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As the volumes of this Edition are severally independent, it has been considered necessary hitherto to repeat in the Preface an explanation of its plan and scope. In the present volume, however, all needful information in this regard has been relegated into the Appendix, where it will be found on pp. 466
Experience has deepened the conviction that for an Edition like the present the befitting Text is that of the First Folio. Accordingly, that Text has been again adopted for The Merchant of Venice.
To read and to enjoy SHAKESPEARE, any text, from the Shilling Edition upwards, will suffice. In the familiar passages of beauty or of wisdom we find no difficulties; the text is everywhere adequately the same.
But to study SHAKESPEARE as we would a Greek Poet, dwelling on every line and syllable, weighing every phrase and every word, then we need a text as near as may be, in point of time at least, to the author's hand. With certain qualifications, such a text is that of the First Folio.
Topics, hitherto discussed in these Prefaces, are now to be found set forth in the Appendix.
It is again my high privilege to express my thanks to my Father, the Rev. Dr FURNESS, for the translation of many of the selections from the German.
H. H. F. MAY, 1888.