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THE four plays printed in this volume appeared for the first time in the Folio of 1623, and in the same order in which they are here given.
Of The Taming of the Shrew alone is there any Quarto edition. The title-page of this, as it appears in Capell's copy, is as follows:
A wittie | and pleasant | Comedie | Called | The Taming of the Shrew. As it was acted by his Maiesties | Seruants at the Blacke Friers and the Globe. | Written by Will. Shakespeare. | LONDON, | Printed by W. S. for John Smethwicke, and are to be | sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstones Church- | yard vnder the Diall: | 1631. |
From a minute comparison of this Quarto edition with the First Folio, extending to points which are necessarily left unrecorded in our notes, we have come to the conclusion that the Quarto was printed from the Folio. It is necessary to mention this, because Mr Collier, in the second edition of his Shakespeare, maintains that the Quarto was printed long before 1623, perhaps as early as 1607 or 1609; that its publication "had been in some way 'stayed' by the intervention of the author, on behalf of himself and the company to which he belonged; and that, having in consequence been laid aside for a number of years, some copies of it, remaining in the hands of Smithwicke the stationer, were issued in 1631, as if it had been then first published." Mr Collier also conjectures that the title-page was 'struck off long subsequent to the printing of the body of the
comedy to which it is attached.' That this could not have been the case appears from an examination of Capell's copy, the only one known to us which has the title-page perfect. In this the title forms part of the first quire, and has not been inserted. The paper on which it is printed is the same as that used for the rest of the play, the wiremarks corresponding throughout. The passages from the Quarto and Folio which Mr Collier quotes in support of his theory seem to us to make strongly against it.
We have not reprinted the old play called The Taming of a Shrew, on which Shakespeare founded his comedy, because it is manifestly by another hand. It is referred to in the notes as (Q).
The 'Long MS.,' to which we have referred, is a copy of the Second Folio in the Library of Pembroke College, Cambridge, which was formerly in the possession of Dr Roger Long, Master of the College from 1733 to 1770. It contains marginal emendations, some from Theobald and Warburton, marked 'T.' and 'W.' respectively; some to which the initial 'L.' is affixed, and some without any initial letter at all. Such of these as could not be traced to any earlier source we have quoted as 'Long conj. MS.' or 'Long MS. For permission to use this volume we are indebted to the kindness of the Rev. C. H. Parez.
Mr Keightley has, with great liberality, sent for our use the MS. of his forthcoming work 'The Shakespeare Expositor.' We beg to return him our best thanks.
To the number of those whom we have to thank for kind assistance we add with pleasure the names of the Rev. G. B. Bubier, the Rev. N. M. Ferrers, and Dr Meredith of Quebec.
W. G. C.
W. A. W.