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Mr. J OHNSON's

PRE FACE

To his EDITION of

SHAKESPEAR'S PLAYS.

[Price One Shilling.)

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PRE FACE

To his EDITION of

Shakespear's Plays.

L O N D ON:
Printed for J. and R. Tonson, H. WOODFALL, J. RIVINGTON,
R. BALDWIN, L. Hawes, CLARK and Collins, T.LONGMAN,
W. JOHNSTON, T. Caslon, C. Corbet, T. Lownds,

and the Executors of B. Dodd.

MDCC,LXV.

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HAT praises are without reason lavished on

the dead, and that the honours due only to excellence are paid to antiquity, is a complaint likely to be always continued by those, who, being able to add nothing to truth, hope for eminence from the heresies of paradox; or those, who, being forced by disappointment upon consolatory expedients, are willing to hope from pofterity what the present age refuses, and flatter themselves that the regard which is yet denied by envy, will be at last bestowed by time.

Antiquity, like every other quality that, attracts the notice of mankind, has undoubtedly votaries that reverence it, not from reason, but from prejudice. Some seem to admire indiscriminately whatever has been long preserved, without considering that time has sometimes co-operated with chance ; all perhaps are more willing to honour past than present excellence ; and the inind contemplates genius through the shades of age, as the eye surveys the fun through artificial opacity. The great contention of criticism is to find the faults of the moderns, and the beauties of the ancients. While an auA 3

thour

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