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deed, to satisfy every one, it would be almost necessary to bring Shakespeare's plays bodily into the volume; and after repeatedly adding passages to what I had hoped was a completed work, I have been obliged at last to stay my hand.
The pleasant task, the results of which are here set forth, has occupied nearly all my leisure time for the last three years; and indeed, for some years past, I have in a desultory way been preparing for the final labour.
Two courses were open to me. I could either, from a Dictionary, have selected certain words, for which, with the aid of the very valuable Shakespeare Concordance, quotations might have been found, and then have presented to the public a bulky volume. But this I did not do, because I had no desire to write out a Dictionary, and had I lived to get through such a labour, the reader would have found that, even assisted by a Dictionary and a Concordance, the passages which might have contained the word quoted would, very frequently, have been almost valueless as a reference. The plan I pursued was, to carefully read over the plays, and mark by the side of the passages which struck me, what I thought would be a suitable leading word.
And I aim at something higher than the mere stringing together of popular sayings, for the convenience of those given to quote; for I cannot but consider it must be of advantage to group before the lovers of Shakespeare the various readings of that master mind, on the multiplicity of topics on which he enlarges. It may be urged, I somewhat pander to lower tastes in facilitating, as I have done, the easiness of the quoter's task, but, as Shakespeare himself says, the purpose must weigh with the folly ; and though many may only care to glance at these pages because they may afford ready clues to imperfect trains of thought, I am almost certain that the real admirers of Shakespeare will see something truer in my effort, and will be enabled, I hope, to trace more clearly the comprehensiveness of the genius which adorned all it touched, and to perceive, even more distinctly than they did previously, that much that he said was for all time, and was not merely applicable to his own age.
The Globe edition is the one that I have made use of in extracting the passages here set forth, and I may as well here mention that the numbers in brackets given in each quotation refer to the page in that edition (published in 1871). For instance : REST (936).
the long day's task is done, And we must sleep.
Antony. Antony and Cleopatra, Act iv. Sc. 14. The quotations, when extracted from anywhere but the commencement of a prose sentence, are prefixed by dots ...; but where they are taken from a portion of a verse paragraph, and begin with the beginning of a new line, there is no mark to show their place, beyond the name of the speaker who enunciates what is recorded, and the numbering of the page.
THE ABSENT (yearning after) (958).
To lie in watch there and to think on him ?
Imogen. Cymbeline, Act iii. Sc. 4. ABSENTEE (by advice) .
As I was then advised by my learned counsel in
Falstaff. 2nd Henry IV., Act i. Sc. 2. ABSENTEES (when from home) (442].
as 'tis ever common
King Henry. Henry V., Act i. Sc. 2. ABSTEMIOUSNESS (inculcated) . -See also OATHS.
.. do not give dalliance
Prospero. Tempest, Act iv. Sc. I. ABUSE (903].
a beggar in his drink
Emilia. Othello, Act iv. Sc. 2.
ABUSES (wanting countenance) (384).
.. for the poor abuses of the time want countenance.
Falstaff. ist Henry IV., Act i. Sc. 2. ACCOMPLISHMENTS .
to be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune ; but to write and read comes by nature.
Dogberry. Much Ado about Nothing, Act iii. Sc. 3. ACTING (perfect) (393).
... he doth it as like one of these harlotry
Hostess. Ist Henry IV., Act ii. Sc. 4.
The present eye praises the present object : .
Ulysses. Troilus and Cressida, Act iii. Sc. 3. ACTION (celerity in) (792).
If it were done when 'tis done, then 'twere well
Macbeth. Macbeth, Act i. Sc. 7. ACTIONS (misunderstood) .
Know you not, master, to some kind of men
Adam. As You Like it, Act ii. Sc. 3. ACTOR (dull) .
Like a dull actor now,
Coriolanus. Coriolanus, Act v. Sc. 3. ACTOR (favourite) .
As in a theatre, the eyes of men,
York. Richard II., Act v. Sc. 2.