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exist–or, not to be, that is, to cease ed.” Now Hamlet knew well enough to exist, which Hamlet in a para- that sleep would not always end the phrase thus explains :
heartache, as we frequently dream in Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
our sleep of that which oppresses us The slings and arrows of outrageous for. when we are awake. This, aftertune,
wards, occurs to Hamlet, and he acOr to take arms against a sca of troubles cordingly says, aye, there's the And by opposing, end them ?
rub;" for what dreams may come in Here the inquiry is, whether that sleep of death must give us pause. it is nobler to continue to be and “ There's the respect," he adds, endure the ills of life, or cease to be
" that makes calamity of so long life.” and get rid of them?-the consider. For who, he asks, would bear the ation goes no further than to ascer- whips and scorns of time, if it were tain whether 'tis nobler to suffer ills
so easy to get rid of them that eren than to end them by an act of violence. a bare bodkin would effect the obNow it is a very curious fact, that ject? who would bear the burdens of Hamlet, instead of debating the life, if it were not for the dread of question which he has taken so something after death-if ignorance much pains to explain, drops it alto- of the future the undiscovered coungether, and proceeds to consider a try, did not puzzle the will? Thus, perfectly distinct question—not whe- so far from weighing whether it was ther it is nobler to suffer than to end nobler to suffer or to take arms athe ills, but whether it is possible to gainst calamities, he asks who would end them,-a problem which could be so silly as to endure them if it only be solved by Hamlet's belief, were possible to oppose
them but of which that belief would fire cessfully! nish an immediate solution. If Ham- All religion is quite kicked out of let did not believe in a future state, he doors in the debate, but philosophy could not doubt that death would ter- rejects his conclusion as unsound, minate the ills of life, for if there when he declares that “it is better to were no future state, there could be suffer the ills we have, than fly to no future ills; and, putting religion OTHERS that we know not of." To out of the argument, there could be no pursue Hamlet's own metaphor,question on the propriety of terminating suppose a man suffering under exevils rather than enduring them.
treme pain, on being advised to go to If Hamlet did believe in the truth sleep, should say, "No, although it is of revealed religion, and that probable that sleep would give me
ease, yet, as it is possible that I might The Everlasting had fix'd his canon 'gainst dream of other pains, I think it is self-slaughter,
better by remaining awake, to make he must have felt assured that he certain of torments that are almost could not terminate his sufferings by insupportable, than take the chance an act of suicide. In neither event, of dreaming in sleep of other tortherefore, could any advantage bements of which I have at present no derived from reasoning; as the want conception. I admit that in coming to of a belief in a future state would this determination, I am unswayed by have prevented a doubt in the one any belief that I shall ever dream at case, and the revelation would have all, and am altogether ignorant whesatisfied doubt in the other. Thus ther dreams would cause me pain or the only point on which Hamlet pleasure.” Would a man in his seems to have debated, namely, whe- senses argue thus ? or would his hearther in death he should rest from his ers believe in his sanity if he should misery? could not be settled or ex- add, “ Thus conscience makes plained by reasoning or discussion; cowards of us all," and “thus the and the question originally proposed natural colour of my courage (a stands altogether unanswered, and singular instance of courage cerunconsidered. But, to endeavour to tainly to be frightened with the fear of make a chain of reasoning in Ham- a dream) is sicklied o'er by the pale let's own way,— To die” is “no cast of my thought," and thus “entermore ” than " to sleep," " and by a prises of great pith and moment sleep to say we end the heartache, with this regard (that is, with this ( a consummation devoutly to be wish- contemplation of the fear of a dream)
their currents turn awry and lose the the object he had promised to ac, name of action." It certainly would complish, he starts for debate a ques be extremely difficult to paint as a tion which, immediately before he was metaphor on canvass - Enterprises told his father's spirit was in arms, of pith, taking regard of the fear ofa and when he was in the state of dream, and turning their currents mind he wishes to resume, he had awry. This is merely trying the fully considered. Scarcely however force of Hamlet's reasoning by ordi- has he proposed the question before nary rules ; for as he turns religion he loses the connection, is unmindful out of doors, it would be unfair to of all his former impressions and retry the merits of his soliloquy by ligious persuasions, doubts every Christian tenets. Christians do not thing which he had previously bedoubt as to their existence in a fu- lieved, and takes up another and disture state (nay philosophers, since the tinct consideration on which his readays of Plato, have not doubted). soning and his deduction are alike Christians have a higher motive than defective. Nay, he even doubts whethe fear of other evils to make them ther there is an hereafter, and whesuffer their afflictions with patience. ther there may not be some ugly They do not consider the future as an dreams in the undiscovered country, undiscovered country, nor talk of con- from whose bourne no traveller rescience making cowards of us all; on turns,—although the ghost (whose the contrary, they believe that a word he admits may be taken for a good conscience will make a man thousand pounds”) had returned from brave. Indeed it is difficult to find that bourne on purpose to tell him out what conscience has to do with that there is an hereafter in which he the matter. Sune Christians do not may be “doomed for the day to fast use such arguments, nor did Hamlet in fires," and of which a tale could be himself when he was sane, as is clear- told ly shown by his first soliloquy.
