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THE

Sonnets of Shakespeare Solved,

AND THE

MYSTERY OF HIS FRIENDSHIP, LOVE, AND RIVALRY

REVEALED.

ILLUSTRATED BY NUMEROUS EXTRACTS FROM THE

POET'S WORKS, CONTEMPORARY WRITERS,

AND OTHER AUTHORS,

BY HENRY BROWN.

“Seal up the mouth of outrage for a while,

Till we can clear these ambiguities,
And know their spring, their head, their true descent."

Romeo and Juliet.
“Rare is true love, true friendship is still rarer.”

La Fontaine.

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LONDON :

S. AND J. BRAWN, PRINTERS, 13, PRINCES STREET, LITTLE QUEEN STREET, HOLBORN

PREFACE.

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The Sonnets of Shakespeare, till within the last few years, have been strangely neglected, and even now few readers of his dramatic works read these poems; they have been and still remain a sealed book to his worldwide admirers. Nothing at all satisfactory has appeared in elucidation of them, no key by which an admirer may discover the secrets they contain, and participate with “ the poet of all time" in the mystic conceptions of his great mind, in the mystery of his love and friendship, in the self-recorded testimony of his hopes and fears, his joys and sorrows, in that which has glorified his brow or stamped vulgar scandal upon it. All this and more the Sonnets will reveal, if the reader will follow the poet through his involved meanings, and permit him to become as it were his own expositor—a privilege which Shakespeare has hitherto been denied. The Sonnets will then be found to add honour to his character as a man and his reputation as a poet. To effect this, the reader

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