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THIS play will not afford many subjects for engravings. The masterly hand of Shakespeare appears not in many places of this chequered performance; and it is the opinion of his best commentators that it was not altogether the entire production of his pen There are however fome fcenes, and fome paffages, that grace him in the difgrace of death—and have bought him that honour which makes him an heir of all eternity.
* or 509.
I would propofe as the Head-piece, an half-length figure of Coftard in p. 388, when saying:-Not a word of Coftard yet—and it may either be a copy of 'I'om Wefton's performance (if it can but faintly glimmer through the memory, or imperfect attestation of a few furviving Spectators)—or such a figure as will be most defcriptive of this shallow vaffal. His features will be entirely different from what they are in p. 389, or 390; and he well deferves to be drawn in more than one look. There are other pages where he might appear to much advantage, as at p. 499 And I would recommend this figure of Coftard to be inclosed in the very fame frame as is given in that beautiful Vignette to Bell's laft edition to this play, with an exact fac-fimile of the infignia at the top. The artist who defigned this rich embellishment, may perhaps join in opinion that Armado may appear to equal advantage in page 472, and it is for this reafon only that I have prefumed to hint a mutilation of this Vignette print, and not give it entire as a Head-piece.
*Edwin, with O Lord Sir:would fet the house in a roar.
The firft fcene I would choofe, is at page 389; The figures and dreffes of Longaville, and Dumain, may be taken from a very pleafing defign by Gravelot, in Theobald's edition; or the drefs in which Biron appears, in Bell's first edition, may perhaps be preferred: their characters will be seen in page 400. These three lords may be fignificantly looking at, and enjoying the fituation of Coftard. The King's figure in this defign by Gravelot, is a very graceful one, and in that of Bell's first edition, he is fingularly interefting-though his foftened air of melancholy may more properly become him when he has seen her, whofe glory through his grief is fhewn. His dress is extremely elegant; and in this scene, he will be in the attitude of reading the letter, and just glancing his eye on Coftard. The two remaining characters are Anthony Dull, and Coftard. I know not what performer on the stage has exhibited Anthony Dull; or whether he has had the good luck to be reprefented by a comedian of merit; but a pencil of humour will strike out a conftable worthy of the author's creation. He would appear to the most advantage in faying the words which are given him in this page of:-Me, an't pleafe you; I am Anthony Dull,— but he cannot be reprefented as immediately faying them-for in the propofed print he will be a mere looker on. As for Caftard, it were to be wished that no one would attempt to draw him, who has not beheld that unparalled fon of fimplicity, Tom Wefton. The original ftrokes of fimple nature which he could throw out, cannot be conceived by those who have not feen him. And to fuch only who have seen him, should be configned the execution of this part of the propofed print, In Bell's first edition, he is drawn as faying—I was taken with none Sir;-probably some think he would appear to equal advantage.in faying-With a wenchor, I had rather pray a month with mutton and porridge ;-but this can only be determined by his furviving admirers.
A PLEASING print might be annexed to this page, of Boyet and Maria, (who is the beautiful emprefs of Longaville's love)—and the other ladies may be left out. Maria may be faying: My lips are no common. The character or appearance which Boyet should make, may be feen in that admirable description in page 490. A print in the ftyle of Guercino's Woman begging water, in the drawings published by Rogers, would have a pleafing effect.
THERE are two fuch exquifite lines in this page, and which breathe fo much the language of nature, and of Shakespeare, that it were injustice to the poet to pass them over without fome defign to accompany
Do but behold the tears that fwell in me,
And they, thy glory through my grief will shew.
Such lines from the pencil of a Cypriani, would produce a drawing of exquifite delicacy. It might represent a half length of the King (in a fancy dress perhaps) with the influence of the paffion they express, imprinted on his features.
THE fprightly Biron, and his Rofaline, cannot well appear in page 403, as fhe is masked.
THIS page gives us a happy opportunity of reprefenting to much advantage, feveral of the characters. And we have one of these characters already drawn in a masterly manner, by the pencil of M. de Loutherbourg;-for in the Vignette which I have before referred to, may be feen the true and lively portraiture of that Armado hight-and the only alterations it might be proper he should undergo for this prefent page, would be, to have his arms perhaps a kimbo (as having juft pronounced his boisterous oath) and cafting a fignificant glance at the poor enraptured Coftard, who is giving his small pittance (the best he has) to his pigeon-egg of difcretion. And this little fnip fnap youth is fo well drawn in the above Vignette, that he will admit of no improvement.-(I am fure the position of his toes will not)—unless indeed a very little more sharp archness were thrown into his face for this prefent page. Coftard can no where be drawn to more advantage than in this fcene; and the figures of Holofernes, Nathaniel, and Dull, cannot but enliven the group; and they deferve to be drawn with truth and nature.
Ir would form no unpleafing print for this department, were we to reprefent the King in
fome forlorn and naked hermitage,
Until the twelve celestial figns