Imatges de pÓgina

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of aricient readings, the text of this author seems now finally fettled (5)?" To what better cause can we afcribe fuch unfounded"affertions than to indolence and temerity > lince, had the ingenious writer compared the old ana present 'editions through a single play, he must necessaryly híve perceived, that all the old copies had not been diligently, collated, that ancient readings had No'r“ been judiciously restored, and that the text is no more, finally settled' at present than it was in the time of Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton : nay, that it is, at large, in the same state of inaccuracy and corruption in which it was left by

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nitii :: These, it may be objected, are merely negative and unproved affertions. It is very true. And they who do not think them confirmed in the course of the following pages, and will hot give theirfelves' the trouble to investigate their truth, are at liberty to disbelieve them. To publish the various readings of the old editions would be a bafyness of some labour, and Jittle utility:

21: (5) Malores pref ce to his Supplement. :)

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As to the notes and conjectures here offered 10 to the public, very little need be said, Shakspeare is the God of the writers idolatry, and Tould any one of these remarks be thought pertinent or useful in the opinion of a single individual who, like him, admires the effufions of this darling child of nature and fancy, whom, age cannot wither, and whose infinite variety custom cannot ftale, it will be a fufficient gratification to him for the pains, beftowed in drawing them up. And if there should be a future edition of this favourite, this inimitable author, the writer is not with, 20:37. TOP out vanity to hope that the following sheets may stimulate the editors care and attention to give his text with integrity, judgement, and correctness, Summa confur mation Limo

Devoutly to be withd and, which, muft of consequence follow, to reduce, the puinber of exuberant and impertinent notes (6)

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The freedom with which le treated this predeceffors (precludes the necessity ou

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From a republication of the last edition nothing is to be expected. The work will continue, like the cdisions of Warburton and Hanmer, to dishonour critic'in and to insult Shahfeare.


of an apology for the liberties taken in the enTuing pages, with the fentiments of some of our most eminent literary characters. The superiority of a cominentators rank, however, does not intitle his blunders to respect. It were to be wished that dr. Johnson had thewn somewhat lefs partiality to pride of place ; for, though he professes to have treated his predecessors with candour, Theobald, the best of Shakspeares editors, experiences as much scurrility and injustice at his hands, as Hanmer and Warburton, the worst of them, do deference and respect. For this, however, the learned critic might have his private reasons, which, as they could scarcely, have justifyed his conduct, he did right to conceal.

11. Bir To controvert the opinions, or disprove the affertions of mr. Steevens, dr. Farmer and mr. Tyrwhitt, men no less remarkable for their learning and genius" than for their obliging dispositions and amiable manners,' has been a painful and odious task. But whereever the writer has been under the necessity of differing from any of these gentlemen either in point of opinion or in point of fact, he will not be


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found to have expressed hisself in a manner inconsistent with a due sense of obligations and .the profoundest respect. Such, at least, was his intention, such has been his endeavour, and such is his hope.

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(S # A KSPEARES WILL.) The slightest alteration in the name of this great writer if a circumstance of so much importance to the public, that, although the editors may not have been too hafty in preferring SHAKSPEARE TO SHAKESPEARE, it might be wished that a more ' decisive and less equivocal authority than his will had been produced to justify and enforce the change. This will, it should seem, the poet made in his last fickness, when he appears to have been so incapable of paying that attention to the writing of his name which a man in health utually does, that he has actually subscribed it two different ways : SHAKSPERE, and SHĄKSPEARE. So that we are still uncertain which mode to adopt. How negligent, therefor, have the editors been, and how much are they to be blamed, for not procuring batter and more positive evidence, if it were to be come at, as


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