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William Warburton: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1747 Post by :dami43 Category :Essays Author :David Nichol Smith Date :October 2011 Read :3958

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William Warburton: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1747

It hath been no unusual thing for Writers, when dissatisfied with the Patronage or Judgment of their own Times, to appeal to Posterity for a fair Hearing. Some have even thought fit to apply to it in the first Instance; and to decline Acquaintance with the Public till Envy and Prejudice had quite subsided. But, of all the Trusters to Futurity, commend me to the Author of the following Poems, who not only left it to Time to do him Justice as it would, but to find him out as it could. For, what between too great Attention to his Profit as a Player, and too little to his Reputation as a Poet, his Works, left to the Care of Door-keepers and Prompters, hardly escaped the common Fate of those Writings, how good soever, which are abandon'd to their own Fortune, and unprotected by Party or Cabal. At length, indeed, they struggled into Light; but so disguised and travested, that no classic Author, after having run ten secular Stages thro' the blind Cloisters of Monks and Canons, ever came out in half so maimed and mangled a Condition. But for a full Account of his Disorders, I refer the Reader to the excellent Discourse which follows, and turn myself to consider the Remedies that have been applied to them.

Shakespear's Works, when they escaped the Players, did not fall into much better Hands when they came amongst Printers and Booksellers: who, to say the Truth, had, at first, but small Encouragement for putting him into a better Condition. The stubborn Nonsense, with which he was incrusted, occasioned his lying long neglected amongst the common Lumber of the Stage. And when that resistless Splendor, which now shoots all around him, had, by degrees, broke thro' the Shell of those Impurities, his dazzled Admirers became as suddenly insensible to the extraneous Scurf that still stuck upon him, as they had been before to the native Beauties that lay under it. So that, as then he was thought not to deserve a Cure, he was now supposed not to need any.

His growing Eminence, however, required that he should be used with Ceremony: And he soon had his Appointment of an Editor in form. But the Bookseller, whose dealing was with Wits, having learnt of them, I know not what silly Maxim, that none but a Poet should presume to meddle with a Poet, engaged the ingenious Mr. Rowe to undertake this Employment. A Wit indeed he was; but so utterly unacquainted with the whole Business of Criticism, that he did not even collate or consult the first Editions of the Work he undertook to publish; but contented himself with giving us a meagre Account of the Author's Life, interlarded with some common-place Scraps from his Writings. The Truth is, Shakespear's Condition was yet but ill understood. The Nonsense, now, by consent, received for his own, was held in a kind of Reverence for its Age and Author: and thus it continued, till another great Poet broke the Charm; by shewing us, that the higher we went, the less of it was still to be found.

For the Proprietors, not discouraged by their first unsuccessful Effort, in due time made a second; and, tho' they still stuck to their Poets, with infinitely more Success in their Choice of Mr. POPE. Who, by the mere force of an uncommon Genius, without any particular Study or Profession of this Art, discharged the great Parts of it so well as to make his Edition the best Foundation for all further Improvements. He separated the genuine from the spurious Plays: And, with equal Judgment, tho' not always with the same Success, attempted to clear the genuine Plays from the interpolated Scenes: He then consulted the old Editions; and, by a careful Collation of them, rectified the faulty, and supplied the imperfect Reading, in a great number of places: And lastly, in an admirable Preface, hath drawn a general, but very lively, Sketch of Shakespear's poetic Character; and, in the corrected Text, marked out those peculiar Strokes of Genius which were most proper to support and illustrate that Character. Thus far Mr. POPE. And altho' much more was to be done before Shakespear could be restored to himself (such as amending the corrupted Text where the printed Books afford no Assistance; explaining his licentious Phraseology and obscure Allusions; and illustrating the Beauties of his Poetry); yet, with great Modesty and Prudence, our illustrious Editor left this to the Critic by Profession.

But nothing will give the common Reader a better idea of the Value of Mr. Pope's Edition, than the two Attempts which have been since made, by Mr. Theobald and Sir Thomas Hanmer, in Opposition to it. Who, altho' they concerned themselves only in the first of these three Parts of Criticism, the restoring the Text (without any Conception of the second, or venturing even to touch upon the third), yet succeeded so very ill in it, that they left their Author in ten times a worse Condition than they found him. But, as it was my ill Fortune to have some accidental Connexions with these two Gentlemen, it will be incumbent on me to be a little more particular concerning them.

