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HE present edition of Marlowe's Works is
not a reprint of that put forth by the same publisher in 1826, but exhibits a new text formed on a collation of the early copies. I had no concern in the edition of 1826, which, nevertheless, has been frequently cited as mine; and when I characterize it as abounding with the grossest errors, I cannot offend its editor, who has been long deceased.
Several years ago, an edition of Marlowe's Works was projected by Mr. J. P. Collier; but, on learning that I had commenced the present one, he abandoned his design, and kindly transferred to me some curious documents which he had intended to use himself, and which I have inserted in their proper places: nor, conscious as I am that there has been inexcusable delay in bringing out the present edition, ought I to be dissatisfied that Mr. Collier should have since printed a considerable portion of those papers in the Prolegomena to his Shakespeare. I have also to return my thanks to Mr. Collier for furnishing me with all the entries concerning Marlowe's pieces which he had met with while preparing for the press his Extracts from the Registers of the Stationers' Company.
My best acknowledgments are due to the Rev. Dr. Bandinel, Librarian of the Bodleian, Oxford, both for the information which he communicated to me by letter, and for the many courtesies which I experienced from him when I had occasion to inspect Malone's collection of English poetry, now added to the Bodleian treasures. By the ready services of the Rev. H. O. Coxe, of the same noble establishment, I have profited more than once.
To the Rev.J.C. Robertson, Vicar of Beakesbourne, who spared neither time nor trouble in aiding my inquiries about Marlowe in his native city, I feel myself greatly indebted; and to the Rev. W. S. H. Braham, Rector of St. George's, Canterbury, I am not without obligations.
Having reason to believe that Marlowe had been educated at the King's School, Canterbury, I requested the Hon. D. Finch, Auditor, to examine certain old Treasurer's Accounts, which, I was told, were preserved in the Cathedral, and were likely to determine the point. With this request Mr. Finch complied; and informed me that Marlowe was mentioned in those Accounts, as one of the King's Scholars who had received the usual stipend, during such and such years. But there his civilities ended. It was in vain that I continued asking him, as a particular favour, either to permit me to make the necessary extracts from those Accounts, or to allow a clerk to make them for me;—in Mr. Finch's opinion, my solicitations were unreasonable. Several months after, a gentleman, whose influence is powerful at Canterbury, was induced (through the medium of a mutual friend) to exert himself in my behalf; and, in consequence of his kind interposition, the extracts from the Accounts were at last forwarded to me, accompanied with a special notice that "ten and sixpence" must be sent, in return, to Mr. Finch.
The task of tracing Marlowe's course at Cambridge was voluntarily undertaken for me by the Rev. George Skinner, of Jesus College; and he performed it with a zeal for which I feel truly grateful.