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and frenzy, indicated as described by Celsus; and Burton himself mentions frenzy as the worst stago of madness, "clamorous, continual." In the first copy, therefore, Hamlet, according to the description of Polonius, is not only the prey of melancholy and madness, but "by continuance" of frenzy. In the amended copy the symptoms, according to the same description, are much milder;-a sadness -a fast-a watch -a weakness-a lightness,-and a madness. The reason of this change appears to us tolerably clear. Shakspere did not, either in his first sketch or his amended copy, intend his audience to believe that Hamlet was essentially mad; and he removed, therefore, the strong expressions which might encourage that belief.

which Polonius describes Hamlet's frenzy, In the amended copy this passage, as well

Immediately after the scene of the original copy in Hamlet comes in and speaks the celebrated soliloquy. as the scene with Ophelia which follows it, is placed after Hamlet's interview with the players. The soliloquy in the first copy is evidently given with great corruptions, and some of the lines appear transposed by the printer: on the contrary, the scene with Ophelia is very slightly altered. The scene with Polonius, now the second scene of the second act, follows that with Ophelia in the first copy. In the interview with Guildenstern and Rosencrantz the dialogue is greatly elaborated in the amended copy; we have the mere germ of the fine passage, "This goodly frame, the earth," &c.-prose with almost more than the music of poetry. In the first copy, instead of this noble piece of rhetoric, we have the following somewhat tame passage :

"Yes, faith, this great world you see contents me not; no, nor the spangled heavens, nor earth, nor sea; no, nor man that is so glorious a creature contents not me; no, nor woman too, though you laugh."

We pass over for the present the dialogue between Hamlet and the players, in which there are considerable variations, not only between the first and second quartos, but between the second quarto and the folio, tending, as we think, to fix the date of each copy. In the same way we pass over the speeches from the play "that pleased not the million," as well as the directions to the players in the next act. These passages, as it appears to us, go far to establish the point, that the Hamlet of the edition of 1603 was an early production of the poet. Our readers, we think. will be pleased to compare the following passage of the first copy and the amended play, which offer us an example of the most surpassing skill in the elaboration of a first idea :

[Quarto of 1603.]

Ham. "Horatio, thou art even as just a man As e'er my conversation cop'd withal.

Hor. O, my lord!

Ham. Nay, why should I flatter thee!
Why should the poor be flatter'd ?

What gain should I receive by flattering theo,
That nothing hath but thy good mind!
Let flattery sit on those time-pleasing tongues,
To glose with them that love to hear their praise,
And not with such as thou, Horatio.'

Schlegel observes, that " rhymes, full of antitheses."

[Quarto of 1604.]

Ham. "Horatio, thou art e'en as just a man
As e'er my conversation cop'd withal.
Hor. O, my dear lord!

Nay, do not think I flatter.
For what advancement may I hope from thee,
That no revenue hast, but thy good spirits,

To feed and clothe thee? Why should the poor be flat-

No, let the candied tongue lick absurd pomp,

And crook the pregnant hinges of the knee,
Where thrift may follow fawning! Dost thou hear?

Since my dear soul was mistress of my choice,

And could of men distinguish, her election

Hath seal'd thee for herself: for thou hath been

As one in suffering all, that suffers nothing;
A man that fortune's buffets and rewards
Has ta'en with equal thanks: and bless'd are those
Whose blood and judgment are so well co-mingled,
That they are not a pipe for fortune's finger
To sound what stop she please: Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart,

As I do thee. Something too much of this."

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Shakspere has composed the play' in Hamlet altogether in sententious
Let us give an example of this in the opening speech of the king :--

Full thirty times hath Phoebus' cart gone round
Neptune's salt wash, and Tellus' orbed ground;
And thirty dozen moons with borrow'd sheen,
About the world have times twelve thirties been,
Since love our hearts and Hymen did our hands
Unite, commutual in most sacred bands."

Here is not only the antithesis, but the artificial elevation, that was to keep the language of the interlude apart from that of the real drama. Shakspere has most skilfully managed the wholo business of the player-king and queen upon this principle; but, as we think, when he wrote his first copy, his power as an artist was not so consummate. In that copy, the first lines of the player-king are singularly flowing and musical; and their sacrifice shows us how inexorable was his judgment:

"Full forty years are pass'd, their date is gone,
Since happy time join'd both our hearts as one;
And now the blood that fill'd my youthful veins
Runs weakly in their pipes, and all the strains
Of music, which whilome pleased mine ear,
Is now a burthen that age cannot bear."

