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AccuRATELY PRINTED FROM
THE TEXT OF MR. STEEVEN'S -
LAST EDITION,

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SOME ACCOUNT OF THE LIFE, etc.

OF
WILLIAM SIHAHSPEARE.

It seems to be a kind of respect due to the memory of exceslent men, especially of those whom their wit and learning have made famous , to deliver some account of themselves, as well as their works, to posterity. For this reason, how fond do we see some people of discovering any little personal story of the great men of antiquity their families, the common accidents of their lives, and even their shape, make, and features have been the subject of critical inquiries. How trifling soever this curiosity may seem to be, it is certainly very natural ; and we are hardly satisfied with an account of any remarkable person, till we have heard him described even to the very cloaths he wears. As for what relates to men of letters, the knowlcdge of an author may sometimes conduce to the better understanding his book; and though the works of Mr. Shakspeare may seem to many not to want a comment, yet i fancy some little account of the man himself may not be thought improper to go along with them. Vol. I. *

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He was the son of Mr. Jožn Shakspeare, and was born at Stratford upon Avon, in oarwickshire, in April 1564. His family, as appears by the register and public writings relating to that town, were of good figure and fashion there, and are mentioned as gentlemen. His father, who was a considerable dealer in wool, had so large. a family, ten children in all, that though he was his cliest son, he could give him no better education than his own employment. He had bred him, it is true, for some time at a free-school, where it is probable, he acquired what Latin he was master of : but the narrowness of his circumstances, and the want of his assistance at liome, forced his father to withdraw him from thence, and unhappily prevenied his further proficiency in that language. It is without controversy, that in his works we scarce find any traces of any thing that looks like an imitation of the ancients. The delicacy of his taste, and the natural bent of his own great genius, (equal, if not superior, to some of the best of theirs) would certainly have led him to read and study them with so much pleasure, that some of their fine images would maturally have insinuated themselves into, and been mixed with his own writings; so that his not copying at least something from them , may be an argument of his never having read them. Whether his ignorance of the ancients were a disadvantage to him or mo, may admit of a dispute : for though the knowiedge of them might have made him more correct, yet it is not improbable but that the regularity and deference for them, which would have attended that correctness, might have orestrained some of that fire, impetuosity and even locautiful extravagance, which we admire in Shak

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