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It is hard upon a reviewer to be obliged to wade through the mud of Grub-street every month in the year, though he now and then has a pleasant walk in Kensington Gardens.
The more exalted you are, the more you will be observed. Your conduct should therefore be correct, to bear its being viewed on all sides; but if you be determined to care for nobody then nobody will care for you.
A merry man at table brings as many good things out of his mouth as he puts into it.
If a diterary man can prepare a work in twelve months, he should bestow two months of the time in polishing it.
You may employ any man to buy a horse for you, but choose a wife for yourself When
you suspect a man to have a bad heart, avoid him as you would a If you be a young man of abilities, though you may not, at first, succeed in your profession, you may boldly look forward to better times.
Gentleness on the part of the husband, and obedience on the part of the wife, fill; the house with love and harmony.
There is as much to be gained by thinking as by reading.
In northern countries, snow is sent by Providence as a great coat to the earth.
There is no character so truly respectable as a benevolent clergyman.
upon us a double set of organs for that purpose.
a mountebank and his fool are surrounded by a gaping crowd, they are perhaps the only two wise men in the company.
your mind from too much attention to serious subjects, and refresh it now and then with a country excursion.
The great art of living is to know how to time thing's well. It is a study, and not to be acquired in a moment. Avoid being of a captious temper; and never think yourself affronted, but
or slight, is apparent. Booksellers are the midwives of the Muses.
are the worst judges of their own works, and so are physicians
complaints. Irresolute people always find a lion or a bear in their way.
Expel a factious man fiom his own country and he will still continue to be the same creature wherever he goes.
A man who cannot govern himself is but ill qualified to govern others.
Be faithful to your God, be loyal to your Prince, be affectionate to your fanily, be honest in your dealing's, be kind to your friends, and you will stand! firm as a rock in the midst of a tempestuous ocean.
when the affront,
Authors of their own
has pleased nobody,
If you search diligently after Truth, you may be sure of her meeting you
If you can once bring your mind to a due observance of Sunday, you may safely leave the regulations of the other days to themselves.
Never take a thing for granted, when it is in your power to reduce it to absolute certainty.
That system of logic, which consists not in abstruse terms, or argumenta. tive subtlety, but in the manly exercise of the rational powers, justly claims an important place in every system of education. If a great man look down upon you, dont look up to him,
(To be continued.)
FOR THE PORT FOLIO.
ON THE CHARACTER OF POLONIUS.
them to every eye.
In the last number of The Port Folio (page 135) appeared a shore critique on the character of Polonius, which will not fail to arrest the attention of the lovers of the drama. It was published under the title of “ An Author's Evenings.” With the general style and manner of that paper, no judge of composition can be otherwise than pleased, for of the chaste scholar and the man of taste is discoverable in
But of the sentiments which the paper contains, and the principles which it advocates, we think no judge of Shakspeare can possibly approve.
The general, we might almost say the uniform opinion of players, commentators, and critics, appears to have hitherto been, that Pololonius, though a favourite courtier, and an officer of the royal household, was notwithstanding a dotard in thought, and a buffoon in action. And such he has been universally represented on the stage. The avowed object of our“ Author,” in one of his evening exercises, has been, to vindicate the character of the “ heavy and humiliating charges, and to prove, in opposition to the whole school of Shakspeare, that he was plished statesman,” a courtier, not only possessing, but richly meriting the ear and confidence of Claudius, the profligate usurper of the throne of Denmark, who is declared, in the same page, to be of “ta
good old man” from these
a sage, a scholar, and an accom
lents and discernment." An enterprize by a solitary individual, so
difficult and hazardous in itself, and directly in the face of such a host
Author,” though no doubt a man of great candour, has cer-
It will not, we think, be denied, even by our Author” himself, that he has treated the subject in a manner altogether ex parte—that, like an experienced counsellor, he has selected his evidence, carefully keeping out of view every thing except what he considered well calculated to promote the interest of his client. He cannot, therefore, take it amiss, should we, in imitation of his example, endeavour to make an unmingled display of the principal evidence on the other side of the question. As he has tasked his whole ingenuity in emblazoning the lights, he will suffer us to expose the shades of the picture. It is in this way that the public will be best enabled to judge for themselves, and ultimately to act the part of an impartial and a competent umpire.
