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of Troilus and Cressida was originally the work of one Lollius, a Lombard. Dryden goes yet further; he declares it to have been written in Latin verse, and that Chaucer translated it. Lollius was a historiographer of Urbino in Italy. Shakspeare received the greatest part of his materials for the structure of this play from the Troye Boke of Lydgate. Lydgate was not much more than a translator of Guido of Columpna, who was of Messina in Sicily, and wrote his History of Troy in Latin, after Dictys Cretensis, 1287. Guido's work was published at Cologne in 1477, again in 1480, at Strasburgh 1486, and ibidem, 1469. This work appears to have been translated by Raoul le Feure, at Cologne, into French, from whom Caxton rendered it into English in 1471, under the title of his Recuyel, &c. so that there must have been yet some earlier edition of Guido's performance than I have hitherto seen or heard of, unless his first translator had recourse to a manuscript.

Guido of Columpna is referred to as an authority by our own chronicler Grafton. Chaucer had made the loves of Troilus and Cressida famous, which very probably might have been Shakspeare's inducement to try their fortune on the stage. -Lydgate's Troye Boke was printed by Pynson, 1513,

STBEVENS. Before this play of Troilus and Cressida, printed in 1609, is a bookseller's preface, shewing that first impression to have been before the play had been acted, and that it was published without Shakspeare's know. ledge, from a copy that had fallen into the bookseller's

hands. Mr. Dryden thinks this one of the first of our author's plays: but, on the contrary, it may be judged from the fore-mentioned preface that it was one of his last; and the great number of observations, both moral and politick, with which this piece is crowded more than any other of his, seems to confirm my opinion.

POPE. We may learn from this preface, that the original proprietors of Shakspeare's plays thought it their interest to keep them unprinted. The author of it adds, at the conclusion, these words : “ Thank for“ tune for the 'scape it hath made among you, since, « by the grand possessors wills, I believe

you

should “ rather have prayed for them, than have been pray

ed,” &c. By the grand possessors, I suppose, were meant, Heming and Condell.

STEEVENS.

PROLOGUE.

IN Troy, there lies the scene. From isles of Greece
The princes orgulous, their high blood chaf'd,
Have to the port of Athens sent their ships
Fraught with the ministers and instruments,
Of cruel war: Sixty and nine, that wore
Their crownets regal, from the Athenian bay
Put forth toward Phrygia: and their yow is made,
To ransack Troy; within whose strong immures
The ravish'd Helen, Menelaus' queen,
With wanton Paris sleeps; And that's the quarrel.
To Tenedos they come;
And the deep-drawing barks do there disgorge
Their warlike fraughtage: Now on Dardan plains
The fresh and yet unbruised Greeks do pitch
Their brave pavilions: Priam's six-gated city,
Dardan, and Tymbria, Ilias, Chetas, Trojan,
And Antenorides, with massy staples,
And corresponsive and fulfilling bolts,
Sperr up the sons of Troy.
Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
On one and other side, Trojan and Greek,
Sets all on hazard :---And hither am I come
A prologue arm'd', but not in confidence
Of author's pen, or actor's voice; but suited
In like conditions as our argument,-
To tell you, fair beholders, that our play

Leaps o'er the vaunt and firstlings of those broils,
'Ginning in the middle; starting thence away
To what may be digested in a play.
Like, or find fault; do as your pleasures are;
Now good, or bad, 'tis but the chance of war.

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