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LONDON
SMITH, ELDER, & CO., 15 WATERLOO PLACE
NEW YORK: SCRIBNER & WELFORD

1883

[ This work is copyright)

PR 2897 .6387 E5 1880

Ballantyne Press BALLANTYNE, HANSON AND CO.

EDINBURGH AND LONDON

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TRANSLATOR'S PREFACE.

WITHOUT undervaluing in the least degree the laborious researches of those English critics who, by a careful collation of manuscripts, by archæological research, and historical investigation, have restored and illustrated the text of Shakespeare, it may be safely asserted that to Germany we owe, if not the founders, yet the most able and systematic among the disciples of that school of Shakespearian critics who have illustrated rather his thought than his language, his matter than his manner, who have studied his writings rather as those of a moralist, a thinker, a master of human nature, and a poet of all places and of all time, than as those of an English writer of a certain epoch. The labours of what may be not unfairly called the English school of Shakespearian critics are invaluable, since without them the language in which the moralist and the poet has spoken would have been often little understood, and to their efforts for the elucidation of many otherwise obscure passages we owe much of our intelligent appreciation of the language of the great dramatist. A higher place, however, must be, perhaps, assigned to those who, with minds well qualified for the task, have devoted their attention to the illustration of those eternal truths enshrined in that language-truths which lie hidden to the common eye, and

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