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species of affection to which the strangeredit., 1837, royal 18mo; Sketches of the gives birth merely as being a stranger. He Principal Picture Galleries of England, with is received and sheltered by our hospitality a Criticism on Marriage à la Mode, Lond., almost with the zeal with which our friendship | 1824, 12mo ; Criticisms on Art, and Sketches delights to receive one with whom we have of the Picture Galleries of England, Edited lived in cordial union, whose virtues we know by bis Son, Lond., 1843–44, 2 vols. 12mo; and revere, and whose kindness has been to Spirit of the Age, or Contemporary Porus no, small part of the happiness of our life. traits. Lond., 1825, 8vo, 3d edit., Edited by
Is it possible to perceive this general pro- his Son, Lond., 1858, 12mo; Select Poets portion of our desire of giving happiness, in of Great Britain, to which are prefixed Critits various degrees, to the means which we ical Notices of each Author, Lond., 1825, possess, in various circumstances of afford- 8vo; Notes of a Journey through France ing it, without admiration of an arrange- and Italy, including Observations on the ment so simple in the principles from which Fine Arts, Lond., 1826, 8vo; Plain Speaker: it flows, and at the same time so effectual,- | Opinions on Books, Men, and Things, Two an arrangement which exhibits proofs of Series, Lond., 1826, 2 vols. 8vo, 2d edit., goodness in our very wants, of wisdom in 1851-52, 2 vols. 12mo ; Life of Napoleon our very weaknesses, by the adaptation of Buonaparte, Lond., 1828, 4 vols. 8vo, with these to each other, and by the ready re-new title, 1830, New York, 1847, 3 vols. sources which want and weakness find in 12mo, Phila., 3 vols. large 12mo, revised by these affections which everywhere surround his Son, Lond., 1852, 4 vols. crown 8vo; them, like the presence and protection of Conversations of James Northcote, Lond., God himself?
1830, sm. Syn; Literary Remains, with NoLectures on the Philosophy of the Hum in | tice of his Life by his Son, and Thoughts Mind.
on his Genius and Writings by Sir E. L. Bulwer and Sir T. N. Talfourd, Lond., 1836,
8vo, 1839, 2 vols. 8vo; Winterslow: Essays WILLIAM HAZLITT, and Characters Written there, Collected by
his Son, Lond., 1850, 12mo; Miscellaneous the son of a Unitarian minister of Shrop
| Works, Phila., 5 vols. 12mo, and Napoleon, shire, born 1778, and educated at the Uni
8vo. tarian College at Hackley, began life as an artist, but soon abandoned the pencil and “He seems pretty generally, indeed, in a state palette for the pen. and, after a laborious of happy intoxication,-and has borrowed from
his great original (Shakspeare), not indeed the literary career, died in 1830. He was the
force and brilliancy of his fancy, but something author of the following among other works :
| of its playfulness, and a large share of his apEssays on the Principles of Iluman Action, parent" joyousness and self-indulgence in its exerLond., 1805, crown Svo, 1834, 12ino, 1835, cise. It is evidently a great pleasure to him to 12mo, The Eloquence of the British Senate, be fully possessed with the beauties of his author, Lond., 1807, 2 vols. 8vo; The Round Table
and to follow the inpulse of his unrestrained (in conjunction with Leigh Ilunt), Edin.
engerness to impress them upon his readers."
