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an editor's filent amendment of it is surely pardonable at least; for who would not be disgusted with that perpetual sameness which must necessarily have been in all the notes 'of this sort ? Neither are they, in truth, emendationis that require proving; every good ear does immediately adopt them, and every lover of the poet will be pleas'd with that accession of beauty which results to him from them: it is perhaps to be lamented, that there is yet standing in his works 'much unpleafirig mixture of prosaic and metrical dialogue, and sometimes in places seemingly, improper, as in Othello, p. 59; and some others which men of judgment will be able to pick out for themselves : but these blemishes are not now to be wip'd away, at least not by an editor, whose province it får exceeds to make a change of this nature; but must remain as marks of the poet's negligence, and of the hafte with which his pieces were compos'd: what he manifestly intended prose, (and we can judge of his intentions only from what appears in the editions that are come down to us,) should be printed as prose, what verse as verse; which it is hop'd, is now done, with an accuracy that leaves no great


further considerable improvements in


that way.

Thus have we run through, in as brief a manner as possible, all the several heads, of which ir was thought proper and even necessary that the publick should be appriz'd; as well those that concern preceding editions, both old and new; as the other which we have just quitted, -the method obfery'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 so much room to display the parts and talents of a writer, as some other topicks that have' generally supply'd the place of them; such as, criticisms or panegyricks upon the author, historical anecdotes, essays, and florilegia ; yet there will be found some odd people, who may be apt to pronounce of them -- that they are suitable to the place they fand in, and convey all the instruction that should 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 set before him; were it not apprehended, and reasonably, that he will expect some account why it is not serv'd up to him at present with it's accustom'd and laudable garniture, of “ Notes, Glosaries,” &c. Now though it might be reply'd, as a reason for what is done, --that a very great part of the world, amongst whom is the editor himself, profess much diflike to this paginary intermixture of text and comment; in works merely of entertainment, and written in the language of the country; as alsothat he, the editor, does not possess the secret of dealing out notes by measure, and distributing them amongst his volumes so nicely that the equality of their bulk shall not be broke in upon the thickness of a sheet of paper; 'yet, having other matter at hand which he thinks may excuse him better, he will not have recourse to these abovemention'd: which matter is no other, than his very strong desire of approving himself to the publick a man of integrity; and of making his future present more perfect, and as worthy of their acceptance as his abilities will let him.

For the explaining of what is said, which is a little wrap'd

up in mystery at present, we must inform that publick - that another work is prepar'd, and in great foiwardness, 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 almost from the first: this work, to which we have given for title The School of Shakspeare, consists wholly of extracts, (with obfervations upon some of them, interspers'd occasionally,) from books that may properly be callid-his school; as they are indeed the sources from which he drew the greater part of his knowledge in mythology and classical matters, ' his fable, his history, and even

8 Though our expressions, as we think, are fufficiently guarded in this place, yet, being fearful of misconstruction, we desire to be heard further as to this affair of his learning. It is our firm belief then, - that Shakspeare was very well grounded, at least in Latin, at school: It appears from the clearest evidence possible, that his father was a man of no little substance, and very well able to give him such education; which, perhaps, he might be inclin'd to carry further, by sending him to a university ; but was prevented in this design (if he had it) by his fon's early marriage, which, from monuments and other like evidence, it appears with no less certainty, must have happen'd before he was seventeen, or very foon after the displeasure of his father, which was the consequence of this marriage, or else fome excesses which he is faid to have been guilty of, it is probable, drove him up town; where he'engag'd early in some of the theatres, and was honour'd with the patronage of the Earl of Southampton: his Venus and Adonis is address'd to that earl in a very pretty and modest dedication, in which he calls it--" the first heire of his invention ;” and uhers it to the world with this singular motto,

" Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo

" Pocula Castalia plena minisiret aqua ;” and the whole poem, as well as his Lucrece, which follow'd it soon after, together with his choice of those subjects, are


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

plain marks of his acquaintance with some of the Latin clafficks, at least at that time: The diffipation of youth, and, when that was over, the busy scene in which he instantly plung'd himself, may very well be suppos'd to have hinder'd his making any great progress in them, but that such a mind as his should quite lose the tincture of any knowledge it had once been imbu'd with, can not be imagin'd: accordingly we fee, that this school-learning (for it was no more) stuck with him to the last; 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 most plentifully in those that are the most early: every several piece of it is aptly introduc'd, given to a proper character, and utter'd upon fome proper occasion; and so well cemented, as it were, and join'd to the passage it stands in, as to deal conviction to the judicious -- that the whole was wrought up together, and fetch'd from his own little store, upon the sudden and without study.

The other languages which he has fometimes made use of, that is the Italian and French, are not of such difficult conquest that we should think them beyond his reach: an acquaintance with the first of them was a sort of fashion in his time; Surrey and the sonnet-writers set it on foot, and it was continu'd by Sidney and Spenser: all our poetry iffu'd from that school; and it would be wonderful indeed, if he, whom we saw a little before putting himself with so much zeal under the banner of the muses, should not have been tempted to taste at least of that fountain to which of all his other brethren there was such a continual refort: let us conclude then, that he did taste 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 some knowledge of the Italian : perhaps, just as much as enablid him to read a novel or a poem ; and to put some 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 master than of the two that have gone before ; yet,

perus’d, within a very small number, that were in print in his time or some short time after; the chroniclers his cotemporaries, or that a little preceded him; many original poets of that age, and many translators; with essayists, novelists, and story-mongers in great abundance: every book, in short, has been consulted that it was possible to

unless we except their novelists, 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 said he had travel'd for't, we know not who can confute us; in his days indeed, and with people of his station, the custom of doing so was rather rarer than in ours ; yet we have met with an example, and in his own band of players, in the person of the very famous Mr. Kempe; of whose travels there is mențion in a filly old play, çall'd-The Return from Parnassus, printed in 1606, but written much earlier in the time of Queen Elizabeth: add to this the exceeding great liveliness and justnefs that is feen in many defcriptions of the fea and of promontories, which, if examin'd, thew another sort of knowledge of them than is to be gotten in books or relations; and if there be lay'd together, this conjecture of his travelling may not be thought void of probability.

One opinion, we are sure, which is advanc'd somewhere or other, is utterly fo; -- that this Latin, and this Italian, and the language that was mention'd, are insertions and the work of some other hand: there has been started now and then in philological matters a proposition so strange 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 answer it must be left, and we {hall pass on - to profess our entire belief of the genuinepess of every several 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 some places; but is not always without excuse; and it frequently happens that a weak sceae ferves to very good purpose, as will be made

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