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PR2754

EDITOR'S PREFACE MAN

TO THE GLOBE EDITION

IN preparing the text of this volume, we have in general followed the same rules as in the so-called Cambridge Shakespeare": rules which we adopted originally after much deliberation, and of which the soundness has been confirmed by our subsequent experience.

As however the two editions differ in plan, the one recording in footnotes all the various readings and conjectural emendations, the other giving only the text, we have in some particulars modified our rules.

For instance, in cases where the text of the earliest editions is manifestly faulty, but where it is impossible to decide with confidence which, if any, of several suggested emendations is right, we have in the “Cambridge Shakespeare " left the original reading in our text, mentioning in our notes all the proposed alterations: in this edition, we have substituted in the text the emendation which seemed most probable, or in cases of absolute equality, the earliest suggested. But the whole number of such variations between the texts of the two editions is very small.

In'this volume, whenever the original text has been corrupted in such a way as to affect the sense, no admissible emendation having been proposed, or when

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INTRODUCTION

BY A. BRISBANE

The world's great writers are Homer, Dante, Shakespeare. Shakespeare is greatest of the three.

The five great men in the history of humanity are Aristotle, Archimedes, Michael Angelo, Shakespeare, Beethoven.

Shakespeare is equal in genius to any of the others.

The greatest quality in the mind of man is IMAGINATION—the power to see with the spirit that which the eye does not see, to hear what is not heard by the ears, and to create that which is infinitely superior to Nature's creation.

And Shakespeare possessed probably the most powerful imagination ever born on this planet.

To know the English language you must know Shakespeare.

To know the power that has inspired the human race for three centuries, you must know Shakespeare.

Shakespeare lives as the greatest of all writers because of his imagination, and the power of comparison that made his thought shine with a clear light.

He wants his readers to feel jealousy as he feels it, and he finds this comparison :

“ I had rather be a toad, And live upon the vapour of a dungeon, Than keep a corner in the thing I love

For others' uses." Macbeth learns that the Queen is dead; the only friend he could trust, is gone. Shakespeare in a few

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lines tells life's emptiness. It is as brief as the candle
that dies out, it is a shadow, a poor player forgotten,
when his lines are read, an idiot raving without
meaning

“She should have died hereafter;
There would have been a time for such a word.
To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more: it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing."

Shakespeare knew other men better than they knew themselves. Of his wide powers the greatest was his - power to understand and express ambition.

He must express the idea that Cæsar in his stead-
fastness of purpose is above all other men, and he
finds this comparison, the most noble in all literature:
“ I could be well moved, if I were as you;

If I could pray to move, prayers would move me:
But I am constant as the northern star,
Of whose true-fix'd and resting quality
There is no fellow in the firmament.
The skies are painted with unnumbered sparks,
They are all fire and every one doth shine,
But there's but one in all doth hold his place:
So in the world; 'tis furnished well with men,
And men are flesh and blood, and apprehensive;
Yet in the number I do know but one

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