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engraved by Houbraken, are several imaginary ones, beside Ben Jonson's and Otway's; and old Mr. Langford positively asserted that, in the same collection, the grandfather of Cock the auctioneer had the honour to personate the great and amiable Thurloe, secretary of state to Oliver Cromwell.

From the price of forty guineas paid for the supposed portrait of our author to Mrs. Barry, the real value of it should not be inferred. The possession of somewhat more animated than canvas, might have been included, though not specified, in a bargain with an actress of acknowledged gallantry.

Yet allowing this to be a mere fanciful insinuation, a rich man does not easily miss what he is ambitious to find. At least he may be persuaded he has found it, a circumstance which, as far as it affects his own content, will answer, for a while, the same purpose. Thus the late Mr. Jennens, of Gopsal in Leicestershire, for many years congratulated himself as owner of another genuine portrait of Shakspeare, and by Cornelius Jansen; nor was disposed to forgive the writer who observed that, being dated in 1610, it could not have been the work of an artist who never saw England till 1618, above a year after our author's death.

So ready, however, are interested people in assisting credulous ones to impose on themselves, that we will venture to predict,-if some opulent dupe to the flimsy artifice of Chatterton should advertise a considerable sum of money for a portrait of the Pseudo-Rowley, such a desideratum would soon emerge from the tutelary crypts of St. Mary Redcliff at Bristol, or a hitherto unheard of repository in the tomb of Syr Thybbot Gorges at Wraxall *. It would also come attested as a strong likeness

first notice of this picture occurs. Where there is such a chasm in evidence, the validity of it may be not unfairly questioned, and especially by those who remember a species of fraudulence recorded in Mr. Foote's Taste: “ Clap Lord Dupe's arms on that half-length of Erasmus; I have sold it him as his great grandfather's third brother, for fifty guineas."

* A kindred trick had actually been passed off by Chatterton on the late Mr. Barrett of Bristol, in whose back parlour was a pretended head of Canynge, most contemptibly scratched with a pen on a small square piece of yellow parchment, and framed and glazed as an authentick icon by the * curyous poyntill" of

of our archæological bard, on the faith of a parchment exhibiting the hand and seal of the “dygne Mayster Wyllyam Canynge," setting forth that “ Mayster Thomas Rowlie was so entyrely and passynge wele belovyd of himself, or our poetick knight, that one or the other causyd hys semblaunce to be ryght conynglye depeyncten on a marveillouse fayre table of wood, and ensevelyd wyth hym, that deth mote theym not clene departyn and putte asunder.”—A similar imposition, however, would in vain be attempted on the editors of Shakspeare, who, with all the zeal of Rowleians, are happily exempt from their credulity:

A former plate of our author, which was copied from Martin Droeshout's in the title page to the folio 1623, is worn out; nor does so “ abominable an imitation of humanity” deserve to be restored. The smaller head,

. prefixed to the Poems in 1640, is merely a reduced and reversed copy by Marshall from its predecessor, with a few slight changes in attitude and dress.-We boast therefore of no exterior ornaments*, except those of better print and paper than have hitherto been allotted to any octavo edition of Shakspeare.

Justice nevertheless requires us to subjoin, that had an undoubted picture of our author been attainable, the Booksellers would most readily have paid for the best

Rowley. But this same drawing very soon ceased to be stationary, was alternately exhibited and concealed, as the wavering faith of its possessor shifted about, and was prudently withheld at last from the publick eye. Why it was not inserted in the late History of Bristol, as well as Rowley's plan and elevation of its ancient castle, (which all the rules of all the ages of architecture pronounce to be spurious) let the Rowleian advocates inform us. We are happy at least to have recollected a single imposition that was too gross for even these gentlemen to swallow.-Mr. Barrett, however, in the year 1776, assured Mr. Tyrwhitt and Mr. Steevens, that he received the aforesaid scrawl of Canynge from Chatterton, who described it as having been found in the prolifick chest, secured by six, or six-and-twenty keys, no matter which.

* They who wish for decorations adapted to this edition of Shakspeare, will find them in Silvester Harding's Portraits and Views, &c. &c. (appropriated to the whole suite of our author's Historical Dramas, &c.) published in thirty numbers. See Gent. Mag. June 1759, p. 257.

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engraving from it that could have been produced by the most skilful of our modern artists; but it is idle to be at the charge of perpetuating illusions : and who shall offer to point out, among the numerous prints of Shakspeare, any one that is more like him than the rest ?*

The play of Pericles has been added to this collection, by the advice of Dr. Farmer. To make room for it, Titus Adronicus might have been omitted ; but our proprietors are of opinion that some ancient prejudices in its favour may still exist, and for that reason only it is preserved.

