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a bookseller's preface, showing that first impression to have been before the play had been acted, and that it was published without Shakspeare's knowledge, from a copy that had fallen into the bookseller's hands. Mr. Dryden thinks this one of the first of our author's plays: but, on the contrary, it may be judged, from the fore-mentioned preface, that it was one of his last; and the great number of observations, both moral and politick, with which this piece is crouded more than any other of his, seems to confirm my opinion. Pope.
We may learn, from this preface, that the original proprietors of Shakspeare's plays thought it their interest to keep them unprinted. The author of it adds, at the conclusion, these words: 6. Thank fortune for the 'scape it hath made among you, since, by the grand possessors wills, I believe you should rather have prayed for them, than have been prayed,” &c. By the grand possessors, I suppose, were meant Heming and Condell. It appears that the rival play-houses at that time made frequent depredations on one another's copies. In the Induction to The Malcontent, written by Webster, and augmented by Marston, 1606, is the following passage:
“ I wonder you would play it, another company having interest in it."
Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in decimo sexto 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 still retained in the hands of some actors, who think it against their peculiar profit to have them come in print.” Steevens.
It appears, however, that frauds were practised by writers as well as actors. It stands on record against Robert Greene, the author of Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay, and Orlando Furioso, 1594 and 1599, that he sold the last of these pieces to two different theatres : “ Master R. G.would it not make you blush, &c. if you
sold not Orlando Furioso to the Queen's players for twenty nobles, and when they were in the country, sold the same 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 inserted to expose the craft of authorship, but to show the price which was anciently paid for the copy of a play, and to ascertain the name of the writer of Orlando Furioso, which was not hitherto known. Greene appears to have been the first poet in England who sold the same piece to different people. Voltaire is much belied, if he has not followed his example. COLLINS.
Notwithstanding what has been said by a late editor, (Mr. Capell,] I have a copy of the first folio, including Troilus and Cressida. Indeed, as I have just now observed, it was at first either unknown or forgotten. It does not however appear in the list of the plays, and is thrust in between the histories and the tragedies without any enumeration of the pages ; except, I think, on one leaf only. It differs entirely from the copy in the second folio. FARMER.
I have consulted at least twenty copies of the first folio, and Troilus and Cressida is not wanting in any of them.
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 stald with the stage, never clapper-claw'd with the palmes of the vulger, and yet passing 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 see all those grand censors, that now stile them such vanities, flock to them for the maine grace of their gravities : especially this authors commedies, that are so fram’d to the life, that they serve for the most common commentaries of all the actions of our lives, shewing such a dexteritie and power of witte, that the most displeased with playes, are pleasd with his commedies. And all such dull and heavy-witted worldlings, as were never capable of the witte of a commedie, comming by report of them to his representations, have found that witte there, that they never found in them-selves, and have parted better-wittied then they came: feeling an edge of witte set upon them, more then ever they dreamd they had braine to grind it on. So much and such savored salt of witte is in his commedies, that they seeme (for their height of pleasure) to be borne in that sea 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 so much as will make you
your testerne well bestowd) but for so much worth, as even poore I know to be stuft in it. It deserves such 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 sale, you will scramble for them, and set up a new English inquisition. Take this for a warning, and at the perill of your pleasures losse, and judgements, refuse not, nor like this the lesse, for not being sullied with the smoaky breath of the multitude; but thanke fortune for the scape it hath made amongst you: since by the grand possessors wills I believe you should have pray for them [r. it] rather then beene prayd. And so I leave all such to bee prayd for (for the states of their wits healths) that will not praise it. Vale.
In Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of
'I cannot regard this Prologue (which indeed is wanting in the quarto editions) as the work of Shakspeare; and perhaps the drama before us was not entirely of his construction. It appears to have been unknown to his associates, Hemings and Condell, till after the first folio was almost printed off. On this subject, indeed, (as I learn from Mr. Malone's Emendations and Additions, &c. see Vol. III.) there seems to have been a play anterior to the present one:
Aprel 7, 1599. Lent unto Thomas Downton to lende unto Mr. Deckers, & harey cheattel, in earnest of ther boocke called Troyeles and Creassedaye, the some of iii lb.”
“Lent unto harey cheattell, & Mr. Dickers, (Henry Chettle and master Deckar] in pte of payment of their booke called Troyelles & Cresseda, 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 Creseda, the some of xxs.” STEEVENS.
I conceive this Prologue to have been written, and the dialogue, in more than one place, interpolated by some Kyd or Marlowe of the time; who may have been paid for altering and amending one of Shakspeare's plays: a very extraordinary instance of our author's negligence, and the managers' taste !
Ritson. • The princes orgulous,] Orgulous, i.e. proud, disdainful. Orgueilleux, Fr. This word is used in the ancient romance of Richard Cueur de Lyon :
“ His atyre was orgulous." Again, in Froissart's Chronicle, Vol. II. p. 115, b: “- but they wyst nat how to passe ye ryver of Derne whiche was fell and orgulous at certayne tymes, &c. Steevens.
Have to the port of Athens sent their ships,
Priam's six-gated city, &c.] The names of the gates are here exhibited as in the old copy, for the reason assigned by Dr. Farmer; except in the instance of Antenorides, instead of which the old
copy has Antenonydus. The quotation from Lydgate shows that was an error of the printer. Malone.
fulfilling bolts,] To fulfill, in this place, means to fill till there be no room for more. In this sense it is now obsolete. So, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, Lib. V. fol. 114:
" A lustie maide, a sobre, a meke,
“ Fulfilled of all curtosie.” Again :
Fulfilled of all unkindship.” STEEVENS. To be “fulfilled with grace and benediction” is still the language of our liturgy. · BLACKSTONE.
Sperr up the sons of Troy.} [Old copy-Stirre.] This has been a most miserably mangled passage throughout all the editions; corrupted at once into false concord and false reasoning. Priam's six-gated city stirre up the sons of Troy? Here's a verb plural governed of a nominative singular. But that is easily remedied. The next question to be asked is, In what