The Seven Shakespeare Songs were composed during 1860-64. This present edition is based on the versions published in Volume 1 of the Second Series of Novello’s Part-Song Book, a late 19th-century series that provided an extensive repertoire of partsongs, glees and Victorian madrigals. In that edition, the metronome marks are only given in the piano part and it is quite possible that they are not Macfarren’s but a later addition. They are therefore reproduced here only in the piano part, for reference. Although part- songs and other kinds of ‘a cappella’ singing were in fact often accompanied by a piano or harmonium, the piano part here may be considered optional, even though it occasionally (at the end of pieces) does more than simply double the voices – these few passages can be rendered perfectly satisfactorily by voices alone. However, the use of a piano may certainly be considered ‘authentic’, as indeed may also the performance by a group of soloists with piano.