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Which is the merchant here, and which the Jew?
PAGE 226 249 218 171 117 145
Ye have been fresh and green
14 244 138
EXPLANATION OF REFERENCES,
These are primarily a glossary of obsolete or dialectal words set where a reader may find their meaning without turning the pages. This convenience is sometimes used for difficulties of a similar scale.
Wherever an asterisk [*] occurs in the text, whether at the number or title or ascription of a poem, it refers to the Notes at the end, pp. 255-261 : and when there is no asterisk to a poem, there is no note to it.
In compiling these annotations-which are explanatory of allusions and obscurities of all kinds—the experience and industry of previous commentators has been freely drawn upon; but where no authority is named it may be assumed that the information is derived from common sources. All critical remarks have a merely educational intention. Text.
Care has been taken to collate the best texts and to provide the best readings. This is not always easy, and the publishers will be grateful for notification of any mistakes or errors. The text of Milton has been expressly attended to. It is the original text (from Dean Beeching's edition) with only such convenient alterations of the spelling as are free from all scholarly objection. The original italicising of proper names and initialing of important words with capitals has been kept, as being of æsthetic value, and generally making the reading of the poem easier. In the few cases where the capitals have been changed the conditions were specially considered. ORDER.
While there is a general scheme of having the simpler poems at the beginning of the book and the more difficult ones towards the end, this order of simplicity has often been set aside in the disposition of the subject-matter, on the grouping and sequence of which the pleasantness and companionable character of the book must depend. Choice.
The extracts from Milton are no longer than is profitable in an educational book; since he is not only our best link backwards with Chaucer, but his serene mastery, economy, and dignity make him the most useful model for all young students. His verse is therefore very good for learning by heart and for elementary recitation. Some other poems were chosen also for their usefulness in recitation.
In a book of this kind the older writers have a far stronger claim than the later; since it is essential that students should have a good acquaintance with what must always be the foundation of our living literature. It is true that we overlook or condone blemishes in the old poems, while we are critical or intolerant towards faults of similar or less magnitude in contemporaries : and this must be so, because the older poems have passed their ordeal and won their place. It is by setting old and new together that the latter will win the same privilege. The Editor offers this attempt with due deference, and has to thank many friends for the ready assistance of their judgment.
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at the University Press, Edinburgh