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CONTENTS. VOLUME II.
STANZAS-Oh ! SWEET TAE SAD HEART'S PENSIVE NIGHT!
In the last line page 59, for "scatteerd" read scattered.
In the 3rd line from the top of page 33 insert the word uith after the word
read supposed the whole series to be addressed to him.
[ON THEIR POETICAL MERITS, AND ON THE QUESTION OF to
WHOM ARE THEY ADDRESSED* ?]
At a time when our elder poets are so much studied, and so justly admired, it seems not a little extraordinary that the Sonnets of the immortal Shakespeare should be almost utterly neglected. When alluded to, as they rarely are, by modern critics, it is generally to echo the flippant insolence of Steevens, who asserted that nothing short of the strongest act of parliament could enlist readers into their service. We know, however, that in Shakespeare's life-time, these "sugred sonnets," as Meres quaintly calls them, were in great esteem, and were for a long while far better known than many of the Plays, which fell into comparative disrepute for some time before the author's death, and were not published in a collected form until several
after. Only eleven of the Dramas were printed during the Poet's life. Shakespeare died (on his birth-day, April 23,) in 1616. The first complete edition was printed in 1623, and was the joint speculation of four booksellers ; a circumstance from which Malone infers, that no single publisher was at the time willing to risk his money on an entire collection of the plays.
“An almost impenetrable darkness rests on the question, and no effort has hitherto, in the smallest degree, tended to disperse the gloom." - Drake.