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with equal diligence, and equal attention; and the editor flatters himself, that the punctuation he has follow'd, (into which he has admitted fome novelties,) will be found of fo much benefit to his author, that those who run may read, and that with profit and understanding. The other great mistake in these old editions, and which is very infufficiently rectify'd in any of the new ones, relates to the poet's numbers; his verfe being often wrong divided, or printed wholly as profe, and his profe as often printed like verfe: this, though not fo univerfal as their wrong pointing, is yet fo extenfive an error in the old copies, and fo impoffible to be pointed out otherwife than by a note, that an editor's filent amendment of it is furely pardonable at leaft; for who would not be difgufted with that perpetual fameness which must neceffarily have been in all the notes of this fort? Neither are they, in truth, emendations that require proving; every good ear does immediately adopt them, and every lover of the poet will be pleas'd with that acceffion of beauty which results to him from them it is perhaps to be lamented, that there is yet ftanding in his works much unpleafing mixture of profaick and metrical dialogue, and fometimes in places feemingly improper, as-in Othello, Vol. XIX. p. 273; and fome others which men of judgment will be able to pick out for themselves: but thefe blemishes are not now to be wip'd away, at least not by an editor, whofe province it far exceeds to make a
"If the use of these new pointings, and alfo of certain marks that he will meet with in this edition, do not occur immediately to the reader, (as we think it will) he may find it explain'd to him at large in the preface to a little octavo volume intitl'd"Prolufions, or, Select Pieces of Ancient Poetry;" publifh'd in 1760 by this editor, and printed for Mr. Tonfon.
thange of this nature; but muft remain as marks of the poet's negligence, and of the hafte with which his pieces were compos'd: what he mani feftly intended profe, (and we can judge of his intentions only from what appears in the editions that are come down to us,) fhould be printed as profe, what verfe as verfe; which, it is hop'd, is now done, with an accuracy that leaves no great room for any further confiderable improvements in that way.
Thus have we run through, in as brief a manner as poffible, all the feveral heads, of which it was thought proper and even neceffary that the publick fhould be appriz'd; as well those that concern preceding editions, both old and new; as the other which we have juft quitted, the method obferv'd in the edition that is now before them: which though not fo entertaining, it is confefs'd, nor affording fo much room to display the parts and talents of a writer, as fome other topicks that have generally supply'd the place of them; fuch ascriticisms or panegyricks upon the author, hiftorical anecdotes, effays, and florilegia; yet there will be found fome odd people, who may be apt to pronounce of them-that they are fuitable to the place they ftand in, and convey all the inftruction that should be look'd for in a preface. Here, therefore, we might take our leave of the reader, bidding him welcome to the banquet that is fet before him; were it not apprehended, and reasonably, that he will expect fome account why it is not ferv'd up to him at prefent with it's accuftom'd and laudable garniture, of "Notes, Gloffaries," &c. Now though it might be reply'd, as a reafon for what is done,—that a very great part of the world, amongst whom is the editor himself, profefs much dislike VOL. I.
to this paginary intermixture of text and comment; in works meerly of entertainment, and written in the language of the country; as alfothat he, the editor, does not poffefs the secret of dealing out notes by measure, and diftributing them amongst his volumes fo nicely that the equality of their bulk fhall not be broke in upon the thickness of a sheet of paper; yet, having other matter at hand which he thinks may excufe him better, he will not have recourse to these abovemention'd: which matter is no other, than his very strong defire of approving himself to the publick a man of integrity; and of making his future present more perfect, and as worthy of their acceptance as his abilities will let him. For the explaining of what is faid, which is a little wrap'd up in mystery at prefent, we muft inform that publick-that another work is prepar'd, and in great forwardnefs, having been wrought upon many years; nearly indeed as long as the work which is now before them, for they have gone hand in hand almost from the firft: this work, to which we have given for title The School of Shakspeare, confifts wholly of extracts, (with obfervations upon fome of them, interfpers'd occafionally,) from books that may properly be call'd-his school; they are indeed the fources from which he drew the greater part of his knowledge in mythology and claffical matters,' his fable, his hiftory, and even
1 Though our expreffions, as we think, are fufficiently guarded in this place, yet, being fearful of misconstruction, we defire to be heard further as to this affair of his learning. It is our firm belief then, that Shakspeare was very well grounded, at least in Latin, at fchool: It appears from the cleareft evidence poflible, that his father was a man of no little fubftance, and very well able to give him fuch education; which, perhaps, he
