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ture; that a murderer might be brought to due punishment, as in the present instance; with various other reasons. On this account Horatio had already thus invoked the ghost;
"If there be any good thing to be done,
That may do ease to thee and grace to me,
Some of these superstitions have been transmitted from the earliest times. It was the established opinion among the ancient Greeks, that such as had not received the funeral rites would be excluded from Elysium, and that on this account the departed spirits continued in a restless state until their bodies underwent the usual ceremony. Thus the wandering and rejected shade of Patroclus appears to Achilles in his sleep and demands the performance of his funeral. The Hecuba of Euripides supplies another instance of a troubled ghost. In like manner the unburied Palinurus complains to Æneas. In Plautus's
*The late Rev. Mr. Hole of Faringdon in Devonshire, whose loss is deplored by all who knew him, has left an essay on the character of Ulysses, which has been recently published by some kind and grateful friends. In this elegant morsel the learned author has noticed the anxiety which Homer's favourite heroes constantly manifest to give their enemies a prey to dogs, and thereby prevent the advantage of obtaining admission into the regions of happiness.
Mostellaria, the cunning servant endeavours. td persuade his master that the house is haunted by the ghost of a man who had been murdered, and whose body remained without sepulture. The younger Pliny has a story of a haunted house at Athens, in which a ghost played many pranks on account of his funeral rites being neglected. Nor were ghosts supposed to be less turbulent, even after burial, whenever the party had died a premature death, as we learn from Tertullian in his treatise De anima, cap. 56, where he says, "Aiunt et immatura morte præventos eousque vagari isthic, donec reliquatio compleatur ætatis qua cum pervixissent si non intempestivé obiis
Sc. 5. p. 72.
HAM. Speak, I am bound to hear.
GHOST. So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear.
These words have been turned into ridicule by Fletcher in his Woman-hater, Act ii.;
"LAZ. Speak, I am bound.
COUNT. So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear the fish-head is gone, and we know not
Sc. 5. p. 72.
GHOST. And for the day, confin'd to fast in fires. "Till the foul crimes, &c.
A member of the church of Rome might be disposed to regard this expression as simply referring to a mental privation of all intercourse with the Deity. Such an idea would remove the inconsistency of ascribing corporeal sensations to the ghost, and might derive support from these lines in an ancient Christian hymn. See Expositio hymnorum, sec. usum Sarum.
"Sic corpus extra conteri,
Dona per abstinentiam,
A labe prorsus criminum."
The whole of the ghost's speech is remarkable for its terrific grandeur.
Sc. 5. p. 75.
GHOST. And duller should'st thou be than the fat weed That rots itself in ease on Lethe's wharf.
The plant here alluded to might have been henbane, of which Gerarde says that it causes drowsiness, and stupefies and dulls the senses.
Sc. 5. p. 76.
HAM. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle!
Copied, perhaps maliciously, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Double marriage, Act ii.
"SES. Oh my prophetique soul!"
Sc. 5. p. 77.
GHOST. But soft, methinks I scent the morning air— The glow-worm shows the matin to be near.
It was the popular belief that ghosts could not endure the light, and consequently disappeared at the dawn of day. This superstition is derived from our northern ancestors, who held that the sun and every thing containing light or fire had the property of expelling demons and spirits of all kinds. With them it seems to have originated in the stories that are related in the Edda concerning the battles of Thor against the giants and evil demons, wherein he made use of his dreadful mallet of iron, which he hurled against them as Jupiter did his thunderbolts against the Titans. Many of the transparent precious stones were supposed to have the power of expelling evil spirits; and the flint and other stones found in
the tombs of the northern nations, and from which fire might be extracted, were imagined, in like manner, to be efficacious in confining the manes of the dead to their proper habitations. They were called Thor's hammers.
Sc. 5. p. 77.
GHOST. With juice of cursed hebenon in a vial,
Dr. Grey had ingeniously supposed this word to be a metathesis for henebon or henbane; but the best part of his note on the subject has been omitted, which is his reference to Pliny, who says that the oil of henbane dropped into the ears disturbs the brain. Yet it does not appear that henbane was ever called henebon. The line cited by Mr. Steevens from Marlow's Jew of Malta, shews that the juice of hebon, i. e. ebony, was accounted poisonous; and in the English edition by Batman, of Bartholomæus de proprietatibus rerum, so often cited in these observations as a Shakspearean book, the article for the wood ebony is entitled, "Of Ebeno, chap. 52." This comes so near to the text, that it is presumed very little doubt will now remain on the occasion. It VOL. II.