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and coming in aid of places that were apparently corrupt, are admitted into the text, and the rejected reading is always put below; some others,-that are neither of that certainty, nor are of that necessity, but are specious and plausible, and may be thought by some to mend the passage they belong to,-will have a place in the collection that is spoken of above. But where it is said, that the rejected reading is always put below, this must be taken with some restriction : for some of the emen. dations, and of course the ancient

readings upon which they are grounded, being of a complicated nature, the general method was there inconvenient; and, for these few, you are refer'd to a note which will be found among the rest: and another sort there are, that are simply insertions; these are effectually pointed out by being printed in the gothick or black character.

Hitherto, the defects and errors of these old editions have been of sueh a nature, that we could lay them before the read. er, and submit to his judgment the remedies that are apply'd to them; which is accordingly done, either in the page itself where they occur, or in some note that is to follow: but there are some bebind that would not be so manag'd; either by reason of their frequency, or difficulty of subjecting them to the rules under which the others are brought: they have been spoken of before at p. 172, where the corruptions are all enu. merated, and are as follows ;-a want of proper exits and entrances, and of many scenical directions, throughout the work in general, and, in some of the plays, a want of division; and the errors are those of measure, and punctuation: all these are mended, and supply'd, without notice and silently; but the reasons for so doing, and the method observ'd in doing it, shall be a little enlarg'd upon, that the fidelity of the editor, and that which is chiefly to distinguish him from those who have gone before, may stand sacred and unimpeachable; and, first, of the division.

The thing chiefly intended in reprinting the list of titles that

* In the manuscripts from which all these plays are printed, the emendations are given to their proper owners by initials and other marks that are in the margin of those manuscripts; but they are suppressed in the print for two reasons: First, their number, in some pages, makes them a little unsightly: and the editor professes himself weak enough to like a well-printed book: In the next place, he does declare-that his only object has been, to do service to his great author; which provided it be done, he thinks it of small importance by what hand the ser. vice was administer'd: If the partizans of former editors shall chance to think them injur'd by this suppression, he must upon this occasion violate the rules of modesty, by declaring that he himself is the most injur'd by it; whose emendations are equal, at least in number, to all theirs if put together; to say nothing of his recover'd readings, which are more considera. ble still.

may be seen at p. 174, was,-to show which plays were divided into acts, which into acts and scenes, and which of them were not divided at all; and the number of the first class ismeight; of the third-eleven: for though in Henry V, 1 Henry VI, Love's Labour's Lost, and The Taming of the Shrew, there is some divi. sion aim'd at; yet it is so lame and erroneous, that it was thought best to consider them as totally undivided, and to rank them cordingly: now when these plays were to be divided, as well those of the first class as those of the third, the plays of the second class were studiously attended to; and a rule was pick'd out from them, by which to regulate this division: which rule might easily have been discover'd before, had but any the least pains have been bestow'd upon it; and certainly it was very well worth it, since neither can the representation be manag'd, nor the order and thread of the fable be properly conceiv'd by the reader, 'till this article is adjusted. The plays that are come down to us divided, must be look'd upon as of the author's own settling; and in them, with regard to acts, we find him following establish'd precepts, or, rather, conforming himself to the practice of some other dramatick writers of his time; for they, it is likely, and nature, were the books he was best acquainted with: his scene divisions he certainly did not fetch from writers upon the drama; for, in them, he observes a method in which perhaps he is singular, and he is invariable in the use of it: with him, a change of scene implies generally a change of place, though not always; but always an entire evacuation of it, and a succession of new persons: that liaison of the scenes, which Jonson seems to have attempted, and upon which the French stage prides itself, he does not appear to have had any idea of; of the other unities he was perfectly well appriz'd; and has follow'd them, in one of his plays, with as great strictness and greater happiness than can perhaps be met with in any other writer: the play meant is The Comedy of Errors; in which the action is one, the place one, and the time such as even Aristotle himself would allow of-the revolution of half a day: but even in this play, the change of scene arises from change of persons, and by that it is regulated; as are also all the other plays that are not divided in the folio: for whoever will take the trouble to examine those that are divided, (and they are pointed out for him in the list) will see them conform exactly to the rule above-mention'd; and can then have but little doubt, that it should be apply'd to all the rest.* To have distinguish'd these divisions--made (indeed) without the authority, but following

* The divisions that are in the folio are religiously adher'd to, except in two or three instances which will be spoken of in their place; so that, as is said before, a perusal of those old-divided plays will put every one in a capacity of judging whether the present editor has proceeded rightly or no: the current editions are divided in such a manner, that nothing like a rule can be collected from any of them.

