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publication of so many editions of ShakeSpeare, by poetical or critical editors, within the compass of less than half a century ; that no room should be left for emendations either of the text or meter, or other improvements of any kind whatsoever.
And yet I must take the liberty of thinking, that no dramatic poet, either antient or modern, has had the hard fate of our author; or contains still more mistakes, than the plays of the most celebrated Shakespeare.
Every editor has done a great deal towards the emendation of the text, and contributed largely to the clearing of several obscure passages : but most of the historical incidents referred to by Shakespeare, as happening within his own time : and a great many laws then well known, but now in a great measure obsolete, have) been overlook’d, or not known, or perhaps not thought worthy of notice : though they certainly tend to the making our author much more clear and intelligible, than he seems to be at present.
Mr. Rowe the poet, was the first who (in the diction of a celebrated modern writer) “ had “his appointment as an editor of Shakespeare 166 in form.” And he was certainly possess’d of talents sufficient to have enabled him to go through the work with credit ; yet, for want of
-collating ofithe most ancient copies, he has left mot things in the same obscurity in which tie found them::: -1.979 tri . L : Hig, being 'a' wit, and a poet, were certainly simo disqualifications, if we may give in to Ben Sfobnfon's opinion; who observes, (in his Ex
plorata, or Discoveries) ...« Thát to judge of - poets is only the faculty of poets, and not ich of all poets, but the best
Mr. ' Pope's abilities as a poet and a tritic, 1 Phould not have been called in question by any o one ; and yet Mr. Tbeobald (a person seemingly in other respects very modest) has treated him In his notes in a manner so unbecoming, as cannot reasonably be warranted, even from thç
severe usage he complains: -10 have met with from that (a) gentleman.. á como si ti 2. Though it may be granted, that Mr, Tbeobald in many respects fell short of the two foregoing editors, yet he niade no small amends by his industry, and has thrown
deal of light upon the obscurities of our author; but not so much (b) as to have restored to the publick " this greates of peeks in his original purity after
fa He: observes in his Preface, p. 37. "That he *** was indebted to Mr. Pope for some flagrant ciuilities,
and was willing to devote some part of his life to the Jhonelt endeavour of quitting scores with him ; but not in
is the 'return of those civilities in his own peculiar Atrain ; 26. but he confined himself to the rules of common decency."
) Mr. Türebalds Preface to his first edition of ShakeAraxa, pisac 239,7 proteica's
il he had laid long in a condition that was a difof grace to common sense.” He is now and then guilty of mistakes, (and he that is free from there, yler him east the first stone) but this will not jaftify a subsequent editor, who has treated him in a much leverer (a) manner, othan he had done
Mrr Dope. Whär the provocation wass. I am at a loss; to understand: to some persons, in
deed, the smallest omiffion in a punctilio 'of respect, is a fufficient provocation, and a crime y not easy to be forgiven; But Mr. Theobald was so far from afpiring to an equality, that he s has treated the other throughout his whole work, with thac deference, and regard, that the gene
m) '. ra) In Mr. Warburton's 2d. volume, p. 92. Mr. Throbald is styled a mock critic. P. 272. " Mr. Theobald
Ways he) cannot for his heart comprehend the sense of this phrase, but it was not his heart, but his head stood
in his way, P. 349. This is finely faid, but Mr. Theobald says, “ the words give him no ideas; and 'tie “ certain, words will never give men what nature hath
denied." brzd. Vol. p. 68. Our, right spelt by Mr. Theobald. 19 Vol. 6. p. 5. Ils our faji intent.] This is an inter, “ polation of Mr, Theobald's, for want of knowing the meaning of the reading of the Old Quarto, of 1608,
and Falio 1023, where we find it, and 'tis our firf intent, o t'Tis faftintent in Folio 1623, as has been elsewhere ob, in ferved.) P. 94.Stelled, fpele right by Mr. Thedbalde 6th.
Vol. p. 464 Biffon, blind, spelt sight by Mr. Throbald. ***67sh. Vol. p. 306. Deferings, spelt right by Mr. Then Los bald."Many more flowers of she liker kind may be gathered from Mr. Warburton's notes on Shakespeare
tleman in good manners, should have been more fparing in his abuse ; especially after the high compliment paid him by Mr. (a) Theobald, in his Preface to Shakespeare.
Sir Thomas Hanmer has certainly done more towards the emendation of the text, than any one, and as a fine gentleman, good fcholar and (what was best of all) a good Christian; who has treated every editor with decency; I think his memory should have been exempt from ill (6) treatment of every kind, after his death,
(a) Mr. Theobald, speaking of Mr. Warburton's, affiftañce, Preface, p. 66. says, “That he, from the mo* tive of his frank, and communicative disposition, vo
luntarily took a confiderable part of the trouble off his *'hands, not only read over the whole anthor for him te with the exacteft care, but entred into a long, and la. á borious epiftolary correspondence to which he ac
knowledges he owes no fmall part of his beft ctiticism upon the author." i;
(3) Mr. Warbürton in his Preface fays, he was recommended to him as a poor critic. In vol. 1. p. 285. “ I
led the Oxford editor into a filly conje&ture, which he te has done me the honour of putting into his text, which is do indeed a proper place for it, Vol. 2. p. 197. A quibble ** teftord by the Oxford editor. Volgth. p. 267. Too late
the died.] 1. e. too lately. The loss is too freth in our iné
mory. Bat the Oxford editor, not understanding this *** Phrafeology, to clear the Prince of all imputation of o impiety, makes him say, too foon be died. p. 448. * Which were the hope of the Strend. L. e Such, as by
6 another metaphor, he might have call'd the Flower : wo but the Oxford editor, in an ill humour, degrades-them