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would make a long tale. The scenes are in- murder, by the king, his uncle, and calls upon terchangeably diversified with merriment and Hamlet to revenge it. In order to accomplish solemnity: with merriment that includes judi- this purpose, Hamlet feigns madness, especicious and instructive observations; and solem- | ally in his conduct towards Ophelia, danghter nity not strained by poetical violence above of Polonius, with whom he is enamoured. the natural sentiments of man. This play is Hamlet engages some players, who enact a printed in the old editions without any separa- scene in the presence of the King and Queen, tions of the acts. The division is modern and which displays the murder of his father, purarbitrary; and is here not very happy:" (Act posely to try the King. Claudius, on behold. iv.) “The original story (says Steevens) on ing this, stung by his conscious guilt, and which this story is built, may be found in fearful of some untoward event, determines to Sun Grammaticus, the Danish historian. From rid himself of his nephew by sending him to thence Belleforest adopted it in his collection England. This project is aided by Flamlat of novels, in seren volumes, which he began killing Polonius, whom he mistakes for the in 1561. From this work, The Historic of Ham- King, and who was concealed behind the arras Writ, quarto, bl. 1., was translated." To the to listen to the conversation between the Queen latter both he and Malone thought Shakspeare and her son, who had demanded an interview. was indebted; he owed something also, accord-Hamlet is by an accident made prisoner by ing to the latter, to “ A play on the subject of some pirates as he is on his way to England, Hanlei, which had been exhibited on the stage but he escapes, and unexpectedly returns to before the year 1589, of which Thomas Kyd Denmark. Previonsly, he discovers that the was, I believe, the author." Dr. Gabriel lar- Ambassadors are instructed by the King's letvey (the antagonist of Nash) set down Hamiet, ters, to cause him to be put to death on bis as a performance with which he was well ac- arrival in England, whicli letters he exchanges quainted, in the year 1598. He says, “ The for others containing the same directions for younger sort take much delightin Shakspeare's their deaths. During his absence, Ophelia, Vemis and Adonis; but his Lucrece, and his distracted through her father's death, and her Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmark, have in own misfortunes, destroys herself; and her them to please the wiser sort, 1598."
brother, Laertes, urged by false rumours con“ The frequent allusions (observes Steevens) ceming his father's death, rebels against the du? of contemporary authors to this play suti- King, but he abandons his intention on being ciently shows its popularity." In an old collec- told that Hamlet did the deed. A stratagem tioa of satirical pocms, called The Night-Raven, is got up by the King, in which Laertes basely is this couplet:
consents to dispatch Hamlet by secret means. "I will not cry Hamlet, Revenge my greeves,
Claudius wagers six Barbary horses against But I will call Hangman, Revenge on thieves." six French swords with Laertes, that in a cic Dr. Farmer, in his essay on the Learning of zen passes he does not exceed Hamlet three, Shakspeare, says, “Greeri, in the Epistle pre- | Hamlet consents to make trial, and is first fixed to his Arcadia, hath a host of sone. vaine wounded by Laertes, who hay treacherously glorious tragedians,' and very plainly of Shak- used a poisoned weapon. In a scuffle they speare in particular :-leave all these to the change swords, and Laertes is himself wounded miercy of their mother-tongue, that feed on nanght | by the same deadly weapon. The King had but the crumbs that fall from the trunslator's prepared a poisoned chalice, with which be trepcher. That could scarcely latanize their determined to end Hamlet, if Laertes failed. neck verse if they should have pcede — yet In the contents of this the Queen, unconscious English Seneca, read by candle light, yields it is drugged, pledges Hamlet, and is poisoned. many good sentences; he will afford you whole Laertes, in the agonies of death, confesses his Ham!ıés, I should say, handfuls of tragical own pertidy, and accuses the King; and Ilimspeeches.'” In the books of the Stationers' let with the sword of Laertes, revenges bimCompany, this play was entered by James self by stabbing the infamous Claudius: and Roberts, July 26, 1602, under the title of “A the whole concludes with the news of the death booke called The Revenge of Hamlet, Prince, ofl of Rosencrantz and Guilderstern, through the Denmark, as it was lately acted by the Lord letters forged by Hamlet, and an eulogium on Chamberlain his servantes." "Shakspeare's the imfortunate Prince by his friend Iloratio, Ilamlet (says Malone) was written, if my con
and the choice of young Fortinbras for King jecture be well founded, in 1596."
