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additions which he made to Pericles are much more numerous, and therefore more strongly entitle it to a place among the dramatick pieces which he has adorned by his pen.
With respect to the other contested plays, Sir John Oldcastle, The London Prodigal, &c. which have now for near two centuries been falsely ascribed to our author, the manuscripts above mentioned completely clear him from that imputation ; and prove, that while his great modesty made him set but little value on his own inimitable productions, he could patiently endure to have the miserable trash of other writers publickly imputed to him, without taking any measure to vindicate his fame. Sir John Oldcastle, we find from indubitable evidence, though ascribed in the title-page to “William Shakspeare," and printed in the year 1600, when his fame was in its meridian, was the joint-production of four other poets ; Michael Drayton, Anthony Mundy, Richard Hathwaye, and Robert Wilson.
In the Dissertation annexed to the three parts of King Henry the Sixth , I have discussed at large the question concerning their authenticity; and have assigned my reasons for thinking that the second and third of those plays were formed by Shakspeare on two elder dramas now extant. Any disquisition therefore concerning these controverted pieces is here unnecessary.
Some years ago I published a short Essay on the economy and usages of our old theatres. The Historical Account of the English Stage, which
7 Vol. III. Additions,
has been forined on that eslay, has swelled to such a fize, in consequence of various researchés fince made, and a great accession of very valuable mate ials, that it is become almost a new work. Of these the most important are the curious papers which have been discovered at Dulwich, and the very valuable Office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, Mailer of the Revels to King James and King Charles the First, which have contributed to throw much light on our dramatick history, and furnished some singular anecdotes of the poets of those times.
Twelve years have elapsed since the Essay on the order of time in which the plays of Shakspeare were waitten, first appeared. A re-examination of thele plays fince that time has furnished me with several particulars in confirmation of what I had formerly suggested on this subject. On a careful revisal of that Essay, which, I hope, is improved as well as considerably enlarged, I had the fatiffaction of observing that I had found reason to attribute but two plays to an cra widely distant from that to which they had been originally ascribed; and to make only a minute change in the arrangement of a few others. Some information however, which has been obtained fince that Essay was printed in its present form, inclines me to th nk that one of the two plays which I allude to, The Winter's Tale , was a ftill later production than I have supposed; for I have now good reason to believe that it was firstexlıibited in the year 1613;
8 See Emendations and Additions, Vol. I. Part II. p. 286. [i. e. Mr. Malone's edition.]
and that consequently it must have been one of our poet's latest works.
Though above a century and a half has elapsed since the death of Shakspeare, it is somewhat extraordinary, (as I observed on a former occasion,) that none of his various editors inould have attempted to separate his genuine poetical compofitions from the spurious performances with which they have been long intermixed; or have taken the trouble to compare them with the carliest and most authentick copies. Shortly after his death a very incorrect impression of his poems was issued out, which in every subsequent edition, previous to the year 1780, was implicitly followed. They have been carefully revised, and with many additional illustrations are now a second time faithfully printed from the original copies, excepting only Venus and Adonis, of which I have not been able to procure the first impreslion. The second edition, printed in 1596, was obligingly transınitted to me by the late ReverendThomas Warton, of whose friendly and valuable correspondencelwas deprived by death, when these volumes were almost ready to be issued from the press. It is painful to recollect how many of (I had almost said) my coadjutors have died since the present work was begun : -- the elegant scholar, and ingenious writer, whom I have just mentioned; Dr. Johnson, and Nir. Tyrwhitt: men, from whose approbation of my labours I had proinised myself much pleasure, and whose famp could give a value and currency to any woik.
The paragraph alluded to , in the present edition, will stand in its proper place. STIEVEYS.
With the materials which I have been so fortunate as to obtain, relative to our poct, his kindred, and friends, it would not have been difficult to have formed a new Life of Shakspeare, less meagre and imperfect than that left us by Mr. Rowe : but the information which I have procured having been obtained at very different times, it is necessarily dispersed, partly in the copious notes subjoined to Rowe's Life, and partly in the Historical Account of our old actors. At some future time I hope to weave the whole into one uniform and connected narrative.
My inquiries having been carried on almost to the very moment of publication, fome circumfances relative to our poet were obtained too late to be introduced into any part of the present work. Of these due use will be made hereafter.
The prefaces of Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton, I have not retained, because they appeared to me to throw no light on our author or his works : the room which they would have taken up, will, I trust, be found occupied by more valuable matter.
As some of the preceding editors have justly been condemned for innovation, so perhaps (for of objections there is no end,) I may be censured for too ftri& an adherence to the ancient copies. I have constantly had in view the Roman sentiment adopted by Dr. Johnson, that "it is more honourable to save a citizen than to destroy an eneiny, and, like him, "have been more careful to protect than to attack." I do not wish the reader to forget, (says the same writer,) that the most commodions (and he might have added, the most
forcible and elegant,) is not always the true reada ing,” On this principle I have uniformly proceeded, having resolved never to deviate from the authentick copies, merely because the phraseology was harsh or uncommon. Many passages, which have heretofore been considered as corrupt, and are now supported by the usage of contemporary writers, fully prove the propriety of this caution.3
The rage for innovation till within thefe laft thirty years was so great, that many words were dismissed from our poet's text, which in his time were current in every mouth. In all the editions since that of Mr. Rowe, in the second part of King Henry IV. the word channel " has been rejected,
* King Henry IV. Part II.
That many may be meant
* But, left myself be guilty to self-wrong, -" yet we find this phrase in The Comedy of Errors, Vol. X. p. 266.
. See also The Winter's Tale, Vol. X. p. 204:
This your fon-in-law, " And son unto the king, (whom heavens directing,)
" Is troth-plight to your daughter. Measure for Measure, Vol. VI. p. 159.: "- to be fo bared, -"
,? Coriolanus, Vol. XVII. p. 342, n. 8:
" Which often, thus, correding thy ftout heart," &c. Hamlet, Vol. XXII. p. 37:
That he might not beteem the winds of heaven, &c. As you like it, Vol. VIII. p. 222, n.
My voice is ragged,
of Whom heavens, in justice, (both on her and hers, )
"Have laid most heavy hand." 4 Act II. sc. i: 66 throw the quean in the channel." In that passage, as in many others, I have filently restored