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THE LIFE AND DEATH
HORACE HOWARD FURNESS, JR., A. B.; Litt. D.
PHILADELPHIA & LONDON
The earliest text of King John is that contained in the Folio of 1623. As far as the mere text is concerned the task of the editor is comparatively light, and those passages requiring typographic deciphering are pleasurably few. It is become so much the custom to speak derogatively of the editorship and the printing of the Folio that it is pleasant to speak in commendation of any part of that work. King John, in the Folio, contains a little over two thousand seven hundred lines. In the Cambridge text there are but fourteen examples wherein the Folio reading has been abandoned as corrupt and an emendation by a modern editor adopted. A table showing these will be found in the Appendix to this volume. A further evidence of the excellent state of the text may be seen in the list of CRUCES, prepared by F. A. LEO, for all the plays (Jahrbuch, xx, p. 158); therein King John provides twenty-four passages, but this does not, by any means, imply that these are all due to corruptions of the text; in the majority of passages given by LEO the crux consists in the fact that a word, or expression, has given rise to a discussion as to a particular meaning or interpretation, such, for example, as 'Alcides shooes upon an Asse'; 'greefe is proud and makes his owner stoope'; 'a new untrimmed bride,' etc. Upon passages such as these the editors and commentators have expended their labor and ingenuity; in fact, an examination of the Notes will show that passages which have been fruitful of discussion are, in number, greater than in almost any other Play in this series, but, as has been already said, this does not mean that the Text itself is come down to us imperfect or corrupted. This is, however, not the case as far as the Act and Scene divisions are concerned, and modern editors have not hesitated to alter the headings where necessary, a source of great confusion to the student using a modern text and with the Folio text before him, as in the present volume. For example, Act I, sc. ii. of the Folio is in all modern editions Act II, sc. i.; Act II. in the Folio is but