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Midfummer Nights
Dreame. [a.]
The Merchant of Venice.*




like it. [a & f.] The Taming of the Shrew. All is well, that Ends well. [a.] Twelfe-Night, or what you will. [a & f.] The Winters Tale, [a & f.]


[Troylus and Creffida] from the fecond folio; omitted in the firft.

The Tragedy of Coriolanus.

Titus Andronicus.* [a.]
Romeo and Juliet.*
Timon of Athens.
The Life and Death of Ju
lius Cæfar. [a.]
The Tragedy of Macbeth.
[a & S.]

The Tragedy of Hamlet.
King Lear. [a. & f.]
Othello, the Moore of Ve-
nice. [a & f. [
Antony and Cleopater.
Cymbeline King of Britaine.
[a & S.]

in a book call'd-Wit's Treafury, being the fecond Part of Wit's Commonwealth, written by Francis Meres; at p. 282: who, in the fame paragraph, mentions another play as being Shakfpeare's, under the title of Loves Labours Wonne; a title that feems well adapted to All's well that ends well, and under which it might be firft acted. In the paragraph immediately preceding, he fpeaks of his Venus and Adonis, his Lucrece, and his Sonnets this book was printed in 1598, by P. Short, for Cuthbert Burbie; octavo, fmall. The fame author, at p. 283, mentions too a Richard the Third, written by doctor Leg, author of another play, call'd The Deftruction of Jerufalem. And there is in the Mufæum, a manufcript Latin play upon the fame fubject, written by one Henry Lacy in 1586: which Latin play is but a weak performance; and yet feemeth to be the play fpoken of by Sir John Harrington, (for the author was a Cambridge man, and of St. John's,) in this paffage of his Apologie of Poetrie, prefix'd to his tranflation of Ariofto'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 terrific all tyrapnous minded men, from


The Life of King Henry

The Life and Death of The First part of King


King John. [a & S.]

the Fift.

Henry the Sixt.

The Life & Death of The Second Part of King Richard the fecond.* [a

& f.] The First part of King Henry the fourth. [a&f.] The Second Part of K. Henry the fourth.* [a &f.]


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

The Life & Death of
Richard the Third.*
[a & S.]
The Life of King Henry
the Eight. [a & S.]

Having premis'd thus much about the ftate and condition of these first copies, it may not be improper, nor will it be abfolutely a digreffion, to add fomething concerning their authenticity: in doing which, it will be greatly for the reader's eafe, and our own, to confine ourfelves to the quarto's which, it is hop'd, he will allow of; efpecially, as our intended vindication of thém will alfo include in it (to the eye of a good obferver) 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 indifcriminately by the player editors, and we fee 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 him kill his brother, his nephews, his wife, befide infinit others; and last of all after a short and troublefome raigne, to end his miferable 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 abufe that has been carry'd to much too great lengths by himself and another editor, that of putting out of the text paffages that they did not like. These cenfures then and this opinion being fet afide, is it criminal to try another conjecture,

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and fee 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 furvey of them, they feem 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; feven others that were publifh'd fome 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; befides the part that he may reasonably be thought to have had in other men's labours, being himfelf a player and a manager of theatres: what his profe productions were, we know not: but it can hardly be fuppos'd, that he, who had fo confiderable a fhare in the confidence of the earls of Effex and Southampton, could be a mute fpectator only of controverfies in which they were fo 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 fhortness of his life, and the other bufy employments of it are reflected upon duly, can it be a wonder that he should be fo loose a tranfcriber of them? or why fhould we refuse to give credit to what his companions tell us, of the ftate of thofe tranfcriptions, and of the facility with which they were pen'd? Let it then be granted, that thefe quarto's are the poet's own copies, however they were come by; haftily written at first, and iffuing from preffes most of them as corrupt and licentious as can any where be produc'd; and not overseen by himself, nor by of his friends and there can be no ftronger any reafon for fubfcribing to any opinion, than may be drawn in favour of this from the condition of all the other plays that were firft printed in the folio: for, in method of publication, they have the greatest likeness poffible to those which pre ceded them, and carry all the fame marks of hafte and negligence; yet the genuineness of the latter is attefted by thofe who publifh'd them, and no proof brought to invalidate their teftimony. If it be ftill afk'd, what then becomes of the accufation brought against the quarto's by the player editors, the answer is not fo far off as may perhaps be expected: it may be true that they were "ftoln; but ftoln from the author's copies, by transcribers who found means to get at them: and "maim'd"

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

they muft needs be, in refpect of their many alterations after the first performance: and who knows, if the difference that is between them, in fome of the plays that are common to them both, has not been ftudiously heighten'd by the player editors, who had the means in their power, being maftèrs of all the alterations, to give at once a greater currency to their own lame edition, and fupport the charge which they bring against the quarto's? this, at least, is a probable opinion, and no bad way of accounting for thofe differences."

It were eafy to add abundance of other arguments in favour of thefe quarto's;-Such as, their exact affinity to almost all the publications of this fort that came out about that time; of which it will hardly be afferted by any reafoning man, that they are all clandeftine copies, and publifh'd without their authors' confent: next, the high improbability of fuppofing that none of thefe plays were of the poet's own fetting-out: whofe cafe is ren

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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 fcene, that of the king's depofing, appears firft in the copy of 1608, the third quarto impreffion, being wanting in the two former and in one copy of 2 Henry IV. there is a fcene too that is not in the other, though of the fame year; it is the firft of act the third. And Hamlet has fome ftill more confiderable; for the copy of 1605 has thefe words: - Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie:" now though no prior copy has yet been produc'd, it is certain there was fuch by the teftimony of this title-page: and that the play was in being at leaft nine 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 inftance too of what the note advances.

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