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without having recourse to any of the former, or ever making the comparison between them. It is impoffible to repair the injuries already done him; too much time has elapfed, and the materials are too few. In what I have done I have rather given a proof of my willingness and defire, than of my ability, to do him juftice. I have discharged the dull duty of an editor, to my best judgment, with more labour than I expect thanks, with a religious abhorrence of all innovation, and without any indulgence to my private fenfe or conjecture. The method taken in this edition will fhow itself. The various readings are fairly put in the margin, fo that every one may compare them; and those I have preferred into the text are conftantly ex fide codicum, upon authority. The alterations or additions, which Shakspeare himself made, are taken notice of as they occur. Some fufpected paffages, which are exceffively bad (and which feem interpolations by being fo inferted that one can entirely omit them without any chafm, or deficience in the context) are degraded to the bottom of the page; with an afterisk referring to the places of their infertion. The scenes are marked fo diftinctly, that every removal of place is specified; which is more neceffary in this author than any other, fince he fhifts them more frequently; and fometimes, without attending to this particular, the reader would have met with obfcurities. The more obfolete or unusual words are explained. Some of the most shining paffages are diftinguished by commas in the margin; and where the beauty lay not in particulars, but in the whole, a ftar is prefixed to the fcene. This feems to me a fhorter and lefs oftentatious method of performing the better half of criticifm (namely, the pointing out
an author's excellencies) than to fill a whole paper with citations of fine paffages, with general applaufes, or empty exclamations at the tail of them. There is alfo fubjoined a catalogue of those first editions, by which the greater part of the various readings and of the corrected paffages are authorized; most of which are fuch as carry their own evidence along with them. Thefe editions now hold the place of originals, and are the only materials left to repair the deficiencies or reftore the corrupted fenfe of the author: I can only with that a greater number of them (if a greater were ever publifhed) may yet be found, by a fearch more fuccessful than mine, for the better accomplishment of this end.
I will conclude by faying of Shakspeare, that with all his faults, and with all the irregularity of his drama, one may look upon his works, in comparifon of those that are more finished and regular, as upon an ancient majestick piece of Gothick architecture, compared with a neat modern building: the latter is more elegant and glaring, but the former is more ftrong and more folemn. It must be allowed that in one of these there are materials enough to make many of the other. It has much the greater variety, and much the nobler apartments; though we are often conducted to them by dark, odd, and uncouth paffages. Nor does the whole fail to ftrike us with greater reverence, though many of the parts are childish, ill-placed, and unequal to its grandeur.
"The following paffage by Mr. Pope ftands as a preface to the various readings at the end of the 8th volume of his edition of Shakspeare, 1728. For the notice of it I am indebted to Mr. Chalmers's Supplemental Apology, p. 261. REED.
"Since the publication of our first edition, there having been
THE attempt to write upon SHAKSPEARE is like going into a large, a fpacious, and a splendid dome, through the conveyance of a narrow and obfcure entry. A glare of light fuddenly breaks upon you beyond what the avenue at firft promised; and a thousand beauties of genius and character,
fome attempts upon Shakspeare published by Lewis Theobald, (which he would not communicate during the time wherein that edition was preparing for the prefs, when we, by publick advertifements, did request the affiftance of all lovers of this author,) we have inferted, in this impreffion, as many of 'em as are judg'd of any the least advantage to the poet; the whole amounting to about twenty-five words.
"But to the end every reader may judge for himself, we have annexed a compleat list of the reft; which if he shall think trivial, or erroneous, either in part, or in whole; at worst it can fpoil but a half fheet of paper, that chances to be left vacant here. And we purpose for the future, to do the fame with respect to any other perfons, who either thro' candor or vanity, fhall communicate or publish, the least things tending to the illuftration of our author. We have here omitted nothing but pointings and meer errors of the prefs, which I hope the corrector of it has rectify'd; if not, I cou'd with as accurate an one as Mr. Th. [if he] had been at that trouble, which I defired Mr. Tonfon to folicit him to undertake. A. P."
'This is Mr. Theobald's preface to his fecond edition in 1740, and was much curtailed by himself after it had been prefixed to the impreffion in 1733. STEEVENS,
like fo many gaudy apartments pouring at once upon the eye, diffufe and throw themselves out to the mind. The profpect is too wide to come within the compafs of a fingle view: it is a gay confufion of pleafing objects, too various to be enjoyed but in a general admiration; and they must be feparated and eyed diftinctly, in order to give the proper en
And as, in great piles of building, fome parts are often finished up to hit the taste of the connoiffeur; others more negligently put together, to strike the fancy of a common and unlearned beholder; fome parts are made ftupendously magnificent and grand, to surprise with the vaft defign and execution of the architect; others are contracted, to amuse you with his neatness and elegance in little; fo, in Shakspeare, we may find traits that will ftand the teft of the fevereft judgment; and strokes as carelessly hit off, to the level of the more ordinary capacities; fome defcriptions raised to that pitch of grandeur, as to aftonifh you with the compafs and elevation of his thought; and others copying nature within fo narrow, fo confined a circle, as if the author's talent lay only at drawing in minia
In how many points of light muft we be obliged to gaze at this great poet! In how many branches of excellence to confider and admire him! Whether we view him on the fide of art or nature, he ought equally to engage our attention: whether we refpect the force and greatnefs of his genius, the extent of his knowledge and reading, the power and addrefs with which he throws out and applies either nature or learning, there is ample scope both for our wonder and pleasure. If his diction, and the clothing of his thoughts attract us, how much
more muft we be charmed with the richness and variety of his images and ideas! If his images and ideas fteal into our fouls, and strike upon our fancy, how much are they improved in price when we come to reflect with what propriety and juftness they are applied to character! If we look into his characters, and how they are furnished and proportioned to the employment he cuts out for them, how are we taken up with the maftery of his portraits! What draughts of nature! What variety of originals, and how differing each from the other! How are they dreffed from the ftores of his own luxurious imagination; without being the apes of mode, or borrowing from any foreign wardrobe! Each of them are the standards of fashion for themfelves like gentlemen that are above the direction of their tailors, and can adorn themfelves without the aid of imitation. If other poets draw more than one fool or coxcomb, there is the fame refemblance in them, as in that painter's draughts who was happy only at forming a rofe; you find them all younger brothers of the fame family, and all of them have a pretence to give the fame crest: but Shakspeare's clowns and fops come all of a different house; they are no farther allied to one another than as man to man, members of the fame fpecies; but as different in features and lineaments of character, as we are from one another in face or complexion. But I am unawares launching into his character as a writer, before I have faid what I intended of him as a private member of the republick.
Mr. Rowe has very juftly obferved, that people are fond of difcovering any little personal story of the great men of antiquity; and that the common accidents of their lives naturally become the fub