« PreviousContinue »
the wills of various perfons. I am alfo in a particular manner indebted to the kindness and atten, tion of the Rev. Mr. Davenport, vicar of Stratfordupon-Avon, who moft obligingly made every inquiry in that town and the neighbourhood, which I fuggefted as likely to throw any light on the Life of Shakspeare.
I deliver my book to the world not without anxiety; confcious, however, that I have strenuously endeavoured to render it not unworthy the attention of the publick. If the researches which have been made for the illuftration of our poet's works, and for the differtations which accompany the prefent edition, fhall afford as much entertainment to others, as I have derived from them, I fhall confider the time expended on it as well employed. Of the dangerous ground on which I tread, I am fully fenfible. "Multa funt in his ftudiis (to ufe the words of a venerable fellow-labourer in the mines of Antiquity) cineri fuppofita dolofe. Errata poffint effe multa à memoria. Quis enim in memoriæ thefauro omnia fimul fic complectatur, ut pro arbitratu fuo poffit expromere? Errata poffint effe plura ab imperitia. Quis enim tam peritus, ut in cæco hoc antiquitatis mari, cum tempore colluctatus, fcopulis non allidatur ? Hæc tamen à te, humaniffime lector, tua humanitas, mea induftria, patriæ charitas, et SHAKSPEARI dignitas, mihi exorent, ut quid mei fit judicii, fine aliorum præjudicio libere proferam; ut eâdem via qua alii in his ftudiis folent, infiftam; et ut erratis, fi ego agnofcam, tu ignofcas." Those who are the warmeft admirers of our great poet, and most
converfant with his writings, beft know the difficulty of fuch a work, and will be moft ready to pardon its defects; remembering, that in all arduous undertakings, it is easier to conceive than to accomplish; that "the will is infinite, and the execution confined; that the defire is boundless, and the act a flave to limit." MALONE.
Queen Anne Street, East,
END OF VOL. I.
J. PLYMSELL, Printer, Leather Lane, Holborn, London.