Whose lightest word It would be tedious to pursue this would harrow uphis soul--freeze his young consideration further,
blood, Thus it remains and the remainder thus.
Make his two eyes like stars start from
their spheres, Hamlet in the first act describes all His knotted and combined locks to part, the uses of this world as “ stale, flat, And each particular hair to stand on end and unprofitable;" and, fancying that Like quills upon the fretful porcupine. he has nothing to do in life, wishes Shakspeare has been praised for for death, but is fully impressed with the correctness of metaphor, closea belief in a future state, and in the ness of reasoning, and soundness of punishments awarded against self- deduction, displayed in this soliloquy murderers. At this period he is stu- -he is held in the highest veneration dious, religious, and virtuous. by the author of these remarks for a
The appearance of his father's very different reason for the conspirit unsettles his reason. “ His summate art with which he has given dead corse
in complete steel,” the appearance of rationality to the makes communication which impertinence of insanity. He has “shakes his disposition with thoughts proved himself a perfect master of beyond the reaches of his soul.” the human mind both in its sound Thenceforth his mind takes “a more and morbid conditions. A less skil. horrid hent;" but in the third act ful poet would have thrown an exhe endeavours to recover his original travagance into the soliloquy foreign train of thought-and to be, if pos- to the disease under which Hamlet lasible, his former self. THIS IS A VERY boured; whereas the great master
with pathological correctness and
with exquisite judgment, has given TIONS; and the result is the same to Hamlet « à happiness of reply in most cases, the sufferer either rea- that often madness hits on.” sons correctly on false premises, or It is difficult to imagine how the makes erroneous déductions from cor. poet's intention could ever have been rect premises-s0 IT with mistaken ; as, from the first scene of HAMLET. Forgetting at the moment the play to the lust, he seizes every
COMMON EFFORT WITH THOSE WHO
occasion to prepare his audience for a ratio, prophet-like, warn Hamlet not display of insanity by Hamlet, and to follow the ghost, lest he shouldwhen the mental eclipse has com
Assume some other horrid form menced, loses no opportunity in which might deprive his Sovereignty of which he can fix their belief in the nature of the malady. He makes And draw him into madness. him melancholy in the first scene for the loss of his father, brings a ghost
Lord Ogleby would say
« If this sir times from the grave to goad him be not plain the devil's in it.” to a murder, and actually makes Hor
CONCLUSION OF THE
INTO THE ORIGIN
ROSICRUCIANS AND TIIE FREE-MASONS.
