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Two editions of Tamburlaine—one in 4to, the other in 8vo— were published in 1590. Of the 4to we have only the title-page and the Address to the Readers, which were found pasted in a copy of the First Part of Tamburlaine preserved in the Bridgewater Collection. In the Bodleian Library there is a perfect copy of the 1590 8vo of both parts. The title-pages of the 8vo and 4to agree verbatim, and run as follows :—
Tamburlaine the Great. Who, from a Scythian Shephtarde by his rare and woonderfull Conquests, became a most puissant and mightye Monarque. And (for his tyranny, and terrour in Warre) was tearmed, The Scourge of God. Deuided into two Tragical/ Discourses, as they were sundrie times shelved upon Stages in the Citie of London. By the right honorable the lord Admyrall, his seruauntes. Now first, and newlie published. London. Printed by Richard /hones: at the signeof the Rose and Crowne neere Holborne Bridge. 1590.
The half-title of the Second Part in the 8vo is—
The Second Part of The bloody Conquest of mighty Tamburlaine. With his impassionate fury, for the death of his Lady "and loue faire Zenocrate: his fourme of exhortacion and discipline to his three sons, and the maner of his own death.
In the Garrick Collection, British Museum, there is an 8vo edition of both parts dated 1592; the 8vos of 1590 and 1592 are probably the same book with a different title-page. Langbaine and Halliwell mention an edition of 1593 ; and Collier gives the full title of an edition published in 1597 (Cunningham's Marlowe, p. 368). The two parts were reissued in 1605-6 with the following titles :—
Tamburlaine the Greate. Who, from the state of a Shepheard in Scythia, by his rare and wonderfull Conquests became a most puissant and mighty Monarque. London Printed for Edward White, and are to be solde at t/ie little North doore of Saint Paules-Chureh, at the signe of the Gunne, 1605. 4to.
Tamburlaine the Greate. With his impassionate furie, for the death of his Lady and Loue fair Zenocrate: his forme of exhortation and discipline to his three Sonnes, and the manner of his owne death. The second part. London Printed by E. A. for Ed. White, and are to be solde at his Shop neere the little North doore of Saint Pauks Church at the Signe of the Gun. 1606. 4to.
I have had the 1592 8vo and the 1605-6 4to constantly before me; but Dyce was so thoroughly accurate in recording the readings of the old copies, that little or nothing in the way of collation was needed. My friend Mr. C. H. Firth, of Balliol College, Oxford, kindly referred to the 1590 8vo to see whether any light could be thrown on certain corrupt passages ; but in all cases the Bodleian copy agreed with the 1592 8vo. I have not thought it necessary to follow Dyce in recording the misprints and unnecessary changes of reading that occur in ed. 1605-6. Where the reading of the later copy seemed a distinct improvement, I have adopted it; but whereever I have departed from the 8vo, I have been careful to record the original reading in a footnote.
The printer's address, from the 1592 8vo, is as follows :—
To The Gentlemen-readers And Others That Take Pleasure In Reading Histories.
Gentlemen and courteous readers whosoever: I have here published in print, for your sakes, the two tragical discourses of the Scythian shepherd Tamburlaine, that became so great a conqueror and so mighty a monarch. My hope is, that they will be now no less acceptable unto you to read after your serious affairs and studies than they have been lately delightful for many of you to see when the same were shewed in London upon stages. I have purposely omitted1 and left out some
1 I have touched upon this point in the Introduction.
fond and frivolous gestures, digressing, and, in my poor opinion, far unmeet for the matter, which I thought might seem more tedious unto the wise than any way else to be regarded, though haply they have been of some vain-conceited fondlings greatly gaped at, what time they were shewed upon the stage in their graced deformities: nevertheless now to be mixtured m print with such matter of worth, it would prove a great disgrace to so honourable and stately a history. Great folly were it in me to commend unto your wisdoms either the eloquence of the author that writ them or the worthiness of the matter itself. I therefore leave unto your learned censures both the one and the other, and myself the poor printer of them unto your most courteous and favourable protection ; which if you vouchsafe to accept, you shall evermore bind me to employ what travail and service I can to the advancing and pleasuring of your excellent degree.
Yours, most humble at commandment,
TAMBURLAINE THE GREAT. fl>art tbe jfirst.
From jigging veins of rhyming mother wits,