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"fifteen poor Tradefmen from three years to three "Years, changing the Parties every third Year, at the "Rate of fifty Shillings per Annum, the Increase to be "diftributed to the Almes-poor there."The

Donation has all the Air of a rich and fagacious Ufurer. Ma

Shakespeare himself did not furvive Mr. Combe long, for he dy'd in the Year 1616, the 53d of his Age. He lies buried on the North Side of the Chancel in the great Church at Stratford; where a Monument, decent enough for the Time, is erected to him, and placed against the Wall. He is reprefented under an Arch in a fitting Pofture, a Cushion fpread before him, with a Pen in his Right Hand, and his Left refted on a Scrowl of Paper. The Latin Diftich, which is placed under the Cushion, has been given us by Mr. Pope, or his Graver, in this Manner.

INGENIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, Arte
Maronem,

Terra tegit, Populus mæret, Olympus habet.

I confefs, I don't conceive the Difference betwixt Ingenio and Genio in the firft Verfe. They feem to me intirely fynonymous Terms; nor was the Pylian Sage Neftor celebrated for his Ingenuity, but for an Experience and Judgment owing to his long Age. Dugdale, in his Antiquities of Warwickshire, has copied this Diftich with a Diftinction which Mr. Rowe has followed, and which certainly reftores us the true Meaning of this Epitaph.

JUDICIO Pylium, Genio Socratem, &c.

In 1614, the greater Part of the Town of Stratford was confumed by Fire; but our Shakespeare's Houfe, among fome others, efcap'd the Flames. This House was firft built by Sir Hugh Clopton, a younger Brother of an ancient Family in that Neighbourhood, who took their Name from the Manor of Clopton. Sir Hugh was Sheriff of London in the Reign of Richard III. and

Lord

Lord Mayor in the Reign of King Henry VII. To this Gentleman the Town of Stratford is indebted for the fine Stone-bridge, confifting of fourteen Arches, which at an extraordinary Expence he built over the Avon, together with a Caufe-way, running at the Weft-end thereof; as alfo for rebuilding the Chapel adjoining to his House, and the Cross-Isle in the Church there... It is remarkable of him, that, tho' he liv'd and dy'd a Bachelor, among the other extenfive Charities which he left both to the City of London and Town of Stratford, he bequeathed confiderable Legacies for the Marriage of poor Maidens of good Name and Fame both in London and at Stratford. Notwithstanding which large Donations in his Life, and Bequests at his Death, as he had purchased the Manor of Clopton, and all the Eftate of the Family, fo he left the fame again to his elder Brother's Son with a very great Addition: (a Proof, how well Beneficence and Oeconomy may walk hand in hand in wife Families :) Good Part of which. Estate is yet in the Poffeffion of Edward Clopton, Efq; and Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. lineally defcended from the elder Brother of the firft Sir Hugh: Who particularly bequeathed to his Nephew, by his Will, his House, by the Name of his Great-boufe in Stratford.

The Eftate had now been fold out of the Clopton Family for above a Century, at the Time when ShakeSpeare became the Purchaser: who, having repaired and: modelled it to his own Mind, changed the Name to New-place; which the Manfion-house, fince erected upon the fame Spot, at this Day retains. The Houfe and Lands, which attended it, continued in Shakespeare's Defcendants to the Time of the Restoration; when they were repurchased by the Clopton Family, and the Manfion now belongs to Sir Hugh Clopton, Knt. To the Favour of this worthy Gentleman I owe the Knowledge of one Particular, in Honour of our Poet's once: Dwelling-house, of which, I prefume, Mr. Rowe never was apprized. When the Civil War raged in England, and K. Charles the Firft's Queen was driven by the Neceffity of Affairs to make a Recefs in Warwickshire, fhe kept her Court for three Weeks in New-place. We

may

may reasonably fuppofe it then the beft private House in the Town; and her Majefty preferred it to the College, which was in the Poffeffion of the Combe Family, who did not so strongly favour the King's Party.

How much our Author employed himself in Poetry, after his Retirement from the Stage, does not fo evidently appear: Very few pofthumous Sketches of his Pen have been recovered to afcertain that Point. We have been told, indeed, in Print, but not till very lately, That two large Chefts full of this Great Man's loofe Papers and Manufcripts, in the Hands of an ignorant Baker of Warwick, (who married one of the Defcendants from our Shakespeare) were carelefly fcattered and thrown about, as Garret-Lumber and Litter, to the particular Knowledge of the late Sir William Bishop, till they were all confumed in the general Fire and Destruction of that Town. I cannot help being a little apt to diftruft the Authority of this Tradition; because his Wife furvived him feven Years, and as his Favourite Daughter, Sufanna, furvived her twenty-fix Years, 'tis very improbable, they should fuffer fuch a Treasure to be removed, and translated into a remoter Branch of the Family, without a Scrutiny first made into the Value of it. This, I fay, inclines me to distrust the Authority of the Relation; but, notwithstanding fuch an apparent Improbability, if we really loft fuch a Treafure, by whatever Fatality or Caprice of Fortune they came into fuch ignorant and neglectful Hands, I agree with the Relater, the Misfortune is wholly irreparable.

