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landing you have money or no; you may swim in twentie of their boates over the river upon ticket; mary, when filver comes in, remember to pay trebble their fare, and it will make your floundercatchers to fend more thankes after you, when you doe not draw, then when you doe : for they know, it will be their owne another daie.
"Before the play begins, fall to cardes; you may win or loose (as fencers doe in a prize) and beate one another by confederacie, yet fhare the money when you meete at fupper: notwithstanding, to gul the raggamuffins that ftand a loofe gaping at you, throw the cards (having firft torne four or five of them) round about the ftage, juft upon the third found, as though you had loft: it skils not if the four knaves ly on their backs, and outface the audience, there's none fuch fooles as dare take exceptions at them, becaufe ere the play go off, better knaves than they, will fall into the com
Now, Sir, if the writer be a fellow that háth either epigram'd you, or hath had a flirt at your miftris, or hath brought either your feather, or your red beard, or your little legs. &c. on the ftage, you fhall difgrace him worfe then by toffing him in a blanket, or giving him the baftinado in a taverne, if in the middle of his play (bee it paftorall or comedy, morall or tragedie) you rife with a fkreud and difcontented face from your floole to be gone: no matter whether the fcenes be good or no; the better they are, the worfe doe you diftast them and beeing on your feete, fneake not away like a coward, but falute all your gentle acquaintance that are fpred either on the rushes or on flooles VOL. I.
about you, and draw what troope you can from the flage after you: the mimicks are beholden to you, for allowing them elbow roome: their poet cries perhaps, a pox go with you, but care not you for that; there's no mufick without frets.
Mary, if either the company, or indifpofition of the weather binde you to fit it out, my counfell is then that you turne plaine ape: take up a rush and tickle the earneft eares of your fellow gallants, to make other fooles fall a laughing: mewe at the paffionate fpeeches, blare at merrie, finde fault with the muficke, whewe at the children's action, whiftle at the fongs; and above all, curfe the fharers, that whereas the fame day you had bestowed forty fhillings on an embroidered felt and feather (Scotch fashion) for your miftres in the court, or your punck in the cittie, within two houres after, you encounter with the very fame block on the flage when the haberdasher fwore to you the impreflion was extant but that morning.
"To conclude, hoord up the finest play-fcraps you can get, upon which your leane w't may moft favourly feede, for want of other fluffe, when the Arcadian and Euphuis'd gentlewomen have their tongues fharpened to fet upon you, that qualitie (next to your fhittlecocke) is the only furniture to a courtier that's but a new beginner, and is but in his ABC of complement. The next places that are fil'd after the play-houfes bee emptied, are (or ought to be) tavernes into a taverne then let us next march, where the braines of one hogfhead must be beaten out to make up another."
I fhould have attempted on the prefent occafion to enumerate all other pamphlets, &c. from whence
particulars relative to the conduct of our early theatres might be collected, but that Dr. Percy, in his first volume of the Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, (third edit. p. 128, &c.) has extracted fuch paffages from them as tend to the illuftration of this fubject; to which he has added more accurate remarks than my experience in these matters would have enabled me to fupply. STEEVENS.
MR. M. MASON'S COMMENTS, &c.
NOT OT thoroughly fatisfied with any of the former editions of Shakspeare, even that of Johnfon, I had refolved to venture upon one of my own, and had actually collected materials for the purpofe, when that, which is the fubject of the following Obfervations, made its appearance; in which I found that a confiderable part of the amendments and explanations I had intended to propofe were anticipated by the labours and eccentrick reading of Steevens, the ingenious researches
9 Edit. 1778.
of Malone, and the fagacity of Tyrwhitt. -I will fairly confefs that I was fomewhat mortified at this difcovery, which compell'd me to relinquish a favourite purfuit, from whence I had vainly expected to derive fome degree of credit in the literary world. This, however, was a fecondary confideration; and my principal purpose will be answered to my with, if the Comments, which I now fubmit to the publick fhall, in any other hands, contribute materially to a more complete edition of our inimitable poet.
If we may judge from the advertisement prefixed to his Supplement, Malone feems to think that no other edition can hereafter be wanted; as in speaking of the laft, he fays, "The text of the author feems now to be finally fettled, the great abilities and unwearied refearches of the editor having left little obfcure or unexplained. ""
Though I cannot subscribe to this opinion of Malone, with refpect to the final adjustment of the text, I fhall willingly join in his encomium on the editor, who deferves the applause and gratitude of the publick, not only for his industry and abilities, but alfo for the zeal with which he has profecuted the object he had in view, which prompted him, not only to the wearifome task of collation, but alfo to engage in a peculiar courfe of reading, neither pleafing nor profitable for any, other purpose.
But I will 'venture to affert, that his merit is
• As I was never vain enough to fuppofe the edit. 1778 was entitled to this encomium, I can find no difficulty in allowing that it has been properly recalled by the gentleman who beflowed it. See his Preface; and his Letter to the Reverend Dr. Farmer, p. 7 and 8. STEEVEN§.
́more confpicuous in the comments than the text; in the regulation of which he seems to have acted rather from caprice, than any fettled principle; admitting alterations, in fome paffages, on very infufficient authority, indeed, whilft in others he has retained the antient readings, though evidently corrupt, in preference to amendments as evidently juft and it frequently happens, that after pointing out to us the true reading, he adheres to that which he himself has proved to be falfe. Had he regulated the text in every place according to his own judgement, Malone's obfervation would have been nearer to the truth; but as it now ftands, the last edition has no fignal advantage, that I can perceive, over that of Johnson, in point of correctness.
But the object that Steevens had moft at heart, was the illuftration of Shakspeare, in which it muft be owned he has clearly furpaffed all the former editors. If without his abilities, application, or reading, I have happened to fucceed in explaining fome paffages, which he misapprehended, or in fuggefting amendments that escaped his fagacity, it is owing merely to the minute attention with which. I have ftudied every line of these plays, whilst the other commentators, I will not except even Steevens, himself, have too generally confined their obfervation and ingenuity to thofe litigated paffages, which have been handed down to them by former editors, as requiring either amendment or explanation, and have fuffered many others to pafs unheeded, that, in truth, were equally erroneous or obfcure. It may poffibly be thought that I have gone too far in the other extreme, in pointing out trilling mistakes. in the printing, which every reader perceives to be