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INTRODUCTION By craftsmen and mean men, these pageants are played,And to commons and countrymen accustomably before:If better men and finer heads now come, what can be said? The pageants of the old English town-guilds, and the other mysteries and interludes that follow, have still an uncommon reality about them if we take them in the spirit in which they were originally acted. Their office as the begetters of the greater literary drama to... more...

Mrs. Campbell: "Now this, I think, is the most exciting part of the whole affair, and the pleasantest." She is seated at breakfast in her cottage at Summering-by-the-Sea. A heap of letters of various stylish shapes, colors, and superscriptions lies beside her plate, and irregularly straggles about among the coffee-service. Vis-à-vis with her sits Mr. Campbell behind a newspaper. "How prompt they are! Why, I didn't expect to get half so... more...

HISTORICAL NOTE While the popular conception of Lincoln as the Liberator of the Slave is true historically, there is a deeper view of his life and character. He was the savior, if not the real creator, of the American Union of free Democratic States. His proclamation of emancipation was purely an incident of war. The first policy of his administration was to save the Union. To this fact we owe a united Nation to-day. It is this truth of history... more...

PREFACE. After the lapse of about half a century since the issue of the last edition of Dodsley's Select Collection of Old Plays,[1] and the admittance of that work into the honourable rank of scarce and dear books, it seemed a desirable thing to attempt, with such additional improvements as might be practicable or expedient, a revival of a publication which has been a favourite with the lovers of our early drama since its first publication more... more...

INTERLUDE OF YOUTH. CHARITY.Jesu that his arms did spread,And on a tree was done to dead,From all perils he you defend!I desire audience till I have made an end,For I am come from God aboveTo occupy his laws to your behove,And am named Charity;There may no man saved beWithout the help of me,For he that Charity doth refuse,Other virtues though he do use,Without Charity it will not be,For it is written in the faith:Qui manet in charitate in Deo... more...


Four of the five ensuing Plays belong to a peculiar class of our early dramatic performances never yet especially noticed, nor sufficiently illustrated. Many specimens have of late years been printed, and reprinted, of Miracle-plays, of Moral-plays, and of productions written in the most matured period of our dramatic literature; but little or nothing has been done to afford information respecting a species of stage-representation which... more...

SUMMER'S LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT.[16] Enter WILL SUMMER,[17] in his fool's coat but half on, coming out. Noctem peccatis et fraudibus objice nubem.[18] There is no such fine time to play the knave in as the night. I am a goose or a ghost, at least; for what with turmoil of getting my fool's apparel, and care of being perfect, I am sure I have not yet supp'd to-night. Will Summer's ghost I should be, come to present you with "Summer's Last Will... more...

INTRODUCTION. Æschylus, the first of the great Grecian writers of tragedy, was born at Eleusis, in 525 B.C. He was the son of Euphorion, who was probably a wealthy owner of rich vineyards. The poet's early employment was to watch the grapes and protect them from the ravages of men and other animals, and it is said that this occupation led to the development of his dramatic genius. It is more easy to believe that it was responsible for the... more...

ALCESTIS CHARACTERS OF THE PLAY ADMÊTUS, King of Pherae in Thessaly.ALCESTIS, daughter of Pelias, his wife.PHERÊS, his father, formerly King but now in retirement.TWO CHILDREN, his son and daughter.A MANSERVANT in his house.A HANDMAID. The Hero HERACLES.The God APOLLO.THANÁTOS or DEATH.CHORUS, consisting of Elders of Pherae. "The play was first performed when Glaukînos was Archon, in the 2nd year of the 85th Olympiad... more...

INTRODUCTORY NOTE The age of Elizabeth, memorable for so many reasons in the history of England, was especially brilliant in literature, and, within literature, in the drama. With some falling off in spontaneity, the impulse to great dramatic production lasted till the Long Parliament closed the theaters in 1642; and when they were reopened at the Restoration, in 1660, the stage only too faithfully reflected the debased moral tone of the court... more...