Page:A Census of Shakespeare's Plays in Quarto (1916).djvu/29

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library of Mr. W. A. White of New York, which with sportsmanlike promptitude he has caused to be reproduced in facsimile.

Early editors of Shakespeare expected their book-collecting friends to lend them their quartos, but Pope possessed some of his own and these according to Malone (see his note quoted under No. 573) were sold in David Mallet’s sale on 10 March, 1766. The printed catalogue offers no corroboration of this statement, but in the auctioneer’s copy, preserved in the British Museum, at the end of a section of “Plays in quarto” there is a manuscript entry: “Shakespeare. 2 vol. 3.3.0.” No doubt these were Pope’s copies, and the two volumes, according to the practice of Eighteenth Century binders, may have contained a dozen or more pieces. The three guineas realized must be considered a fair price, since other volumes of early plays fetched only a few shilling apiece, though the 1575 edition of Gammer Gurton’s Needle, with the help of a separate entry and italics, had a few minutes before been worked up to as much as 7s. 6d. Lewis Theobald, Pope’s critic and successor in editing Shakespeare, must have had a good many of the later quartos among the 195 old plays[1] which he left behind him, as there were at least three with his collations in the Dodd sale of 1797–1798, one of which, the 1637 Hamlet, is now in the Dyce Collection with a quaint reference to Theobald by a subsequent owner. His copy of the Merchant of Venice of ‘‘1600” [1619], moreover, was No. 1279 in the Steevens sale. But the plays not being “‘set out” in the catalogue of his sale in October, 1744, what others he owned cannot here be stated. As for Warburton it was he who put Pope’s quartos into Mallet’s sale in 1766, so probably these were all he possessed. Thus Edward Capell seems to have been the first editor-collector of Shakespeare quartos on a large scale, and certainly made a very diligent use of them. In his edition of “Mr. William Shakespeare his Comedies, Histories and Tragedies, set out by himself in quarto, or by the Players his Fellows in folio, and now faithfully republish’d from those editions” he speaks of having been at work on it for over twenty years. He may have begun collecting at a still earlier date, perhaps in 1737, when he was appointed deputy inspector of plays. In June, 1779, nineteen months before his death, he handed over his Shakespeare collection to Trinity College, Cambridge. As recorded in Mr. Greg’s catalogue of this, the quarto editions of the plays number just fifty, of which as many as fourteen, according to our classification, rank as first editions, making up a complete set save for the Hamlet of 1603, the 1597 and 1599 editions of Romeo and Juliet, the Titus Andronicus of 1594 and the later variant of the Henry IV, Part II, and earlier of Troilus. It must be said also that the collection is not only the fourth in order of importance, but one of the pleasantest to handle, the plays being bound together in convenient volumes in Eighteenth Century brown calf and in size averaging about seven and one fourth by five and one eighth inches. The nine plays of the volume of 1619 all appear in this collection, divided between two volumes, but with the uniform size,

  1. Not 295, as stated in the article “Theobald” in the Dictionary of National Biography. A copy of Theobald’s Catalogue is in the Bodleian Library.