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87 Though our coinmentaries on the following Plays have been enriched by numerous extracts from this celebrated Essay, the whole of it is here reprinted. I shall hazard no contradiction relative to the value of its contents, when I add
- prosunt fingula, junela juvant. STEEVENS.
P R E F A C E
THE SECOND EDITION,
HE author of the following Essay was foli
hath however, in his own capacity, little reason to complain of occasional criticks, or criticks by profeffion. The very few, who have been pleased to controvert any part of his doctrine, have favoured him with better manners, than arguments; and claim his thanks for a further opportunity of demonstrating the futility of theoretick reasoning against matter of fift. It is indeed strange, that any real friends of our immortal Poet should be still willing to lorce him into a situation, which is not tenable: treat him as a learned man, and what shall excuse the most gross violations of history, chronology, and geography ?
o weitaus, ģu wsions is the motto of every polemick: like his brethren at the amphitheatre, he holds it a merit to die hard; and will not say, enough, though the battle be decided.
« Were it shewn, (says some one) that the old bard borrowed all his aliulions from Englijh books then published, our E[[::yiji inight have possibly established his system.”— In good time !--This had scarcely been attempted
by Peter Eurrontzette 25 of Stak . Speare before tim-Tex, V. Ispierry says,) for Wine canal7223 as iecious as a king, I could fad i aiz: bis it all on this subject:" bi scere il rises with a reader?When the rain are taken away, the whole building iais Encore: thing hath been, or can be, pointed out, which is not eatily removed; or rather which was not removed before: a very little cut wil do the business. I shall therefore have no occadonio souble myself any further; and may vessure to call my pamphlet, in the words of a pleasant declaimer a ainit jermons on the thirtieih of January, “ an aniwer to every thing that shall hereafter be written on the subject.”
Eut “ this method of reasoning will prove any one ignorant of the languages, who hath written when translations were extant.”—bude of Burgersdicius !--does it foilow, because shetipeare's carly life was incompatible with a course of educarion-whose contemporaries, friends and foes, nay, and himself likewise, ayree in his want of what is usually called literature—whose mistakes from equivocal translations, and even typographical errors, cannot possibly be accounted for otherwise, --that Locke, to whom not one of these circumstances is applicable, understood no Greek ?-I suspect, Rollin's opinion of our philosopher was not founded on this argument.
Shak/peare wanted not the stilts of languages to raise him above all other men. The quotation from Lilly in the Taming of the Shrew, if indeed it be his, Itrongly proves the extent of his reading : had he known Terence, he would not have quoted erroneously from his Grammar. Every one hath met with men in common life, who, according to the languide of the Water-poet, “ got only from pollum to
Pallet,” and yet will throw out a line occasionally from their Accidence or their Cato de Moribus with tolerable propriety. If, however, the old editions be trufted in this passage, our author's memory somewhat failed him in point of concord.
The rage of parallelisms is almost over, and in truth nothing can be more absurd.
« This was ftolen from one classick,-That from another;"and had I not stept in to his rescue, poor Shakspeare had been stript as naked of ornament, as when he first held horses at the door of the playhouse.
The late ingenious and modeft Mr. Dodjley declared himself
“ Untutor'd in the lore of Greece or Rome :"
yet let us take a passage at a venture from any of his performances, and a thousand to one, it is stolen. Suppose it be his celebrated compliment to the ladies, in one of his earliest pieces, The Toy-shop: “ A good wife makes the cares of the world fit easy, and adds a sweetness to its pleasures ; fe is a man's best companion in prosperity, and his only friend in adversity; the carefullest preserver of his health, and the kindest attendant in his fickness; a faithful adviser in distress, a comforter in aihiction, and a prudent manager in all his domestick affairs.” Plainly, from a fragment of Euripides preserved by Stobaeus :
« Γυνή γαρ εν κακoίσι και νόσοις πόσει
Οργήν τε τραύνεσα, και διθυμίας
Malvolio in the Twelfth Night of Shakspeare hath some expressions very similar to Ainascbar tin he