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equal judgment, though not always with the fame fuccefs, attempted to clear the genuine plays from "the interpolated fcenes. He then confulted the old "editions; and, by a careful collation of them, recti"fied the faulty, and fapplied the imperfect reading, in

a great number of places: and, lastly, in an admirable preface, hath drawn a general, but very lively "fketch of SHAKESPEAR's poetic character; and, in "the corrected text, marked out thofe peculiar ftrokes "of genius which were most proper to fupport and il"luftrate that character."But though Mr Pope had a juft title to the public thanks; yet Mr Theobald attacked him with great acrimony of expreffion, evidently flowing from perfonal prejudice. He interlards his notes with many fevere reflections against Mr Pope, reprefents his collation of old copies as a mere pretence, and ranks his edition among thofe of no authority. In short, he goes fo far as to alledge, that " Mr Pope has feldom "corrected SHAKESPEAR'S text but to its injury; that "he has frequently inflicted a wound where he intended " a cure; that he has attacked his author like an un"handy flaughterman, and not lopped off the errors, but the poet." But Mr Warburton, the great friend of Mr Pope, returned him measure for measure, as we will fee anon.

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This Mr Theobald was the next editor after Mr Pope. "He (fays Mr Warburton) was naturally turned to in"dustry and labour. What he read, he could tran

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fcribe; but as what he thought, if ever he did think, " he could but ill exprefs; fo he read on; and by that "means got a character of learning, without risking, to every obferver, the imputation of wanting a better "talent. By a punctilious collation of the old books, "he corrected what was manifeftly wrong in the latter "editions, by what was manifeftly right in the earlier. "And this is his real merit, and the whole of it. For "where the phrase was very obfolete or licentious in "the common books, or only flightly corrupted in the *other, he wanted fufficient knowledge of the progrefs "and various stages of the English tongue, as well as acquaintance with the peculiarity of SHAKESPEAR'S "language,

language, to understand what was right; nor had he "either common judgment to fee, or critical fagacity "to amend, what was manifeftly faulty. Hence he ge"nerally exerts his conjectural talent in the wrong "place: he tampers with what is found in the common "books; and, in the old ones, omits all notice of vari"ations the fenfe of which he did not understand."

As to the Oxford editor, Sir Thomas Hanmer, the next editor: "How he (fays Mr Warburton) came to think "himfelf qualified for this office [criticifm], from "which his whole courfe of life had been fo remote, is "ftill more difficult to conceive. For whatever parts "he might have either of genius or erudition, he was abfolutely ignorant of the art of criticifm, as well as "of the poetry of that time, and the language of his "author. And fo far from a thought of examining the

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first editions, that he even neglected to compare Mr "Pope's, from which he printed his own, with Mr "Theobald's; whereby he loft the advantage of many "fine lines which the other had recovered from the old " quarto's. Where he trufts to his own fagacity, in "what affects the fenfe, his conjectures are generally "abfurd and extravagant, and violating every rule of "criticifm. His principal object was, to reform his "author's numbers: and this, which he hath done,

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on every occafion, by the infertion or omiffion of a "fet of harmlefs unconcerning expletives, makes up "the grofs body of his innocent corrections. And

fo, in fpite of that extreme negligence in numbers, "which distinguishes the first dramatic writers, he hath "tricked up the old bard, from head to foot, in all the "finical exactness of a modern measurer of fyllables."

Mr Warburton was the next, and the laft editor. He tells us, that the world had never been troubled with his edition, but for the conduct of the two laft editors (Theobald and Hanmer), and the perfuafions of dear Mr Pope, who defired him to give a new edition of SHAKESPEAR, as he thought it might contribute to put a top to the folly which prevailed of altering the text of celebrated authors without talents or judgment; and that

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his main care has been, to reftore the genuine text; bus in thofe places only where it labours with inextricable nonfenfe. "In which (adds he) how much foever I 66 may have given fcope to critical conjecture, where "the old copies failed me, I have indulged nothing to fancy or imagination, but have religioufly obferved "the fevere canons of literal criticifm."

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Since the publication of the laft of the aforementioned editions, a work has come abroad, in two volumes, intitled, The beauties of Shakespear, regularly fe lected from each play. By William Dodd, B.A. As this. gentleman has taken fome notice of SHAKESPEAR's editors, we fhall conclude our account of them, with a few of his remarks.

