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CHARLES LAMB, Esq.
THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED, AS A MARK OF OLD
AND LASTING ESTEEM,
BY THE AUTHOR.
Ir is observed by Mr. Pope, that "If ever any author deserved the name of an original, it was Shakspeare. Homer himself drew not his art so immediately from the fountains of nature; it proceeded through Egyptain strainers and channels, and came to him not without some tincture of the learning, or some cast of the models, of those before him. The poetry of Shakspeare was inspiration indeed: he is not so much an imitator, as an instrument of nature and it is not so just to say that he speaks from her, as that she speaks through him.
"His characters are so much nature herself, that it is a sort of injury to call them by so distant a name as copies of her. Those of other poets have a constant resemblance, which shews that they received them from one another, and were but multipliers of the same image: each