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wi". Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus.'

“In the original folio of 1623, the same alteration from the old quartos is made in a great variety of places, and I have followed the folio.

“ I wish it were in my power to say of indecency as I have said of profaneness, that the examples of it are not very numerous. Unfortunately the reverse is the case. Those persons whose acquaintance with Shakspeare depends on theatrical representations, in which great alterations are made in the plays, can have little idea of the frequent recurrence in the original text, of expressions, which, however they might be tolerated in the sixteenth century, are by no means admissible in the nineteenth. Of these expressions no example can in this place be given, for an obvious reason. I feel it, however, incumbent on me to observe, in behalf of my favourite author, that, in comparison with most of the contemporary poets, and with the dramatists of the seventeenth century, the plays of Shakspeare are remarkably decent; but it is not sufficient that his defects are trifling in comparison with writers who are highly defective. It certainly is my wish, and it has been my study, to exclude from this publication whatever is unfit to be read aloud by a gentleman to a company of ladies. I can hardly imagine a more pleasing occupation for a winter's evening in the country, than for a father to read one of Shakspeare's plays to his family circle. My object is to enable him to do so without incurring the danger of falling unawares among words and expressions which are of such a nature as to raise a blush on the cheek of modesty, or render it necessary for the reader to pause, and examine the sequel, before he proceeds further in the entertainment of the evening.

“ But though many erasures have for this purpose been made in the writings of Shakspeare in the present edition, the reader may be assured that not a single line, nor even the half of a line, has, in any one instance, been added to the original text. I know the force of Shakspeare, and the weakness of my own pen, too well, to think of attempting

the smallest interpolation. In a few, but in very few instances, one or two words (at the most three) have been inserted to connect the sense of what follows the passage that is expunged with that which precedes it: The few words which are thus added, are connecting particles, words of little moment, and in no degree affecting the meaning of the author, or the story of the play. A word that is less objectionable is sometimes substituted for a synonimous word that is improper.

“ In the following work I have copied the text of the last edition of Mr. Steevens. This I have done so scrupulously, as seldom to have allowed myself to alter either the words or the punctuation. Othello's speech, for example, in the second scene of the fifth act, will be found as it is in Mr. Steevens', and in the old editions of Shakspeare, not as it is usually spoken on the stage. In a few instances I have deviated from Mr. Steevens, in compliance with the original folio of 1623. I do not presume to enter into any

critical disputes as to certain readings of Judean or Indian,

sables or sable, or any thing of that nature, respecting which, many persons of superior abilities have entertained contrary opinions. The glossary (but nothing except the glossary) is borrowed from the edition of 1803. It was compiled by Mr. Harris, under the direction of Mr. Steevens.

“ My great objects in this undertaking are to remove from the writings of Shakspeare some defects which diminish their value, and at the same time to present to the public an edition of his plays, which the parent, the guardian, and the instructor of youth may place, without fear, in the hands of the pupil ; and from which the pupil may derive instruction as well as pleasure; may improve his moral principles, while he refines his taste; and, without incurring the danger of being hurt with any indelicacy of expression, may learn in the fate of Macbeth, that even a kingdom is dearly purchased, if virtue be the price of the acquisition.”

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219

No. VIII.

THE RIGHT REVEREND JOHN FISHER, D.D.

LORD BISHOP OF SALISBURY; CHANCELLOR OF THE ORDER OF THE GARTER; PROVINCIAL PRECENTOR OF CANTERBURY; AND F.S.A.

We scarcely know of any literary desideratum more called for at the present crisis, than a biographical history of the church of England, written in chronological order, and exhibiting a candid and perspicuous view of the progress of religious knowledge from the time of the Reformation. Such a work, properly executed by a mind free from prejudice, and accustomed to the investigation of moral causes in the affairs of the world, would, we are persuaded, be extremely serviceable. It would be a pleasing thing to contemplate the gradual operation of the national creed and liturgical services, upon the opinions and manners of the people, from age to age; but it would be particularly worthy of notice, to trace the connexion between religion and learning, as furthered by the instrumentality of a body of ecclesiastics, specially designated to the purposes of education.

