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publicans,” the great German men of letters | exception of the German princes (against of Lessing's time. Klopstock lived on the whom M. Stahr has a parting fling for their pension of a foreign sovereign. Wieland refusal to contribute to Lessing's monuwas a ducal tutor, “probably more to the ment) has been more grateful, and, whether prince's advantage than his own," as Lessing it hails him as the genius of Revolution, wrote to him; and the latter was starved by with Gervinus, or of Evolution, with M. the bounty of two other native Mæcenases. Stahr willingly subscribes to the eloquent He died so poor that Duke Ferdinand was summing-up by the latter of his efforts in obliged to have him buried at the public ex- the search of truth :pense; but his munificence did not extend to
“ The reformer of our national poetry and the raising of a tombstone.
literature, the creator of our prose, the The late Mr. De Quincey has compared the founder of our stage, the legislator of our influence of Lessing on his contemporaries in critical and ästhetical systems, superior in Germany to that of Dr. Johnson on English all their fields to all his contemporaries beliterature. The comparison has very little comes the reformer of German philosophy point in it; but it would have been well for begun by Luther, the founder of the historic
and theology, the continuer of the great work Lessing if, in a material sense, literature view of religion, the great apostle of all true had been honored in him as it was in the progress towards light in his century.” person of the doctor. Posterity, with the
In Mr. Bentley's edition of “The Life and whether once obsolete or newly formed, are to Letters of Washington Irving,” edited by his find a place. It is to be published in quarto, in nephew, Pierre M. Irving, there are some very parts, the first to appear in the autumn. important and interesting additions to the Amer- • ican text, one a thoroughly Washington-Irvingish description of his “cottage and his neices
MESSRS. WILLIAMS AND NORGATE have in the on the banks of the Hudson, and its “ roses and press Mr. R. C. Carrington's “ Observations of ivy from Melrose Abbey." It was written in the Solar Spots,” made at Redhill Observatory February, 1846, during a short visit to Harley from 1853 to 1861 ; also, Dr. Cureton's “ Anstreet-a welcome holiday snatched from his du- cient Syriac Documents relative to the Earliest ties as American minister at Madrid, after he Establishment of Christianity at Edessa," from had tendered his resignation—to Mrs. Dawson, the year after the Ascension to the fourth cenwho was the Flora Foster of Flitwick, and whose tury. sister, Emily Foster, now Mrs. Fuller, for whom he entertained at one time a warm attachment, A MAP of Africa, to illustrate the discovery of furnishes to this volume seventy-nine pages of the sources of the Nile by Captains Speke and letters to herself, a diary, and recollections of Grant, and showing the route of these explorers, friendly intercourse with Washington Irving. as well as the routes of other recent African trav
ellers, has just been published by Mr. Wyld, of
Charing Cross, Geographer to the Queen. MESSRS. BOSWORTH AND HARRISON have just issued “The Book of Common Prayer,” etc., newly arranged in the order in which it is ap Dr. August KNOBEL, well-known for his many pointed to be used, printed by the queen’s printer, and zealous labors in the field of biblical literà in 32mo., containing all the services, with the ture, more especially his commentaries and hisRubrics, without omission or addition. In this torical investigations on the Old Testament, died edition the several parts of each service are a few days ago, at the age of fifty-seven, at printed in the order in which they are appointed Giessen. to be used, by means of which a child or any person unfamiliar with the Prayer Book may readily
ENCORES.-The New York Philharmonic Sofind the places throughout the services.
ciety prints upon its programmes the following
judicious rule upon this subject—"Encores canMESSRS. LONGMAN & Co. announce an English not be permitted, as the programmes of the condictionary, founded on Dr. Johnson's. The certs are made out with reference to the time edition of 1773, the last edited by the author, is occupied by the various pieces, beyond which it to form the substratum ; Todd's additions are to does not seem desirable to extend the duration be used ; and all words of recent introduction, of the performance."--Reader.
