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accompany The School of Shakspeare; and something the School itself will afford, that may contribute to the same service: but the corner-stone of all, must be -- the works of the poet himself, from which much may be extracted by a heedful peruser of them; and, for the sake of such a peruser, and by way of putting him into the train when the plays are before him, we shall instance in one of them; -- the time in which Henry V. was written, is determin'd almost precisely by a passage in the chorus to the fifth act, and the concluding chorus of it contains matter relative to Henry VI. other plays might be mention'd, as Henry VIII. and Macbeth ; but this one may be sufficient to answer our intention in producing it, which was—to spirit some one up to this task in some future time, by shewing the possibility of it; which he may be further convinc'd of, if he reflects what great things have been done, by criticks amongst ourselves upon subjects of this fort, and of a more remov'd antiquity than he is concern'd in. A Life thus constructed, interspers'd with such anecdotes of common notoriety as the writer's judgment shall tell him—are worth
. regard; together with some memorials of this poet that are happily come down to us; such as, an inftrument in the Heralds' Office, confirming arms to his father; a Patent preserv'd in Rymer, granted by James the First; his last Will and Testament, extant now at Doctors Commons; his Stratford monument, and a monument of his daughter which is said to be there also:- such a Life would rise quickly into a volume; especially, with the addition of one proper and even necessary episode---a brief
-a history of our drama, from its origin down to the
poet's death : even the stage he appear'd upon, it's form, dressings, actors should be enquir'd into, as every one of those circumstances had some confiderable effect upon what he compos'd for it: The subject is certainly a good one, and will fall (we hope) ere it be long into the hands of some good writer; by whose abilities this great want may at length be made up to us, and the world of letters enrich'd by the happy acquisition of a masterly Life of Shakspeare. Capell.
AD VER TI SE M E N T
Τ Ο . Τ Η Ε
A D E R.'
THE want of adherence to the old copies,
HÉ which has been complain'd of, in the text of every modern republication of Shakspeare, is fairly deducible from Mr. Rowe's inattention to one of the first duties of an editor. 3 Mr. Rowe did not print from the earliest and most correct, but from the most remote and inaccurate of the four folios.
· First printed in 1773. MALONE.
3 so I must not (fays Mr. Rowe in his dedication to the Duke of Somerset) pretend to have restor'd this work to the exactness of the author's original manuscripts : those are lost, or, at leaf, are gone beyond any enquiry I could make ; fo
Between the years 1623 and 1685 (the dates of the first and last) the errors in every play, at least, were trebled. Several pages in each of these ancient editions have been examined, that the affertion might come more fully supported. It may be added, that as every freih editor continued to make the text of his predecessor the ground-work of his own (never collating but where difficulties occurred) fome deviations from the originals had been handed down, the number of which are lefsened in the impression before us, as it has been constantly compared with the most authentick copies, whether collation was absolutely necessary for the recovery of sense, or not. The person who undertook this task may have fail'd by inadvertency, as well as those who preceded himn; but the reader may be assured, that he, who thought it his duty to free an author from such modern and unnecessary innovations as had been censured in others, has not ventured to introduce any of his own.
It is not pretended that a complete body of various readings is here collected; or that all the diversities which the copies exhibit, are pointed
that there was nothing left, but to compare the several editions, and give the true reading as well as I could from thence. This I have endeavour'd to do pretty carefully, and render'd very many places intelligible, that were not fo before. In some of the editions, efpecially the last, there were many lines (and in Hamlet one whole scene) left out together; these are now all fupply'd. I fear your grace will find some faults, but I hope they are mostly literal, and the errors of the press.” Would not any one, from this declaration, suppose that Mr. Rowe (who does not appear to have consulted a single quarto), had at least compared the folios with each other? STEEYENS.
out; as near two thirds of them are typographical mistakes, or such a change of insignificant particles, as would croud the bottom of the page with an oftentation of materials, from which at last nothing useful could be selected.
The dialogue might indeed sometimes be lengthened by other insertions than have hitherto been made, but without advantage either to its spirit or beauty; as in the following instance:
By the admission of this negation and affirmation, has any new idea been gained ?
The labours of preceding editors have not left room for a boast, that many valuable readings have been retrieved; though it may be fairly asserted, that the text of Shakspeare'is restored to the condition in which the author, or rather his first publishers, appear to have left it, such emendations as were absolutely necessary, alone admitted: for where a particle, indispensably necessary to the sense, was wanting, such a supply has been silently adopted from other editions; but where a syllable, or more, had been added for the sake of the metre
only, which at first might have been irregular, such interpolations are here constantly retrenched, sometimes with, and sometimes without notice. Those speeches, which in the elder editions are printed as prose, and from their own constructionare incapable of being compressed into verse, without the aid of supplemental fyllables, are restored to prose again; and the measure is divided afresh in others, where the mass of words had been inharmoniously separated into lines.
The scenery, throughout all the plays, is regu. lated in conformity to a rule, which the poet, by his general practice seems to have proposed to himself. Several of his pieces are come down to us, divided into scenes as well as acts. These divisions were probably his own, as they are made on settled principles, which would hardly have been the case, had the task been executed by the players. A change of scene, with Shakspeare, most commonly implies a change of place, but always an entire evacuation of the stage. The custom of distinguishing every entrance or exit by a fresh scene, was adopted, perhaps very idly, from the French theatre.
For the length of many notes, and the accumulation of examples in others, some apology may
be likewise expected. An attempt at brevity is often found to be the source of an imperfect explanation. Where a passage has been constantly misunderstood, or where the jest or pleasantry has been suffered to remain long in obfcurity, more instances have been brought to clear the one, or elucidate the other,
* I retract this supposition, which was too haftily formed, See note on The Tempell, Vol. IV. p. 68. STEVENS. Vol. I.