APPENDIX. 1. That the object of the elder salem, upon which a society, comFree-masons was not to build Lord posed on his model, had existed for Bacon's imaginary Temple of Solo- a thousand years under the name of
Solomon's house ; for the law-giver This was one of the hypotheses ad- of this island, who was also the vanced by Nicolai : the House of founder of the society, had been inSolomon, which Lord Bacon had debted to Solomon for his wisdom. sketched in his romantic fiction of The object of this society was the the island of Bensalem (New Atlane extension of physical science ; on tis), Nicolai supposed that the elder which account it was called the ColFree-masons had sought to realise ; lege of the Work of Six Days. Roand that forty years afterwards they mance as all this was, it led to very had changed the Baconian house of beneficial results; for it occasioned Solomon into the scriptural type of in the end the establishment of the Solomon's Temple. Whoever has Royal Society of London, which for read the New Atlantis of Bacon, and nearly two centuries has continued to is otherwise acquainted with the re- merit immortal honor in the departJations in which this great man stood ment of physics. Allegory, however, to the literature of his own times, it contains none, except in its idea will discover in this romance a gigan- and name. The house of Solomon tic sketch from the hand of a mighty is neither more nor less than a great scientific intellect, that had soared academy of learned men, authorised far above his age, and sometimes on and supported by the state, and enthe heights to which he had attained, dowed with a liberality approaching indulged in a dream of what might to profusion for all purposes of expebe accomplished by a rich state under riment and research. Beneficence, a wise governor for the advancement education of the young, support of of the arts and sciences. This sketch, the sick, cosmopolitism, are not the agreeably to the taste of his century, objects of this institution. The sohe delivered in the form of an alle- ciety is divided into classes accordgory, and feigned an island of Ben- ing to the different objects of their
studies : but it has no higher and examined. He postulates that the lower degrees. None but learned elder Free-masons pretended to no men can be members; not, as in the mystery ; and the more so, because masonic societies, every decent work- very soon after their first origin they inan who is sui juris. Only the were really engaged in a secret transexoteric knowledge of nature, not the action, which made it in the highest esoteric, is pursued by the house of degree necessary that their assemblies Solomon. The book of the Six Days should wear no appearance of conis studied as a book that lies open be- cealment, but should seem to be a fore every man's eyes; by the Free- plain and undisguised club of inquirers masons it was studied as a mystery into natural philosophy. What was which was to be illuminated by the this secret transaction according to light out of the East. Had the Free- Mr. Nicolai? Nothing less than the masons designed to represent or to restoration of the Prince of Wales, imitate the house of Solomon in their afterwards King Charles II., to the society, they would certainly have throne of England. The members adopted the forms, constitution, cos- of the Masonic union, says he, were tune, and attributes of that house as hostile to the parliament and to described by Bacon. They would Cromwell, and friendly to the Royal have exerted themselves to produce or family. After the death of Charles I. to procure a philosophical apparatus (1649) several people of rank united such as that house is represented as themselves with the Free-masons, possessing; or would at least have because under this mask they delineated this apparatus upon their could assemble and determine on carpets by way of symbols. *But no- their future measures. They found thing of all this was ever done. No meavs to establish within this society mile-deep cellars, no mile-high a “ secret conclave” which held towers, no lakes, marshes, or foun- meetings apart from the general tains, no botanic or kitchen gardens, meetings. This conclave adopted no modelling - houses, perspective secret signs expressive of its grief houses, collections of minerals and for its murdered master, of its hopes jewels, &c. were ever formed by them to revenge him on his murderers, and either literal or figurative. Univer- of its search for the lost word or sally the eldest Free-masonry was logos (the son), and its design to reindifferent with respect to all profane establish him on his father's throne. sciences and all exoteric knowledge of As faithful adherents of the Royal nature. Its business was with a se- family, whose head the Queen had cret wisdom in which learned and now become, they called themselves unlearned were alike capable of sons of the widow. In this way a seinitiation. And in fact the exoterici, cret connexion was established aat whose head Bacon stood, and who mongst all persons attached to the afterwards composed the Royal So- Royal family, as well in Great Britain ciety of London, were the antagonist and Ireland as in France and the party of the Theosophists, Cabbalists, Netherlands, which subsisted until and Alchemists, at the head of whom after the death of Cromwell, and had stood Fludd, and from whom Free- the well-known issue for the royal masonry took its rise. *
cause. The analogies alleged by 11.-That the object of the elder Nicolai between the historical events Freemasons and the origin of the in the first period of Free-masonry master's degree had no connexion and the symbols and mythi of the with the restoration of Charles II.:- masonic degree of master are cera
This is another of the hypotheses tainly very extraordinary; and one advanced by Nicolai, and not more might easily be led to suppose that happy than that which we have just the higher object of masonry had
There is besides in this hypothesis of Nicolai's a complete confusion of the end of the society with the persons composing it. The Free-masons wished to build the Temple of Solomon. But Lord Bacon's House of Soloinon did not typify the object of his society : it was simply the name of it, and means no more than what is understood at present by an academy, i. e. a circle of learned men united for a common purpose. It would be just as absurd to say of the Academicians of Berlin-not that they composed or formed an Academy-but that they proposed, as their secret object, to build one.
