RANDOM HOUSE has reprinted its collected volume of the Plays and Poems of W. S. Gilbert, first published in 1932. It is, in the main, a satisfactory job: it contains all the librettos of the Gilbert and Sullivan operas, two operas written with other composers, and the whole of the Bab Ballads. Operas and ballads are illustrated with Gilbert's droll little drawings; and there is a fifty-page preface by Deems Taylor which admirably covers Gilbert's career and the history of the operas. The book is well printed and not too heavy.
One's only complaint would be that the editor has taken space to include an inferior set of Bab Ballads, which Gilbert rightly discarded, and a blank-verse play, The Palace of Truth, which is certainly not one of his most brilliant things, while he has left out Haste to the Wedding, Gilbert's very amusing version of Le Chapeau de Paille d'Italie, and has failed to give any examples of his non-operatic farces. Surely it would have been worth while to preserve the burlesque Hamlet, called Rosenkrantz and Guildenstern, and the once popular comedy Engaged, which was revived in New York so recently as the twenties. Even aside from the operas, Gilbert had some importance as a dramatist. His serious plays were dreadful. When he tried to drop his characteristic mixture of satire and pure nonsense, he