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"Mr Theobald (fays Mr Dodd) has approved himself "the best editor of SHAKESPEAR that has yet appeared, by a close attention to, and diligent furvey of the old. "editions, and by a careful amendment of those flight "faults, which evidently proceeded from the prefs, and. corrupted the text. And, after obferving that Mr. Theobald had left many paffages untouched and unregarded, which were truly difficult, and called for the editor's affiftance, he adds, "It is plain, then, much work remained for fubfequent commentators; and, "fhall we add ftill remains: for though fucceeded by two eminent rivals [Hanmer and Warburton], we muft with no fmall concern behold this imperfect e"ditor ftill maintaining his ground; and with no little. "forrow obferve the best judges of SHAKESPEAR preferring Theobald's to any modern edition." He gives the reafons of this preference as follows.

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"Sir Thomas Hanmer (fays he) proceeds in the most unjuftifiable method, foifting into his text a thou"fand idle alterations, without ever advertising his "readers, which are and which are not SHAKESPEAR'S genuine words: fo that a multitude of idle phrafes and ridiculous expreffions, infinitely beneath the "fublimity of this prince of poets, are thrown to his 66 account;

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accounts; and his imperfections, fo far from being. "diminished, numbered tenfold upon his head."

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"Mr Warburton (continues Mr Dodd) hath been "fomewhat more generous to us: for though he has "for the most part preferred his own criticisms to the "author's words, yet he hath always too given us the "author's words, and his own reasons for those criti"cifms. Yet his conduct can never be juftified for inferting every fancy of his own in the text, when I "dare venture to fay, his better and cooler judgment "must condemn the greatest part of them. What the " ingenious Mr Edwards fays of him, feems exactly juft and true.- "That there are good notes in his e"dition of SHAKESPEAR, I never did deny: but as he "has had the plundering of two dead men [Theobald "and Hanmer], it will be difficult to know which are his own. Some of them I fuppofe may be and "hard indeed would be his luck, if among fo many "bold throws he should have never a winning caft. But "I do infift, that there are great numbers of fuch fhame"ful blunders as difparage the reft, if they do not dif"credit his title to them, and make them look rather "like lucky hits, than the refult of judgment."

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Mr Dodd adds the following remark, to which every reader will chearfuly give his affent. "For my own part, (fays he), I cannot but read with regret the "conftant jarring and triumphant infults, one over an"other, found amidst the commentators on SHAKE

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SPEAR. This is one of the reafons that has impeded our arrival at a thorough knowledge in his works: "for fome of the editors have not so much laboured to

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elucidate their author, as to expofe the follies of "their brethren. How much better would it have been "for SHAKESPEAR, for us, and for literature in gene"ral; how much more honour would it have reflected on themselves, had thefe brangling critics fociably "united; and, instead of putting themfelves in a po"fture of defence one agamft another, jointly taken "the field, and united all their efforts, to refcue fo inimitable an author from the Gothic outrage of dull players, duller printers, and ftill duller editors?"

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Amidft fuch a variety of editors, and fuch different characters of them, no one could be implicitly followed. We have therefore confulted them all; and, of the various readings and conjectures, thofe only have been adopted, and inferted in the text, that feemed to agree beft with the meaning of the author. No fcope has been given to conjecture or imagination; not a fingle line, not even a fingle word, is inferted, but what is warranted by the authority of preceeding editors. No regard has been had to the Oxford editor's reformation of SHAKESPEAR's numbers, or to his other almost innumerable conjectures and interpolations, farther than as fome of the latter have received the fanction of fucceeding critics. But the reader will fee from a lift fubjoined to the Indexes in the laft volume, what conjectures or alterations of the critics are adopted in this edition; and perhaps it may not be loft labour to confult the various readings in that lift, as it may give thofe who have not feen former editions, fome idea of the art of literal criticism, fo long hackneyed among the learned; and they may reject or prefer as they judge proper.- The utmost care has been taken to print this edition correctly, especially with refpect to the pointing. As to which, due regard has always been had to the feveral inftances of falfe or depraved pointing, whereby the fenfe was marred, and fome paffages rendered almoft quite unintelligible, as obferved by Meff. Theobald and Warburton. And though it is not intended to affirm, that this edition is free from faults, yet fuch care has been taken, that 'tis thought it may well vie with any of thofe hitherto published in England; at least, we flatter ourfelves, it will not be found inferior either in beauty or correctness.

The acts and fcenes are divided according to Pope's and Warburton's editions; and not according to Theobald's or Hanmer's, the former of whom has not numbered the fcenes.

In Pope's edition, the paffages which he thought the moft beautiful and ftriking, are diftinguished with inverted commas. In imitation of him, Mr Warburton

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