passed into a political object, and existence. It pretended as yet to no That the present master's degree was mystery, according to Nicolai (though nothing more than a figurative me. I have shown that at its very earliest morial of this event. Meantime the formation it made such a pretenweightiest historical reasons are so sion): it pursued neither science, entirely opposed to this hypothesis, art, nor trade; social pleasure was that it must evidently be pronounced not its object: it “ masoned” mys. a mere conceit of Mr. Nicolai's :- teriously with closed doors in its hall
1. History mentions nothing at all at London; and no man can guess at of any participation of the Free-ma- what it “ masoned.” It constituted! sons in the transactions of those times. mystery” (a guild)—with this We have the most accurate and 'mi- contradiction in adjecto, that it connute accounts of all the other politi- sisted not of masters, journey. cal parties--the Presbyterians, the men, and apprentices; for the masIndependents, the Levellers, &c. &c. : ter's degree, according to Nicolai, but no historian of this period has so was first devised by the conclave much as mentioned the Free-masons. after the execution of Charles I. Is it credible that a society, which is Thus far the inconsistencies of this represented as the centre of the hypothesis are palpable: but in counter-revolutionary faction, should what follows it will appear that there have escaped the jealous eyes of are still more striking ones. For, if Cromwell, who had brought the sys- the master's degree arose first after tem of espionage to perfection, and the execution of Charles I. and symwho carried his vigilance so far as to bolically imported vengeance on the seize the Oceana of Harrington at murderers of their master and restothe press ? He must have been well ration of his son to the royal dignity, assured that Free-masonry was harm- in that case during the two Protecless, or he would not have wanted torates and for a long time after the means to destroy it with all its pre- abdication of Richard, the mythus tensions and mysteries. Moreover it connected with that degree might inis a pure fancy of Nicolai's that the deed have spoken of a murdered elder Free-masons were all favour- master, but not also (as it does) of a ably disposed to the royal cause. master risen again, living, and triEnglish clubs, I admit, are accus- umphant: for as yet matters had not tomed to harmonize in their political been brought thus far. If to this it principles: but the society of Free- be replied that perhaps in fact the masons, whose true object abstracted case was really so, and that the my, from all politics, must have made an thus of the restored master might exception to this rule then, as cere have been added to that of the slain tainly as they do now.
master after the restoration, there 2. The masonic degree of master, will still be this difficulty-that in and indeed Free-masonry in general, the masonic mythus the two masters is in direct contradiction to this hypo- are one and the same person who is thesis of Nicolai. It must be granted first slain and then restored to life; to me by those who maintain this yet Charles I. who was slain, did not hypothesis that the order of the Free- arise again from the dead ; and masons had attained some consist- Charles II, though he was restored ence in 1646 (in which year Ashmole to his throne, was yet never slain,was admitted a member), conse- and therefore could not even metaquently about three years before the phorically be said to rise again.* execution of Charles I. It follows Suiting therefore to neither of these therefore upon this hypothesis that kings, the mythus of the masonic it must have existed for some years master's degree does not'adapt itself without any ground or object of its to this part of history. Besides, as
Begging Professor Buhle's pardon, he is wrong in this particular argument-though no doubt right in the main point he is urging against Nicolai : the mere passion of the case would very naturally express the identity of interest in any father and son by attri, buting identity to their persons, as though the father lived again and triumphed in the triumph of his son. But in the case of an English King, who never dies quoad his office, there is not only a pathos but a philosophic accuracy and fidelity to thc coustitutional doctrine in this way of symbolizing the story.