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And he proposes hereafter, in his School of Shakespeare, to give his reasons for preferring the particular edition he makes use of. But this is far from being the best method ; for it is evident that one edition, though the best, may be in many places corrected by another, though a worse edition ; and the several editions are a mu. tual help to each other ; or why do editors collate? And if they do collate, why do they not publish their collations, so that their readers may be in possession of them? No editor that I know of has a right to impose upon every body his own favourite reading, or to give his own conjectural interpolation, without producing the readings of the several editions; the editor who does so, though he may be a good critic, will Dot be looked upon as a fair dealer: for after all, the public will be the judge ; and will cenfure every editor according as he has abused or disabused it,
What the public is here presented with, is only one play of Shakespeare faithfully collated, line by line, with the old as well as modern editions; the different readings whereof are given with notes at the bottom of the page. After the names of the persons of the drama, directions are added for finding all the scenes where each character appears; every
page is marked with the number of the act and scene; and a sketch of the play is given. These last will, perhaps, be thought needless; but one may venture to affirm, that any person who reads Shakespeare with a critical intention, and is desirous of comparing characters and scenes, will not be offended that recourse to paffages may here, by these means, be had with more ease than in any other edition.
This play is published as a specimen, which if approved of, the work will be pursued (health and opportunity permitting) thrcugh the whole
of Shakespeare's dramatic works. 'Tis no doubt a lavish business to proceed through fu many editions of fo voluminous a writer, in the low and exact manner this editor hath done in King Lear, and proposes to do in the rest of Shakespeare's plays: and though it is a work that seemed absolutely necessary; yet nothing but the merit of the author, and the approbation of his admirers, could inspire one with patience to undergo so laborious a talk.
A TRA G E DY.
EDITIONS.COLLAT E D.
ist Quarto. M. William Shak-speare: his Trus
Chronicle Historie of the Life and Death of King Lear, and his three Daughters. With the unfortunate Life of Edgar, Sonne and Heire to the Earle of Glofter, and his fullen and afsumed humor of Tom of Bedlam: as it was played before the King's Majestie at Whitehall upon
S. Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes. By his Majesties servants playing usually at the Gloabe on the Bancke-side. London, Printed for Nathaniel + Butter, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls Church-yard at the sign of the Pide Bull near St. Auftins Gate, 1608.
2d Quarto. M. William Shake-speare, his true Chronicle History, &c. (as in the ist) Printed for
• P. and all after call it, The Life and Death of King Lear; which is, to be sure, nearer to the title of the qu's: but it is evi. dent this is not a proper title, as the play cakes in but a small part of Lear's life. The fo's call it, The Tragedy of King Lear. And T. King Lear, a Tragedy. 1 7. calls him Butler.