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In editing the following volumes, I have thought it necessary (as in my former attempts of a similar kind) to mark the various readings, however unimportant, which a comparison of different editions of the plays supplied. All those notes, for which I am indebted to others, have the names of the respective writers subjoined ; of the rest, (some of which, I am aware, may perhaps be thought triling and unnecessary,) I may be allowed to say, that I have not transplanted them to my pages from the Variorum Shakespeare and Dodsley's Old Plays, but that I have derived them from a long-continued study of the obsolete literature of England.
In procuring for me transcripts from rare works, in affording me the use of scarce pieces of our early poetry, and in communicating to me useful information of different sorts, I have to acknowledge the kindness of the Rev. Dr. Bliss; the Rev. J. Mitford; N. H. Nicolas, Esq. ; J. Payne Collier, Esq.; J. Haslewood, Esq.; and J. Crossley, Esq. of Manchester.
The White Divel, or, the Tragedy of Paulo Giordano Ursini, Duke of Brachiano, With the Life and Death of Vittoria Corombona the famous Venetian Curtizan. Acted by the Queenes Maiesties Seruants. Written by John Webster. Non inferiora secutus. London, Printed by N. 0. for Thomas Archer, and are to be sold at his Shop in Popes head Pallace, neere the Royall Exchange. 1612. 4to.
The White Devil, or, the Tragedy of Paulo Giordano Vrsini, Duke of Bruchiano, With the Life, and Death of Vittoria Corombona, the famous Venetian Curtizan. As it hath bin diuers times Acted, by the Queenes Maiesties seruants, at the Phænix, in Drury-lane. Written by John Webster. Non inferioru secutus. London, Printed by I. N. for Hugh Perry, and are to be sold at his shop at the signe of the Harrow in Brittuins-burse. 1631. 4to.
There were also editions in 1665, and 1672, and an alteration of it by N. Tate, called Injured Love, or the Cruel Husband, appeared in 1707. It has been reprinted in the different editions of Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, and in the Ancient British Drama.
The reader who is familiar with original editions of our early poets will not be surprised to learn that some copies of the 4to. of 1612 differ slightly in several places from other copies of the same edition ; a collation of my own copy with that in the Garrick collection (vol. H. 22.) has furnished some various readings, which I have given in the course of my notes. Such differences arose no doubt from alterations having been made in the text after a portion of the impression had been worked off.* I have not thought it necessary to set down every minute
* The copies of the first edition of our author's Dutchess of Malf are not all exactly alike ; see the prefatory remarks to it in this volume : and once in The Devil's Law case, and once in Westward Ho, (of both which there is but one edition,) I found a difference on comparing the copies. Mr. Gifford discovered similar variations in some of the early 4tos. of Massinger; vide bis Introduction, p. lxxvii, ed. 1805: see too my edition of Peele's Works, vol. ii. p. 222.