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we in the leaft differ from Dr. Edwards, with refpect to his po litics, on this particular point.
In brief, whatever imperfections may be found in Dr. E.'s performance, we muft obferve, in behalf of his modesty, and becoming diffidence of himself, that he does not pretend to give it to the world as faultlefs. Let us, therefore, repeat, in this conclufion of our short account of a greatly diverfified work, our teftimony to the apparent rectitude of his defign, and his laudable defire to promote the welfare of his country, by the publication of his thoughts on the interefting topics on which he has bestowed his best attention. Whatever may be deemed of him as a writer, we cannot but confider him as a worthy man, who has dedicated his time and labour to the general good of mankind, and to the increafe of the profperity of this nation, in particular.
ART. X. Bell's Edition of Shak/pere; or, The Dramatic Writings of Will. Shakfpere, with the Prolegomena, and the Notes of all the various Commentators; printed complete from the best Editions of Sam. Johnson and Geo. Steevens. In Twenty Volumes. 12mo. 61. bound. Bell. 1788.
Y men of cold and phlegmatic conftitutions, it may be thought that the rage for Shakespeare has been carried to excels; and that editions have multiplied fo faft, that the Public may now be faid to be, not only encumbered, but diftracted, with variety. The critic of tafte, however, who has the honour of letters and of his country at heart, will not subscribe to a propofition fo frigid and fpiritlefs. The genius of Shakespeare deferves all the homage that has been offered by a grateful pofterity-but this is not the place for the panegyric of that extraordinary man, who, in many of his plays, intermixed indeed with fcenes of heterogeneous matter, has left to his countrymen the true model of dramatic dialogue; a model, which has not yet been in any degree rivalled, and always poorly imitated. The glory of Shakespeare has been maintained in its proper luftre by his commentators only: fome of whom were men who, by their own productions, were fure of extending their names to aftertimes. In this clafs may be reckoned Rowe, Pope, Warburton, and Johnfon. The reft may have done fome good by their labours, but, as Dr. Bentley expreffed it, they ride to poflerity an the back of an ancient. In the next rank to the commentators, ftand the bookfellers, who have spared neither money nor attention to decorate the name of Shakespeare by fplendid editions of his works. It has been faid, that while he was by these means advanced to the pinnacle of fame, the Greek and Roman elaffics have been too much neglected, and that a complete and fuperb
fuperb edition of thofe great writers has never been published in England. Their time, we hope, is to come: a noble edition of Cicero has lately iffued from the Oxford prefs, and in the prefent age it is more than probable that the example will be followed. For the attention fhewn to Shakespeare, during a great number of years, there was an immediate and preffing demand. To fay nothing of the emendations which the text required, Voltaire called aloud on every Englishman to vindicate the memory of a genius, who did honour to their country. By decrying, diftorting, and mifreprefenting the productions of the great English bard, Voltaire had the prefumption to hope that, in the opinion of all Europe, he fhould be able to exalt Corneille, Racine, and himself. We took the alarm at home, and every new edition of Shakespeare was a full and decifive answer to envy, malice, and detraction. Voltaire continued to traduce and vilify: we held up the works of our bard, and thereby the detractor ftood refuted. The French nation have, at length, opened their eyes: the truth is now diffufed among them, and Shakespeare ftands as a Coloffus, while the most that can be done by Voltaire, and indeed the very beft of our modern writers at home, is to creep under his feet. More perhaps cannot now be expected. Quintilian has obferved, that where a great genius has reached the fummit of the fublime, to surpass him is impoffible; and to equal him, too much to be expected. A falling off is more likely to be the confequence.
To the number of thofe, who have contributed to the reputation of our immortal bard, Mr. Bell may now be added. His edition has been well received by the Public, and it deferves all encouragement. The whole is beautifully printed the type is elegant, and does honour to him, who had the fpirit to undertake fo expensive a work. The Editor has called in the best artists to his affiftance, and the number and elegance of the engravings which he has given, are fine embellishments of the work. He has printed from that text which was, at the time of his undertaking, thought to be the beft. Mr. Reed's edition was not then published: an account of it may be seen in our Review, vol. lxxv. p. 81. and 161.
