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kingdom; but still in noble and affecting terms enjoining him, however incensed, to show no unkindness to the queen.

GHOST. Taint not thy mind, nor let thy soul contrive
Against thy mother aught; leave her to heaven,

And to those thorns that in her bosom lodge,

To prick and sting her. Fare thee well at once!
The glowworm shows the matin to be near,

And 'gins to pale his uneffectual fire :

Adieu, adieu, adieu! remember me.

These words reach and dwell upon the sense of Hamlet, distracted and almost stupefied as he has become. This terrible interview has left him stricken and bewildered, and all his thoughts in measureless confusion. The sudden burst of determination with which he had assured his father's spirit that, with wings as swift as meditation or the thoughts of love, he would sweep to revenge the foul and unnatural murder, has passed; and all his direct energy has died away under the depressing influence of the details disclosed to him. When the ghost leaves him, the prostration and distraction of his mind become palpable in his words. This prostra

tion and distraction, and the incoherent words, cannot, it is scarcely necessary to say, be feigned: his manner has no witnesses; his words have no auditors. The balance of his mind is lost; the sovereignty of his reason is really gone, as Horatio feared it might, in the retired colloquy with the spirit of his father, so lately hearsed in death. He is left incapable of steady and defined purpose. His thoughts are disordered; his very frame is nearly paralysed; and his rapid meditations are not to be marshalled and controlled. He sees the heavens above him, and invokes them; he looks upon the earth beneath him, but neither sky nor earth relieve him; and in his distraction he could almost couple hell itself with them.

HAM. O all you host of heaven! O earth! What else? And shall I couple hell?-O fye !-Hold, my heart;

And you, my sinews, grow not instant old,

But bear me stiffly up!-Remember thee?

Ay, thou poor ghost, while memory holds a seat
In this distracted globe. Remember thee-
Yea, from the table of my memory

I'll wipe away all trivial fond records,

All saws of books, all forms, all pressures past,

That youth and observation copied there;
And thy commandment all alone shall live
Within the book and volume of my brain,
Unmix'd with baser matter: yes, yes, by heaven.
O most pernicious woman!

O villain, villain, smiling, damnèd villain!
My tables, my tables,-meet it is, I set it down,
That one may smile, and smile, and be a villain;
At least, I'm sure, it may be so in Denmark:
So, uncle, there you are. Now to my word;
It is, "Adieu, adieu, remember me.”

I have sworn 't.



There is here and there in this speech some shadow of resolve, but it is faint and transient; and there are some psychological characteristics in it worthy of passing attention; two especially one of these exemplifies a peculiarity in sensitive minds, youthful, inexperienced, new to the blows of fortune and accident, and untrained to endurance, in consequence of which any sudden and sharp mortification, or any novelty affecting character or position, or involving some exposure of the secrets of the heart, creates a hasty resolve, generally soon forgotten, to set aside all the past, to re-model all the manner of life, to alter every habit, to sacri

fice every customary pleasure and solace, and thenceforth to live secluded in gloom and reserve. Hamlet's temperament has not been ripened by circumstances beyond this age of juvenile sensibility and sudden resolve, on which no action follows. Yet, so fluctuating and ungoverned are his thoughts, that after swearing to abjure all saws and fond records he reverts to his note-books, to set down that smiles and villany may exist together. Another mental trait, equally true to nature, and equally confirmed by observation, is the strange mixture of a kind of mirth with painful emotions; an admixture to be attributed, it would seem, to the temporary absence of the controlling power of reason, which leaves every emotion in the exercise of a lawless liberty. This peculiarity is more strongly developed in the conversation that immediately


When his friends at length meet with Hamlet, they do not find him altogether as they might have expected. That something strange would have to be listened to, and that they would be enjoined

to undertake

some matter of moment, was what

they must have been chiefly prepared for; but they find him shaken, unsteady, almost hysterical; without gravity or solemnity, and also without trust; ready, indeed, to talk, but talking with a madman's perversity, not unmixed with a madman's craftiness. As he is about to approach them, they call to him through the darkness

HOR. [within]. Illo, ho, ho, my lord!

HAM. Hillo, ho, ho, boy! come, bird, come.


MAR. How is't, my noble lord?

[blocks in formation]

HAM. How say you then; would heart of man once think it ?

But you'll be secret,


Ay, by heaven, my lord.

HAM. There's ne'er a villain, dwelling in all Denmark,

But he's an arrant knave.

This, Horatio very reasonably observes, there needed

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