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T is uncommon to find the same spirit
and interest diffused through the sequel, as in the first part of a play: but the fertile and happy mind of Shakespear could create or diversify at pleasure; could produce new characters, or vary the attitudes of those before exhibited, according to the occasion. He leaves us in doubt, whether most to admire the fecundity of his imagination in the variety of its productions; or the strengt! and steadiness of his genius in sustaining the spirit, and preserving unimpaired, through various circumstances and situations, what his invention had originally produced.
We shall hardly find any man to-day more like to what he was yesterday, than the perfons here are like to what they were in the first part of Henry IV. This is the more astonishing as the author has not confined himself like all other dramatic writers to a certain theatrical character; which, formed entirely of one passion, presents to us always the Patriot, the Lover, or the Conqueror. These, still turning on the same hinge, describe, like a piece of clock-work, a regular circle of movements. In human nature, of which Shakespear's characters are a just imitation, every passion is controlled and forced into many deviations by various incidental dispositions and humours. The operations of this complicated machine are far more difficult to traces than the steady undeviating line of the artificial character formed on one simple principle. Our poet fecms to have as great an advantage over ordinary dramatic poets, as Dædalus had above his predeceffors in sculpture. They could make a representation of the
limbs and features which compose the human form. He first had the skill to give it gesture, attitude, the easy graces of real life, and to exhibit its powers in a variety of exertions.
We shall again see Northumberland timid and wavering, forward in conspiracy, yet hesitating to join in an action of doubtful issue.
King Henry is as prudent à politician on his death-bed, as at council ;' his eye, just before it closed for ever, stretching itself beyond the hour of death, to the view of those dangers, which from the temper of the Prince of Wales, and the condition of the times, threatened his Throne and Family. I cannot help taking notice of the remarkable attention of the poet, to the cautious and politic temper of Henry, when he makes him, even in speaking to his friends and
partisans, diffemble so far, in relating Richard's prophecy, that Northumberland who helped