The One was recommended to me as a poor Man; the Other as a poor Critic: and to each of them, at different times, I communicated a great number of Observations, which they managed, as they saw fit, to the Relief of their several Distresses. As to Mr. Theobald, who wanted Money, I allowed him to print what I gave him for his own Advantage: and he allowed himself in the Liberty of taking one Part for his own, and sequestering another for the Benefit, as I supposed, of some future Edition. But, as to the Oxford Editor, who wanted nothing but what he might very well be without, the Reputation of a Critic, I could not so easily forgive him for trafficking with my Papers without my Knowledge; and, when that Project fail'd, for employing a number of my Conjectures in his Edition against my express Desire not to have that Honour done unto me.

Mr. Theobald was naturally turned to Industry and Labour. What he read he could transcribe: but, as what he thought, if ever he did think, he could but ill express, so he read on; and by that means got a Character of Learning, without risquing, to every Observer, the Imputation of wanting a better Talent. By a punctilious Collation of the old Books, he corrected what was manifestly wrong in the latter Editions, by what was manifestly right in the earlier. And this is his real merit; and the whole of it. For where the Phrase was very obsolete or licentious in the common Books, or only slightly corrupted in the other, he wanted sufficient Knowledge of the Progress and various Stages of the English Tongue, as well as Acquaintance with the Peculiarity of Shakespear's Language, to understand what was right; nor had he either common Judgment to see, or critical Sagacity to amend, what was manifestly faulty. Hence he generally 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 Variations the Sense of which he did not understand.

How the Oxford Editor came to think himself qualified for this Office, from which his whole Course of Life had been so remote, is still more difficult to conceive. For whatever Parts he might have either of Genius or Erudition, he was absolutely ignorant of the Art of Criticism, as well as the Poetry of that Time, and the Language of his Author: And so far from a Thought of examining the first Editions, that he even neglected to compare Mr. Pope's, from which he printed his own, with Mr. Theobald's; whereby he lost the Advantage of many fine Lines which the other had recovered from the old Quartos. Where he trusts to his own Sagacity, in what affects the Sense, his Conjectures are generally absurd and extravagant, and violating every Rule of Criticism. Tho', in this Rage of Correcting, he was not absolutely destitute of all Art. For, having a Number of my Conjectures before him, he took as many of them as he saw fit, to work upon; and by changing them to something, he thought, synonymous or similar, he made them his own; and so became a Critic at a cheap Expence. But how well he hath succeeded in this, as likewise in his Conjectures which are properly his own, will be seen in the course of my Remarks: Tho', as he hath declined to give the Reasons for his Interpolations, he hath not afforded me so fair a hold of him as Mr. Theobald hath done, who was less cautious. But his principal Object was to reform his Author's Numbers; and this, which he hath done, on every Occasion, by the Insertion or Omission of a set of harmless unconcerning Expletives, makes up the gross Body of his innocent Corrections. And so, in spite 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 Syllables.

For the rest, all the Corrections which these two Editors have made on any reasonable Foundation, are here admitted into the Text, and carefully assigned to their respective Authors: A piece of Justice which the Oxford Editor never did; and which the Other was not always scrupulous in observing towards me. To conclude with them in a word, They separately possessed those two Qualities which, more than any other, have contributed to bring the Art of Criticism into disrepute, Dulness of Apprehension, and Extravagance of Conjecture.

I am now to give some Account of the present Undertaking. For as to all those Things which have been published under the titles of Essays, Remarks, Observations, &c. on Shakespear, (if you except some critical Notes on Macbeth, given as a Specimen of a projected Edition, and written, as appears, by a Man of Parts and Genius) the rest are absolutely below a serious Notice.

The whole a Critic can do for an Author who deserves his Service, is to correct the faulty Text; to remark the Peculiarities of Language; to illustrate the obscure Allusions; and to explain the Beauties and Defects of Sentiment or Composition. And surely, if ever Author had a Claim to this Service, it was our Shakespear: Who, widely excelling in the Knowledge of Human Nature, hath given to his infinitely varied Pictures of it, such Truth of Design, such Force of Drawing, such Beauty of Colouring, as was hardly ever equalled by any Writer, whether his Aim was the Use, or only the Entertainment of Mankind. The Notes in this Edition, therefore, take in the whole Compass of Criticism.

