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brought others into suspicion, which are only ob- to his works before the edition of 1664, from which scured by obsolete phraseology, or by the writer's they were copied by the latter printers. ynskilfulness and affectation. To alter is more easy This was a work which Pope seems to have than to explain, and temerity is a more common thought unworthy of his abilities, being not able to quality than diligence. Those who saw that they suppress his contempt of the dull duty of an editor. must employ conjecture to a certain degree, were He understood but half his undertaking. The duty willing to indulge it a little further. Had ihe author of a collator is indeed dull, yet, like other tedious published his own works, we should have sat quietly tasks, is very necessary; but an einendatory critic down to disentangle his intricacies, and clear his would ill discharge his duty, without qualities very obscurities; but now we tear what we cannot loose, different from dulness. In perusing a corrupted and eject what we happen not to understand. piece, he must have before him all possibilities of
The faults are more than could have happened meaning, with all possibilities of expression. Such without the concurrence of many causes. The style must be bis comprehension of thought, and such his of Shakspeare was in itself ungrammatical, per- copiousness of language. Out of many readings plexed, and obscure; his works were transcribed possible, he must be able to select that which best for the players by those who may be supposed to suits with the state, opinions, and modes of lauhave seldom understood them; they were trans-guage prevailing in every age, and with his author's mitted by copiers equally unskilful, who still multi- particular cast of thought, and turn of expression. plied errors ; they were perhaps sometimes mutilated Such must be his knowledge, and such his taste. by the actors, for the sake of shortening the speeches; Conjectural criticism demands more than humanity and were at last printed without correction of the possesses, and he that exercises it with most praise, press.
has very frequent peed of indulgence. Let us now In this state they remained, not as Dr. Warburton be told no more of the dull duty of an editor. supposes, because they were unregarded, but be. Confidence is the common consequence of succause the editor's art was not yet applied to modern cess. They whose excellence of any kind has been languages, and our ancestors were accustomed to lou lly celebrated, are ready to conclude, that their so much negligence of English printers, that they powers are universal. Pope's edition fell below could very patiently endure it. At last an edition his own expectations, and he was so much offended, was undertaken by Rowe; not because a poet was when he was found to have left any thing for others to be published by a poet, for Rowe seems to have to do, that he passed the latter part of his life in a thought very little on correction or explanation, but state of hostility with verbal criticism. that our author's works might appear like those of I have retained all his notes, that no fragment of his fraternity, with the appendages of a life and re- so great a writer may be lost; his preface, valuable commendatory preface. Rowe has been clamo- alike for elegance of composition and justness of rously blamed for not performing what he did not remark, and containing a general criticism on his undertake, and it is time that justice be done him, author, so extensive that little can be added, aud so by confessing, that though he seems to have had no exact that little can be disputed, every editor has an thought of corruption beyond the printer's errors, interest to suppress, but that every reader would yet he has made many emendations, if they were demand its insertion. not made before, which his successors have received Pope was succeeded by Theobald, a man of narwithout acknowledgment, and which, if they had row comprehension, and small acquisitions, with no produced them, would have filled pages and pages native and intrinsic splendour of genius, with little with censures of the stupidity by which the faults of the artificial light of learning, but zealous for were committed, with displays of the absurdities minute accuracy, and not negligent in pursuing it. which they involved, with ostentatious expositions He collated the ancient copies, and rectitied many of the new reading, and self-congratulations on the errors. A man so anxiously scrupulous might have happiness of discovering it.
been expected to do more, but what little he did was As of the other editors I have preserved the pre- commonly right. faces, I have likewise borrowed the author's life In his reports of copies and editions he is not to from Rowe, though not written with much elegance be trusted without examination. He speaks someor spirit; it relates, however, what is now to be times indefinitely of copies, when he has only one. known, and therefore deserves to pass through all In his enumeration of editions, he mentions the two succeeding publications.