the feeming peculiarities of his language: to furnish out these materials, all the plays have been
might be inclin'd to carry further, by fending him to a univerfity; but was prevented in this defign (if he had it) by his son's early marriage, which, from monuments, and other like evidence, it appears with no lefs certainty, muft have happen'd before he was feventeen, or very soon after the difpleasure of his father, which was the confequence of this marriage, or else fome exceffes which he is faid to have been guilty of, it is probable, drove him up to town; where he engag'd early in fome of the theatres, and was honour'd with the patronage of the Earl of Southampton: his Venus and Adonis is addrefs'd to the Earl in a very pretty and modeft dedication, in which he calls it-" the firft heire of his invention ;" and ushers it to the world with this fingular motto,
"Vilia miretur vulgus, mihi flavus Apollo
"Pocula Caftalia plena ministret aqua ;"
and the whole poem, as well as his Lucrece, which follow'd it foon after, together with his choice of thofe fubjects, are plain marks of his acquaintance with some of the Latin clafficks, at leaft at that time: The diffipation of youth, and, when that was over, the busy scene in which he inftantly plung'd himfelf, may very well be fuppos'd to have hinder'd his making any great pro grefs in them; but that fuch a mind as his fhould quite lofe the tincture of any knowledge it had once been imbu'd with, can not be imagin'd: accordingly we fee, that this school-learning (for it was no more) stuck with him to the laft; and it was the recordations, as we may call it, of that learning which produc'd the Latin that is in many of his plays, and moft plentifully in those that are most early every several piece of it is aptly introduc'd, given to a proper character, and utter'd upon fome proper occafion; and fo well cemented, as it were, and join'd to the paffage it stands in, as to deal conviction to the judicious-that the whole was wrought up together, and fetch'd from his own little ftore, upon the fudden and without ftudy.
The other languages, which he has fometimes made use of, that is the Italian and French, are not of fuch difficult conqueft that we should think them beyond his reach: an acquaintance with the first of them was a fort of fashion in his time; Surrey and the fonnet-writers fet it on foot, and it was continu'd by Sidney and Spenfer: all our poetry iffu'd from that school; and it would be wonderful, indeed, if he, whom we saw a little before putting himfelf with fo much zeal under the banner of
perus'd, within a very small number, that were in print in his time or fome fhort time after; the
the muses, should not have been tempted to taste at least of that fountain to which of all his other brethren there was such continual refort: let us conclude then, that he did taste of it; but, happily for himself, and more happy for the world that enjoys him now, he did not find it to his relish, and threw away the cup: metaphor apart, it is evident-that he had some little knowledge of the Italian: perhaps, juft as much as enabl'd him to read a novel or a poem; and to put fome few fragments of it, with which his memory furnish'd him, into the mouth of a pedant, or fine gentleman.
How or when he acquir'd it we must be content to be ignorant, but of the French language he was somewhat a greater master than of the two that have gone before; yet, unless we except their novelifts, he does not appear to have had much acquaintance with any of their writers; what he has given us of it is meerly colloquial, flows with great ease from him, and is reafonably pure: Should it be said he had travel'd for't, we know not who can confute us: in his days indeed, and with people of his station, the custom of doing fo was rather rarer than in ours; yet we have met with an example, and in his own band of players, in the perfon of the very famous Mr. Kempe; of whofe travels there is mention in a filly old play, call'd—The Return from Parnaffus, printed in 1606, but written much earlier in the time of Queen Elizabeth: add to this-the exceeding great liveliness and juftness that is seen in many descriptions of the fea and of promontories, which, if examin'd, fhew another fort of knowledge of them than is to be gotten in books or relations and if these be lay'd together, this conjecture of his travelling may not be thought void of probability.
One opinion, we are fure, which is advanc'd fomewhere or other, is utterly fo;-that this Latin, and this Italian, and the language that was last mention'd, are insertions and the work of fome other hand: there has been started now and then in philological matters a propofition so strange as to carry its own condemnation in it, and this is of the number; it has been honour'd already with more notice than it is any ways intitl'd to, where the poet's Latin is spoke of a little while before; to which answer it must be left, and we shall pafs on-to profess our entire belief of the genuineness of every several part of this work, and that he only was the author of it: he might write beneath himfelf at particular times, and certainly does in fome places; but