I. The first sort is employed in restoring the Poet's genuine Text; but in those Places only where it labours with inextricable Nonsense. In which, how much soever I may have given Scope to critical Conjecture, where the old Copies failed me, I have indulged nothing to Fancy or Imagination; but have religiously observed the severe Canons of literal Criticism; as may be seen from the Reasons accompanying every Alteration of the common Text. Nor would a different Conduct have become a Critic whose greatest Attention, in this part, was to vindicate the established Reading from Interpolations occasioned by the fanciful Extravagancies of others. I once intended to have given the Reader a body of Canons, for literal Criticism, drawn out in form; as well such as concern the Art in general, as those that arise from the Nature and Circumstances of our Author's Works in particular. And this for two Reasons. First, To give the unlearned Reader a just Idea, and consequently a better Opinion of the Art of Criticism, now sunk very low in the popular Esteem, by the Attempts of some who would needs exercise it without either natural or acquired Talents; and by the ill Success of others, who seemed to have lost both, when they came to try them upon English Authors. Secondly, To deter the unlearned Writer from wantonly trifling with an Art he is a Stranger to, at the Expence of his own Reputation, and the Integrity of the Text of established Authors. But these Uses may be well supplied by what is occasionally said upon the Subject, in the Course of the following Remarks.

II. The second sort of Notes consists in an Explanation of the Author's Meaning, when, by one or more of these Causes, it becomes obscure; either from a licentious Use of Terms; or a hard or ungrammatical Construction; or lastly, from far-fetch'd or quaint Allusions.

1. This licentious Use of Words is almost peculiar to the Language of Shakespear. To common Terms he hath affixed Meanings of his own, unauthorised by Use, and not to be justified by Analogy. And this Liberty he hath taken with the noblest Parts of Speech, such as Mixed-modes; which, as they are most susceptible of Abuse, so their Abuse most hurts the Clearness of the Discourse. The Critics (to whom Shakespear's Licence was still as much a Secret as his Meaning, which that Licence had obscured) fell into two contrary Mistakes; but equally injurious to his Reputation and his Writings. For some of them, observing a Darkness that pervaded his whole Expression, have censured him for Confusion of Ideas and Inaccuracy of reasoning. In the Neighing of a Horse (_SAYS Rymer), or in the Growling of a Mastiff, there is a Meaning, there is a lively Expression, and, may I say, more Humanity than many times in the tragical Flights of _SHAKESPEAR_. The Ignorance of which Censure is of a Piece with its Brutality. The Truth is, no one thought clearer, or argued more closely than this immortal Bard. But his Superiority of Genius less needing the Intervention of Words in the Act of Thinking, when he came to draw out his Contemplations into Discourse, he took up (as he was hurried on by the Torrent of his Matter) with the first Words that lay in his Way; and if, amongst these, there were two Mixed-modes that had but a principal Idea in common, it was enough for him; he regarded them as synonymous, and would use the one for the other without Fear or Scruple.--Again, there have been others, such as the two last Editors, who have fallen into a contrary Extreme, and regarded Shakespear's Anomalies (as we may call them) amongst the Corruptions of his Text; which, therefore, they have cashiered in great Numbers, to make room for a Jargon of their own. This hath put me to additional Trouble; for I had not only their Interpolations to throw out again, but the genuine Text to replace, and establish in its stead; which, in many Cases, could not be done without shewing the peculiar Sense of the Terms, and explaining the Causes which led the Poet to so perverse a use of them. I had it once, indeed, in my Design, to give a general alphabetic Glossary of these Terms; but as each of them is explained in its proper Place, there seemed the less Occasion for such an Index.

2. The Poet's hard and unnatural Construction had a different Original. This was the Effect of mistaken Art and Design. The Public Taste was in its Infancy; and delighted (as it always does during that State) in the high and turgid; which leads the Writer to disguise a vulgar expression with hard and forced construction, whereby the Sentence frequently becomes cloudy and dark. Here, his Critics shew their modesty, and leave him to himself. For the arbitrary change of a Word doth little towards dispelling an obscurity that ariseth, not from the licentious use of a single Term, but from the unnatural arrangement of a whole Sentence. And they risqued nothing by their silence. For Shakespear was too clear in Fame to be suspected of a want of Meaning; and too high in Fashion for any one to own he needed a Critic to find it out. Not but, in his best works, we must allow, he is often so natural and flowing, so pure and correct, that he is even a model for stile and language.