first folios as of high, and the third folio as of midThe nation had been for many years content enough dle authority; but the truth is, that the first is equiwith Mr. Rowe's performance, when Mr. Pope made valent to all others, and that the rest only deviate them acquainted with the true state of Shakspeare's from it by the printer's negligence. Whoever has text, shewed that it was extremely corrupt, and any of the folios has all, excepting those diversities gave reason to hope that there were means of re- which were reiteration of editions will produce. I Corming it. He collated the old copies, which none collated them all at the beginning, but afterwards had thought to examine before, and restored many used only the first. lines to their integrity; but, by a very compendious Of his notes I have generally retained those which criticism, he rejected whatever he disliked, and he retained himself in his second edition, except thought more of amputation than of cure. when they were confuted by subsequent apuotators,
I know not why he is conscended by Dr. War- or were too minute to merit preservation. I have burton for distinguishing the genuine from the spu- sometimes adopted his restoration of a comma, rious plays. In this choice he exerted no judgment without inserting the panegyric in which he celeof his own; the plays which he received were given brated hiinself for his achievement. The exuberant to Hemings and Condell
, the first editors; and those excrescence of his diction I have often lopped, his which he rejected, though, according to the licen- triumphant exultations over Pope and Rowe I have tiousness of the press in those times, they were sometimes suppressed, and his contemptible ostenprinted during Shakspeare's life, with his name, had tation I have frequently concealed; but I have in been omitted by his friends, and were never added some places shewn hin, as he would have shewn himself, for the reader's diversion, that the inflated and sometimes improbable conjectures; he at one emptiness of sone notes may justify or excuse the time gives the author more profundity of meaning patraction of the rest.
than the sentence admits, and at another discovers Theobald, thus weak and ignorant, thus mean and absurdities, where the sense is plain to every other faithless, thus petulant and ostentatious, by the reader. But his emendations are likewise often good luck of having Pope for his enemy, has es happy and just; and his interpretation of obscure caped, and escaped alone, with reputation, from passages learned and sagacious. this undertaking. So willingly does the world sup- of his notes, I nave commonly rejected those port those who solicit favour, against those who against which the general voice of the public has command reference; and so easily is he praised, exclaimed, or which their own incongruity immewhom no man can envy.
diately condemns, and which, I suppose, the author Our author fell then into the hands of Sir Thomas himself would desire to be forgotten. Of the rest, Haamer, the Oxford editor, a man, in my opinion, to part I have given the highest approbation, by in. eminently qualified by nature for such studies. He serting the offered reading in the text; part I have had, what is the first requisite to emendatory criti. left to the judgment of the reader, as doubtful, eism, that intuition by which the poet's intention is though specious; and part I have censured without immediately discovered, and that dexterity of intel- reserve, but I am sure without bitterness of malice, lect which despatches its work by the easiest means. and, I hope, without wantonness of insult. He had undoubtedly read much; his acquaintance It is no pleasure to me, in revising my rolumes, with eustoms, opinions, and traditions, seems to to observe how much paper is wasted in confutation. bave been large; and he is often learned without Whoever considers the revolutions of learning, and shev. He seldom passes what he does not under the various questions of greater or less importance, stand, without an attempt to find or to make a upon which wit and reason have exercised their meaning, and sometimes hastily makes what a little powers, must lament the unsuccessfulness of inquiry, more attention would have found. He is solicitous and the slow advances of truth, when he reflects, to reduce to grammar what he could not be sure that great part of the labour of every writer is only that his author intended to be grammatical. Shake the destruction of those that went before him. The speare regarded inore the series of ideas, than of first care of the builder of a new system is to dewords; and his language, not being designed for moish the fabrics which are standing. The chief the reader's desk, was all that he desired it to be, if desire of him that comments an author, is to shew it conveyed his meaning to the audience.
