Imatges de pÓgina
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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY 40928 L

ASTOR, LENOX AND TILDEN FOUNDATIONS. 1908

1

Hausfer from Cire. Dept. Washington Heig, to branch 10

PREFACE.

I SHALL not attempt any labored encomiums on Shakspeare, Dr endeavour to set forth his perfections, at a time when such universal and just applause is "aid him, and when every tongue is big with his boundless fame. He aimseir tells us,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light

To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish,
Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.

And wasteful and ridiculous indeed it would be, to say any
thing in his praise, when presenting the world with such a
collection of BEAUTIES as perhaps is no where to be met
with, and, I may very safely affirin, cannot be paralleled from
the productions of any other single author, ancient or modern
There is scarcely a topic, common with other writers, on which
he has not excelled them all; there are many nobly peculiar to
bimself, where he shines unrivalled, and, like the eagle, roper
est emblem of his daring genius, soars beyond the common
reach, and gazes undazzlea on the san. Has lights are son times
so bold, frigid criticism almost dares to disapprove them and
those narrow minds which are incapable of elevating their cas
to the sublimity of their author's, are willing to bring them town
to a level with their own. Hence many fine passages have been
condemned in Shakspeare, as rant and fustian, intolerable on-
oast, and turgid nonsense, which, if read' with the least gle w ɔf
the same imagination that warmed the writer's bosom, w uld
blaze in the robes of sublimity, and obtain the commendation of
a Longinus. And, unless some of the same spirit that elevated ho
poet, elevate the reader too, he must not presume to talk of teste
and elegance; he will prove a languid reader, an indiffernt
judge, and a far more indifferent critic and commentator.

It is some time since I first proposed publishing this collecti n; for Shakspeare was ever, of all modern authors, my chief favor ite; and during my relaxations from my more severe and nec ssary studies at college, I never omitted to read and indulge mys it in the rapturous flights of this delightful and sweetest child of fancy: and when my imagination has been heated by the glow.g ardour of his uncommon fire, have never failed to lament, that

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