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Romance as happily descriptive of the later plays has been taken from Dr. Dowden, from whom the writer has received for years past, in this as in other fields, both suggestion and stimulus. To Dr. William J. Rolfe he is indebted for many kindnesses of a personal nature.
Mr. William Winter has made Shakespeare's country familiar to a host of readers in America and England, and has reproduced the atmosphere in which the poet lived as boy and youth with such sympathetic charm and fidelity that he has laid all lovers of Shakespeare under obligations which it is a pleasure to recognize.
What needs my Shakespeare for his honoured bones
The labour of an age in piled stones ?
Or that his hallowed reliques should be hid
Under a star-ypointing pyramid?
Dear son of memory, great heir of fame,
What need'st thou such weak witness of thy name?
Thou in our wonder and astonishment
Hast built thyself a livelong monument.
For whilst, to the shame of slow endeavouring art,
JOHN MILTON. 1630.
INTRODUCTION TO FOURTH
THE appearance of this biography of Shakespeare in a fourth edition within two years of the date of its publication may be interpreted, without assumption on the part of the author, as one of the many evidences of the growth of interest in the work of the foremost poet who has used our language. As the peoples who speak that language are driven more and more by their world-wide activities and responsibilities to study their own motives and the sources of their power they will turn with deepening concern to the man who, more profoundly than any other who has given expression to their spirit and genius, has comprehended their view of life, of character, and of history, and interpreted it in dramatic form.
Consciously or unconsciously Shakespeare has formulated that underlying conception of the interdependence of thought and action, of the fundamental significance of character in relation to truth,