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magnificently portrayedwith sealed orders for
his decapitation by the British. Hamlet
opening the seal privily, sees the orders and
changes them to an order for the execution of
the bearers, who, as the reader will perceive,
are no others than Rosencrantz and Guildenstern,
thus shifting, we will not say a burden,
but the relief of a burden, from his own
shoulders to theirs. Hamlet escapes, among
pirates, who attack the vessel, and returns to
court, where he arrives in time to find that
Ophelia has been drowned by accidental
tumbling into a pond from an overhanging
willow tree, which she had swarmed for the
purpose of suspending garlands on the top of
it. Happening to enter the churchyard at
the time of Ophelia's burial, Hamlet has an
interesting scuffle with Laertes in her grave,
which is pourtrayed by the poet in his most
pathetic manner. King Claudius then bets
that Hamlet cannot fight Laertes with foils, and
having prevailed upon Laertes to fight with a
poisoned foil, and having prepared also for
Hamlet a cup of poison as refreshment during
the heat of the exercise, a complication ensues
which results in the poisoning of all the leading
parties to the drama. Nothing can exceed
the lightness of the touch with which this
interesting tale is told; and, thrilling as the
pathos is, sublime as its terror is, imposing
as its grandeur is, beautiful as are its love
passages, uproarious as is the mirth it now
and then awakens, we believe that, great, in
fine, as the whole tragedy is, it is but the
beginning of its author's greatness.

Now, only think how Shakespeare would
have been rejoiced by liberal appreciation of
that sort!

Better and better. The next paper laid by
for Shakespeare by his housekeeper, blazons
him as "the new poet," and claims to have
discovered him as such. Its notice is long,
and full of extracts. I suggest only a few
portions of the criticism.

"Observe again," it says, "the amazing
subtlety of the first address of Horatio to
Hamlet, when they for the first time meet
after the night of the ghostly revelations.
'Hail to your lordship!' says Horatio.
Heretofore you have been a prince fostered by
sunny weather; now your sky is clouded,
and there shall fall upon you, not soft rain,
but the pitiless and pelting hail;—this shall
come not to you, but to your lordship, for it
is as a prince with vengeance to be done
upon a king that you shall feel the biting
chill of your position. 'Hail to your lordship!'
The storm must come. Horatio wishes
it. The ghost wishes it. The Inevitable
wishes it. In this line we have the key-note
of the entire drama. Hamlet's Ich accepts
his mission, but his Nicht Ich shudders at it.
The play is a tragical development upon a
philosophical basis of the struggle always
going on between the Ich and the Nicht Ich
in the Human Soul.

"Again, what is there in the whole range of
literature finer than the reply of Hamlet to
Ophelia's question as to the dumb show
preluding the mock play:  What means this,
my lord?' 'Marry,' he answers, 'Marry,
it is miching mallecho.' He had before said
to her 'Go to a nunnery, go;' but that was
in an antecedent state of the development of
his Life Drama: now he says marry, and the
word because is next understoodfor here
there is an aposiopesis'Marry (because)
this is miching mallecho.' Here we are so
much lost in admiration of the sentiment,
that the perfection of the chain of reasoning
in the first instance escapes ordinary
observation; nevertheless, it is well worthy of
careful study."

But since by these songs of triumph the
poet might be led to forget that he is fallible
and human, it is well that there is here and
there a critic ready to keep undue exaltation
of the mind in check. I think it likely that
in the next notice our bard would take up he
might find himself summarily dismissed in
this fashion:

      Hamlet. A Tragedy. By WILLIAM

The author of this ill-written play is one of
the many instances of young men with good
average parts who have totally mistaken
their vocation. Hamlet is a melodrama of
the worst school. Let it suffice to say that
of the dozen characters it contains, exclusive
of the supernumeraries, eight are killed by
sword, drowning, or poison, during the course
of the piece; and one appears as a ghost
because he was killed before the play began;
killed too, as it must needs be, so horribly
that, as his ghost does not forget to describe,

          A most instant tetter bark'd about,
   Most lazar-like, with vile and loathsome crust,
   All my smooth body.

There remain only three persons alive, two
of whom are insignificant courtiers, and the
third has only been persuaded to postpone
an act of suicide that he may remain alive
for a time to act as a showman of the dead
bodies of the other dramatis personse!'' Give
order," he says,

                  Give order that these bodies
            High on a stage be placed to the view;
            And let me speak.

Beat the drum, Mr. Merryman! Walk up,
ladies and gentlemen. To Mr. Shakespeare's
Hamlet we believe the public would not
often be persuaded to walk up, even were it
performed on the only stage for which it is
in any degree fittedthat of a booth at Greenwich

I have represented, and no doubt exaggerated,
only certain ways of criticism; there
are other ways, and much better ways, in