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not only by advertisements, but by an occasional pamphlet, which, in order to retaliate some of our Editor's kindnesses to me, I mean to call, An Essay upon Mr. Pope's Judgment, extracted from his own Works; and humbly addressed to him” (id. ii., p. 551). Of this he forwards Warburton an extract. The pamphlet does not appear to have been published. The Miscellany on Taste which he brought out anonymously in 1732 contains a section entitled Of Mr. Pope's Taste of Shakespeare,' but this is merely a reprint of the letter of 15th (or 16th) April, which had already been printed in the Daily Journal. A considerable time elapsed before arrangements for publication were completed, the interval being marked by a temporary estrangement from Warburton and
an unsuccessful candidature for the laureateship. Articles with Tonson were signed in November, 1731 (id. ii., pp. 13, 618), and at the same time the correspondence with Warburton was renewed. The edition did not appear till
1733 The Preface had been begun about the end of 1731.
From March, 1729, with the short break in 1730, Theobald had been in steady correspondence with Warburton, and most of his letters, with a few of those of Warburton, have been preserved by Nichols (see id. ii., pp. 189, 607). But it would have been more fortunate for Theobald's reputation had they perished. The cruel contempt and bitterness of Warburton's references to him after their final estrangement may be offensive, but the correspondence shows that they were not without some justification. Theobald submits his conjectures anxiously to the judgment of Warburton, and again and again Warburton saves him from himself. In one of the letters Theobald rightly condemns Pope's proposed insertion of “Francis Drake” in the incomplete line at the end of the first scene of Henry VI., Part I.; but not content with this flawless piece of destructive criticism he argues for inserting the words“ and Cassiopeia." The probability is that if Warburton had not condemned the
proposal it would have appeared in Theobald's edition. "With a just deference to your most convincing reasons, says Theobald, “I shall with great cheerfulness banish it as a bad and unsupported conjecture” (id. ii., p. 477); and this remark is typical of the whole correspondence. A considerable share of the merit of Theobald's editionthough the share is mostly negative—belongs to Warburton, for Theobald had not taste enough to keep him right when he stepped beyond collation of the older editions or explanation by parallel passages. Indeed, the letters to Warburton, besides helping to explain his reputation in the eighteenth century, would in themselves be sufficient to justify his place in the Dunciad.
Warburton had undoubtedly given Theobald grudging assistance and was plainly interested in the success of the edition. But as he had gauged Theobald's ability, he had some fears for the Preface. So at least we gather from a letter which Theobald wrote to him on 18th November, 1731 :
“I am extremely obliged for the tender concern you have for my reputation in what I am to prefix to my Edition : and this part, as it will come last in play, I shall certainly be so kind to myself to communicate in due time to your perusal. The whole affair of Prolegomena I have determined to soften into Preface. I am so very cool as to my sentiments of my Adversary's usage, that I think the publick should not be too largely troubled with them. Blockheadry is the chief hinge of his satire upon me ; and if my Edition do not wipe out that, I ought to be content to let the charge be fixed ; if it do, the reputation gained will be a greater triumph than resentment. But, dear Sir, will you, at your leisure hours, think over for me upon the contents, topics, orders, etc., of this branch of my labour ? You have a comprehensive memory, and a happiness of digesting the matter joined to it, which my head is often too much embarrassed to perform ; let that be the excuse for my inability. But how unreasonable is it to expect this labour, when it is the only part in which I shall not be able to be just to my friends : for, to confess assistance in a Preface will, I am afraid, make me appear too naked. Rymer's extravagant rancour against our Author, under the umbrage of criticism, may, I presume, find a place here” (id. ii., pp. 621, 622).
This confession of weakness is valuable in the light of Warburton's Preface to his own edition of 1747. His
statement of the assistance he rendered Theobald is rude and cruel, but it is easier to impugn his taste than his truthfulness. Theobald did not merely ask for assistance in the Preface ; he received it too. Warburton expressed himself on this matter, with his customary force and with a pleasing attention to detail, in a letter to the Rev. Thomas Birch on 24th November, 1737. “You will see in Theobald's heap of disjointed stuff,” he says, “which he calls a Preface to Shakespeare, an observation upon those poems (i.e. L'Allegro and Il Penseroso] which I made to him, and which he did not understand, and so has made it a good deal obscure by contracting my note ; for you must understand that almost all that Preface (except what relates to Shakespeare's Life, and the foolish Greek conjectures at the end) was made up of notes I sent him on particular passages, and which he has there stitched together without head or tail” (Nichols, ii., p. 81). The Preface is indeed a poor piece of patch-work. Examination of the footnotes throughout the edition corroborates Warburton's concluding statement. Some of the annotations which have his name attached to them are repeated almost verbatim (e.g. the note in Love's Labour's Lost on the use of music), while the comparison of Addison and Shakespeare is taken from a letter written by Warburton to Concanen in 1726-7 (id. ii., pp. 195, etc.). The inequality of the essaythe fitful succession of limp and acute observations—can be explained only by ill-matched collaboration.
