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LATE PROFESSOR IN THE UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA.

" Dramatica est veluti Historia spectabilis ; nam constituit imaginem rerum tanquam presentium: Historia,

autem, tanquam præteritarum."-Bacon, de Augm. Sc. lib. is. ch. xiii.

PHILADELPHIA:
J. B. LIPPINCOTT & CO.

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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1855, by

WILLIAM B. REED, in the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the United States for the Eastern

District of Pennsylvania.

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INTRODUCTION.

THE yuccess of the first series of Mr. Reed's Lectures on English Literature, has tempted me to a new experiment on the kindness of the public. This volume comprises two courses on kindred subjects—one delivered in 1846, on the Historical Plays of Shakspeare—from the dim legendary pe riod, when scarcely the form of history is maintained, down to the edge of the poet's own day and generation, the reign of Henry the Eighth—the other, a very brief one on Tragic Poetry, in 1842. The first course was prepared for the smaller class of the College Chapel; and the second, which was by comparison very highly elaborated, for a more popular audience. With this latter course Mr. Reed took great pains, and had reason to be content with the result; for they were listened to with delight by a most intelligent audience, and added much to his local reputation. Both will

, I am sure, be read with great pleasure, though of them, as of all these posthumous works, it is but fair to say that they are in want of the critical revision which the author alone could have given, and must be read, not as carefullywritten essays, but as spoken discourses intended more for the ear than the eye. Practically, there is good reason in

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