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All the unsigned footnotes in this volume are by the writer of the article to which they are appended. The interpretation of the initials signed to the others is: I. G. = Israel Gollancz, M.A.; H. N. H. Henry Norman Hudson, A.M.; C. H. H. C. H. Herford, Litt.D.





The authorized text of Hamlet is based on (i) a Quarto edition published in the year 1604, and (ii) the First Folio version of 1623, where the play follows Julius Cæsar and Macbeth, preceding King Lear. The Quarto of 1604 has the following title-page:

"THE | Tragicall Historie of | HAMLET, Prince of Denmarke. By William Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect | Coppie. | AT LONDON, Printed by I. R. for N. L. and are to be sold at his shoppe vnder Saint Dunston's Church in Fleetstreet. 1604" (vide No. 2 of Shakespeare Quarto Facsimiles, issued by W. Griggs, under the superintendence of Dr. Furnival).

A comparison of the two texts shows that they are derived from independent sources; neither is a true copy of the author's manuscript; the Quarto edition, though very carelessly printed, is longer than the Folio version, and is essentially more valuable; on the other hand, the Folio version contains a few passages which are not found in the Quarto, and contrasts favorably with it in the less important matter of typographical accuracy (vide Notes, passim).

The two editions represent, in all probability, two distinct acting versions of Shakespeare's perfect text.

Quarto editions appeared in 1605, 1611, circa 16111637, 1637; each is derived from the edition immediately

preceding it, the Quarto of 1605 differing from that of 1604 only in the slightest degree.


The 1604 edition is generally known as the Second Quarto, to distinguish it from a remarkable production which appeared in the previous year:

"The Tragicall Historie of HAMLET | Prince of Denmarke By William Shake-speare. As it hath been diuerse | uants in the Cittie of niuersities of Cambridge

timis acted by his Highnesse serLondon: as also in the two V

and Oxford, and else-where | At London printed for N: L. and John Trundell. | 1603."

No copy of this Quarto was known until 1823, when Sir Henry Bunbury discovered the treasure in "a small Quarto, barbarously cropped, and very ill-bound," containing some dozen Shakespearean plays. It ultimately became the property of the Duke of Devonshire for the sum of £230. Unfortunately, the last page of the play was missing.

In 1856 another copy was bought from a student of Trinity College, Dublin, by a Dublin book-dealer, for one shilling, and sold by him for £70; it is now in the British Museum. In this copy the title-page is lacking, but it supplies the missing last page of the Devonshire Quarto.1

In connection with the publication of the 1603 Quarto, reference must be made to the following entry in the Stationers' Register:

1 In 1858 a lithographed facsimile was issued by the Duke, in a very limited impression. The first serviceable edition, and still perhaps the best, appeared in 1860, together with the Quarto of 1604, "being exact Reprints of the First and Second Editions of Shakespeare's great Drama, from the very rare Originals in the possession of his Grace the Duke of Devonshire; with the two texts printed on opposite pages, and so arranged that the parallel passages face each other. And a Bibliographical Preface by Samuel Timmins. Looke heere vpon this Picture, and on this." Lithographic reprints were also issued by E. W. Ashbee and W. Griggs; the text is reprinted in the Cambridge Shakespeare, etc.

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