« AnteriorContinua »
Love's Labour's Lost in 1631, during the period, that is, between the appearance of the first and second Folio editions of Shakespeare, when relatively few of his plays were being called for in separate form. The statement on the title-page of this Quarto, 'As it was acted by his Majesty's Servants at the Blackfriars and the Globe,' if correct, proves that revivals must have occurred after 1608-9, when Shakespeare's company first began to use the Blackfriars' Theatre.
Later the play fell into total obscurity for over a century. No performances or adaptations are known during the period of the Restoration or the first half of the eighteenth century. Dryden in 16721 groups Love's Labour's Lost with The Winter's Tale and Measure for Measure as examples of the worst of Shakespeare's plays, 'which were either grounded on impossibilities, or at least so meanly written, that the comedy neither caused your mirth, nor the serious part your concernment.' Jeremy Collier (1699) says briefly of it that 'the poet plays the fool egregiously, for the whole play is a very silly one'; and Gildon (1710) brands it as ‘one of the worst of Shakespear's Plays, nay, I think I may say,
1 The Conquest of Granada, Pt. II. Defence of the Epilogue.
2 Cf. Furness, p. 316, note on line 976. Both the cuckoo song and the other song of winter were printed in 1671 in an anthology called The New Academy of Compliments,
logue and epilogue in heroic couplets, there is no evidence that this work ever reached the stage for which it had been 'adapted. Only about 800 lines of the original play are retained ;t the characters of Holofernes and Nathaniel are omitted entirely, and the mask of Muscovites and show of Nine Worthies are replaced by a 'comic dance' in dumb-show. The alterations of Shakespeare's main plot are rather remarkable. Berowne puts on a coat intended for Costard, and having thus easily rendered himself irrecognizable, carries messages between the lords and ladies. In this way he secures information enough about the real sentiments of them all to dominate the situation and force an immediate happy ending instead of the year's postponement proposed by the Princess. His closing words express the author's high sense of his improvement upon the original:
‘Our wooing now doth end like an old play;
Hath nobly made our sport a Comedy.' Another apparently unacted revision of Love's Labour's Lost, likewise anonymous, is preserved in a single copy at the British Museum. It dates from about the year 1800. This version also eliminates Holofernes and Nathaniel and concludes with the ladies' consent to immediate matrimony, brought about in a manner quite different from that employed in The Students. The characters of Costard and Jaquenetta (Jaquelina) are much romanticized, and they too are made happy at the end. Armado is presented as a demi-villain, and eavesdropping is employed even more copiously than in the original play.
On September 30, 1889, the first recorded performance of Love's Labour's Lost since Shakespearean
1 As counted by F. Schult, Bühnenbearbeitungen vom Shakespeare: “Love's Labour's Lost;" 1910.
times was given at Covent Garden. Madame Vestris played Rosaline; Harley, Armado; and Anderson, Berowne. The piece was performed nine times and three slightly differing versions of the acting text were published. In 1857 Samuel Phelps presented the play at the Sadler's Wells Theatre, Phelps himself taking the part of Armado. In 1885 and again in 1907 it was produced at the Memorial Theatre, Stratford-onAvon, as the Shakespeare Birthday play (April 23), Mr. F. R. Benson playing Berowne on the latter occasion. The English Drama Society gave it in Bloomsbury Hall, April 24, 1906. Other productions are recorded by the companies of Charles Fry, Ben Greet, and Florence Glossop-Harris. An acting version, 'adapted by Elsie Fogerty for Girls' Schools,' was published in 1912. Recently, under the management of Miss Lillian Baylis, Love's Labour's Lost has appeared frequently in the repertory of the Royal Victoria Hall (Old Vic.') in London; e.g. in the spring of 1918 and during the season that began September 22, 1923. The most recent production was that given by the Oxford University Dramatic Society in Wadham College garden, June 21, 1924. The enthusiastic tone of the critics of these late performancest shows that the play is now gaining in the esteem of audiences as during the past generation it has gained in the favor of critics and general readers.
The most important American productions of Love's Labour's Lost were those arranged by Augustin Daly in New York, in 1874 and again in 1891. The German Shakespeare scholar, Rudolph Genée, brought out in 1887 a considerably altered version in three acts for the German stage. In recent times this has usually been supplanted by translations which adhere more closely to the original,
1 See reviews, for example, in the Manchester Guardian, September 28, 1923, and June 27, 1924.
THE TEXT OF THE PRESENT EDITION
The text of the present volume is based, by permission of the Oxford University Press, upon that of the Oxford Shakespeare, edited by the late W. J. Craig, and the line-numbering of that edition, employed in Onions' Shakespeare Glossary and other works of reference, has been retained. Craig's text has been carefully collated with the two primary authorities, the 1598 Quarto and the text of Love's Labour's Lost in the Folio of 1623, and the following changes have been made:
1. The stage directions of the two original editions have been restored. They vary only in a few unimportant details. Necessary words and directions, omitted by both Quarto and Folio, are supplied within square
brackets. 2. Punctuation and spelling have been normalized to accord with modern English practice; e.g.
Anthony, godlike, malcontents, nickname, villainy (instead of Antony, god-like, malecontents, nick-name, villany). Legitimate Shakespearean words have been retained; e.g. ballet, murtherer, strooken, vizard (instead of ballad, murderer, strucken, visor).
3. The following changes of text have been introduced, nearly always in conformity with Quarto and Folio authority (indicated by Q and F respectively). Where the two differ, the Quarto has usually been preferred. Changes of punctuation are noted only when they materially affect the sense. The readings of the present edition precede the colon, while Craig's readings follow it:
I. i. 104 any QF: an
106 shows QF: mirth
270 an't shall QF: an 't
ye'll Q: you'll F
187 cause QF: clause (misprint?)
39 Longaville QF: Lord Longaville
220, 222 Kath. Q: Mar. F (See note)
226 lies,: lies,
255 Ros.: Mar.
61 The Q: Thy F
214 groan QF: and groan
103 Thou fellow QF: Thou, fellow
89 Of piercing QF: Piercing
41 dost thou QF: thou dost
to QF: to by