how much other commentators have corrupted and Hanmer's care of the metre has been too violently obscured him. The opinions prevalent in one age, censured. He found the measure reformed in so as truths above the reach of controversy, are con many passages, by the silent labours of some editors, futed and rejected in another, and rise again to re with the silent acquiescence of the rest, that he ception in remoter times. Thus the human mind thought himself allowed to extend a little further is kept in motion without progress. Thus somethe licence, which had already been carried so far times truth and error, and sometimes contrarieties without reprehension; and of his corrections in of error, take each other's place by reciprocal in. general, it must be confessed, that they are often vasion. The tide of seeming knowledge which is just, and made commonly with the least possible poured over one generation, retires and leaves anviolation of the text.
Other naked ard barren; the sudden meteors of inBut, by insertiog his emendations, whether in. telligence which for a while appear to shoot their vented or borrowed, into the page, without any no- beams into the regions of obscurity, on a sudden tire of varying copies, he has appropriated the withdraw their lustre, and leave mortals again to labour of bis predecessors, and made his own edition grope their way. of little authority, His confidence, indeed, both These elevations and depressions of renown, and in himself and others, was too great; he supposes the contradictions to which all improvers of knowall to be right that was done by Pope and Theobald; ledge must for ever be exposed, since they are not be seems not to suspect a critic of fallibility, and it escaped by the highest and brightest of mankind, was but reasonable that he should claim what he so may surely be endured with patience by critics and liberally granted.
annotators, who can rank themselves but as the sa. As he never writes without careful inquiry and tellites of their authors. How canst thou beg for diligent consideration, I have received all his life, siys Homer's hero to his captive, when thou notes, and believe that every reader will wish for knowest that thou art now to suffer only what must
another day be suffered by Achilles ? Of the last editor it is more difficult to speak. Dr. Warburton had a name sufficient to confer Respect is due to high place, tenderness to living celebrity on those who could exalt themselves into reputation, and veneration to genius and learning; antagonists, and his notes have raised a clamour but he cannot be justly offended at that liberty of too loud to be distinct. His chief assailants are which he bas himself so frequently given an exam- the authors of The Canons of Criticism, and of The ple, por very solicitous what is thought of notes, Revisal of Shakspeare's Text; of whom one ridiwhich he ought never to have considered as part of cules his errors with airy petulance, suitable enough his serious employments, and which, I suppose, to the levity of the controversy; the other attacks since the ardour of composition is remitted, he no them with gloomy malignity, as if he were dragging longer numbers among his happy effusions.
to justice an assassin or incendiary. The one stings The original and predominant error of his com- like a fly, sucks a little blood, takes a gay Autter, mentary, is acquiescence in his first thoughts; that and returns for more: the other bites like a viper, precipitation which is produced by consciousness of and would be glad to leave inflammations and ganquick discernment; and that confidence which pre-grene behind him. When I think on one, with his sumes to do, by surveying the surface, what labour confederates, I remember the danger of Coriolanus. eply can perform, by penetrating the bottom. His who was afraid that “ girls with spits, and boys with noles exbibit sometimes perverse interpretations, stones. should slay him in puny battle;" when the
other crosses my imagination, I remember the pro- trovertist in politics against those whom he is hired digy in Macbeth :
to defame. “A falcon tow'ring in his pride of place,
Perhaps the lightness of the matter may conduco
to the vehemence of the agency; when the truth to Was by a mousing owi bawk'd at and kill'd."
be investigated is so near to inexistence, as to es. Let me however do them justice. One is a wit, cape attention, its bulk is to be enlarged by raye and one a scholar. They have both shewn acute- and exclamation: that to which all would be indifness sufficient in the discovery of faults, and have ferent in its original state, may attract notice wher: both advanced some probable interpretations of ob- the fate of a name is appended to it. A commenscure passages; but when they aspire to conjecture tator has indeed great temptations to supply by and emendation, it appears how falsely we all es- turbulence what he wants of dignity, to beat his timate our own abilities, and the little which they little gold to a spacious surface, to work that to foam have been uble to perform might have taught them which no art or diligence can exalt to spirit. more cand jur to the endeavours of others.