the example of the folio,-had been useless and troublesome; and the editor fully persuades himself, that what he has said will be sufficient, and that he shall be excus'd by the ingenious and candid for overpassing them without further notice: whose pardon he hopes also to have for some other unnotic'd matters that are related to this in hand, such as-marking the place of action, both general and particular; supplying scenical directions; and due regulating of exits, and entrances: for the first, there is no tittle in the old editions; and in both the latter, they are so deficient and faulty throughout, that it would not be much amiss if we look'd upon them as wanting too; and then all these several articles might be consider'd as additions, that needed no other pointing out than a declaration that they are so: the light they throw upon the plays in general, and particu. larly upon some parts of them, --such as, the battle scenes throughout; Cæsar's passage to the senate-house, and subsequent assassination; Antony's death; the surprizal and death of Cleopatra ; that of Titus Andronicus; and a multitude of others, which are all directed new in this edition-will justify these insertions; and may, possibly, merit the reader's thanks, for the great aids which they afford to his conception.

It remains now to speak of errors of the old copies which are here amended without notice, to wit—the pointing, and wrong division of much of them respecting the numbers. And as to the first, it is so extremely erroneous, throughout all the plays, and in every old copy, that small regard is due to it; and it becomes an editor's duty, (instead of being influenc'd by such a punctuation, or even casting his eyes upon it,) to attend closely to the meaning of what is before him, and to new-point it accordingly: was it the business of this edition to make parade of discoveries, this article alone would have afforded ample field for it; for a very great number of passages are now first set to rights by this only, which, before, had either no sense at all, or one unsuiting the context, and unworthy the noble penner of it: but all the emendations of this sort, though inferior in merit to no others whatsoever, are consign’d to silence; some few only excepted, of passages that have been much contested, and whose present adjustment might possibly be call'd in question again; these will be spoken of in some note, and a reason given for embracing them: all the other parts of the work have been examind with equal diligence, and equal attention; and the edi. tor flatters himself, that the punctuation he has follow'd, (into which he has admitted some novelties,*) will be found of so

* If the use of these new pointings, and also of certain marks that he will meet with in this edition, do not occur immediately to the reader, (as we think it will) he may find it explain’d to him at large in the preface to a little octavo volume intitld“ Prolusions, or, Select Pieces of Ancient Poetry;" publishi'd in 1760 by this editor, and printed for Mr. Tonson.

much benefit to his author, that those who run may read, and that with profit and understanding. The other great mistake in these old editions, and which is very insufficiently rectify'd in any of the new ones, relates to the poet's numbers; his verse being often wrong divided, or printed wholly as prose, and his prose as often printed like verse: this, though not so universal as their wrong pointing, is yet so extensive an error in the old copies, and so impossible to be pointed out otherwise than by a note, that an editor's silent amendment of it is surely pardonable at least; for who would not be disgusted with that perpe. tual sameness which must necessarily have been in all the notes of this sort? Neither are they, in truth, emendations that require proving; erery 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 unpleasing mixture of prosaick and metrical dialogue, and sometimes in places seemingly improper, as—in Othello, Vol. XVI, p. 239; 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 far exceeds to make a change of this nature; but must remain as marks of the poet's negligence, and of the haste with which his pieces were compos’d: what lie 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 room for any further considerable improvements

Thus have we run through, in as brief a manner as possible, all the several heads, of which it 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 observ'd in the edi. tion that is now before them: which though not so entertaining, it is confess’d, 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 stand 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 ex. pect some account why it is not serv'd up to him at present with it's accustom’d and laudable garniture, of “ Notes, Glossaries," &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 dislike to this paginary intermixture of text and comment; in works meerly of entertain

in that way.

ment, and written in the language of the country; as also-that 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 above-mention'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 publickthat another work is prepar’d, and in great forwardness, 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 observations upon some of them, interspers’d occasionally,) from books that may properly be cail'd-his school; as they are indeed the sources from which he drew the greater part of his knowledge in mythology and classical matiers,* his fable, his

Though our expressions, as we think, are sufficiently guard. ed in this place, yet, being fearful of misconstruction, we desire to he 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 son'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 soon after: the displeasure of his father, which was the consequence of his marriage, or else some excesses which he is said to have been guilty of, it is probable, drove him up to 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 ushers it to the world with this singular motto,

“ Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo

“ Pocula Castalia plena ministret aqua;” and the whole poem, as well as his Lucrece, which follow'd it soon after, together with his choice of those subjects, are plain şarks of his acquaintance with some of the Latin classicks, at least at that time: The dissipation of youth, and, when that was over, the busy scene in which he instantly plung'd himself, may very well he suppos’d to have hinderd his making any great progress in them; but that such a mind as his should quite lose

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