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additions which he made to Pericles are much more numerous, and therefore more ftrongly entitle it to a place among the dramatick pieces which he has adorned by his pen.
With respect to the other contested plays, Sir John Oldcastle, The London Prodigal, &c. which have now for near two centuries been falfely afcribed to our author, the manufcripts above mentioned completely clear him from that imputation; and prove, that while his great modefty made him fet but little value on his own inimitable productions, he could patiently endure to have the miferable trafh of other writers publickly imputed to him, without taking any measure to vindicate his fame. Sir John Oldcastle, we find from indubitable evidence, though afcribed in the title-page to "William Shakspeare," and printed in the year 1600, when his fame was in its meridian, was the joint-production of four other poets; Michael Drayton, Anthony Mundy, Richard Hathwaye, and Robert Wilfon.
In the Differtation annexed to the three parts of King Henry the Sixth, I have difcuffed at large the queftion concerning their authenticity; and have affigned my reasons for thinking that the fecond and third of thofe plays were formed by Shakspeare on two elder dramas now extant. Any difquifition therefore concerning these controverted pieces is here unneceffary.
Some years ago I publifhed a fhort Effay on the economy and ufages of our old theatres. The Hiftorical Account of the English Stage, which.
Vol. III. Additions.
has been formed on that effay, has fwelled to fuch a fize, in confequence of various refearches fince made, and a great acceffion of very valuable materials, that it is become almoft a new work. Of thefe the most important are the curious papers which have been difcovered at Dulwich, and the very valuable Office-book of Sir Henry Herbert, Maler of the Revels to King James and King Charles the Firft, which have contributed to throw much light on our dramatick hiftory, and furnifhed fome fingular anecdotes of the poets of thofe
Twelve years have elapfed fince the Effay on the order of time in which the plays of Shakspeare were written, firft appeared. A re-examination of thefe plays fince that time has furnished me with feveral particulars in confirmation of what I had formerly fuggefted on this fubject. On a careful revifal of that Effay, which, I hope, is improved as well as confiderably enlarged, I had the fatiffaction of obferving that I had found reafon to attribute but two plays to an era widely diflant from that to which they had been originally ascribed; and to make only a minute change in the arrangement of a few others. Some information however, which has been obtained fince that Effay was printed in its prefent form, inclines me to think that one of the two plays which I allude to, The Winter's Tale, was a ftill later production than I have fuppofed; for I have now good reason to believe that it was firft exhibited in the year 1613; &
8 See Emendations and Additions, Vol. I. Part II. [i. e. Mr. Malone's edition.]
and that confequently it must have been one of our poet's latest works.
Though above a century and a half has clapfed fince the death of Shakspeare, it is fomewhat extraordinary, (as I observed on a former occafion,) that none of his various editors hould have attempted to feparate his genuine poetical compofitions from the fpurious performances with which they have been long intermixed; or have taken the trouble to compare them with the carlieft and moft authentick copies. Shortly after his death a very incorrect impreffion of his poems was iffued out, which in every subsequent edition, previous to the year 1780, was implicitly followed. They have been carefully revifed, and with many additional illuftrations are now a fecond time faithfully printed from the original copies, excepting only Venus and Adonis, of which I have not been able to procure the firft impreffion. The fecond edition, printed in 1596, was obligingly tranfmitted to me by the late Reverend Thomas Warton, of whose friendly and valuable correfpondence!was deprived by death, when thefe volumes were almoft ready to be iffued from the prefs. It is painful to recollect how many of (I had almoft faid) my coadjutors have died fince the prefent work was begun: the elegant fcholar, and ingenious writer, whom I have just mentioned; Dr. Johnfon, and Mr. Tyrwhitt: men, from whofe approbation of my labours I had promifed myself much pleasure, and whofe ftamp could give a value and currency to any work.
The paragraph alluded to, in the prefent edition, will ftand in its proper place. STEVENS.
With the materials which I have been fo fortu nate as to obtain, relative to our poet, his kindred, and friends, it would not have been difficult to have formed a new Life of Shakspeare, lefs meagre and imperfect than that left us by Mr. Rowe: but the information which I have procured having been obtained at very different times, it is neceffarily dispersed, partly in the copious notes fubjoined to Rowe's Life, and partly in the Hiftorical Account of our old actors. At fome future time I hope to weave the whole into one uniform and connected narrative.
My inquiries having been carried on almoft to the very moment of publication, fome circumflances relative to our poet were obtained too late to be introduced into any part of the prefent work. Of thefe due ufe will be made hereafter.
The prefaces of Theobald, Hanmer, and Warburton, I have not retained, because they appeared to me to throw no light on our author or his works: the room which they would have taken up, will, I truft, be found occupied by more valuable
As fome of the preceding editors have juftly been condemned for innovation, fo perhaps (for of objections there is no end,) I may be cenfured for too ftrict an adherence to the ancient copies. I have conftantly had in view the Roman fentiment adopted by Dr. Johnfen, that "it is more honourable to fave a citizen than to deflroy an enemy,' and, like him, "have been more careful to protect than to attack." I do not wifh the reader to forget, (fays the fame writer,) that the most commodions (and he might have added, the most
forcible and elegant,) is not always the true read ing," 2 On this principle I have uniformly proceeded, having refolved never to deviate from the authentick copies, merely because the phrafeology was harsh or uncommon. Many paffages, which have heretofore been confidered as corrupt, and are now fupported by the ufage of contemporary writers, fully prove the propriety of this caution.3
The rage for innovation till within thefe last thirty years was fo great, that many words were difmiffed from our poet's text, which in his time. were current in every mouth. In all the editions fince that of Mr. Rowe, in the fecond Part of King Henry IV. the word channel has been rejected,
King Henry IV. Part II.
3 See particularly The Merchant of Venice, Vol. VIII.
That many may be meant
By the fool multitude.
with the note there.
We undoubtedly fhould not now write
"But, left myself be guilty to felf-wrong, -" yet we find this phrafe in The Comedy of Errors, Vol. X. p. 266. See alfo The Winter's Tale, Vol. X. p. 204:
This your fon-in-law,
"And fon unto the king, (whom heavens directing,)
"Is troth-plight to your daughter."
Meafure for Meafure, Vol. VI. p. 159.:
Coriolanus, Vol. XVII. p. 342, n. 8:
to be fo bared,-."
"Which often, thus, correcting thy ftout heart," &c. Hamlet, Vol. XXII. p.
"That he might not beteem the winds of heaven," &c. As you like it, Vol. VIII. p. 222, n. 5:
My voice is ragged,
Cymbeline, Vol. XIX. p. 235, n. 5:
"Whom heavens, in juftice, (both on her and hers, }
Have laid moft heavy hand.'
4 A&t II. fc. i: "
throw the quean in the channel.”
In that paffage, as in many others, I have filently reftored