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it but slightly expressed, as being solely the gentle affection of a strong mind, and in no wise a passion. “And I loved her, that she did pity them.” Indeed he is not represented as a man of passion, but of stern, sedate, immoveable mood. “I have seen the cannon, that, like the devil, from his very arm puffed his own brother”—and can he be angry

? Montalto speaks with the same astonishment, calling bim respected for wisdom and gravity. Therefore, it is no love story. His love itself, as long as it is happy, is perfectly calm and serene, the protecting tenderness of a husband. It is not till it is disordered that it appears as a passion. Then is shown a power in contention with itself—a mighty being struck with death, and bringing up from all the depths of life convulsions and agonies. It is no exhibition of the power of the passion of love, but of the passion of life vitally wounded, and selfovermastering What was his love? He had placed all his faith in good-all his imagination of purity, all his tenderness of nature upon one heart; and at once that heart seems to him an ulcer. It is that recoiling agony that shakes his whole body--that having confided with the whole

power of his soul, he is utterly betrayed--that having departed from the pride and might of his life, which he held in his conquest and sovereignty over men, to rest himself upon a new and gracious affection, to build himself and his life upon one beloved heart,--having found a blessed affection, which he had passed through life without knowing, --and having chosen, in the just and pure goodness of his will, to take that affection instead of all other hopes, desires, and passions, to live by,—that at once he sees it sent out of existence, and a damned thing standing in its place. It is then that he feels a forfeiture of all power, and a blasting of all good. If Desdemona had been really guilty, the greatness would have been destroyed, because his love would have been unworthy-false. But she is good, and his love is most perfect, just, and good. That a man should place his perfect love on a wretched thing, is miserably debasing, and shocking to thought; but that, loving perfectly and well, he should, by hellish human circumvention, be brought to distrust, and dread, and abjure his own perfect love, is most mournful indeed—it is the infirmity of our good nature, wrestling in vain with the strong powers of evil. Moreover, he would, had Desdemona been false, have been the mere victim of fate; whereas, he is now in a manner his own victim. His happy love was heroic tenderness; his injured love is terrible passion ; and disordered power, engendered within itself to its own destruction, is the height of all tragedy. The character of Othello is perhaps the most greatly drawn, the most heroic of any of Shakspeare's actors; but it is, perhaps, that one also of which his reader last acquires the intelligence. The intellectual and warlike energy of his mind, his tenderness of affection-his loftiness of spirit—his frank, generous magnanimity—impetuosity like a thunderbolt, and that dark fierce flood of boiling passion, polluting even his imagination-compose a character entirely original ; most difficult to delineate, but perfectly delineated.

Hamlet might seem to be the intellectual offspring of Shakspeare's love." He alone, of all his offspring, has Shakspeare's own intellect. But he has given him a moral nature that makes his character individual. Princely, gentle, and loving; full of natural gladness, but having a depth of sensibility which is no sooner touched by the harsh events of life than it is jarred, and the mind for ever overcome with melancholy. For intellect and sensibility blended throughout, and commensurate, and both ideally exalted and pure, are not able to pass through the calamity and trial of life: unless they are guarded by some angel from its shock, they perish in it, or undergo a worse change. The play is a singular example of a piece of great length, resting its interest upon the delineation of one character; for Hamlet, his discourses, and the changes of his mind, are all the play. The other persons, even his father's ghost, are important through him ; and in himself, it is the variation of his mind, and not the varying events of his life, that affords the interest. In the representation, his celebrated soliloquy is perhaps the part of the play that is most expected, even by the common audience. His interview with his mother, of which the interest is produced entirely from his mind--for about her we care nothing—is in like manner remarkable by the sympathy it excites in those, for whom the most intellectual of Shakspeare's works would scarcely seem to have 'been written. This play is perhaps superior to any other in existence for unity in the delineation of character.

m There is great truth and no little acumen in this remark; for it may, without fear of contradiction, be asserted that the character of Hamlet is that of a man of very extraordinary and exalted genius, and the only instance, perhaps, on the stage of such a delineation, and of the whole interest of a play turning on the construction and aberrations of the mind of one individual.

We have yet to speak of the most pathetic of the plays of Shakspeare-Lear. A story unnatural and irrational in its foundation, but at the same time a natural favourite of tradition, has become, in the hands of Shakspeare, a tragedy of surpassing grandeur and interest. He has seized upon that ' germ of interest which had already made the story a favourite of popular tradition, and unfolded it into a work for the passionate sympathy of allyoung, old, rich and poor, learned and illiterate, virtuous and depraved. The majestic form of the kingly-hearted old man—the reverend head of the broken-hearted father-"a head so old and white as this”—the royalty from which he is deposed, but of which he can never be divested the father's heart, which, rejected and trampled on by two children, and trampling on its one most young and duteous child, is, in the utmost degree, a father's

still-the two characters, father and king, so high to our imagination and love, blended in the reverend image of Learboth in their destitution, yet both in their height of greatness—the spirit blighted and yet undepressed—the wits gone, and yet the moral wisdom of a good heart left unstained, almost unobscured—the wild raging of the elements, joined with human outrage and violence to persecute the helpless, unresisting, almost unoffending sufferer---and he himself in the midst of all imaginable misery and desolation, descanting upon himself, on the whirlwinds that drive around him, and then turning in tenderness to some of the wild motley association of sufferers among whom he stands--all this is not like what has been seen on any stage, perhaps in any reality; but it has made a world to our imagination about one single imaginary individual, such as draws the reverence and sympathy which should seem to belong properly only to living men. It is like the remembrance of some wild perturbed scene of real life. Every thing is perfectly woful in this world of wo.

The very assumed madness of Edgar, which, if the story of Edgar stood alone, would be insufferable, and would utterly degrade him to us, seems, associated as he is with Lear, to come within the consecration of Lear's madness. It agrees with all that is brought together ;-the night—the storms, the houselessness-Gloster with his eyes put outthe fool-the semblance of a madman, and Lear in his madness,--are all bound together by a strange

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