William Shakespeare.

Mr. William Shakespeare, his comedies, histories, and tragedies (Volume 1) online

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/et out by himfelf in quarto,

or by the Players bis Feilonus in folio,

and now faithfully repubUJb 1 d from those


in ten Volumes o8a<vo ; with an

Wbereunto will be added, in fame other Volumes ',
.A O T E 5, critical and explanatory, and a Body of


Qui genus humanum ingenio fuperavit, et omneis
1'faeftiijxit, flellas exortus uti aethereus Sol.

LUCR.L;^. 3 ./. 1056.


Printed by DRYDEI* LEACH,
for J. and R, T o N s O f in the Strand.


the DUKE of

My Lord,

The works of fuch great authors as this whom I
have now the honour of presenting to your Grace,
are a part of the kingdom's riches : they are her ef-
tate in fame, that fame which letters confer upon
her; the worth and value of which or finks or raises
her in the opinion of foreign nations, and fhe takes
her rank among them accordingto the efteem which
these are held in : It is then an object of national
concern, that they fhould be fent into the world
with all the advantage which they are in their own
nature capable of receiving; and who performs the
office rightly, is in this a benefactor to his country,
and fomewhat entitl'd to her good will. The fol-
lowing great productions ftand foremoft in the lift
of these literary posseffions; are talk'd of wherever



the name of Britain is talk'd of, that is, (thanks to
fome late counfels) wherever there are men : but their
value is not a little diminifh'd by numerous and
grofs blemiflies, fpots in the fun's body, which pre-r
vent his glory breaking forth: If I could flatter my-
felfjuftly,that I had at laftremov'd those blemifhes,
and fet this glorious Poet in his due ftate of bright-
pefs, fure I am the world will all acknowledge the
fitnefsof addreffinghim in this eftate to your Grace;
who both prefide over the treasures of Great Britain,
and are eminent for a love and knowledge of letters,
that bring encreafe of luftre both to your ftation and
your quality:~But I am treading upon a ground
that I had forbidden to myfelf at fetting out, and
muft retire in time ere my affeclions engage me
further. Your illuftrious Grandfather vouchfaf'd to
call mine his friend, and always fpoke of him with
pleasure; he honour'd me early with his patronage,
and to him I owe the leisure that has enabl'd me to
bcftow upon this work the attention of twenty years:
Your Grace will therefore have the goodnefs to look
upon this little present, and the peribn who tenders
it, as a minute part of your inheritance, defcending
to you from Him : which if you are not the richer
for, in the common acceptation of that word, yet
fome accefiion of knowledge may perhaps accrue to
you from your more acquaintance with these moft
exquisite portraits of nature; in which Man, and his
mannersjtogether with all the fubtle workings of the


paflions he is endu'd with, are more largely and fine-
ly pencil'd out, and with higher colouring, than can
elfe be met with in the writings of any age or na-
tion whatfocver: a knowledge no ways unfuitable
to the many high employments your Grace is em-
barlc'd in; yet from the attaining of which your fta-
tion in life does in fome degree exclude you, other-
wise than in books. But if this idea of a benefit of
fo hi;h. a nature accruing to your Grace from the
perusal of this work, fliould prove only the vision
of an editor,~who is, in his affections, commonly
idolatrous; worfhipping himfelf, and expecting wor-
fhip from others towards the image he fets up,~yet
of this little good at leaft he has hopes of being the
inftrument; that is, of having furnifli'd you with a
noble and rational amusement for fome of your lei-
sure hours, and (perhaps) a relief for fome anxious
ones; which are the lot of all humanity, and parti-
cularly of perfons in your Grace's elevated condi-
tion: To have reach'd no farther than this, and, by
his labours, contributed only to your entertainment,
will fill all the wifhes of ham, who is, with the great-
eft refpect, your Grace's

moft dutiful and molt
devoted humble fervant,

EJfex Court



It is faid of the oftrich, that me drops her egg at ran-
dom, to be difpos'd of as chance pleases; either brought
to maturity by the fun's kindly warmth, or elfe crufh'd
by beafts and the feet of paffers-by: Such, at lead, is
the account which naturalifts have given us of this ex-
traordinary bird ; and admitting it for a truth, me is in
this a fit emblem of almoft every great genius : they
conceive and produce with ease those noble iffiies of hu-
man underftanding ; but incubation, the dull work of
putting them correctly upon paper and afterwards pub-
lifhing, is a tafk they can not away with. If the original
ftate of all fuch authors' writings, even from HOMER
downward,could be enquir'd into and known, they would
yield proof in abundance of the juftnefs of what is here
aflerted: but the Author now before us fhall fuffice for
them all; being at once the greateft inftance of genius

