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PREFACE to the quarto edition of this play, 1609.

A never writer, to an ever reader. Newes.

Eternall reader, you have heere a new play, never stal'd with the ftage, never clapper-claw'd with the palmes of the vulger, and yet paffing full of the palme comicall; for it is a birth of your [r. that] braine, that never under-tooke any thing commicall, vainely and were but the vaine names of commedies changde for the titles of commodities, or of playes for pleas; you should fee all those grand cenfors, that now tile them fuch vanities, flock to them for the maine grace of their gravities: efpecially this authors commedies, that are fo fram'd to the life, that they ferve for the most common commentaries of all the actions of our lives, fhewing fuch a dexteritie and power of witte, that the moft difpleafed with playes, are pleasd with his commedies. And all fuch dull and heavywitted worldlings, as were never capable of the witte of a commedie, comming by report of them to his reprefentations, have found that witte there, that they never found in them-felves, and have parted better-wittied then they came: feeling an edge of witte fet upon them, more then ever they dreamd they had braine to grind it on. So much and fuch favored falt of witte is in his commedies, that they feeme (for their height of pleasure) to be borne in that fea that brought forth Venus. Amongst all there is none more witty than this: and had I time I would comment upon it, though I know it needs not, (for fo much as will make you thinke your testerne well bestowd) but for so much worth, as even poore I know to be ftuft in it. It deferves fuch a labour, as well as the best commedy in Terence or Plautus. And beleeve this, that when hee is gone, and his commedies out of fale, you will fcramble for them, and fet up a new English inquifition. Take this for a warning, and at the perill of your pleafures loffe, and judgements, refufe not, nor like this the leffe, for not being fullied with the fmoaky breath of the multitude; but thanke fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you: fince by the grand poffeffors wills I believe you should have prayd for them [r. it] rather then beene prayd. And fo I leave all fuch to bee prayd for (for the states of their wits healths) that will not praise it. Vale,


In Troy, there lies the scene. From ifles of

The princes orgulous,' their high blood chaf'd,
Have to the port of Athens fent their fhips
Fraught with the minifters and inftruments,
Of cruel war: Sixty and nine, that wore
Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay
Put forth toward Phrygia: and their vow is made,

I cannot regard this Prologue (which indeed is wanting in the quarto editions) as the work of Shak fpeare; and perhaps the drama before us was not entirely of his conftruction. It appears to have been unknown to his affociates, Hemings and Condell, till after the firft folio was almoft printed off. On this fubject, indeed, (as I learn from Mr. Malone's Emendations and Additions, &c. fee Vol. II.) there feems to have been a play anterior to the present



Aprel 7, 1599. Lent unto Thomas Downton to lende unto Mr. Deckers, & harey cheattel, in earnest of ther boocke called Troyeles and Creaffedaye, the fome of iiilb."

Lent unto harey cheattell, & Mr. Dickers, [Henry Chettle and mafter Deckar] in pte of payment of their booke called Troyelles Creeda, the 16 of Aprell, 1599, xxs."

Lent unto Mr. Deckers and Mr. Chettel the 26 of maye, 1599, in earnest of a booke called Troylles and Crefeda, the fome

of xxs." STEEVENS.

I conceive this prologue to have been written, and the dialogue, in more than one place, interpolated by fome Kyd or Marlowe of the time; who may have been paid for altering and amending one of Shakspeare's plays: a very extraordinary inftance of our author's negligence, and the managers' tafte! RITSON.

3 The princes orgulous,] Orgulcus, i. e. proud, difdainful. Or gueilleux, Fr. This word is ufed in the ancient romance of Richard Cucur de Lyon:

"His atyre was orgulous."

Again, in Froiffart's Chronicle, Vol. II. p. 115, b: "—but they wyft nat how to paffe ye ryver of Derne whiche was fell and orgulcus at certayne tymes," &c. STEEVENS.

To ranfack Troy; within whofe strong immures The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,

With wanton Paris fleeps; And that's the quarrel.
To Tenedos they come;

And the deep-drawing barks do there difgorge
Their warlike fraughtage: Now on Dardan plains
The fresh and yet unbruifed Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions: Priam's fix-gated city,"
Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Trojan,
And Antenorides, with maffy ftaples,
And correfponfive and fulfilling bolts,'
Sperr up the fons of Troy."


Priam's fix-gated city, &c.] The names of the gates are here exhibited as in the old copy, for the reafon affigned by Dr. Farmer; except in the inftance of Antenorides, instead of which the old copy has Antenonydus. The quotation from Lydgate fhews that was an error of the printer. MALONE.

5 fulfilling bolts,] To fulfill in this place means to fill till there be no room for more. In this fenfe it is now obfolete. So, in Gower, De Confeffione Amantis, Lib. V. fol. 114:


"A luftie maide, a fobre, a meke,

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Fulfilled of all curtofie."

