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ly well conducted. Falstaff's Billet-doux, and Mafter Slender's

Ab! Sweet Ann Page!

are very good Expreffions of Love in their Way. In Twelfth-Night there is fomething fingularly Ridiculous and Pleafant in the fantaftical Steward Malvolio. The Parafite and the Vain-glorious in Parolles, in All's Well that ends Well, is as good as any thing of that Kind in Plautus or Terence. Petruchio, in The Taming of the Shrew, is an uncommon Piece of Humour. The Converfation of Benedick and Beatrice, in Much ado about Nothing, and of Rofalind in As you like it, have much Wit and Sprightliness all along. His Clowns, without which Character there was hardly any Play writ in that Time, are all very entertaining: And, I believe, Therfites in Troilus and Creffida,and Apemantus in Timon,will be allow'd to be Master-Pieces of ill Nature, and fatyrical Snarling. To these I might add, that incomparable Character of Shylock the Jew, in The Merchant of Venice; but tho' we have seen that Play Receiv'd and Acted as a Comedy, and the Part of the Jew perform'd by an Excellent Comedian, yet I cannot but think it

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was defign'd Tragically by the Author. There appears in it fuch a deadly Spirit of Revenge, fuch a favage Fiercenefs and Fellness, and fuch a bloody defignation of Cruelty and Mischief, as cannot agree either with the Stile or Characters of Comedy. The Play it self, take it all together, feems to me to be one of the most finish'd of any of Shakespear's. The Tale indeed, in that Part relating to the Caskets, and the extravagant and unusual kind of Bond given by Antonio, is a little too much remov'd from the Rules of Probability: But taking the Fact for granted, we must allow it to be very beautifully written. There is something in the Friendship of Antonio to Baffanio very Great, Generous and Tender. The whole fourth Act, fuppofing, as I faid, the Fact to be probable, is extremely Fine. But there are two Paffages that deserve a particular Notice. The firft is, what Portia fays in praise of Mercy, pag.577; and the other on the Power of Mufick, pag. 587. The Melancholy of Jaques, in As you like it, is as fingular and odd as it is diverting. And if what Horace fays

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"Twill be a hard Task for any one to go



yond him in the Description of the feveral Degrees and Ages of Man's Life, tho' the Thought be old, and common enough.

-All the World's a Stage,

And all the Men and Women meerly Players;
They have their Exits and their Entrancés,
And one Man in his time plays many Parts,
His Acts being feven Ages. At first the Infant
Mewling and puking in the Nurfe's Arms:
And then,the whining School-boy with his Satchel,
And fhining Morning-face, creeping like Snail
Unwillingly to School. And then the Lover
Sighing like Furnace, with a woful Ballad
Made to his Miftrefs' Eye-brow. Then a Soldier
Full of ftrange Oaths, and bearded like the Pard,
Jealous in Honour, fudden and quick in Quarrel,
Seeking the bubble Reputation

Ev'n in the Cannon's Mouth. And then the Justice
In fair round Belly, with good Capon liñ'd,
With Eyes fevere, and Beard of formal Cut,
Full of wife Saws and modern Inftances;
And fo he plays his Part. The fixth Age shifts
Into the lean and flipper'd Pantaloon,
With Spectacles on Nofe, and Pouch on Side;
His youthful Hofe, well fav'd, a world too wide
For his fhrunk Shank; and his big manly Voice
Turning again tow'rd childish treble Pipes,

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And Whistles in his Sound. Laft Scene of all,
That ends this ftrange eventful Hiftory,
Is fecond Childishness and meer Oblivion,
Sans Teeth, fans Eyes, fans Taft, fans ev'ry thing.
p. 625.

His Images are indeed ev'ry where fo lively, that the Thing he would represent stands full before you, and you poffefs ev'ry Part of it. I will venture to point out one more, which is, I think, as ftrong and as uncommon as any thing I ever faw; 'tis an Image of Patience. Speaking of a Maid in Love, he fays,

She never told her Love,

But let Concealment, like a Worm i'th' Bud
Feed on her Damask Cheek: She pin'd in Thought,
And fate like Patience on a Monument,
Smiling at Grief.

What an Image is here given! and what Task would it have been for the greatest Mafters of Greece and Rome to have exprefs'd the Paffions defign'd by this Sketch of Statuary? The Stile of his Comedy is, in general, Natural to the Characters, and eafie in it felf; and the Wit most commonly fprightly and pleafing, except in thofe places where he runs into Dogrel Rhymes, as in The Comedy of Errors,


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and a Paffage or two in fome other Plays. As for his Jingling fometimes, and playing upon Words, it was the common Vice of the Age he liv'd in: And if we find it in the Pulpit, made use of as an Ornament to the Sermons of fome of the Gravest Divines of those Times perhaps it may not be thought too light for the Stage.

But certainly the greatness of this Author's Genius do's no where fo much appear, as where he gives his Imagination an entire Loofe, and raifes his Fancy to a flight above Mankind and the Limits of the vifible World. Such are his Attempts in The Tempest, MidfummerNight's Dream, Macbeth and Hamlet. Of thefe, The Tempest, however it comes to be plac'd the first by the former Publishers of his Works, can never have been the firft written by him: It seems to me as perfect in its Kind, as almost any thing we have of his. One may obferve, that the Unities are kept here with an Exactness uncommon to the Liberties of his Writing Tho' that was what, I fuppose, he valu'd himself least upon, fince his Excellencies were all of another Kind. I am very fenfible that he do's, in this Play, depart too much from that likeness to Truth which ought to be obferv'd in these fort of Writings; yet

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