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CHAPTER I THE LIFE OF SHAKESPEARE Stratford-on-Avon is cleaner, better paved, and perhaps more populous than it was in Shakespeare's time. Several streets of mean red-brick houses have been built during the last half century. Hotels, tea rooms, refreshment rooms, and the shops where the tripper may buy things to remind him that he has been where greatness lived, give the place an air at once prosperous and parasitic. The town contains a few... more...

Mr. Crosby's article on Shakespeare's attitude toward the working classes suggested to me the idea of also expressing my own long-established opinion about the works of Shakespeare, in direct opposition, as it is, to that established in all the whole European world. Calling to mind all the struggle of doubt and self-deceit,—efforts to attune myself to Shakespeare—which I went through owing to my complete disagreement with this... more...

PREFACE In telling the story of Shakespeare's life and work within strict limits of space, an attempt has been made to keep closely to essential matters. There is no period of the poet's life, there is no branch of his marvellous work, that has not been the subject of long and learned volumes, no single play that has not been discussed at greater length than serves here to cover the chief incidents of work and life together. If the Homes and... more...

§ 1. THE MAIN (SENTIMENTAL) PLOT OF THE FOUR LOVERS AND THE COURT OF THESEUS "And out of olde bokes, in good feith, Cometh al this newe science that men lere." Chaucer. I As the play opens with speeches of Theseus and Hippolyta, it is convenient to treat first of these two characters. Mr. E.K. Chambers has collected (in Appendix D to his edition) nine passages from North's Plutarch's Life of Theseus, of which Shakespeare appears... more...

"It would be hard to name a better commonplace book for summer lawns. . . . The lover of poetry, the lover of gardening, and the lover of quaint, out-of-the-way knowledge will each find something to please him. . . . It is a delightful example of gardening literature."—Pall Mall Gazette. "Mr. Ellacombe, with a double enthusiasm for Shakespeare and for his garden, has produced a very readable and graceful... more...


Shakespeare's England and London Shakespeare lived in a period of change. In religion, politics, literature, and commerce, in the habits of daily living, in the world of ideas, his lifetime witnessed continual change and movement. When Elizabeth came to the throne, six years before he was born, England was still largely Catholic, as it had been for nine centuries; when she died England was Protestant, and by the date of Shakespeare's death it... more...

Many years ago, I was retained in the great case of The Critics against Shakspere, the most celebrated on the calendar of history during three centuries. Unlike other cases, it has been repeatedly decided, and as often reopened and reheard before the most eminent judges, who have again and again non-suited the plaintiffs. Appeals have availed nothing to reverse those decisions. New actions have been brought on the ground of newly discovered... more...

INTRODUCTORY The Shakespearean Sonnets are not a single or connected work like an ordinary play or poem. Their composition apparently extended over a considerable time, which may be fairly estimated as not less than four years. Read literally they seem to portray thoughts, modes or experiences fairly assignable to such a period. Though variable and sometimes light and airy in their movement, the greater portion appear to reveal deep and intense... more...

The following Tales are meant to be submitted to the young reader as an introduction to the study of Shakespeare, for which purpose his words are used whenever it seemed possible to bring them in; and in whatever has been added to give them the regular form of a connected story, diligent are has been taken to select such words as might least interrupt the effect of the beautiful English tongue in which he wrote: therefore, words introduced into... more...

There was a certain island in the sea, the only inhabitants of which were an old man, whose name was Prospero, and his daughter Miranda, a very beautiful young lady. She came to this island so young, that she had no memory of having seen any other human face than her father's. They lived in a cave or cell, made out of a rock; it was divided into several apartments, one of which Prospero called his study; there he kept his books, which chiefly... more...