The notes which I have borrowed or written are Before Dr. Warburton's edition, Critical Obser- either illustrative, by which difficulties are explained; vations ou Sbakspeare had been published by Mr. or judicial, by which faults and beauties are reUpton, a man skilled in languages, and acquainted marked; or emendatory, by which depravations are with books, but who seems to have had no great vi- corrected. gour of genius or nicety of taste. Many of his ex- The explanations transcribed from others, if I do planations are curious and useful, but he likewise, not subjoin any other interpretation, I suppose comthough he professed to oppose the licentious confi- monly to be right, at least I intend by acquiescence dence of editors, and adhere to the old copies, is to confess, that I have nothing better to propose. unable to restrain the rage of emendation, Though After the labours of all the editors, I found many his ardour is ill seconded by his skill. Every cold passages which appeared to me likely to obstruct empiric, when his heart is expanded by a successful the greater number of readers, and thought it my experiment, swells into a theorist, and the laborious duty to facilitate their passage. It is impossible collator at some unlucky moment frolics in con- for an expositor not to write too little for some, and jecture.
too much for others. He can only judge what is Critical, historical, and explanatory Notes have necessary by his own experience; and how long been likewise published upon Shakspeare by Dr. soever he may deliberate, will at last explain many Grey, whose diligent perusal of the old English lines which the learned will think impossible to be writers bas enabled him to make some useful obser- mistaken, and omit many for which the ignorant will vations. What he undertook he has well enough want his help. These are censures merely relative, performed, but as he neither attempts judicial nor and must be quietly endured. I have endeavoured oniendatory criticism, he employs rather his inemory to be neither superfluously copious, or scrupulously than his sagacity. It were to be wished that all reserved, and hope that I have made my author's would endeavour to imitate his modesty, who have meaning accessible to many, who before were not been able to surpass his knowledge.
frighted from perusing him, and contributed someI can say with great sincerity of all my predeces- thing to the public, by diffusing innocent and rasors, what I hope will hereafter be said of me, that tional pleasure. not one has left Shakspeare without improvement, The complete explanation of an author not sysnor is there one to whom I have not been indebted tematic and consequential, but desultory and vafor assistance and information. Whatever I have grant, abounding in casual allusions and light hints, taken from them, it was my intention to refer to its is not to be expected from any single scholiast. Ali original author, and it is certain, that what I have personal reflections,wben names are suppressed, must not given to another, I believed when I wrote it to be in a few years irrecoverably obliterated; and cusbe my own. In some perhaps I have been antici- toms, too minute to attract the notice of law, such pated; but if I am ever found to encroach upon the as modes of dress, formalities of conversation, rules remarks of any other commentators, I am willing of visits, disposition of furniture, and practices of chat the honour, be it more or less, should be trans- ceremony, which naturally fiud places in familiar ferred to the firs claimant, for his right, and his dialogue, are so fugitive and unsubstantial, that they alone, stands ab we dispute ; the second can prove are not easily retained or recovered. What can be his pretensions (nly to himself, nor can himself al-known will be collected by chance, from the recesses ways distinguish invention, with sufficient certainty, of obscure and obsolete papers, perused commonly from recollection.
