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I turned in my saddle and made its girths tight,
Nor galloped less steadily Roland a whit.
Lokeren, the cocks crew and twilight dawned clear ;
So Joris broke silence with “Yět there is time!” 4. At Aerschot, up leaped of a sudden the sun,
And against him the cattle stood black every one,
The haze, as some bluff river headland its spray. 5. And his low head and crest, just one sharp ear bent back
For my voice, and the other pricked out on his track ;
His fierce lips shook upward in galloping on. 6. By Hasselt Dirck groaned ; and cried Joris, “Stay spur!
Your Roos galloped bravely, the fault's not in her ;
As down on her haunches she shuddered and sank. 7. So we were left galloping, Joris and I,
Past Looz and past Tongres, no cloud in the sky;
And “Gallop" gasped Joris, "for Aix is in sight! 8. "How they'll greet us !”—and all in a moment his roan
Rolled neck and croup over, lay dead as a stone ;
9. Then I cast loose my buff-coat, each hölster let fall,
Shook off both my jack-boots, let go belt and all,
Till at length into Aix Roland galloped and stood. 10. And all I remember is friends flocking round,
As I săte with his head 'twixt my knees on the ground ;
BROWNING. ROBERT BROWNING, one of the most remarkable English poets of the age, was born in Camberwell, a suburb of London, in 1812, and educated at the London University. At the age of twenty he went to Italy, where he passed some time studying the mediæval history of the country, and making himself acquainted with the life, habits, and characteristics of its people. The effect of his Italian life is distinctly perceivable in the selection of subjects for his poems and his treatment of them. His first work, “Paracelsus," a dramatic poem of great power, appeared in 1835. Mr. Browning was married to Elizabeth Barrett, in November, 1846. His collective poems, in two volumes, appeared in London in 1849, and since then three additional volumes were published, all of which have been republished in this country. Though a true poet, of original genius, both dramatic and lyrical, his poems are not popular among the masses. Much of his poetry is written for poets, requiring careful study, and repaying all that is given
few of his dramatic lyrics, however, such as “The Pied Piper of Hamelin,” “The Lost Leader,” “ Incident of the French Camp,” and “How they brought the Good News from Ghent to Aix," are unrivaled in elements of popularity.
157. CHARACTER OF HAMLET.
AMLET is a name : his speeches and sayings but the idle
coinage of the poët's brain. But are they not reäl? They are as real as our own thoughts. Their reality is in the reader's mind. It is we who are Hamlet. This play is a prophetic truth, which is above that of hỉstory.
2. Whoever has become thoughtful and měl'ancholy through his own mishaps or those of others ; whoever has būrne about with him the clouded brow of reflection, and thought himself “ too much i' th' sun;" whoever has seen the golden lamp of day dimmed by envious mists rising in his own breast, and could find in the world before him only a dull blank, with nothing left remarkable in it ; whoever has known “ the pangs of despised love, the insolence of office, or the spurns which patient merit of the unworthy takes ;" he who has felt his mind sink within him, and sădnèss cling to his heart like a mălady; who has had his hopes blighted and his youth staggered by the apparitions of strange things; who can not be well at ease, while he sees evil hovering near him like a specter ; whose powers of action have been eaten up by thought; he to whom the universe seems infinite, and himself nothing ; whose bitterness of soul makes him careless of consequences : this is the true Hamlet.
3. We have been so used to this tragedy,' that we hardly know how to criticise it, any more than we should know how to describe our own faces. But we must make such observations as we can. It is the one of Shakspeare's plays, that we think of oftenest, because it abounds most in striking reflections on human life, and because the distresses of Hamlet are transferred, by the turn of his mind, to the general account of humanity. Whatever happens to him, we apply to ourselves; because he applies it so himself, as a means of general reasoning.
4. He is a great moralizer, and what makes him worth attending to, is, that he moralizes on his own feelings and experience. He is not a commonplace pedant. If Lear shows the greātèst depth of passion, Hamlet is the most remarkable for the ingenuity, originality, and unstudied development of character. There is no attempt to force an interest : every thing is left for time and cir' cumstances to unfold. The attention is excited without effort; the incidents succeed each other as matters of course; the characters think, and speak, and act, just as they might do, if left entirely to themselves. There is no set purpose, no straining at a point.
5. The observations are suggested by the passing scene—the gusts of passion come and go like sounds of music borne on the
Trăg' e dý, a poem prepared for persons, having a fatal and mourn. the stage, representing some remark- ful end; any event by which human able action, performed by illustrious lives are lost by human violence.
wind. The whole play is an exact transcript of what might be supposed to have taken place at the court of Denmark, at the remote period of time fixed upon, before the modern refinements in morals and manners were heard of. It would have been in'teresting enough to have been admitted, as a by-stander in such a scene, at such a time, to have heard and seen something of what was going on.
6. But here we die more than spectators. We have not only “the outward pāgeants and the signs of grief,” but “we have that within which passes show." We read the thoughts of the heart, we cătch the passions living as they rise. Other dramatic writers give us věry fine versions and paraphrases of nature; but Shakspeare, together with his own comment, gives us the original text, that we may judge for ourselves. This is a great advantage.
7. The character of Hamlet is itself a pure effusion of genius. It is not a character marked by strength of will, or even of passion, but by refinement of thought and sentiment. Hamlet is as little of the hero as man well can be : but he is a young and princely novice, full of high enthusiasm and quick sensibility,—the sport of circumstances, questioning with fortune, and refining on his own feelings ; and forced from the natural biäs of his disposition by the strāngeness of his situation.
HAZLITT. WILLIAM HAZLITT, an English author, was born at Maidstone, April 10th, 1778. After graduating at college, he first became a painter, but finding he was not likely to reach the highest standard, he renounced the art and embarked in a literary career. His essay on “The Principles of Human Action," appeared in 1805. Thenceforth his principal support was derived from his contributions to the periodicals, and his occasional publications and lectures. Among his best known works are: “Characters of Shakspeare's Plays," which appeared in London in 1817; “A View of the English Stage,” 1818; “Lectures on the En. glish Poets,” 1818; “Lectures on the English Comic Writers,” 1819; “Tablc Talk," 1821 ; and “Life of Napoleon Bonaparte.” He lived in London during the last twenty years of his life, in a house in Westminster, once occupied by Milton. He died September 18, 1830.
158. SCENES FROM HAMLET.
Enter the KING, QUEEN, HAMLET, LORDS, and ATTENDANTS.
To bear our hearts in grief, and our whole kingdom
To be contracted in one brow of woe;
Ham. A little more than kin, and less than kind. (Aside
Queen. Good Hamlet, cast thy nighted color off,
Ham. Ay, madam, it is common.
If it be,
Ham. Seems, madam! nay, it is ; I know not seems.
King. 'Tis sweet and commendable in your nature, Hamlet,