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For ease of reference the order of the plays in the First Folio has been followed in this edition, in preference to the chronological scheme, in many respects more commendable; there is no fear nowadays of The Tempest being regarded as the earliest of the plays because of its position in the editio princeps. It should be noted that Troilus and Cressida is not mentioned at all in the original Catalogue of the several Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies, though in the body of the book it opens the section of Tragedies. Pericles, not included in the First Folio, will be found in the last volume of the plays.
The twelfth volume will contain The Sonnets and Poems, together with a concise account of the poet's life, illustrative documents, early editions of the works, contested theories, &c.
I feel sure that many readers will thank me for reprinting the prefatory matter to the First Folio, unaccountably omitted from most modern editions—the precious testimony of Shakespeare's friends and fellow-actors, “undertaking the design to keep the memory of so worthy a friend and fellow alive as was our SHAKESPEARE. It had been a thing, we confess, worthy to have been wished, that the Author himself had lived to have set forth, and overseen his own writings.'
I. G. September 8th, 1899.
To the Reader
This figure, that thou here seest put,
TO THE MOST NOBLE
INCOMPARABLE PAIR OF BRETHREN
King's most Excellent Majesty
We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure