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قراءة كتاب The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 281, November 3, 1827

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‏اللغة: English
The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction
Volume 10, No. 281, November 3, 1827

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction Volume 10, No. 281, November 3, 1827

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 2

a palace for himself close to the royal bath at Teheran. And he is entitled to riches, for he is a man of pre-eminent excellence in his art, and has had for a long period, under his especial care, the magnificent beard of his majesty, which is at this moment, and has been for years, the pride of Persia.—Persian Sketches.


The vicinity of Geneva appears peculiarly eligible for the permanent residence of an English family. There is perhaps no town on the continent where greater facilities are afforded for a man of literary and scientific pursuits to indulge his taste or to increase his knowledge. The city is close built, and consequently not an agreeable place to live in; but its immediate environs abound with delightful spots.

The costume of the Genevese assimilates much with that of the French; but the better class of females are partial to the English fashions. The language of the country is French, but its habits and religion are widely different. Not only does the Protestant faith find here the salutary prevalence of a kindred faith, but the members of our own ecclesiastical establishment are enabled to join each other every Sabbath day in the worship of God, and at stated seasons to receive the holy sacrament according to the pure and apostolic ritual of the church of England.

The expense of a house, with a garden and piece of land, within a mile of the gates, including also the keeping of a caleche and pair of horses, for a gentleman, his lady, two children, and three servants, does not exceed 300l. a year; and with this he is enabled to receive his friends occasionally, and in a respectable style. To proceed from a family establishment to a bachelor's pension, "I," says Mr. Seth Stevenson, in his Continental Travels, "was told that a person at Petit Saconnex has a sleeping-room to himself, and his breakfast, dinner, tea, and supper with the family, for 500 francs (20l. 16s. 8d.) per annum."

The taxation of Geneva is described as very trifling. There is a sort of income-tax, to which every man of property contributes, on his honour, as to the amount of that property. The whole tax for horses and carriages amounts to about 18d. for each person; the richest it seems pays no more, and the others pay no less. "My friend assures me," continues Mr. S. "that his fellow citizens approve of their annexation to Switzerland, and also of the union of the Valais with the Helvetic confederation—that the people of this little republic are flourishing again, contented with their government; and as the best proof of their returning prosperity since the peace, he adverted to the comparatively few indigent or distressed persons among them, and to the fact of there being only forty-five persons in the poor's hospital, besides those admitted under the head of casualties."


(From the Latin of Saxo Grammaticus, but interspersed.)

Florwendillus, king of Jutland, married Geruthra, or Gertrude, the only daughter of Ruric, king of Denmark. The produce of this union was a son, called Amlettus. When he grew towards manhood, his spirit and extraordinary abilities excited the envy and hatred of his uncle, who, before the birth of Amlettus, was regarded as presumptive heir to the crown. Fengo, which was the name of this haughty prince, conceived a passion for his sister-in-law, the queen; and meeting with reciprocal feelings, they soon arranged a plan, which putting into execution, he ascended the throne of his brother and espoused the widowed princess. Amlettus, (or Hamlet,) suspecting that his father had died by the hand or the devices of his uncle, determined to be revenged. But perceiving the jealousy with which the usurper eyed his superior talents, and the better to conceal his hatred and intentions, he affected a gradual derangement of reason, and at last acted all the extravagance of an absolute madman. Fengo's guilt induced him to doubt the reality of a malady so favourable to his security; and suspicious of some direful project being hidden beneath assumed insanity, he tried by different stratagems to penetrate the truth. One of these was to draw him into a confidential interview with a young damsel, who had been the companion of his infancy; but Hamlet's sagacity, and the timely caution of his intimate friend, frustrated this design. In these two persons we may recognise the Ophelia and Horatio of Shakspeare. A second plot was attended with equal want of success. It was concerted by Fengo that the queen should take her son to task in a private conversation, vainly flattering himself that the prince would not conceal his true state from the pleadings of a mother. Shakspeare has adopted every part of this scene, not only the precise situation and circumstances, but the sentiments and sometimes the very words themselves. The queen's apartment was the appointed place of conference, where the king, to secure certain testimony, had previously ordered one of his courtiers to conceal himself under a heap of straw; so says the historian; and though Shakspeare, in unison with the refinement of more modern times, changes that rustic covering for the royal tapestry, yet it was even as Saxo Grammaticus relates it. In those primitive ages, straw, hay, of rushes, strewed on the floor, were the usual carpets in the chambers of the great. One of our Henrys, in making a progress to the north of England, previously sent forward a courier to order clean straw at every house where he was to take his lodging. But to return to the subject.

The prince, suspecting there might be a concealed listener, and that it was the king, pursued his wild and frantic acts, hoping that by some lucky chance he might discover his hiding-place. Watchful of all that passed in the room, as he dashed from side to side, he descried a little movement of the uneasy courtier's covering. Suddenly Hamlet sprung on his feet, began to crow like a cock, and flapping his arms against his sides, leaped upon the straw; feeling something under him, he snatched out his sword and thrust it through the unfortunate lord. The barbarism of the times is most shockingly displayed in the brutal manner in which he treats the dead body; but for the honour of the Danish prince, we must suppose that it was not merely a wanton act, but done the more decidedly to convince the king, when the strange situation of the corpse was seen, how absolutely he must be divested of reason. Being assured he was now alone with his mother, in a most awful manner he turns upon her, and avows his madness to be assumed; he reproaches her with her wicked deeds and incestuous marriage; and threatens a mighty vengeance upon the instigator of her crime.

In the historian we find that the admonitions of Hamlet awakened the conscience of the queen, and recalled her to penitence and virtue. The king, observing the change, became doubly suspicious of the prince; and baffling some preliminary steps he took to vengeance; Hamlet was entrapped by him into an embassy to England. He sent along with him two courtiers, who bore private letters to the English monarch, requesting him, as the greatest favour he could confer on Denmark, to compass, by secret and by sure means, the death of the prince as soon as he landed. Hamlet, during the voyage, had reason to suspect the mission of his companions; and by a stratagem obtaining their credentials, he found the treacherous mandate; and changing it for one wherein he ordered the execution of the two lords, he quietly proceeded with them to the British shore. On landing, the papers were delivered, and the king, without further parley, obeyed what he believed to be the request of his royal ally; and thus did treason meet the punishment due to its crime. The daughter of the king being charmed with the person and manners of