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ΤΗΣ ΦΥΣΕΩΣ ΓΡΑΜΜΑΤΕΥΣ ΗΝ, ΤΟΝ ΚΑΛΑΜΟΝ ΑΠΟΒΡΕΧΩΝ ΕΙΣ ΝΟΥΝ,
Vet. Auct. apud, Suidam.
MULTA DIES, VARIUSQUE LABOR MUTABILIS EVI
Printed for T. Longman, B. Law and Son, C. Dilly, J. Robfon, J. Johnfon,
THE reader may observe that, contrary to former usage, no head of Shakspeare is prefixed to the present edition of his Plays. The undisguised fact is this. The only portrait of him that even pretends to authenticity, by means of injudicious cleaning, or some other accident, has become little better than the "shadow of a shade."* The late Sir Joshua Reynolds indeed once suggested, that whatever person it was designed for, it might have been left, as it now appears, unfinished. Various copies and plates, however, are said at different times to have been made from it; but a regard for truth obliges us to confess that they are all unlike cach other,† and convey no distinct resemblance of the poor remains of their avowed original. Of the drapery and curling hair exhi
Such, we think, were the remarks, that occurred to us several years ago, when this portrait was accessible. We wished indeed to have confirmed them by a second view of it; but a late accident in the noble family to which it belongs, has precluded us from that satisfaction.
+ Vertue's portraits have been over-praised on account of their fidelity; for we have now before us six different heads of Shakspeare engraved by him, and do not scruple to assert that they have individually a different cast of countenance. Cucullus non facit monachum. The shape of our author's ear-ring and falling-band may correspond in them all, but where shall we find an equal conformity in his features? Few objects indeed are occasionally more difficult to seize, than the slender traits that mark the character of a face; and the eye will often