Page:A Census of Shakespeare's Plays in Quarto (1916).djvu/28

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
INTRODUCTION

at the end of the last volume a “Table of the several editions of Shakespear’s [sic] Plays made use of and compared in this Impression.” They comprise


Hamlet, 1605, 1611. Henry IV, Part I, 1599, 1604, 1608. Henry IV, Part II, 1600. Henry V, 1600, “1608” [1619]. King Lear “1608” [1619]. Love’s Labors Lost, 1598. Merchant of Venice, 1600, 1600 [1619]. Merry Wives, 1619. Midsummer Night’s Dream, “1600” [1619] Othello, 1622.[1] Richard II, 1598, 1608, 1615. Richard Ill, 1598, 1602, 1612. Romeo and Juliet, 1597, 1599. Titus Andronicus, 1611. Troilus and Cressida, 1609 (both issues).

The list is quite a good one; nevertheless it omits the first version of Hamlet and the first editions of Henry IV, Part I, King Lear, Merry Wives of Windsor, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado about Nothing, Richard II, Richard III and Titus Andronicus, i.e., Pope had the right editions of less than half the quartos. It is at least possible that if all the good quartos had been available for editorial use from the outset, we should have heard less about their being “stolne and surreptitious.”

Theobald and Capell both printed lists similar to that of Pope’s, and these enable us to follow these discovery of the quartos. Of first editions Theobald added to those known to Pope the Merry Wives of Windsor, Midsummer Night’s Dream, Much Ado and Richard III, while Capell supplied those of Henry IV, Part I, King Lear and Richard II. After this there were no more finds of First Editions until 1823 when the first version of Hamlet (1603) was discovered by Sir H. E. Bunbury in a volume of old plays. Of Titus Andronicus a copy of the first edition was written of by Langbaine in a way that made Malone think he had it before him, but if so it disappeared without having been seen by any editor, and it was not until 1905 that a copy was discovered in Sweden which is now, apparently, reposing in one of Mr. Folger’s inaccessible boxes. Even of the second edition, that of 1600, no copy had been heard of until, in 1800, one that had been peacefully reposing in the Bridgewater Library for a century and a half was brought to light. At what dates the various other intermediate and the later editions were first localized and registered it would be tedious to ascertain and hardly less tedious to recite. But that the possibilities of discovery are not yet exhausted is made credible by the recent identification as a new edition of a 1598 Richard II in the

  1. Apparently, as Malone notes, with the title mutilated, as Pope speaks of it as issued soon after Shakespeare’s death, instead of by its date.
[xxiv]