3. As to his far-fetched and quaint Allusions, these are often a cover to common thoughts; just as his hard construction is to common expression. When they are not so, the Explanation of them has this further advantage, that, in clearing the Obscurity, you frequently discover some latent conceit not unworthy of his Genius.

III. The third and last sort of Notes is concerned in a critical explanation of the Author's Beauties and Defects; but chiefly of his Beauties, whether in Stile, Thought, Sentiment, Character, or Composition. An odd humour of finding fault hath long prevailed amongst the Critics; as if nothing were worth remarking that did not, at the same time, deserve to be reproved. Whereas the public Judgment hath less need to be assisted in what it shall reject, than in what it ought to prize; Men being generally more ready at spying Faults than in discovering Beauties. Nor is the value they set upon a Work, a certain proof that they understand it. For 'tis ever seen, that half a dozen Voices of credit give the lead: And if the Publick chance to be in good humour, or the Author much in their favour, the People are sure to follow. Hence it is that the true Critic hath so frequently attached himself to Works of established reputation; not to teach the World to admire, which, in those circumstances, to say the truth, they are apt enough to do of themselves; but to teach them how with reason to admire: No easy matter, I will assure you, on the subject in question: For tho' it be very true, as Mr. Pope hath observed, that Shakespear is the fairest and fullest subject for criticism, yet it is not such a sort of criticism as may be raised mechanically on the Rules which Dacier, Rapin, and Bossu have collected from Antiquity; and of which such kind of Writers as Rymer, Gildon, Dennis, and Oldmixon, have only gathered and chewed the Husks: nor on the other hand is it to be formed on the plan of those crude and superficial Judgments, on books and things, with which a certain celebrated Paper so much abounds; too good indeed to be named with the Writers last mentioned, but being unluckily mistaken for a Model, because it was an Original, it hath given rise to a deluge of the worst sort of critical Jargon; I mean that which looks most like sense. But the kind of criticism here required is such as judgeth our Author by those only Laws and Principles on which he wrote, NATURE, and COMMON-SENSE.

Our Observations, therefore, being thus extensive, will, I presume, enable the Reader to form a right judgment of this favourite Poet, without drawing out his Character, as was once intended, in a continued discourse.

These, such as they are, were amongst my younger amusements, when, many years ago, I used to turn over these sort of Writers to unbend myself from more serious applications: And what, certainly, the Public, at this time of day, had never been troubled with, but for the conduct of the two last Editors, and the persuasions of dear Mr. POPE; whose memory and name,

----semper acerbum,
Semper honoratum (sic Di voluistis) habebo.

He was desirous I should give a new Edition of this Poet, as he thought it might contribute to put a stop to a prevailing folly of altering the Text of celebrated Authors without Talents or Judgment. And he was willing that his Edition should be melted down into mine, as it would, he said, afford him (so great is the modesty of an ingenuous temper) a fit opportunity of confessing his Mistakes.(40) In memory of our Friendship, I have, therefore, made it our joint Edition. His admirable Preface is here added; all his Notes are given, with his name annexed; the Scenes are divided according to his regulation; and the most beautiful passages distinguished, as in his book, with inverted commas. In imitation of him, I have done the same by as many others as I thought most deserving of the Reader's attention, and have marked them with double commas.

If, from all this, Shakespear or good Letters have received any advantage, and the Public any benefit or entertainment, the thanks are due to the Proprietors, who have been at the expence of procuring this Edition. And I should be unjust to several deserving Men of a reputable and useful Profession, if I did not, on this occasion, acknowledge the fair dealing I have always found amongst them; and profess my sense of the unjust Prejudice which lies against them; whereby they have been, hitherto, unable to procure that security for their Property, which they see the rest of their Fellow-Citizens enjoy: A prejudice in part arising from the frequent Piracies (as they are called) committed by Members of their own Body. But such kind of Members no Body is without. And it would be hard that this should be turned to the discredit of the honest part of the Profession, who suffer more from such Injuries than any other men. It hath, in part too, arisen from the clamours of profligate Scriblers, ever ready, for a piece of Money, to prostitute their bad sense for or against any Cause prophane or sacred; or in any Scandal public or private: These meeting with little encouragement from Men of account in the Trade (who even in this enlightened Age are not the very worst Judges or Rewarders of merit), apply themselves to People of Condition; and support their importunities by false complaints against Booksellers.

