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When, like Apollo, he came forth to warm
Qur ears, or like a Mercury to charm.
Nature herself was proud of his designs,
And joy'd to wear the dressing of his lines :
Which were so richly spun, and wove fo fr
As, since the will vouchsafe no other wit.
The merry Greek, tart Aristophanes,
Neat Terence, witty Plautus, now not please 2:
But antiquated, and deserted lie,
As they were not of nature's family.
Yet must I not give nature all: Thy art,
My gentle Shakespeare, muft enjoy a part. म
For though the Poet's matter nature be,
His art doth give the fashion : And, that he,
Who casts to write a living line, muft sweat
(Such as thine are) and Atrike the second beat-1
Upon the mufes anvile; turn the same,
(And himself with it) that he thinks to frame,.
Or for the laurel he may gain a fcorn ;
For a good Poet's made, as well as born.

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And such wert thou. Look how the father's face.
Lives in his iffue, even fo 'the race
Of Shakespeare's mind and manners brightly fhinos. Y
In his well corned, and true-fled lines: buoni
In each of which he seems to shake a lance,
As brandith'd at the eyes of ignorance.
Siveet Swan of Avon. what a fight it were

pillun '' To see thee in our water yet appear, I DE: Et And make those Alights upon the banks of Thames, That so did take Eliza and our Jamesk But stay, I fee thee in the bemijpbere Advanc'd,' and made a constellation there! Shine forth, thou Atarre of. Bart's! and with rage, Or influence, chide, or chear, the drooping page: Which, fince thy flight from hence, hath mour'd like

night, And despairs day, but for thy' volume's light.

BAN JOHNSON

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169Wcu moar THE attempt to write upon SHAK B

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SPEARE is like going into a large, a

spacious, and a splendid: dome, through the conveyance of a narrow and obfcure entry. A glare of light suddenly breaks upon you. beyond what the avenue at fisft promised: and a thousand beauties of genius and character, like fo many gaudy apartments pouring at once upon the eye, diffuse and throw themselves out to the mind. The prospect is too wide to come within tbe compass of a single view: 'tiş a gay confufion: of pleasing objects, too various to be enjoyed but in a general admiration; and they must be feparated, andi eyed diftinctly, in order to give the proper entertainment.

And as in great piles of building, some parts. are often finished up to hit the taite of the

cons, Hoiffeur z others more negligently put together, to

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eftrike the fancy of a common and unlearned: be-.

holder: Some parts are made ftupendou@y magnificent and grand, to furprize with the vast defign. Sand execution of the architect; others are contracted, to amuse you with his neatness and elegance in little. So, in Shakespeare,' we may find Traits that will fand the test of the severest judg(ment; and Atrokes as carelefsly hit off, to the le. veb of the more ordinary capacities: Some deIcriptions raised to that pitch of grandeur, as to astonish you with the compafs and elevation of bis thought: and others copying nature within fo narrow, so confined a circle, as if the author's talent lay only at drawing in miniature. :)

In how many points of light must we be ob. liged to gaze at this great poet! In how many branches of excellence to confider, and admire him! Whether we view him on the fide of Cart or nature, he ought equally to engage our attention: Whether we respect the force and greatpers of his genius, the extent of his knowledge and reading, the power and address with which he throws out and applies either nature, or learning, there is ample scope both for our wonder and pleasure. If his diction, and the cioathing of his thoughts attrabt us, how much more muft we be charmed with the richness, and variety, of his images and ideas! If his images and ideas steal into our Souls, and strike 'upon our fancy, how much are they improved in price, when we come to reflect with what propriety and juftnefs they are applied to character! If we look into his characters, and how they are furnished and proportioned to the employment he cuts out for them, how are we taken up with the mastery of his portraits ! What draughts of nature! What variety of originals, and how differing each from the other ! How are they dressed from the stores of his own. laxurious imagination, without being the apes of mode, or borrowing from any foreign wardrobe ! City

them are the standards of fashion for themselves is, like gentlemen that are above the direction of their tailors, and can adorn themfelves without the aid of imitation. If other poets . dựaw more than one fool or coxcomb, there is the famę, resemblance in them, as in that painter's draughts, who was happy, only at forming a rose: you find them all younger brothers of the same family, and all of them have a pretence to give the same crest: But Shakespeare's clowns and fops come all of a different house: they are no farther allied to one another than as man to, man, members of the same species: but as different in features and lineaments of character, as we are from one another in face, or complexion. But I am unawares lanching into his character as a writer, before, I have said what I intended of him as a private member of the republick. : 512

Mr. Rowe has very justly, observed, that people are fond of discovering any little perfonal Aory

of

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of the great- men of antiquity: and that the com mon accidents of their lives naturally become the fubject of our critical enquiries : That however trifling such a curiosity at the first view may appear, yet, as for what relates to men of letters, the knowledge of an author may, perhaps, fometimes conduce to the better understanding his works.: And, indeed, this author's works, from the bad treatment he has met with, from bis: editors, have so long wanted a comment, that one would zealoufly embrace every method of information, that could contribute to recover them from the injuries with which they have so long lain o'erwhelmed,

'Tis certain, that if we have first admired the man in his writings, his case is fo circumstances, that we must naturally admire the writings in the man: That if we go back to take a view of his education, and the employment in life which fortuné had cut out for him, we fhall retain the ktronger ideas of his extensive genius.

His father, we are told, was a confiderable dealer in wool; but having no fewer than ten children, of whom our Shakespeare was the eldest, the best education he could afford him was no. better than to qualify him for his own Business. and employment. I cannot affirm with any cértainty how long his father lived; but I take him to be the same Mr. John. Shakespeare who was. living in the year 1999, and who then, in ho-s.

nour.

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