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THE PLAYS EDITED FROM 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 1858, by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE.
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of
Measure for Measure occupies twenty-four pages in the folio of 1623; viz., from p. 61 to p. 84, inclusive, in the division of Comedies. It is there divided into Acts and Scenes and is followed by a list of the Dramatis Personæ under the head, “ The names of all the Actors.” From this list, however, Varrius and the Justice are omitted : above it is “ The Scene Vienna."
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
HAKESPEARE found the plot and the principal characters
of this play made to his hand in the Promos and Cassandra of George Whetstone which was published in 1578, but never acted. Whetstone founded his play upon the fifth Novel of the eighth Decade of Giraldi Cinthio's Hecatommithi, a collection of tales similar to Boccaccio's Decamerone, and in which also Shakespeare found the tale upon which he constructed his Othello. The course of the story in Cinthio's novel is indicated with sufficient particularity in its long title, which is as follows: " Juriste is sent by the Emperor Maximilian to Inspruch, where he causes a young man, who has violated a virgin, to be arrested, and condemns him to death: his sister endeavours to free him : Juriste holds out hopes to the lady that he will marry her and liberate her brother : she lies with him, and the same night Juriste causes the young man's head to be struck off, and sends it to his sister. She complains to the Emperor, who causes Juriste to marry the lady; after which he orders him to be put to death: the lady saves him, and lives with him most lovingly.” *
Whetstone himself published in 1582 a book of tales similar to that of Cinthio, which he called the Heptameron of Civil Discourses, and one of these tales he founded on Cinthio's story of Juriste. The following argument, prefixed to his play of Promos and Cassandrat gives a very good description of the course of its
* “ Juriste e mandato da Massimiano, Imperadore, in Ispruchi, ove fa prendere un giovane, violatore di una vergine, e condannalo à morte : la sorella cerca di liberarlo: Juriste da speranza alla donna di pigliarla per moglie, e di darle libero il fratello : ella con lui si giace, e la notte istessa Juriste få tagliar al giovane la testa, e la manda alla sorella. Ella ne fà querela all' Imperadore, il quale få sposare ad Juriste la donna; poscia lo fà dare ad essere ucciso. La donna lo libera, e con lui si vive amorevolissimamente."
† " The right excellent and famous Historye of Promos and Cassandra, divided into Commical Discourses: In the fyrste Parte is showne the unsufferable