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THE NEW YORK PUBLIC LIBRARY

409201

ASTOR, LENOX AND
TILDEN FOUNDATIONS.

1908

1

PREFACE.

Transfer froni Cire. wepki V.Buddiesen

I shall not attempt any labored encomiums on Shakspeare, or endeavour to set forth his perfections, at a time when such universal and just applause is said him, and when every tigua is big with his boundless fame. He nimseli tells us,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the icc, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
And wasteful and ridiculous indeed it would be, to say any
thing in his praise, when presenting tne world with such a
collection of BEAUTIES as perhaps is no where to be met
with, and, I may very safely affirin, cannot be paralleles from
the productions of any other single author, ancient or modern
There is scarcely a topic, conuen, with other writers, on which
he has not excelled them all; there are maay nobly peculiar to
himself, where he shines unrivalled, and, like the eaglen

, ropar est emblem of his daring genius, soars beyond the e-mmon reach, and gazes undazzlea on the san. Hislights are some times so bold, frigid criticism almost dares to disapprove them and those narrow miuds which are incapable of elevating their wicas to the sublimity of their author's, are williøg to bring the town to a level with their own. Hence masycone passages have been condemned in Shakspeare, as rant and fustian, intolerable uanoasi, and turgid nonsense, which, if read with the least glewat the same imagination that warmed the writer's bosom, w uld blaze in the robes of sublimity, and obtain the commendation of a Longinus. And, unless some of the same spirit that elevated ho poet, elevate the reader too, he must not presume to talk of t.ste and elegance; he will prove a languid reader, an indiffer nu judge, and a far more indifferent critic and commentator.

It is some time since I first proposed publishing this collect n; for Shakspeare was ever, of all modern authors, my chief favor ite; -and during my relaxations from my more severe and nec ssary studies at college, I never omitted to read and indulg? mysli in the rapturous flights of this delightful and sweetest child of fancy: and when my imagination has been heated by the glow'... ardour of his uncommon fire, have never failed to lament, that

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