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S HA K E S P E A R,

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Nullius addictus jurare in verba magistri. ·

Hor.
I, fuge, sed poteras tutior effe domi.

MARTIAL ad lib. suum.

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LONDON:

Printed for W. OWEN, in Fleet-Street.

M.DCC.LXXIV.

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P R E F A C E.

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HE following remarks have afforded some amusement

to the author in his leisure hours, and he now ventures to give them to the public, fully sensible of the many imperfections of his work, but conscious at the same time of the good intention with which it was composed.' For it has been his aim throughout either to remove false, or mistaken, or unjustly severe censures, that have been passed on foreign writers; or to shew the partiality or prejudice of those, by whom our own are frequently as unjustly venerated. The critics, perhaps,

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from whose opinions the author has sometimes deviated in the following trifling observations, will condemn his presumption in so doing : the generality of them are not only to be ranked among the genus irritabile, but have besides so good an opinion of their own judgment and abilities, as to think that their word is law, to which the rest of mankind, as of an inferior nature, are to submit with deference and resignation. In truth, they seem to have adopted a sentiment of Antonio de Solis, * (though indeed he uses it on a different occafion) who says, that it is dangerous to allow freedom of speech to those, who are born to obey. Yet surely there can be no impropriety in asserting a right to think for oneself in literary matters,

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* Vide Conquista de Mexico, cap. 2.

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