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most beautiful and striking, are diftinguished with inverted
In imitation of him, Mr. Warburton did the fame by many others as he thought most deserving of the reader's atteniion. All these have been attended to in this edition; the Beauties observed by Mr. Pope being marked with a fingle comma, and those by Mr. Warburton with a double one. Belides these, the Beauties, as regularly selected from each play by Mr. Dodd, are pointed out, p. xlix. & feqq. These beauties are here marked in the order of the volumes and plays; and the reader is directed to the pages and lines where every one of them occur. Upon examination, he will find many of them coincide with those which had been before observed by Pope and Warburton. Mr. Dodd's titles of the beauties are likewise given, generally in his own words, and some note3 are added.
Suspected passages or interpolations are degraded to the bottom of the page, with proper marks referring to the places of their insertion. The greatest parts are fo ftig. matized on the authority of Mr. Pope; and a few on that of the Oxford editor, and Mr. Warburton. Some lines in different places are inclosed within hooks or crotchets, as, in Mr. Warburton's opinion, foifted into the text by the players, or of spurious issue, and noted as such at the bottom of the page; and a few chasms or defects are pointed out by asterisks, with probable conjectures for supplying fome of them.
Several short notes are put at the bottom of the pages in all the volumes, tending to explain licentious terms, uncouth phrafes, quaint allusions, antiquated cuftoms, and obscure passages. These have been chiefly taken from Pope, Hanmer, and Warburton; and but a very few from Theobald and Dodd. Though most of them are given in the words of the authors; yet fome have been abridged, in order to adapt them to this edition, in which brevity has been all along ftudied.
The Glossary annexed, is considerably improved, by the addition of many words and phrases; errors are corrected, and false interpretations thrown out. Words not
to be met with in SHAKESPEARE, but evidently the editor's interpolations into the text, have been discarded, and additions made to the meanings of words still retained. Warburton's and Popes's notes have been consulted for that purpose; and some affiftance has been got from Mr. Dodd's notes on the Beauties.
The Index, besides being here reduced to a strict alphabetical order, and put into a quite different form, has been considerably enlarged, especially in the first section, and cleared from several blunders. To all which is ad. ded, an Index of the Beauties as selected by Mr. Dodd, more full and correct than his own.
This preface shall be concluded with presenting to the reader a few of the many encomiums bestowed upon our author by his critics; from which a perfon unacquainted with his writings, may form some judgment of his merit.
“ As in great piles of building, (says Mr. Theobald,) “ some parts are often finished up to hit the taste of the “ connoisseur; others more negligently put together, to “ strike the fancy of a common and unlearned beholder:
some parts are made ftupendously magnificent and “ grand, to surprise with the vast design and execution “ of the architect; others are contracted, to amuse you “ with his neatness and elegance in little: So, in SHAKE“ SPEARE, we find traits that will stand the test of the “ feverest judgment; and strokes as carelessly hit off, to " the level of the more ordinary capacities : fome de“ fcriptions raised to that pitch of grandeur, as to a“ ftonish you with the compass and elevation of his " thought; and others copying nature within so narrow, “ fo confined a circle, as if the author's talent lay only at “ drawing in miniature. ln how many points of light " muft we be obliged to gaze at this great poet! in how $6 many branches of excellence to consider and admire o him! Whether we view him on the side of art or na“ ture, he ought equally to engage our attention: whe#ther we respect the force and greatness of his genius, 4 the extent of his knowledge and reading, the power * and address with which he throws out and applies
« either nature or learning, there is ample scope both for “ our wonder and pleasure. If his diction and the cloathw ing of his thoughts attract us, how much more must
we be charmed with the richnefs and variety of his images and ideas! If his images and ideas steal into
our fouls, and strike upon our fancy, how much are “ they improved in price, when we come to reflect with as what propriety and justness they are applied to cha« racter! If we look into his characters, and how they « are furnished and proportioned to the employment he “ cuts out for them, how are we taken up with the
mattery of his portraits! What draughts of nature! “ what variety of originals, and how differing each from • the other! How are they dressed from the stores of his “ own luxurious imagination; without being the apes of “ mode, or borrowing from any foreign wardrobe! Each as of them are the standards of fashion for themselves ; « lik gentlemen that are above the direction of their is tailors, and can adorn themselves without the aid of « imitation. If other poets draw more than one fool or “coxcomb, there is the same resemblance in them; as in “ that painter’s draughts, who was happy only at form“ ing a rose: you find them all younger brothers of the 6 same family, and all of them have a pretence to give 6. the same crest. But SHAKESPEARE's clowns and fops “ come all of a different house: they are no farther allied “ to one another, than as man to man, members of the “ fame species; but as different in features and lineas ments of character, as we are from one another in face " or complexion.”
