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Oh, where's the bard, who at one view
Could look the whole creation through,
Who travers'd all the human heart,
Without recourse to Grecian art?
He scorn'd the rules of imitation,
Of altering, pilfering, and translation,
Nor painted horror, grief, or rage,
From models of a former age;
The bright original he took,
And tore the leaf from nature's book.
Yes! jealous wits may still for empire strive
Still keep the flames of critick rage alive:
Our SHAKSPEARE yet shall all his rights maintain,
And crown the triumphs of ELIZA's reign.
Above controul, above each classick rule,
His tutress nature, and the world his school.
On daring pinions borne, to him was given
Th' aerial range of FANCY's brightest Heaven,
To bid rapt thought o'er noblest heights aspire,
And wake each passion with a MUSE OF FIRE.
Revere his genius-To the dead be just,
And spare the laurels, that o'ershade the dust.-
Low sleeps the bard, in cold obstruction laid,
Nor asks the chaplet from a rival's head.
O'er the drear vault, Ambition's utmost bound,
Unheard shall Fame her airy trumpet sound!
Unheard alike, nor grief, nor transport raise,
Thy blast of censure, or thy note of praise!
In the first seat, in robe of various dies
A noble wildness flashing from his eyes,
Sat Shakspeare.-In one hand a wand he bore,
For mighty wonders fam'd in days of yore;
The other held a globe, which to his will
Obedient turn'd, and own'd a master's skill:
Things of the noblest kind his genius drew,
And look'd through nature at a single view:*
A loose he gave to his unbounded soul,
And taught new lands to rise, new seas to roll;
Call'd into being scenes unknown before,
And, passing nature's bounds, was something more.
* Thus Pope, in his Temple of Fame, speaking of Aristotle: "His piercing eyes, erect, appear to view
Superior worlds, and look all Nature through." Steevens. VOL, I.
AS RAPHAEL's own creation grac'd his hearse,*
And sham'd the pomp of ostentatious verse.
Shall SHAKSPEARE's honours by himself be paid,
And Nature perish ere his pictures fade.
The TRANSFIGURATION, that well known picture of RAPHAEL, was carried before his body to the grave, doing more real honour to his memory than either his epitaph in the Pantheon, the famous distich of CARDINAL BEMBO, or all the other adulatory verses written on the same occasion. Keate.
Advertisement by Mr. Reed,
Preface to Mr. Richardson's Proposals,
Proposals by Mr. Richardson,
Supplement to the Proposals of Mr. Richardson,
Advertisement by Mr. Steevens,
Rowe's Life of Shakspeare,
Anecdotes of Shakspeare, from Oldys,
Baptisms, Marriages, &c.
Shakspeare's Coat of Arms,
Dedication by Hemings and Condell,
Preface by Hemings and Condell,
Advertisement to 20 Plays by Steevens,
Introduction by Capell,
Advertisement by Steevens,
Preface by M. Mason,
Advertisement by Reed,
Preface by Malone,
to the second edition,
Advertisement to the third edition,
Farmer's Essay on the Learning of Shakspeare,
Two Gentlemen of Verona,
Midsummer Night's Dream.
Merry Wives of Windsor,
Measure for Measure.
Love's Labour's Lost,
Much Ado about Nothing,
Merchant of Venice.
As you Like it,
All's Well that Ends Well.