We have not reprinted the Sonnets, &c. of Shakspeare, because the strongest act of parliament that could be framed would fail to compel readers into their service ; notwithstanding these miscellaneous poems have derived every possible advantage from the literature and judgment of their only intelligent editor, Mr. Malone, whose implements of criticism, like the ivory rake and golden spade in Prudentius, are on this occasion disgraced by the objects of their culture.—Had Shakspeare produced no other works than these, his name would have reached us with as little celebrity as time has conferred on that of Thomas Watson, an older and much more elegant sonnetteer t.

* List of the different engravings from the Chandosan Shakspeare: By Vandergucht, to Rowe's edit.

1709 Vertue, half sheet, Set of Poets

1719 Do, small oval, Jacob's Lives

1719 Do. to Warburton's 8vo.

1747 Duchange, 8vo. to Theobald's.

1733 Gravelot, half sheet, Hanmer's edit.

174+ Houbraken, half sheet, Birch's Heads.

1747 Millar, small oval, Capell's Shakspeare

1766 Hall, Svo. Reed's edit...

1785 Cook, 8vo. Bell's edit..

1788 Knight, 8vo. Mr. Malone's edit...

1790 Harding, 8vo. Set of Prints to Shakspeare

1793 No two of these Portraits are alike; nor does

any

of them bear the slightest resemblance to its wretched original. G. S.

+ His Sonnets, though printed without date, were entered in the year 1581, on the books of the Stationers' Company, under the title of “Watson's Passions, manifesting the true Frenzy of Love."

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What remains to be added concerning this re-publication is, that a considerable number of fresh remarks are both adopted and supplied by the present editors. They have persisted in their former track of reading for the illustration of their author, and cannot help observing that those who receive the benefit of explanatory extracts from ancient writers, little know at what expence of time and labour such atoms of intelligence have been collected. -That the foregoing information, however, may communicate no alarm, or induce the reader to suppose we have “ bestowed our whole tediousness” on him, we should add, that many notes have likewise been withdrawn. A few, manifestly erroneous, are indeed retained, to show how much the tone of Shakspearian criticism is changed, or on account of the skill displayed in their confutation; for surely every editor in his turn is occasionally entitled to be seen, as he would have shown himself, with his vanquished adversary at his feet. We have therefore been sometimes willing to “ bring a corollary, rather than want a spirit.” Nor, to confess the truth, did we always think it justifiable to shrink our predecessors to pigmies, that we ourselves, by force of comparison, might assume the bulk of giants.

The present editors must also acknowledge, that unless in particular instances, where the voice of the publick had decided against the remarks of Dr. Johnson, they have hesitated to displace them; and had rather be charged with a superstitious reverence for his name, than censured for a presumptuous disregard of his opinions.

As a large proportion of Mr. Monck Mason's strictures on a former edition of Shakspeare are here inserted, it has been thought necessary that as much of his Preface as was designed to introduce them, should accompany their second appearance. Any formal recommendation of them

Shakspeare appears to have been among the number of his readers, having in the following passage of Venus and Adonis,

“ Leading him prisoner in a red-rose chain," borrowed an idea from his 83d Sonnet:

“ The Muses not long since intrapping love

In chaines of roses,” &c. Watson, however, declares on this occasion thst he imitated Ronsard; and it must be confessed, with equal truth, that in the present instance Ronsard had been a borrower from Anacreon.

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is needless, as their own merit is sure to rank their author among the most diligent and sagacious of our celebrated poet's annotators.

It may be proper, indeed, to observe, that a few of these remarks are omitted, because they had been anticipated; and that a few others have excluded themselves by their own immoderate length; for he who publishes a series of comments unattended by the text of his author, is apt to “ overflow the measure " allotted to marginal criticism. In these cases, either the commentator or the poet must give way, and no reader will patiently endure to see * Alcides beaten by his page.”-Inferior volat umbra deo. -Mr. M. Mason will also forgive us if we add, that a small number of his proposed amendments are suppressed through honest commiseration. « "Tis much he dares, and he has a wisdom that often guides his valour to act in safety :" yet occasionally he forgets the prudence that should attend conjecture, and therefore, in a few instances, would have been produced only to have been persecuted. -May it be subjoined, that the freedom with which the same gentleman has treated the notes of others, seems to have authorized an equal degree of licence respecting his own? And yet, though the sword may have been drawn against him, he shall not complain that its point is “unbated and envenomed;" for the conductors of this undertaking do not scruple thus openly to express their wishes that it may have merit enough to provoke a revision from the acknowledged learning and perspicacity of their Hibernian coadjutor.—Every re-impression of our great dramatick master's works must be considered in some degree as experimental; for their corruptions and obscurities are still so numerous, and the progress of fortunate conjecture so tardy and uncertain, that our remote descendants may be perplexed by passages that have perplexed us; and the readings which have hitherto disunited the opinions of the learned, may continue to disunite them as long as England and Shakspeare have a name. In short, the peculiarity once ascribed to the poetick isle of Delos*, may be exemplified in our author's text, which, on account of readings alternately received and reprobated, must remain in an unsettled state, and float in obedience

nec instabili fama superabere Delo.

Stat. Achill, I. 388.

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