But I should now, perhaps, rather think of my own Apology, than busy myself in the defence of others. I shall have some Tartuffe ready, on the first appearance of this Edition, to call out again, and tell me, that I suffer myself to be wholly diverted from my purpose by these matters less suitable to my clerical Profession. "Well, but," says a friend, "why not take so candid an intimation in good part? Withdraw yourself, again, as you are bid, into the clerical Pale; examine the Records of sacred and profane Antiquity; and, on them, erect a Work to the confusion of Infidelity." Why, I have done all this, and more: And hear now what the same Men have said to it. They tell me, I have wrote to the wrong and injury of Religion, and furnished out more handles for Unbelievers. "Oh now the secret's out; and you may have your pardon, I find, upon easier terms. 'Tis only, to write no more."--Good Gentlemen! and shall I not oblige them? They would gladly obstruct my way to those things which every Man, who endeavours well in his Profession, must needs think he has some claim to, when he sees them given to those who never did endeavour; at the same time that they would deter me from taking those advantages which Letters enable me to procure for myself. If then I am to write no more (tho' as much out of my Profession as they may please to represent this Work, I suspect their modesty would not insist on a scrutiny of our several applications of this profane profit and their purer gains); if, I say, I am to write no more, let me at least give the Public, who have a better pretence to demand it of me, some reason for my presenting them with these amusements. Which, if I am not much mistaken, may be excused by the best and fairest Examples; and, what is more, may be justified on the surer reason of things.

The great Saint CHRYSOSTOM, a name consecrated to immortality by his Virtue and Eloquence, is known to have been so fond of Aristophanes as to wake with him at his studies, and to sleep with him under his pillow: and I never heard that this was objected either to his Piety or his Preaching, not even in those times of pure Zeal and primitive Religion. Yet, in respect of Shakespear's great sense, Aristophanes's best wit is but buffoonry; and, in comparison of Aristophanes's Freedoms, Shakespear writes with the purity of a Vestal. But they will say, St. Chrysostom contracted a fondness for the comic Poet for the sake of his Greek. To this, indeed, I have nothing to reply. Far be it from me to insinuate so unscholarlike a thing, as if We had the same Use for good English that a Greek had for his Attic elegance. Critic Kuster, in a taste and language peculiar to Grammarians of a certain order, hath decreed, that the History and Chronology of _GREEK Words is the most SOLID entertainment of a Man of Letters.

I fly, then, to a higher Example, much nearer home, and still more in point, The famous University of OXFORD. This illustrious Body, which hath long so justly held, and, with such equity, dispensed, the chief honours of the learned World, thought good Letters so much interested in correct Editions of the best English Writers, that they, very lately, in their publick Capacity, undertook one, of this very Author, by subscription. And if the Editor hath not discharged his Task with suitable abilities for one so much honoured by them, this was not their fault but his, who thrust himself into the employment. After such an Example, it would be weakening any defence to seek further for Authorities. All that can be now decently urged is the reason of the thing; and this I shall do, more for the sake of that truly venerable Body than my own.

Of all the literary exercitations of speculative Men, whether designed for the use or entertainment of the World, there are none of so much importance, or what are more our immediate concern, than those which let us into the knowledge of our Nature. Others may exercise the Reason, or amuse the Imagination; but these only can improve the Heart, and form the human Mind to Wisdom. Now, in this Science, our Shakespear is confessed to occupy the foremost place; whether we consider the amazing sagacity with which he investigates every hidden spring and wheel of human Action; or his happy manner of communicating this knowledge, in the just and living paintings which he has given us of all our Passions, Appetites, and Pursuits. These afford a lesson which can never be too often repeated, or too constantly inculcated; And, to engage the Reader's due attention to it, hath been one of the principal objects of this Edition.

