« AnteriorContinuar »
HAKESPEARE is defervedly placed at the head of our Dramatic Writers. There is not, however, at this time, any neceffity for inquiring into his several merits and excellencies: they have been already particularly pointed out by his very numerous commentators. The defign of the present publication, is to bring into one view the parallel paffages of the poet, fo as to form a kind of Concordance to his works. The utility of fuch a compilation must be obvious, and indeed especially fo, when it is considered, as is obferved by Dr. Johnfon,-" that the plays "of Shakespeare are filled with practical ax❝ioms and domestic wisdom; and that a sys❝tem of civil and economical prudence may "be collected from them." The Editor is therefore in hope, as it has been his study, in the following felection, to make choice of fuch particular paffages of his author, as might ferve to confirm the juftness and propriety of the
the preceding remark, that he may stand acquitted in the opinion of the public, as to any error in judgment, with regard to the undertaking now before them. In a word, he wishes it to be remembered, that the plan is not entirely his own, but that he has in a great meafure fallen in with, and adopted the sentiments of the eminent writer already named.
The method pursued throughout the work, will be seen in the following sketch or example:
For life, I prize it
As I weigh grief, which I would spare: for honour,
Winter's Tale, A. 3, S. 2.
This thou shouldft have done,
And not have spoken of it! In me 'tis villainy;
In thee it had been good fervice. Thou must know,
Rightly, to be great
Is not to ftir without great argument;
Hamlet, A. 4, S. 4.
A fcar nobly got, or a noble scar, is a good livery of honour. All's well that ends well, A. 4, S. 5.
Mine honour keeps the weather of my fate:
Honour but of danger wins a scar;
As oft it lofes all.
Set Honour in one eye and Death i' the other,
Julius Cæfar, A. 1, S. 2.
Let higher Italy fee that you come, Not to woo Honour, but to wed it.
All's well that ends well, A. 2, S. 1.
Clock to itself, knew the true minute when
All's well that ends well, A. 1, S. 2.
A jewel in a ten-times barr'd up chest,
Richard II. A. 1, S. 1.
I am not covetous for gold;
Henry V. A. 4, S. 3.
Well, 'tis no matter; Honour pricks me on. Yea, but
how if Honour prick me off when I come on? Can Honour fet to a leg? No. Or an arm? No. Or take away the grief of a wound? No. Honour hath no fkill in furgery then? No. Henry IV. P. 1, A. 5, S. 1.
In like manner with the above, the Editor has endeavoured to exhibit the most striking fentiments of the "great poet of nature,” cleared of all impurities, of all "eye-offending" drofs*. He has broken and disjointed several of the fpeeches, but this must not be urged against him as a fault:---The nature of the work demanded it; and as the reader is referred to the act and scene of every play, in which the more beautiful of fuch fpeeches are to be found, and as there are likewife innumerable compilations in which they are given entire, there is confequently the less occafion for apology. It is hoped, moreover, that no one will object to the arrangement of any of the paffages, by faying, "I would "have difpofed them in a different manner," but rather remember, that there is no particular rule or standard by which to be governed
* It must not be imagined, from what is here faid, that the Editor has at any time prefumed to alter a fingle expreffion of Shakespeare; but only, that he has occafionally omitted an exceptionable line or two.