In this play we see exemplified the proverThe scene opens in Elsinore, where a Ghost hial saying, “Murder will out;" for by introis seen by the sentinels keeping guard before ducing the Ghost of the murdered King, Shakthe castle, which circumstance is related to speare intended no doubt to intimate, that Hamlet by his friend Iloratio, who describes though secrecy may veil the deed of the murthe spirit as much resembling the late King derer for a time. Providence, that “ suffers not of Denmark, his deceased father, whom his a sparrow to fall to the ground unnoticed,” will uncle Clandius is suspected to have murdered, by supernatural agency buih expose and punin order that he might usurp his throne, which ish the aggressor. In the death of the Queen, he had done, and also married his queen, the
we are warned against participating in the mother of Hamlet, within a month after. Ham- fancied success of villany; and in that of Laerlet, moved by the relation of Horatio, deter- tes, against suffering our passions perfidiously mines to watch for the next appearance of the to lead us to seek a secret revenge, without a Ghost, which is seen again at midnigne, disco- regard either to justice or our own honour. Ile vers itself to him as his murdered parent, and has our contempi, but might have commanded relates to him the circumstances of his cruel our pity and admiration.
HISTORICAL, CRITICAL, AND EXPLANATORY NOTICES.
Othello, the Jour of Venice.
"The beauties of this play,” says Dr. Johnson, Roderigo, is highly incensed with the Moor, "impress themselves so strongly upon the at- and cites him before the Council, where Othello tention of the reader, that they can draw no aid vindicates himself, and his assertions are verifrom critical illustration. The fiery openness fied by his wife, Desdemona. The proceedings of Othello, magnanimous, artless, and credu are, however, suddenly stopped, in consequence lous, boundless in confidence, ardent in his af- of news reaching Venice, that the Turks are fection, inflexible in his resolution, and obdu- making a descent upon Cyprus, against whom rate in his revenge; the cool malignity of Iago, Othello is dispatched, and is shortly followed silent in his resentment, subtle in his designs, by Desdemona. On their arrival, however, it and studious at once of his interest and his is ascertained, that the Turkish fleet has been vengeance; the soft simplicity of Desdemona, wrecked during a severe storm, and Othello confident of merit, and conscious of innocence, alone finds an enemy where he least expected her artless perseverance in her suit, and her one. Iago, to satiate his revenge, had formed slowness to suspect that she can be suspected, some deep plots against the peace of bis Geneare such proofs of Shakspeare's skill in human Iral, Roderigo, who had followed Othello to nature, as, I suppose, it is vain to seek in any Cyprus in hopes of enjoying Desdemona, is modern writer." Pope asserts, that the story prevailed upon by lago to pick a quarrel with is taken from Cynthio's novels. “I bave," writes Cassio when heated with wine, which succeeds, Dr. Farmer, "seen a French translation of and causes him to be cashiered from his office Cynthio, by Gabriel Chapoys, Par. 1584. This of Lieutenant, who prevails upon Desdemona is not a faithful one; and I suspect, through to sue Othello for his re-appointment. From this medium, the work came into English.” this circumstance, the treacherous lago poisons Steevens observes, “It is highly probable that the mind of Othello with suspicions of his our author met with the name of Othello in wife's fidelity, in which he succeeds too well. some tale that has escaped our researches; as Wrought up to the highest pitch of jealousy, I likewise find it in Reynolds's God's Revenge Othello, at the suggestion of lago, consents to against Adult ry. Here also occurs the name have Cassio assassinated, and determines to of lago." It is likewise found, as Dr. Farmer murder his innocent and unsuspecting wife observes, in “The History of the famous Euor- with his own hands. Iago persuades Roderigo danus, Prince of Denmark, with the strange to attempt the life of Cassio, but being himAdventures of lago, Priuce of Saxonie ; vol. i. self overcome and slightly wounded by Cassio 4to. London, 1605.” According to Reed, Selymus in the rencontre, lest he should confess who the Second formed his design against Cyprus employed him, he is instantly dispatched by in 1569, and took it in 1571. We learn from the monster, lago. Othello, in the meantime, the play that there was a junction of the Turk- smothers Desdemona in her bed; but being ish ileet at Rhodes, in order for the invasion of soon after awakened to a sense of his rash act, Cyprus; and as they never attacked it but once by Emilia explaining the treachery of lago, during the time the Venetians possessed it, frantic with despair, having first wounded the this gives us the exact time of the play. (See villain who had deceived him, he kills himself, Knolles's Hist. of the Turks, p. 838, &c.) “This and falls by the side of his injured wife. Complay,"adds Steevens," was entered at Stationers' missioners have just arrived with authority to Hall, October 6, 1621, by Thomas Walkely;" appoint Cassio governor in his stead, who anand Malone ascribes the production,“ but on no nounce the death of Brabantio with grief, for very sure ground," to A.D. 1611.
