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LESSON CL. Hamlet's Soliloquy on his Mother's Marriage. — Shakspeare.
1. O That this too, too solid flesh would melt, Thaw and resolve itself into a dew!
Or that the Everlasting had not fixed
His canon 'gainst self-slaughter!
How weary, stale, flat, and unprofitable,
Seem to me all the uses of this world!
Fie on't! oh fie! 't is an unweeded garden,
That grows to seed; things rank, and gross in nature,
Possess it merely.
2. That it should come to -this!
But two months dead; nay, not so much; not two;
So excellent a king, that was, to this,
Hyperion * to a satyr; t so loving to my mother,
That he permitted not the winds of heaven
Visit her face too roughly.
3. Heaven and earth!
Must I remember? —Why, she would hang on him,
As if increase of appetite had grown
By what it fed on; yet, within a month —
4. Let me not think — Frailty, thy name is Woman1 A little month! or ere those shoes were old,
With which she followed my poor father's body,
5. Within a month ! —
Ere yet the salt of most unrighteous tears
Had left the flushing in her galled eyes,
She married ! — O, most wicked speed, to post
With such dexterity to * * * * * *!
It is not, nor it cannot come to good,
But break my heart, for I must, hold my tongue!
* Hyperion, a name sometimes given to Apollo, or the sun. Properly he was the father of Aurora.
t Satyrs, in heathen mythology, were demi-gods of the country, represented as half man, half goat.
t Niobe, a princess of Lydia, who is said to have been converted into stone, by her grief for the loss of her children, slain by Apollo and Diana.
1. More full of wisdom, and ridicule, and sagacity, than all the moralists and satirists in existence, Shakspeare is more wild, airy, and inventive, and more pathetic and fantastic, than all the poets of all regions and ages of the world; and has all those elements so happily mixed up in him, and bears his high faculties so temperately, that the most severe reader cannot complain of him for want of strength or of reason, nor the most sensitive for defect of ornament or ingenuity.
2. Everything in him is in unmeasured abundance and unequaled perfection; but everything so balanced and kept in subordination as not to jostle or disturb or take the place of another. The most exquisite poetical conceptions, images, and descriptions, are given with such brevity, and introduced with such skill, as merely to adorn, without loading, the sense they accompany.
3. Although his sails are purple and perfumed, and his prow of beaten gold, they waft him on his voyage, not less, but more rapidly and directly, than if they had been composed of baser materials. All his excellences, like those of Nature herself, are thrown out together; and instead1 of interfering with, support and recommend each other. •
4. His flowers are not tied up in garlands, nor his fruits crushed into baskets, but spring living from the soil, in all the dew and freshness of youth; while the graceful foliage in which they lurk, and the ample branches, the rough and vigorous stem, and the wide-spreading roots, on which they depend, are present along with them, and share, in their places, the equal care of their creator.
Speech in the United States Senate on the Emancipation of South America. — H. Clay.
1. Such is a brief and imperfect picture of the state of things in Spanish America, in 1808, when the famous transactions of Bayonne occurred. The King of Spain and the Indies (for Spanish America has always constituted an integral part of the Spanish empire) abdicated his throne, and became a voluntary captive.
2. Even at this day, one does not know whether he should most condemn the baseness and perfidy of the one party, or despise the meanness and imbecility of the other. If the obligation of obedience and allegiance existed on the part of the colonies to the King of~ Spain, it was founded on the duty of protection which he owed them. By disqualifying himself for the performance of this duty, they became released from that obligation.
3. The monarchy was dissolved; and each integral part had a right to seek its own happiness, by the institution of any new government adapted to its wants. Joseph Bonaparte, the successor de facto of Ferdinand, recognized this right on the part of the colonies, and recommended them to establish their independence.
4. Thus, upon the ground of strict right, — upon the footing of a mere legal question, governed by forensic rules,—the colonies, being absolved by the acts of the parent country from the duty of subjection to it, had an indis'putable right to set up for themselves. But I take a broader and a bolder position. I maintain that an oppressed people are authorized, whenever they can, to rise and break their fetters. This was the great principle of the English revolution. It was the great principle of our own. Vattel, if authority were wanting, expressly supports this right.
