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PREFACE.

Trawsfor from Cire. Dept. (Wastingo sera

I SMALL not attempt any labored encomiums on Shakspeare, or endeavour to set forth his perfections, at a time when such universal and just applause is said him. and when every lui.gue is big with his boundless fane. He nimseli tells us,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess.
And was:eful and ridiculous indeed it would be, to say any
thing in his praise, when presenting ine world with such a
collection of BEAUTIES as perhaps is no where to be met
with, and, I may very safely affirin, cannot be paralleles from
the productions of any other single author, ancient or modern
There is scarcely a topic, con,Igenwith other writers, on which
he has not excelled them all; inere are many nobly peculiar to
bimself, where he shines unrivalleư, anı, like the eaglen, roper
est emblem of his daring genius, spars, beyond the c-mmon
reach, and gazes undazzlea on the san. Histlights are soul times
so bold, frigid criticism almost dares is disapprove them anu
those narrow miids which are incapable of elevating their vicas
to the publimiiy of their author's, are williøg to bring then town
to a level with their own. Hence many nue passages have been
condemned in Shakspeare, as rant and fustian, intolerabie son-
pasi, and turgid nonsense, which, if read with the least gle w of
the sane imagination that warmed the writer's bosom, w uld
blaze in the robes of sublimity, and obtain the commendation of
a Longinus. And, unless some of the same spirit that elevated ho
poet, elevate the reader too, he must not presume to talk of t.ste
and elegance; he will prove a languid reader, an indiffer nu
judge, and a far more indifferent critic and commentator.

It is some time since I first proposed publishing this collecu n; for Suakspeare was ever, of all inodern authors, my chief favor ite; and during my relaxations from my more severe and nec ssary studies at college, I never omitted to read and indulgmys i in the rapturous Nights of this delightful and sweetest child of fancy: and when my imagination has been heated by the glow'.. ardour of his uncommon fire, have never failed to lament, that.

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