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perus'd, within a very small number, that were in print in his time or fome short time after; the chroniclers his cotemporaries, or that a little preceded him; many original poets of that age, and many tranflators; with effayifts, novelifts, and ftory-mongers in great abundance: every book, in fhort, has been confulted that it was poffible to

unless we except their novelifts, he does not appear to have had much acquaintance with any of their writers; what he has given us of it is meerly colloquial, flows with great cafe from him, and is reasonably pure: Should it be faid - he had travel'd for't, we know not who can confute us; in his days indeed, and with people of his ftation, the custom of doing fo was rather rarer than in ours; yet we have met with an example, and in his own band of players, in the perfon of the very famous Mr. Kempe; of whofe travels there is mention in a filly old play, call'd-The Return from Parnaffus, printed in 1606, but written much earlier in the time of Queen Elizabeth: add to this the exceeding great liveliness and juftnefs that is feen in many defcriptions of the fea and of promontories, which, if examin'd, fhew another fort of knowledge of them than is to be gotten in books or relations; and if thefe be lay'd together, this conjecture of his travelling may not be thought void of probability.

One opinion, we are fure, which is advanc'd fomewhere or other, is utterly fo;--that this Latin, and this Italian, and the language that was mention'd, are infertions and the work of fome other hand: there has been started now and then in philological matters a propofition fo ftrange as to carry its own condemnation in it, and this is of the number; it has been honour'd already with more notice than it is any ways intitl'd to, where the poet's Latin is spoke of a little while before; to which anfwer it must be left, and we hall pafs on- to profefs our entire belief of the genuinenefs of every feveral part of this work, and that he only was the author of it he might write beneath himself at particular times, and certainly does in fome places; but is not always without excufe; and it frequently happens that a weak fcene ferves to very good purpofe, as will be made

procure, with which it could be thought he was acquainted, or that feem'd likely to contribute any thing towards his illuftration. To what degree they illuftrate him, and in how new a light they fet the character of this great poet himfelf, can never be conceiv'd as it fhould be 'till thefe extracts come forth to the publick view, in their just magnitude, and properly digefted: for befides the various paffages that he has either made ufe of or alluded to, many other matters have been felected and will be found in this work, tending all to thẹ fame end, our better knowledge of him and his writings; and one clafs of them there is, for which we fall perhaps be cenfur'd as being too profuse in them, namely-the almoft innumerable examples, drawn from thefe ancient writers, of words and modes of expreffion which many have thought peculiar to Shakspeare, and have been too apt to impute to him as a blemish: but the quotations of this clafs do effe&ually purge him from fuch a

appear at one time or other. It may be thought that there is one argument fill unanfwer'd, which has been brought against his acquaintance with the Latin and other languages; and that is, — that, had he been fo acquainted, it could not have happen'd but that fome imitations would have crept into his writings, of which certainly there are none; but this argument has been anfwer'd in effect; when it was faid that his knowledge in thefe languages was but flender, and his converfation with the writers in them flender too of courfe: but had it been otherwife, and he as deeply read in them as fome people have thought him, his works (it is probable) had been as little deform'd with imitations as we now fee them: Shakspeare was far above fuch a practice; he had the ftores in himself, and wanted not the affiftance of a foreign hand to drefs him up in things of their lending.

charge, which is one reafon of their profufion; though another main inducement to it has been, a defire of fhewing the true force and meaning of the aforefaid unufual words and expreffions; which can no way be better afcertain'd, than by a proper variety of well-chofen examples. Now, to bring this matter home to the subject for which it has been alledg'd, and upon whofe account this affair is now lay'd before the publick fomewhat before it's time,who is fo fhort-fighted as not to perceive upon firft reflection, that, without manifeft injuftice, the notes upon this author could not precede the publication of the work we have been defcribing; whofe choiceft materials would unavoidably and certainly have found a place in those notes, and so been twice retail'd upon the world; a practice which the editor has often condemn'd in others, and could therefore not refolve to be guilty of in himself? By poftponing thefe notes a while, things will be as they ought: they will then be confin'd to that which is their proper fubject, explanation alone, intermix'd with fome little criticism; and instead of long quotations which would otherwife have appear'd in them, the School of Shakspeare will be refer'd to occafionally; and one of the many indexes with which this fame School will be provided, will 'afford an ampler and truer Gloffary than can be made out of any other matter. In the mean while, and 'till fuch time as the whole can be got ready, and their way clear'd for them by publication of the book above-mention'd, the reader will pleafe to take in good part fome few of thefe notes with which he will be prefented by and by: they were written at least four

years ago, with an intention of placing them at the head of the feveral notes that are defign'd for each play; but are now detach'd from their fellows and made parcel of the Introduction, in compliance with fome friends' opinion; who having given them a perufal, will needs have it, that 'tis expedient the world fhould be made acquainted forthwithin what fort of reading the poor poet himfelf and his editor after him, have been unfortunately immers'd.

This difcourfe is run out, we know not how, into greater heap of leaves than was any ways. thought of, and has perhaps fatigu'd the reader equally with the penner of it: yet can we not dismifs him, nor lay down our pen, 'till one article more has been enquir'd into, which feems no lefs proper for the difcuffion of this place, than one which we have inferted before, beginning at p. 284; as we there ventur'd to ftand up in the behalf of fome of the quarto's and maintain'd their authencity, fo mean we to have the hardiness here to defend fome certain plays in this collection from the attacks of a number of writers who have thought fit to call in queftion their genuinenefs: the plays contefted are The Three Parts of Henry VI.; Love's Labour's Loft; The Taming of the Shrew; and Titus Andronicus; and the fum of what is brought against them, fo far at least as is hitherto come to knowledge, may be all ultimately refolv'd into the fole opinion of their unworthinefs, exclufive of fome weak furmifes which do not deferve a notice; it is therefore fair and allowable, by all laws of duelling to oppofe opinion to opinion;

which if we

can ftrengthen with reafons, and fomething like proofs, which are totally wanting on the other fide, the laft opinion may chance to carry the day.

To begin then with the firft of them, the Henry VI. in three parts. We are quite in the dark as to when the firft part was written; but fhould be apt to conjecture, that it was fome confiderable time after the other two; and perhaps, when thofe two were re-touch'd, and made a little fitter than they are in their firft draught to rank with the author's other plays which he has fetch'd from our English hiftory: and thofe two parts, even with all their re-touchings, being ftill much inferior to the other plays of that clafs, he may reasonably be fuppos'd to have under-writ himself on purpose in the first, that it might the better match with thofe it belong'd to: now that these two plays (the first draughts of them, at leaft,) are among his early performances, we know certainly from their date; which is further confirm'd by the two concluding lines of his Henry V. fpoken by the Chorus; and (poffibly) it were not going too far, to imagine that they are his fecond attempt in hiftory, and near in time to his original King John, which is alfo in two parts: and, if this be fo, we may fafely pronounce them his, and even highly worthy of him; it being certain, that there was no English play upon the ftage, at that time, which can come at all in competition with them; and this probably it was, which procur'd them the good reception that is mention'd too in the Chorus. The plays we are now fpeaking of have been inconceivably mangl'd either in the copy or the

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