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allade to the laws of Athens, where death was the punishment of adultery." But how is this significant observation made out? Why, who can possibly object anything to the contrary? Does not Pausanias relate that Draco, the lawgiver to the Athenians, granted impunity to any person that took revenge upon an adulterer? And was it not also the institution of Solon, that if any one took an adulterer in the fact, he might use him as he pleased? These things are very true: and to see what a good memory, and sound judgment in conjunction, can atchieve! though Homer's date is not determined down to a single year, yet it is pretty generally agreed that he lived above three hundred years before Draco and Solon: and that, it seems, has made him seem to allude to the very laws, which these two legislators propounded above three hundred
If this inference be not something like an anachronism or prolephis, I will look once more into my lexicons for the true meaning of the words. It appears to me, that somebody besides Mars and Venus has been caught in a net by this episode: and I could call in other instances, to. confirm what treacherous tackle this net-work is, if not cautiously handled,
How just notwithstanding, I have been in detecting the anachronisms of my author, and in defending him for the use of them, our late editor seems to think, they should rather have slept in obscurity; and the having discovered them is fneered at, as a sort of wrong-headed fagacity,
The numerous corrections which I have made of the poet's text in my SHAKSPEARE Restored, and which the publick have been so kind to think well
of, are, in the appendix of Mr. Pope's last edition, slightingly called various readings, gueses, &c. He confesses to have inserted as many of them as he judged of any the least advantage to the poet; but says, that the whole amounted to about twentyfive words; and pretends to have annexed a complete list of the rest, which were not worth his embracing. Whoever has read my book will, at one glance, see how in both these points varacity is flrained, so an injury may be done. Malus, etsi obeffe non pote, tamen cogitat.
Another expedient to make my work appear of a trifling nature, has been an attempt to depreciate literal criticism. To this end, and to pay a fervile compliment to Mr. Pope, an anonymous writer* has like a Scotch pedlar in wit, unbraced his pack on. the subject. But, that his virulence might not seem to be levelļed singly at me, he has done me the honour to join Dr. Bentley in the libel, in hopes we should have been both abused with smartness of satire at least, though not with solidity of argument; that it might have been worth some reply in defence of the science attacked. I may fairly say of this aụthor, as Falstaff does of Poins : Hang him, baboon! his wit is as thick as Tewksbury mustard; there is no more conceit in him, than is in a MALLET. If it be not a prophanation to set the opinion of the divine Longinus against such a fçribbler, he tells us expressly, "That to make a judgment upon words (and writings) is the most consummate fruit of much experience." j gap τον λογων κρισις πολλές εσι σειρας τελευταιον επιγενημα,
4 David Mallet. See his poem Of Verbal Criticism, Vol. I,
. of his works, 1?mo. 1759. REED.
Whenever words are depraved, the sense of course must be corrupted; and thence the reader is betrayed into a false meaning.
If the Latin and Greek languages have received the greatest advantages imaginable from the labours of the editors and criticks of the two last ages, by whose aid and assistance the grammarians have been enabled to write infinitely better in that art than even the preceding grammarians, who wrote when those tongues flourished as living languages;
I should account it a particular happiness, that, by the faint essay I have made in this work, a path might be chalked out for abler hands, by which to derive the same advantages to our own tongue; a tongue, which, though it wants none of the fundamental qualities of an universal language, yet, as a noble writer says, lisps and stammers as in its cradle; and has produced little more towards its polishing than complaints of its barbarity.
Having now run through all those points, which I intended should make any part of this dissertation, and having in my former edition made publick, acknowledgments of the assistances lent me, I shall conclude with a brief account of the methods taken in this.
It was thought proper, in order to reduce the bulk and price of the impression, that the notes, wherever they would admit of it, might be
' abridged: for which reason I have curtailed a great quantity of fuch, in which explanations were too prolix, or authorities in support of an emendation too numerous: and many I have entirely expunged, which were judged rather verbose and declamatory (and so notes merely of oftentation) than necessary and instruçtive.
The few literal errors which have escaped notice for want of revisals, in the former edition, are here reforined; and the pointing of innumerable passages is regulated with all the accuracy I am capable of.
I shall decline making any further declaration of the pains I have taken upon my author, because it was my duty, as his editor, to publish him with my best care and judgment; and because I am sensible, all such declarations are construed to be laying a sort of debt on the publick, As the former edition has been received with much indulgence, I ought to make my acknowledgments to the town for their favourable opinion of it; and I shall always be proud to think that encouragement the best payment Į can hope to receive from my poor studies,
SIR THOMAS HANMER'S
P R E F A CE.
HAT the publick is here to expect is a true and correct edition of Shakspeare's works, cleared from the corruptions with which they have hitherto abounded. One of the great admirers of this incomparable author hath made it the amusement of his leisure hours for many years past to look over his writings with a careful eye, to note the
obfcurities and absurdities introduced into the text, and according to the best of his judgment to restore the genuine sense and purity of it. In this he proposed nothing to himself, but his private fatisfaction in making his own copy as perfect as he could: but, as the emendations multiplied upon his hands, other gentlemen, equally fond of the author, desired to see them, and some were so kind as to give their assistance, by communicating their observations and conjectures upon difficult passages which had occurred to them.
Thus by degrees the work growing more considerable than was at first expected, they who had the opportunity of looking into it, too partial perhaps in their judgment, thought it worth being made publick; and he, who hath with difficulty yielded to their perfuafions, is far from defiring to reflect upon the late editors for the omissions and defects which they left to be supplied by others who should follow them in the same province. On the contrary, he thinks the world much obliged to them for the progress they made in weeding out so great a number of blunders and mistakes as they have donė; and probably he who hath carried on the work might never have thought of such an undertaking, if he had not found a considerable
fo done to his hands.
From what causes it proceeded that the works of this author, in the first publication of them, were more injured and abufed than perhaps any that ever passed the press, hath been fufficiently explained in the preface to Mr. Pope's edition, which is here subjoined, and there needs no more to be faid upon that subject. This only the reader is