The soliloquy of the king in the third act is greatly elaborated from the first copy; and so is the scene between Hamlet and his mother. In the play, as we now have it, Shakspere has left it doubtful whether the queen was privy to the murder of her husband; but in this scene, in the first copy, she says,—

"But, as I have a soul, I swear by heaven,
I never knew of this most horrid murder."

And Hamlet, upon this declaration, says,

"And, mother, but assist me in revenge,
And in his death your infamy shall die."

The queen, upon this, protests

"I will conceal, consent, and do my best,
What stratagem soe'er thou shalt devise."

In the amended copy, the queen merely says,—

"Be thou assur d, if words be made of breath,

And breath of life, I have no life to breathe
What thou hast said to me."

The action of the amended copy, for the present, proceeds as in the first copy. Gertruda describes the death of Polonius, and Hamlet pours forth his bitter sarcasm upon the king::-" Your fat king and your lean beggar are but variable services." Hamlet is dispatched to England. Fortinbras and his forces appear upon the stage. The fine scene between Hamlet and the captain, and Hamlet's subsequent soliloquy, are not to be found in the quarto of 1603, nor in the folio. The madness of Ophelia is beautifully elaborated in the amended copy, but all her snatches of songs aro the same in both editions. What she sings, however, in the first scene of the original copy, is with great art transposed to the second scene of the amended one. The pathos of

"And will he not come again!"

is doubled, as it now stands, by the presence of Laertes.

We are now arrived at a scene in the quarto of 1603, altogether different from anything we find in the amended copy. It is a short scene between Horatio and the queen, in which Horatio relates Hamlet's return to Denmark, and describes the treason which the king had plotted against him, as well as the mode by which he had evaded it, by the sacrifice of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. The queen, with reference to the


-subtle treason that the king had plotted."

"Then I perceive there's treason in his looks
That seem'd to sugar o'er his villainy;
But I will soothe and please him for a time,
For murderous minds are always jealous."

This is decisive as to Shakspere's original intentions with regard to the queen; but the sup pression of the scene in the amended copy is another instance of his admirable judgment. She does not redeem her guilt by entering into plots against her guilty husband; and it is far more charac. teristic of the irregular impulses of Hamlet's mind, and of his subjection to circumstances, that he should have no confidences with his mother, and should not form with her and Horatio any plans of revenge. The story of Rosencrantz and Guildenstern is told in six lines :

Queen. "But what became of Gilderstone and Rossencraft?

Hor. He being set ashore, they went for England,

And in the packet there writ down that doom
To be perform'd on them pointed for him:
And by great chance he had his father's seal,
So all was done without discovery."

The expansion of this simple passage into the exquisite narrative of Hamlet to Horatio of the ɛamə circumstances, presents, to our minds, a most remarkable example of the difference between the mature and the youthful intellect.

The scene of the grave-digger, in the original copy, has all the great points of the present scene. The frenzy of Hamlet at the grave is also the same. Who but the poot himself could have worked up this line


"Anon, as mild and gentle as a dove,"

"Anon, as patient as the female dove,

When that her golden couplets are disclos d,
His silence will sit drooping."

The scene with Osric is greatly expanded in the amended copy. The catastrophe appears to be the same; but the last leaf of the copy of 1603 is wanting.

There is a general belief that some play under the title of Hamlet had preceded the Hamlet of Shakspere. Probable as this may be, it appears to us that this belief is sometimes asserted too authoritatively. Mr. Collier, whose opinion upon such matters is indeed of great value, constantly speaks of "The old Hamlet." Mr. Skottowe is more unqualified in his assertion of this fact:"The history of Hamlet formed the subject of a play which was acted previous to 1589; and arguing from the general course of Shakspere's mind, that play influenced him during the composition of his own Hamlet. But, unfortunately, the old play is lost." In a very useful and accurate work, 'Lowndes's Bibliographer's Manual,' we are told in express terms of "Kyd's ok play of Hamlet." Mr. Skottowe and Mr. Lowndes have certainly mistaken conjecture for proof. Not a tittle of distinct evidence exists to show that there was any other play of Hamlet but that of Shakspere; and all the collateral evidence upon which it is inferred that an earlier play of Hamlet than Shakspere's did exist, may, on the other hand, be taken to prove that Shakspere's original sketch of Hamlet was in repute at an earlier period than is commonly assigned as its date. This evidence is briefly as follows:

