Oenone and Paris

Oenone and Paris

Oenone and Paris

Oenone and Paris

Excerpt

Oenone and Paris, here for the first time reprinted from the unique copy in the Folger Shakespeare Library, will, I believe, be of threefold interest to scholars, first, as an example of that popular type of amorous poetry of which Hero and Leander and Venus and Adonis are representative, secondly, as the earliest known imitation of Shakespeare, and, thirdly, as, in all likelihood, the youthful work of the famous Elizabethan dramatist Thomas Heywood. In 1937 I reproduced, also for the first time and from a unique copy in the Folger Library, a second early imitation ofShakespeare, The Ghost of Lucrece, the youthful work of another Elizabethan dramatist, Thomas Middleton. The two poems are thus companion pieces, together bearing eloquent testimony to the esteem in which Shakespeare was from the beginning held by his contemporaries, and to the influence he exerted upon young writers.

In my efforts to edit the present volume I have labored under a peculiar handicap. Shortly after I began the task, the entrance of America into war caused the Folger, and also, its neighbor the Library of Congress, to store all their pre-1641 books in places of safety remote from the Atlantic seaboard. As a result, in referring to the non-dramatic works of Heywood I have been forced to rely upon hurriedly made notes, and in quoting from his plays . . .

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