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THE following pages present a Life of Shakspere
based on the most authentic sources, and containing particulars, which are, perhaps, unknown to the majority of our readers. Shakspere is not a myth; his existence, as William Shakspere, is not for a moment doubted, and his reputation increases as time progresses. The following selections from his works will form such a collection of beauties as we could not exhibit from the pages of any other writer, whether ancient or modern. Some of the passages which we produce contain a few introductory remarks, or are in some instances followed by certain observations, which, it is hoped, may impart to such, additional interest. Dr. Johnson remarks that he who endeavours to recommend Shakspere by select quotations is like the pedant in Hicrocles, who, when he wished to sell his house, exhibited a brick as a specimen. Certainly, a knowledge of the context will increase the pleasure which attaches to the reading of "select quotations;" it cannot be otherwise; yet it is our conviction that those selections may be of a character so detached, that we may, notwithstanding the Doctor's statement, amuse and instruct our readers in the manner which we propose.
We have added a few passages from Shakspere's Doubtful Plays, compositions which we believe are now generally rejected, but which contain sentiments not unworthy of our great Dramatist. Perhaps this plan has not been previously adopted, and on this account, may not be the less received with public approval.
To the whole we have subjoined a copious Index, which cannot fail to be of signal utility to our readers. We would further remark that should those persons who consult our pages receive only a small amount of the pleasure which we have experienced in our attempts to produce the work, such will derive a share of gratification that seldom falls to the lot of humanity.
We may also state with the utmost confidence that whenever we consult the works of Shakspere, we find something new, some further proofs of genius, wisdom, and goodness.
R. L. GIBSON.
THIS volume consists of four parts. The first