bodies; after
which, a Peal of Ordnance is shot off.
If the dramas of Shakspeare were to be characterised, each by the particular excellence which distinguishes it from the rest, we must aliow to the tragedy of Hamlet the praise of variety. The incidents are so numerous, that the argument of the play would make a long tale. The scenes are interchangeably diversified with merriment and solemnity : with merriment that includes judicious and instructive observations ; and solemnity not strained by poetical violence above the natural sentiments of man. New characters appear from time to time in continual succession, exhibiting various forms of life and particular modes of conversation. The pretended madness of Hamlet causes much mirth, the mournful distraction of Ophelia fills the heart with tenderness, and every personage produces the effect intended, from the apparition that in the first Act chills the blood with horror, to the fop in the last, that exposes affectation to just contempt.
The conduct is perhaps not wholly secure against objec. tions. The action is indeed for the most part in continual progression, but there are some scenes which neither forward nor retard it. Of the feigned madness of Hamlet there appears no adequate cause, for he does nothing which he might
not have done with the reputation of sanity. He plays the madman most, when he treats Ophelia with so much rudeness, which seems to be useless and wanton cruelty.
Hamlet is, through the whole piece, rather an instrument than an agent. After he has, by the stratagem of the play, convicted the King, he makes no attempt to punish him; and his death is at last effected by an incident which Hamlet had no part in producing.
The catastrophe is not very happily produced ; the exchange of weapons is rather an expedient of necessity, than a stroke of art. A scheme might easily be formed to kill Hamlet with the dagger, and Laertes with the bowl.
The poet is accused of having shown little regard to poeti. cal justice, and may be charged with equal neglect of poetical probability. The apparition left the regions of the dead to little purpose; the revenge which he demands is not obtained, but by the death of him that was required to take it; and the gratification, which would arise from the destruction of an usurper and a murderer, is abated by the untimely death of Ophelia, the young, the beautiful, the harmless, and the pious.