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HAVING feen a few weeks ago, a paragraph in the Morning Herald, intimating a new edition of Shakespeare, and having feen the respectable names that are there inferted of those who are said to have taken the lead in bringing forward this work; it must seem presumptuous in me to obtrude my weak efforts on the public, or to think that any of the ensuing pages would give rife to any change or alteration for the still further improvement of this projected edition. I do not suppose there can poffibly be one discordant voice against any one of the gentlemen who are mentioned in such paper; and happy is it for the honour of this country, and for the glory of the fupreme bard to whom it gave birth, that fuch names are announced-bad commentators and bad artists might have crept in, and by the penury of their genius or the inurbanity of their minds, might have depreffed the exertions of Taste and Learning. Amidst all the numerous editions of thofe authors whofe works have been published with costly splendour, thofe of the unaffuming Shakespeare have been overlooked-if we except the edition of Hanmer, and that is no ways to be compared to the fplendid publications of other editors—and we must indeed except the late edition of Bell. How many fine and beautiful editions have been published of Don Quixotte, of Moliere, of Fontaine, and particularly of Ariofto; and need I mention the late projected edition of Voltaire? There are even the Petites Conquetes de Louis quatorze, published without any regard to expence; and the very Amours Paftorales de Daphnis & Cloe, are ornamented in a style much fuperior to any edition of Shakespeare and to crown all (amidst numerous coftly publications on Moffes,
Frogs, Mushrooms, Moths, Butterflies and Beetles) we have Stoll's Hif toire des Cigales et des Punaifes, avec figures colorées d'apres nature, and ten numbers fewed, for five guineas; and the price of the greatest part of the above works has doubled that of Shakespeare's best edition. But the time is now come when Shakespeare's works will receive every embellishment of grateful art-when a temple will be erected to his memory-and where the productions of British artists will receive an eternal afylum.*
DELAY, however in this generous plan, has already deprived us of the grateful affistance of Cypriani; and Shakespeare himself warns us,
on our quickest decrees, The inaudible and noiseless foot of time, Steals 'ere we can effect them.
If the enfuing pages can give rife to one fingle new hint-or can (by the lift which is given of fome Paintings and Prints which have appeared on the subject of Shakespeare) fave any trouble to an enquiring artist, my end is anfwered. They were not written with the intention of being published; but merely for the amusement of leisure hours, and as an inward tributary esteem to him, whose scenes had oft foothed me with many a penfive pleasure mild. And though I have long had much at heart, and was willing to indulge an expectation of fome future fine edition-yet I had no certain, nor even the most diftant hope of any one being actually in contemplation. The expence alone made one loath to conceive any grand edition would ever be accomplished. And as the nice dependen
* The fublime dreams of Piranefi, might be confulted for the architecture of this building. See Mr. Walpole's Anecdotes, v. iv. p. vii.