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When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm,
Our ears, of like a Mercury to charm.
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines :
Which were so richly spun, and wove fo fit
As, since the will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please
But antiquated, and deserted lie,
As they were not of nature's family.
Yet muft I not give nature all: Thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, muft eojoy a part. « 9
For though the Poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion : And, that he
Who casts to write a living line, muft sweat.
(Such as thine are) and Atrike the second beat-1
Upon the muses anvile ; turn the same,
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame,
Or for the laurel he may gain a scorn ; Dei
For a good Poet's made, as well as born.
And such wert thou. Look how the father's face.
Lives in his iffue, even so 'the race
Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly Hines, y de
In his well corned, and true-filed lines: huiven
In each of which he seems to fhake a lance,
As brandifl'd at the eyes

of ignorance.
Siveet Swin of Avon what a fight it were
To see thee in our water yet appear, 1q 1 ba ti
And make those flights upon the banks of Thames, ar
That so did take Elizg, and our jamesk

ilu But Ilay, I fee thee in the hemisphere Advancd,' and made a constellation there ! 9 Shine forth; thou farre of Poet's! and with

rage, Or influence, chide, or chear, the drooping flage: Which, since thy flight from hence, hath mourn'd like

night, And despairs day, but for thy volume's light.

BAN JOHNSON.

THE

hjoyed but seule 2017

THE P R E F A C E.

16 Suitcai 51 HE attempt to write upon SHAK ESPEAR E is like going ineq, a large, a,

spacious, and a splendid, dome, through the conveyance of a narrow and obfcure entry. A glare of light suddenly breaks upon you.

beyond what the avenue at first promised: and a thousand beauties of genius and character, like. fo many gaudy apartments pouring at once upon the eye, diffuse and throw themselves out to the mind. The prospect is too wide to come within be compass of a single view: 'tiş a gay confufion: in a general admiration; and they must be separated, and eyed diftinctly, in order to give the proper entertainment.

And as in great piles of building, some parts are often finished up to hit the taite of the conn, Hoi four others more negligently put together, to

Arike

THE

eftrike the fancy of a common and unlearnadı be-.

holder : Some parts are made ftupendouayimagnificent and grand, to furprize with the lvast defign. cand execution of the architect; others are contracted, to amuse you with his neatness and elegance in little. So, in Shakespeare, we may find Traits that will ftand the teft of the severest judgment; and trokes as carelefsly hit off, to the le. veb of the more ordinary capacities. Some defcriptions taifed to that pitch of grandeur, as to astonish you with the compass and elevation of * bis thought: and others copying nature witlin fo narrow, lo confined a circle, as if the author's talent lay only at drawing in miniature

...?!!!! In how many points of light must we be obliged to gaze at this great poet! En how marty branches of excellence to confider, and admire him! Whether we view him on the fide of vart or nature, he ought equally to engage our attention: Whether we respect the force and greatness of his genius, the extent of his knowledge and reading, the power and address with which . he throws out and applies either nature, or learning, there is ample scope both for our wonder and pleasure. If his diction, and the cloathing of his thoughts attra&t us, how much more muft we be charmed with the richness, and variety, of his images and ideas ! If his images and ideas steal into our Souls, and ftrike upon our fancy, 'how much are they improved in price, when we come

to reflect with what propriety and justnefs they dro applied to character! If we look into his characters, and how they are furnished and proportioned to the employment he cuts out for them, how are we taken up with the mastery of his portraits ! What draughts of nature! What variety of originals, and how differing each from the other ! How are they dtessed from the stores of his own laxurious imagination ;, without being the apes of mode, or borrowing from any foreign wardrobe ! Each of them are the standards of fashion for themselveslike gentlemen that are above the

direction of their tailors, and can adorn themfelves without the aid of imitation, If other

poets draw more than one fool or coxcomb, there is the same resemblance in them, as in that painter's draughts, who was happy only at forming a rose: you find them all younger brothers of the fame family, and all of them haver a pretence to give the same crest: But Shakespeare's clowns and fops come all of a different house: they are no farther allied to one another than as man to, man, members of the Same species: but as different in features, and lineaments of character, as we are from one another in face, or complexion. But I am unawares lanching into his character as a writer, before I have said what I intended of him as a private member of the republick..! by: 2

Mrio Rowe has very justly, observed that people are fond of discovering any little perfonal Aory

of

of the great men of antiquity: and that the com mon accidents of their lives naturally become the fubject of our critical enquiries : That however trifling such a curiosity at the first view may appear, yet, as for what relates to men of let. ters, the knowledge of an author may, perhaps, fometimes conduce to the better understanding his works.: And, indeed, this author's works, from: the bad treatment he has met with from his; editors, have so long wanted a comment, that one would zealoufly embrace every method of information, that could contribute to recover them from the injuries with which they have so long lain o'erwhelmed,

'Tis certain, that if we have first admired-theman in his writings, his case is fó circumstanced, that we must naturally admire the writings in the man: That if we go back to take a view of his education, and the employment in life which fortuné had cut out for him, we shall retain the Kronger ideas of his extensive genius.

His father, we are told, was a confiderable dealer in wool; but having no fewer than ten children, of whom our Sbakespeare was the eldest, the best education he could afford him was no. better than to qualify him for his own Business. and employment. I cannot affirm with any certainty how long his father lived; but I take him. to be the same Mr. John. Shakespeare who was: living in the year 1599, and who then, in :ho-s.

nour.

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