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it accordingly: was it the bufinefs of this editionto make parade of discoveries, this article alone would have afforded ample field for it; for a very great number of paffages are now firft fet to rights by this only, which, before, had either no fense at all, or one unfuiting the context, and unworthy the noble penner of it: but all the emendations of this fort, though inferior in merit to no others whatfoever, are confign'd to filence; fome few only excepted, of paffages that have been much contested, and whofe prefent adjustment might poffibly be call'd in queftion again; thefe will be fpoken of in some note, and a reason given for embracing them: all the other parts of the work have been examin'd with equal diligence, and equal attention; and the editor flatters him felf, that the punctuation he has follow'd, (into which he has admitted fome novelties,) will be found of fo much benefit to his author, that thofe who run may read, and that with profit and underftanding. The other great mistake in these old editions, and which is very infufficiently rectify'd in any of the new ones, relates to the poet's numbers; his verfe being often wrong divided, or printed wholly as profe, and his profe as often printed like verfe: this, though not fo univerfal as their wrong pointing, is yet fo extenfive an error in the old copies, and fo impoffible to be pointed out otherwife than by a note, that

7 If the use of these new pointings, and alfo of certain marks that he will meet with in this edition, do not occur immediately to the reader, (as we think it will) he may find. it explain'd to him at large in the preface to a little octavo volume intitl'd-Prolufions, or, felet Pieces of ancient Poetry;" publish'd in 1760 by this editor, and printed for Mr. Tonfon,

an editor's filent amendment of it is furely pardonable at leaft; for who would not be difgufted with that perpetual famenefs which muft neceffarily have been in all the notes of this fort? Neither are they, in truth, emendations that require proving; every good ear does immediately adopt them, and every lover of the poet will be pleas'd with that acceffion of beauty which results to him from them it is perhaps to be lamented, that there is yet ftanding in his works much unpleafing mixture. of profaic and metrical dialogue, and fometimes in places feemingly, improper, as-in Othello, p. 59; and fome others which men of judgment will be able to pick out for themfelves: but thefe blemishes are not now to be wip'd away, at least not by an editor, whofe province it far exceeds to make a change of this nature; but muft remain as marks of the poet's negligence, and of the hafte with which his pieces were compos'd: what he manifeftly intended profe, (and we can judge of his intentions only from what appears in the editions that are come down to us,) fhould be printed as profe, what verfe as verfe; which it is hop'd, is now done, with an accuracy that leaves no great room for any further confiderable improvements in that way.

Thus have we run through, in as brief a manner as poffible, all the feveral heads, of which it was thought proper and even neceffary that the publick fhould be appriz'd; as well thofe that concern preceding editions, both old and new; as the other which we have juft quitted, the method obferv'd in the edition that is now before them: which though not fo entertaining, it is confefs'd, VOL. I.


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nor affording fo much room to display the parts and talents of a writer, as fome other topicks that have generally fupply'd the place of them; fuch as,-criticifms or panegyricks upon the author, hiftorical anecdotes, effays, and florilegia; yet there will be found fome odd people, who may be apt to pronounce of them-that they are fuitable to the place they ftand in, and convey all the inftruction that fhould be look'd for in a preface. Here, therefore, we might take our leave of the reader, bidding him welcome to the banquet that is fet before him; were it not apprehended, and reasonably, that he will expect fome account why it is not ferv'd up to him at prefent with it's accustom'd and laudable garniture, of Notes, Gloffaries," &c. Now though it might be reply'd, as a reafon for what is done,

that a very great part of the world, amongst whom is the editor himself, profefs much diflike to this paginary intermixture of text and comment; in works merely of entertainment, and written in the language of the country; as alfo —that he, the editor, does not poffefs the fecret of dealing out notes by meafure, and diftributing them amongst his volumes fo nicely that the equality of their bulk fhall not be broke in upon the thickness of a fheet of paper; yet, having other matter at hand which he thinks may excufe him better, he will not have recourfe to thefe abovemention'd: which matter is no other, than his very ftrong defire of approving himfelf to the publick a man of integrity; and of making his future prefent more perfect, and as worthy of their acceptance as his abilities will let him. For the explaining of what is faid, which is a little wrap'd