From The Reader. play, act by act. In the greater part of this DR. CONOLLY ON HAMLET. examination he proceeds as any careful nonA Study of Hamlet. By John Conolly, M. medical critic might bave done — showing
D., Ď.C.L., Fellow of the Royal College that, though there are various passages in of Physicians. (Moxon).
the drama which seem to assert distinctly A STUDY of Shakspeare's “Hamlet” by so that Hamlet is only feigning madness, and great a medical authority in lunacy as Dr. though in the course of his conduct he must Conolly is a literary curiosity, sure to attract be supposed as now and then putting on a attention. And this little volume deserves form of madness not his own, yet, on all the attention which it is sure to attract. It principles of human nature and, dramatie is extremely well-written-better, even as a consistency, the theory of feigned madness piece of literary criticism and exposition, than throughout becomes untenable and repulsive, many of the commentaries on Shakspeare and must give way to a theory of a real madthat have come from the pens of professedly ness, or unhinging of the mind, partly conliterary men. A vein of gentleness, of ten- stitutional and partly brought about by sudderness, of sweet and sympathetic interest in den circumstance, and one of the characterisall the human affections, pervades it, which tic peculiarities of which is that it plays with may be unexpected in such a veteran of pe- the very idea of madness. Throughout the culiar experience as Dr. Conolly, but which greater part of this exposition, we say, Dr. cannot fail to cause a real liking and respect Conolly reasons very much as any merely for him, and an increased sense also of the literary critic might have done ; and one is patient kindliness, as well as of the wisdom, rather disappointed at not having more exact into which such arduous medical experience reminiscences of asylums and of actual cases as his may have educated many of his profes- of insanity of alleged Hamlet type adduced sion. No youth, no lady, could have written in corroboration. One can see, however, with more of gentle feeling, of soothing and that, underneath the text, is a fund of such benevolent manner in contemplating any ideal recollections, of actual cases of insanity, and instance of bruised humanity, than is shown that these recollections, even when not adby this veteran writer, much of whose life duced, may have helped Dr. Conolly to his has been passed amid spectacles of bruised conclusions. Here and there, also-indeed, humanity so various and so terrible that one at every very important point of the story might think, judging hastily and wrongly, where Hamlet's conduct takes a new turnthat the edge of his natural tenderness must references of a general kind are made to phehave been blunted long ago. The amount nomena of actual insanity observed and and the quality of literary culture shown in registered by Dr. Conolly in the course of his the book are also more than common; the experience among the insane. These referstyle is clear, sweet, and flowing ; and the ences are rather more general than we should taste in matters of poetry true and good. have liked to have from such an authority as Passages might be quoted of shrewd exposi- Dr. Conolly when he was writing on such a tion, and of really useful remark on the subject; but they are interesting so far as present state of dramatic criticism, and of they go, and a few of them may be quoted our theatrical representations of Shakspeare's and supplied with titles :plays.
One characteristic of a healthy brain :
:-He Dr. Conolly's main purpose, however, is to [Hamlet) is constitutionally deficient in that combat the idea that Hamlet's madness was quality of a healthy brain or mind which --as many of the commentators have argued, may be termed its elasticity, in virtue of which and as most actors who have hitherto per- the changes and chances of the mutable world formed the part have assumed in their repre- various trials steadfastness and trust still pre
should be sustained without damage, and in sentations of it-only a feigned madness,
served. to show that Shakspeare's real notion was to represent in Hamlet a peculiar and medically- tive minds : -Any sudden and sħarp mortifi
A psychological characteristic of very sensiknown kind of actual insanity, and that, in carrying out this notion, he has succeeded position, or involving some exposure of the
cation, or any novelty effecting character or wonderfully. This theory he endeavors to secrets of the heart, creates a hasty resolve, make out by a detailed examination of the generally soon forgotten, to set aside all the
past, to re-model all the manner of life, to al-; “These. In her excellent white bosom, these.” ter every habit, to sacrifice every customary
* Doubt thou the stars are fire ; pleasure and solace, and henceforth to live
Doabt, that the sun doth move; secluded in gloom and reserve.
