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R E M A R K S Ş
Hamlet Prince of Denmark,
Mr. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE.
L. O N D ON:
HERE is hardly any
has been turned to fo many bad Purposes among us, that the very Word it self has almost totally lost its genuine and natural Signification ; for People generally understand by Criticism, finding fault with a Work; and from thence, when we call a Man a Critick, we
A 2 usually
usually mean, one disposed to blame, and seldom to commend: Whereas in Truth, a real Critick, in the proper Sense of that Word, is one whose constant Endeavour it is to set in the best Light all Beauties, and to touch upon Defects no more than is necessary; to point out how such may be avoided for the future, and to settle, if possible, a right Taste among those of the Age in which he lives.
Ill-nature, and a Propensity to fet ; any Work in a ridiculous and falfe Light, are so far from being the Characteristicks of a true Critick, that they are the certain Marks whereby we may know that a Man bas not the true Spirit of Criticism in him.
There is a Weakness opposite to this, which indeed is better natur'd, but is, however, vicious ; and that is, the being bigotted to an Author ; infomuch that Men of this Stamp, when they undertake to explain or comment upon any Writer, they will not allow him to have any Defects; nay, so far from that, they find out Beauties in him which can be so to none but themselves, and give Turns to his Expressions, and lend him Thoughts which were never his Design, or never enter'd into his Brain.
Of all our Countrymen, Mr. Addison is the best in Criticism, the moft exempt from the Faults I mention ; for his Papers upon Milton's Paradise Loft, I look upon as the true Model for all Criticks to