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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1867, by
CROSBY AND AINSWORTH,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
A YEAR ago
I let a class at school take Julius Cesar as their first reading in Shakespeare, and made daily use of this book of Professor Craik's in teaching them. They noted down all the more inportant points as I gave them, and, without having seen the book, learned the better part of it pretty thoroughly. It took more time than I had ever before given to a single play, - considerably more, of course, than would have been necessary if the book had been in the hands of the scholars; but the results satisfied me that it was time well spent. I never had a class that became so heartily interested in Shakespeare, or that went on so rapidly and so well in reading other plays. It was the success of this experiment with the book that led me to think of editing it. I wanted it for my own classes, and I venture to hope that it may be of service to other students of Shakespeare, whether in school or out of school.
In editing the book I have omitted some portions of it; but I believe I have sacrificed nothing which may not be readily found in other books, especially in the last revised edition of Webster's Dictionary, to which I have rarely referred the reader, but which he will do well to consult on all points of etymology discussed by Prof. Craik. Whatever may be its other merits or demerits, it is the first English Dictionary yet published that may be safely taken as an authority on the etymology of the language.
The portions of the original work which I have retained, I have thought it best to give precisely as the author wrote them. Here and there I have abridged a paragraph, and in two or three instances I have changed a word or phrase; but none of these variations from the rule I had laid down for myself are of any importance. Where I could not accept the author's explanation of a passage, I have generally given his views as well as my own, since the reader might prefer the former to the latter. My own notes are in all cases enclosed in brackets. The cases in which the author (as on pages 49, 161, and 270) has put an explanatory word or remark in brackets, are very few and wholly unimportant.
The text of the play also I have left as Prof. Craik gives it. In seven instances, however, I have corrected obvious misprints. In 66 I give " He is a noble Roman" instead of " He is noble Roman"
PREFACE TO THE AMERICAN EDITION.
(see note on 155); in 256, “ further” for “ farther" (see note on 45); in 309 “ true-fixed” for “ true fixt; ” in 401 “masters” for “master” (see note on the passage); in 412 “ o'ershot” (First Folio, " o’reshot”) for “overshot;” in 745 “ere" (as in First Folio) for “ e'er ;” and in 775 “than” for “then." I have also changed the spelling of a few words (as "deckt,” “ pluckt,” etc.) in which Prof. Craik follows the Folio.* The punctuation, too, I have sometimes changed, but in no case where the interpretation of the passage depended upon it (see note on Even by the rule, etc., 708).
As far as possible, I have verified the references to other Plays and to other authors, and have corrected many little errors, the majority of which were either slips of the pen or misprints. Quite likely I have overlooked similar errors of my own;
I shall esteem it a favor to be informed of them.
In revising the notes I have made use of Dyce's edition of Shakespeare, Collier's Second edition, † Singer's, Staunton's, Hudson's, White's, and Clark and Wright's “ Cambridge Edition ;” carrying out
* I have retained the -our in all words like valour, favour, etc., except honor and its derivatives. I changed that word (perhaps not wisely, on the whole) because I found that the Folio had honor in the majority of cases, and even in “honor for his valour” in 374.
† Craik's references are to the First edition. In the Second Collier has adopted many of Craik's suggestions.
as well as I could Prof. Craik's plan of giving the readings adopted by the different editors, and their comments on difficult or disputed passages.
I have added largely to the references to Bible passages illustrating Shakespeare's English. I had done a good part of this work some months before I met with The Bible Word-Book, by Eastwood and Wright (London, 1866); but in revising my notes for publication I made free use of that admirable little book, and drew from it considerable additional matter.
To Prof. F. J. Child, of Harvard College, for the encouragement he has given me in my work, and for many valuable criticisms and suggestions, I am under especial obligations.
W. J. R. CAMBRIDGE, Feb. 15, 1867.
PREFATORY NOTE TO THE SIXTH
In this edition several typographical and other errors are corrected, and a few notes are added on pages 381 and 382.
Nov. 7, 1871.