Page images
PDF
EPUB

TIC

BEAUTIES

OF

SHAKS PEARE:

REGULARLY

SELECTED FROM EACH PLAY,

WITH A

GENERAL INDEX,

DIGESTING THEM UNDER PROPER HEADS.

BY THE LATE

REV. WILLIAM DODD, LL.D.

The poet's eye, in a fine freuzy rolling,
Doth glance from heav'n to earth, from earth to beav'n,
And, as imagination bodies forth
The forms of things unknowo, the poet's pen
Turns them to shape, and gives to airy nothing
A local habitation and a paine.

Midsummer Night's Dream.

LONDON:
PRINTED BY C. WHITTINGHAM,

Goswell Street;
FOR JOHN SHARPE, OPPOSITE ALBANY,

PICCADILLY.

1810.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

I
SHALL not attempt any

laboured encomiums on Shakspeare, or endeavour to set forth his perfections, at a time when such universal and just applause is paid him, and when every tongue is big with his boundless fame. He himself 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

1

BEAUTIES, as perhaps is no where to be met with, and, I may very safely affirm, cannot be paralleļed from the productions of any other single author, ancient or modern. 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, properest emblem of his daring genius, soars beyond the common reach, and gazes undazzled on the sun.

His flights are sometimes so bold, frigid criticism almost dares to disapprove them; 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 bombast, and turgid nonsense, which, if read with the least glow of the same imagination that warmed the Writer's bosom, would blaze in the robes

« PreviousContinue »