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King Lear was first printed, in quarto form, in 1608. Two editions of it appeared in that year. Their relationship and order of publication were for long The Quartos. doubtful, but it is now certain that the earlier is that which bears the following title-page:

M. William Shak-speare: | His | True Chronicle Historie 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 Gloster, and his | sullen and assumed humor of Tom of Bedlam: | As it was played before the Kings Maiestie at Whitehall vpon | S. Stephans night in Christmas Hollidayes. | By his Maiesties seruants playing vsually at the Gloabe on the Bancke-side. | London, Printed for Nathaniel Butter, and are to be sold at his shop in Pauls | Church-yard at the signe of the Pide Bull neere | St. Austins Gate. 1608.

Of this edition six copies are known to be extant. But these copies are not uniform. All, besides being carelessly printed, are composed indiscriminately of corrected and uncorrected sheets, with the result that only two of the six copies are identical, and that not one of them contains a fully revised text. The second quarto edition has the same title, but it omits all mention of the place of sale, having merely "Printed for Nathaniel Butter. | 1608", a circumstance which gives the other the distinctive title of the "Pide Bull edition". Careful investigation has definitely established that the second Quarto was based on

the first. It reproduces and aggravates many of the faults of the other, and is of decidedly inferior value.1

The Folio.

The next text of King Lear is that of the Folio of 1623. It is the most valuable, for while the Quartos were printed in all probability surreptitiously, it appears to have been taken from an acting copy preserved at the theatre. The independent origin of the two texts gives rise to marked divergences. Apart from verbal variations, there is considerable difference in the length of the two versions. The Quartos contain about three hundred lines which are not given in the Folio, and on the other hand about a hundred and ten lines in the Folio are omitted in the Quartos. These omissions cannot be definitely explained; but it is probable that neither text was revised by Shakespeare himself, and that the divergences are due to the actors and printers. The Quartos may follow a slightly condensed copy used in the performance at Court in 1606, while the Folio gives the more abridged acting copy of the theatre. The bibliographical difficulties are further complicated by the fact that, though the two editions are based on different texts, the Folio reproduces some of the errors of the Quartos. The explanation of this would seem to be that the printer of the Folio did not work directly on the acting copy, but employed an edition of the first Quarto which had been corrected roughly in accordance with the manuscript. The modern text is considerabl er than that of the

1 The relationship of the Quartos was first established by the Cambridge editors, though the editor of King Lear. . . collated with the old and modern editions, published in 1770, had already concluded that the Pide Bull edition was the first. See also Mr. P. A. Daniel's introduction to the facsimile reprints of the two Quartos (1885). Another Quarto, a careless reprint of the second, was "printed by Jane Bell" in 1655.

2 The chief passages omitted in the Quartos are:-i. 1. 33-38; i. 2. 101-106, 150-155; i. 4. 314-325; ii. 4. 45-52, 136-141; iii. 1. 22-29; iii. 2. 74-88; iii. 6. 12-14; iv. 1. 6-9; iv. 6. 146-151. The chief passages omitted in the Folios are:i. 2. 130-137; i. 3. 16–20; i. 4. 132-147; ii. 2. 135-139; iii. 1. 7-15, 30-42; iii. 6. 17-54, 95-99, 100-113; iii. 7. 98-106; iv. 2. 31-50, 53-59, 62-69; iv. 3. (the whole scene); iv. 7. 85-97; v. 3. 204-221. It is sometimes stated erroneously that only about fifty lines are omitted in the Quartos, and about two hundred and twenty in the Folios,

original editions by the inclusion of all the passages which occur only in one or other of them. On the assumption that Shakespeare took no further care of the play once he had given it to the actors, the King Lear which we now have is a nearer approach to what it was when it left his hands.

King Lear is one of the Shakespearian plays which were mangled at the Restoration. It appears to have been acted " as Shakespeare wrote it" between 1662 and 1665, and again in 1671 or 1672,1 but it was more popular in the adapted version of Nahum Tate, which was produced and published in 1681.2 Tate considered the play "a heap of jewels, unstrung and unpolished", and he set himself to give it what Restoration taste demanded. "Twas my good fortune", he says, "to light on one expedient to rectify what was wanting in the regularity and probability of the tale, which was to run through the whole a Love betwixt Edgar and Cordelia, that never changed word with each other in the original. This renders Cordelia's indifference and her father's passion in the first scene probable. It likewise gives countenance to Edgar's disguise, making that a generous design that was before a poor shift to save his life. The distress of the story is evidently heightened by it; and it particularly gave occasion of a new scene or two, of more success (perhaps) than merit. This method necessarily threw me on making the tale conclude in a success to the innocent distrest Persons. . Yet I was wracked with no small fears for so bold a change, till I found it well received by my audience." The lovemaking and betrothal of Edgar and Cordelia, the restoration of Lear to his kingdom, the enforced moral that "truth and virtue shall at last succeed", the interpolated scenes, and the entire omission of the Fool, make this version a perfect botch of the original. But it held the




1 See Downes, Roscius Anglicanus (ed. Davies, 1789), pp. 36 and 43. 2 The History of King Lear. Acted at the Duke's Theatre. Alterations. By N. Tate. London, 1681. Reprinted 1771.

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stage unchallenged till the time of Garrick, and its tinkerings were not totally discarded till well on in the nineteenth century. Garrick's version, which was produced in 1756, was generally accepted for about fifty years.1 With all his enthusiasm for Shakespeare, Garrick showed little regard for the plays as Shakespeare left them, and of none did he represent a more garbled version than of King Lear. It may not unfitly be described as an adaptation of Tate's. He restored certain passages and omitted many of Tate's additions, but he retained the love scenes and the happy ending, and after serious consideration decided that he could not include the Fool. The version which Colman produced in 1768 was a decided improvement. He endeavoured in it, he says, “to purge the tragedy of Lear of the alloy of Tate, which has so long been suffered to debase it". He had the taste to recognize that the love scenes between Edgar and Cordelia were entirely out of place, and that, far from heightening the distress of the story, as Tate had asserted, they diffused a languor over all the scenes from which Lear is absent. But he did not condemn Tate entirely. "To reconcile", he says, "the catastrophe of Tate to the original story was the first grand object which I proposed to myself in this alteration." He thus expelled Tate from the first four acts, but retained him in the fifth; but, like Tate and Garrick, he would have none of the Fool, being "convinced that such a character in a tragedy would not be endured on the modern stage". Colman's version, however, was not popular because of the absence of the love scenes, and Garrick's or Tate's kept possession of the stage. Throughout the eighteenth century, the happy ending, though invariably adopted by the actors, was a moot point of the critics. Addison condemned it and the "ridiculous doctrine" of poetical

1 The version of 1756 was not printed, but it is presumably the same as that published by Bell in 1772 or 1773

2 See Genest, English Stage, iv. 475; v. 191–203; viii. 131. Another version was produced by Kemble in 1809, but it was worse than Garrick's, for Kemble restored passages from Tate which Garrick had omitted.

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