Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

LESSON LIX.

Scene Hamlet and his Mother. Shakspeare.

[The father of Hamlet was King of Denmark, and was murdered by his own brother, who, within a short time after the murder, married Hamlet's mother. The ghost of Hamlet's father had in a previous scene informed his son of his uncle's guilt, and exhorted him to avenge the murder. Hamlet, doubtful of the relation of the ghost, and fearful that it might be only the tale of a wicked spirit, laid a plot to convince himself of his uncle's participation in the murder ; and the following scene occurs after the successful issue of the plot, and he becomes fully convinced that his uncle was the murderer of his father.]

Hamlet. Now, mother, what's the matter?

Queen. Hamlet, thou hast thy father much offended.

Hamlet. Mother, you have my father much offended.

Queen. Come, come, you answer with an idle tongue.

Hamlet. Go, go, you question with a wicked tongue.

Queen. Why, how now, Hamlet?

Hamlet. What's the matter now?

Queen. Have you forgot me?

Hamlet. No, by Ihe rood, not so:
You are the queen; your husband's brother's wife;
And — would it were not so ! — you are my mother.

Queen. Nay, then I '11 set those to you that can speak.

Hamlet. Come, come, and sit you down; you shall not budge.

You go not till I set you up a glass
Where you may see the inmost part of you.

Queen. What wilt thou do ?— thou wilt not murder me?

Hamlet. Leave wringing of your hands : peace; sit you down,

And let me wring your heart: for so I shall,
If it be made of penetrable stuff;
If dam'ned custom have not brazed it so,
That it is proof and bulwark against sense.

Queen. What have I done, that thou dar'st wag thy tongue

In noise so rude against me?

Hamlet. Such an act,
That blurs the grace and blush of modesty;
Calls virtue, hypocrite; takes off the rose
From the fair forehead of an innocent love,
And sets a blister there; makes marriage vows
As false as dicer's oath! O, such a deed

As from the body of contraction plucks

The very soul; and sweet religion makes

A rhapsody of words. x Heaven's face doth glow;

Yea, this solidity and compound mass,

With tristful visage, as against the doom, •

Is thought-sick at the act.

Queen. Ay me! what act,
That roars so loud, and thunders in the index f

Hamlet. Look here, upon this picture, and on this;
The counterfeit presentment of two brothers.
See what a grace was seated on this brow:
Hyperion's curls; the front of Jove himself;
An eye like Mars, to threaten and command;
A station like the herald Mercury,
New-lighted on a heaven-kissing hill;
A combination, and a form, indeed,
Where every god did seem to set his seal,
To give the world assurance of a man.
This was your husband. —Look you, now, what follows:
Here is your husband; like a mildewed ear,
Blasting his wholesome brother. Have you eyes?
Could you on this fair mountain leave to feed,
And fatten on this moor? Ha! have you eyes?
You cannot call it love, for at your age
The heyday in the blood is tame, it's humble,
And waits upon the judgment; and what judgment
Would step from this to this?

Queen. O Hamlet, speak no more!
Thou turn'st mine eyes into my very soul;
And there I see such black and grain'ed spots,
As will not leave their tinct. O, speak to me no more!
These words, like daggers, enter in mine ears;
No more, sweet Hamlet!

Hamlet. A murderer and a villain:
A slave that is not twentieth part the tithe
Of your precedent lord : — a vice of kings:
A cut-purse of the empire and the rule;
That from a shelf the precious diadem stole,
And put it in his pocket!

Queen. No more!

Enter Ghost.

Hamlet. A king
Of shreds and patches ; —
Save me and hover o'er me with your wings,
You heavenly guards ! — What would your gracious figure?
Queen. Alas, he's mad!

Hamlet. Do you not come your tardy son to chide,
That, lapsed in time and passion, lets go hy
The important acting of your dread command?
O, say!

Ghost. Do not forget: this visitation
Is but to whet thy almost blunted purpose.
But, look! amazement on thy mother sits:
0, step between her and her fighting soul;
Conceit in weakest bodies strongest works;
Speak to her, Hamlet.

Hamlet. How is it with you, lady?

Queen. Alas! how is't with you,
That you do bend your eye on vacancy,
And with the incorporal air do hold discourse?
Whereon do you look?

Hamlet. On him! on him! Look you, how pale he glares 1
His form and cause conjoined, preaching to stones,
Would make them capable. Do not look on me,
Lest, with this piteous action, you convert
My stern effects: then what I have to do
Will want true color; tears, perchance, for blood.