the loss of his daughters; and the task of
punishing the villanous Iago falls on Cassio. THE PLOT.
MORAL. The scene opens in Venice, between lago, the ancient of Othello, and Roderigo. The for- In the catastrophe of this play, we are warned mer, it appears, has conceived a mortal hatred not to suffer our passions to be hastily called against his commander, Othello, first for ap- forth, by the base insinuations of the designing: pointing Cassio his lieutenant instead of him- but to be satisfied with and act upon facts alone; self, and, as he afterwards tells us, for having, lest, driven to desperation against our better as he suspected, dishonoured his wife, Emilia judgment, we, like Othello, discover our error Othello had prívily married Desdemona, the when it is too late to repair the evil we have daughter of Brabantio, a senator, who, on being rashly committed, and become ourselves the acquainted with the circumstance by lago and last victim.
STEPHANO, a drunken Butler.
Master of a Ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.
MIRANDA, Daughter to Prospero.
ARIEL, an airy Spirit.
Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
Gon. Good; yet remember whom thou hast
aboard. Art First.
Boats. None that I more love than myself.
You are a counsellor; if you can command these SCENE I.-On a Ship at Sea. elements to silence, and work the peace of the A Storm, with Thunder and Lightning. present, we will not hand a rope more; use Enter a Shipmaster and a Boatswain.
your authority. If you cannot, give thanks you
have lived so long, and make yourself ready in Mast. BOATSWAIN,
your cabin for the mischance of the hour, if it Boats. Here, master : what cheer?
so hap:-Cheerly, good hearts.-Out of our way, Mast. Good : speak to the mariners: fall to't
(Exit. yarely, or we run ourselves aground; bestir,
Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow. bestir.
[E.cit. methinks he has no drowning mark upon him; Enter Mariners.
his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, Boats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly: good fate, to his hanging ! make the rope of his my hearts; yare, yare ; take in the top-sail; destiny our cable, for our own doth little adTend to the master's whistle.- Blow till thou vantage! If he be not born to be hanged, our burst thy wind, if room enough!
case is miserable.
(Exeunt. Enter ALONZO, SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, FEBDI
Boats. Down with the topmast; yare; lower, Alon. Good Boatswain, have care. Where's lower; bring her to try with main-course. (A the Master? Play the men.
cry within.] A plague upon this bowling! they Boats. I pray now, keep below.
are louder than the weather, on our office.Ant. Where is the master, Boatswain ? Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our 14
Re-enter SEBASTIAN, ANTONIO, and Gonzalo. bour; keep your cabins; you do assist the storm. Yet again? what do you here? Shall we give Gon. Nay, good, be patient.
o'er, and drown? Have you a mind to sink? Boats. When the sea is. Hence! What care Seb. A pox o' your throat! you bawling, blasthese roarers for the name of king? To cabin: phemous, uncharitable dog! silence: trouble us not.
Boats. Work you, then.
Ant. Hang, cur, hang! you whoreson, insolent I have with such provision in mine art noise-maker, we are less afraid to be drowned So safely order'd, that there is no soulthan thou art.
No, not so much perdition as an hair, Gon. I'll warrant him from drowning; though Betid to any creature in the vessel the ship were no stronger than a nut-shell, and which thou heard'st cry, which thou saw'st as leaky as an unstanched wench.
sink. Sit down; Boats. Lay her a-hold, a-hold: set her two For thou must now know further. courses off; to sea again, lay her off.
