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Brethren, and sisters, of the hold-door trade,
SAM. JOHNSON & GEO. STEEVENS,
A N D
THE VARIOUS COMMENTATORS
TROILUS and CRESSIDA,
-SIC ITUR AD ASTRA.
Printed for, and under the Direction of,
John Bell, British Library, STRAND, Bookseller to His Royal Highness the Prince of WALES.
TROILUS and CRESSIDA.
TROILUS and CRESSIDA) Berore 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 Shakspere's knowledge, 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 iny opinion.
learn from this preface, that the original proprietors of Shakspere's plays thought it their interest to keep thein unprinted. The author of it adds, at the conclusion, these words ;' " Thank fortune 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 prayed,” &c. By the grand possessors, I suppose, were meant Heminge and Condell. It appears that the rival playhouses at that time made frequent depredations on one another's copies. In the Induction to the Malecontent, written by Webster, and augmented by Mare ston, 1606, is the following passages:
" I wonder you would play it, another company having interest in it.
“Why not Malevole in folid with us, as Jeronimo in decimo sexto with them? They taught us a name for our play; we call it One for another."
Again, T. Heywood, in his preface to the English Traveller, 1633 : " Others of them are still retained in the hands of some actors, who think it against their peculiar profit to have them come in print."
STEEvens. It appears, however, that frauds were practised by writers as well as actors. It stands on record against Robert Green, the author of Friar Bacon and Friar Bun. gay, and Orlando Furioso, 1594 and 1599, that he sold the last of these pieces to two different theatres: “ Master R. G. would it not make you blush, &c. you sold not Orlando Furioso to the Queen's players