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I. Insomnia, the lack of "tired Nature's sweet restorer," is rapidly becoming the chronic terror of all men of active life who have passed the age of thirty-five or forty years. In early life, while yet he "wears the rose of youth upon him," man rarely, except in sickness, knows the want of sound, undreaming sleep. But as early manhood is left behind and the cares and perplexities of life weigh upon him, making far more needful than ever the... more...

PREFACE When I was invited to reprint in book-form the articles which had appeared in the Genealogical Magazine under the titles of "Shakespeare's Family" and the "Warwickshire Ardens," I carefully corrected them, and expanded them where expansion could be made interesting. Thus to the bald entries of Shakespeare's birth and burial I added a short life. Perhaps never before has anyone attempted to write a life of the poet with so little allusion... more...

INTRODUCTION. When a small impression of these quaint old books issued from the Chiswick Press, many years ago, under the auspices of the late Mr. S. W. Singer, that gentleman merely designed the copies struck off for presentation to a select circle of literary friends who, like himself, felt a warm interest in every relic of the past which helped to illustrate Shakespeare and ancient English manners. He did not consequently feel under the... 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...


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...

§ 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...

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...