You have often Enter Mariners wet.
Begun to tell me what I am; but stopp'd
And left me to a bootless inquisition;
The hour's now come; Boats. What, must our mouths be cold?
The very minute bids thee ope thine ear; Gon. The king and prince at prayers! let us Obey, and be attentive. Canst thou remember assist them,
A time before we came unto this cell?
I do not think thou canst; for then thou wast not
Out three years old. Ant. We are merely cheated of our lives by
Certainly, sir, I can. This wide-chapped rascal;'Would, thou
Pro. By what? by any other house, or person? might'st le drowning,
Of any thing the image tell me, that
Hath kept with thy remembrance.
'Tis far off; Though every drop of water swear against it,
And rather like a dream than an assurance And gape at wid'st to glut him.
That my remembrance warrants: Had I not (A confused noise within.] Mercy on us!-We Four or five wonien once, that tended me? split, we split!-Farewell,my wife and children!
Pro. Thou had'st, and more, Miranda : But -Farewell, brother!-We split, we split, we how is it,
That this lives in thy mind? What seest thou
If thou remember'st aught, ere thou cam'st here, of sea for an acre of barren ground; long heath,
But that I do not. brown furze, any thing: The wills above be
Pro. Twelve years since, Miranda, twelve done! but I would fain die a dry death. (Exit.
Thy father was the duke of Milan, and
A prince of power.
Pro. Thy mother was a piece of virtue, and Mira. If by your art, my dearest father, you She said-thou wast my daughter; and thy havo
Was duke of Milan; and his only heir father Put the wild waters in this roar, allay them; A princess ;-no worse issued. The sky, it seems, would pour down stinking Mira.
O, the Heavens pitch,
What foul play had we, that we came from But that the sea, mounting to the welkin's cheek, thence ? Dashes the fire out. O, I have suffer'd Or blessed was't, we did ? With those that I saw suffer! a brave vessel, Pro.
Poth, both, my girl: Who had no doubt some noble creatures in her, By foul play, as thou say'st, were we heared Dash'd all to pieces. O, the cry did knock
thence; Against my very heart! Poor souls! they But blessedly holp hither. perish'd.
O, my heart bleeds Had I been any god of power, I would To think o' the teen that I have turn'd you to, Have sunk the sea within the earth, or e'er Which is from my remembrance! Please you It should the good ship so have swallowed, and further.
[nioThe freighting souls within her.
Pro. My brother, and thy uncle, call'd Anto Pro.
Be collected; I pray thee, mark me,--that a brother should No more amazement: tell your piteous heart,' Be so perfidious !-he whom, next thyself, There's no harm done.
Of all the world I loved, and to him put Mira.
O, woe the day. The manage of my state; as, at that time, Pro.
No harm. Through all the signiories it was the first, I have done nothing but in care of thee, And Prospero the prime duke; being so repnted (Of thee, my dear one! thee, my daughter!) who In dignity, and, for the liberal arts, Art ignorant of what thou art, nought knowing Without a parallel; those being all my study, Of whence I am; nor that I am more better The government I cast upon my brother, Than Prospero, master of a full poor cell, And to my state grew stranger, being transAnd thy no greater father.
More to know And rapt in secret studies. Thy false uncleDid never meddle with my thoughts.
Dost thou attend me? Pro. "Tis time, Mira.
Sir, most heedfully. I should inform thee further. Lend thy hand, Pro. Being once perfected now to grant suits, And pluck my magick garment from me.--So;' How to deny them; whom to advance, and whom
[Lays down his mantle. To trash for over-topping: new created Lio there my art.-Wipe thou thine eyes; have the creatures that were mine, I say, or chang'd comfort.
them, The direful spectacle of the wreck, which touch'al or else new-form'd them: having both the key The very virtue of compassion in thee, Of officer and office, set all bearts i' th' stato
To what tune pleased his ear; that now he was | A rotten carcass of a bont, not rigg'd,
To cry to the sea that roar'd to us; to sigh Mir. 0, good sir, I do.
To the winds, whose pity, sighing back again, Pro.
I pray thee, mark me. Did us but loving wrong. I thus neglecting worldly ends, all dedicate Mira.
