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THE PLAYS EDITED PROM THE FOLIO OF MDCXXIII, WITH VARIOUS
READINGS FROM ALL THE EDITIONS AND ALL THE COMMENTATORS,
NOTES, INTRODUCTORY REMARKS, A HISTORICAL SKETCH OF
THE TEXT, AN ACCOUNT OF THE RISE AND PROGRESS OF
THE ENGLISH DRAMA, A MEMOIR OF THE POET,
AND AN ESSAY UPON HIS GENIUS
By RICHARD GRANT WHITE
LITTLE BROWN AND COMPANY
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE.
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York
STEREOTYPED AT THE
"the Tragicall Historie of HAMLET Prince of Denmarke. By William Shake-speare. As it hath beene diuerse times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the Cittie of London: as also in the two Yniuersities of Cambridge and Oxford, and else-where. At London printed for N. L. and Iohn Trundell." 1603. 4to. 33 leaves.
"The Tragicall Historie of HAMLET, Prince of Denmarke. By William Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, according to the true and perfect Coppie. At London, Printed by I. R. for N. L. and are to be sold at his shoppe vnder Saint Dunstons Church in Fleetstreet." 1604. 4to. 51 leaves.
The same: 1605.
The same. "At London, Printed for iohn Smethwicke and are to be sold at his shoppe in Saint Dunstons Church yeard in Fleetstreet. Vnder the Diall." 1611. 4to. 51 leaves.
"The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. Newly Imprinted and inlarged, according to the true and perfect Copy lastly Printed. By William Shakespeare. London, Printed by W. S. for Iohn Smethwicke, and are to be sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstans Church-yard in Fleetstreet: Vnder the Diall." 4to. 51 leaves.
Hamlet occupies thirty-one pages in the folio of 1623, viz., from p. 152 to p. 280, inclusive, in the division of Tragedies, there being a mistake of 100 pages after p. 156, the page which should have been numbered 157 having been numbered 257. It is divided into Acts and Scenes as far as Scena Secunda of Actus Secundus. Rowe completed the division, and added a list of Dramatis Personse.
ONLY one Hamlet is known to English dramatic literature. But there appears to be little room for doubt that before Shakespeare wrote for the stage the legend of the Danish prince had been made the subject of a tragedy which passed into oblivion upon the appearance of the one that was to live in the world's memory forever. The earliest form in which the story of Hamlet has survived is that in which it is found in the chronicle of Saxo Grammaticus, the historian of the Danish kings and heroes, who wrote towards the end of the twelfth century, but whose work was first published in 1514. Thence , it was transferred, in a French version, to Belleforest's Collection of Tales, published at Paris in 1571,* which, in turn, was translated very vilely into English, and published, probably, early in the last quarter of the sixteenth century. But no edition of an earlier date than 1608 is known; and of this only one copy is supposed to have survived the ravages of time.f The points of resemblance between The Historie of Hamblet and Shakespeare's play are neither so numerous nor so striking as they surely would have been were either of them directly founded upon the other. The likeness and the difference between them need not be set forth more particularly here than by recapitulating, in the language of the old quarto "Historie" itself, the contents of the eight chapters into which it is divided.
Chap. I. 'How Horvendile and Eengon were made Governours of the Province of Ditmarse, and how Horvendile maryed
* See the Introduction to Romeo and Juliet, Vol. X. p. 6. 'f "The Hystorie of Hamblet." 4to. London, 1608. — Among Capell's books preserved at Cambridge. — Reprinted in Collier's Shakespeare's Library.