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the author of Sir Charles Grandison to paint suns without a spot. Neither has Shakespeare, in this instance, intended to represent a character having such a share of virtue as the best specimens of humanity may be supposed to possess. Still, however, he is not quite so wicked a personage as some commentators have imagined. In fact to be as Hamlet is, as this world goes, is to be as one man picked out of ten thousand. I speak in a moral point of view. As an intellectual being, he is raised in a still higher degree above the great mass of mankind. The alleged brutality of Hamlet's conduct to Ophelia is to be attributed partly to his assumed, and partly to his actual distraction of mind; his behaviour to pretended friends, but real spies and traitors, was occasioned by his sense of the danger of his own position, and his disgust and indignation at the part which they had volunteered to act against him; and with respect to his speech concerning the king at his prayers, nothing could be more characteristic of the amiability of his disposition, and the tendency of his mind to adopt any plausible excuse for postponing to some future period an act of so terrible a character as that of depriving a fellow-creature of the life God has given him. He satisfies his conscience, in the postponement of a harsh but imperative duty, with the thought that he may perform it more effectually under different circumstances. He promises the ghost of his father, that he will haste to his revenge with wings as swift as thought; but his natural gentleness, his delicate moral sensibility, and his disposition to canvass the propriety of every action before he ventures upon it, lead him into endless procrastination; and when he does act at all, it is from some sudden inpulse, and a kind of uneasy consciousness that he must not give himself time to deliberate, or he would want the will to act. That he was not a coward, in the vulgar sense of the word, his coolness in the engagement with Laertes is a sufficient proof.
Ah ! this were but a weary world
Without its hopes and fears ;A pool by no light breezes curled
A cheerless sight appears : A smooth interminable plain Is sadder than the stormy main ; Yet these similitudes would be Of life's long, dull monotony, If human sighs and human tears Ne'er stirred, nor stained the stream of years.
They see not what the wise might see,
(Lost wanderers in the storm!)
As man above the worm,
Yet man to mournful blindness given
SONNET, WRITTEN IN INDIA.
NIGHT AND MORNING.
The moon was shrouded; cold, continuous rain
Fell on the grove with melancholy sound;
The jackal's distant cry, the voice profound
Lay in impenetrable gloom o'ercast,
Save when the fitful meteor glimmered past,
Spreads wide his living light! The fragrant bower
Ringing with morning hymns—the stately tower— The shepherd's simple home, alike have won
The cheerful smile of heaven. Fair Nature's dower Of beauty is restored, and Care's brief reign is done!
The fair smile of morning,
The glory of noon,
The path of the moon ;
The valley and plain,
The river and main ;
And raising the soul,
Illume and controul.
The timid Spring stealing
Through light and perfume,
His beauty and bloom ;
With fruit-treasures crowned,
His snow-wreaths around;
A charm on the earth,
And holiest mirth.
There is not a sorrow
That hath not a balm, From Nature to borrow,
In tempest or calm ; There is not a season,
There is not a scene, But Fancy and Reason
May hail it serene, And own its possessing
A zest for the glad, A beauty or blessing
To solace the sad !
SONG. A GLORIOUS fate is thine, fair Maid !
The green earth and the sky Nor bear an ill, nor cast a shade
To dim thine azure eye.
Thy soul is flashing o'er thy face,
Where bright emotions play, As waves o'er breezy rivers race
Beneath the morning ray.
My path was lone, and all around
The ruthless storm had been, And life had not a sight or sound
To cheer the clouded scene.
But now my darker dreams depart,
Thy form and voice are near, A light is on my raptured heart,
And music in my ear !