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I CONCLUDE this work according to my promise, with an account of the Comic Theatre, and entreat the reader, whether a favourer or an enemy of the ancient Drama, not to pass bis censure upon the authors or upon me, without a regular perusal of

* Published by Mrs. Lennox in 4to. 1759. To the third volume of this work the following Advertisement is prefixed. “ In this “ volume, the Discourse on the Greek Comedy, and the General “ Conclusion, are translated by the celebrated author of the Ram“ bler. The Comedy of the Birds, and that of Peace, by a young “ Gentleman. The Comedy of the Frogs, by the learned and in“ genious Dr. Gregory Sharpe. The Discourse upon the Cyclops, " by John Bourrya, Esq. The Cyclops, by Dr. Grainger, author « of the translation of Tibullus." E. VOL. III.


this whole work. For, though it seems to be composed of pieces of which each may precede or follow without dependance upon the other, yet all the parts, taken together, form a system which would be destroyed by their disjunction. Which way shall we come at the knowledge of the 'ancients' shews, but by comparing together all that is left of them? The value and necessity of this comparison determined me to publish all, or to publish nothing. Besides, the reflections on each piece, and on the general taste of antiquity, which, in my opinion, are not without importance, have a kind of obscure gradation, which I have carefully endeavoured to preserve, and of which the thread would be lost by him who should slightly glance sometimes upon one piece, and sometimes upon

another. It is a structure which I have endeavoured to make as near to regularity as I could, and which must be seen in its full extent and in proper succession. The reader who skips here and there over the book, might make a hundred objections which are either anticipated, or answered in those pieces which he might have overlooked. I have laid such stress upon the connexion of the parts of this work, that I have declined to exhaust the subject, and have suppressed many of my notions, that I might leave the judicious reader to please himself by forming such conclusions as I supposed him like to discover, as well as myself. I am not here attempting to prejudice the reader by an apology either for the ancients, or my own manner. I have not claimed a right of obliging others to determine, by my opinion, the degrees of esteem which I i nk due to the authors of the Athenian Stage ; nor is think that their reputation in the present time,

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