The first proof we shall offer from Shakspeare, that there was something very strikingly defective in the character of Polonius, is the very line, which our « Author” has chosen for the motto of his paper.
says Hamlet to the players, when about to dismiss them, s6 Follow that lord, (pointing to Polonius) and look you mock him not.” Now, whence, we beg leave to ask, is the necessity-where, indeed, is even the propriety of this admonition to civility and respectful treatment, had there not been, in the character of Polonius, something worcule, and give keener points to the shafts of satire? - something greatly beneath the dignity of the venerable sage, the profound scholar, the polished courtier, and the accomplished statesman? Had Polonius been distinguished for either of these attributes of character, much more for
“ Author” alleges to have been the case ; surely the players could have needed no admonition from Hamlet, not to assail him with ridicule or mockery. Enlightened, polished, and dignified old age, is a never-failing guaranty for respectful treatment throughout the world. Hamlet's caution, then, to the players. in relation to Polonius, may be thus correctly paraphrased.
“Although that lord, to whose attentions I have recommended you, is superannuated, garrulous and weak; and although the style of his manners by no
all of them,
means corresponds to the elevation of his rank; yet, as you will be in the constant reception of civilities from him, and as his proximity to the throne gives him weight in society, it will be most becoming, as well as most prudent in you, to treat him with respect.” On many
occasions in the course of the drama, do we find the good old man,'
the queen styles him (for in no instance, we believe, does any one venture to call him either wise or great) on many occasions, do we find him engaged in weaving a puerile and low-bred web of words, alike inconsistent with manly sense and dignity of deportment. A most memorable instance of this kind occurs, where he, undertakes to make known to the king and queen of Denmark, the important and profound discovery which he fancies he has made, relative to the cause of Hamlet's madness. While their majesties are almost consuming under a feverish anxiety to be made acquainted with the longwished-for and interesting secret, the Lord Chamberlain appears before them, and foolishly prefaces his communication with a harangue more oppressively and impertinently circumlocutory, than anything to be found in the English language. Instead of promptly telling them that Hamlet's madness arose from the vehemence of his passion for the fair Ophelia, he accosts them in the following irrelevant and fulsome string of flourishes.
My liege, and madam, to expostulate
Queen. (Impatiently) More matter, with less art!
Polonius. Madam, I swear I use no art at all
the cause of this defect;
Now gather and surmise.
This long-winded effusion of sterling nonsense needs no remarks. Comment would only weaken the sentiments of contempt, which the original awakens in the mind of the reader. We are at a loss to say whether the whole exordium would seem to be characterized most strongly by the garrulity of age or the incoherence cf ebriety. It would have come much more in character from the king's jester, than from his time-worn Chamberlain and privy Counsellor.
Equally undignified, quaint, and silly, is the following account given by Polonius of Hamlet's progress towards insanity, when wounded in his affection for the beauteous Ophelia.
The young prince, says he; when repulsed, first
Fell into a sadness; then into a fast;
Precisely of the same cliaracter is the light, frothy, and ludicrous statement, the old man gives to Hamlet, of the extensive and versatile talents of the players, who had come to Elsineur to perform for his amusement. They are, says he, The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral, tragical-historical, tragical-comicaltragical-pastoral, scene undividable, or poem unlimited : Seneca cannot be too heavy, nor Plautus too light: For the law of writ and liberty, these are
the only men.
A disposition to boast of our discernment, acquirements, or exploits, is certainly in no degree characteristic of wisdom, g'ood-breeding, or dignity of mind. On the other hand, it belongs more peculiarly either to an original weakness of intellect, or to a weakness induced by the ravages of time. In either case, it sinks the man beneath the sage, the scholar, or the statesman. Yet, on many occasions is this boastfulness of disposition strikingly manifested by the superannuated and garrulous Chamberlain of Claudius. Thus, still dwelling on the profoundness and importance of his supposed discovery relative to the insanity of the young prince, he says,
And I do think (or else this brain of mine