THE success which has attended the First and Second Editions of the SHAKESPEARIAN GRAMMAR, and the demand for a Third Edition within a year of the publication of the First, has encouraged the Author to endeavour to make the work somewhat more useful, and to render it, as far as possible, a complete book of reference for all difficulties of Shakespearian syntax or prosody. For this purpose the whole of Shakespeare has been re-read, and an attempt has been made to include within this Edition the explanation of every idiomatic difficulty (where the text is not confessedly corrupt) that comes within the province of a grammar as distinct from a glossary.

The great object being to make a useful book of reference for students, and especially for classes in schools, several Plays have been indexed so fully that with the aid of a glossary and historical notes the references will serve for a complete commentary. These Plays are, As You Like It, Coriolanus, Hamlet, Henry V., Julius Cœsar, Lear, Macbeth, Merchant of Venice, Midsummer Night's Dream, Richard II., Richard III., Tempest, Twelfth Night. 1 It is hoped that these copious indexes will meet a want, by giving some definite work to be prepared by the class, whether as a holiday task or in the work of the term. The want of some such distinct work, to give thoroughness and definiteness to an English lesson, has been felt by many teachers of experience. A complete table of the contents of each paragraph has been prefixed, together with a Verbal Index at the end. The indexes may be of use to students of a more advanced stage, and perhaps may occasionally be found useful to the general reader of Shakespeare.

A second perusal of Shakespeare, with a special reference to idiom and prosody, has brought to light several laws which regulate many apparent irregularities. The interesting distinction between thou and you (Pars. 231--235), for example, has not hitherto attracted the attention of readers, or, as far as I am aware, of commentators on Shakespeare. The use of the relative with plural antecedent and singular verb (Par. 246); the prevalence of the third person plural in -s (Par. 333), which does not appear in modern editions of Shakespeare; the "confusion of proximity" (Par. 412); the distinction between an adjective before and after a noun; these and many other points which were at first either briefly or not at all discussed, have increased the present to more than thrice the size of the original book. I propose now to stereotype this edition, so that no further changes need be anticipated.

It may be thought that the amplification of the Prosody is unnecessary, at all events, for the purpose of a school-book. My own experience, however, leads me to think that the Prosody of Shakespeare has peculiar interest for boys, and that some training in it is absolutely necessary if they are to read Shakespeare critically. The additions which have been made to this part of the book have sprung naturally out of the lessons in English which I have been in the habit of giving; and as they are the results of practical experience, I am confident they will be found useful for school purposes.2 A conjectural character, more apparent however than real, has perhaps been given to this part of the book from the necessity that I felt of setting down every difficult verse of Shakespeare where the text was not acknowledged as corrupt, or where the difficulty was more than slight. Practically, I think, it will be found that the rules of the Prosody will be found to solve most of the difficulties that will present themselves to boys--at least, in the thirteen Plays above mentioned.

Besides obligations mentioned in the First Edition, I must acknowledge the great assistance I have received from MÄTZNER'S Englische Grammatik (3 vols., Berlin, 1865), whose enormous collection of examples deserves notice. I am indebted to the same author for some points illustrating the connection between Early and Elizabethan English. Here, however, I have received ample assistance from Mr. F. J. Furnivall, Mr. R. Morris, and others, whose kindness I am glad to have an opportunity of mentioning. In particular, I must here acknowledge my very great obligation to the Rev. W. W. Skeat, late Fellow of Christ's College, Cambridge, whose excellent edition of William of Palerne (Early English Text Society, 1867), and whose Mœso-Gothic Dictionary (Asher, London, 1866), have been of great service to me. Mr. Skeat also revised the whole of the proof-sheets, and many of his suggestions are incorporated in the present work. I may add here, that in discussing the difference between thou and you (231-5), and the monosyllabic foot (480-6), I was not aware that I had been anticipated by Mr. Skeat, who has illustrated the former point (with reference to Early English) in William of Palerne, p. xlii., and the latter in his Essay on the Metres of Chaucer (vol. i., Aldine Edition, London, 1866). The copious Index to Layamon, edited by Sir Frederick Madden, has also been of great service. I trust that, though care has been taken to avoid any unnecessary parade of Anglo-Saxon, or Early English, that might interfere with the distinct object of the work, the information on these points will be found trust-worthy and useful. The Prosody has been revised throughout by Mr. A. J. Ellis, whose work on Early English Pronunciation is well known. Mr. Ellis's method of scansion and notation is not in all respects the same as my own, but I have made several modifications in consequence of his suggestive criticisms.

I have now only to express my hope that this little book may do something to forward the development of English instruction in English schools. Taking the very lowest ground, I believe that an intelligent study of English is the shortest and safest way to attain to an intelligent and successful study of Latin and Greek, and that it is idle to expect a boy to grapple with a sentence of Plato or Thucydides if he cannot master a passage of Shakespeare or a couplet of Pope. Looking, therefore, at the study of English from the old point of view adopted by those who advocate a purely classical instruction, I am emphatically of opinion that it is a positive gain to classical studies to deduct from them an hour or two every week for the study of English. But I need scarcely say that the time seems not far off when every English boy who continues his studies to the age of fifteen will study English for the sake of English; and where English is studied Shakespeare is not likely to be forgotten.

E. A. A. 30th May, 1870.

1 These indices have been omitted in the electronic edition.

2 The somewhat grotesque name of "amphibious verse" (Par. 513) sprang in this way from class-teaching. I have retained it, as answering its purpose, by communicating its meaning readily and impressively.

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