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2 N. 1893
From the Library of
Prof. A. P. PEABODY (82)
WHOSE LOVING STUDY OF SHAKESPEARE AND GENERAL LITERATURE, DURING MANY YEARS OF BUSINESS LIFE,
A LITERARY STIMULUS AND AN INSPIRATION TO HIS CHILDREN,
AND REMAINS IN ITS UNPUBLISHED RECORDS
A PRECIOUS INHERITANCE FOR HIS
HE reader of this little volume will not expect to find within its modest limits a complete presentation of the ethical principles involved in the writings of the great Dramatist.
It was not the intention of Shakespeare in his literary work to elaborate a system of morals, nor to give his hearers maxims for their guidance in life; though, by making true presentations of the workings of the human heart and of the actions of men in society, he in a measure accomplished both ends.
Though the selections here offered are the result of original study, most of them are familiar to intelligent readers and probably they all will seem like memories of golden thoughts that have been but temporarily lost. Their value is not in themselves alone, for each one shines with a glory reflected
from the others of the group in which it appears, while the readings from other masters of thought show the brotherhood of great minds, and still further illustrate the themes, at the same time that they give emphasis to the wealth of the Dramatist's genius.
It was Coleridge who said, "I greatly dislike beauties and selections in general, but as proof of his unrivalled excellence I should like to try Shakespeare by this criterion." The same acute critic says in another place, "Let the morality of Shakespeare be contrasted with that of the writers of his own or the succeeding age, or of those of the present day who boast their superiority in this respect. No one can dispute that the result of such comparison is altogether in favor of Shakespeare."
The Right Reverend Charles Wordsworth, in his work on Shakespeare's knowledge and use of the Bible, ventures to use the following language: "Take the entire range of English literature; put together our best authors who have written upon subjects not professedly religious or theological, and we shall not find, I believe, in all united, so much evidence of the Bible having been read and used as we have found in Shakespeare alone."