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SHAKESPEARE

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THE TRAGEDY OF

KING RICHARD THE THIRD

EDITED BY

WILLIAM ALDIS WRIGHT, M.A.

Bursar of Trinity College, Cambridge

Oxford

AT THE CLARENDON PRESS

MDCCC LXXX

[All rights reserved]

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PRE FACE.

ALTHOUGH printed among the historical plays, as the proper sequel to the three parts of Henry VI, with which it is immediately connected in the opening scene, Richard the Third is in all the early copies described as a tragedy. The title of the play as it appears in the first quarto, printed in 1597 without Shakespeare's name, is as follows: "The Tragedy of King Richard the Third. Containing, His treacherous Plots against his brother Clarence: the pittiefull murther of his innocent nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole course of his detested life, and most deserued death. The same is repeated substantially in all the seven subsequent quarto editions which appeared at intervals from 1598 to 1634. The third quarto, printed in 1602, with those that followed, professed to be, but was not, newly augmented. All these have Shakespeare's name on the title-page. In the first folio, printed in 1623, the play is called 'The Tragedy of Richard the Third : with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth Field. The quarto of 1597 was entered at Stationers' Hall on October 20. We have thus the inferior limit for the date at which the play was written. How much earlier it was composed is to a great extent matter of conjecture. A line in Weever's Epigrammes (Beloe, Anecdotes of Literature, vi. 159), printed in 1599, but supposed to be written in 1595, mentions Romeo and Richard as two of Shakespeare's wellknown characters :

•Romeo, Richard, more whose names I know not,' and presumably this is Richard the Third and not Richard the Second. If therefore Weever wrote in 1595 there is

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