2 IntroduSlion.

in producing noble things, and of negligence in provi-
ding for them afterwards. This negligence indeed was
fo great, and the condition in which his works are come
down to us fo very defbrm'd, that it has, of late years,
induc'd feveral gentlemen to make a revision of them:
but the publick feems not to be fatiffy'd with any of
their endeavours; and the reason of it's difcontent will
be manifeft, when the ftate of his old editions, and the
methods that they have taken to amend them, are fully
lay'd open, which is the firft businefs of this Introduc-

Of thirty fix plays which SHAKESPEARE has left us,
and which compose the collection that was afterwards
fet out in folio, thirteen only were publifh'd in his life-
time, that have much resemblance to those in the folio;
these thirteen are" Hamlet, Firft and feccnd Henry I V,
King Lear, Lo^ii Labour's loft, Merchant of Venice, Mid-
jummer Nights Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Richard
II and III, Romeo and Juliet, Titus Andronicus, and
Troilus tfWCreffida." Some others, that came out in the
fame period, bear indeed the titles of" Henry V, King
John,Mwry #7<zw o/ r vVindibr,and ' i 'Tamingcf the Shrew,"
but are no other than either firft draughts, or mutilated
and perhaps furreptitious impreffions of those plays, but
whether of the two is not easy to determine: " King John"
is certainly a firrt draught, and in two parts ; and fo much
another play, that only one line of it is retain'd in the


* This is meant of the firft quarto edition of " Tit Taming of the
Strew" for the fecond was printed from the folio. But the play in
this firft edition appears certainly to have been a fpurious one; from

Introduction. 3

fecond: there is alfo a firft draught ef the " Second and
third parts of Henry VE," publifh'd in his life-time, un-
der the following title, ''The whole Contention betweene
the t-ivo famous Houses, Lancafter and Ybrke :" and to these
plays, fix in number, may be added the firft imprcf-
fion of" Romeo and Juliet," being a play of the fame
itamp : The date of all these quarto's, and that of their
feveral re-impreflions, may be feen in a Table that fol-
lows the Introdu&ion. " Othello" came out only one
year before the folio ; and is, in the main, the fame play
that we have there: and this too is the cafe of the firft-
mention'd thirteen; notwithftanding there are in many
of them great variations, and particularly, in " Hamlet,
King Lear, Richard I If, and Romeo and Juliet."

As for the plays, which, we fay, are either the Poet's
firft draughts, or elfe imperfect and ftolen copies, it will
be thought, perhaps, they might as well have been left
out of the account: But they are not wholly ufelefs: fome
lacuna, that are in all the other editions, have been ju-
dicioufly fill'd up in modern impreffions by the author-
ity of these copies; and in fome particular paflages of
them, where there happens to be a greater conformity
than usual between them and the more perfect editions,
there is here and there a various reading that does hon-
our to the Poet's judgment, and ftiould upon that ac-
count be presum'd the true one; in other refpefts, they
have neither ufe nor merit, but are meerly curiofities.


Mr. POPE'S account of it, who feems to have been the only edito.'
whom it was ever feen by : great pains has been taken to trace who
he had it of, (for it was not in his collection) but without fucceis.

Proceed we then to a defcription of the other four-
teen. They all abound in faults, though not in equal de-
gree; and those faults are fo numerous, and of fo many
different natures, that nothing but a perusal of the pie-
ces themfelves can give an adequate conception of them;
but amongft them are thes that follow. Division of acts
and fcenes, they have none; " Othello 11 only excepted,
which is divided into acts: Entries of perfons are ex-
treamly imperfect in them, (fomctimes more, fometimes
fewer than the fcene requires) and their Exits are very
often omitted; or, when mark'd, not always in the right
place; and few fcenical directions are to be met with
throughout the whole : Speeches are frequently confoun-
ded, and given to wrong perfons, either whole, or in.
part ; and fometimes, inftead of the perfon fpeaking, you
have the actor who presented him: and in two of the
plays, (' Loves Labour*! loft, and Troilus and Creffida")
the fame matter, and in nearly the fame words, is fet
down twice in fome paflages; Which who fees not to
be only a negligence of the Poet, and that but one
of them ought to have been printed? But the reigning
fault of all is in the measure: prose is very often pr-
inted as verfe, and verfe as prose ; or, where rightly
printed verfe, that verfe is not always right divided: and
in all these pieces, the fongs are in every particular ftill
more corrupt than the other parts of them. These are
the general and principal defects : to which if you add
tran (position of words, fentences, lines, and even fpee-
ches; words omitted, and others added without reason;
and a punctuation fo deficient, and fo often wrong, that
it hardly deserves regard; you have, upon the whole, a
true but melancholy picture of the condition of these

