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To play hiftories, or to exhibit a fucceffion of events by action and dialogue, was a common entertainment among our rude anceftors upon great feftivities. The parish clerks once performed at Clerkenwell a play which lafted three days, containing The Hiftory of the World. JOHNSON.

It appears from more than one MS. in the British Museum, that the tradefmen of Chefter were three days employed in the representation of their twenty-four Whitfun plays or myfteries. The like performances at Coventry must have taken up a longer time, as they are no less than forty in number. The exhibition of them began on Corpus Chrifti day, which was (according to Dugdale) one of their ancient fairs. See the Harleian MSS. No. 2013, 2124, 2125, and MS. Cott. Vefp. D. VIII. and Dugdale's Warwickshire, p. 116. STEEVENS.


* TROILUS AND CRESSIDA.] The ftory was originally written by Lollius, an old Lombard author, and fince by Chaucer. POPE.

Mr. Pope (after Dryden) informs us, that the ftory of Troilus and Creffida was originally the work of one Lollius, a Lombard; (of whom Gascoigne fpeaks in Dan Bartholmewe his firft Triumph: Since Lollius and Chaucer both, make doubt upon that glofe,") but Dryden goes yet further. He declares it to have been written in Latin verfe, and that Chaucer tranflated it. Lollius was a hiftoriographer of Urbino in Italy. Shakspeare received the greateft part of his materials for the ftructure of this play from the Troye Boke of Lydgate. Lydgate was not much more than a tranflator of Guido of Columpna, who was of Meffina in Sicily, and wrote his Hiftory of Troy in Latin, after Dictys Cretenfis, and Dares Phrygius, in 1287. On thefe, as Mr. Warton obferves, he engrafted many new romantic inventions, which the tafte of his age dictated, and which the connection between Grecian and Gothic fiction eafily admitted; at the fame time comprehending in his plan the Theban and Argonautic ftories from Ovid, Statius, and Valerius Flaccus. Guido's work was published at Cologne in 1477, again 1480: at Strafburgh, 1486, and ibidem, 1489. It appears to have been tranflated by Raoul le Feure, at Cologne, into French, from whom Caxton rendered it into English in 1471, under the title of his Recuyel, &c. fo that there must have been yet fome earlier edition of Guido's performance than I have hitherto feen or heard of, unless his firft tranflator had recourse to a manufcript.

Guido of Columpna is referred to as an authority by our own chronicler Grafton. Chaucer had made the loves of Troilus and Creffida famous, which very probably might have been Shakspeare's inducement to try their fortune on the ftage.-Lydgate's Troye Boke was printed by Pynfon, 1513. In the books of the Stationers' company, anno 1581, is entered "A proper ballad, dialoguewife, between Troilus and Creffida." Again, Feb. 7, 1602: "The booke of Troilus and Creffida, as it is acted by my Lo. Chamberlain's men." The firft of these entries is in the name of Edward White, the fecond in that of M. Roberts. Again, Jan. 28, 1608, entered by Rich. Bonian and Hen. Whalley, "A booke called the hiftory of Troilus and Creffida." STEEVENS.

The entry in 1608-9 was made by the book fellers for whom this play was published in 1609. It was written, I conceive, in 1602. See An Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. I. MALONE.

Before this play of Troilus and Creffida, printed in 1609, is a bookfeller's preface, fhowing that first impreffion to have been be

fore the play had been acted, and that it was published without Shakspeare's knowledge, from a copy that had fallen into the bookfeller's hands. Mr. Dryden thinks this one of the firft of our author's plays: but, on the contrary, it may be judged, from the fore-mentioned preface, that it was one of his laft; and the great number of obfervations, both moral and politick, with which this piece is crowded more than any other of his, feems to confirm my opinion. Pope. РОРЕ.

We may learn from this preface, that the original proprietors of Shakspeare's plays thought it their intereft to keep them unprinted. The author of it adds, at the conclufion, thefe words: "Thank fortune for the 'fcape it hath made among you, fince, by the grand poffeffors wills, I believe you fhould rather have prayed for them, than have been prayed," &c. By the grand poffeffors, I fuppofe, were meant Heming and Condell. It appears that the rival playhouses at that time made frequent depredations on one another's copies. In the Induction to The Malcontent, written by Webster, and augmented by Marfton, 1606, is the following paffage:

"I wonder you would play it, another company having intereft

in it."

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Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in decimo fexto with them? They taught us a name for our play; we call it One for another."

Again, T. Heywood, in his preface to The English Traveller, 1633: "Others of them are ftill retained in the hands of fome actors, who think it against their peculiar profit to have them come in print." STEEVENS.

It appears, however, that frauds were practifed by writers as well as actors. It ftands on record against Kobert Greene, the author of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, and Orlando Furiofo, 1594 and 1599, that he fold the laft of these pieces to two different theatres: "Mafter R. G. would it not make you blush, &c. if you fold not Orlando Furiofo to the Queen's players for twenty nobles, and when they were in the country, fold the fame play to the Lord Admiral's men for as much more? Was not this plain Coneycatching, M. G.?" Defence of Coneycatching, 1592.

This note was not merely inferted to expofe the craft of authorhip, but to fhow the price which was anciently paid for the copy of a play, and to afcertain the name of the writer of Orlando Furiofo, which was not hitherto known. Greene appears to have been the first poet in England who fold the fame piece to different people. Voltaire is much belied, if he has not followed his example. COLLINS.

Notwithstanding what has been faid by a late editor, [Mr. Capell,] I have a copy of the first folio, including Troilus and Creffida. Indeed, as I have juft now observed, it was at firft either unknown or forgotten. It does not however appear in the lift of the plays, and is thruft in between the hiftories and the tragedies without any enumeration of the pages; except, I think, on one leaf only. It differs entirely from the copy in the fecond folio. FARMER.

I have confulted at least twenty copies of the firft folio, and Troilus and Creffida is not wanting in any of them. STEEVENS.

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