As this Science (whatever profound Philosophers may think) is, to the rest, in Things; so, in Words (whatever supercilious Pedants may talk), every one's mother tongue is to all other Languages. This hath still been the Sentiment of Nature and true Wisdom. Hence, the greatest men of Antiquity never thought themselves better employed than in cultivating their own country idiom. So Lycurgus did honour to Sparta, in giving the first compleat Edition of Homer; and Cicero, to Rome, in correcting the Works of Lucretius. Nor do we want Examples of the same good sense in modern Times, even amidst the cruel inrodes that Art and Fashion have made upon Nature and the simplicity of Wisdom. Menage, the greatest name in France for all kind of philologic Learning, prided himself in writing critical Notes on their best lyric Poet, Malherbe: And our greater Selden, when he thought it might reflect credit on his Country, did not disdain even to comment a very ordinary Poet, one Michael Drayton. But the English tongue, at this Juncture, deserves and demands our particular regard. It hath, by means of the many excellent Works of different kinds composed in it, engaged the notice, and become the study, of almost every curious and learned Foreigner, so as to be thought even a part of literary accomplishment. This must needs make it deserving of a critical attention: And its being yet destitute of a Test or Standard to apply to, in cases of doubt or difficulty, shews how much it wants that attention. For we have neither GRAMMAR nor DICTIONARY, neither Chart nor Compass, to guide us through this wide sea of Words. And indeed how should we? since both are to be composed and finished on the Authority of our best established Writers. But their Authority can be of little use till the Text hath been correctly settled, and the Phraseology critically examined. As, then, by these aids, a Grammar and Dictionary, planned upon the best rules of Logic and Philosophy (and none but such will deserve the name), are to be procured; the forwarding of this will be a general concern: For, as Quintilian observes, "Verborum proprietas ac differentia omnibus, qui sermonem curae habent, debet esse communis." By this way, the Italians have brought their tongue to a degree of Purity and Stability which no living Language ever attained unto before. It is with pleasure I observe, that these things now begin to be understood amongst ourselves; and that I can acquaint the Public, we may soon expect very elegant Editions of Fletcher and Milton's Paradise Lost from Gentlemen of distinguished Abilities and Learning. But this interval of good sense, as it may be short, is indeed but new. For I remember to have heard of a very learned Man, who, not long since, formed a design of giving a more correct Edition of Spenser; and, without doubt, would have performed it well; but he was dissuaded from his purpose by his Friends, as beneath the dignity of a Professor of the occult Sciences. Yet these very Friends, I suppose, would have thought it had added lustre to his high Station, to have new-furbished out some dull northern Chronicle, or dark Sibylline AEnigma. But let it not be thought that what is here said insinuates any thing to the discredit of Greek and Latin criticism. If the follies of particular Men were sufficient to bring any branch of Learning into disrepute, I don't know any that would stand in a worse situation than that for which I now apologize. For I hardly think there ever appeared, in any learned Language, so execrable a heap of nonsense, under the name of Commentaries, as hath been lately given us on a certain satyric Poet, of the last Age, by his Editor and Coadjutor.

I am sensible how unjustly the very best classical Critics have been treated. It is said that our great Philosopher spoke with much contempt of the two finest Scholars of this Age, Dr. Bentley and Bishop Hare, for squabbling, as he expressed it, about an old Play-book; meaning, I suppose, Terence's Comedies. But this Story is unworthy of him; tho' well enough suiting the fanatic turn of the wild Writer that relates it; such censures are amongst the follies of men immoderately given over to one Science, and ignorantly undervaluing all the rest. Those learned Critics might, and perhaps did, laugh in their turn (tho' still, sure, with the same indecency and indiscretion) at that incomparable Man, for wearing out a long Life in poring through a Telescope. Indeed, the weaknesses of Such are to be mentioned with reverence. But who can bear, without indignation, the fashionable cant of every trifling Writer, whose insipidity passes, with himself, for politeness, for pretending to be shocked, forsooth, with the rude and savage air of vulgar Critics; meaning such as Muretus, Scaliger, Casaubon, Salmasius, Spanheim, Bentley. When, had it not been for the deathless labours of such as these, the western World, at the revival of Letters, had soon fallen back again into a state of ignorance and barbarity as deplorable as that from which Providence had just redeemed it.

To conclude with an observation of a fine Writer and great Philosopher of our own; which I would gladly bind, tho' with all honour, as a Phylactery, on the Brow of every awful Grammarian, to teach him at once the Use and Limits of his art: WORDS ARE THE MONEY OF FOOLS, AND THE COUNTERS OF WISE MEN.


96. the excellent Discourse which follows, i.e. Pope's Preface, which was reprinted by Warburton along with Rowe's Account of Shakespeare.

