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Midsummer Nights The Tragedy of Coriolanus. Dreame.* (a.)

[a.] The Merchant of Venice.* Titus Andronicus.* (a.) (a.)

Romeo and Juliet. As you like it. [a & S.] Timon of Athens. The Taming of the Shrew. The Life and Death of FuAll is well, that Ends lius Cæsar. [a.] well. (a.]

The Tragedy of Macbeth. Twelfe-Night, or what [a &S:]

you will. [a & S.] The Tragedy of Hamlet. The Winters Tale, [a &f.] King Lear. (a. & S. ]

Othello, the Moore of Ver TRAGEDIES.

nice. ( a & S.[ [Troylus and Cressida) Antony and Cleopater.

from the second folio; Cymbeline King of Britaine. Comitted in the firs. [a & $.]


in a book call'd— Wit's Treasury, being the second part of Wit's Commonwealih, written by Francis Meres; at p. 282: who, in the same paragraph, mentions another play as being Shakspeare's, under the title of Loves Labours Wönne ; a title that seems well adapted to All's well that ends well, and under which it might be first acted. In the paragraph immediately preceding, he speaks of his Venus and Adonis, his Lụcrece, and his Sonnets: this book was printed in 1598, by P. Short, for Cuthbert Burbie; octavo, small. The same author, at

po mentions too a Richard the Third, written by doctor Leg, author of another play, call's The Destruction of Jerusalem. Aud there is in the Mufæum, a manufcript Latin play upon the same subject, written by one Henry Lacy in 1586: which Latin play is but a weak performance; and yet feemeth to be the play spoken of by Sir John Harrington, (for the author wwas a Cambridge man, and of St. John's, ) in this paffage af his Apologie of Poetrie, prefix'd to his translation of Ariosto's Orlando, edit. 1591, fol."--and for tragedies, to omit other famous tragedies; that, that was played at St. Johns in Cambridge, of Richard the 3. would move (I thinke) Phalaris the tyraunt, and terrifie all tyrapnous minded men, from



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HISTORIE S. The Life of King Henry

the Fift.
The Life and Death of The Firft part of King

King John.* [a & S.] Henry the Sixt.
The Life 6 Death of The Second Part of King

Richard the second.* [a Hen, the Sixt.
& f.]

The Third part of King The First part of King Henry the Sixt.

Henry the fourth. {a &S.] The Life & Death of The Second Part of K. Richard the Third.* Henry the fourth.* [a [a & S. }

] & f.)

The Life of King Henry

the Eight. [a & S.)

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Having premis'd thus much about the state and condition of these first copies, it may not be improper, nor will it be absolutely a digression, to add fomething concerning their authenticity: in doing which, it will be greatly for the reader's ease,--and our own, to confine ourselves to the quarto's: which, it is hop'd, he will allow of; especially, as our intended vindication of them will also include in it (to the eye of a good obe server) that of the plays that appear'd first in the folio: which therefore omitting, we now turn ourfelves to the quarto's.

We have seen the flur that is endeavour'd to be thrown upon them indiscriminately by the player editors, and we see it too wip'd off by their having themselves follow'd the copies that they condenin. following their foolish ambitious humors, feeing how his ambition made hith kill his brother, his nephews, his wife, beside infinit others; and last of all after a short and troubles some raigne, to end his miserable life, and to have his body harried after his death."


A modern editor, who is not without his followers, is pleas'd to affert confidently in his preface, that they are printed from piece-meal parts, and copies of prompters :” but his arguments for it are fome of them without foundation, and the others not conclufive; and it is to be doubted, that the opinion is only thrown out to countenance an abuse that has been carry'd to much too great lengths by himself and another editor, -that of putting out of the text passages that they did not like. These censures then and this opinion being set aside, is it criminal to try another conjecture, and see what can be made of it? It is known, that Shakspeare liv'd to no great age, being taken off in his fifty-third year; and yet his works are fo numerous, that, when we take a survey of them, they seem the productions of a life of twice that length: for to the thirty-fix plays in this collection, we must add feven, (one of which is in two parts,) perhaps written over again;" seven others that were publish'd some of them in his life-time, and all with his name; and another seven, that are upon good grounds imputed to him; making in all, fifty-eight plays; besides the part that he may reafonably be thought to have had in other men's labours, being himself a player and a manager of theatres: what his prose productions were, we know not: but it can hardly be suppos'd, that he, who had fo congderable a share in the confidence of the earls of Effex and Southampton, could be a mute fpectator only of controversies in which they were so much interefted; and his other poeti

9 Vide, this Introduction, p. 278,

cal works, that are known, will fill a volume the fize of these that we have here. When the number and bulk of these pieces, the shortness of his life, and the other busy employments of it are reflected upon duly, can it be a wonder that he should be so loose a transcriber of them? or why should we refuse to give credit to what his companions tell us, of the state of those tranfcriptions, and of the facility with which they were pen'd? Let ie then be granted, that these quarto’s are the poet's own copies, however they were come by; hastily written at first, and issuing from presses most of them as corrupt and licentious as cân any where be produc'd; and not overseen by himfelf, nor by any of his friends: and there can be no stronger reason for fubfcribing to any opinion, than may be drawn in favour of this from the condition of all the other plays that were first printed in the folio: for, in method of publication, they have the greatest likeness possible to those which price ceded them, and carry all the fame marks of haffe and negligence; yet the genuineness of the latter is attested by those who publish'd them, and no proof brought to invalidate their testimony. If it be still alk'd, what then becomes of the accusation brought against the quarto's by the player editors, the answer is not so far off as may perhaps be expected: it may be true that they were “ stoln;" but stoln from the author's copies, by transcribers who found means to get at them:* and “ maim'd"

9 But see a note at p. 281, which feems to infer that they were fairly come by: which is, in truth, the editor's opinion, ar feast of fome of them; though, in way of, argument, and for the sake of clearness, he has here admitted the charge in that full extent in which they bring it.

they must needs be, in respect of their many alterations after the first performance: and who knows, if the difference that is between them, in some of the plays that are common to them both, has not been studiously heighten'd by the player editors, who had the means in their power, being masters of all the alterations, to give at once a greater

--to currency to their own lame edition, and support the charge which they bring against the quarto's ? this, at least, is a probable opinion, and no bad vay of accounting for those differences."

It were easy to add abundance of other arguments in favour of these quarto's;-Such as, their exact affinity to almost all the publications of this sort that came out about that time; of which it i will hardly be asserted by any reasoning man, that they are all clandestine copies, and publish'd without their authors' consent: next, the high. improbability of supposing that none of these plays were of the poet's own setting-out: whose case is ren

3. Some of thefe alterations are in the quarto's themselves ; (another proof this, of their being authentick,) as in Richard II: where a large scene, that of the king's depofing, appear's first in the copy of 1608, the third quarto impression, being wanting, in ile two former: and in one copy of 2. Henry IV. there is a scene too that is not in the other, though of the same year; it is the first of act the third. Arid Hamlet has soñé ftill more considerable ; for the copy of 1605 has these words : --"Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfe&t Coppie:” now though no prior copy has yet been produc’d, it is certain there was such by the testimony of this title-page: and that the play was in being at least ning years before, is prov'd by a book of doctor Lodge's printed in 1596; which play was perhaps an imperfect one; and not unlike that we have now of Romeo and Juliet, printed the year after ; a fourth instance too of what the note advances.

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