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able rashness in one who had devoted so much time to the study of our early dramatists (see a remarkable instance of this in his alteration of “a sister's thread” to “a spider's thread," vol. iii. p. 54).
Gifford appended to his Introduction a list of numerous mistakes committed by his predecessor Weber, and of his own corrections of them : and in p. lxvi. of that Introduction he observes; “Of the general nature of this person's [Weber's] notes some idea may be formed by the few (they are but a few[?]) which I have placed as specimens in the Introductory part. My remarks, together with the innumerable corrections of the text, should have been subjoined to the respective pages, had I not indulged a hope that whenever another edition of this poet should be called for, the future editor (as the reading will then probably be considered as established) would remove this part of the Introduction, and relieve the work altogether from the name of Weber.” In the present edition, therefore, I have omitted, according to his desire, the concluding portion of Gifford's Introduction, preserving, however, certain explanations of the text with which it is interspersed, and which I have transferred to the notes on the respective passages in question.
We find our poet's name variously spelt,-Ford, Forde, and even Foard (see vol. iii. p. 102) and Foord (see Introduction, p. li.): and in the prefatory matter to The Broken Heart Gifford remarks ; “Ford has prefixed as a motto the words Fide Honor [also prefixed to his Perkin Warbeck and The Lady's Trial], an anagram of his own name, which therefore should perhaps be written, as he sometimes wrote it himself, John Forde.” But since, as Gifford elsewhere observes, Introduction, p. li., “Few of our old writers could spell their own names correctly, and still fewer followed any standard,” I believe that, however Ford may have chosen to write his name on other occasions, he would not have scrupled, when disposed to turn it into an anagram, to spell it, merely “for the nonce,” with a final e.
The languor and weakness consequent on a very long and serious illness having made it almost impossible for me personally to examine any public records with a view to the biography of Ford, I was fortunate, in that emergency, to meet with friends who kindly undertook to act as my substitute. I accordingly beg to return my best thanks to Mr. John Bruce, who more than once visited the Prerogative Office in order to search out for me the Will of Ford; but his labour was thrown away, and he was forced at last to come to the decided conclusion that it was not extant there, though he lighted on the Wills of several persons bearing the same names as the poet : also to Mr. William Macpherson, who procured for me from the Middle Temple the exact words of the entry of Ford's admission into that society. I have besides to express my obligations to Mr. J. O. Halliwell and Mr. W. J. Thoms, who zealously exerted themselves, though in vain, to ascertain for me where was to be seen a copy of the prose tract about Mother Sawyer, who figures so strikingly in our author's Witch of Edmonton.
When I made some additions to the complimentary verses by Ford on the writings of his friends (see vol. iii.), I overlooked the following lines. D.
Of Master Richard Brome his ingenious comedy
The Northern Lass. To the Reader.
Poets and painters curiously compar'd
In the same vol., p. 331, I ought not to have inserted the lines signed “Johannes Ford, Encomiastes," which I now believe are from the pen of the poet's cousin. D.