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I nal information in his two quartos, and rather an excess of dull 1 fine writing, as well as of compliments to the ladies and gentle· men of the settlement: but as he very honestly confesses in the I title-page, that he was chaplain to the colony, all those things ! were to be expected ; and the reader has no right to complain.
He seems an honest good-natured man, with a laudable desire for information, and a taste for all kinds of trifling details. We
congratulate him on his safe return from the tropics; and advise ị him to publish no more quartos.
Art. VI. The Plays of Philip Massinger, with Notes critical and į. explanatory. By W. Gifford Esq. 4 vol. 8vo. London.
TT rarely happens that any person, who has indulged himself in
severe reflections and dogmatical assertions on various subjects, can pass through life without occasionally running foul of some of his own sentences. The first work that brought Mr Gifford's talents into public notice was the Baviad and Mæviad; a production which certainly displayed genius; but written in a style of satire so harsh and overbearing, that if the corrupt taste, which was spreading itself rapidly over the country, had not louda ly called for animadversion, the public mind would probably have been disgusted by its asperity. The general object and aim of his satire was praiseworthy ; but some passages seemed rather to have been dictated by moroseness, than by the fair spirit of enlightened censure. Of that nature we think the attack upon the harmless, if not laudable, amusement of Mr Kemble, who collected old plays, which would otherwise in a few years have been lost for ever.
• Others, like Kemble, on black-letter pore,
And, what they do not understand, adore ;
And draw on prodigality for praise. • Though no great catalogue-hunter I love to look into such mark. ed ones as fall in my way. That of poor Dood's books amused me not a little. It exhibited many instances of black-letter mania ; and, what is more to my purpose, a transfer of much trash of antient days to the fora tunate Mr Kemble. For example, First Part of the Tragicall Raigne of Selimus Emperour of the Turks, il. 118. 68.' &c. &c. Baviud, V. 192.
For our part, we beheld with pleasure a distinguished actor expending a part of the hard-earned profits of his profession, in forming a collection, which may be beneficial to the stage. The
the Duke's army, discouraged by defeat, and reduced to less than 4000 men, of which not above twelve hundred were effective. He gave battle in a fit of desperation, and was slain.
J'ay entendu par ceux qui le pensoient scavoir, qu'ils n'avoient point en l'oft quatre mille hommes ; dont il n'y avoit que douze cens en eftat pour combattre. '- Le duc choisit le pire, non obftant toutes les remonstrances qu'on lui avoit faites du grand nombre des Allemans, qui cftoit avec ledit Duc de Lorraine, et aussi de l'armée du Roi, logée près de lui ; et conclud la bataille, avec ce petit nombre de gens epouventez qu'il avoit.'
We have dwelt upon this note, because we are always anxious to maintain historical truth; and because we cannot better exemplify the haste and inaccuracy with which Mr Gifford sometimes appears to write. It seems, from a note in vol. 4. p. 167, that he must have printed the first volumes, before he had even read through the author he was editing.
. This expression reconciles me to a passage in the Parliament of Love, vol. 2. p. 291, of which, though copied with my best care, I was extremely doubtful. It now appears, that Mafinger uses candour, in both places, as synonymous with honour.'
We are far from wishing to reproach Mr Gifford with mistakes, to which men of genius, who write from recollection, are frequently liable ; but it is our duty to repeat, and to urge strongly for his consideration in future, that those who can trespass on the public with such inaccuracies, should be very careful not to attack those who have preceded them with bitterness of language and harsh reprehension. Indeed, in some passages, Mr Gifford appears to have been irritated by so strong a spirit of impatience and anger against Coxeter and Mason, that we are inclined to think, if either of those unfortunate editors had been within his reach, he might have closed his arguments like George a Greene, in an anonymous old play,
And for greater proof
I'll prove it good upon your carcafe..? From almost every page in Mr Gifford's edition, it appears, that his constant aim has not been simply to rectify what was inaccurate, to cast aside what was superfluous, and to add what might be nécessary or useful for the information of the reader, but to build his own reputation on the ruin of that of his predecessors. This object is pursued with such assiduity, that he frequently falls into the very error which he would reprobate in them. For instance, in the Duke of Milan, we find this note.
• Scarabs, means beetles. M. Mafon. Very true ; and beetles means scarabs.' Vol. I. p. 279. Some unlearned readers might perhaps be thankful for Mr G4
Mason's Mason's explanation ; but, if it was superfluous, how mn
no must it be with such an additional comment ! Again, under the line Enjoying one that but tą me 's a Dian, we find,
6 Dan, a contraction for Diana. M. Mafon. And so it is ! Vol. I. P. 315.
We may adduce another instance from the Virgin Martyr.
• As angels were no part of the Pagan theology, this should certainly be augel, from the Italian augello, which means a bird, M. Malon. It were to be withed that critics would sometimes apply to themselves the advice which Gonneril gives to poor old Leer; I pray you, father, being weak, reem fo: we should not then find lo many certainties.'_ lo Mandeville, the barbarous Herodotus of a barbarous age. there is an account of a people (probably the remains of the old Guebres) whe exposed the dead bodies of their parents to the fowles of the air. Ther reserved however the sculls, of which he says the son letet he make a cuppe, and thereof drynkethe he witt gret devocioun, in remembraunce of the holy man that the aungeles of God han eten.? By this expreffion (says Mr Hole) Mandeville possibly meant to infinuare that they were considered as sacred messengers. No, surely ; aungeles of God was sy. ponymous in Mandeville's vocabulary to fowles of the air. ' Vol. I. P. 36.
We believe that many of our readers will disagree with that assertion, and think the harsh assurance of one editor nearly as objectionable as the quiet certainty of the other. Instances are however adduced, which provę Mr Mason's correction to have been unnecessary and improper ; and, indeed, throughout the whole work, Mr Gifford deserves great commendation for restoring the text which had been injudiciously altered. Sometimes, however, his animosity against Mr Mason has induced him to reject scornfully his suggestions, though not devoid of ingenuity. For example in the Duke of Milan. .
“To see those chuffs, that every day may spend
A soldier's entertainment for a year, ..
Yet make a third meal of a bunch of raisins."!. . So all the old copies, and so indeed Coxeter's ; but Mr Mafon, whose fagacity nothing escapes, detected the poet's blunder, and for third suggested, nay, actually printed thin. " This pallage (quoth he) appears to be erroneous: the making a third meal of raifins, if they had made two good meals before, would be po proof of penuriousness.” Seriously, was ever alteration so capricious ? Was ever reasoning so ab. furd? Where is it said that these chuffs had made two good meals before? Is not the whole tendency of the speech to show that they tarved themselves in the midst of abundance?' I. p. 279.
is so undoubtedly; and, on that very account, did Mr Mason object to third; because, though perhaps not two good meals, it
y that they had made two before, and that would not be much like starvation. The alteration is ingenious, and