up in myflery at prefent, we muft inform that publick-that another work is prepar'd, and in great forwardness, having been wrought upon many years; nearly indeed as long as the work which is now before them, for they have gone hand in hand almoft from the firft: this work, to which we have given for title The School of Shakspeare, confifts wholly of extracts, (with obfervations upon fome of them, interfpers'd occafionally,) from books that may properly be call'd-his school; as they are indeed the fources from which he drew the greater part of his knowledge in mythology and claffical matters, his fable, his hiftory, and even


8 Though our expreffions, as we think, are fufficiently guarded in this place, yet, being fearful of mifconftruction, we defire to be heard further as to this affair of his learning. It is our firm belief then, that Shakspeare was very well grounded, at leaft in Latin, at fchool: It appears from the cleareft evidence poffible, that his father was a man of no little fubftance, and very well able to give him fuch educa tion; which, perhaps, he might be inclin'd to carry further, by fending him to a univerfity; but was prevented in this defign (if he had it) by his fon's early marriage, which, from monuments and other like evidence, it appears with no lefs certainty, must have happen'd before he was feventeen, or very foon after the difpleasure of his father, which was the confequence of this marriage, or elfe fome exceffes which he is faid to have been guilty of, it is probable, drove him up to town; where he engag'd early in fome of the theatres, and was honour'd with the patronage of the Earl of Southampton: his Venus and Adonis is addrefs'd to that earl in a very pretty and modeft dedication, in which he calls it the firft heire of his invention;" and ufhers it to the world with this fingular motto,

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"Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo
"Pocula Caftalia plena minifiret aqua;

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and the whole poem, as well as his Lucrece, which follow'd it foon after, together with his choice of thofe fubjects, are,

the feeming peculiarities of his language: to furnish out these materials, all the plays have been

plain marks of his acquaintance with fome of the Latin clafficks, at leaft at that time: The diffipation of youth, and, when that was over, the bufy fcene in which he inftantly plung'd himself, may very well be fuppos'd to have hinder'd his making any great progrefs in them; but that fuch a mind as his fhould quite lofe the tincture of any knowledge it had once been imbu'd with, can not be imagin'd: accordingly we fee, that this fchool-learning (for it was no more) ftuck with him to the laft; and it was the recordations, as we may call it, of that learning which produc'd the Latin that is in many of his plays, and moft plentifully in those that are the most early every feveral piece of it is aptly introduc'd, given to a proper character, and utter'd upon fome proper occafion; and fo well cemented, as it were, and join'd to the paffage it ftands in, as to deal conviction to the judicious--that the whole was wrought up together, and fetch'd from his own little ftore, upon the fudden and without ftudy.

The other languages which he has fometimes made ufe of that is the Italian and French, are not of fuch difficult conqueft that we should think them beyond his reach: an acquaintance with the firft of them was a fort of fashion in his time; Surrey and the fonnet-writers fet it on foot, and it was continu'd by Sidney and Spenfer: all our poetry iffu'd from that school; and it would be wonderful indeed, if he, whom we faw a little before putting himfelf with fo much zeal under the banner of the mufes, fhould not have been tempted to tafte at least of that fountain to which of all his other brethren there was fuch a continual refort: let us conclude then, that he did tafte of it; but, happily for himself, and more happy for the world that enjoys him now, he did not find it to his relish, and threw away the cup: metaphor apart, it is evident. that he had fome knowledge of the Italian: perhaps, juft as much as enabl'd him to read a novel or a poem; and to put fome few fragments of it, with which his memory furnish'd him, into the mouth of a pedant, or fine gentleman.

How or when he acquir'd it we must be content to be ignorant, but of the French language he was somewhat a greater mafter than of the two that have gone before; yet,

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