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OF THE ABBREVIATED REFERENCE TO THE CONTEXT, APPENDED TO
KACH EXTRACT OR QUOTATION.
A.C. Antony and Cleopatra.
Second. H. VI. PT. I. Henry Sixth, Part
First. H. VI. PT. II. Henry Sixth, Part
K. L. King Lear.
* The Act is expressed by Roman numerals; the Scene by Arabio figures.
EXAMPLE: A. C. iv. 7, signifies, Antony and Cleopatra, Act the Fourth, Scene the Seventh.
As another illustration of the same subject, we have the expression of Richard, endeavouring to rally his downcast spirits against the pressure of a guilty conscience:
“Give me a bowl of wine;
Now it is difficult to conceive how these different quotations relate to drunkenness, save only as they refer to the act of drinking; without which, that wretched state or propensity which we express by the word drunkenness, cannot indeed have existence.
“ The Aphorisms of Shakespeare,” edited by Mr. Capel Lofft, and printed and published at Bury St. Edmunds about twenty years ago, formed a collection worthy of that highly gifted gentleman. Mr. Lofft extracted sentences from Shakespeare, beginning with the play of Hamlet. To each extract he prefixed a synonym, or concisely descriptive sentence. Where he conceived the author to be obscure, from having used terms that have become obsolete, or encumbered by expletives, he took the liberty of altering the text, and of reducing any extract according to his own pleasure, into an aphoristic compass. The result proved, as might have been expected from so competent an editor, and such rich materials, one of the most choice collections of aphoristic wisdom that ever issued from the press. The defects of Mr. Lofft's book were, that he arranged each play separately, without any classification of subjects, or alphabetical order: hence its inconvenience as a work of reference. Suppose it were required to be known what Shakespeare had said on the subject of Grief, Man, Pride, or any other matter, a person would probably require to look for these in as many different places, as Shakespeare wrote plays. As a Dictionary of Shakespearian Quotations, it could not, for obvious reasons, be of any use.
In the compilation now submitted to the public, each extract will be found classed under its appropriate head; and where the import could be expressed in a single wor it is so expressed; but where such brevity was found impracticable, the drift or spirit of the extract is expressed in the fewest words possible. In certain cases it 'has been found impracticable to express the import of an extract literally, either by a single word, or by a short sentence. In such cases the compiler has endeavoured to catch the spirit, and to prefix such a term as would best convey it to the reader's comprehension.