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PREFACE

HAVING to read Othello with Army boys here

, I

found no adequate edition with notes, and consequently had to prepare my own lessons with the aid of Skeat and Abbott for philology and grammar, whilst Schmidt's Lexicon was my concordance. I have also drawn upon Gervinus, Dowden, and Fleay ; but the edition is not entirely a compilation.

I shall be glad to receive corrections from any who are mercifully disposed towards a πρωτοτόκος. add that I have expurgated freely,

E. K. P.

I may

WELLINGTON COLLEGE,

January, 1883

INTRODUCTION

"Perhaps the greatest work in the world.”-Macaulay.

sidered to lie between the years 1588 and 1612. If this period be bisected at the change of the centuries, and the two divisions subdivided almost equally, we shall have four stages : (1) that of very light Comedy (Two Gentlemen of Verona, Comedy of Errors) rising to (2) that of English History, interspersed with comic scenes, and to this period belongs his lightest Tragedy, Romeo and Juliet; then (3) that of more severe Tragedy (Hamlet, Julius Cæsar, Othello, Lear, Macbeth); while he calms down again into (4) that of Romances, ending in reconciliation and recovery, as the Winter's Tale and Cymbeline. In further support of some such arrangement, suggested by the subjects and depth of the plays, we have evidence

(a) External, such as allusions in diaries of contemporaries (as in the well-known case of Twelfth Night), or in their letters or books, òr again in the registration of the titles of plays with the Stationers' Company, this being the least valuable, as he might have registered either before he wrote the play, or some time after ;

(6) Partly external and partly internal, references to contemporary events, qu tions from, or by, contem

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