LORD JEFFREY: Edin. Review, 28 : 472. and Lond., 1817, 2 vols. 12mo, 3d edit.,
“There is scarcely a page of Hazlitt which does Lond., 1841, 12mo; Characters of Shake- not betray the influence of strong prejudice, a love speare's Plays, Lond., 1817, 8vo, 2d edit., of paradoxical views, and a tendency to sacrifice 1818, 8vo, 3d edit., 1838, 12mo, 4th edit., | the exact truth of a question to an effective turn of 1848. 12ino: The Dramatic Scorpion, á expression."-H. T. TUCKERMAN: Charoc. of Lit., Satire 18188vo: A View of the English Second Series : The Critic : William Hazlitt. Stage, Lond., 1818, sro, 1821, 8vo, 1851, 12mo; Lectures on the English Poets, Lond., THE LITERATURE OF THE AGE OF ELIZABETI. 1818, 8vo, 2d edit., 1819, 8vo, 3d edit., 1841, The age of Elizabeth was distinguished 12mo; Lectures on the English Comic | beyond, perhaps, any other in our history, Writers, Lond., 1819, 8vo, 3d edit., 1840; | by a number of great men, famous in difPolitical Essays, with Sketches of Public ferent ways, and whose names have come Characters, Lond., 1819, 8vo, 1822, 8vo; | down to us with unblemished honours, Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the statesmen, warriors, divines, scholars, poets, Age of Elizabeth, Lond., 1821, 8vo, 3d edit., , and philosophers : Raleigh, Drake, Coke, 1841, 12m0; Table Talk, or, Original Es- Hooker, and higher and more sounding still, says, Lond., 1821-22, 2 vols. 8vo, 2d edit., and still more frequent in our mouths, Shak1824, 3d edit., 1845–46, 2 vols. 8vo, New speare, Spenser, Sydney, Bacon, Jonson, York, 1845, 2 vols. post 8vo; Liber Amoris, Beaumont and Fletcher,-men whom fame or, The New Pygmalion, Lond., 1823, 12mo; has eternized in her long and lasting scroll, Selection of Speeches, Lond., 1823, 8vo; and who, by their words and acts, were Characteristics, Lond., 1823, sm. Svo, 3d benefactors of their country, and ornaments,
of human nature. Their attainments of dif- guiled her followers and committed abomiferent kinds bore the same general stamp, nations with the people, fall harmless from and it was sterling: what they did had the their necks. mark of their age and country upon it. Per- The translation of the Bible was the chief haps the genius of Great Britain (if I may engine in the great work. It threw open, so speak without offence or flattery) never by a secret spring, the rich treasures of reshone out fuller or brighter, or looked moreligion and morality which had there been like itself, than at this period. ...
locked up as in a shrine. It revealed the For such an extraordinary combination visions of the prophets, and conveyed the and development of fancy and genius many lessons of inspired teachers, to the meanest causes may be assigned ; and we may seek of the people. It gave thein a common infor the chief of them in religion, in politics, terest in a common cause. Their hearts in the circumstances of the time, the recent burnt within them as they read. It gave a diffusion of letters, in local situation, and in mind to the people by giving them common the character of the men who adorned that subjects of thought and feeling. It ce period, and availed themselves so nobly of mented their union of character and sentithe advantages placed within their reach. ment; it created endless diversity and col
I shall here attempt to give a general lision of opinion. They found objects to sketch of these causes, and of the manner in employ their faculties, and a motive in the which they operated to mould and stamp the magnitude of the consequences attached to poetry of the country at the period of which them, to exert the utmost eagerness in the I have to treat; independently of incidental pursuit of truth, and the most daring intreand fortuitous causes, for which there is no pidity in maintaining it. Religious controaccounting, but which, after all, have oftenversy sharpens the understanding by the the greatest share in determining the most subtlety and remoteness of the topics it disimportant results.
cusses, and embraces the will by their infiThe first cause I shall mention, as con nite importance. We perceive in the history tributing to this general effect, was the Refor- of this period a nervous masculine intellect. mation, which had just then taken place. No levity, no feebleness, no indifference; or, This event gave a mighty impulse and in- if there were, it is a relaxation from the creased activity to thought and inquiry, and intense activity which gives a tone to its genagitated the inert mass of accumulated prej-eral character. But there is a gravity apudices throughout Europe. The effect of the proaching to piety; a seriousness of impres. concussion was general, but the shock was sion, a conscientious sererity of argument, greatest in this country. It toppled down, an habitual fervour and enthusiasm, in their the full-grown intolerable abuses of centu- method of handling almost every subject. ries at a blow; heaved the ground from The debates of the schoolmen were sharp under the feet of bigoted faith and slavish and subtle enough ; but they wanted interest obedience; and the roar and dashing of and grandeur, and were besides confined to opinions, loosened from their accustomed a few: they did not affect the general mass hold, might be heard like the noise of an of the community. But the Bible was thrown angry sea, and has never yet subsided. Ger- open to all ranks and conditions “ to run and many first broke the spell of misbegotten read," with its wonderful table of contents fear, and gave the watch word ; but England from