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One Shakespearean scholar has said "All that is known with any degree of certainty concerning Shakespeare, isthat he was born at Stratford-upon-Avon-married and had children there-went to London, where he commenced actor, and wrote poems and plays-returned to Stratford, made his will, died, and was buried." In one way this is true but we can know by studying the children of his mind what kind of a man he was. And as the centuries pass by

it is not the details of a man's life that interest us but the character of the man, himself, and his thoughts, and what he left to posterity.

Some of us have much leisure time at our disposal and can spend our hours in following this pleasurable study; others have a work that gives an opportunity for the same study; but the majority of us have so many duties that the study-hours are few and far between and they generally come when we are physically tired and unable to enjoy delving for the beauties and meanings of the author. For this last group is this set of SHAKESPEARE'S WORKS especially designed, although the others may find it of some interest.

In the first volume is a Life of the Poet by James Orchard Halliwell-Phillipps, of the merits of which it is unnecessary to speak here since its author's name is an assurance of its accuracy and its attractiveness. This is followed by & CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SHAKESPEARE'S PLAYS, by a LIST OF CONTEMPORARY PLAYS, and by an INDEX OF THE

CHARACTERS IN THE PLAYS. In the remaining volumes are the works of Shakespeare. Each play is preceded by a Preface by Israel Gollancz, M.A., an Introduction by Henry Norman Hudson, A.M., Comments by Shakespearean Scholars, and a Synopsis by the Editor; notes, explanatory and critical, by three scholars, Israel Gollancz, Henry Norman Hudson, and C. H. Herford, accompany the text, being placed on the same page as the matter to which they refer; a Glossary by Israel Gollancz, M.A., and Study Questions complete each volume.

It is not necessary to acknowledge in this Preface our obligations to other editors of Shakespeare's works, for we have credited every quotation or comment where we have used it.








In the reign of King Edward the Sixth there lived in Warwickshire a farmer named Richard Shakespeare, who rented a messuage and a considerable quantity of land at Snitterfield, an obscure village in that county. He had two sons, one of whom, named Henry, continued throughout his life to reside in the same parish. John, the other son, left his father's home about the year 1551, and, shortly afterwards, is found residing in the neighboring and comparatively large borough of Stratford-on-Avon, in the locality which has been known from the middle ages to the present day as Henley Street, so called from its being the terminus of the road from Henley-in-Arden, a markettown about eight miles distant.

At this period, and for many generations afterwards, the sanitary condition of the thoroughfares of Stratfordon-Avon was, to our present notions, simply terrible. Under-surface drainage of every kind was then an unknown art in the district. There was a far greater extent of moisture in the land than would now be thought possible, and streamlets of a water-power sufficient for the operations of corn-mills meandered through the town. This general humidity intensified the evils arising from the

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