Doubt truth to be a liar ;
But never doubt, I love, Hamlet's secretiveness and consciousness of his “O dear Ophelia, I am ill at ease at these insanity :
-The very exhortation to secresy, numbers; I have not art to reckon my groans : shown to be so important in Hamlet's imagi- but that I love thee best, oh, most best, believe nation, are but illustrations, of one part of it
. Adieu. his character, and must be recognizable as “ Thine evermore, most dear lady, whilst such by all physicians intimately acquainted
this machine is to him,
- HAMLET.” with the beginnings of insanity. It is by no means unfrequent that, when the disease is
This letter seems usually regarded as a only incipient, and especially in men of exer
mere extravagance; but it deserves rather cised minds, the patient has an uneasy consciousness of his own departure from a per- ten before Hamlet's abrupt visit to Ophelia
graver consideration. It was probably writfectly sound understanding. He becomes aware that, however he may refuse to ac- last she had received from him written after
in her chamber, and might have been the knowledge it, his command over his thoughts his dreadful scene with the ghost, and wrung or his words is not steadily maintained, from him as a kind of remonstrance, consewhilst at the same time he has not wholly quent on the doubt of his truth and honor lost his control over either. He suspects implied by the repulsion of his letters folthat he is suspected; and anxiously and in- lowing immediately after that shock. But geniously accounts for his oddities. Some- whenever written, his mind was already overtimes he challenges inquiry, and courts vari- shadowed with malady. There is nothing ous tests of his sanity, and sometimes he of mocking or jesting in it, but evident and declares that, in doing extravagant things, he painful proof of shattered power and failing has only been pretending to be eccentric, in trust. The writer begins extravagantly, then order to astonish the fools about him, and
essays verse, and attempts a kind of assertion who, he knew, were watching him.
of his own fidelity; appears unable to go on, The morning hours of the melancholy mad: under a load of misery; passionately and ten-Those whose duties make them conversant derly, but still sorrowfully, he repeats his with cases of disordered mind, and especially profession of love, and in the closing words those who have had the unhappiness of seeing we perceive only figures of despondency and it in the form of melancholia of recent inva- death. Such a composition cannot be deemed sion, will recognize in the state and actions a part of a plan of deception, or a mockery of of Hamlet at this time (i.e., at the time of a tender woman, whose love he had gained, his wild interview with Ophelia, Act ii., and whom he himself loved. Except as the Scene: 1) a reflection of what they can production of a disordered mind, there is no scarcely fail to have observed. It is after meaning in it; but it is perfectly consistent such watchings, and after unrefreshing sleep with what is observed in letters written every succeeding, that the awakening comes not day by persons partially insane, both in and only without relief, but with sharper returns out of asylums, who labor under impulses to of sorrow, and the troubled ideas of yester- express in writing the sentiments occupying day recur with hideous strength. Some- their imagination, but find the effort too times the advancing hours of the day, and much for them, and become bewildered, and their various occurrences, restore the patient unable to command words sufficiently emto calmness, or, for a time, to reason; but phatic to represent them. In Hamlet's disstill the morning hours are full of peril, and traction, his thoughts have almost quitted the truce is treacherous :'to the first fury an the night scene on the platform; and in his ominous silence succeeds, and a fixed resolu- complicated distress they have turned chiefly tion remains to effect some utterly insane towards Ophelia. There is considerable risk purpose, to sacrifice some victim whose fate of error in commenting on the precise appliis linked with some delusion, or to rush on cation of many words used two centuries some frightful mode of self-destruction. before our time; but even the accidental
substitution of the word beautified, which Letters written by insane persons : –
Polonius condemns as a vile phrase, for the (Polonius) then reads to the king and queen word beautiful is not at all unlike the literal the following strange letter from Hamlet to Ophelia, and by her dutifully given up to the writers aim at force, and are not satis
errors occurring often in madmen's letters : him:
fied with ordinary words. Altogether, the “ To the celestial, and my soul's idol the most style of the letter has so singular a resembeautified Ophelia.”
