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The Language of the Poet Asserted:
FULL BUT DISPASSIONATE EXAMEN
READINGS AND INTERPRETATIONS
COMPRISED IN A SERIES
OF NOTES, SIXTEEN HUNDRED IN
AND NECESSARY SUPPLEMENT.
BY ANDREW BECKET;
Natura il fece e poi ruppe la stampa. ARIOSTO.
IN TWO VOLUMES.
PRINTED BY A. J. VALPY, TOOKE'S COURT,
SOLD BY MESSRS. LAW AND WHITTAKER; LONGMAN,
THE world is in possession of so many excellent discourses respecting Shakspeare, that to insist on his merit at the present day were only to repeat the sentiments contained in them. But though the general excellence of the Poet, is admitted on all hands, his particular expression has (except in the instance of the Editor Warburton',) been very frequently misunderstood. This is a matter, however, which will best appear by an attentive perusal of the notes and observations which I have now
"O learning!--Open thy Mæonian and thy Mantuan coffers, with whatever else includes thy philosophic, thy poetic, and thy historical treasures, whether with Greek or Roman characters thou hast chosen to inscribe the ponderous chests; give me awhile that key to all thy treasures, which to thy Warburton thou hast intrusted."
"Reader it is impossible we should know what sort of person thou wilt be, for perhaps thou may'st be as learned in human nature as Shakspeare himself was, and perhaps thou may'st be no wiser than some of his editors. Now lest this latter should be the case, we think proper, before we go any farther together, to give thee a few wholesome admonitions; that thou may'st not as grossly misunderstand and misrepresent us, as some of the said Editors have misunderstood and misrepresented their_author."— Introductory Chapters to Tom Jones.