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PR 2976 647
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1868, by
LEE AND SHEPARD,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.
NEXT to seeing a beautiful human life fade, flicker, and go out, unrecognized and unappreciated, is the sadness of seeing a beautiful book sink into the almost hopeless death of "out of print." Indeed, the latter would be the sadder sight of the two,—as a book is, or ought to be, the higher part, the very essence of a life,
were it not that for the possible earthly resur
printed volume there is a rection. And the second birth gives in itself a sign of appreciation, which pretty safely ensures a renewed and permanent life.
This series of lectures or essays on the humanities in Shakespeare ought never to have disappeared from sight in a cultivated community. Books of Shakespearian study, too numerous to be counted, have been printed within ten years, and others will come from similar sources. Their true value depends on their spiritual insight, the intellectual mechanics being equal. This is the rare
quality that has brought Henry Giles's book from the darkness to the dawn of another publication. It is a book of inestimable value to any one desiring a clear view, as it were, of Shakespeare's mind and method. As in the aquarium we stand outside the glass, or walk through crystal lanes, seeing within the wonders of the water-life; so are we led by the loving essayist into perception of the work of the great poet, and so directed by his wisdom into positions from which we see the springs of dramatic thought, and the living things moving in the creative mind.
Forever of living interest to men must be "the personal existence of a poet who has fully revealed man, and entirely concealed himself." He whose genius assumed every form; who is the poet of war and peace, of love and. hate, of cunning and simplicity, of city and country, of common life and fairyland; to this one universal and unstinted creature we surely ought to give extraordinary and studious attention. For this, leisure is the first need, or the setting aside of, perhaps, too many of our too few pleasant relaxations. Here lies, to the general reader, the value of the special student. Condensed, refined, tested, he gives into our hand the result of years of faithful investigation.
question for us, then, is as to his own quality, by which his work must be tinged and limited. "We want the man -the man himself, in his word; and if we find he is not in it, his word is hollow." In this requirement, our essayist is not wanting. We realize, at the slightest touch or question, that we have beside us a guide quiveringly sensitive, conscientious, spiritual,-one whose rhetoric is feeling, whose words express the inward perception and picture, whose knowledge has been faithfully and laboriously sought, and saved, and sifted.
Who reads a good book has made an unchanging friend. This is a noble book. And it will not detract from the pleasure of him who gives it due place on his shelf, that its re-issue will smooth the closing path of the author. friends and admirers of numerous and enthusiastic.
A few years ago, the
who have known how the shadow fell across his life; how the strong mind wore on the weak body, till its own essence leaked through the rifts; but how tenderly the hands of friendship and love have relieved the strain, and patiently made easy the declining way.
But for no lesser reason than its own high value is this golden thread brought to light again in the