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THE text adopted for the present edition is that of a copy of the First Quarto, dated 1613, which is preserved in the Boston Public Library. Except for pagination, line-numbering, and a few substitutions of modern for archaic characters, the text here given aims to be an exact reproduction of the Quarto.
In the compilation of variants, the guiding principle has been to record only those alterations of the original text which materially clarify or strengthen the sense, or which supply alternate readings having a peculiar interest. This has involved the noting of all suggestive changes of punctuation; all changes in spelling of which the result is a difference of form or removal of ambiguities; and all stage-directions and scene-headings supplied by the editions of Weber and Dyce. Frequently, also, the egregious blunders and inconsistencies of punctuation in the First Quarto have led me to note subsequent corrections, even in passages of which the meaning is perfectly clear. I have limited myself, however, to the emendations of only the more obtrusive of such errors; to have noticed all of them would have involved a task manifestly disproportionate to the value of its results.
I have not given separate treatment to the edition of 1811, since it is merely a reprint of that of 1778, nor to Darley's editions of 1840 and 1866, since they are reprints of the text of Weber. Keltie's text of the play in his Works of the British Dramatists, 1870, and Fitzgibbon's text in Famous Elizabethan Plays, 1890, are based on the editions of Weber and Dyce,
and are therefore unnoticed. The text in Morley's Burlesque Plays and Poems, 1885, is based on the edition of 1750, and presents no variants not borrowed from the editions of 1778, Weber, or Dyce; consequently, it also has been disregarded. Strachey's (Mermaid) edition and Moorman's (Temple Dramatists) edition, though they follow Dyce very closely, present a few unique variants of significance, which are duly recorded.
Q2 The first quarto of 1635.
. 1711 = Edition of 1711. 1750 Edition of Theobald, Seward, and Sympson,
W Weber's edition, 1812.
S Strachey's (Mermaid) edition, 1887.
omitted. f. and all later editions. At the end of the text may be found the titlepage, the address to the readers, the prologue, and the speakers' names, which are prefixed to the Second Quarto, 1635.
the Burning Pestle.
Horat. in Epist. ad Oct. Aug.
LONDON, Printed for WALTER BURRE, and are to be sold at the signe of the Crane
in Paules Church-yard.