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perhaps by that superiority of mind, which despised its own performances, when it compared them with its powers, and judged those works unworthy to be preserved, which the criticks of following ages were to contend for the fame of restoring and explaining.
Among these candidates of inferior fame, I am now to stand the judgment of the publick ; and wish that I could confidently produce my commentary as equal to the encouragement which I have had the honour of receiving Every work of this kind is by its nature defi. cient, and I should feel little solicitude about the sentence, were it to be pronounced only by the skilful and the learned.
Of what has been performed in this revisal, an account is given in the following pages by Mr. Steevens, who might have spoken both of his own diligence and sagacity, in terms of greater self-approbation, without deviating from modesty or truth.*
* This passage relates to the edition published in 1973, by George Steevens, Esq.
Johnson's Preface is preserved in this edition, without alteration, for its Deauty of diction, and the happy turn of reasoning throughout the whole.