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1. Dr. Farmer, in his Essay on the Learning of Shakspere,' first brought forward a passage in 'An Epistle to the Gentlemen Students of the Two Universities.' by Thomas Nash, prefixed to Green's 'Arcadia,' which he considers directed "very plainly at Shakspere in particular." It is as follows:-"It is a common practise now-a-days, among a sort of shifting companions, that runne through every art, and thrive by none, to leave the trade of Noverint, whereto they were born, and busie themselves with tho endevors of art, that could scarcely latinize their neck-verse if they should have neede; yet English Seneca, reade by candle-light, yields many good sentences, as Bloud is a beggar, and so forth and, if you intreat him farre in a frosty morning, he will affoord you whole Hamlets, I should say, handfuls, of tragical speeches." Farmer adds, "I cannot determine exactly when this epistle was first published, but I fancy it would carry the original Hamlet somewhat further back than we have hitherto done." Malone found that this epistle was first published in 1588;* and he, therefore, was inclined to think that the allusion was not to Shakspere's drama, conjecturing that the Hamlet just mentioned might have been written by Kyd. Mr. Brown, in his ingenious work on Shakspere's Sonnets, contends that the passage applies distinctly to Shakspere;-that the expression, "the trade of Noverint," had reference to some one who had been a lawyer's clerk;—and that the technical use of law phrases by Shakspere proves that his early life had been so employed. We have then only the difficulty of believing that the original sketch of Hamlet was written in, or before, the year 1589. Mr. Brown leaps over the difficulty, and boldly assigns this sketch, as published in the quarto of 1603, to the year 1589. We sec nothing extravagant in this belief. Let it be remembered that in that very year, when Shakspere was twenty-five, it has been distinctly proved by Mr. Collier that he was a sharer in the Blackfriars Theatre, with others, and some of note, below him in the list of sharers,

• Mr. Dyce says 158; but no proof of the earlier date is given. Greene's Wuras.)

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2. In the accounts found at Dulwich College, which were kept by Henslowe, an actor contem porary with Shakspere, we find the following entry as connected with the theatre at Newington Butts.

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The eight shillings constituted Henslowe's share of the profits of this representation. Malone says, that this is a full confirmation that there was a play on the subject of Hamlet prior to Shak spere's; for "it cannot be supposed that our poet's play should have been performed but once in the time of this account, and that Mr. Henslowe should have drawn from such a piece but the Bum of eight shillings, when his share in several other plays came to three and sometimes four pounds." We cannot go along with this reasoning. Henslowe's accounts are thus headed :-" In the name of God, Amen, beginning at Newington, my lord admirell men, and my lord chamberlen men, as followeth, 1594." Now, "my lord chamberlen" nien were the company to which Shakspere belonged; and we find from Mr. Collier that one of their theatres, the Globe, was erected in the spring of 1594. The theatre was wholly of wood, according to Ilentzner's description of it; it would, therefore, be quickly erected; and it is extremely probable that Shakspere's company only used the theatre at Newington Butts for a very short period, during the completion of their own theatre, which was devoted to summer performances. We can find nothing in Malone's argument to prove that it was not Shakspere's Hamlet which was acted by Shakspere's company on the 9th of June, 1594. On the previous 16th of May Henslowe's accounts are healed, "by my lord admirell's men;" and it is only on the 3rd of June that we find the "lord chamberlen men," as well as the "lord admirell men," performing at this theatre. Their occupation of it might have been very temporary; and during that occupation, Shakspere's Hamlet might have been onco performed. The very next entry, the 11th of June, is, "at the taminge of a shrewe;" and Malone, in a note, adds, "the play which preceded Shakspere's." When Malone wrote this note he believed that Shakspere's "Taming of the Shrew" was a late production; but in the second edition of his Chronological Order,' he is persuaded that it was one of his very early productions. There is nothing to prove that both these plays thus acted were not Shakspere's.

3. In a tract entitled Wit's Miserie, or the World's Madnesse,' by Thomas Lodge, printed in 1595, one of the devils is said to be "a foul lubber, and looks as pale as the vizard of the ghost, who cried so miserably at the theatre, Hamlet, revenge." In the first edition of Malone's 'Chronological Order,' he says, "If the allusion was to our author's tragedy, this passage will ascertain its appearance in. or before 1596; but Lodge may have had the elder play in his contemplation." In the second edition of this essay, Malone changes his opinion, and says, “Lodge must have had the elder play in his contemplation."