5. We must pass sentence of condemnation upon the founders of our liberty, — say that they were rebels, traitors, and that we are at this moment legislating without competent powers, — before we can condemn the cause of Spanish America. Our revolution was mainly directed against the mere theory of tyranny.
6. We had suffered comparatively but little; we had, in some respects, been kindly treated; but our intrepid and intelligent fathers saw, in the usurpation of the power to levy an inconsiderable tax, the long train of oppressive acts that were to follow. They rose ; they breasted the stonn; they achieved our freedom. Spanish America for centuries has been doomed to the practical effects of an odious tyranny. If we were justified, she is more than justified.
7. I am no propagandist. I would not seek to force upon other nations our principles and our liberty, if they do not want them. I would not disturb the repose even of a detestable despotism. But, if an abused and oppressed people wii! their freedom; if they seek to establish it; if, in truth, they have established it; we have a right, as a sovereign power, to notice the fact, and to act as circumstances and our interest require.
8. I will say, in the language of the venerated father of my country, " Born in a land of liberty, my anxious recollecJ^ons, my sympathetic feelings, and my best wishes, are irresistibly excited, whensoever, in any country, I see an oppressed nation unfurl the banners of freedom."
9. Whenever I think of Spanish America, the image irresistibly forces itself upon my mind, of an elder brother, whose education has been neglected, whose person has been abused and maltreated, and who has been disinherited by the unkindness of an unnatural parent. And, when I contemplate the glorious struggle which that country is now making, I think I behold that brother rising, by the power and energy of his fine native genius, to the manly rank which Nature, and Nature's God, intended for him.
10. If Spanish America be entitled to success from the justness of her cause, we have no less reason to wish that success from the horrible character which the royal arms have given to the war. More atrocities than those which have been perpetrated during its existence are not to be found, even in the annals of Spain herself. And history, reserving some of her blackest pages for the name of Morillo, is prepared to place him by the side of his great prototype, the infamous desolater of the Netherlands.
11. He who has looked into the history of the conduct of this war is constantly shocked at the revolting scenes which it portrays; — at the refusal, on the part of the commanders of the royal forces, to treat, on any terms, with the other side; at the denial of quarters; at the butchery, in cold blood, of prisoners; at the violation of flags, in some cases, after being received with religious ceremonies; at the instigation of slaves to rise against their owners; and at acts of wanton and useless barbarity. Neither the weakness of the other sex, nor the imbecility of old age, nor the innocence of infants, nor the reverence due to the sacerdotal character, can stay the arm of royal vengeance.
12. In the establishment of the independence of Spanish America, the United States have the deepest interest. I have no hesitation in asserting my firm belief, that there is no question in the foreign policy of this country, which has ever arisen, or which I can conceive as ever occurring, in the decision of which we have had or can have so much at stake. This interest concerns our politics, our commerce, our navigation.
13. There cannot be a doubt that,' Spanish America once independent, whatever may be the form of the governments established in its several parts, these governments will be animated by an American feeling, and guided by an American policy. They will obey the laws of the system of the New World, of which they will compose a part, in contradistinction to that of Europe.
14. Without the influence of that vortex in Europe, the balance of power between its several parts, the preservation of which has so often drenched Europe in blood, America is sufficiently remote to contemplate the new wars which are to afflict that quarter of the globe, as a calm, if not a cold and indifferent spectator.
15. In relation to those wars, the several parts of America will generally stand neutral. And as, during the period when they rage, it will be important that a liberal system of neutrality should be adopted and observed, all America will be interested in maintaining and enforcing such a system. The independence of Spanish America, then, is an interest of primary consideration. Next to that, and highly important in itself, is the consideration of the nature of their governments. That is a question, however, for themselves.
16. They will, no doubt, adopt those kinds of governments which are best suited to their condition, besj, calculated for their happiness. Anxious as I am that they should be free governments, we have no right to prescribe for them. They are, and ought to be, the sole judges for themselves. I am strongly inclined to believe that they will in most, if not all
- parts of their country, establish free governments.
17. We are their great example. Of us they constantly speak as of brothers, having a similar origin. They adopt our principles, copy our institutions, and, in many instances, -employ the very language and sentiments of our revolutionary papers.