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gives credibility and importance to this phænomenon. Horatio's address to the Ghost is brief and pertinent, and the whole purport of it agreeable to the vulgar conceptions of these matters.
If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,
Speak to me.
If there be any good thing to be done,
That may to thee do ease, and grace to me,
If thou art privy to thy country's fate,
Or, if thou hast uphoarded in thy life
Extorted treasure in the womb of earth,
For which, they say, you spirits oft walk in death,
Its vanishing at the crowing of the cock, is another circumstance of the established superstition.
Young Hamlet's indignation at his mo
ther's hasty and incestuous marriage, his sorrow for his father's death, the character he gives of that prince, prepare the spectator to sympathize with his wrongs and sufferings. The son, as is natural, with much more vehement emotion than Horatio did, addresses his father's shade. Hamlet's terror, his astonishment, his vehement desire to know the cause of this visitation, are irresistibly communicated to the spectator by the following speech.
Angels and ministers of grace defend us!
Be thou a spirit of health, or goblin damn'd,
Bring with thee airs from heav'n or blasts from hell,
Be thy intents wicked or charitable,
Thou com'st in such a questionable shape,
That I will speak to thee. I'll call thee Hamlet,
King, father, royal Dane: oh! answer me;
Let me not burst in ignorance; but tell,
Why thy canonized bones, hearsed in death,
Hath op'd his ponderous and marble jaws,
To cast thee up again? What may this mean,
That thou, dead corse, again, in complete steel,
Never did the Grecian muse of tragedy relate a tale so full of pity and terror, as is imparted by the Ghost. Every circumstance melts us with compassion; and with what horror do we hear him say !
But that I am forbid
To tell the secrets of my prison-house,
1 could a tale unfold, whose lightest word
Would harrow up thy soul, freeze thy young blood,
Make thy two eyes, like stars, start from their spheres,
Thy knotted and combined locks to part,
And each particular hair to stand on end
Like quills upon the fretful porcupine:
But this eternal blazon must not be
To ears of flesh and blood.
All that follows is solemn, sad, and deeply affecting.
Whatever in Hamlet belongs to the præ
ternatural, is perfectly fine; the rest of the play does not come within the subject of this chapter.
The ingenious criticism on the play of the Tempest, published in the Adventurer, has made it unnecessary to enlarge on that admirable piece, which alone would prove our author to have had a fertile, a sublime, and original genius.