Introduction* %

firft-printed plays: which, bad as it is, is yet better than
that of those which came after ; or than that of the fub-
fequent folio impreffion of fome of these which we are
now fpeaking of.

1 his folio impreffion was fent into the world fevert
years after the Author's death, by two of his fellow-play-
ers; and contains, befides the laft-mention'd fourteen,
the true and genuine copies of the other fix plays, and
fixteen that were never publifli'd before:* The editors
make great profeffions of fidelity, and fome complaint
of injury done to them and the Author by ftolen and
maim'd copies; giving withal an advantageous, if juft,
idea of the copies which they have follow'd: but fee ths
terms they make ufe of. " It had bene a thing, we con-

' fefle, worthie to have bene wifhed, that the Author him-
' felfe had liv'd to have fet forth, and overfeen his ownc
< writings; But fince it hath bin ordain'd otherwife, and
' he by death departed from that right, we pray you
* do not envie his Friends, the office of their care, and
paine,tohavecollefted&publifh'd themjand fo to have
publifh'd them, as where (before) you were abus'd with
' diverfe ftolne, and furreptitious copies, maimed, and
' deformed by the frauds and ftealthes of injurious im-
' poftors, that expos'd them : even thofe, are now offer'd
" to your view cur'd, and perfect of their limbes; and
** all the reft, abfolute in their numbers, as he conceived


2 There is yet extant in the books of the Stationers* Company, an
entry bearing date Febr. 12. 1624. to Mefirs. Jaggard and Blount,
the proprietors of this firft folio, which is thus worded; "Mr. Wai,
Sbakeff car's Comedy's Hiftsry't f Tragedy' sfo many of the faid Cifj 'i at
tee not tr.terd to other mer. ,-" and this entry is follow'd b the titlss

6 IntroduEiion.

" them. Who, as he was a happie imitator of Nature,
" was a moft gentle exprefTer of it. His minde and hand
" went together: And what he thought, he uttered with
' that eafinefle, that wee have fcarfe received from him
" a blct in his papers." Who now does not feel himfelf
inclin'd to expefl an accurate and good performance in
the edition of these prefacers? But, alas, it is nothing
lefs : for (if we except the fix fpurious ones, whose places
were then fupply'd by true and genuine copies) the edi-
tions of plays preceeding the folio, are the very bafis of
those we have there ; which are either printed from those
editions, or from the copies which they made ufe of: and
this is principally evident in " Firji and jecond Henry
J V, Love's Labour's loji, Merchant of Venice, Midfummer
Night's Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Richard if, Ti-
tus Andronicus, and Troilus and Crefiida;" for in the o-
thers we fee fomewhat a greater latitude, as was observ'd
a little above: But in these plays, there is an almoft ft rift
conformity between the two impreflions : fome additions
are in the fecond, and fome omiilions; but the faults and
errors of the quarto's are all preserved in the folio, and
others added to them; and what difference there is, is
generally for the worfe on the fide of the folio editors :
which fliould give us but faint hopes of meeting with
greater accuracy in the plays which they firft publifh'd;
and, accordingly, we rind them fubjeft to all the imper-

N o re.

of all th<ve fixteen plays that were firft printed in the folio: The o-
ther twen:y pfays (" Othello, and King John," excepted; which the
perfon who turnifli'd this tranfcript, thinks he may have overlooked)
are enter'd too in these books, under their rcfpedive years, but to
whom the tranfctipt lavs not.

feftions that have been noted in the former: nor is their
edition in general diftinguifh'd by any mark of prefer-
ence above the earlieft quarto's, but that fome of their
plays are divided into adts, and fome others into afts and
fcenes ; and that with due precision, and agreable to the
Author's i'dea of the nature of fuch divisions. The order
of printing these plays, the way in which they are clafT'd,
and the titles given them, being matters of fome curio-
fity, the Table that is before the firft folio is here repr-
inted : and to it are added marks, put between crotchets,
fhewing the plays that are divided; a fignifying a&s,
a &/ a&s and fcenes.

