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OF THE

OF

EDITED, WITH A SCRUPULOUS REVISION OF

THE TEXT, BY

CHARLES AND MARY COWDEN CLARKE,

AUTHORS OF SHAKESPEARE-CHARACTERS;"

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" COMPLETE CONCORDANCE TO SHAKESPEARE;" AND OF THE
OF SHAKESPEARE'S HEROINES," ETC., ETC., ETC.

IN FOUR VOLUMES

How noble in reason! how infinite in faculty! how express and admirable! in action how like an
Angel! in apprehension how like a God!"

VOL. I.

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LONDON

GIRLHOOD

BICKERS AND SON

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PREFACE.

SHAKESPEARE'S works are a library in themselves. A poor lad, possessing no other book, might, on this single one, make himself a gentleman and a scholar. A poor girl, studying no other volume, might become a lady in heart and soul. Knowledge, refinement, experience in men and manners, are to be gathered from his pages in plenary abundance. An illustrious patriot, in exile, learned to plead for the rights of his country, and to urge her wrongs, in a tongue which should interpret his teeming ideas through eloquent words to those nations that might aid her, from diligent study of those nations' poet-Shakespeare. The noble Hungarian—whom nature had gifted with oratorical powers-made them available in urging upon British and American hearts the bleeding cause of his native land, by assiduous culture of Shakespeare's language, taking him as his text-book and sole instructor. Shakespeare's words were the vocabulary, Shakespeare's diction was the rhetoric, which sent forth from the Kutayah prison one of the most accomplished orators that ever addressed hearers in their British mother-tongue. To cite another instance: the most brilliant wit, the most sparkling writer, the most spirited reparteeist of our own day adopted Shakespeare as his chief author while a youth; and to the admiring devotion with which he imbued himself with the poet's productions, may be attributed that fine intellectual strength which gave "Black-eyed Susan" and the "RentDay" to the world, from the pen of a lad under age; and

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