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than the whole body of English learning. He is the text for the moralist and the philosopher.* His bright wit is cut out into little stars :' his solid masses of knowledge are meted out in morsels and proverbs; and thus distributed, there is scarcely a corner, which he does not illuminate, or a cottage which he does not enrich. His bounty is like the sea, which, though often unacknowledged, is every where felt; on mountains and plains, and distant places, carrying its cloudy freshness through the air, making glorious the heavens, and spreading verdure on the earth beneath.”+
It is with infinite satisfaction that I am borne out in my opinion of the nature of this work, by a similar remark of Coleridge. He says,
“I greatly dislike beauties and selections in general; but as proof positive of his unrivalled excellence, I should like to try Shakspeare by this criterion. Make out your amplest catalogue of all the human faculties, as reason or the moral law, the will, the feeling of the coincidence of the two (a feeling sui generis et demonstratio demonstrationum), called the conscience, the understanding or prudence, wit, fancy, imagination, judgment,--and then of the objects on which these are to be employed, as the beauties, the terrors, and the seeming caprices, of nature, the realities and the capabilities, that is, the actual and the ideal, of the human mind, conceived as an individual or as a social being, as in innocence or in guilt, in a play-paradise, or in a war-field of temptation ; and then compare with Shakspeare, under each of these heads, all or any of the writers in prose and verse that have ever lived. Who that is competent to judge doubts the result ?”[
T. P. Woolwich, June, 1838.
* And it might be added, for the statesman, poet, and painter. † Retrospective Review. | Literary Remains, vol. ij. p. 68.
A KEY to the figures at the end of each piece; as, 16–iv. 2.
id est, King John, act iv. scene 2.
Several pieces were mislaid, and not discovered until it
was too late to have them inserted in their respective Sections: they are therefore placed in the Miscellaneous part.
“ It may be said of Shakspeare, that from his works may be collected a system of civil and economical prudence.
He has himself been imitated by all suc. ceeding writers; and it may be doubted, whether from all his successors more maxims of theoretical knowledge, or more rules of practical prudence, can be collected, than he alone has given to his country.”