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authority is possible in the case. The publication of the Quartos was against the interest of Shakespeare as author and actor, and especially as shareholder in the Company which owned and produced his Plays on the stage when they were new, and which was naturally loath to make them public in any other way, until the chiefs of that Company, Hemminge and Condell, acting as Shakespeare's friends and fellows,' chose to collect and publish them as a tribute to the dead poet's memory in 1623.

While the Quartos cannot justly be held as having any peculiar certainty or any superior authority derived from the poet, they provide alternative readings where they differ from the Folio, and they and the Folio may well be read in the light they throw upon one another. But even these Plays that appeared separately in pirated Quarto form before 1623 are the more interesting in their Folio form because they bear marks of use upon the author's stage. With marks of their misuse there, appear also marks of care, from the playwright's point of view, in the many additional stage directions, and divisions into acts and scenes. Moreover, here and there they may contain marks of last revision by their author — a precious possibility which the Quartos cannot claim.

With all proper deduction made, then, for the earlier appearance of fourteen of the Plays in Quarto, and for the defects of the reissue in the Folio of the same Plays, still the First Folio remains, as a matter of fact, the text nearest to Shakespeare's stage, to Shakespeare's ownership, to Shakespeare's authority.

Curiously enough, although so necessarily the origin of all later editions of Shakespeare, the First Folio was continuously passed over by the English editors as

the legitimate basis from which to print their later texts. Rowe, commonly called the first editor, printed from a copy of a copy of a copy of it—that is, from the Fourth Folio, 1685, which was printed from the second

impression of the Third, 1664, which was printed · from the Second, 1632, which was printed from the

First. Some of the obvious misprints of the First were corrected in the other Folios, but, naturally, many new ones were made, especially in the Fourth, in which the spelling was thoroughly modernized to suit the epoch, and which was both the most changed and the worst printed of the four.

Yet that worst and least authoritative of the four Folios is the historic basis of all English texts. Rowe printed from it with changes of his own, Pope from Rowe, Theobald and Hanmer from Pope, Warburton from Theobald, Johnson from Warburton, Steevens from Johnson, and so on, each new editor using the nearest convenient text to modernize and emend, incorporating indistinguishably with the original all the changes he thought good to make in it.

In illustration of Rowe's initiation of a method in which the editors following him have all in some degree concurred, an interesting example in The Comedy of Errors,' V. i. 149 (138 in the Globe), is cited by the Cambridge editors. The First Folio gave this ‘at your important letters.' The Second Folio misprinted . important' • impoteant,' the Third and Fourth miscorrected to impotent,' and Rowe, printing from the Fourth Folio, emended to all-potent,' disregarding the First Folio and ignorant of the needlessness of any emendation whatever.

Capell first, then Jennens for the five Plays he edited, then Malone, emended more cautiously and

recurred more assiduously than any of their predecessors to the First Folio as well as to the Quartos, and led the way to the still more thorough revision of the traditional text undertaken by the Cambridge editors. Their task was made both the more necessary and the more complicated and difficult by the countless emendations and modernizings, big and little, important and petty, embedded in the text by this cumulative method of editing. The general tendency of modern editing has been unquestionably toward the reinstatement of the Folio. The Cambridge editors, whose Globe text may be regarded as distinctively the Victorian text, have in fact thrown out as useless much of the accumulated emendation up to their day encumbering our Shakespeares. By the longest way round, the Shakespeare-reading world is returning at last to the Folio, whence it began. But even of the Cambridge editors, Capell's description of his own mode of editing holds true. Speaking of himself in the third person, he says that, having acquainted himself with the license of his predecessors and determining himself to procure the Folios and as many Quartos as possible, together with the modern editions, he fell immediately to collation, ... first of moderns with moderns, then of moderns with ancients, and afterward of ancients with others more ancient; 'till, at the last, a ray of light broke forth upon him by which he hop'd to find his way through the wilderness of these editions into that fair country, the Poet's real habitation.'

In a word, the English editors of Shakespeare have continuously groped backward from the most modern toward the most ancient text. And it was reserved for the American editor Dr. Horace Howard Furness to be the first to adopt the rational and scientific

method which alone makes it possible to catch all preceding slips and to forestall new causes of error by printing the First Folio as it stands, and noting variations from that in chronological order. Even he did not venture so to depart from the traditional method until he brought out the fifth Play in his supremely thorough Variorum series, the twelfth Play in which was recently issued. Other modern editors, either in England or in America, almost without exception, have followed in the beaten track, adopting usually the Cambridge text and incorporating in it here and there emendations that seem to them good — whenever they collate at all, groping backward through the wilderness, as Capell says he did, toward the light of the original.

The present editors have chosen instead to begin with the light of the original. The nearest way to that fair country, the Poet's real habitation,' they have sought to throw open to the general reader by setting before him, just as it stands, the only text that can lay any claim to be the author's.

In so doing they have, of course, also laid bare the imperfections of the first editions. Where the Folio contains, as in some Plays it does,—. Lear,' for example,- passages not in either of the earlier Quarto editions of the same Play, the Folio here followed supplies them; where the Quartos, on the other hand, as in the same Play of • Lear,' contain passages not in the Folio, the additional parts are inserted in the text exactly as they appear in the earliest Quarto . form, but enclosed between brackets to show that they are not in the Folio, and a note at the foot of the page calls attention to the insertion, and states the Quarto from whence the added passage was copied.

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Wherever the stage directions, the divisions into acts or scenes, the names of the speakers, are defective in the Folio, these and the dramatis persone, which were first supplied by Rowe, are inserted as they appear in the Globe text, but always between brackets, to show that they are not in the Folio.

The modern equivalents of special words used in a blind or different sense from that now common, and which might interfere with the clear understanding of a passage, are given near by in the side margin of the page; but the bulk of archaic words, together with pronunciation of proper names or of words affecting the meter, and explanation of old grammatical forms, are relegated to the Glossary. Literary illustrations and allusions, the argument of the play, summaries of information as to the sources, date, editions, etc., are also given in the Notes at the end of the volume.

On the same page with the text, however, and at the foot of the page, in order to put the reader in command of the facts and results accruing from the generations of Shakespeare scholarship until now, wherever the Globe text has changed the sense or the meter of the Folio the change is recorded and the name added of the editor who first made the change, or of the Quarto or Folio from whence it was derived.

In this way the Elizabethan and the Victorian text are placed together before the eye, and the net results of three centuries of Shakespeare editing are tersely summarized.

The misprints in the Folio, as well as the informal Elizabethan spelling and punctuation, are of course exposed to view in this reproduction. The misprints are noted at the foot of the page, however, together with the correction and its source, where appear also

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