TABLE of Plays in the folio. J
COMEDIES. " As you Like it. [> &/]
The Tempejt. [a &/} The Taming of the Shrew.

The two Gentlemen of V era- Allis e well,tbatEnds<we!l.[a~\

na* \a &/.] Twelfe - Night, or 'what you

The Merry Wives of Wind- 'will, [a &/]

for. [a &/] The Winters Tale, [a &/]

MeafureforMeafure. [aScf.] HISTORIES.

The Comedy of Erroun* [a.] The Life and Death of King
Much adoo about Nothing, [a.] John . * [ a & _/I]
Loves Labour loft* The Life ff death of Richard

Midfommer Nights Dreame.* thefecond* [a &/]

[a. ] The Firjl part of King Henry

The Merchant of Venice* [a.] the fourth* [a &/]


3 The plays, marlc'd with afterifk?, are fpoken of by name, in i
hook, call'd " JPit's Treasury, beir.g thefecond Parr affair's Common-
x-.'j/r^," written by Francis MERES ; at p. 282 : who, in the ime
paragraph, mentions another play as being SHAKESPEARE'S, under
the title of" Laves labwn wonnt^' a title that feems well adapted

8 Introduflion.

<tte SeconJpart ef K. Henry thefrft.

the fourth.* [a &/] TbeTragedyofCoriolanut.^a]

TbeLifeofKingHenrytbeFift. Titus Andronicus.* [a.]
The Firji part of King Henry Romeo and Juliet*

the Sixt. Timon of Athens.

The Second part cf King Hen. The Life and death of Julius

the Sixt. C<ffar. [a.]

The Third part of King Henry The Tragedy of Macbeth.

the Sixt. [a &/]

T'be Life & Death of Richard The Tragedy of Hamlet.

the Third* [a &/] King Lear, [a &/]

The Life of King Henry the Othello, the Moore of Venice.

Eight, [a &/] [a &/]

TRAGEDIES. Antony and Cleopater.

[Troylus an<tCreffida]from Cymbeline King of Britaine.

the Jecond folio; omitted in [a&cf.~\

Having premis'd thus much about the (late and con-
dition ot these firft copies, it may not be improper, nor
v.ill it be absolutely a digreffion, to add fomething con-
cerning their authenticity: In doing which, it will be
greatly for the reader's ease, and our own, to confine
ourfelves to the quarto's : which, it is hop'd, he will al-


to "All's ivell, that ends well," and under which it might be firft
ated. In the paragraph, immediately preceding, be fpeaks of his
" Venus and Adonis," his" Lucrece," and his " Sonnets: "This book
was piinted in 1598, by P. Short, for Cutbbert Burble ; cdtavo, fmall.
The Tame author, at p. 283, mentions too a " Richard the third,"
written by doftor LEG, author of another play, call'd " Tie Define
tion of Jermalf m." And there is in the Musseum, a manufcriut La-
tia. play upon the fame fubjcft, writtea by one Htnry LAC v in 1586:

Introduftion. 9

low of; efpecially, as our intended vindication of them
will alfo include in it (to the eye of a good observer) that
of the plays that appear'd firft in the folio : which there-
fore omitting, we now turn ourfelves to the quarto's.

We have feen 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 themfelves fol-
low'd the copies that they condemn. A modern editor,
who is not without his followers, is pleas'd to affert con-
fidently in his preface, that they are printed from " piece-
meal parts, and copies of prompters :" bat his arguments
for it are fome of them without foundation, and the oth-
ers not conclufive; and it is to be doubted, that the opi-
nion is only thrown out to countenance an abufe that
has been carry'd to much too great lengths by himfelf
and another editor, that of putting out of the text pa-
fages that they did not like. These cenfures then and this
opinion being fet afide, is it criminal to try another con-
jecture, and fee what can be made of it? It is known,
that SHAKESPEARE liv'd to no great age, being taken
off in his fifty third year; and yet his works are fo nu-
merous, that, when we take a furvey of them, they feera
the productions of a life of twice that length: for to the


Which Latin play is but a weak performance ; and yet feemeth to
be the play fp ken of by fir John HARRINGTON, (for the author
was a Cambridge man, and of Saint John's) in this paffage of his
" Apologit ofPoetrle?' prefix'd to his tranllation of ARIOSTO'S "Or-
lando,' Edit. I59J, fol. " and for Tragedies, to omit other famous
" Tragedies; That, that was played at S. Jokm in Cambridge, of
" Richard the 3. would move (I thinke) Pbjiaris the tyraunr, and
*< terrific all tyrarious minded men, fro following their foolifli am-