That laymen of excellent natural gifts and high attainments, have been, and are, both well and successfully employed in the important office of tuition, cannot be denied ; but the fact is indubitable, that the best scholars, and most accomplished personages, who, from time to time, have adorned this country, were brought up under clergymen, either in some of the great foundations of learning, or in private seminaries. Ithis circumstance, in a main degree, we scruple not to attribute that moral strength of constitution, which, amidst successive revolutions, has rendered Britain an object

of admiration, and an example of imitation, even to those states that combined for her humiliation, and which still, perhaps, repine at her prosperity.

We are not disposed, however, to confine the advantages of a clerical education to the pale of the establishment; because it is certain that the dissenters of different denominations have most honourably contributed, in this respect, to the support and improvement of the national character. Yet the principle is the same, and the closer the subject is investigated, the clearer will be the proof, that of the great mass of highly cultivated society, which distinguishes the British empire, a preponderating part has been indebted for its intellectual superiority to the labours of ecclesiastics.

In support of this position, we might enumerate a host of learned and reverend individuals, who have established a lasting reputation by their merits as the instructors of youth; though, while so employed, they were little known beyond the sphere of their useful occupation. Some, indeed, like Vincent and Parr, may have made themselves conspicuous by occasionally trimming the midnight lamp, and favouring the public with the fruits of their studious application; but the far greater number of preceptors have been too intensely engaged in the office of teaching, or too diffident of their talents, to appear before the world in the light of authors. This was the case with that illustrious ornament of Westminster, Archbishop Markham, and his no less learned friend, Dr. Cyril Jackson. We might also adduce other instances, as Sumner, of Harrow, Raine, of the Charter House; and lastly, Dr. John Fisher, the venerable bishop of Salisbury, of whom, though his modesty kept him from appearing in the walk of literature, it may be said, in the language of Xenophon, Tonyapouy Tonu μεν αυτος διεφερον εν πας το καλον εργον, πολυ δε και περι εκεινος, δια ή αει μελετη.

“ He therefore excelled much in all noble actions, and much also did those about him, by virtue of his example."

This eminent prelate was the eldest of the ten sons (nine of whom grew to man's estate) of the Rev. John Fisher. He was

born in 1748, at Hampton, in Middlesex. His father having married Miss E. Laurens, of Hampton, of which village he was the curate, soon after became acquainted with Dr. Thomas, bishop of Winchester, the preceptor of His Majesty George III., was appointed the bishop's chaplain, and went with his lordship to Peterborough, of which place he became the vicar, as well as prebendary of Preston, in the cathedral of Salisbury. About the year 1768, Mr. Fisher removed with his family to the Isle of Wight, where his old patron gave him the living of Calbourn, in which he continued until his death.

Dr. Fisher received the earliest part of his education at the Free school in Peterborough, and was thence removed to St. Paul's school, under that able but eccentric scholar Dr. Thicknesse. Having acquired in this celebrated seminary a good stock of classical knowledge, he was sent by his father, in 1766, as a commoner to Peterhouse, Cambridge, over which society the learned recluse, Dr. Edmund Law, afterwards Bishop of Carlisle, then presided. Here Mr. Fisher contracted an intimacy with the son of the master, Mr. Edward Law, afterwards Lord Ellenborough, and Chief Justice of England. He lived also on the same friendly footing with the other branches of that family, particularly Dr. John Law, then of Christ's-college, and afterwards bishop of Elphin, under whom, as one of the moderators with Mr. (now Sir) Robert Graham, baron of the exchequer, Dr. Fisher took his first degree in 1770, with extraordinary reputation among the leading wranglers of that year. Two years after this, he succeeded to an appropriated, or Northamptonshire fellowship, in St. John'scollege, and at the same time completed his degrees in arts. He now became a tutor of his college, in which capacity he acquired considerable distinction, and was greatly esteemed, not only for his various talents, but for the suavity of his temper, and the peculiarly felicitous manner with which he conveyed instruction. He was engaged as private tutor to Prince Zartorinski Poniatowski, and afterwards to Mr. St. George, son of the late archbishop of Dublin, who dying,

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