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CHISWICK:
PRINTED BY C. WHITTINGHAM.
SOLD BY CARPENTER AND SON; J. CARR;
SHARPE AND HAILES; GALE, CURTIS, AND FENNER ;
R. JENNINGS; AND J. MARTIN; LONDON.

1814.

905343

ENGLAR

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Portrait of William Shakspeare, drawn from the Bust in Stratford Chare.

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ON

THE LIFE AND WRITINGS

OP

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.

Written expressly for this Edition,
BY JOHN BRITTON, F.S. A.

For lofty sense
Creative fancy, and inspiration keen
Through the deep windings of the human heart,
Is not wild Shakspeare thine and Nature's boast?”

Thomson, “ Heaven-born Genius acts from something superior to rules,

and antecedent to rules; and has a right of appeal to Nature berself."

Mrs. Montague.

It has been frequently and justly remarked, that no deparlinent in the dignified and almost houndless circle of literature, excites so much general interest as biography. From what cause this arises it is not expedient, in this place, to inquire; but it is unquestionably true that every man, who pretends to an elevation of mind above the vulgar level, evinces an eager curiosity relative to those who have at any time astonished the world by their exploits, or enlightened it by their genius and wisdom. Not contented with the most ample information respecting their public career, the philosopher endeavours to penetrate the uncertainty which usually veils the incidents of private life. The genealogy of their families, the events of their childhood, the nature of their education, their personal appearance, their manners, their habits, their friendships, their amusements, and even their foibles, constitute subjects of solicitude and investigation. Nor ought such inquiries to be rashly stigmatized as

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