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INDEX OF THE CHARACTERS IN THE PLAYS. In the remaining volumes are the works of Shakespeare. Each play is preceded by a Preface by Israel Gollancz, M.A., an Introduction by Henry Norman Hudson, A.M., Comments by Shakespearean Scholars, and a Synopsis by the Editor; notes, explanatory and critical, by three scholars, Israel Gollancz, Henry Norman Hudson, and C. H. Herford, accompany the text, being placed on the same page as the matter to which they refer; a Glossary by Israel Gollancz, M.A., and Study Questions complete each volume.

It is not necessary to acknowledge in this Preface our obligations to other editors of Shakespeare's works, for we have credited every quotation or comment where we have used it.


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In the reign of King Edward the Sixth there lived in Warwickshire a farmer named Richard Shakespeare, who rented a messuage and a considerable quantity of land at Snitterfield, an obscure village in that county. He had two sons, one of whom, named Henry, continued throughout his life to reside in the same parish. John, the other son, left his father's home about the year 1551, and, shortly afterwards, is found residing in the neighboring and comparatively large borough of Stratford-on-Avon, in the locality which has been known from the middle ages to the present day as Henley Street, so called from its being the terminus of the road from Henley-in-Arden, a markettown about eight miles distant.

At this period, and for many generations afterwards, the sanitary condition of the thoroughfares of Stratfordon-Avon was, to our present notions, simply terrible. Under-surface drainage of every kind was then an unknown art in the district. There was a far greater extent of moisture in the land than would now be thought possible, and streamlets of a water-power sufficient for the operations of corn-mills meandered through the town. This general humidity intensified the evils arising from the want of scavengers, or other effective appliances for the preservation of cleanliness. House-slops were recklessly thrown into ill-kept channels that lined the sides of unmetalled roads ; pigs and geese too often reveled in the puddles and ruts; while here and there small middens were ever in the course of accumulation, the receptacles of offal and every species of nastiness. A regulation for the removal of these collections to certain specified localities interspersed through the borough, and known as common dung-hills, appears to have been the extent of the interference that the authorities ventured or cared to exercise in such matters. Sometimes, when the nuisance was thought to be sufficiently flagrant, they made a raid on those inhabitants who had suffered their refuse to accumulate largely in the highways. On one of these occasions, in April, 1552, John Shakespeare was amerced in the sum of twelve-pence for having amassed what was no doubt a conspicuous sterquinarium before his house in Henley Street, and under these unsavory circumstances does the history of the poet's father commence in the records of England. But although there was little excuse for his negligence, one of the public stores of filth being within a stone's throw of his residence, all that can be said to his disparagement is that he was not in advance of his neighbors in such matters, two of whom were coincidently fined for the same of-. fense.

For some years subsequently to this period, John Shakespeare was a humble tradesman at Stratford-on-Avon, holding no conspicuous position in the town; yet still he must have been tolerably successful in business, for in October, 1556, he purchased two small freehold estates, one being the building in Henley Street annexed to that which is

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