To thefe Particulars, which regard his Perfon and private Life, fome few more are to be gleaned from Mr. Rowe's Account of his Life and Writings: Let as now take a fhort View of him in his publick Capacity, as a Writer: and, from thence, the Transition will be eafy to the State in which his Writings have been handed down to us.

No Age perhaps, can produce an Author more various from himself, than Shakespeare has been univerfally acknowledged to be. The Diversity in Stile, and other Parts of Compofition, fo obvious in him, is as

variously

THEOBALD's PREFACE. variously to be accounted for. His Education, we find, was at best but begun: and he started early into a Science from the Force of Genius, unequally affifted by acquir'd Improvements. His Fire, Spirit, and Exuberance of Imagination, gave an Impetuofity to his Pen: His Ideas flow'd from him in a Stream rapid, but not turbulent; copious, but not ever over-bearing its Shores. The Eafe and Sweetness of his Temper might not a little contribute to his Facility in Writing: as his Employment, as a Player, gave him an Advan→ tage and Habit of fancying himself the very Character he meant to delineate. He used the Helps of his Function in forming himself to create and exprefs that Sublime, which other Actors can only copy, and throw out, in Action and graceful Attitude. But Nullum fine Veniâ placuit Ingenium, fays Seneca.. The Genius, that gives us the greatest Pleasure, fometimes ftands in Need of our Indulgence. Whenever this happens with regard to Shakespeare, I would willingly impute it to a Vice of his Times. We fee Complaifance enough, in our Days, paid: o a bad Tafte. So that his Clinches, falfe Wit, and defcending beneath himself, may have proceeded from a Deference paid to the then reigning Barbarifm.

I have not thought it out of my Province, whenever Occafion offered, to take Notice of fome of our Poet's grand Touches of Nature: Some, that do not appear fuperficially fuch; but in which he feems the most deeply inftructed; and to which, no doubt, he has so much ow'd that happy Prefervation of his Characters, for which he is juftly celebrated. Great Genius's, like his, naturally unambitious, are fatisfy'd to conceal their Art in these Points. 'Tis the Foible of your worfer Poets to make a Parade and Oftentation of that little Science they have; and to throw it out in the most ambitious Colours. And whenever a Writer of this Clafs fhall attempt to copy thefe artful Concealments of our Author, and fhall either think them eafy, or practifed by a Writer for his Eafe, he will foon be convinced of his Miftake by the Difficulty of reaching the Imitation

of them.

Speret

Speret idem, fudet multùm, fruftraque laboret,
Aufus idem:

Indeed, to point out, and exclaim upon, all the Beauties of Shakespeare, as they come fingly in Review, would be as infipid, as endless; as tedious, as unneceffary: But the Explanation of those Beauties, that are. lefs obvious to common Readers, and whose Illuftration depends on the Rules of juft Criticism, and an exact Knowledge of human Life, fhould defervedly have a Share in a general Critic upon the Author. But, to pass over at once to another Subject:-

It has been allow'd on all Hands, how far our Author was indebted to Nature; it is not so well agreed, how much he ow'd to Languages and acquired Learning. The Decifions on this Subject were certainly fet on Foot by the Hint from Ben Johnson, that he had fmall Latin and lefs Greek: And from this Tradition, as it were, Mr. Rowe has thought fit peremptorily to declare, that, "It is without Controverfy, he had no

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Knowledge of the Writings of the ancient Poets, for "that in his Works we find no Traces of any Thing "which looks like an Imitation of the Ancients. For "the Delicacy of his Tafte (continues He) and the "natural Bent of his own great Genius, (equal, if not fuperior, to fome of the Beft of theirs ;) would certainly have led him to read and study them with fo "much Pleafure, that fome of their fine Images would

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naturally have infinuated themselves into, and been "mix'd with his own Writings: and fo his not copy❝ing, at least, fomething from them, may be an Ar

gument of his never having read them." I fhall leave it to the Determination of my learned Readers, from the numerous Paffages, which I have occafionally quoted in my Notes, in which our Poet feems closely to have imitated the Claffics, whether Mr. Rowe's Affertion be fo abfolutely to be depended on. The Refult of the Controverfy muft certainly, either way, terminate to our Author's Honour: how happily he could imitate them, if that Point be allowed; or how glo

riously

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