PREFACE TO THIRD EDITION.
THE success which has attended the First and Second Editions of the
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
, Henry V.
, Merchant of Venice
Midsummer Night's Dream
, Richard II.
, Richard III.
, Twelfth Night
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
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
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
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）
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）
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.