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Chapter 24:


January 20.—I passed an hour this forenoon very profitably with Prince John, in looking over the apparatus criticus he has used in his study of Dante. It was less complete than I expected to find it, but more curious. I made a good many memoranda, and shall turn the visit to good account. He was, I thought, free in showing me everything, conscientious in confessing to some little oversights and ignorances, and glad to get any hints that will be useful to him hereafter; but, on the whole, it is quite plain his study of Dante has been most thorough, and that his knowledge and feeling of the power and beauty of the Inferno and Purgatorio are really extraordinary. With the Paradiso he has not yet made a beginning; I mean, with its translation.

Early in the afternoon I made a similar visit to Tieck, and looked over his collection of books and manuscripts in old English literature, and especially the old English drama. Few Englishmen have so fine a library in this department as he has; fewer still have a knowledge in it at all to be compared to his. Many of his notions are very bold; as, for instance, that the ‘ Fair Emm’1 is by Shakespeare. He told me to-day that he thinks Milton superintended the edition of Shakespeare to which his sonnet is prefixed, because the changes and emendations made in it, upon the first folio, are poetical and plainly made by a poet. It would be a beautiful circumstance if it could be proved true.

When Tieck was in England, in 1817, he bought a great many curious books, and even had eight or ten manuscript plays copied in the British Museum, so far and so thoroughly has he pushed his inquiries on this interesting and delightful subject. I talk with him

1 A Pleasant Comedie of Faire Em, the Miller's Daughter of Manchester, with the Love of William the Conqueror. Acted by the Lord Strange his Servants. 4to. 1631.

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