VOL, I. fe

13 Introduction.

thirty fix plays in this collection, we muft add feveh,(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 feven, that
are upon good grounds imputed to him; making in all,
fifty eight plays; befides the part that he may reasona-
bly be thought to have had in other men's labours, be-
ing himfelf a player and manager of theatres: What his
prose 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 ofEJex zn&Southampton, could
be a mute fpectator only of controverfies in which they
were fo much interefted ; and his other poetical 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 fhortnefs of his life, and the other busy employments
of it are reflected upon duly, can it be a wonder that he
fliould be fo loofe a tranfcriber of them? or why fhould
we refuse to give credit to what his companions tell us,
of the ftate of those tranfcriptions, and of the facility
with which they were pen'd ? Let it then be granted, that
these quarto's are the Poet's own copies, however they
were come by; haflily written at firft, and ifluing from
prefles moft of them as corrupt and licentious as can any
where be produc'd, and not overfeen by himfelf, nor by


" bilious humors, feeing how his ambition made him kill his bro-
*' ther, his nephews, his wife, befide infinit others ; and laft of all
" after a fliort and troublefome raigne, to end his miferable life, and
to have his body harried after his death."

* Vidi, />. 2. of this Introduction, and the Table at tke end
of it,

Infroduflion. \ 1

any of his friends: And there can be no ftronger reason
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 pub-
lication, they have the greateft likenefs poffible to those
which preceeded them, and carry all the fame marks of
hafte and negligence; yet the genuinenefs of the latter
is attefted by those who publilh'd them, and no proof
brought to invalidate their teftimony. If it be ftill aflc'd,
what then becomes of the accusation brought againft
the quarto's by the player editors, the anfwer is not fo
far off as may perhaps be expected: It may be true, that
they were " ftolnf" but ftoln from the Author's copies,
by tranfcribers who found means to get at them : s and
" maim'd" they muft needs be, in refpedt of their ma-
ny alterations after the firft performance : And who kn-
ows, if the difference that is between them, in fome of
the plays that are common to them both, has not been
fludioufly heighten'd by the player editors, who had
the means in their power, being mafters of all the alte-
rations, to give at once a greater currency to their own
lame edition, and fupport the charge which they bring
againft the quarto's ? this, at leaft,is a probable opinion,
#nd no bad way of accounting for those differences. 6
It were easy to add abundance of other arguments in


5 But fee a note at p. 5, which feems to infer that they were
fairly come by : which is, in truth, the editor's opinion, at leaft of
fome of them ; though, in way of argument, and for the fake of cl-
fcarnefs, he has here admitted the charge in that full extent in which
they bring it.

6 Some of these alterations are in the quaito's them/elves; (ano-


favour of these quarto's; Such as, their exaft affinity
to almoft all the publications of this fort that came out
about that time; of which it will hardly be aflerted by
any reasoning man, that they are all clandefline copies,
and publifh'd without their authors' confent: Next, the
high improbability of fupposing that none of these plays
were of the Poet's own fetting-out: whose cafe is rend-
er'd Angular by fuch a fupposition ; it being certain, that
every other author of the time, without exception, who
wrote any thing largely, publifh'd fome of his plays him-
ielf, and Ben JON SON all of them : Nay, the very err-
ors and faults of these quarto's, fome of them at leaft,
and those fuch as are brought againft them by other ar-
guers, are, with the editor, proofs of their genuine-
nefs; For from what hand, but that of the Author him-
felf, could come those feemingly-ftrange repetitions wh-
ich are fpoken of at p. 4 ? those imperfeft entries, and
entries of perfons who have no concern in the play at
all, neither in the fcene where they are made to enter,
nor in any other part of it? yet fuch there are in feveral
of these quarto's ; and fuch might well be expected in
the hafty draughts of fo negligent an Author, who nei-
ther faw at once all he might want, nor, in fome inftan-
ces, gave himfelf fufficient time to confider the fitnefs


ther proof this, of tbeir being authentiek) as in " Richard II :*
where a large fcene, that of the king's deposing, appears firft in the
copy of 1608, the third quarto impreflion, 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 j it is the firft of
icl the third. And " Hamlet" has fome fiill more confiderable ; for
;hc copy of 1605 has these \vonf j ; Newly imprinted and enlar-

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