blance to that of insane persons of an intel
lectual character, but disturbed by insanity, weeks, or months, or years. Such patients as almost to justify the supposition that will even re-write words or letters, copying Shakspeare had met
with some such letter in them precisely for presentation every mornthe curious case-books of his son-in-law, Dr. ing. Many of them who are even generally Hall, of Stratford-upon-Avon.
violent, and sometimes dangerous, are yet Absence of tenderness a mark of insanity:- dress them to prove their madness, asking
shrewd enough to challenge those who adThe diffusion of the element of tenderness them to propose questions or calculations to over the whole
of Hamlet's character, how- them, or to examine them as to circumstances ever skilfully effected on the stage, is an un- and times and dates. authorized departure from the delineation of his character by Shakspeare. The disap
Infectiousness of insanity:~This accuraupearance of tenderness from a sensitive and lation of madness in one play might seem to irresolute mind, after the shocks of violent afford matter for criticism ; but it is not at surprise, and in the confusion of half-formed variance with what, in scenes of complicated and murderous designs, is but one among trouble and trial, physicians see now and the indications of the morbid change that and then examples of - husbands becoming has been wrought in the prince's character. insane in the course of the long and hopeless
insanity of wives ; sensitive women's hearts Ferocity of insanity ;-Well has Dr. John- failing and reason undermined when a hus son said _-- This speech,” [when Hamlet, see- band's madness has broken up their home ing the king at prayer, will not kill him, lest his and ruined every comfortable hope ; grieving soulshould then go to Heaven]" in which Ham- mothers falling into profound melancholy for let, represented as a virtuous character, is not sons or daughters stricken with mental malcontent with taking blood for blood, but conady; and lovers becoming insane when the trives damnation for the man that he would fond object of love has been unexpectedly depunish, is too horrible to be read or to be prived of reason. And of all these things uttered.”
But it is the speech of a man Shakspeare had observed something, as of uttering maniacal exaggerations of feeling. all things else. Such exaggerations of anger or ferocity are occasionally recognized in the ravings of the Madness vanishing in extreme activity, or mad, but of no other persons, however en-near death :—The final scene of the play, alraged or depraved. The speech, it is also to though the deaths of four of the personages be observed, has no listeners ; there is nobody are included in it, is rendered pathetic, and by to feign to. The terrible words are the even dignified, by the demeanor of Hamlet dictation of a mind so metamorphosed by dis- himself, by the dying tokens of his mother's order, that all healthy and natural feelings, love for him, and by Horatio's faithful atall goodness and mercy, have been forcibly tachment and profound and affectionate grief driven out of it.
for his loss. The better part of Hamlet has
survived all his mental discomposures. BeAnxiety of madmen to prove their sanity :It is curious to observe that the arguments Laertes, at the king's request, although
fore the fencing begins, he takes the hand of he adduces to disprove his mother's suppo- treacherously given to him both by Laertes sition (that he is mad) are precisely such as and the king, and even asks pardon of him certain ingenious madmen delight to em- for the wrong he did ; disclaiming any purploy,
posed evil, and ascribing what he did to his HAM. Ecstasy!
madness. 4. In the shock of all these inciMy pulse, as yours, doth temperately keep time, dents, Hamlet evinces no mental unsoundness. And makes as healthful music : It is not mad- Death is approaching, stronger than madness.
