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may be seen either the Iniquity or Ignorance of his Cenfurers, who, from fome Expreffions, would make us believe, the Doctor every where gives us his Corrections as the Original Text of the Author; whereas the chief Turn of his Criticifm is plainly to fhew the World, that if Milton did not write as He would have him, he ought to have wrote fo.

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I thought proper to premife this Obfervation to the Readers, as it will fhew that the Critic on Shakespeare is of a quite different Kind. His genuine Text is religiously adher'd to, and the numerous Faults and Blemishes, purely his own, are left as they were found. Nothing is alter'd, but what by the cleareft Reafoning can be proved a Corruption of the true Text; and the Alteration, a real Reftoration of the genuine Reading. Nay, fo ftrictly have I ftrove to give the true Reading, tho' fometimes not to the Advantage of my Author, that I have been ridiculously ridicul'd for it by Thofe, who either were iniquitoufly for turning every thing to my Difadvantage; or elfe were totally ignorant of the true Duty of an Editor.

The Science of Criticifm, as far as it af fects an Editor, feems to be reduced to thefe three Claffes; the Emendation of corrupt Paffages; the Explanation of obfcure and difficult ones; and an Inquiry into the Beauties and Defects of Compofition. This Work

is principally confin'd to the two former Parts: tho' there are fome Specimens interfpers'd of the latter Kind, as feveral of the Emendations were beft fupported, and feveral of the Difficulties beft explain'd, by taking notice of the Beauties and Defects of the Compofition peculiar to this Immortal Poet. But This was but occafional, and for the fake only of perfecting the two other Parts, which were the proper Objects of the Editor's Labour. The third lies open for every willing Undertaker: and I shall be pleas'd to fee it the Employment of a masterly Pen.

It must neceffarily happen, as I have formerly obferv'd, that where the Affiftance of Manufcripts is wanting to fet an Author's Meaning right, and refcue him from those Errors which have been transmitted down thro' a Series of incorrect Editions, and a long Intervention of Time, many Paffages muft be defperate, and paft a Cure; and their true Senfe irretrievable either to Care or the Sagacity of Conjecture. But is there any Reafon therefore to fay, That because All cannot be retriev'd, All ought to be left defperate? We fhould fhew very little Honefty, or Wisdom, to play the Tyrants with an Author's Text; to raze, alter, innovate, and overturn, at all Adventures, and to the utter Detriment of his Senfe and Meaning: But to be fo very referved and cautious, as to interpofe no Re

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lief or Conjecture, where it manifeftly labours and cries out for Affiftance, feems, on the other hand, an indolent Abfurdity.

But because the Art of Criticifm, both by Those who cannot form a true Judgment of its Effects, nor can penetrate into its Caufes, which takes in a great Number befides the Ladies;) is efteem'd only an arbitrary capricious Tyranny exercis'd on Books; I think proper to fubjoin a Word or two about those Rules on which I have proceeded, and by which I have regulated myfelf in this Edition. By This, I flatter myfelf, it will appear, my Emendations are fo far from being arbitrary or capricious, that They are eftablith'd with a very high Degree of moral Certainty. Ama

As there are very few Pages in Shakespeare, upon which fome Sufpicions of Depravity do not reasonably arife; I have thought it my Duty, in the first place, by a diligent and laborious Collation to take in the Affiftances of all the older Copies. arch

In his Hiftorical Plays, whenever our Englifh Chronicles, and in his Tragedies when Greek or Roman Story, could give any Light; no Pains have been omitted to fet Paffages right by comparing my Author with his Originals: for, as I have frequently obferved, he was a close and accurate Copier where-ever his Fable was founded on Hiftory.


Where-ever the Author's Senfe is clear and discoverable, (tho', perchance, low and trivial;) I have not by any Innovation tamper'd with his Text; out of an Oftentation of endeavouring to make him fpeak better than the old Copies have done.

Where, thro' all the former Editions, a Paffage has labour'd under flat Nonfenfe and invincible Darkness, if, by the Addition or Alteration of a Letter or two, I have reftored to Him both Senfe and Sentiment, fuch Corrections, I am perfuaded, will need no Indulgence.

And whenever I have taken a greater Latitude and Liberty in amending, I have conftantly endeavoured to fupport my Corrections and Conjectures by parallel Paffages and Authorities from himself, the fureft Means of expounding any Author whatsoever. Cette voie d'interpreter un Autheur par lui-même eft plus fure que tous les Commentaires, fays a very learned French Critick.

As to my Notes, (from which the common and learned Readers of our Author, I hope, will derive fome Pleafure;) I have endeayour'd to give them a Variety in fome Proportion to their Number. Where-ever I have ventur'd at an Emendation, a Note is conftantly fubjoin'd to justify and affert the Reafon of it. Where I only offer a Conjecture, and do not disturb the Text, I fairly fet forth my Grounds for fuch Conjecture, and submit it

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to Judgment. Some Remarks are fpent in explaining Paffages, where the Wit or Satire depends on an obfcure Point of History: Others, where Allufions are to Divinity, Philofophy, or other Branches of Science. Some are added to fhew, where there is a Sufpicion of our Author having borrow'd from the Antients: Others, to fhew where he is rallying his Contemporaries; or where He himself is rallied by them. And fome are neceffarily thrown in, to explain an obfcure and obfolete Term, Phrafe, or Idea. I once intended to have added a complete and copious Gloffary; but as I have been importun'd, and am prepar'd, to give a correct Edition of our Author's PoEMS, (in which many nany Terms occur that are not to be met with in his Plays,) I thought a Gloffary to all Shakespeare's Works more proper to attend that Volume.

In reforming an infinite Number of Paffages in the Pointing, where the Senfe was before quite loft, I have frequently fubjoin'd Notes to fhew the deprav'd, and to prove the reform'd, Pointing: a Part of Labour in this Work which I could very willingly have fpared myself. May it not be objected, why then have you burthen'd us with thefe Notes? The Anfwer is obvious, and, if I miftake not, very material.

Without fuches, thefe

Paffages in fubfequent Editions would be liable, thro' the Ignorance of Printers and Correctors, to fall into the old Confufion: Where


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