Genesis to the Revelations. Every viljoined the shout, and echoed it back, with lage in England would present the scene so her island voice, from her thousand cliffs and well described in Burns's “Cotter's Saturday craggy shores, in a longer and a louder Night." I cannot think that all this variety strain. With that cry, the genius of Great and weight of knowledge could be thrown in Britain rose, and threw down the gauntlet all at once upon the mind of the people and to the nations. There was a mighty fermen- not make some impression upon it the traces tation : the waters were out; public opinion of which might be discerned in the manners was in a state of projection. Liberty was and literature of the age. For, to leave more held out to all to think and speak the truth. disputable points, and take only the historiMen's brains were busy ; their spirits stir- cal parts of the Old Testament, or the moral ring; their hearts full, and their hands not parts of the New, there is nothing like thein idle. Their eyes were opened to expect the in the power of exciting awe and admiragreatest things, and their ears burned with tion, or of riveting sympathy. We see what curiosity and zeal to know the truth, that Milton has made of the account of the Creathe truth might make them free. The death- tion, from the manner in which he bas blow which had been struck at scarlet vice treated it, imbued and impregnated with the and bloated hypocrisy loosened their tongues, spirit of the time of which we speak. Or and made the talismans and love-tokens of what is there equal (in that romantic interest Popish superstition, with which she had be- and patriarchal simplicity which goes to the
heart of a country, and ronses it, as it were, enemies. He was the first true teacher of from its lair in wastes and wildernesses) to morality : for he alone conceived the idea of the story of Joseph and his Brethren, of a pure humanity. He redeemed man from Rachel and Laban, of Jacob's Dream, of the worship of that idol, self, and instructed Ruth and Boaz, the descriptions in the book him by precept and example to love his of Job, the deliverance of the Jews out of neighbour as himself, to forgive our enemies, Egypt, or the account of their captivity and to do good to those that curse us and despitereturn from Babylon? There is, in all these fully use us. Ile taught the love of good parts of the Scripture, and numberless more for the sake of good, without regard to perof the same kind, -to pass over the Orphic sonal or sinister views, and made the affechymns of David, the prophetic denunciations tions of the heart the sole seat of morality, of Isaiah, or the gorgeous visions of Ezekiel, instead of the pride of the understanding or -an originality, a vastness of conception, a the sternness of the will. In answering the depth and tenderness of feeling, and a touch- | question, “Who is our neighbour?'' as one ing simplicity in the mode of narration, who stands in need of our assistance, and which he who does not feel need be made of whose wounds we can bind up, he has done no "penetrable stuff."
more to humanize the thoughts, and tame There is something in the character of the unruly passions, than all who have tried Christ too (leaving the religious faith quite to reform and benefit mankind. The very out of the question) of more sweetness and idea of abstract benevolence, of the desire to majesty, and more likely to work a change do good because another wants our services, in the mind of man, by the contemplation and of regarding the human race as one of its idea alone, than any to be found in family, the offspring of one common parent, history, whether actual or feigned. This is hardly to be found in any other code or character is that of a sublime humanity, system. It was to the Jews a stumbling such as was never seen on earth before nor | block, and to the Greeks foolishness.” The since. This shone manifestly both in his Greeks and Romans never thought of conwords and actions. We see it in his washing sidering others, but as they were Greeks or the disciples' feet the night before his death, Romans, as they were bound to them by certhat unspeakable instance of huinility and tain positive ties, or, on the other hand, as Jove, above all art, all meanness, and all separated from them by fiercer antipathies. pride; and in the leave he took of them on Their virtues were the virtues of political that occasion : “My peace I give unto you, machines, their vices were the vices of that peace which the world cannot give, give demons, ready to inflict or to endure pain I unto you; and in his last commandment, with obdurate and remorseless inflexibility that "they should love another." Who can of purpose. But in the Christian religion read the account of his behaviour on the “we perceive a softness coming over the cross, when turning to his mother he said, heart of a nation, and the iron scales that “ Woman, behold thy son," and to the dis fence and harden it melt and drop off.” It ciple John, " Behold thy mother," and "from becomes malleable, capable of pity, of forthat hour that disciple took her to his own giveness, of relaxing in its claims, and home," without having his heart smote remitting its power. We strike it and it within! We see it in his treatment of the does not hurt us: it is not steel or marble, woman taken in adultery, and in his excuse but flesh and blood, clay tempered with for the woman who poured precious ointment tears, and “soft as sinews of the new-born on his garment as an offering of devotion and