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Enter Charles, Alanfon, Burgundie, Baftard,
Baft. How the yong whelpe of Talbotsraging wood,
Pue. Once I encountred him, and thus 1 laid:
Mr. Collier says of the “recently-discovered Folio”: “The singularity and interest of the volume arises out of the fact that from the first page to the last it contains notes and emendations in a handwriting not much later than when it came from the press...... As there is no page without from ten to thirty of these minor emonelations they do not in the whole fall short of 20,000...... Corrections only have been hitherto spoken of, but there are at least two other peculiar features in the volume. Many passages in nearly all the plays are struck out with a pen as if for the purpose of shortening the performance. (See Fac-simile.]. ..... To this fact we may add that hundreds of stage-directions have been inscribed in manuscript as if for the guidance and instruction of actors in order that no mistake might be made in what is denominated stage-business."
For a full account of the history and value of this volume, see “Notes and Emendations to the Text of Siakespeare's Plays, from the early MS. Corrections, contained in a copy of the Folio of 1632, in the possession of J. Payne Collier, Esq." London. One vol. 12mo, reprinted by J. S. Redfield, New York, and to be had of the booksellers gencrally throughout the United States.
discovered Folio of 1632, See preface.
et dus Quintus. Scena Prima.
Enter Charles, Alanson, Burgundie, Baftard,
Char. Had Yorkc and Somersel brought rescucin,
Baft. How the yong whelpe of Talbots, raging wood,
Pne. Once I encountred him,and thus 1 laid:
Bur. Doubtleffe he would have made a noble Knight:
Baft. Hew them to peeces, hack their bones allunder,
Char. Oh no forbeare: For chat which we have Aed
Enter Lucy. anda berta
Char. On what submissive message art thousent?
Lucy. Submission Dolphin? Tisamecre French word:
Cbar. For prisoners askst thou? Hell our prisonis.
It is known to all who have bestowed attention upon the early history of Shakespeare's writings, that his dramas came originally from the press in a most imperfect state: so inaccurate, indeed, so defective and mutilated were the first editions of some of these admirable productions, that, were they reproduced at the present day with all the faults of their primitive typography, it is doubtful whether their transcendent merits would be discovered, even by many who are now their sincerest admirers. They were often without stage directions, and deficient in all the divisions of act and scene; halting rhymes and intolerable rhythm disfigured every speech; prose was solemnly measured off into verse, and verse unmercifully degraded into prose; omissions and redundances rapidly succeeded each other; they abounded with blunders in grammar and in sense, in orthography and punctuation, and with incoherences and inconsistencies of every imaginable description.
For so much of this gross carelessness as may fairly be attributed to the printers, it may be remarked in extenuation, that in the age of Shakespeare the art of printing was comparatively in its infancy. The correction of the press, as it is called, or the business of securing the most perfect accuracy in printed works, was not then, generally, as it has since become, a distinct department, intrusted to an experienced person specially trained for the purpose; but was often exercised at hap-hazard, either by the proprietor of a printing-office, who was sometimes incompetent, or by one of his deputies no better qualified than himself. It is true that among the old printers there was not wanting here and there one, who justly prided himself upon the superior accuracy with which he executed the works intrusted to his care; but it was not the good fortune of Shakespeare's plays, on their first publication, to fall into any such competent hands.
The carelessness or ignorance of printers was not, however, the only source of inaccuracy. The unwillingness of the old stage-managers to have their popular acting dramas printed, and thus made accessible to the public-probably through fear that such publicity would tend to diminish the desire to witness their performance at the theatre—often rendered the publication of a play a surreptitious work. Publishers being thus driven to indirect means to obtain possession of a manuscript copy, the author of a play, by his joint interest with the manager, was necessarily excluded from furnishing it, as well as from any supervision of his own production while passing through the press. That such was the case with the first impression of Shakespeare's plays there can be no doubt. The manuscript from which they were printed was evidently an imperfect copy, obtained from the memory of subordinate