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THE

SHAKESPEARE KEY:

UNLOCKING THE TREASURES OF HIS STYLE,
ELUCIDATING THE PECULIARITIES OF HIS CONSTRUCTION,

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I will fitly bring you to hear my lord speak.
Pray you, go: there's my key.-Shakespeare.
Who understandeth thee not, loves thee not. --Shakespeare.

LONDON:
SAMPSON LOW, MARSTON, SEARLE & RIVINGTON,

188, FLEET STREET.

MDCCCLXXIX.

12 4 82.25

Mi courer LIBRARY

1879

Minot find

PRINTED BY NOVELLO, EWER AND CO., 69 & 70, DEAN STREET, SOHO, LONDON, W.

TO

THE TRUE SHAKESPEARIAN

ALL OVER THE WORLD,

This Book is Dedicated,

IN TOKEN OF CORDIAL FRATERNITY

BY

CHARLES AND MARY COWDEN CLARKE.

PREFACE.

SHAKESPEARE's style, so masterly in power of effect, so vigorous in expression, so full of varied resource, so marked with bold originality, yet so accordant with pure English diction, offers supreme advantage in its careful study to the thinkers, the writers, and the orators in his native language. A man possessed of good intellect and education, who moulds his composition and speech on the model afforded by Shakespeare's works, can hardly fail of being an able writer and speaker; and even a moderately gifted and moderately educated man, who is in the habit of reading and thoughtfully appreciating Shakespeare, is likely to become capable of expressing himself with strength and clearness --the best eloquence—whether in writing or speaking.

Never was author who combined so many different words in his single writings—and not only so many different words, but so many varied forms and uses of words—as Shakespeare; never was author who comprised so many different phrases and sentences, with varied constructional forms of phrases and sentences, as Shakespeare ; therefore it is that the possession of a ready means for inspecting these must needs be an advantage to students of the English language. More particularly must it be valuable to dramatic writers; whose object it is to produce prompt and immediate impression upon those who hear sentences uttered, without the opportunity to re-scan and weigh which reading affords. Of the same value is it to public speakers; since they also have to choose such expressions as will at once convey their meaning in the most full and forcible manner: and where can such expressions be found in larger number and more pregnant with significance than in Shakespeare's writings?

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