“ SHAKESPEARE, (says Mr. Warburton,) widely exa' " celling in the knowledge of human nature, hath gi“ ven to his infinitely-varied pictures of it, such truth “ of defign, such force of drawing, fuch beauty of co" louring, as was hardly ever equalled by any writer, " whether his aim was the use, or only the entertain-' * ment of mankind. -And (says he) of all the litera"s ry exercitations of fpeculative men, whether design" ed for the ufe or entertainment of the world, there " are none of fo much importance, or what are more " qur immediate concern, than those which let us into
" the knowledge of our nature. Others may exercise the “ reason, or amuse the imagination; but these only can « improve the heart, and form the human mind to wis66 dom. Now, in this science, our SHAKESPEARE is con" fessed to occupy the foreinost place; whether we con“ fider the amazing fagacity with which he investigates "every hidden spring and wheel of human action; or his « happy manner of communicating this knowledge, in “the juft and living paintings which he has given us of “ all our paflions, appetites, and pursuits. These afford " a lesson which can never be too often repeated, or too " constantly inculcated."
“ I shall not (fays Mr. Dodd) attempt any laboured " encomiums on SHAKESPEARE, or endeavour to set « forth his perfections, at a time when such universal " and just applause is paid him, and when every tongue. " is big with his boundlefs fame. He hịmself tells us,
" To gild refined gold; to paint the lily,
“ Is wasteful and ridiculous excefs, vol. 3. P, 334. « And wafteful and ridiculous indeed it would be, to say: “ any thing in his praife, when presenting the world. " with such a collection of BEAUTIES, as perhaps is nou "" where to be met with, and, I may very fafely affirmy, “ cannot be parallelled from the productions of any other “ fingle author, ancient or modern. There is scarcely " a topic, common with other writers, on which he has
not excelled them all; there are many nobly peculiar“ to himself, where he shines unrivalled, and, like the “ eagle, properest emblem of his daring genius, foars be“ yond the common reach, and gazes undazzled on the “ fun. His flights are sometimes so bold, frigid criti( cism almoft dares to disapprove them; and thofe nar"row minds which are incapable of elevating their ideas " to the fublimity of their author's, are willing to bring as them down to a level with their own. " finę paffages have been condemned in SHAKESPEARE,
vas rant and fufian, intolerable bombast, and turgid non
fense; which, if read with the least glow of the fame “ imagination that warmed the writer's bofom, would * blaze in the robes of fublimity, and obtain the com* mendations of a Longinus. And unless some little of " the same spirit that elevated the poet, elevate the reader too, he muft not presume to talk of taste and ele.
gance; he will prove but a languid reader, an indiffer's " ent judge, but a far more indifferent critic and com* mentator." And again (fays he,) “ I doubt not every * reader will find [in SHAKESPEARE's beauties) fo large
fund for observation, so much excellent and refined "morality, and, I may venture to say, so much good di“ vinity, that he will prize the work as it deferves, and pay,
with me, all due adoration to the manes of ** SHAKESPEARE."
" Longinus (continues Mr. Dodd) tells us, that the moft infallible test of the true sublime, is the impreslion
a performance makes upon our minds, when read or "recited.” “ If, says he, a perfon finds, that a perform
ance transports not his soul, nor exalts his thoughts; * that it calls not up into his mind ideas more enlarged " than the mere sounds of the words convey, but on at"tentive examination its dignity leffens and declines, he may conclude, that whatever pierces no deeper than the
can never be the true sublime. That, on the contrary, is grand and lofty, which the more we consider, “the greater ideas we conceive of it; whose force we “ cannot possibly withstand; which immediately finks
deep, and makes such impression on the mind, as can“ not easily be worn out or effaced. In a word, you “may pronounce that fublime, beautiful, and genuine, “ which always pleases, and takes equally with all sorts
For when persons of different humours, ages, “ profeffions, and inclinations, agree in the same joint ap" probation of any performance, then this union of af“ Tent, this combination of so many different judgments, " stamps an high and indisputable value on that perform
ance, which meets with such general applause." This " fine observation of Longinus is most remarkably verified “ in SHAKESPEARE: for all humours, ages, and inclina