Imatges de pÓgina
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ADVERTISEMENT.

AT no period of time has the study of SHAKSPEARE

been fo univerfal as at prefent; nor is there any circumftance more honourable to the good tafte of the Public to be pointed out. New editions make their appearance, and new editions are projected, with a rapidity which can only be equalled by the eagerness with which they are received. Amidst the various publications of this immortal Author, the prefent Selection from his works has had the honour to receive the most ample teftimony in its favour, by the fale of five numerous impreffions. Being again called for, the publishers have reprinted it in a larger type, with Corrections and Amendments, which they flatter themselves will do credit to their own liberality and attention. Concerning the work itself they deem it unneceffary to add any thing to the eulogium which the rapid fale bears the best testimony of; being convinced, in the words of their Author, that

"Age cannot wither it, nor custom stale
"Its infinite variety."

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PREFACE

TO THE

FIRST EDITION,

1784.

THE HE excellencies of our great Dramatic Poet are fo well known, and fo univerfally acknowledged, that it may feem unneceffary to dwell on perfections which every one confeffes, and which even Envy itself has no longer the effrontery to deny. If any author is entitled to the appellation of a Univerfal Genius, on whom can that honourable diftinction be more readily conferred, than on him who, with the moft fubtle penetration, has pierced through the dark receffes of the human heart; who has painted the most beautiful scenes of nature; who has given life and action to virtue, inculcating the nobleft fyftem of morality, and animating mankind to tread thofe fteps which lead to the happinefs of individuals, and, in confequence, to the general good of the community.

Poetry too, often is confidered as a mere relief, to fill up the vacancy of indolence, or to diffipate the langour of inattention; and fo feldom is it employed in effecting its noblest purposes, that the neglect of it can neither be wondered at nor condemned. It is, however,

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