with some other view. Of this knowledge every They have all been treated by me with candour, man has some, and none has much; but when an which they have not been careful of observing to author has engaged the public attention, those who one another. It is not easy to discover from what can add any thing to his illustration, communicate cause the acrimony of a scholiast can naturally pro- their discoveries, and time produces what had eluded ceed. The subjects to be discussed by him are of diligence. To time I have been obliged to resign very small importance; they involve neither pro- many passages, wbich, though I did not understand perty nor liberty; nor favour the interest of sect or them, will perhaps hereafter be explained, having, I party. The various readings of copies, and different bope, illustrated some, which others have neglected interpretations of a passage, seem to be questions or mistaken, sometimes by short remarks, or marthat might exercise the wit, without engaging the ginal directions, such as every editor has added at passions. But whether it be, that small things make his will, and often by comments more laborious than mean men proud, and vanity catches small occasions; the matter will seem to deserve; but that which is or that all contrariety of opinion, even in those that most difficult is not always most important, and to can defend it no longer, makes proud men angry; an editor nothing is a trifle by which his author is there is often found in commentaries a spontaneous obscured. strain of invective and contempt, more eager and The poetical beauties or defects I have not teen venomous than is vented by the most furious con- I very disigent to observe. Some plays bave more,
and some fewer judicial observations, not in pro- our language, and the true force of our words, can portion to their difference of merit, but because I only be preserved, by keeping the text of authors gave this part of my design to chance and to caprice. free from adulteration. Others, and those very fre. The reader, I believe, is seldom pleased to find his quent, smoothed the cadence, or regulated the mea opinion anticipated; it is natural to delight more in sure; on these I have not exercised the same ri. what we find or make, than in what we receive. gour; if only a word was transposed, or a particle Judgment, like other faculties, is improved by prac- inserted or omitted, I have sometimes suffered the tice, and its advancement is hindered by submission line to stand; for the inconstancy of the copies is to dictatorial decisions, as the memory grows torpid such, as that some liberties may be easily permitted. by the use of a table-book. Some initiation is how. But this practice I have not suffered to proceed far, ever necessary; of all skill, part is infused by pre having restored the primitive diction wherever it cept, and part is obtained by babit; I have therefore could for any reason be preferred. shewn so much as may enable the candidate of The emendations, which comparison of copies supcriticisın to discover the rest.
plied, I have inserted in the text; sometimes, where To the end of most plays I have added short stric- the improvement was slight, without notice, and tures, containing a general censure of faults, or sometimes with an account of the reasons of the praise of excellence; in which I know not how change. much I have concurred with the current opinion; Conjecture, though it be sometimes unavoidable, but I have not, by any affectation of singularity, I have not wantonly nor licentiously indulged. It deviated from it. Nothing is minutely and parti- has been my settled principle, that the reading of cularly examined, and therefore it is to be supposed the ancient books is probably true, and therefore is that in the plays which are condemned there is not to be disturbed for the sake of elegance, permuch to be praised, and in those which are praised spicuity, or mere improvement of the sense. For much to be condemned.
though much credit is not due to the fidelity, nor The part of criticism in which the whole succes. any to the judgment of the first publishers, yet they cession of editors bas laboured with the greatest di- who had the copy before their eyes were more likely ligence, which has occasioned the most arrogant to read it right, than we who read it only by ima. ostentation, and excited the keenest acrimony, is gination. But it is evident that they have often the emendation of corrupted passages, to which the made strange mistakes by ignorance or negligence, public attention having been first drawn by the and that therefore something may be properly atviolence of the contention between Pope and Theo- tempted by criticism, keeping the middle way bebald, has been continued by the persecution, which, tween presumption and timidity. with a kind of conspiracy, has been since raised Such criticism I have attempted to practise, and against all the publishers of Shakspeare.
where any passage appeared inextricably perplexed, That many passages have passed in a state of de- have endeavoured to discover how it may be repravation through all the editions is indubitably called to sense with least violence. But my first certain; of these, the restoration is only to be at- labour is, always to turn the old text on every side, tempted by collation of copies, or sagacity of con- and try if there be any interstice, through which jeetare. The collator's province is safe and easy, light can find its way; nor would Huetius himself the conjecturer's perilous and difficult. Yet as the condemn me, as refusing the trouble of research, greater part of the plays are extant only in one for the ambition of alteration. In this modest incopy, the peril must not be avoided, nor the diffi- dustry, I have not been unsuccessful. I have resculty refused.
