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present and that of previous editions. The reader has been placed in possession of the old by the side of the new readings, and left to an unbiassed choice between them. The frequent recurrence of notes of this description rendered necessary the simple abbreviation of f. e. for former edition, the edition referred to being that of Collier, published in 1844, and almost universally received as the established text, until the discovery by the same editor of the celebrated copy of the folio of 1632. No other abbreviations occur in the notes, unless the mention of the first, or folio of 1623, as "the folio," be so regarded. It may be proper to state that the notes, unless where otherwise expressed, refer to the word preceding the corresponding numbers in the text.
As an interesting illustration, a characteristic fac-simile of a portion of a page of the corrected folio, 1632, is appended. The head of the Poet, which forms the frontispiece, is a faithful copy of the engraving by Martin Droeshout, which is printed on the titlepage of the folios, of 1623, and 1632, and upon which Ben Jonson wrote the celebrated lines testifying so decidedly to the faithfulness of the likeness--a stronger guarantee than any other portrait of the Dramatist can claim.
NEW YORK, September, 1853.
G. L. D.
Adus Quintus. Scena Prima.
Enter Charles, Alanson, Burgundie,Baftard,
Char. Had Yorke and Somerfel brought rescue in, We should have found a bloody day of this.
Baft. How the yong whelpe of Talbots, raging wood, Did flesh hispuny-fword in Frenchmens blood. Puc. Once I encountred him,and thus I said: Thou Maiden youth,be vanquisht by a Maide. But with a provd Majefticall high fcorne Heanfwer'd thus: Yong Talbot was not borne To be the pillage of a Giglot Wench, He left me proudly, as unworthy fight.
Bur. Doubtleffe he would have made a noble Knight: See where helyes inherced in the armes Of the molt bloody Nurffer of his harmes ·
Baft. Hew them to peeces, hack their bones affunder, Whofe life was Englands glory, Gallia's wonder Char. Oh no forbeare: For that which we have fled During the life, let us not Wrong it dead. Enter Lucy.
Ln. Herald,conduct me to the Dolphins Tent, To know who hath obtained the glory of the day.
Char. On what fubmiffive meflage art thou fent? Lucy. Submission Dolphin? Tis a meere French word: We English Warriours wot not what it meanes. I come to know what Prifoners thou haft tane, And to furvey the bodies of the dead.
Char. For prifoners askft thou? Hell our prifon is.
Luc. But where's the great Alcides of the field,
Great Earle of wafford,Waterford,and Vatenso,
To the most Noble and Incomparable Pair of Brethren. William Earl of Pembroke, &c. Lord Chamberlain to the King's most Excellent Majesty.
And Philip Earl of Montgomery, &c. Gentleman of his Majesty's Bedchamber. Both Knights of the most Noble Order of the Garter, and our singular good Lords.
Whilst we study to be thankful in our particular for the many favours we have received from your Lordships, we are fallen upon the ill fortune, to mingle two the most diverse things that can be, fear, and rashness; rashness in the enterprise, and fear of the success. For, when we value the places your Highnesses sustain, we cannot but know their dignity greater, than to descend to the reading of these trifles: and, while we name them trifles, we have deprived ourselves of the defence of our Dedication. But since your Lordships have been pleased to think these trifles something, heretofore; and have prosecuted both them, and their Author living, with so much favour, we hope, (that they outliving him, and he not having the fate, common with some, to be executor to his own writings) you will use the like indulgence toward them, you have done unto their parent. There is a great difference, whether any book choose his patrons, or find them; this hath done both. For, so much were your Lordships' likings of the several parts, when they were acted, as before they were published, the volume asked to be yours. We have but collected them, and done an office to the dead, to procure his orphans, guardians; without ambition either of self-profit, or fame: only to keep the memory of so worthy a friend, and fellow alive, as was our SHAKESPEARE, by humble offer of his plays, to your most noble patronage. Wherein, as we have justly observed, no man to come near your Lordships but with a kind of religious address, it hath been the height of our care, who are the presenters, to make the present worthy of your Highnesses by the perfection. But, there we must also crave our abilities to be considered, my Lords. We cannot go beyond our own powers. Country hands reach forth milk, cream, fruits, or what they have; and many nations, (we have heard) that had not gums and incense, obtained their requests with a leavened cake. It was no fault to approach their gods, by what means they could; and the most, though meanest, of things are made more precious, when they are dedicated to temples. In that name therefore, we most humbly consecrate to your Highnesses these remains of your servant SHAKESPEARE; that what delight is in them, may be ever your Lordships', the reputation his, and the faults ours, if any be committed, by a pair so careful to shew their gratitude both to the living, and the dead, as is Your Lordships' most bounden,
TO THE GREAT VARIETY OF READERS.
From the most able, to him that can but spell: there you are numbered. We had rather you were weighed. Especially, when the fate of all books depends upon your capacities; and not of your heads alone, but of your purses. Well, it is now public, and you will stand for your privileges, we know: to read, and censure. Do so, but buy it first. That doth best commend a book, the stationer says. Then, how odd soever your brains be, or your wisdoms, make your licence the same, and spare not. Judge your sixpen'orth, your shilling's worth, your five shillings' worth at a time, or higher, so you rise to the just rates, and welcome. But, whatever you do, buy. Censure will not drive a trade, or make the jack go. And though you be a magistrate of wit, and sit on the stage at Blackfriars, or the Cock-pit, to arraign plays daily, know, these plays have had their trial already, and stood out all appeals; and do now come forth quitted rather by a decree of court, than any purchased letters of commendation.
It had been a thing, we confess, worthy to have been wished, that the Author himself had lived to have set forth, and overseen his own writings; but since it hath been ordained otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envy his friends the office of their care, and pain, to have collected and published them; and so to have published them, as where (before) you were abused with divers stolen, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed by the frauds and stealths of injurious impostors, that exposed them; even those, are now offered to your view cured, and perfect of their limbs, and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he conceived them. Who, as he was a happy imitator of Nature, was a most gentle expresser of it. His mind and hand went together; and what he thought, he uttered with that easiness, that we have scarce received from him a blot in his papers. But it is not our province, who only gather his works, and give them you, to praise him. It is yours that read him. And there we hope, to your divers capacities, you will find enough, both to draw, and hold you; for his wit can no more lie hid, than it could be lost. Read him, therefore; and again, and again: and if then you do not like him, surely you are in some manifest danger, not to understand him. And so we leave you to other of his friends, who, if you need, can be your guides: if you need them not, you can lead yourselves, and others. And such readers we wish him.