Queen. To whom do you speak this?

Hamlet. Do you see nothing there?

Queen. Nothing at all; yet all that is I see.

Hamlet. Nor did you nothing hear?

Queen. No, nothing, but ourselves.

Hamlet. Why, look you there ! look, how it steals away! My father, in his habit as he lived! Look, where he goes, even now, out at the portal!

[Exit Ghost.

Queen. This is the very coinage of your brain: This bodiless creation, ecstasy

Is very cunning in."

Hamlet. Ecstasy!
My pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time,
And makes as healthful music. It is not madness
That I have uttered: bring me to the test,
And I the matter will re-word; which madness
Would gambol from. Mother, for love of grace,
Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass, but my madness, speaks:

It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whilst rank corruption, mining all within,
• Infects unseen. Confess yourself to Heaven;
Repent what's past; avoid what is to come;
And do not spread the compost on the weeds
To make them ranker.

Queen. O, Hamlet! thou hast cleft my heart in twain.
Hamlet. O, throw away the worser part of .it,
And live the purer with the other half.
Good-night: once more, good-night!
And when you are desirous to be blest,
I '11 blessing beg of you.

LESSON LX.

Satire on Pretended Philosophers and Projectors. Swift.*

[In the description of his fancied Academy of Lagado, in Gulliver's Travels, Swift ridicules those quack pretenders to science and knavish projectors who were so common in his day, and whose schemes sometimes led to ruinous and distressing consequences.]

L I Was received very kindly by the warden, and went for many days to the academy. Every room hath in it one or more projectors, and I believe I could not be in fewer than five hundred rooms.

2. The first man I saw was of a meager aspect, with sooty hands and face, his hair and beard long, ragged, and singed in several places. His clothes, shirt, and skin, were all of the same color. He had been eight years upon a project for extracting sun-beams out of cucumbers, which were to be put into vials hermetically sealed, and let out to warm the air in raw, inclement summers.

3. He told me he did not doubt, in eight years more, that he should be able to supply the governor's gardens with sunshine at a reasonable rate; but he complained that his stock was low, and entreated me to give him something as an en

* Dr. Jonathan Swift, Dean of St. Patrick's, and one of the keenest satirists of any age, was born in 1667, and died in 1745. In his most celebrated work, "Gulliver's Travels," he keenly satirizes the propensity of travelers to tell marvelous stories, while, at the same time, he throws a sweeping lash at the follies and*extravagances of mankind iu general.

couragement to ingenuity, especially since this had been a verv dear season for cucumbers.

4. 1 made him a small present, for my lord had furnished me with money on purpose, because he knew their practice of begging from all who go to see them. I saw another at work to calcine ice into gunpowder, who likewise showed me a treatise he had written concerning the malleability of fire, which he intended to publish.

5. There was a most ingenious architect, who had contrived a new method for building houses, by beginning at the roof, and working downwards to the foundation; which he justified to me by the like practice of those two prudent insects, the bee and the spider.

6. In another apartment I was highly pleased with a projector who had found a device of plowing the ground with hogs, to save the charges of plows, cattle, and labor. The method is this: in an acre of ground, you bury, at six inches distance, and eight deep, a quantity of'acorns, dates, chestnuts, and' other masts or vegetables, whereof these animals are fondest; then you drive six hundred or more of them into the field, where in a few days they will root up the whole ground in search of their food, and make it fit for sowing, at the same time manuring it.

7. It is true, upon experiment, they found the charge and trouble very great, and they had little or no crop. However, it is not doubted that this invention may be capable of great improvement. I went into another room, where the walls and ceiling were all hung round with cobwebs, except a narrow passage for the artist to go in and out.

8. At my entrance, he called aloud to me not to disturb his webs. He lamented the fatal mistake the world had been so long in, of using silk-worms, while we had such plenty of domestic insects, who infinitely excelled the former, because they understood how to weave as well as spin. And he proposed further, that, by employing spiders, the charge of dyeing silks would be wholly saved; whereof I was fully convinced when he showed me a vast number of flies most beautifully colored, wherewith he fed his spiders, assuring us that the webs would take a tincture from them; and as he had them of all hues, he hoped to fit everybody's fancy, as soon as he could find proper food for the flies, of certain gums, oils, and other glutinous matter, to give a strength and consistence to the threads.

9. There was an astronomer who had undertaken to place

« AnteriorContinuar »