Warburton has himself indicated the extent of Theobald's debt to him. In his own copy of Theobald's Shakespeare he marked the passages which he had contributed to the Preface, as well as the notes " which Theobald deprived him of and made his own,” and the volume is now in the Capell collection in Trinity College, Cambridge. Mr. Churton Collins, in his attempt to prove Theobald the greatest of Sbakespearean editors, has said that “if in this copy, which we have not had the opportunity of inspecting, V, arburton has laid claim to
more than Theobald has assigned to him, we believe him to be guilty of dishonesty even more detestable than that of which the proofs are, as we have shown, indisputable.”ı An inspection of the Cambridge volume is not necessary to show that a passage in the Preface has been conveyed from one of Warburton's letters published by Nichols and by Malone. Any defence of Theobald by an absolute refusal to believe Warburton's word can be of no value unless some proof be adduced that Warburton was here untruthful, and it is peculiarly inept when Theobald's own page proclaims the theft. We know that Theobald asked Warburton for assistance in the Preface, and gave warning that such assistance would not be acknowledged. Warburton could have had no evil motive in marking those passages in his private copy; and there is surely a strong presumption in favour of a man who deliberately goes over seven volumes, carefully indicating the material which he considered his own. It happens that one of the passages contains an unfriendly allusion to Pope. If Warburton meant to be “dishonest -and there could be no purpose in being dishonest before he was Theobald's enemy—why did he not disclaim this allusion some years later? The simple explanation is that he marked the passages for his own amusement while he was still on friendly terms with Theobald. They are thirteen in number, and they vary in length from a few lines to two pages. Four of them are undoubtedly his, and there is nothing to disprove that the other nine are his also.
1 Essay on “ The Porson of Shakspearian Criticism," Essays and Studies, 1895, p. 270.
2 I am indebted to Dr. Aldis Wright for procuring for me the details of Warburton's claims. As a few of the passages were omitted by Theobald in the second edition, the following page references are to the edition of 1733 :
(1) P. xix, This Similitude, to Nature and Science, p. XX. (2) P. xxi, Servetur ad imum, to the more wonder'd at, p. xxi (3) P. xxv, That nice Critick, to Truth and Nature, p. xxvii. (4) P. xxx, For I shall find, to this long agitated Question, p. xxxii. (p. 76).
Theobald quotes also from his own correspondence. On 17th March, 1729-30, he had written to Warburton a long letter dealing with Shakespeare's knowledge of languages and including a specimen of his proposed pamphlet against Pope. “Your most necessary caution against inconsistency, with regard to my opinion of Shakespeare's knowledge in languages,” he there
says characteristically, “shall not fail to have all its weight with
And therefore the passages that I occasionally quote from the Classics shall not be brought as proofs that he imitated those originals, but to shew how happily he has expressed themselves upon the same topics (Nichols, ii., pp. 564, etc.). This part of the letter is included verbatim three years afterwards in the Preface. So also is the other passage in the same letter replying to Pope on the subject of Shakespeare's anachronisms. Theobald borrows even from his own published writings. Certain passages are reproduced from the Introduction to Shakespeare Restored.
If Theobald could hardly acknowledge, as he said, the assistance he received in writing the Preface, he at least admitted his editorial debt to Warburton and others punctiliously and handsomely. After referring to Dr. Thirlby of Jesus College, Cambridge, and Hawley Bishop, he thus writes of his chief helper :
“To these, I must add the indefatigable Zeal and Industry of my most ingenious and ever-respected Friend, the Reverend Mr. William Warburton of Newark upon Trent. This Gentleman, from the Motives of his frank and communicative Disposition, voluntarily took a
(5) P. xxxiii, They are confessedly, to Force and Splendor, p. xxxiv. (p. 77). (6) P. xxxiv, And how great that Merit, to ill Appearance (p. 77). (7) P. xxxv, It seems a moot Point, to from the spurious, p. xxxvi. (p. 78). (8) P. xxxix, For the late Edition, to have wrote so, p. xl. (p. 81). (9) P. xl, The Science of Criticism, to Editor's Labour, p. xli. (pp. 81, 82). (10) P. xlv, There are Obscurities, to antiquated and disused (p. 84). () P. xlvi, Wit lying mostly, to Variety of his Ideas, p. xlvii. (pp. 84-86). (12) P. xlviii, as to Rymer, to his best Reflexions (p. 86). (13) P. lxii, If the Latin, to Complaints of its Barbarity (pp. 89, 90). The passages which were retained are printed in the present text at the pages indicated above within brackets.
Cf. Notes, p. 89.