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THERE is no person whose patronTage a Work of this kind may so properly claim, as Your's ; Your private life having done so much honour to the moral part, and Your public one luch justice to the principal Characters, represented in our Author's writings.

Your action has been a better comment on his Text, than all his Editors have been able to supply. You mark his beauties; They but clear his blots. You impress us with the living spirit ; They only present us the dead letter.

There is one striking similarity between Shakespeare and You, in a very uncommon particular : He is the only Dramatic Writer, who ever alike exA 2

celled

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celled in Tragedy and Comedy; and we may without flattery venture to affim, That you are the only Performer who ever appeared with equal advantage, both in the Sock and Buskin. .

If I had an higher opinion of this Work than I have, I hould have still but an higher inducement for addressing it to You. From this consideration You are bound to receive it, with all its imperfeétions on its head, being offered as a tribute of that friendship and esteem with which I have the honour to be, i

SIR,

OIN, . ind.
Your much obliged,

and most obedient Servant,

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led in Tragedy and Comedy; and : may without Aattery venture to afn, That you are the only Performer ho ever appeared with equal adran | ge, both in the Sock and Buskin. If I had an higher opinion of this Tork than I have, I hould have fill ut an higher inducement for addresing

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to You. From this consideration You e bound to receive it, with all its im. erfeétions on its head, being offered as

tribute of that friendship and efteen vith which I have the honour to be,

SIR,

AMONG the many writers of our nation,
Al who have by their talents contributed to
entertain, inform, or improve our minds, no
one has so happily or universally succeeded, as
he whom we may juitiy itile
greatest Poet, Shakespeare. For more than a
century and a half, this Author has been the
delight of the Ingenious, the text of the Mo-
ralist, and the study of the Philosopher. Even
his cotemporary writers have ingenuoully yielded
their plaudit to his fame, as not presuming it
could lessen theirs, set at so greai a distance.
Such superior excellence could never be brought
into a comparative light; and jealousy is dumb,
when competition must be vain. For him,
then, they chearfully twined the laurel-wreath,
and unrepining placed it on his brow; where
it will ever bloom, while sense, talte, and natural
feelings of the heart, shall remain amongst t'ia
characteristics of this, or any other nation, that
can be able to construe his language. He is a
Claffic, and cotemporary with all ages.

True Nature's Drama represents all time :
Though old the last, the first remains its prime.

But

Your much obliged, ...and most obedient Servant,

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* But amidst all this burst of applause, one fingle
discordant voice is faintly heard. Voltaire has

stood forth his opponent. One might imagine

such a writer to have had taste enough to relish

his poetical beauties, at least, tho' possibly some

doubt might arise about his sympathy with his

inoral ones. But he unfairly tries him by Pe-

dant laws, which our Author either did not

know, or regarded not. His compositions are

a distinct fpecies of the Drama', and not being

.an imitation of the Greek one, cannot be justly

said to have infringed its rules. Shakespeare is

-a model, not a copy; he looked into nature, not in-

to books, both for men and works. 'Tis learned

ignorance, therefore, to quote the antient ex-

emplars against him. Is there no spring inspired,

but Aganippe's font? No raptured vision, but

on Parnassus' mount? The Grecian Bards them-

felves had conceived a more liberal notion, in

this particular, who, by making Phæbus the

God of Poetry, seem to have acknowledged in-

spiration to be universal. i wi /

But as it may shew more impartiality upon

this subject, to oppose one French authority to

another, I Mall here quote against M. Voltaire,

the Abbé Le Blanc's opinion of our Author, in

his Letters on the Englih Nation, written to his

Friend.. " He is, says he, of all.Writers, an-

« tient or modern, the most of an original.

" He is truly a great genius, and Nature has

< endowed him with powers to thew it. His

“ imagination is rich and strong : he paints

“ whatever he fees, and embellishes whatever

ļ he describes. The Loves in the train of Ve-

- nus are not represented with more grace, in

" the

ut amidst all this burit of applause, one fingle ordant voice is faintly heard. Voltaire ħas d forth his opponent. One might imagine 1 a writer to have had tafte enough to relish poetical beauties, at least, tho poflibly some bt might arise about his sympathy with his al ones. But he unfairly tries him by Pet laws, which our Author either did not w, or regarded not. His compositions are istinct species of the Drama; and not being mitation of the Greek one, cannot be justly i to have infringed its rules. Shakespeare is odel, not a copy; he looked into nature, nat inbooks, both for men and works. 'Tis learned orance, therefore, to quote the antient explars against him. Is there no spring infpiced, Aganippe's font? No raptured vision, but

" the Pictures of Albanus, than this Poet gives s to those that attend on Cleopatra, in his de“ fcription of the pomp with which that Queen « presents herself to Mark Antony, on the " banks of the Cydnus. ." The reputation of this Author is so great, " that I thall not be surprized if you suspect ** me of exaggeration in this account of him.. « Those of our nation who have ever men* tioned him, have been content to praise, withme out being capable of judging sufficiently of his ett merits." -... To the further honour of our Author be it faid, that a Lady * of distinguished merit has lately appeared a champion in his cause, against this minor critic, this minute philosopher, this fly upon à pillar of St. Paul's. It was her example which has stirred up my emulation to this attempt'; for I own that I am ambitious of the honour of appearing to think, at least, though I despair of the success of writing, like her.

Mr. Pope, in the Preface to his edition of this Author, says, “ Of all the English Poets, " Shakespeare must be confessed to be the faireft "and fullest subject for Criticisin, and to afford .. the most numerous, as well as most confpi" cuous, instances, both of beauties and blemishes, " of all sorts.” And again : “ I cannot, how" ever, but mention some of his principal and " characteristic excellencies; for which, not« withstanding his defects, he is jully and " deservedly elevated above all other Dra1 matic Writers.”

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Parnassus' mount? The Grecian Bards them-
res had conceived a more liberal notion, in

particular, who, by making Pbæbus the
i of Poetry, seem to have acknowledged in-
ation to be universal., , will
But as it may thew more impartiality upon

subject, to oppose one French authority to ther, I Mall here quote against M, Voltaire,

Abbé Le Blanc's opinion of our Author, in Letters on the English Nation, written to his end. He is, says he, of all. Writers, an. ent or modern, the most of an original.

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nd." Fodern,

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Je is truly a great genius, and Nature has

dowed him with powers to thew it. His magination is rich and Itrong : he paints hatever he sees, and embellilhes whatever

describes. The Loves in the train of Ve. 7s are not represented with more grace, in

" the

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