101. Essays, Remarks, Observations, etc. Warburton apparently refers to the following works:

Some Remarks on the Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, written by Mr. William Shakespeare. London, 1736. Perhaps by Sir Thomas Hanmer.

An Essay towards fixing the true Standards of Wit, Humour, Raillery, Satire, and Ridicule. To which is added an Analysis of the Characters of an Humourist, Sir John Falstaff, Sir Roger de Coverley, and Don Quixote. London, 1744. By Corbyn Morris, who signs the Dedication.

Miscellaneous Observations on the Tragedy of Macbeth: with Remarks on Sir Thomas Hanmer's Edition of Shakespeare. To which is affixed Proposals for a new Edition of Skakespear, with a Specimen. London, 1745. By Samuel Johnson, though anonymous.

Critical Observations on Shakespeare. By John Upton, Prebendary of Rochester. London, 1746. Second edition, with a preface replying to Warburton, 1748.

An Essay upon English Tragedy. With Remarks upon the Abbe de Blanc's Observations on the English Stage. By William Guthrie, Esq. (1747.)

The last of these may not have appeared, however, till after Warburton's edition.

Johnson is said by Boswell to have ever entertained a grateful remembrance of this allusion to him "at a time when praise was of value." But though the criticism is merited, is it too sinister a suggestion that it was prompted partly by the reference in Johnson's pamphlet to "the learned Mr. Warburton"? When Johnson's edition appeared in 1765, Warburton expressed a very different opinion (see Nichols, Anecdotes, v., p. 595).

101-105. whole Compass of Criticism. Cf. Theobald's account of the "Science of Criticism," pp. 81, etc., which Warburton appears to have suggested.

101. Canons of literal Criticism. This phrase suggested the title of the ablest and most damaging attack on Warburton's edition,--The Canons of Criticism, and Glossary, being a Supplement to Mr. Warburton's Edition of Shakespear. The author was Thomas Edwards (1699-1757), a "gentleman of Lincoln's Inn," who accordingly figures in the notes to the Dunciad, iv. 568. When the book first appeared in 1748 it was called A Supplement, etc.... Being the Canons of Criticism. It reached a seventh edition in 1765.

103. Rymer, Short View of Tragedy (1693), pp. 95, 6.

105. as Mr. Pope hath observed. Preface, p. 47.

Dacier, Bossu. See notes, pp. 18 and 86.

Rene Rapin (1621-1687). His fame as a critic rests on his Reflexions sur la Poetique d' Aristote et sur les Ouvrages des Poetes anciens et modernes (1674), which was Englished by Rymer immediately on its publication. His treatise De Carmine Pastorali, of which a translation is included in Creech's Idylliums of Theocritus (1684), was used by Pope for the preface to his Pastorals. An edition of The Whole Critical Works of Monsieur Rapin ... newly translated into English by several Hands, 2 vols., appeared in 1706; it is not, however, complete.

John Oldmixon (1673-1742), who, like Dennis and Gildon, has a place in the Dunciad, was the author of An Essay on Criticism, as it regards Design, Thought, and Expression in Prose and Verse (1728) and The Arts of Logick and Rhetorick, illustrated by examples taken out of the best authors (1728). The latter is based on the Maniere de bien penser of Bouhours.

A certain celebrated Paper,--The Spectator.

semper acerbum, etc. Virgil, Aeneid, v. 49.

106. Note, "See his Letters to me." These letters are not extant.

108. Saint Chrysostom ... Aristophanes. This had been a commonplace in the discussions at the end of the seventeenth century, in England and France, on the morality of the drama.

Ludolf Kuster (1670-1716) appears also in the Dunciad, iv., l. 237. His edition of Suidas was published, through Bentley's influence, by the University of Cambridge in 1705. He also edited Aristophanes (1710), and wrote De vero usu Verborum Mediorum apud Graecos. Cf. Farmer's Essay, p. 176.

who thrust himself into the employment. Hanmer's letters to the University of Oxford do not bear out Warburton's statement.

109. Gilles Menage (1613-1692). Les Poesies de M. de Malherbe avec les Observations de M. Menage appeared in 1666.

Selden's "Illustrations" or notes appeared with the first part of Polyolbion in 1612. This allusion was suggested by a passage in a letter from Pope of 27th November, 1742: "I have a particular reason to make you interest yourself in me and my writings. It will cause both them and me to make the better figure to posterity. A very mediocre poet, one Drayton, is yet taken some notice of, because Selden writ a few notes on one of his poems" (ed. Elwin and Courthope, ix., p. 225).

