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Frontispiece should read "Charles Lamb (in his thirtieth year)".
Page 300, line 17, for "my" read “me".

Lamb's omissions not noted.
317, line 12, for "most” read "
323, one omission not noted.
330, 7th line from foot, for gentlemen " read “gentleman”.


Lamb-Vol. IV.

muou wpicu 1115 extracts into Note Books (now preserved at the British Museum), and afterwards formed


for Hone separate articles which are now among the Rowfant treasures.

An additional reason for leaving Lamb's extracts as he left them is that they are so essentially the work of a chartered enthusiast roaming and tasting where he will.

To impose any logical scheme upon such a bag of sweets would be, I think, a mistake. As Lamb himself wrote, one's “business is with the poetry only."

I have, however, added to the text, within square brackets, the dates of the plays, the birth and death dates of the authors, and a reference to the pages in the volume in which other extracts from their works may be found. Beyond these interpolations, notes of the omitted passages, hints as to the best modern editions, and the addition of references to the act and scene of the play from which each extract is taken, the text is as Lamb left it. Chief among the friends but for whose help my difficulties would have been greater is Mr. A. H. Bullen.

For the same reason that the order of the extracts has not been changed the old dramatists have not been amended, although better editions than those from which Lamb worked give readings that in many cases may be held preferable. Were this book a serious study of the old drama I should feel it my duty to enter into such minutiæ. But it is not a text-book. It is an inspired but strictly unofficial invitation, as informal and privileged as a familiar letter, to visit a great tract of beautiful and wonderful country. Hence the notes will be found principally to consist of the history of the book, told largely in the words of the late Mr. Dykes Canıpbell, by permission of Mrs. Dykes Campbell and the Editor of The Athenæum, together with a few further comments by Lamb, on the same subjects, drawn from other of his writings, and now and then a remark upon or corroboration of his criticisms by other critics.

The present edition is completer than any that has yet been published, for it contains not only the Specimens, and the Garrick Extracts that Lamb sent to Hone, but also those extracts which he copied into his Note Books but did not send. I have also, by the courtesy of Mr. Godfrey Locker-Lampson, examined the original text of the articles sent to Hone for weekly publication, and have found there some interesting material now printed for the first time.

Finally, Mr. Swinburne, who has written more nobly of Lamb than has any one, and who stands by his side in devotion and service to the old dramatists, has kindly permitted me to print his sonnet “On Lamb's Specimens of the Dramatic Poets” very fittingly on the threshold of this book, and his sequence of twentyone sonnets on the old dramatists, from Tristram of Lyonesse, by way of epilogue.

The frontispiece is Hazlitt's portrait of Lamb in the costume of a Venetian Senator, painted in the autumn of 1804, when Lamb was twenty-nine, a little before he began seriously to work on this book. The portrait, now in the National Portrait Gallery, was once Coleridge's and afterwards Gillman's.

E. V. L.

October, 1903

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