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122 WASHINGTON STREET.

3925 ,1845

PREFACE.

I SHALL not attempt any labored encomiums on Shakspeare, or endeavour to set forth his perfections, at a time when such universal and just applause is "aid him, and when every tougue is big with his boundless fame. he aimselt tells us,

To gild refined gold, to paint the lily,
To throw a perfume on the violet,
To smooth the ice, or add another hue
Unto the rainbow, or with taper-light
To seek the beauteous eye of heav'n to garnish,

Is wasteful and ridiculous excess. And wasteful and ridiculous indeed it would be, to say any thing in his praise, when presenting the world with such a collection of BEAUTIES as perhaps is no where to be met with, and, I may very safely affirm, cannot be paralleler' from the productions of any other single author, ancient or mudern. There is scarcely a topic, common with other writers, on which he has not excelled them all; there are many nobly peculiar to himself, where he shines unrivalled, and, like the eagle, "roperest emblem of his daring genius, soars beyond the cmmon reach, and gazes undazzled on the sun. His flights are sometimes so bold, frigid criticism almost dares to disapprove then and those narrow minds which are incapable of elevating their ideas to the sublimity of their author's, are willing to bring them down to a level with their own. Hence many fine passages have been condemned in Shakspeare, as rant and fustian, intolerable boinpast, and turgid nonsense, which, if read with the least gle w of the same imagination that warmed the writer's bosom, wwuld blaze in the robes of sublimity, and obtain the commendation of a Longinus. And, unless some of the same spirit that elevated 'he poet, elevate the reader too, he must not presume to talk of tasta and elegance; he will prove a languid reader, an indiffer unt judge, and a far more indifferent critic and commentator.

It is some time since I first proposed publishing this collecti az for Shakspeare was ever, of all modern authors, my chief favo ir

ite; and during my relaxations from my more severe and nec srsary studies at college, I never omitted to read and indulgmys

in the rapturous flights of this delightful and sweetest child of fancy: and when my imagination has been heated by the glow ardour of his uncommon fire, have never failed to lament, that

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