William Warbuton (1698-1779) became Bishop of Gloucester in 1759. Of Shakespeare's 18th c editors, his reputation is the lowest. He corresponded with Hanmer and Theobald and claimed they had plagiarized notes from their correspondence with him for their own eds. He remained friends with Pope, edited his works, and based his Shakespeare ed on his second ed. (1728). He convinced Pope to replace Colley Cibber with Theobald as King of the Dunces in The Dunciad. Because of Theobald's Shakespeare Restored (1726), Pope was only too happy to comply.
Posterity and Warburton's contemporaries administered the criitcal equivalent of a savage beating. Heath, Thomas Edwards, and John Upton were not kind in their evaluations. Dr Johnson seems to have taken something like glee in ridiculing some of his conjectures and emendations. Yet he based his own ed. on Warburton's, and he thought some of the attacks were too much, undignified. In The Life of Johnson, James Boswell reported:
"Soon after Edwards's Canons of Criticism came out, Johnson was dining at Tonson the Bookseller's, with Hayman the Painter and some more company. Hayman related to Sir Joshua Reynolds, that the conversation having turned upon Edwards's book, the gentlemen praised it much, and Johnson allowed its merit. But when they went farther, and appeared to put that authour upon a level with Warburton, 'Nay, (said Johnson,) he has given him some smart hits to be sure; but there is no proportion between the two men; they must not be named together. A fly, Sir, may sting a stately horse and make him wince; but one is but an insect, and the other is a horse still.'"
Cambridge History entry on Warburton.
Arthur Sherbo essay.
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Upton, Critical Observations (1748)
Edwards, Canons of Criticism (1748)
Heath, Revisal of Shakespeare's Text (1765)