cned many lines from the violations of temerity, of the readings which this emulation of amend- and secured many scenes from the inroads of corment has hitherto produced, some from the labous rection. I have adopted the Roman sentiment, of every publisher I have advanced into the text; that it is more honourable to save a citizen, than to those are to be considered as in my opinion suffi- kill an enemy, and have been more careful to proeiently supported; some I have rejected without tect than to attack. mention, as evidently erroneous; some I have left I have preserved the common distribution of the in the notes without censure or approbation, as rest-plays into acts, though I believe it to be in almost ing in equipoise between objection and defence; all the plays void of authority. Some of those and some, which seemed specious but not right, í which are divided in the later éditions have no dibare inserted with a subsequent animadversion. vision in the first folio, and some that are divided
Having classed the observations of others, I was in the folio have no division in the preceding at last to try what I could substitute for their mis- copies. The settled mode of the theatre requires takes, and how I could supply wheir omissions. I four intervals in the play, but few, if any, of our collated such copies as I could procure, and wished author's compositions can be properly distributed for more, but have not found the collectors of these in that manner. An act is so much of the drama rarities very communicative. Of the editions which as passes without intervention of time, or change chance or kindness put into my hands, I have given of place. A pause makes a new act. In every an enumeration, that I may not be blamed for neg. real, and therefore in every imitative action, the lecting what I had not the power to do.
intervals may be more or fewer, the restriction of By examining the old copies, I soon found that five acts being accidental and arbitrary. This the later publishers, with all their boasts of diligence, Shakspeare knew, and this he practised; bis plays suffered many passages to stand unauthorized, and were written, and at first printed in one unbroken contented themselves with Rowe's regulation of the continuity, and ought now to be exhibited with text, even where they knew it to be arbitrary, and short pauses, interposed as often as the scene is with a little consideration might have found it to be changed, or any considerable time is required to wrong. Some of these alterations are only the pass. This method would at once quell a thousand ejection of a word for one that appeared to him absurdities. szore elegant or more intelligible. These corruptions In restoring the author's works to their integrity, ! hare often silently rectified; for the history of I have considered the punctuation as wholly in nos
power; for what could be their care of colons and
Critics I saw, that others' names efface, commas, who corrupted words and sentences. What
And fix their own, with labour, in the place; ever could be done by adjusting points, is therefore
Their own, like others, soon their place resign'd, silently per!ormed, in some plays, with much dili
Or disappear’d, and left the rest behind.-Pope. gence, in others with less; it is hard to keep a busy eye steadily fixed upon evanescent atoms, or a discur- That a conjectural critic should often be missive mind upon evanescent truth.
taken, cannot be wonderful, either to others, or The same liberty has been taken with a few par- biinself, if it be considered, that in bis art there is ticles, or other words of slight effect. I have some no system, no principal and axiomatical truth that times inserted or omitted them without notice. I regulates subordinate positions. His chance of have done that sometimes, which the other editors error is renewed at every attempt; an oblique view have done always, and which indeed the state of of the passage, a slight misapprehension of a phrase, the text may sufficiently justify.