We cannot aver that we have perufed every play in the prefent edition, but what we have seen deferves applaufe; and the whole has the reputation of being correct. We have now a set of these charming dramas, not only fit for the library, but for a pocket-companion. The fize of the work, and the type, make it convenient in all places; and, therefore, he who has Bell's Shakespeare, has amicus omnium horarum. The purchaser has this farther advantage, that he may arrange the plays into vo
See Review, vol. lxxii. p. 56,
lumes in what order he pleases :-this was judiciously contrived. The works of the great Poet may be bound up feparately, and the Notes and Commentary on each play may be collected in another fet of volumes, and fo placed as to correfpond with the feries of the plays. He may then read the text, and let himself be carried away by the current of the poet's imagination, without that frequent interruption of notes, which is apt to distract the mind, and weaken the impreffion made by the Author.
The reader will obferve that we have written the name of our bard in the most received and accuftomed manner. Mr. Bell has thought proper to depart from the eftablifhed form: he writes SHAKSPERE; but whatever authority he may have for it, there is, we believe, equal authority for the old accustomed way; and we are not fond of useless innovations. If this be an objection, it is, however, a flight one: and it is the only one in our power to make. The Editor is juftly entitled to the applause we have given him; and we congratulate the elegant arts, on the fuccefs of that fpirit of enterprife, which, by exciting emulation, cannot fail of rendering great fervice to the literature of this country.
ART. XI. Liberality; or, the Decayed Macaroni. A Sentimental Piece. 4to. 15. Dodfley, &c. 1788.
HE character of that fpecies of fop, called Macaroni, has never, to the beft of our recollection, been defined. If we take our idea of him from this poem, he is a motly mixture of the beau, the buck, the gamefter: in a word, the fashionable profligate: a contemptible, as well as a deteftable compofition.
This is an admirable piece of fatire. If it is not an ANSTY, it is, at leaft, of equal value with most of the productions of the Bath Mufe: and no writer, of the prefent day, will be afraid of its being afcribed to him.
The hero of the tale is drawn in broken-down circumftances, and reduced to folicit a fubfcription for his future fupport. He relates the marked events of his worthlefs life; and in this detail confifts the fatire on his defpicable tribe. Take the following ftanzas, by way of specimen :
• When I first came to years of difcretion,
Of race-horses, women, and cocks :
Comme il faut were my cellars and table:
Ev'ry Jockey that came to my ftable:
No ftripling of fortune I noted
And give him a fmack of the ton:
At midnight, on throwing a main :
And in truth fhould have deem'd it a fin
Whofe fortunes I'd firft fade my own:
To ****** with whom long ago,
When his ALL I had luckily won.
My friends were much pleas'd with the action,
To his wife, whom he lov'd to distraction,
But could not fupport any more.'
A vignette, not ill engraved, gives us the miferable figure of this wretch. Whether the poet, or the painter, may have had any individual in view, as the original of the picture, we know not. On the whole, we look upon the object, not as a particu lar macaroni, fingled out for the example's fake, but rather as a general character:
"As Knight of the fhire, to reprefent 'em all."
ART. XII. Poems: Confifting chiefly of original Pieces. By the Rev. John Whitehoufe, of St. John's College, Cambridge. 8vo. 3s. 6d. Boards. Robinfons. 1787.
HIS volume contains Elegies, Odes, Sonnets, and Infcriptions. The elegies are in the ftyle of Tibullus, or rather in that of his imitator, Hammond
• Unblest is he, and born in evil hour,
Who pines in youth, while on his fickly cheek,
Science or fame in vain their charms difplay,
Mr. Whitehouse's imagination, though it be not remarkably lively and fervid," Acer Spiritus ac vis," is yet by no means unpoetical. The Verfes written near the Ruins of a Nunnery' have confiderable beauty, as will be feen by the following extract:
⚫ Amidst thefe defolated aifles, where now
The falling fhrine. E'en there where painting breath'd