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acquired any clear notion of the character and achievements of the latter. To call the King of Navarre Ferdinand rather than Henry and ignore his pretensions to the French crown, to say nothing (virtually) of the military fame of the four gentlemen and associate Dumaine in friendship with the rest, or alter natively, to confuse Dumaine with d'Aumont," would have affronted common intelligence if attempted very long after the death of Henri III (August 2, 1589) had brought them all upon the centre of the political stage. I take it that the period between Henri III's assassination and the battle of Ivry (March 14, 1590) was the latest at which an English dramatist could have thought of thus irrelevantly employing the names of the leading French generals for the heroes of a comedy of love and the simple life.
Mr. Charlton's assumption that the revision of the play was slight is contradicted by the large amount of discrepancy between mature and immature work, and also by the curious and cumbrous structure of the existing text, in which the first three acts together are only half the length of the last two and not as long as the colossal second scene of Act V.
The first three acts doubtless represent the scale upon which the comedy was originally written. The earliest critic who attempted to distinguish closely between the two texts (of ca, 1590 and ca. 1597) appears to have been Spedding, whose apportionment, made in 1839, is quoted by Dr. Furnivall. In a paper on 'The Original Version of Love's Labour's Losť (1918) Professor H. D. Gray has attempted with interesting results to discover the scope of the original play, basing his arguments upon evidences of organic unity and youthful love of symmetry,' as well as upon style. In the recent Cambridge edition Mr. Dover Wilson has made a similar attempt,' independently and by means of totally different criteriachiefly the bibliographical phenomena of the Quarto and Folio texts. The various results are of course contradictory in many details, but the investigators all agree in assigning a large preponderance of the first three acts to the original version and the larger part of the last two to the revision.
1 See Appendix A, p. 128, note 2. 2 Facsimile of 1598 Quarto, pp. viii, ix; Leopold Shak
spere, p. xxiii.
THE HISTORY OF THE PLAY
The known history of Love's Labour's Lost begins with the evidence found on the title-page of the earliest edition, the Quarto of 1598. This reads: 'A Pleasant Conceited Comedie Called, Loues labors lost. As it vvas presented before her Highnes this last Christmas. Newly corrected and augmented By W. Shakespere.' Her Highness was Queen Elizabeth and the Christmas performance alluded to probably took place during the season of December, 1597-January, 1598. The statement that the play had been newly corrected and augmented is substantiated beyond all question by the text itself, particularly in the fourth and fifth acts.3
Love's Labour's Lost is the earliest of Shakespeare's plays concerning which we have notice of a special performance at court and probably also the earliest to name Shakespeare as author on the printed title-page. It is mentioned in Meres' Palladis Tamia (1598),
1 Mr. Pollard has argued that this Quarto was probably preceded by a piratical earlier edition of which no trace remains. The evidence is purely bibliographical and circumstantial, but carries weight.
2 The Elizabethan year began with March 25. Hence if the Quarto was printed between January 1 and March 24, 'this last Christmas' would be Christmas, 1598, by our reckoning. Halliwell-Phillipps (Furness, p. 336) suggested a connection of the performance of the play with a recorded payment in December, 1597, ‘for altering and making readie of soundrie chambers at Whitehall against Christmas, and for the plaies, and for making readie in the hall for her Maiestie,
Shakespeare's company acted at court on De cember 26 of both years, 1597 and 1598, and also on the following January 1 (1598 and 1599).
3 See notes on IV. iii. 299-304 and V. ü. 825-830.
third in the list of six comedies ascribed to the poet, and again in the same year in Robert Tofte's Alba, where
the allusion is casual and more complimentary to the actors than to the dramatist:
'Loues Labor Lost, I once did see a Play
My misgiuing minde presaging to me Ill,
"This Play no Play, but Plague was vnto me,
To euery one (saue me) twas Comicall,
'Each Actor plaid in cunning wise his part,
Twas I that Griefe (indeed) did beare in brest,
The sonnets of Berowne (IV. ii. 110-123) and Longaville (IV. iii. 60-73) and Dumaine’s ‘ode' (IV. ii. 101-120) were reprinted by William Jaggard in 1599 in the pirated volume called The Passionate Pilgrim, and Dumaine's poem was also included in the anthology, England's Helicon, in 1600. Later William Drummond of Hawthornden lists the comedy as one of the 'Bookes red be me, anno 1606,' when Drummond was staying in London. Property rights in the published play are affirmed when, on January 22, 1606/7, Burby, the publisher of the 1598 Quarto (who seems not to have entered it himself), transferred Love's Labour's Lost, along with Romeo and Juliet and The Taming of a Shrew to Nicholas Linge. Less than a year later Linge surrendered all three plays (November 19, 1607) to John Smethwick, who was later one of the partners in the Folio Shakespeare.
Though probably never notably popular, Love's Labour's Lost showed unusual staying powers during the Shakespearean era. First produced at the opening of the poet's career, it was rewritten, as we have seen, in 1597-8 for the particular amusement of Queen Elizabeth. A little over a year after her death it was again selected for court performance in order to divert her successor, Anne of Denmark (Queen of James I), as is witnessed by the following very interesting letter from Sir Walter Cope to Viscount Cranborne (i.e. Sir Robert Cecil, later Lord Salisbury): 'Sir,-- I haue sent and bene all thys morning huntyng for players Juglers & Such kinde of Creaturs, but fynde them harde to fynde; wherefore leauing notes for them to seek me, Burbage ys come, and sayes
there is no new playe that the quene hath not seene, but they haue reuyued an olde one, cawled Loves Labore Lost, which for wytt & mirthe he sayes will please her exceedingly. And thys ys appointed to be playd to morrowe night at my Lord of Sowthamptons, unless yow send a wrytt to remove the corpus cum causa to your howse in Strande. Burbage ys my messenger ready attending your pleasure. This is dated ‘1604, and the performance referred to is fixed by Mr. Chambers as between January 8 and January 15, 1604/5. The audit office accounts for 1604-5 record the acting 'By his Majesty's players' of 'A play of Loues Labours Losť between New Year's Day and Twelfth Day (January 6).
A certain degree of continued popularity is indicated by the publication of another Quarto edition of
1 Elizabethan Stage, iv. 139 f.