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wards became the ornaments of the Irish Senate and Bar." It appears that at his outset he had laid down to himself those rules of study to which he ever afterwards steadily adhered. His pursuits were various, but they were not desultory. He was anxious for general information, as far as it could be accurately obtained; but had no value for that superficial smattering which fills the world with brisk and empty talkers. When sitting down to the perusal of any work, either antient or modern, his attention was drawn to its chronology, the history and character of its author, the feelings and prejudices of the times in which he lived; and any other collateral information which might tend to illustrate his writings, or acquaint us with his probable views and cast of thinking. In later years he was more particularly engrossed by the literature of his own country; but the knowledge he had acquired in his youth had been too assiduously collected, and toọ firmly fixed in his mind, not to retain possession of his memory, and preserve that purity and elegance of taste which is rarely to be met with but in those who have early derived it from the models of classical antiquity. As a proof that his youthful studies had by no means been forgotten, those who were intimate with him can well recollect the delight he at all times expressed, at receiving the letters of Dr. Michael Kearney. The communications of that elegant scholar would have gratified him had the writer been a stranger; but it is unnecessary to point out how much his pleasure was enhanced when he found them in the correspondence of one of his earliest and most highly valued friends. He appears frequently, at this period, in common with some of his accomplished contemporaries, to have amused himself with slight poetical compositions; and on the marriage of their present Majesties contributed an Ode to the collection of congratulatory verses which issued on that event from the University of Dublin. In 1763 he became a student in the Inner Temple; and in 1767 was called to the Irish bar. It

might naturally have been expected, that the example of his distinguished relatives, et pater Eneas et avunculus Hector, would have stimulated him to pursue the same career in which they had been so honourably successful; and that he would have attained to the highest rank in a profession for which he was so admirably fitted by his natural acuteness and steady habits of application; and accordingly, at his first appearance in the Courts, he gave every promise of future eminence. But an independent fortune having soon after devolved upon him, he felt himself at liberty to retire from the bar, and devote his whole attention in future to those literary pursuits which have established his reputation as a critick, and entitled him to the gratitude of every English scholar. With a view to the superior opportunities for information and study, and the society which London affords, he soon after settled in that metropolis; and resided there with very little intermission, for the remainder of his life. Such society, indeed, as he met with there, must have been a perpetual feast of intellectual enjoyment, to one so well qualified to appreciate its value. It is no exaggeration to say that centuries may elapse before two such men as Burke and Johnson can be brought together; and how long may we look in vain for such a combination of various and splendid talent as was collected by the liberal and tasteful hospitality of Sir Joshua Reynolds, himself one of the brightest ornaments of the age in which he lived! Among the many eminent men with whom he became early acquainted, he was naturally drawn by the enthusiastic admiration which he felt for Shakspeare, and the attention which he had already paid to the elucidation of his works, into a particularly intimate intercourse with Mr. Steevens. The just views which he himself had formed, led him to recognise in the system of criticism and illustration which that gentleman then adopted, the only means by which a correct exhibition of our great Poet could be obtained. Mr. Steevens was gratified to find that one so well ac

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quainted with the subject entertained that high estimation of his labours which Mr. Malone expressed; and very soon discovered the advantage he might derive from the communications of a mind so richly stored. Mr. Malone was ready and liberal in imparting his knowledge, which, on the other part, was most gratefully received. In one of Mr. Steevens's letters, after acknowledging in the warmest terms the value of Mr. Malone's assistance, he adopts the language of their favourite, Shakspeare:

Only I have left to say,

"More is thy due than more than all can pay.”

Mr. Steevens having published a second edition of his Shakspeare, in 1778, Mr. Malone, in 1780, added two supplementary volumes, which contained some additional notes, Shakspeare's poems, and seven plays which have been ascribed to him. There appears up to this time to have been no interruption to their friendship; but, on the contrary, Mr. Steevens, having formed a design of relinquishing all future editorial labours, most liberally made a present to Mr. Malone of his valuable collection of old plays, declaring himself that he was now become "a dowager commentator." It is painful to think that this harmony should ever have been disturbed, or that any thing should have led a disagreement between two such men, who were so well qualified to co-operate for the benefit of the literary world. Mr. Malone, having continued his researches into all the topicks which might serve to illustrate our great Dramatist, discovered, that although much had been done, yet that much still remained for critical industry; and that a still more accurate collation of the early copies than had hitherto taken place, was necessary, before the author's text could be clearly and satisfactorily ascertained. His materials accumulated so fast, that he determined to appear before the world as an editor in form. From that moment he

seems to have been regarded with jealousy by the elder Commentator, who appears to have sought an opportunity for a rupture, which he soon afterwards found, or rather created. But it is necessary to go back for a moment, to point out another of Mr. Malone's productions. There are few events in literary history more extraordinary in all its circumstances, than the publication of the poems attributed to Rowley.. Mr. Malone was firmly convinced that the whole was a fabrication by Chatterton; and, to support his opinion, published one of the earliest pamphlets which appeared in the course of this singular controversy. By exhibiting a series of specimens from early English writers, both prior and posterior to the period in which this supposed Poet was represented to have lived, he proved that his style bore no resemblance to genuine antiquity; and by stripping Rowley of his antique garb, which was easily done by the substitution of modern synonymous words in the places of those obsolete expressions which are sprinkled throughout these compositions, and at the same time intermingling some archæological phrases in the acknowledged productions of Chatterton, he clearly shewed that they were all of the same character, and equally bore evident marks of modern versification, and a modern structure of language. He was followed by Mr. Warton, and Mr. Tyrwhitt in his Second Appendix; and although a few straggling believers yet exist, the public mind is pretty well made up upon the subject. But to return to Shakspeare. While Mr. Malone was engaged in this work, he received from Mr. Steevens a request of a most extraordinary nature. In a third edition of Johnson and Steevens's Shakspeare, which had been published under the superintendance of Mr. Reed, in 1785, Mr. Malone had contributed some notes in which Mr. Steevens's opinions were occasionally controverted. These he was now desired to retain in his new edition, exactly as they stood before, in order that Mr. S. might. answer them. Mr. Malone replied, that he could make


no such promise; that he must feel himself at liberty to correct his observations, where they were erroneous; to enlarge them, where they were defective; and even to expunge them altogether, where, upon further consideration, he was convinced they were wrong: in short, he was bound to present his work to the publick as perfect as he could make it. But he added, that he was willing to transmit every note of that description in its last state to Mr. Steevens, before it went to press; that he might answer it if he pleased; and that Mr. Malone would even preclude himself from the privilege of replying. Steevens persisted in requiring that they should appear with all their imperfections on their head; and on this being refused, declared that all communication on the subject of Shakspeare was at an end between them*. In November, 1790, Mr. Malone's edition at last appeared; and was sought after and read with the greatest avidity. In estimating its excellence by a comparison with the labours of those who preceded him, it would be presumptuous to say any thing of those earlier commentators whose characters have been so admirably delineated by Johnson; but of Johnson himself it may be said without disrespect, that although he brought to his task all that a powerful mind and general knowledge could supply, yet he had neither (as his own Preface informs us) the means, nor perhaps the industry, which were required for accurate and scrupulous collation, nor was he by any means minutely versed in those contemporary writings, from which alone we can satisfactorily ascertain the Poet's language or allusions. A few remarks will be sufficient to characterise two gentlemen, who, as Criticks, may be fairly classed together-Mr. Capell and Mr. Jennens. Mr. Capell, with little judgment and as little taste, was a man of considerable application. He had assiduously

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*These particulars are collected from the correspondence which passed between them, which Mr. Malone preserved.

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