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that they might escape the suspicion of greater,3 or perhaps to intimate that no greater could be detected. Both little and great (and doubtless there may be the usual proportion of both) are here exposed (with very few exceptions) to the candour and perspicacity of the reader, who needs not to be told that in fifteen volumes octavo, of intricate and variegated printing, gone through in the space of about twenty months, the most vigilant eyes must occasionally have been overwatched, and the readiest knowledge intercepted. The fight of the editors, indeed, was too much fatigued to encourage their engagement in fo laborious a revision; and they are likewise convinced that substitutes are not always qualified for their talk; but instead of pointing out real mistakes, would have supposed the existence of such as were merely founded on their own want of acquaintance with the peculiarities of ancient spelling and language ; for even modern poetry has sometimes been in danger from the chances of their superintendance. He whose business it is to offer this unusual apology, very well remembers to have been sitting with Dr. Johnson, when an agent from a neighbouring press brought in the proof sheet of a republication, requesting to know whether a par'ticular word in it was not corrupted. “So far from it, Sir, (replied the Doctor, with some harshness,) that the word you suspect and would displace, is conspicuously beautiful where it stands, and is the only one that could have done the duty expected from it by Mr. Pope."

As for cancels, it is in the power of every care

the hospitable door
Expos'd a matron, to avoid worse rape."

Paradise Loft, B. I. v. 504.

less binder to defeat their purpose; for they are so feldom lodged with uniformity in their proper places, that they as often serve to render copies imperfect, as to screen an author from the charge of ignorance or inattention. The leaf appropriated to one volume, is sometimes shuffled into the corresponding page of another ; and sometimes the faulty leaf is withdrawn, and no other substituted in its room. These circumstances might be exemplified ; but the subject is scarcely of consequence enough to be more than generally stated to the reader, whose indulgence is again solicited on account of blemishes which in the course of an undertaking like this are unavoidable, and could not, at its conclusion, have been remedied but by the hazard of more extensive mischief ;-an indulgence, indeed, that will more readily be granted, and especially for the sake of the compositors, when it is understood, that, on an average, every page of the present work, including spaces, quadrats, points, and letters, is (to speak technically) composed of 2680 distinct pieces of metal.4

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4 Number of letters, &c. in a page of Shakspeare, 1793.



The average number in each

line (including letters, points, spaces, &c.) is 47; the nunber of lines in a page-37.

47 37

The average number in each

line (including letters, points, spaces, &c.) is 67; the number of lines in a page-47.

67 47

329 141

469 268

1739 in a page.

3149 in a page. From this calculation it is clear, that a common page, admitting it to consist of 1-3d text, and 2-3ds notes, contains

As was formerly therefore observed, he who waited till the river should run dry, did not act with lefs reason than the editors would do, who sħould suspend a voluminous and compļicated publication, in the yain hope of rendering it absolutely free from literary and typographical errors.

about 2680 diftinét pieces of metal ; which multiplied by 16, the number of pages in a sheet, will amount to 42,880—the misplacing of any one of which would inevitably cause a blunder,









T seems to be a kind of respect due to the me

mory of excellent men, especially of those whom their wit and learning have made famous, to deliver fome account of themfelves, as well as their works, to pofterity For this reafon, how fond do we see fome people of discovering any little personal story of the great men of antiquity! their families, the common accidents of their lives, and even their fhape, make, and features, have been the subject of critical inquiries. How trifling foever this curiofity may seem to be, it is certainly very natural ; and we are hardly satisfied with an account of any remarkable person, till we have heard him described even to the very clothes he wears. As for what relates to men of letters, the knowledge of an author may sometimes conduce to the better under, standing his book; and though the works of Mr. Shakspeare may seem to many not to want a comment, yet I fancy fome little account of the man himself may not be thought improper to go along with them.

He was the son of Mr. John Shakspeare, and was born at Stratford-upon-Avon, in Warwickshire, in April, 1564. His family, as appears by the register and publick writings relating to that town, were of good figure and fashion there, and are mentioned as gentlemen. His father, who was a considerable dealer in wool,5 had so large a family, ten children

s His father, who was a considerable dealer in wool,] It appears that he had been an officer and bailiff of Stratford-uponAvon; and that he enjoyed some hereditary lands and tenements, the, reward of his grandfather's faithful and approved services to King Henry VII. See the extract from the Herald's Office.

THEOBALD. The chief Magistrate of the Body Corporate of Stratford, now distinguished by the title of Mayor, was in the early charters called the High Bailiff. This office Mr. John Shakspeare filled in 1569, as appears from the following extracts from the books of the corporation, with which I have been favoured by the Rev. Mr. Davenport, Vicar of Stratford-upon-Avon :

“ Jan. 10, in the 6th year of the reign of our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, John Shakspeare passed his Chamberlain's accounts.

At the Hall holden the eleventh day of September, in the eleventh year of the reign of our sovereign lady Elizabeth, 1569, were present Mr. John Shakspeare, High Bailiff.” [Then follow the names of the Aldermen and Burgeffes.]

At the Hall holden Nov. 19th, in the 21st year of the reign of our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth, it is ordained, that every Alderman shall be taxed to pay weekly 4d. saving John ShakSpeare and Robert Bruce, who shall not be taxed to pay any thing; and every burgess to pay 2d."

“ At the Hall holden on the 6th day of September, in the 28th year of our sovereign lady Queen Elizabeth.

At this Hall William Smith and Richard Courte are chosen to be Aldermen in the places of John Wheler, and John Shakspeare, for that Mr. Wheler doth desire to be put out of the company, and Mr. Shakspere doth not come to the halls, when they be warned, nor hath not done of long time."

From these extracts it may be collected, (as is observed by the gentleman above mentioned, to whose obliging attention to my

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