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"The Tragedy of King Richard the third. Containing, His treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittiefull murther of his iunocent nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath beene lately Acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. At London, Printed by Valentine Sims, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell. 1597." 4to. 47 leaves.
"The Tragedie of King Richard the third. Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pitiful murther of his innocent Nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath beene lately Acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. By William Shake-speare. London Printed by Thomas Creede, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell. 1598." 4to. 47 leaves.
"The Tragedie of King Richard the third. Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittifull murther of his innocent Nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath bene lately Acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Newly augmented, By William Shakespeare. London Printed by Thomas Creede, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell. 1602." 4to. 46 leaves.
"The Tragedie of King Richard the third. Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittifull murther of his innocent Nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath bin lately Acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Newly augmented, by William Shake-speare. London, Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by Matthew Lawe, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe, near S. Austins gate, 1605." 4to. 46 leaves.
In the folio of 1623, "The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of the Earle of Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth Field," occupies thirty-two pages; viz. from p. 173 to p. 204 inclusive. There is no material variation in the later folios.
THE popularity of Shakespeare's "Richard the Third" must have been great, judging only from the various quarto editions which preceded the publication of it in the folio of 1623. It originally came out in 1597, without the name of the author: it was reprinted in 1598, with "by William Shake-speare" on the title-page, and again in 1602', all three impressions having been made for the same bookseller, Andrew Wise. On the 27th June, 1603, it was assigned to Mathew Lawe, as appears by an entry in the Stationers' Registers; accordingly, he published the fourth edition of it with the date of 1605: the fifth edition was printed for the same bookseller in 16132. This seems to have been the last time it came out in quarto, anterior to its appearance in the first folio'; but after that date, three other quarto impressions are known, viz. in 1624, 1629, and 1634, and it is remarkable that these were all mere reprints of the earlier quartos, not one of them including any of the passages which the player-editors of the folio first inserted in their volume. This fact might show that the publishers of the later quartos did not know that there were any material variations between the earlier quartos and the folio, that they did not think them of importance, or that the projectors of the folio were considered to have some species of copyright in the additions. These additions, extending in one instance to more than fifty lines, are pointed out in our notes. It will also be found that more than one speech in the folio is unintelligible without aid from the quartos;
1 By the title-pages of the four earliest editions on the opposite leaf, it will be seen, that it was professed by Andrew Wise, that the play, in 1602, had been "newly augmented," although it was in fact only a reprint of the previous impressions of 1597 and 1598, for the same bookseller. It is possible that the augmentations observable in the folio of 1623 were made shortly before 1602, and that Wise wished it to be thought, that his edition of that year contained them. The quarto reprints, subsequent to that of 1602, all purport to have been "newly augmented."
2 Malone gives the date 1612, and in his copy at Oxford the last figure is blurred. The title-page in no respect differs from that of 1605, excepting that the play is said to have been "acted by the King's Majesty's servants." They were not so called, until after May, 1603.
3 An impression in 1622 is mentioned in some lists, but the existence of a copy of that date is doubtful.
and for some other characteristic omissions, particularly for one in Act iv. sc. 2, it is not possible to account.
With respect to the additions in the folio of 1623, we have no means of ascertaining whether they formed part of the original play. Steevens was of opinion that the quarto, 1597, contained a better text than the folio: such is not our opinion; for though the quarto sets right several doubtful matters, it is not well printed, even for a production of that day, and bears marks of having been brought out in haste, and from an imperfect manuscript. The copy of the "history" in the folio of 1623 was in some places a reprint of the quarto, 1602, as several obvious errors of the press are repeated, right for " 'fight," helps for "helms," &c. For the additions, a manuscript was no doubt employed; and the variations in some scenes, particularly near the middle of the play, are so numerous, and the corrections so frequent, that it is probable a transcript belonging to the theatre was there consulted. Our text is that of the folio, with due notice of all the chief variations.
The earliest entry in the Stationers' Registers relating to Shakespeare's "Richard the Third," is in these terms :—
"20 Oct. 1597
Andrew Wise] The Tragedie of Kinge Richard the Third, with the death of the Duke of Clarence."
This memorandum, probably, immediately preceded the publication of the quarto, 1597. The only other entry relating to "Richard the Third" we have already mentioned, and the exact words of it may be seen in a note to our Introduction to "Richard the Second," Vol. iv. p. 108.
It is certain that there was a historical drama upon some of the events of the reign of Richard III. anterior to that of Shakespeare. T. Warton quoted Sir John Harington's "Apologie for Poetry," prefixed to his translation of Ariosto in 1591, respecting a tragedy of "Richard the Third," acted at St. John's, Cambridge, which would "have moved Phalaris, the tyrant, and terrified all tyrannousminded men ;" and Steevens adduced Heywood's "Apology for Actors," 1612, to the same effect, without apparently being aware that Heywood was professedly only repeating the words of HaringBoth those authors, however, referred to a Latin drama on the story of Richard III., written by Dr. Legge, and acted at Cambridge before 1583. Steevens followed up his quotation from Heywood by the copy of an entry in the Stationers' Registers, dated June 19, 1594, relating to an English play on the same sub
4 Steevens calls it "The Actors' Vindication," as indeed it was entitled when it was republished (with alterations and insertions) by Cartwright the comedian, without date, but during the Civil Wars. See the reprint of this tract by the Shakespeare Society, the text being taken from the first impression.