Beautiful and storied scenes that have soothed and elevated the mind naturally inspire a feeling of gratitude. Prompted by that feeling the present author has written this record of his rambles in England. It was his wish, in dwelling upon the rural loveliness and the literary and historical associations of that delightful realm, to afford sympathetic guidance and useful suggestion to other American travellers who, like himself, might be attracted to roam among the shrines of the mother land. There is no pursuit more fascinating or in a high intellectual sense more remunerative; since it serves to define and regulate knowledge, to correct misapprehensions of fact, to broaden the mental vision, to ripen and refine the Judgment and the taste, and to fill the memory with ennobling recollections. These papers commemorate two visits to England, the first made in 1877, the second in 1882; they occasionally touch upon the same place or scene as observed at different times; and especially they describe two distinct journeys, separated by an interval of five years, through the region associated with the great name of Shakespeare. Repetitions of the same reference, which now and then occur, were found unavoidable by the writer, but it is hoped that they will not be found tedious by the reader. Those who walk twice in the same pathways should be pleased, and not pained, to find the same wild-flowers growing beside them. The first American edition of this work consisted of two volumes, published in 1879, 1881, and 1884, called The Trip to Englandand English Rambles. The former book was embellished with poetic illustrations by Joseph Jefferson, the famous comedian, my life-long friend. The paper on Shakespeare's Home,—written to record for American readers the dedication of the Shakespeare Memorial at Stratford,—was first printed in Harper's Magazine, in May 1879. with delicate illustrative pictures from the graceful pencil of Edwin Abbey. This compendium of theTrip and the Rambles, with the title of Shakespeare's England, was first published by David Douglas of Edinburgh. That title was chosen for the reason that the book relates largely to Warwickshire and because it depicts not so much the England of fact as the England created and hallowed by the spirit of her poetry, of which Shakespeare is the soul. Several months after the publication of Shakespeare's England the writer was told of a work, published many years ago, bearing a similar title, though relating to a different theme—the physical state of England in Shakespeare's time. He had never heard of it and has never seen it. The text for the present reprint has been carefully revised.
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by William Winter
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by William Winter
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by on September 29, 2016
- Library of Alexandria, March 2015
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