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Realons for Printing this WORK, and Dblerbations on it's Propriety.
In the firft Place, The Publisher is ambitious of producing a Work which may attract the admiration of all Europe, in hopes of deriving a proportionate share of reputation and advantage to himself; he, therefore, fixes on our immortal Dramatic Bard.
Secondly, A polite and well-informed Clafs of Readers having declared it as their opinion, that SHAKSPERE has been elucidated into obfcurity, fuggefted first the defign of printing his Plays, entire, cleared from the incumbrance and interruption of Notes.-The text of Dr. JOHNSON, and Mr. STEEVENS, is confequently preferred, which, as Mr. MALONE obferves, feems now, indeed, finally fettled, by a diligent collation of all the old copies hitherto difcovered, and the judicious restoration of ancient readings.-The rejection of all Notes, from the page of the Text, is even approved by Dr. JOHNSON himfelf, who fays, that "The reader is feldom pleafed to find his "opinion anticipated-it is natural to delight more in what we find, "or make, than in what we receive.-Judgment, like other faculties, is improved by practice, and its advancement is hindered by fubmiffion to dictatorial decifions."
In order to obviate every poffible objection, and to accommodate this Edition to the taste of every reader-the Prefaces, Introductions, Advertisements-the hiftorical and literary information of every Editor of SHAKSPERE, of which there have not been lefs than eight, as well as the Notes and critical Illuftrations of every Commentator, of which there are upwards of thirty-will be printed in a diftinct, compact, and clear point of view, referring familiarly from Text to Notes, and from Commentaries to Text, by the mode of printing-so that, in fact, this Edition will comprise the labours of eight, EDITORS, and the elucidations of, at least, thirty ANNOTATORS.
As to the Embellishments, they will be new and magnificent. The Public have much to expect from the fuperior talents of Mr. LouTHERBOURG his having long lived in habits of intimacy with Mr. GARRICK, his familiarity with the stage, and dramatic effect, added to the RENOWN he has acquired in every line of his profeffion, promifes to foar ftill higher on the prefent occafion.
The Engravings of Mr. BARTOLOZZI are fecure of praife and admiration in every part of the world; and the reft fhall be as near his standard of merit, as the Artifts of England and France can produce.
Such is the defign, and the Publisher confidently hopes, that the execution of it will tranfcend his feeble defcription. He is aware of having many impediments oppofed to its circulation, through the ufual channels of the trade; he forefees a hot of foes, and the powerful opponents with whom he muft, in confequence, have to combat-but, fielded as he is by a firm refolution, and the fpirit of his caufe, he will boldly meet his adverfaries, and vindicate his claim to public protection. JOHN BEL L