babe." ... love which is here all in all. His religion Nor can I help thinking that we may diswas the religion of the heart. We see it in his cern the traces of the influence exerted by discourse with the disciples as they walked religious faith in the spirit of the poetry of together towards Emmaus, when their hearts the age of Elizabeth, in the means of excitburned within them ; in his sermon from the ing terror and pity, in the delineations of Mount, in his parable of the Good Samaritan, the passions of grief, remorse, love, sympathy, and in that of the Prodigal Son,-in every the sense of shame, in the fond desires, the act and word of his life, a grace, a mildness, longings after immortality, in the heaven of a dignity and love, a patience and wisdom, hope and the abyss of despair it lays open worthy of the Son of God. His whole life to us. and being were imbued, steeped, in this The literature of this age, then, I would word, charity; it was the spring, the well- say, was strongly influenced (among other head from which every thought and feeling causes), first, by the spirit of Christianity, gushed into act; and it was this that breathed and secondly, by the spirit of Protestantism. a mild glory from his face in that last agony The effects of the Reformation on politics upon the cross, " when the meek Saviour and philosophy may be seen in the writings bowed his head and died," praying for his and history of the next and of following ages. 348
They are still at work, and will continue to the zenith. The people, the soil, the clime, be so. The effects on the poetry of the time everything gave unlimited scope to the curiwere chiefly confined to the moulding of the osity of the traveller and reader. Other characters, and giving a powerful impulse to manners might be said to enlarge the bounds the intellect of the country. The immediate of knowledge, and new mines of wealth use or application that was made of religion were tumbled at our feet. It is from a royto subjects of imagination and fiction was not age to the Straits of Magellan that Shak(from an obvious ground of separation) so speare has taken the hint of Prospero's Endirect or frequent as that which was made chanted Island, and of the savage Caliban of the classical and romantic literature. with his god Setebos. Spenser seems to
For, much about the same time, the rich have had the same feeling in his mind in the and fascinating stores of the Greek and Ro- | production of his Faery Queen. man mythology, and those of the romantic Lectures on the Dramatic Literature of the poetry of Spain and Italy, were eagerly ex Age of Elizabeth. plored by the curious, and thrown open in translations to the admiring gaze of the vul
THE CHARACTER OF Hamlet. gar. This last circumstance could hardly have afforded so much advantage to the poets It is the one of Shakspeare's plays that of that day, who were themselves, in fact, we think of the oftenest, because it abounds the translators, as it shows the general curi most in striking reflections on human life, osity and increasing interest in such subjects and because the distresses of Hamlet are as a prevailing feature of the times. There transferred, by the turn of his mind, to the were translations of Tasso by Fairfax, and general account of humanity. Whatever of Ariosto by Harrington, of Ilomer and happens to him, we apply to ourselves, beTIesiod by Chapman, and of Virgil long because he applies it to himself as a means of fore, and of Ovid soon after; there was Sir general reasoning. He is a great moraliser; Thomas North's translation of Plutarch, of and what makes him worth attending to is, which Shakspeare has made such admirable that he moralises on his own feelings and use in his Coriolanus and Julius Cæsar ; and experience. He is not a commonplace pedBen Jonson's tragedies of Catiline and Se- ant. If Lear is distinguished by the greatest janus may themselves be considered as al | depth of passion, Hamlet is the most remarkmost literal translations into verse of Tacitus, | able for the ingenuity, originality, and unSallust, and Cicero's Orations in his consul- studied development of character. Shasship. Petrarch, Dante, the satirist Aretine, speare had more magnanimity than any other Machieval, Castiglion, and others, were fa poet, and he has shown more of it in this miliar to our writers, and they make occa- play than in any other. There is no attempt sional mention of some few French authors, to force an interest: everything is left for as Ronsard and Du Bartas ; for the French time and circumstances to unfold. The atliterature had not at this stage arrived at its tention is excited without effort; the inciAugustan period, and it was the imitation dents succeed each other as matters of of their literature a century afterwards, when course; the characters think, and speak, it had arrived at its greatest height (itself and act, just as they might do if left entirely copied from the Greek and Latin), that en-to themselves. There is no set purpose, no feebled and impoverished our own. But of straining at a point. The observations are the time that we are considering it might be suggested by the passing scene,-the gusts said, without much extravagance, that every of passion come and go like sounds of music breath that blew, that every wave that rolled borne on the wind. The whole play is an to our shores, brought with it some acces- exact transcript of what might be supposed sion to our knowledge, which was engrafted to have taken place at the court of Denmark on the national genius. ...