110. Verborum proprietas, etc. Quintilian, Institut. Orat., Prooem. 16.

Warburton alludes to the edition of Beaumont and Fletcher "by the late Mr. Theobald, Mr. Seward of Eyam in Derbyshire, and Mr. Sympson of Gainsborough," which appeared in ten volumes in 1750. The long and interesting preface is by Seward. Warburton's reference would not have been so favourable could he have known Seward's opinion of his Shakespeare. See the letter printed in the Correspondence of Hanmer, ed. Bunbury, pp. 352, etc.

The edition of Paradise Lost is that by Thomas Newton (1704-1782), afterwards Bishop of Bristol. It appeared in 1749, and a second volume containing the other poems was added in 1752. In the preface Newton gratefully acknowledges this recommendation, and alludes with pride to the assistance he had received from Warburton, who had proved himself to be "the best editor of Shakespeare."

Some dull northern Chronicles, etc. Cf. the Dunciad, iii. 185-194.

111. a certain satyric Poet. The reference is to Zachary Grey's edition of Hudibras (1744). Yet Warburton had contributed to it. In the preface "the Rev. and learned Mr. William Warburton" is thanked for his "curious and critical observations."

Grey's "coadjutor" was "the reverend Mr. Smith of Harleston in Norfolk," as Grey explains in the preface to the Notes on Shakespeare. In his preface to Hudibras, Grey had given Smith no prominence in his long list of helpers. Smith had also assisted Hanmer.

In 1754 Grey brought out his Critical, Historical, and Explanatory Notes on Shakespeare, and in 1755 retaliated on Warburton in his Remarks upon a late edition of Shakespear ... to which is prefixed a defence of the late Sir Thomas Hanmer. Grey appears to be the author also of A word or two of advice to William Warburton, a dealer in many words, 1746.

our great Philosopher, Sir Isaac Newton. His remark is recorded by William Whiston in the Historical Memoirs of the Life of Dr. Samuel Clarke (1730), p. 143: "To observe such laymen as Grotius, and Newton, and Lock, laying out their noblest Talents in sacred Studies; while such Clergymen as Dr. Bentley and Bishop Hare, to name no others at present, have been, in the Words of Sir Isaac Newton, fighting with one another about a Playback (Terence): This is a Reproach upon them, their holy Religion, and holy Function plainly intolerable." Warburton's defence of himself in the previous pages must have been inspired partly by the "fanatical turn" of this "wild writer." Whiston would hardly excuse Clarke for editing Homer till he "perceived that the pains he had taken about Homer were when he was much younger, and the notes rather transcrib'd than made new"; and Warburton is careful to state that his Shakespearian studies were amongst his "younger amusements." Francis Hare (1671-1740), successively Dean of Worcester, Dean of St. Paul's, Bishop of St. Asaph, and Bishop of Chichester. For his quarrel with Bentley, see Monk's Life of Bentley, ii., pp. 217, etc. Hare is referred to favourably in the Dunciad (iii. 204), and was a friend of Warburton.

Words are the money, etc. Hobbes, Leviathan, Part I., ch. iv.: "For words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them; but they are the money of fools."

(The end)
David Nichol Smith's essay: William Warburton: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1747

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Samuel Johnson: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1765 Samuel Johnson: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1765

Samuel Johnson: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1765
That praises are without reason lavished on the dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those, who, being able to add nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of paradox; or those, who, being forced by disappointment upon consolatory expedients, are willing to hope from posterity what the present age refuses, and flatter themselves that the regard which is yet denied by envy, will be at last bestowed by time. Antiquity, like every other quality that attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries

Sir Thomas Hanmer: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1744 Sir Thomas Hanmer: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1744

Sir Thomas Hanmer: Preface To Edition Of Shakespeare. 1744
What the Publick is here to expect is a true and correct Edition of Shakespear's works cleared from the corruptions with which they have hitherto abounded. One of the great Admirers of this incomparable Author hath made it the amusement of his leisure hours for many years past to look over his writings with a careful eye, to note the obscurities and absurdities introduced into the text, and according to the best of his judgment to restore the genuine sense and purity of it. In this he proposed nothing to himself but his private satisfaction in making his own copy as