« PreviousContinue »
cing the Cuts.
4ge 25. I. 35. for Reiterations, read Alterations ;
worse, r. wortb ; p. 66. 1. 29. r. in one's Power ; p. 114. 1. 18. r. fuperciliqus; p.152. l, 28. for are, r. of 3 p. 175. 1.. 21. for extrisate, r. intricate.
HEN we concluded the First Volume, we left speaking of the Third Book of the Dunciad, and gave Intimation of a Fourth, which came out afterwards; before we take further
Notice of that, we think it proper to introduce several Persons and Things, that may fill up the Interval. Our great Dramatick Poet, Shakespear, had in Whole, or in Part, passed through several Hands; fome, who might be very reasonably thought not to VOL II.
have understood well any Part of him, much less be fit to correct or revise him.
The Friends of Mr. Pope solicited him strongly to undertake the Whole of Shakespear's Plays, and, if possible, by comparing all the different Copies now to be procured, bring him back to his own antiene Purity. To which Mr. Pope made this modeft Reply, That not having attempted any Thing in the Drama (for he had not appear’d to do it) it might in him be deem's too much Presumption. To which he received Answer from a certain Earl, that this did not require great Knowledge of the Foundation and Disposition of the Drama, feeing that must stand as it was, and that Shakespear himself, had not always paid strict Regard to the Rules of it; but this was to clear the Scenes from the Rubbish which Actors, and those into whose Care they had fell, had filled them : For the Players after Shakespear's Time, curtailed, blotted, transpos'd, added whole Scenes, nay, did any Thing, which they thought would please the lower Set of the Audience, to which Part, to this Day, that Sort of People still make their Court. He added, that his chief Business would be, to render the Text so that it might read, and be free from those Obscurities, and sometimes gross Absurdities, that now seem to appear in it, and to explain doubtful and difficult Passages, of which there are great Numbers: This, and marking Scene Lines, or Words only, imagined to be spurious, was all that noble Gentleman, of a noble Taste and Disposition, told Mr. Pope he had to do : This was no small Task; how he has acquitted himself, for he complied with this Request, has been differently judged; the Truth we are inclined to think is, in some Places he has let to rights and explained him, and in fome Places again, made him more unintelli