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lelon Record; and that nothing but a Treachery equa to it in Baseness, can parallel it? If this were such Nonsense, as Mr. Pope would willingly have it, it would be a very bad Plea for me to alledge, as the Truth is, that the Line is in Shakespear's old Copy; for I might have suppress’d it. But, I hope, it is defensible; at least, if Examples may keep it in Countenance. I remember a piece of Nonsense just of the fame Stamp, in the Amphytrio of Plautus : Sofia, having survey'd Mercury from Top to Toe, finds him such an exact Resemblance of himself, in Dress, Shape, and Features, that he cries out,
Tam confimil' eft, atq; Ego. That is, He is as like me, as I am to myself: For the Syntax must be help'd out thus : atq; Ego fum mihi. , Now I humbly conceive, in Strictness of Expression, a Man can no more be like himself, than a Thing be its own Parallel. But to confine myself to Shakespear: I doubt not but I can produce some fimiliar Passages from him, which, literally examin’d, are stark Nonsense; and yet, taken with a candid Latitude, have never appear'd ridiculous. Mr. Pope would scarce allow one Man to say to another, “ Compare or weigh your Mistress with your Mi« stress, and, I grant you, she's a very fair Wo
man: But compare her with fome other Women 6 that I could name, and the Case will be altered.” Yet the very Substance of this is said by Shakespear in Romeo and Juliet; and Mr. Pope has not degraded it as any Absurdity, or unworthy of the Author. Pho! Pho! you saw her fair, none elle being by ; . Herfelf poiz'd with herself in either Eye : But, &c. Or what shall we fay of the three following Quota
tions ? And, I am sure I could match them with
Who does not see at once, that the heaviest Foot that ever trod, could not wear out the everlasting Flint? Or, that he, that does not think, has no Thought in him? Or, that Repentance can avail nothing, when a Man has no Repentance? Yet let these Passages appear with the casting Weight of Allowance, the Licentia fumptus pudenter, as Horace calls it ; and their Absurdity will not be fo extravagant, as when examined by the literal Touchstone. But it is high Time to conclude.
If Mr. Pope is angry with me for attempting to restore Shakespear, I hope the Publick are not. Admit my Sheets have no other Merit, they will at least have this: They will awaken him to fome Degree of Accuracy in his next Addition of that Poet, which we are to have in a few Months : And then we shall fee whether we owed the Errors of the former Edition to Indiligence, or his Inexperience in the Author. And as my Remarks upon the whole Works of ShakeSpoar shall closely attend upon the Publication of his Edition, I'll venture to promife without Arrogance, that I'll then give above five hundred more fair Emendations, that shall escape him and all his Afiftants.
I am, Sir,
There are many Emendations inight be made which escap'd them both ; in the famous and excellent Tragedy of Otbello not a few, for Instance one, when Othello comes in to murder Desdemona, he thinks if he should see her, it would be impoffible for him do it, so he says to himself Put out the Light, and then, put out the Light. Thus it is printed and spoke, even by Mr. Quin himfelf, with the Accent strong upon the Word the, which would seemingly intimate, that he meant first to put out the Candle, and then murder her, calling her the Light, whereas it should be pointed thus, Put out the Light, and then-Put out the Light ! That is, as to say, put out the Light, and then but before he can speak the Words kill her, he exclaims to himself-Put out the Light! that raises Terror and Horror in him, fo that he in a Manner expoftulates with himself about it, and thus the Sense is clear, only by the Alteration of the Stops.
To speak our Sentiments freely, we do not believe that any Body will acquire much Fame in meddling with Shakespear, nor have I noted that Mr. Pope valued himself upon it enough to mention it once in any Letter, Poem, or other Work whatsoeyer, except the Preface, which he says is his ; but about the Amendments, &c. he says nothing at all : Nay, as to his other Works, he seems to be far from thinking them fafe as to their Fame; thus he speaks to the World.
“ In this Office of collecting my Pieces, I am " altogether uncertain, whether to look upon my« felf as a Man building a Monument, or burying " the Dead? « If Time shall make it the former, may these
« Poems (as long as they last) remain as a Testimo* “ ny, that their Author never made his Talents fub"ç servient to the mean and unworthy Ends of Party « or Self-interest; the Gratification of publick Pre“ judices, or private Paffions; the Flattery of the “ Undeserving, or the Insult of the Unfortunate. “ If I have written well, let it be considered that “ 'tis what no Man can do without good Sense, a " Quality that not only renders one capable of be"sing a good Writer, but a good Man. And if I “ have made any Acquisition in the Opinion of any
under the Notion of the former, let it be con66 tinued to me under no other Title than that of the *co latter.
" But if this Publication be only a more solemn “ Funeral of my Remains, I desire it may be known “ that I die in Charity, and in my Senses; without
any Murmurs against the Justice of this Age, or
any mad Appeals to Pofterity. I declare I shall " think the World in the right, and quietly submit « to every Truth which Time shall discover to the « Prejudice of these Writings; not so much as
wishing so irrational a Thing, as that every Body « should be deceiv'd, meerly for my Credit. How
- ever, I desire it may then be considered, that " there are very few Things in this Collection which ci were not written under the Age of five and twen
ty; so that my Youth may be made (as it never « fails to be in Executions) a Cafe of Compassion. " That I was never so concern'd about my Works
as to vindicate them in Print, believing if any " Thing was good it would defend itself, and what
was bad could never be defended. That I used
no Artifice to raise or continue a Reputation, de“ preciated no dead Author I was obliged to, brib'd “ no living one with unjust Praise, insulted no Ad