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will be pointed out, till fuch books are thoroughly examined, as cannot eafily at prefent be collected, if at all. Several of the most correct lifts of our dramatick pieces exhibit the titles of plays, which are not to be met with in the completeft collections. It is almoft unneceffary to mention any other than Mr. Garrick's, which, curious and extenfive as it is, derives it greatest value from its ac ceffibility.9
There is reafon to think that about the time of the Reformation, great numbers of plays were printed, though few of that age are now to be found; for part of Queen Elizabeth's INJUNCTIONS in 1559, are particularly directed to the fuppreffing of Many pamphlets, PLAYES, and ballads that no manner of perfon fhall enterprize to print any fuch, &c. but under certain restrictions." Vid. Sect. V. This obfervation is taken from Dr. Percy's additions to his Effay on the Origin of the English Stage. It appears likewife from a page at the conclufion of the fecond volume of the entries belonging to the Stationers' Company, that in the 41ft year of Queen Elizabeth, many new reftraints on booksellers were laid. Among thefe are the following: "That no playes be printed excepte they bee allowed by fuch as have auctoritye." The records of the Stationers, however, contain the entries of fome which have never yet been met with by the moft fuccessful collectors; nor are their titles to be found in any registers of the stage, whether ancient or modern. It should seem from the fame volumes that it was customary for the Stationers to feize the whole impreffion of any work that had given offence, and burn it publickly at their hall, in obedience to the edicts of the Archbishop of Canterbury, and the Bishop of London, who fometimes enjoyed these literary executions at their respective palaces. Among other works condemned to the flames by these difcerning prelates, were the complete Satires of Bifhop Hall.*
Mr. Theobald, at the conclufion of the preface to his first edition of Shakspeare, afferts, that exclufive of the dramas of Ben Jonfon, and Beaumont and Fletcher, he had read " above 800 of old English plays." He omitted this affertion, however, on
* Law, Phyfick, and Divinity, bl. 1. may be found on every stall. Plays, poetry, and novels, were deftroyed publickly by the Bishops, and privately by the Puritans. Hence the infinite number of them entirely loft, for which licenses were procured &c. FARMER.
being thus neglected, were foon destroyed; and though the capital authors were preferved, they were preferved to languifh without regard. How little Shakspeare himself was once read, may be understood from Tate,' who, in his dedication to the altered play of King Lear, fpeaks of the original as of an obfcure piece, recommended to his notice by a friend; and the author of the Tatler having occafion to quote a few lines out of Macbeth, was content to receive them from D'Avenant's alteration of that celebrated drama, in which almost
In the year 1707 Mr. N. Tate published a tragedy called Injured Love, or the Cruel Husband, and in the title-page calls himself "Author of the tragedy called King Lear."
In a book called The Actor, or a Treatife on the Art of Playing, 12mo. publifhed in 1750, and imputed to Dr. Hill, is the following pretended extract from Romeo and Juliet, with the author's remark on it: 6
"The faints that heard our vows and know our love,
"Will fure take care, and let no wrongs annoy thee.
"As I perhaps fhall wander through the desert,
"The reader will pardon us on this and fome other occafions, that where we quote paffages from plays, we give them as the author gives them, not as the butcherly hand of a blockhead prompter may have lopped them, or as the unequal genius of fome bungling critic may have attempted to mend them. Who ever remembers the merit of the player's speaking the things we celebrate them for, we are pretty confident will with he spoke them abfolutely as we give them, that is, as the author gives them."
Perhaps it is unneceffary to inform the reader that not one of the lines above quoted, is to be found in the Romeo and Juliet of Shakspeare. They are copied from the Caius Marius of Ot way. STEEVENS.
called plagiarism, is often no more than the result of having thought alike with others on the fame fubject.
The difpute about the learning of Shakspeare being now finally fettled, a catalogue is added of thofe tranflated authors, whom Mr. Pope has thought proper to call
"The clafficks of an age that heard of none."
The reader may not be displeased to have the Greek and Roman poets, orators, &c. who had been rendered acceffible to our author, exposed at one view ;* especially as the lift has received the advantage of being corrected and amplified by the Reverend Dr. Farmer, the fubftance of whofe very decifive pamphlet is interfperfed through the notes. which are added in this revifal of Dr. Johnson's Shakspeare.
To thofe who have advanced the reputation of our poet, it has been endeavoured, by Dr. Johnfon, in a foregoing preface, impartially to allot their dividend of fame; and it is with great regret that we now add to the catalogue, another, the confe quence of whofe death will perhaps affect not only the works of Shakspeare, but of many other wriSoon after the firft appearance of this edition, a disease, rapid in its progrefs, deprived the world of Mr. Jacob Tonfon; a man, whofe zeal for the improvement of English literature, and whofe liberality to men of learning, gave him a just title to all the honours which men of learning can beftow. To fuppofe that a perfon employed in an extenfive trade, lived in a ftate of indifference to lofs and gain, would be to conceive
2 See Vol. II.