His faculties are forcibly aroused to serious That I have uttered : bring me to the test
action : and fanciful meditations have no And I the matter will re-word; which madness
more dominion over him. At length, he Would gambol from.
feels that death is in his veins, and approachThis distinction of Hamlet has been too ing his heart. He thinks he could tell the confidently quoted as affording an unerring pale bystanders something: but it cannot be. test of sanity or insanity ; but in truth it is He has but energy left to prevent Horatio only in the acute stage of mania, or, accord- from drinking the remaining poison, as one ing to the old expression, the stage of ecstacy, resolved to die with him after the old Roman that the madman is unable to re-word any fashion. matter spoken by bim, and gambols from it. In many chronic forins of mania, and in al On the whole, Dr. Conolly's theory of the most every form of melancholia, the patient character of Hamlet is well worth consideris not only able to re-word what he has ut- ing. Our wretched popular criticism is in tered, but is found to repeat it every day, for the habit of discrediting all such attempts to
find consistent meanings and intentions in intellect, the mind morbidly metaphysical, all Shakspeare's plays, and of laughing at labo- whose operations are “sicklied o'er with the rious German critics, such as Ulrici, who pale cast of thought," and each of whose make it their business to discover and expound movements is attended, not with a practical
the central idea ” of this play or of that. result, but with a precipitate of profound reShakspeare, say the popular critics-think- flections respecting whatever is on hand. We ing themselves clever fellows and men of the ask whether that view of the play of Hamlet world for saying 80-did not bother himself is not sufficient which supposes that Shakwith “ central ideas,” but wrote on and on speare meant to represent the breakdown of without any such deep and fine meanings as such an over-speculative, over-metaphysical his ingenious commentators find in him! And intellect in circumstances requiring consum80, whether Hamlet was sane or insane, or mate action (if, indeed, any conceivable kind only pretendedly insane, seems a question of of action would have been consummate enough moonshine to these critics—undeterminable to suit), without supposing also that he meant or not worth determining. They can enjoy to portray an access in this mind of any
addithe play, in their own way, without settling tional insanity. And we ask, in the second the question, or even asking it! Now, all place, whether such a state of mind—all its this is mighty bluff-looking and manly look- strangeness, all its secretiveness, all its ferocing; but, rightly considered, it is sheer ex- ity in speech, all its listlessness in action, and ultation in stupidity. Shakspeare, probably, all its unkindness even to Ophelia included always knew what he was about; he proba- ought to be called insanity. All Denmark bly never did a thing without knowing that voted Hamlet insane ; and Dr. Conolly votes he was doing it, and perceiving all its specu- him insane. But a very popular definition lative bearings. That he had a definite no- of insanity regards as insanity all very contion of what he meant Hamlet to be—that he spicuous difference from the mood of the ma had in view, in the character of Hamlet, the jority; and we have read enough of medical representation of a certain type or state of dissertations on insanity to see that, accordmind-18 undeniable by any person not abso- ing to the definitions of some physicians, every lutely “ beef-witted,” as Thersites said Ajax splendid or unusual man that walks among was, and as some English critics are apt to be. us has burst the bounds of reason, has inDr. Conolly's theory, that Shakspeare meant cipient brain-disease, and is on his way to to represent in Hamlet a peculiar state of an asylum. We inquire, therefore, whether highly intellectual insanity, is, therefore, we Shakspeare, in Hamlet, may not have meant repeat, worthy of respectful consideration. merely to represent some splendid and unuFor ourselves, we cannot say that we are sual state of mind with which he was personquite satisfied with it. We miss in Dr. Con- ally very familiar--abnormal, perhaps, as Olly's investigation, fine as it is, that deep being over-speculative and over-metaphysiphilosophy which we find in Goethe's critical; but not necessarily insane, save in a cism of - Hamlet” – to which, strangely sense in which the world might well tolerate enough, Dr. Conolly makes no allusion ; and, more specimens of such insanity than it is having read the play of “ Hamlet” nearly ever likely to have. We are not sure but he through again since reading Dr. Conolly's may have meant to describe to the world, in essay, we find two queries still recurring to the Hamlet-mind, a constitution of mind us which might mar or greatly modify Dr. which he thought not insane, but only grand Conolly's conclusion. In the first place, we and rare. But, though Dr. Conolly’s the find ourselves inquiring whether Dr. Conolly. ory in its totality, does not convince us on takes sufficient account of Hamlet as we are its first presentation, it may gain strength, taught to fancy him before the play opens or at least exert an influence, as it is further the Wittenberg student, the over-speculative thought over.