Alack! what trouble To closeness, and the bettering of my mind Was I then to you! With that, which, but by being so retir'd, Pro.
0! a cherubim O'er-prized all popular rate, in my false brother Thou wast, that did preserve me! Thou didst Awak'd an evil nature: and my trust, Infused with a fortitude from heaven, smile, Like a good parent, did beget of him
When I have deck'd the sea with drops full salt; A falsehood, in its contrary as great
Under my burden groan'd; which rais'd in me As my trust was; which had, indeed, no limit, An undergoing stomach, to bear up A contidence sans bound. He being thus lorded, Against what should ensue. Not only with what my revenue yielded,
How came we ashore? But what my power might else exact,-like one, Pro. By Providence divine. Who having, unto truth, by tellng of it, Some food we had, and some fresh water, that Made such a sinner of his memory,
A noble Neapolitan, Gonzalo, To credit his own lie,--he did believe
Out of his charity, (who being then appointed He was indeed the duke; out of the substitution, Master of this design,) did give us ; with And executing the ontward face of royalty, Rich garments, linens, stuffs, and necessaries, With all prerogative :-Hence his ambition Which since have steaded much; so of his genGrowing,–Dost hear?
tleness. Mira. Your tale, sir, would cure deafness. Knowing I loved my books, he furnish'd me, Pro. To have no screen between this part he From my own library, with volumes that play'd
I prize above my dukedom. And him he play'd it for, he needs will be Mira.
'Would, I might Absolute Milan: Me, poor man !--my library But ever see that man! Was dukedom large enough; of temporal roy- Pro.
Now I arise alties
Sit still, and hear the last of our sea-sorrow. He thinks me now incapable : confederates Here in this island we arrived; and here (So dry he was for sway)
with the king of Naples, Have I, thy schoolmaster, made thee more profit To give him annual tribute, do him homage; Than other princes can, that have more time Subject his coronet to his crown, and bend For vainer hours, and tutors not so careful. The dukedom, yet unbow'd, (alas, poor Milan !) Mira. Heavens thank you for't! and now, I To most ignoble stooping.
pray you, sir, Mira.
O the heavens! (For still 'tis beating in my mind,) your reason
Know thus far forth.Mira.
I should sin By accident most strange, bountiful fortune, To think but nobly of my grandmother : Now my dear lady, hath mine enemies Good wombs have borne bad sons.
Brought to this shore: and by my prescience Pro.
Now the condition. I find my zenith doth depend upon This king of Naples, being an enemy
A most auspicious star; whose influence To me inveterate, hearkens my brother's suit; If now I court not, but omit, my fortunes Which was, that he in lieu o' the premises,- Will ever after droop.--Here cease more quesOf homage, and I know not how much tribute,- tions : Should presently extirpate me and mine Thou art inclin'd to sleep; 'tis a good dulness, Out of the dukedom; and confer fair Milan, And give it way ;-I know thou canst not With all the bonours, on my brother: Whereon, choose.
Ari. All hail, great master! grave sir, hail;
I come I, not rememb'ring how I cried out then, T'o answer thy best pleasure; be 't to fly, Will cry it o'er again; it is a hint,
To swim, to dive into the fire, to ride That wrings mine eyes to 't.
On the curl'd clouds; to thy strong bidding, task Pro.
Hear a little further, Ariel, and all his quality. And then I'll bring thee to the present business Pro.
Hast thou, spirit, Which now's upon us; without the which, this Performed to point the tempest that I bade thee? story
Ari. To every article. Were most impertinent.
I boarded the king's ship; now on the beak, Mira.
Wherefore did they not Now in the waist, the deck, in every cabin, That hour destroy us?
I fam'd amazement: Sometimes, I'd divide, Pro.
Well demanded, wench; And burn in many places; on the top-nast, (My tale provokes that question. Dear, they The yards, and bowsprit, would i flame dirdurst not:
tinctly, So dear the love my people bore me) nor set Then meet, and join: Jove's lightnings, the A mark so bloody on the business ; but
precursors With colours fairer painted their foul enus. O'the dreadful thunderclaps, more momentary In few, they hurried us aboard a bark; And sight ont-running were not: The Are, and Bore as some leagues to sea; where they prepar'a cracks