The history of this great philanthropic association an association of genius, a combination of chief minds, from which the leadership and direction of the modern ages proceeds, the history of this 'society, as it was called, when the term was still fresh in that special application; at least, when it was not yet qualified by its application to those very different kinds of voluntary individual combinations 'bodies of neighbourhood' within the larger whole, to which that movement has given rise; the history of this society, this first 'Shake-spear Society' much as it is to our purpose, and much as it is to the particular purpose of this volume, can only be incidentally treated here.
'The glow-worm shows the matin to be near, And 'gins to pale his ineffectual fire. Pyramus. This will put them out of fear. Shake-spear. 'Truth and reason are common to every one, and are no more his who spoke them first, than his who spoke them after. Who follows another follows nothing, finds nothing, seeks nothing.
For these that 'closet' and 'cabinet, where the 'simples' of the Shake-spear philosophy are all locked and labelled, was built. For these that secret 'cabinet of the Muses, where the Delphic motto is cut anew, throws out its secret lures, its gay, many-coloured, deceiving lures, its secret labyrinthine clues, for all lines in this building meet in that centre. All clues here unwind to that.