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is in a much greater degree modified by the sympathies and moral qualities.
In thinking over all the distinguished women I can at this moment call to mind, I recollect but one who, in the exercise of a rare talent, belied her sex ; but the moral qualities had been first perverted. It is from not knowing, or not allowing, this general principle, that men of genius have committed some signal mistakes. They have given us exquisite and just delineations of the more peculiar characteristics * of women, as modesty, grace, tenderness; and when they have attempted to portray them with the powers common to both sexes, as wit, energy, intellect, they have blundered in some respects ;5 they could form no conception of intellect which was not masculine, and therefore have either suppressed the feminine attributes altogether, and drawn coarse caricatures, or they have made them completely artificial. Women distinguished for wit may sometimes appear masculine and flippant, but the cause must be soughtelsewhere than in nature, who disclaims all such.10 Hence 11 the witty and intellectual ladies of our comedies and novels are all in the fashion 12 of some particular time; they are like some old portraits which can still amuse and please by the beauty of the workmanship, in spite of the graceless costume or grotesque accompaniments,
1 In a much greater degree, à un bien plus hant degré- over, à - it is, etc......allowing, c'est parce qu'ils n'ont pas connu ou n'ont pas voulu admettre—4 of the more peculiar characteristics, des traits plus spécialement caractéristiques 5 they have blundered in some respects, ils se sont fourvoyés sur certains points—6 they could form no conception, ils ne pouvaient se faire une idée--7 was, fût—8 altogether, ertièrement-9 the cause must be sought, il faut en chercher la cause
- 10 all such, de tels caractères-11 hence, e'est ce qui fait que— 12 are all in the fashion, sont toutes représentées suivant la mode.
but from which we turn to worship, with ever new delight, the Floras and goddesses of Titian_the saints and virgins of Raffaelle and Domenichino.* 3 So4 the Millimants and Belindas, the Lady Townleys and Lady Teazles are out of date, while Portia and Rosalind, in whom nature and the feminine character are paramount, remain bright and fresh to the fancy as when first created.
THE CHARACTER OF HAMLET.
It is one of Shakspeare's plays that we think of? the 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 to himself 9 as a means of general reasoning. He is a great moralizer; and what makes him worth attending to is,10 that he moralizes on his own feelings and experience. He is not a common-place pedant.11 If Lear is distinguished 12 by the greatest
[ depth of passion, Hamlet is the most remarkable for
· From which we turn, d'où nous nous détournous—2 Titian, le Titien—3 Domenichino, le Dominiquin—4 so, c'est ainsi que—5 out of date, vieillies—6 when first created, lorsqu'elles ont été créées.
? That we think of, auxquelles nous pensons we apply to ourselves, nous nous l'appliquons à nous-mêmes — he applies it to himself, il se l'applique à lui-même-10 what makes him worth attending to is, ce qui fait qu'il vaut la peine qu'on l'écoute, c'est—11 he is not a common-place pedant, ce n'est pas un pédant vulgaire— 12 is distinguished, se distingue.
* Domenichino, the celebrated painter, was born at Bologna in 1681, and died at Naples in 1641.
the ingenuity, originality, and unstudied development of character. Shakspeare had more magnanimity than any other poet, and he has shown more of it in this play? than in any other. There is no attempt to force an interest ; everything is left for time and circumstances to unfold. The attention is excited without effort; the incidents succeed each other as matter of course ;4 the characters think, and speak, and act just as they might do if left5 entirely to themselves. There is no set purpose, no straining at a point. The observations are suggested by the passing scene?—the gusts8 of passion come and goo like sounds of music borne on the wind. The whole play is an exact transcript 10 of what might be supposed to have taken placell at the court of Denmark at the remote period of time fixed upon,12 before the refinements in morals and manners were heard of.13 It would have been interesting enough to have been admitted as a bystander 14 in such a scene, at such a time, to have heard and witnessed 15 something of what was going on.16 But here we are more than spectators. We have not only " the outward pageants
“ and the signs of grief,” but “we have that within us which passes show.” We read the thoughts of the
i Unstudied, naturel-2 play, pièce—3 there is, etc.......to unfold, aucune tentative n'est faite pour forcer l'intérêt ; le temps et les circonstances sont chargés de tout développer—4 as matter of course, logiquement—5 if left, s'ils étaient laissés—6 there is, etc......at á point, pas de but fixé d'avance, pas de point de mire—by the passing scene, par ce qui se passe au moment- gusts, explosions- come and go, arrivent et s'en vont-10 transcript, reproduction–11 to have taken place, avoir eu lieu—12 at the remote period of time fixed upon, à l'époque reculée qui a été choisie - 13 before......were heard of, avant qu'il fût question de...... as a bystander, comme spectateur– 15 witnessed, vu—16 what was going on, ce qui se passait—17 we have, etc......show, nous avons ce quelque chose d'intime qui surpasse toute pompe.