a casual inattention to the parts connected, is suffiThe greater part of readers, instead of blaming cient to make him not only fail, but fail ridiculousus for passing trifles, will wonder that on mere ly; and when he succeeds best he produces pertrifles so much labour is expended, with such im-haps but one reading of many probable, and he that portance of debate, and such solemnity of diction. suggests another will always be able to dispute his To these I answer with confidence, that they are claims. judging of an art which they do not understand; It is an unhappy state, in which danger is hid yet cannot much reproach them with their igno- under pleasure." The allurements of emendation rance, nor promise that they would become in gene. are scarcely resistible. Conjecture has all the joy ral, by learning criticism, more useful, happier, and all the pride of invention, and he that has once or wiser
started a happy change, is too much delighted to As I practised conjecture more, I learned to trust consider what objections may arise against it. it less; and after I had printed a few plays, resolved Yet conjectural criticism has been of great use to insert none of my own readings in the text. Upon in the learned world; nor is it my intention to dethis caution I now congratulate myself, for every preciate a study, that has exercised so many mighty day increases my doubt of my emendations. minds, from the revival of learning to our own age,
Since I have confined my imagination to the mar- from the bishop of Aleria to English Bentley. The git, it must not be considered as very reprehensible, critics on ancient authors have, in the exercise of it I have suffered it to play some freaks in its own their sagacity, many assistances, which the editor dominion. There is no danger in conjecture, if at of Shakspeare is condemned to want. They are be proposed as conjecture; and while the text re-employed upon grammatical and settled languages, mains uninjured, those changes may be safely of- whose construction contributes so much to perspifered, which are not considered even by him that cuity, that Homer has fewer passages unintelligible offers them as necessary or safe.
than Chaucer. The words have not only a known If my readings are of little value, they have not regimen, but invariable quantities, which direct and been ostentatiously displayed or importunately ob-confine the choice. There are commonly more ma. truded. I could have written longer notes, for the nuscripts than one; and they do not often conspire art of writing notes is not of difficult attainment. in the same mistakes. Yet Scaliger could confess The work is performed, first by railing at the stu- to Salmasius how little satisfaction his emendations pidity, negligence, ignorance, and asinine tasteless- gave him: “ Illudunt nobis conjecturæ, quarum nos ness of the former editors, showing, from all that pudet, posteaquam in meliores codices incidimus.” goes before and all that follows, the inelegance and And Lipsius could complain, that critics were absurdity of the old reading; then by proposing making faults, by trying to remove them,“ Ut olim something, which to superficial readers would seem vitiis, ita nunc remediis laboratur.” And indeed, specious, but which the editor rejects with indigna- when mere conjecture is to be used, the emenda. tion; then by producing the true reading, with a tions of Scaliger and Lipsius, notwithstanding the long paraphrase, and concluding with loud accla- wonderful sagacity and erudition, are often vague mations on the discovery, and a sobez wish for the and disputable, like mine or Theobald's. advancement and prosperity of genuine criticism. Perhaps I may not be more censured for doing
All this may be done, and perhaps done some- wrong, than for doing little; for raising in the pubtimes without impropriety. But I have always lic expectations, which at last I have not answered. suspected that the reading is right, which requires The expectation of ignorance is indefinite, and that many words to prove it wrong; and the emenda- of knowledge is often tyrannical. It is hard to sation wrong, that cannot without so much labour tisfy those who know not what to demand, or those appear to be right The justness of a happy re- who demand by design what they think impossible storation strikes at once, and the moral precept to be done. I have indeed disappointed no opinion may be well applied to criticism, “ quod dubitas more than my own; yet I have endeavoured to perDe feceris.”
form my task with no slight solicitude. Not a sinTo dread the shore which he sees spread with gle passage in the whole work has appeared to me wrecks, is natural to the sailor. I had before my corrupt, which I have not attempted to restore; or eye, so many critical adventures ended in miscar- obscure, which I have not endeavoured to illuetrate. riage, that caution was forced upon me. I en- In many I have failed like others; and from many, couniered in every page wit struggling with its own after all my efforts, I have retreated, and confessed sophistry, and learning coufused by the multiplicity the repulse. I have not passed over, with affected of its views. I was forced to censure those whom superiority, what is equally difficult to the reader I admired, and could not but reflect, while I was and to myself
, but where I could not instruct him, dispossessing their emendations, how soon the same bave owned my ignorance. I might easily have actate might happen to my own, and how many of cumulated a mass of seeming learning upon easy the readings which I have corrected may be by scenes; but it ought not to be imputed to negligence, some other editor defended and established. that, where nothing was necessary, nothing has