"Fulfilled of all unkindfhip." STEEVENS.

To be "fulfilled with grace and benediction" is ftill the language of our liturgy. BLACKSTONE.


Sperr up the fons of Troy.] [Old copy-Stirre.] This has been a moft miferably mangled paffage throughout all the editions; corrupted at once into falfe concord and falle reafoning. Priam's fix-gated city firre up the fans of Troy?-Here's a verb plural governed of a nominative fingular. But that is eafily remedied. The next question to be asked is, In what fenfe a city, having fix ftrong gates, and thofe well barred and bolted, can be faid to flir up its inhabitants? unless they may be supposed to derive fome fpirit from the ftrength of their fortifications. But this could not be the poet's thought. He must mean, I take it, that the Greeks had pitched their tents upon the plains before Troy; and that the Trojans were fecurely barricaded within the walls and gates of their city. This fenfe my correction reftores. To fperre, or spar, from the old Teutonic word Speren, fignifies to but up, defend by bars, &c. THEOBALD.

Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
On one and other fide, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard:-And hither am I come

So, in Spenfer's Faery Queen, Book V. c. 10:

"The other that was entred, labour'd fast
"To Sperre the gate" &c.

Again, in the romance of The Squhr of Low Degre:
"Sperde with manie a dyvers pynne.'

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And in The Vision of P. Plowman, it is faid that a blind man "unfparryd his eine."

Again, in Warner's Albion's England, 1602, Book II. ch. 12: "When chafed home into his holdes, there sparred up in


Again, in the 2nd Part of Bale's Actes of English Votaryes: "The dore thereof oft tymes opened and Speared agayne."


Mr. Theobald informs us that the very names of the gates of Troy have been barbarously demolished by the editors; and a deal of learned duft he makes in fetting them right again; much however to Mr. Heath's fatisfaction. Indeed the learning is modeftly withdrawn from the later editions, and we are quietly inftructed to read.

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"Dardan, and Thymbria, Ilia, Scea, Trojan,

"And Antenorides."

But had he looked into the Troy boke of Lydgate, inftead of puzzling himself with Dares Phrygius, he would have found the horrid demolition to have been neither the work of Shakspeare, nor his edi


"Therto his cyte | compaffed enuyrowne

"Had gates VI to entre into the towne:
"The firfte of all | and ftrengeft eke with all,
Largeft alfo and mofte princypall,

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Of myghty byldyng | alone pereless,

"Was by the kinge called | Dardanydes;
"And in ftorye | lyke as it is founde,
Tymbria was named the feconde;
"And the thyrde | called Helyas,

"The fourthe gate | hyghte alfo Cetheas;

"The fyfthe Trojana, the fyxth Anthonydes,


Stronge and mighty [ both in werre and pes."

Lond. empr. by R. Pynfon, 1513, fol. b. ii. ch. 11. The Troye Boke was fomewhat modernized, and reduced into regular stanzas, about the beginning of the laft century, under the name of, The Life and Death of Hector who fought a Hundred


A prologue arm'd,'-but not in confidence
Of author's pen, or actor's voice; but fuited
In like conditions as our argument,-

To tell you, fair beholders, that our play
Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
'Ginning in the middle; ftarting thence away
To what may be digested in a play.

Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
Now good, or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

mayne Battailes in open Field against the Grecians; wherein there were flaine on both Sides Fourteene Hundred and Sixe Thousand, Fourfcore and Sixe Men.-Fol. no date. This work Dr. Fuller, and feveral other criticks, have erroneously quoted as the original; and obferve in confequence, that "if Chaucer's coin were of greater weight for deeper learning, Lydgate's were of a more refined fandard for purer language: fo that one might mistake him for a modern writer." FARMER.

On other occafions, in the courfe of this play, I fhall infert quotations from the Troye Booke modernized, as being the most intelligible of the two, STEEVENS.

7 A prologue arm'd,] I come here to fpeak the prologue, and come in armour; not defying the audience, in confidence of either the author's or actor's abilities, but merely in a character fuited to the fubject, in a dress of war, before a warlike play.

JOHNSON. Motteux feems to have borrowed this idea in his prologue to Farquhar's Twin Rivals :


"With drums and trumpets in this warring age,
"A martial prologue fhould alarm the stage.

King Lear:

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the vaunt-] i. e. the avant, what went before. So, in

"Vaunt-couriers to oak-cleaving thunderbolts."


The vaunt is the vanguard, called in our author's time the vauntguard. PERCY.

-firflings-] A fcriptural phrafe, fignifying the first produce or offspring. So, in Genefis, iv. 4: "And Abel, he alfo brought of the firfilings of his flock." STEEVENS.

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