heart, we catch the passions living as they rise. Other dramatic writers give us very fine versions and paraphrases of nature; but Shakspeare, together with his own comments, gives us the original text, that we may judge for ourselves. This is a very great advantage.
The character of Hamlet stands quite by itself.3 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 a man can well be ;4 but he is a young and princely novice, full of high enthusiasm and quick sensibility-the sport of circumstances, questioning with fortune,6 and refining on his own feelings, and forced from the natural bias? of his disposition by the strangeness of his situation. He seems incapable of deliberate action, and is only hurried into extremities on the spur of the occasion, when he has no time to reflect 8
-as in the scene where he kills Polonius; and again 9 where he alters the letters which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are taking with them to England, purporting his death.10 At other times, when he is most bound 11 to act, he remains puzzled, undecided, and sceptical; dallies with his purposes till the occasion is lost, and finds out some pretence to relapse into indolence and thoughtfulness 12 again. For this rea
* As they rise, au moment même où elles se soulèvent—2 this is, c'est là—3 stands quite by itself, est tout-à-fait à part—4 Hamlet is, etc...... can well be, il y a chez Hamlet aussi peu du héros qu'il est humainement possible--5 he is, c'est questioning with fortune, prenant la fortune à partie-7 forced from the natural bias, violemment détourné de la pente naturelle—8 and is only, etc...... to reflect, c'est l'occasion qui seule le précipite dans les voies extrêmes sans lui laisser le temps de réfléchir9 and again, et dans celle—10 purporting his death, et dont sa mort est l'objet_11 bound, tenu_12 thoughtfulness, rêverie.
son he refuses to kill the king when he is at his prayers; and, by a refinement in malice, which is in truth only an excuse for his own want of resolution, defers his revenge to a more fatal opportunity.
HAZLITT, “ Characters of Shakspeare's Plays."
GOLDSMITH'S STYLE. Goldsmith has had few competitors in that style of writing. His prologues and epilogues are the perfection of the vers de société. Formality and illhumour are exorcised by their cordial wit, which transforms the theatre into a drawing-room, and the audience into friendly guests. There is a
There is a playful touch, an easy, airy elegance, which, when joined to terseness of expression, sets it off with a finished beauty and incomparable grace : but few of our English poets have written this style successfully. The French, who invented the name for it,8 have been almost its only practised cultivators.9 Goldsmith's genius for it 10 will, nevertheless, bear comparison with even theirs. He could be playful without childishness, humorous without coarseness, and sharply satirical without a particle of anger. Enough remains, for proof, 11 in his collected verse ; 12 but in private letters that have perished, many most charm
| In, de.
2 Style of writing, genre de composition the audience into friendly guests, les auditeurs en convives amis — 4 which, when, laquelle, lorsqu'elle se trouve—5 sets it of, la fait ressortir—o finished, parfaite –7 this style, dans ce genre—s who invented the name for it, qui lui ont donné son nom—9 have been, etc......cultivators, sont presque les seuls qui aient réussi à le cultiver--10 G.'s genius for it, le génie qu'y a déployé G.–11 enough remains for proof, il en reste assez pour le prouver ---T2 in his collected verse, dans celles de ses poësies qui ont été recueillies.