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follow. In those we see the Beauties and Faults of that great Poet weigh'd in the most exaćt and im. partial Scales.

gave me

Those excellent Papers first

an Idea of publishing the following Sheets. Happy! if I can but any ways follow such a Guide, though at ever so great a Distance ; since I am well perfuaded, that by this Means I can never be totally in Error, thoI may sometimes deviate for want of pro

per Abilities!

Criticism in general, is what few of our Countrymen have succeeded in : In that respect, our Neighbours have got the better of us; altho' we can juftly boast of the compleatest · Ejay on that Subject that has been


publifb'd in any Language, in which almost every Line, and every Word, convey such Images, and such Beauties, as were never before found in so small a Compass, and of whose Author it may properly be faid, in that respect,

He is himself that great Sublime he draws.


I would not have the Reader imagine, that I believe I have pointed out all the Excellencies in this Tragedy ; I am not so vain as to think so. Besides, these Papers are too few to contain them; and I have so little of Presumption in me, that I did not think it reasonable to put myReaders to a greater Expence, by enlarging on the Subject, until I find that they themselves are not averse to it.


This is all I have to say at present ; whatever else is necesary to premise, will be found in the Introduction to the Remarks, to which I refer.

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0 F

Hamlet Prince of Denmark.

AM going to do what to some may appear extravagant, but by those of a true Taste in Works of Genius will be approv'd of. I intend to examine one of the Pieces of

the greatest Tragick Writers that ever liv'd, (except Sophocles and Euripides,). according to the Rules of Reason and Nature, without having any regard to



those Rules established by Arbitrary Dogmatising Criticks, only as they can be brought to bear that Test.

AMONG the many parts of this great Poet's Character, so often given by some of our best Writers, I shall particularly dwell upon those which they have the least insisted on, which will, however, put every Thing he has produc'd in its true and proper Light.

He had (beyond Dispute) a inost unbounded Genius, very little regulated by Art.

His particular Excellency consists in the Variety and Singularity of his Characters, and in the constant Conformity of each Character to it self from its very first setting out in the Play, quite to the End. And still further, no Poet ever came up to him, in the Nobleness and Sublimity of Thought, so frequent in his Tragedies, and all express'd with the most Energick Comprehensiveness of Diction,

AND it must moreover be observed, as to his Characters, that although there are some entirely of his own Invention, and such as none but so great a Genius could invent; yet he is so remarkably happy in following of Nature, that (if I may so express it) he does it even in Characters which are not in Nature. "To clear

up this Paradox, my Meaning is, that if we can but once suppose such Characters to exist, then we must allow they must think and act exactly as he has described them.

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