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Erster HAMLET. Ham. To be, or not to be? that is the question.--. Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The flings and arrows of ontrageous
fortune ; Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, (33)
(33),Or to take arins again? a fea of trou”les,
And by opposing end them?) I once imagined, that, to pres serve the uniformity of metaphor and as it is a word our Author is fond of uliog ellewhere, he might have wrote;a firge of troubles. So, in Mi liemmer Vigli's Dream ;
Or, if i here were a sympathy in choice,
War, death, or fickness did lay siege to it. King Jchu;
Death, having proyed upon the outward parts,
Leaves them, invisible his ficge is now, &c. Romeo and Juliet ;
You, to remove that lege of grief from her,
Betrotbed, and would have married her, &c.
Not even Nature,
But by contempt of nature.
-against a 'lay of troubles ; i. e. against the attempts, attacks, &c. So, before, in this play;
Makes vow before his uncle, never more
To give the afay of arms against your majesty, Henry V.
Galling the gleaned land with hot oflays. Macbeth ;
their malady convinces. The great afay of art. And that thy tongue fome 'jay of breeding breathes».
&c. &c. But, perhaps, any correction whatever may be unneceffary.
And by opposing end them :---to die,---to sleep--No more; and by a sleep, to say, we end The heart-ache, and the thousand natural shocks That Helh is heir to; 'tis a consummation Devoutly, to be wilhed. To die --to fleep--(3+) considering the great licentiousness of our Poet in joiningricterogeneous metaphors; and considering too, that a jer is used not only to fignify the ocean, bui likewise a vast quantity, multitude, or confluence of any thing else. Instances are thick both in sacred and profane writers. The prophet Jeremiah, particularly, in one patage, calls a prodigious army coming up against a city, a fea; chup.li 4-." The fais come up upon Babylon; she is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof." Eichylus is frequent in the use of this metaphor;
Bozi záp xuvez tepsusov spx?i. Sep, cont. Thebas, V. 63: And again, a little lower;
Κυμα γαρ περί πιόλιν
Ibid. v. 116. And again, in his Persians ;
Δόκιμος δ' τις υποσάς
"Αμιχον κυμη θαλάσσης. So Ciciro, in one of his letters to Atticus, lib. vii. Ep. 4. Fluctum enim lotius Burbarie ferre urbs una non poterat. And, berdes, a sea of troubles among the Greeks grew into proverDial ufage; κακών Φάλιστα, καικών τρικυμία. So that the expreslion, figuratively, means the troubles of human life, which flow in upon us, and encompass us round like a f:%. Our Poet too has ensloyed this metaphor in his Anjing, speaking of a confluence or courtiers;
I was of late as perty to his ends,
To bis grand lea. The same image and expression, Vobserve, is used by Beans moat and Fletcher, in their Two Noble Kinjinen ;
---Though I know,
Must yield their tribute there. (34) Tu aii, 10 licesi
To fleep? perchance, to dream; ay, there's therub---
pang of despised love, the law's delay,
To seep? perchance, 10 dream :] This admirable fine reflection seems, in a paltry manner, to be foeered at by: Beaumont, aud Fletcher, in their Scornful Lady ;
Rg. Have patience, Sir, until our fellow Nicholas be de, ceased, that is, alleep; 10 Jeep, to die ; to die, to fleep; a very figure, Sir. (35) That undiscovered country, from whose bourre
No traveller returns,) As fonie superficial, critics have, tvithout the least fcruple, accused the Poet of forgetfulness, and self-contradiction from this passage ;-seeing that in this very play he introduces a character from the other world, the ghost of Hamlet's father; I have thought this circumstance worthy of a justification. 'fis certain, to intoduce. a ghost, a being from the other world, and to say, that no. traveller returns from thofe coufines is, literally taken, as abfolute a contradiction as can be supposed et falto et termi*ais. But we are to take notice, that Shakespeare brings his ghost only from a middle Nate, or local purgatory, a prison Boufe, as he makes his spirit call it, where he was doomed for a term only, to expiate his fins of nature. By the unaifa. véred country here mentioned, he may, perhape, mean that loft and eternal residence of fouls in a state of full hliss or misery, which spirits in a middle state could not be acquainted with, of explain. so that if any latitude of sense may be allowed
No traveller returns) puzzles the will;
[Seeing. Ophelia: The fair Ophelia? Nymph, in thy orisons Be all my sms remembered.
Oph. Good my Lord, How does
honour for this many a-day? Ham. I humbly thank you, well;-
to the Poet's words, though he admits the possibility of a spirit returning from the dead, he yet holds, that the state of the dead cannot be communicated; and, with that allowe ance, it remains still an unili fcovered country. We are to obferve too, that even his ghost, who comes from purgatory, or whatever has been signified under that denomination) comes under restrictions; and though he confeffes himself fubject to a viciffitude of torments, yet he says, at the fame sime, that he is forbid to tell the secrets of his prison-house. The ancients had the fame notion of our obscure and twi. light knowledge of an after being. Valerius i laccus, I remember, (if I may be indnlged in a short digrellion) speak ing of the lower regions, and state of the spirits there, bas an expression, which, in one sense, comes close to our Author's undiscovered country;
-Superis incognita tellus. And it is observable that Virgil, before he enters upon a defcription of Hell, and of the Elysian Fields, implores the permißion of the infernal deities, and profesles, even then, to discover no more than hearsay concerning their mysterio ous dominions :
Dii, quibus imperium eft animarum, umbræque filentes,
Oph. My Lord, I have remembrances of yours,
Ham. No, I never gave you aught. [you did;
Oph. My honoured Lord, you know right well,
Ham. Ha, ha ! are you honest?
fair? Oph. What means your Lordihip?
Han. That if you be honest and fair, you should admit no discourse to your beauty.
Oph. Could beauty, my Lord, have better com. merce than with honesty?
Ham. Ay, truly; (36) for the power of beauty will sooner transform honesty from what it is to: a bawd, than the force of honesty can tranflate beauty into its likeness. This was sometime a.pa
(36) Ay, truly; for the power of menuty will sooner transform hurejiy from what it is té a bawd, &c.] Our Author has twice, before, in his As you like it, played with a fentiment bordering upon this;
Celia. 'Tis true, for those that the makes fair, she scarces makes horieft; and those that lie makes boneji, she makes very: ill-favoured. And again;
Autit. Would you not have me honeft?
Clown. No truly, volets thou wert hard favouredi; for b' resty, coupled to beauty, is to have honey a sauce to sugar.
The foundation of both pasfages may posübly have been