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COMPREHENSIVE SCHOOL SERIES.

THE

SHAKESPEARE READER;

;

BEING

EXTRACTS FROM THE PLAYS OF SHAKESPEARE.
SPECIALLY SELECTED AS FULFILLING ARTICLE 28 AND SCHEDULE IV.

OF THE EDUCATION CODE.

WITH

INTRODUCTORY PARAGRAPHS AND NOTES,

GRAMMATICAL, HISTORICAL, AND EXPLANATORY.

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LONDON:
BLACKIE & SON, 49 & 50 OLD BAILEY, E.C.
GLASGOW, EDINBURGH, AND DUBLIN.

1880.

m. adds qq. fol.

PREFACE.

The present work is the result of the editor's belief that a collection of extracts from Shakespeare, suitable for the study of the young. would be found acceptable to teachers and pupils generally. To assist, in some measure, in making the poetry of Shakespeare “familiar in their mouths as household words" the editor's cherished wish. In bringing the book before his fellow-teachers, the compiler would state some of its uses :-

1. It will form an ordinary Reading book for the upper Standards.

2. It furnishes material for the “Repetition” required by the Code.

3. Dictation and Grammar Exercises cannot be chosen from a better source than from such a master of the English language as Shakespeare.

4. To the pupils who are learning History, many of the extracts will be of use as supplementary to their text-books.

5. In schools where “speech-day” is observed, the Editor hopes his little work will be warmly welcomed. Experience proves that the Shakespearian dialogue is taken up with zeal by the young.

Of the features of the work little need be said. Great care has been taken to select only such pieces as readily commend themselves to children; and all expressions which are now considered offensive have been expunged. This may be looked upon by some as unwarrantable meddling; but the Editor had to consider that he was working for “the little ones," and suffered no gross word to remain.

Each extract, with its introductory paragraph, makes a story complete in itself.

The notes are not voluminous. They are, however, such as will be of real use to those for whom they were written. Long and elaborate etymologies are not the kind of notes to interest children; nor indeed are they of much use to learners in an early stage of growth. On the other hand,-simple, homely explanations of “bard words,” and hints which shall belp him in cracking some hard nut in his parsing exercise, are just the notes the boy appreciates ; while they are very likely to create a liking for similar studies in the future.

This last is one of the objects the Editor bad in view. If his little book should help some of our youths to interest themselves in the study of English Language and Literature, he will be deeply gratified.

SHORT SKETCH OF THE LIFE OF SHAKESPEARE.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE, the Prince of Poets, was born on the 23d of April, 1564, at Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, where his father, John Shakespeare, occupied the position of a respectable tradesman. The poet was the eldest son of his parents. He was sent, in 1571, to Stratford Grammar School, which he probably continued to attend until 1578, in which year we have proof that his father's prosperity was declining, although he was still head alderman of Stratford. There is great uncertainty as to the manner in which the poet spent his next four years, as indeed there is regarding his whole life; the knowledge displayed in his works would lead us to believe that he had a collegiate education, though it is generally stated that he was taken early from school to assist his father in his business. The next event of which we have certain record is his marriage, in 1582, to Anne Hathaway, who resided at Shottery, near Stratford. In 1583 his eldest daughter, Susanna, was born; and in 1585 his son Hamnet, and his daughter Judith. Meanwhile his father's fortunes continued to decline, while his own expenses were increasing; he accordingly determined to seek his fortune in London, whither he removed in 1586. From that year until 1589 nothing certain is known of him; but in the latter year he was certainly one of the proprietors of the Blackfriars Theatre, from which we may infer that he spent the intervening years in qualifying himself as an

or perhaps in writing and editing plays. From 1589 we may date his ever-increasing fame; play after play issuing from his pen in rapid succession, so that before 1601 twenty of his plays had appearel. Meanwhile he had his domestic troubles ; in 1596 died his only son Hamnet; and in 1601 his father, John Shakespeare. In 1604 he left London and returned to Stratford, where he continued to add to his dramatic works. Before 1606 eight more plays appeared; and by 1615 eight more. In 1616, on his birthday, the poet died, and was buried in the church of Stratford. He left two daughters, both of whom were married, but their children died unmarried ; thus the great poet's direct descendants ceased with the second generation.

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