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accumulate upon him ; while the Reading was yet not rectified, nor his Allusions understood; yet then did Dryden pronounce, that • Shakespeare was the < Man, who, of all modern, and perhaps ancient
Poets, had the largest and most comprehensive • Soul. All the Images of Nature were still pre+ sent to him, and he drew them not laborioufly, but « luckily: When he describes any Thing, you more • than see it, you feel it too. Those who accuse • him to have wanted Learning, give him the greater • Commendation : He was naturally learned: He ' needed not the Spectacles of Books to read Na
ture; he looked inwards, and found her there. ' I cannot say he is every where alike ; were he so . I should do him Injury to compare him with the • Greatest of Mankind. He is many times flat and • insipid; his comickWit degenerating into Clenches, . his serious Swelling into Bombast. But he is al
ways great when some great Occasion is presented s to him : No Man can say he ever had a fit Sub.
ject for his Wit, and did not then raise himself as high above the Rest of Poets,
Quantum lenta folent inter viburna cuprefi.' It is to be lamented that such a Writer Thould want a Comentary ; that his Language should become obsolete, or his Sentiments obscure. But it is vain to carry Wishes beyond the Condition of human Things ; that which must happen to all, has happened to Shakespeare, by Accident and Time ; and more than has been suffered by any other Writer since the Use of Types, has been suffered by him through his own Negligence of Tame, or perhaps by that Superiority of Mind which despised its own Performances, when it compared them with its Powers, and judged those Works unworthy to be preserved, which the Criticks of following Ages were to contend for the Fame of restoring and explaining. L 3
Among these Candidates of inferiour Fame, I am now to stand the Judgment of the Publick, and wish that I could confidently produce my Commentary as equal to the Encouragement which I have had the Honour of receiving. Every Work of this Kind is by its Nature deficient ; and I should feel litt'e Solicitude about the Sentence, were it to be pro, nounced only by the Skilful and the Learned.
P R E F AC CE
HE public may justly require to be informed
of the Nature and extent of every Delign, for which the Favour of the Publick is openly solicited. The Artists, who were themselves the first Projectors of an Exhibition in this Nation, and who have now contributed to the following Catalogue, think it therefore neceffary to explain their Purpose, and justify their Conduct. An Exhibition of the Works of Art, being a Spectacle new in this Kingdom, has raised various Opinions and Conjectures among those who are unacquainted with the Practice in foreign Nations. Those who set out their Performances to general View, have been too often confidered as the Rivals of each other, as Men actuated, if not by Avarice, at least by Vanity, and contending for Superiority of Fame, though not for a pecuniary Prize. It cannot be denied or doubted, that all who offer themselves to Criticism are desirous of Praise ; this Desire is not only innocent, but virtuous, while it is undebased by Artifice, and unpolluted by Envy; and of Envy or Artifice these Men can never be accused, who, already enjoying all the Honours and Profits of their Profeflion, are content to stand Candidates for public Notice, with Genius yet unexperienced, and Diligence yet unrewarded; who, without any Hope of increasing their own Reputation or Interest, expose their Names and their Works only that they may furnish an Opportunity of Appearance to the
Young, the Diffident, and the Neglected. The Purpose of this Exhibition is not to enrich the Artists, but to advance the Art; the Eminent are not flattered with Preference, nor the Obscure insulted with Contempt, whoever hopes to deserve public Favour, is here invited to display his Merit.
Of the Price put upon this Exhibition fome Account may
be demanded. Whoever fets his Work to be fhewn, naturally defires a Multitude of Spectators; but his Desire defeats its own End, when Spectators affemble in such Numbers as to obstruct one another. Though we are far from wishing to diminith the Pleasures, or depreciate the Senti: ments of any Class of the Community, we know, however, what every one knows, that all cannot be Judges or Purchasers of Works of Art : yet we have already found by Experience, that all are desirous ta fee an Exhibition. When the Terms of Admiffion were low, our Room was thronged with such Multitudes as made Access dangerous, and frightenened away those whose Approbation was most defired.
Yet, because it is seldom believed that Money is got but for the Love of Money, we shall tell the Use which we intend to make of our expected Profits.
Many Artists of great Abilities are unable to sell their Works for their due Price; to remove this Inconvenience, an annual Sale will be appointed, to which every Man must send his Works, and send them if he will without his Name. These Works will be reviewed by the Committee that conduct the Exhibition. A Price will be secretly set on every Piece, and registered by the Secretary. If the Piece exposed is sold for more, the whole Price shall be thę Artist's; but if the Purchaser's Value it at less than the Committee, the Artist shall be paid the Defi. ciency from the Profits of the Exhibition.
In which is delineated what a News-PAPER may
and ought to be.
T has always been lamented, that of the little
Time allotted to Man, much must be spent upon Superfluities. Every Prospect has its Obstructions which we must break to enlarge our View : Every Step of our Progress finds impediments, which however eager to go forward we must stop to remove. Even those who profess to teach the Way to Happiness, have multiplied our Incumbrances, and the Authour of almost every Book retards his Instructions by a Preface.
The Writers of the Chronicle hope to be easily forgiven, though they should not be free from an Infection that has seized the whole Fraternity, and instead of falling immediately to their Subjects, should detain the Reader for a Time with an Account of the Importance of their Design, the Extent of their Plan, and the Accuracy of the Method which they intend to prosecute. Such Premonitions, though not always necessary when the Reader has the Book complete in his Hand, and may find by his own Eyes whatever can be found in it, yet may more easily be allowed to Works published 8