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In the text of this edition of Romeo and Juliet I have introduced only two readings not previously found in editions of authority; first, I have placed a comma in I. ii. 32 after the words “view of"; secondly, in III. v. 43 I have inserted the hyphens in "love-lord” and “husband-friend." I hope these slight changes may commend themselves to some readers ; if the former be correct, it solves a long recognised difficulty. I have not altered the received punctuation of III. ii. 5-8, although I venture to suggest in Appendix III. (“Runaway's eyes ") a new. punctuation, which, as regards lines 5, 6, commends itself to me; the suggestion respecting line 7 I offer as a mere possibility. I am not so sanguine as to expect that readers long familiar with the received text will accept my suggestions as to that difficult passage; but how should any critic neglect to add his stone to the cairn under which the meaning lies buried ?
I accept Theobald's reading “sun” in 1. i. 157, and in so doing follow the best modern editors. With some reluctance I read in 11. i. 13, “Adam Cupid,” yielding to the
II authority of Dyce (ed. 2), the Cambridge editors, Furness, and others; and in a note I try to point out possi
bilities which may justify or lead towards justifying the “ Abraham ” of all the early texts.
I may add here that if the nickname “Abraham was given to Cupid because he is the “father of many nations," an additional comic effect might be gained by choosing for Cupid a name recognised as a favourite one with Elizabethan Puritans. In Middleton's The Family of Love, Dryfat, a member of the “Family,” says, “I have Aminadabs and Abrahams to my godsons.” I must leave it to some more ingenious critic to make the discovery that we should read “ Abron Cupid," and that Shakespeare had noticed in Cooper's Thesaurus (1573): “ Abron, the name of a man, whose sensualitie and delicate life is growne to a Proverbe.”
The Quarto editions of Romeo and Juliet are the following:
“An Excellent conceited Tragedie of Romeo and Iuliet, As it hath bene often (with great applause) plaid publiquely, by the right Honourable the L. of Hunsdon his Servants. London, Printed by Iohn Danter. 1597" (Q 1).
“ The Most Excellent and lamentable Tragedie, of Romeo and Juliet. Newly corrected, augmented, and amended: As it hath bene sundry times publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord Chamberlaine his Servants. London Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare the Exchange. 1599.” This, the second Quarto, I refer to as Q, unless there is special occasion to distinguish it as Q 2.
The third Quarto (Q 3) was printed in 1609 for
John Smethwick; the title-page describes the tragedy as having been “sundry times publiquely Acted, by the Kings Majesties Servants at the Globe.”
The fourth Quarto (Q 4), printed also for John Smethwicke, is without date. In some copies the word “Globe" is followed by “Written by W. Shake-speare.” In other copies (said by Halliwell-Phillipps to be the later issues) the name of the author does not appear.
The fifth Quarto (Q 5) is dated 1637; it was printed by "R. Young for John Smethwicke."
The text of Romeo and Juliet in the first Folio, 1623, (F) was derived from 2 3.
The editors of the Cambridge Shakespeare observe: " As usual there are number of changes, some accidental, some deliberate, but all generally for the worse, excepting the changes in punctuation and in the stage-directions. The punctuation, as a rule, is more correct, and the stage-directions are more complete, in the Folio.”
The second Quarto-1599—first gives the play in full; it is our best authority for the text; but the corrections of the later Quartos and of the Folio are valuable aids towards ascertaining the text, while in not a few passages Q i lends assistance which cannot elsewhere be found.
In the present edition the readings of land of F which differ from the editor's text are recorded, except a few obvious misprints and such others as seem wholly unimportant. Not many references are made to Q 3, because in general its various readings passed into the ext of F, which was derived from that Quarto. For my references to Q 5 (which are few) I have trusted to the Cambridge Shakespeare and to Furness.
Q i differs so considerably, and in so many minute details, from the received text, that the variations cannot be rightly exhibited in notes; it must be read in its entirety, and happily it is easily accessible in the facsimile by Praetorius, in Mommsen's reprint, in the Cambridge Shakespeare, in Furness, and (with most
, advantage for the student) in the New Shakspere Society's reprint of Parallel Texts of the First Two Quartos, admirably edited by Mr. Daniel. Such readings as have been adopted from Q i into the text of modern editors have a special claim to attention ; these I have, with few exceptions, recorded, and have added in notes and in Appendix I. several lines and passages differing from the received text in a way which can hardly be accounted for by errors of the printer or reporter. In these, or in some of these, we probably find work of Shakespeare discarded in his revision of the play.
The relation of Q i to the later text has been the subject of much discussion. I cannot state the results of my own study better than by quoting from Mr. Daniel's Introduction to the Parallel Texts : "A hasty and separate perusal of 2 I may leave the reader with the impression that it represents an earlier play than that given in the subsequent editions ; read line for line with Q 2 its true character soon becomes apparent. It is an edition made up partly from copies of portions of the original play, partly from recollection and from notes taken during the performance. Q 2 gives us for the
first time a substantially true representation of the original play. Still Q 1 is of great value, as it affords the means of correcting many errors which had crept into the 'copy' from which Q 2 was printed, and also, in its more perfect portions, affords conclusive evidence that that'copy'underwent revision, received some slight augmentations, and, in some few places, must have been entirely rewritten.” As evidence of the last statement I may refer my reader to Appendix I., to which the following may here be added; in III. ii. 57-60 Juliet, in our received text, speaks :
O break, my heart ! poor bankrupt, break at once !
These are evidently new lines written to replace those of Q 1, which run thus :
Ah Romeo, Romeo, what disaster hap
Shall we conjecture that Shakespeare felt that the sense of fatality, though proper to Romeo, was less characteristic of the strong-willed Juliet ?
Q 1, then, is an imperfect representation, piratically issued, of the same play which is given fully and, in the main, aright in Q 2; but before Q 2 appeared Shakespeare had revised the play, and had rewritten a few passages.
The theory of Mr. Grant White that traces