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has means of coming at, and can have patience to examine, will fee evident tokens of a fashion then prevailing, which occafion'd all these plays to be cast in the same mold.

Now, Shakspeare, whatever motives he might have in some other parts of it, at this period of his life wrote certainly for profit; and seeing it was to be had in this way, (and this way only, perhaps,) he fell in with the current, and gave his sorry auditors a piece to their tooth in this contested play of Titus Andronicus ; which as it came out at the same time with the plays above-mention'd, is most exactly like them in almost every particular; their very numbers, consisting all of ten syllables with hardly any redundant, are copy'd by this Proteus, who could put on any shape that either serv'd his interest or

nor has

Cyrus, in 1594; and Soliman and Perseda in 1599; the other without a date, but as early as the earliest : they are also without name of author ;

any book been met with to instruct us in that particular, except only for Jeronimo; which we are told by Heywood, in his Apology for Actors, was written by Thomas Kydauthur, or translator rather, (for it is taken from the French of Robert Garnier) of another play, intitld -- Cornelia, printed likewise in 1594. Which of these extravagant plays had the honour to lead the way, we can't tell, but Jeronimo seems to have the best pretensions to it; as Selimus has above all his other brethren, to bearing away the palm for blood and murther : this curious piece has these lines for a conclusion ;

“ If this first part Gentles, do like you well,

The second part, shall greater murthers tell." but whether the audience had cnough of it, or how it has happen'd we can't tell, but no fich fecond part is to be found. All these plays were the constant butt of the poets who came immediately after them, and of Shakspeare amongst the reit: and by their ridicule the town at last was made senGble of their ill judgment, and the theatre was purg'd of these monIters.

fuited his inclination: and this, we hope, is a fair and unforc'd way of accounting for “ Andronicus; and may convince the most prejudic'd--that Shak{peare might be the-writer of it; as he might allo of Locrine which is ascrib'd to him, a ninth traa gedy, in form and time agreeing perfe&tly with the others. But to conclude this article, -However he may

be cenfur'd, as rash or ill-judging, the editor ventures to declare - that he himself wanted not the conviction of the foregoing argument to be fatisfy'd who the play belongs to; for though a work of imitation, and conforming itself to models truly execrable throughout, yet the genius of it's author breaks forth in some places, and, to the editor's eye, Shakspeare stands confess’d: the third act in particular may be read with admiration even by the most delicate ; who, if they are not without feeling, may chance to find themselves touch'd by it with such passions as tragedy should excite, that is -terror, and pity. The reader will please to observe ---that all these contested plays are in the folio, which is dedicated to the poet's patrons and friends, the earls of Pembroke and Montgomery. by editors who are seemingly honest men, and proa fess themselves dependant upon those noblemen; to whom therefore they would hardly have had tbe confidence to present forgeries, and pieces suppoli titious; in which too they were liable to be detected by those identical noble persons themselves, as well as by a very great part of their other readers and auditors : which argument, though of no little strength in itself, we omitted to bring before, as having better (as we thought) and more forcible to offer ; but it had behov'd those gentlemen who Vol. 1.

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have question’d the plays to have got rid of it in the first instance, as it lies full in their way in the very entrance upon this dispute.

We shall close this part of the Introduâion with some observations, that were reserv'd for this place, upon that paragraph of the player editors' preface which is quoted at p. 282; and then taking this further liberty with the reader, -- to call back his attention to some particulars that concern the

prefent edition, dismiss him, to be entertain'd (as we hope) by a sort of appendix, confiling of those notes that have been mention'd, in which the true and undoubted originals of almost all the poet's fables are clearly pointed out. But first of the preface. Besides the authenticity of all the feveral pieces that made up this collection, and their care in publishing them, both folemnly affirm'd in the paragraph refer'd to, we there find these honest editors acknowledging in terms equally folemn the author's right in his copies, and lamenting that he had not exercis'd that right by a publication of thein during his life-time; and from the manner in which they express themselves, we are strongly inclin'd to think -- that he had really form’d such a design, but towards his last days, and too late to put it in execution: a collection of Jonson's was at ihat instant in the press, and upon the point of coming forth; which might probably inspire such a thought into him and his companions, and produce conferences between them about a fimilar publication from him, and the piece that should compose it, which the poet might make a list of. It is true, this is only a supposition; but a suppoftion arising naturally, as we think, from the in. cident that has been mention'd, and the expressions of his fellow players and editors: and, if suffer'd to pass for truth, here is a good and sound reason for the exclusion of all those other plays that have been attributed to him upon some grounds or other ;-- he himself has profcrib'd them; and we cannot forbéar hoping, that they will in no fue ture time rise up against him, and be thrust into his works: a disavowal of weak and idle pieces, the productions of green years, wantonness, or inattention, is a right that all authors are vested with; and should be exerted by all, if their reputation is dear to them; had Jonson us'd it, his character had stood higher than it does : But, after all, they who have pay'd attention to this truth are not always secure; the indiscreet zeal of an admirer, or avarice of a pablisher, has frequently added things that dishonour them; and where realities have been wanting, forgeries supply the place; thus has Homer his Hymns, and the poor Mantuan his Ciris and his Culcx. Noble and great authors demand all our veneration: where their wills can be difcover'd, they ought sacredly to be comply'd with; and that editor ill discharges his duty, who prefumes to load them with things they have renounc'd: it happens but too often, that we have other ways to shew our regard to them: their own great want of care in their copies, and the still greater want of it that is commonly in their impressions, will find sufficient exercise for any one's friendship, who may wish to see their 'works set forth in that perfection which was intended by the author. And his friendship we have endeavour'd to fhew to Shakspeare in the present edition: the plan of it

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has been lay'd before the reader; upon whom it rests to judge finally of its goodness, as well as how it is executed: but as several matters have interven'd that may have driven it from his memory; and we are desirous above all things to leave a strong impression upon him of one merit which it may certainly pretend to, that is -- it's fidelity; we shall take leave to remind him, at parting, thatThroughout all this work, what is added without the authority of some ancient edition, is printed in a black letter: what alter'd, and what thrown out, constantly taken notice of; fome few times in a note, where the matter was long, or of a complex nature; • but, more generally at the bottom of the page; where what is put out of the text, how min nute and insignificant soever, is always to be met with; what alter'd, as constantly set down, and in the proper words of that edition upon which the alteration is form'd; and, even in authoriz'd readings, whoever is desirous of knowing further, what edition is follow'd preferably to the others, may be gratify'd too in that, by consulting the Various

· The particulars that could not well be pointed out below, according to the general method, or otherwise than by a note, are of three forts - omissions, any thing large; tranfpofitions ; and fuch differences of punctuation as produce great changes in the fenfe of a passage: instances of the first occur in Love's Labour's Lost, p. 54, and in Troilus and Cressida, p. 109 and 117; of the second, in The Comedy of Errors, p. 62, and in Richard III. p. 92, and 102 ; and The Tempest, p. 69, and King Lear, p. 53, afford instances of the last; as may be feen by looking into any modern edition, 'where all thofé passages stand nearly as in the old ones.

(All these references are to Mr. Capell's own edition of our author.)

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