4. Steevens, in his Preliminary Remarks to Hamlet, has this passage:-"I have seen a copy of Speght's edition of Chaucer, which formerly belonged to Dr. Gabriel Harvey (the antagonist of Nash), who, in his own handwriting, has set down Hamlet as a performance with which he was well acquainted, in the year 1598." Malone considered this decisive in the first edition of his 'Chronological Order,' but in the second edition, having seen the book, he persuaded himself that the date 1598 referred to the time when Harvey purchased it; and he therefore rejects the evidence. He then peremptorily fixes the first appearance of Hamlet in 1600, from the reference that is made in it to the "inhibition" of the players. We shall speak of this presently. In the mean time it may be sufficient to remark, that the passage is not found in the first quarto of 1603, of the existence of which Malone was uninformed; and that, therefore, this proof goes for nothing. And now, leaving our readers to form their own judgment upon the external evidence as to the date of Hamlet, we must express our decided opinion, grounded upon an attentive comparison of the original sketch with the perfect play, that the original sketch was an early production of our poet The copy of 1603 is no doubt piratical; it is unquestionably very imperfectly printed. But if the passage about the “inhibition" of the players fixes the date of the perfect play as 1600, which we believe it does, the essential differences between the sketch and the perfect play-differences which do not depend upon the corruption of a text--can only be accounted for upon the belief that there was a considerable interval between the production of the first and second copy, in which the author's power and judgment had become mature, and his peculiar habits of philosopical thought had been completely established. This is a matter which does not admit of proof within our limited space; but the passages which we have already given from the original copy do something to prove

it, and we have other differences of the same character to point out, which we shall do as briefly as possible.

Mr. Hallam (in his admirable work, the 'Introduction to the Literature of Europe,'— which, without doubt, is the most comprehensive and elegant contribution to Literary History and Criticism that our language possesses), speaking of Romeo and Juliet as an early production of our poet, points out as a proof of this, "the want of that thoughtful philosophy, which, when once it had germinated in Shakspere's mind, never ceased to display itself."* Hamlet, as it now stands, is full of this "thoughtful philosophy." But the original sketch, as given in the quarto of 1603, exhibits few traces of it in the form of didactic observations. The whole dramatic conduct of the action is indeed demonstrative of a philosophical conception of incidents and characters; but in the form to which Mr. Hallam refers, the "thoughtful philosophy" is almost entirely wanting in that sketch. We must indicate a few examples very briefly, of passages illustrating this position, which are not there found, requesting our readers to refer to the text :

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2. "There is nothing, either good or bad, but thinking makes it so," &c.
"I could be bounded in a nut-shell," &c.

4. "Bring me to the test, and I the matter will re-word," &c.

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3. "I see a cherub," &c.

5. "Nature is fine in love," &c.

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Further, Mr. Hallam observes, "There seems to have been a period of Shakspere's life when his heart was ill at ease, and ill content with the world or his own conscience: the memory of hours mis-spent, the pang of affection misplaced or unrequited, the experience of man's worser nature, which intercourse with ill-chosen associates, by choice or circumstance, peculiarly teaches,-these, as they sank down into the depths of his great mind, seem not only to have inspired into it the conception of Lear and Timon, but that of one primary character, the censurer of mankind." The type, Mr. Hallam proceeds to say, is first seen in Jaques, then in the exiled duke of the same play, and in the duke of Measure for Measure; but in these in the shape of "merely contem. plative philosophy." "In Hamlet this is mingled with the impulses of a perturbed heart, under the pressure of extraordinary circumstances." These plays, Mr. Hallam points out, all belong to the same period-the beginning of the seventeenth century: he is speaking of the Hamlet, “in its altered form." If this type, then, be not found in the Hamlet of the original sketch, we may refer that sketch to an earlier period. It is remarkable that in this sketch the misanthropy, if so it may be called, of Hamlet, can scarcely be traced; his feelings have altogether reference to his personal griefs and doubts. Mr. Hallam says, that in the plays subsequent to these mentioned above, “much of moral speculation will be found; but he has never returned to this type of character in tho personages." The first Hamlet was, we think, written at a period when this "bitter remembrance," whatever it was, had no place in his heart; the later plays when it had been obliterated by a more expansive philosophy-when the intellect had triumphed over the passions. We shall give a few examples, as in the case of the "thoughtful philosophy," of the absence in the first sketch of the passages which indicate the existence of the morbid feelings to which Mr. Hallam alludes:

Act I., Sc. 2. "How weary, flat, stale, and unprofitable," &c.

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"I have of late (but wherefore I know not) lost all my mirth," &c.

1. The soliloquy. All that appears in the perfect copy as the outpouring of a
wounded spirit, such as "the pangs of dispriz'd love,"—"the insolence of
office,"—" the spurns that patient merit of the unworthy takes,"-
"—are generalized
in the quarto of 1603, as follows:-

"Who'd bear the scorns and flattery of the world,-
Scorn'd by the rich, the rich curs'd of the poor,

The widow being oppress'd, the orphan wrong`d,
The taste of hunger, or a tyrant's reign,

And thousand more calamities beside ?'

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