at the remote period of time fixed upon, beWhat gave also an unusual impetus to the fore the modern refinements in morals and mind of men at this period was the discovery manners were heard of. It would have been of the New World, and the reading of voy- interesting enough to have been admitted as ages and travels. Green islands and golden a bystander in such a scene, at such a time, sands seemed to arise, as if by enchantment, to have heard and witnessed something of out of the bosom of the watery waste, and what was going on. But here we are more invite the cupidity, or wing the imagination, than spectators. We have not only the outof the dreaming speculator. Fairy-land was ward pageants and the signs of grief, but realised in new and unknown worlds. “For "we have that within which passes show." tunate fields, and groves, and flowery vales, We read the thoughts of the heart, we catch thrice happy isles,' were found foating, the passions living as they rise. Other dra“like those Hesperian gardens famed of matic writers give us very fine versions and old," beyond Atlantic seas, as dropt from paraphrases of nature; but Shakspeare, to
gether with his own comments, gives the around him! Amidst the natural and preoriginal text, that we may judge for our-ternatural horrors of his situation, he might selves. This is a very great advantage. be excused in delicacy from carrying on a
The character of Hainlet stands quite by regular courtship. When “his father's spirit itself. It is not a character marked by was in arms," it was not a time for his son strength of will or even of passion, but by to make love in. He could neither marry refinement of thought and sentiment. Ilam Ophelia, nor wound her mind by explaining let is as little of the hero as a man can well the cause of his alienation, which he durst be; but he is a young and princely novice, hardly trust himself to think of. It would full of high enthusiasm and quick sensibility, have taken him years to have come to a di--the sport of circumstances, questioning rect explanation on the point. In the harwith fortune, and refining on his own feel assed state of his mind he could not have ings, and forced from the natural bias of his done much otherwise than he did. His condisposition by the strangeness of his situa- duct does not contradict what he says when tion. He seems incapable of deliberate ac- he sees her funeral : tion, and is only hurried into extremities on
“I loved Ophelia ; forty thousand brothers the spur of the occasion, when he has no
Could not, with all their quantity of love, time to reflect,-as in the scene where he
Make up my sum." kills Polonius; and, again, where he alters
Characters of Shakspeare's Plays. the letters which Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are taking with them to England, purporting his death. At other times, when he
RICHARD THE THIRD AND MACBETH. is most bound to act, he remains puzzled, The leading features in the character of undecided, and sceptical; dallies with his Macbeth are striking enough, and they forin purposes till the occasion is lost, and finds what may be thought at first only a bold, out some pretence to relapse into indolence rude, Gothic outline. By comparing it with and thoughtfulness again. For this reason other characters of the same author, we he refuses to kill the king when he is at his shall perceive the absolute truth and idenprayers; and, by a refinement in malice, tity which is observed in the midst of the which is in truth only an excuse for his own giddy whirl and rapid career of events. want of resolution, defers his revenge to a With powerful and masterly strokes, for inmore fatal opportunity. ... The moral per- stance, he has marked the different effects fection of this character has been called in of ambition and cruelty, operating on difquestion, we think by those who did not unferent dispositions and in different circumderstand it. It is inore interesting than ac- stances, in his Macbeth and Richard III. cording to rules; amiable, though not fault. Both are tyrants, usurpers, murderers; both less. The ethical delineations of that noble violent and ambitious; both courageous, and liberal casuist' (as Shakspeare has been cruel, treacherous. But Richard is cruel well called) do not exhibit the drab-coloured from nature and constitution. Macbeth bequakerism of morality. His plays are not comes so from accidental circumstances. copied either from The Whole Duty of Man, Richard is from his birth deformed in body or from The Academy of Compliments and inind, and naturally incapable of good. We confess we are a little shocked at the Macbeth is full of “the milk of human kindwant of refinement in those who are shockedness," is frank, sociable, generous. He is at the want of refinement in Hamlet. The urged to the commission of guilt by golden neglect of punctilious exactness in his be-/ opportunity, by the instigations of his wife, haviour either partakes of the “license of and by prophetic warnings. “Fate and the time," or else belongs to the very excess metaphysical aid” conspire against his virof intellectual refinement in the character, | tue and his loyalty. Richard, on the conwhich makes the common rules of life, as trary, needs no prompter, but wades through well as his own purposes, sit loose upon him, a series of crimes to the height of his ambiHe may be said to be amenable only to the tion, from the ungovernable violence of his tribunal of his own thoughts, and is too passions and a restless love of mischief. much taken up with the airy world of con- lie is never gay but in the prospect or in templation to lay as much stress as he ought the success of his villanies; Macbeth is full on the practical consequences of things. I of horror at the thoughts of the murder of His habitual principles of action are un- Duncan, which he is with difficulty prevailed hinged and out of joint with the time, this on to commit, and of remorse after its perconduct to Ophelia is quite natural in his petration. Richard has no mixture of comcircumstances. It is that of assumed severity mon humanity in his composition, no regard only. It is the effect of disappointed hope, to kindred or posterity; he owns no fellowof bitter regrets, of affection suspended, not ship with others, but is "himself alone." obliterated, by the distractions of the scene Macbeth endeavours to escape from reflec