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And he proposes hereafter, in his School of Shakefpeare, to give his reasons for preferring the particular edition he makes ufe of. But this is far from being the best method; for it is evident that one edition, though the best, may be in many places corrected by another, though a worfe edition; and the feveral editions are a mu'tual help to each other; or why do editors collate? And if they do collate, why do they not publish their collations, so that their readers may be in poffeffion of them? No editor that I know of has a right to impose upon every body his own favourite reading, or to give his own conjectural interpolation, without producing the readings of the feveral editions; the editor who does fo, though he may be a good critic, will not be looked upon as a fair dealer: for after all, the public will be the judge; and will cenfure every editor according as he has abused or difabused it,
What the public is here prefented with, is only one play of Shakespeare faithfully collated, line by line, with the old as well as modern editions; the different readings whereof are given with notes at the bottom of the page. After the names of the perfons of the drama, directions are added for finding all the scenes where each character appears; every other page is marked with the number of the act and scene; and a sketch of the play is given. These last will, perhaps, be thought needlefs; but one may venture to affirm, that any perfon who reads Shakespeare with a critical intention, and is defirous of comparing characters and fcenes, will not be offended that recourse to paffages may here, by these means, be had with more eafe than in any other edition.
This play is published as a fpecimen, which if approved of, the work will be pursued (health and opportunity permitting) through the whole
of Shakespeare's dramatic works. "Tis no doubt a flavish business to proceed through so many editions of fo voluminous a writer, in the flow and exact manner this editor hath done in King Lear, and proposes to do in the rest of ShakeSpeare's plays and though it is a work that seemed absolutely neceffary; yet nothing but the merit of the author, and the approbation of his admirers, could infpire one with patience to undergo fo laborious a task.
ift Quarto. M.William Shak-speare: his True
Chronicle Hiftorie of the Life
and Death of King Lear, and his three Daughters. With the unfortunate Life of Edgar, Sonne and Heire to the Earle of Glofter, and his fullen and affumed humor of Tom of Bedlam: as it was played before the King's Majestie at Whitehall upon S. Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes. By his Majefties fervants playing usually at the Gloabe on the Bancke-fide. London, Printed for Nathaniel ↑ Butter, and are to be fold at his fhop in Pauls Church-yard at the sign of the Pide Bull near St. Auftins Gate, 1608.
2d Quarto. M. William Shake-speare, his true Chronicle History, &c. (as in the 1ft) Printed for
* P. and all after call it, The Life and Death of King Lear; which is, to be fure, nearer to the title of the qu's: but it is evident this is not a proper title, as the play takes in but a small part of Lear's life. The fo's call it, The Tragedy of King Lear. And F. King Lear, a Tragedy.
7. calls him Butler.