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THE

PLAYS

OF

WILLIAM SHAKSPEARE.

VOLUME THE THIRD.

CONTAINING

PROLEGOMENA, &c.

LONDON: Printed for J. Nichols and Son; F. C. and J. Rivington; J. Stockdale; W. Lowndes; G. Wilkie and J. Robinson; T. Egerton; J. Walker; Scatcherd and Letterman; W. Clarke and Sons; J. Barker; J. Cuthell; R. Lea; Lackington and Co.; J. Deighton; J. White and Co.; B. Crosby and Co.; W. Earle ; J. Gray and Son; Longman and Co.; Cadell and Davies ; J. Harding; R. H. Evans; J. Booker; S. Bagster; J. Mawman ; Black and Co.; J. Black; J. Richardson; J. Booth; Newman and Co.; R. Pheney; R. Scholey; J. Murray; J. Asperne; J. Faulder; R. Baldwin; Cradock and Joy ; Sharpe and Hailes; Johnson and Co.; Gale and Co.; G. Robinson; C. Brown; and Wilson and Son, York.

1813.

3925 1813

v.3

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AN

HISTORICAL ACCOUNT

OF

THE ENGLISH STAGE.

THE drama before the time of Shakspeare was so little cultivated, or so ill understood, that to many it may appear unnecessary to carry our theatrical researches higher than that period. . Dryden has truly observed, that he “ found not, but created first the stage;" of which no one can doubt, who considers, that of all the plays issued from the press antecedent to the year 1592, when there is reason to believe he commenced a dramatick writer, the titles are scarcely known, except to antiquaries ; nor is there one of them that will bear a second perusal. Yet these, contemptible and few as they are, we may suppose to have been the most popular productions of the time, and the best that had been exhibited before the appearance of Shakspeare."

· There are but thirty-eight plays, (exclusive of mysteries, moralities, interludes, and translated pieces,) now extant, written antecedent to, or in, the year 1592. Their titles are as follows:* Acolastus

1540 | Tancred and Gismund 1568 Ferrez and Porres

1561 Cambyses, no date, but Damon and Pythias 1562 probably written before 1570

* To this list may be added a piece hitherto mentioned in po catalogue, nor to be found in any library, except that of the Duke of Bridgewater, entitled, “ The rare Triumphs of Love and Fortune. Plaide before the Queene's most excellent Maiesty ; wherein are manye five conceites with

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