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THE

PLAY S

OF

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.

VOLUME the FIRST,

CONTAINING,

PREFACES.

The TEMPEST.

The TWO GENTLEMEN of VERONA. The MERRY WIVES of WINDSOR.

LONDON:

Printed for C. BATHURST, J. BEECROFT, W. STRAHAN, J. and F. RIVINGTON, J. HINTON,L. DAVIS, HAWES, CLARKE and COLLINS, R. HORSFIELD, W. JOHNSTON, W. OWEN, T. CASLON, E. JOHNSON, S. CROWDER, B. WHITE, T. LONGMAN, B. LAW, E. and C. DILLY, C. CORBETT, W. GRIFFIN, T. CADELL, W. WOODFALL, G. KEITH, T. LOWNDES, T. DAVIES, J. ROBSON, T. BECKET, F. NEWBERY, G. ROBINSON, T. PAYNE, J. WILLIAMS, M. HINGESTON, and J. RIDLEY.

MDCCLXXIII,

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PREFACE.

T

HAT praises are without reafon lavished on the dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those, who, being able to add nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the herefies of paradox; or those, who, being forced by disappointment upon confolatory expedients, are willing to hope from pofterity what the present age refuses, and flatter themselves that the regard, which is yet denied by envy, will be at last beflowed by time.

Antiquity, like every other quality that attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. Some feem to admire indifcriminately whatever has been long preserved, without confidering that time has fometimes co-operated with chance; all perhaps are more willing to honour past than prefent excellence; and the mind contemplates genius through the fhades of age, as the eye furveys the fun through artificial opacity. The great contention of criticism is to find the faults of the moderns, and the beauties of the ancients. While an author is yet living, we estimate his powers by his worst performance; and when he is dead, we rate them by his best. [A]

VOL. I.

To

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