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Jogue; it is jature; and ill be ready wer, I bege, for the gh the me language. man would ated. Is it AKSPEABE, f the nar. ing which ld be able ап excuse, ze wife of

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words These, e three se tas Te 21which eded;

Ir a presumptuous artist should undertake to remove a supposed defect in the Trans-
figuration of Raphael, or in the Belvidere Apollo, and in making the attempt should
injure one of those invaluable productions of art and genius, I should consider his name
as deserving never to be mentioned, or mentioned only with him who set fire to the
Temple of Diana. But the works of the poet may be considered in a very different
light from those of the painter and the statuary. Shakspeare, inimitable Shakspeare, will
remain the subject of admiration as long as taste and literature shall exist, and his writings
will be handed down to posterity in their native beauty, although the present attempt to
add to his fame should prove entirely abortive. Here, then, is the great difference. If
the endeavour to improve the picture or the statue should be unsuccessful, the beauty of
the original would be destroyed, and the injury be irreparable. In such a case, let the
artist refrain from using the chisel or the pencil : but with the works of the poet no such
danger occurs, and the critic need not be afraid of employing his pen ; for the original
will continue unimpaired, although his own labours should immediately be consigned to
oblivion. That Shakspeare is the first of dramatic writers will be denied by few, and
I doubt whether it will be denied by any who have really studied his works, and com-
pared the beauties which they contain with the very finest productions either of our own
or of former ages. It must, however, be acknowledged, by his warmest admirers, that
some defects are to be found in the writings of our immortal bard. The language is
not always faultless. Many words and expressions occur which are of so indecent a
nature as to render it highly desirable that they should be erased. Of these, the greater
part are evidently introduced to gratify the bad taste of the age in which he lived, and
the rest may perhaps be ascribed to his own unbridled fancy. But neither the vicious
taste of the age, nor the most brilliant effusions of wit, can afford an excuse for profane-
ness or obscenity; and if these could be obliterated, the transcendent genius of the poet
would undoubtedly shine with more unclouded lustre. To banish every thing of this
nature from the writings of Shakspeare is the object of the present undertaking. My
earnest wish is to render his plays unsullied by any scene, by any speech, or, if possible,
by any word that can give pain to the most chaste, or offence to the most religious of
his readers. Of the latter kind, the examples are by no means numerous, for the writings
of our author are, for the most part, favourable to religion and morality. There are,
however, in some of his plays, allusions to Scripture, which are introduced so unneces-
sarily, and on such trifling occasions, and are expressed with so much levity, as to call
imperiously for their erasement. As an example of this kind I may quote a scene in
the fifth act of Love's Labour's Lost, in which an allusion is made (very improperly) to
one of the most serious and awful passages in the New Testament. I flatter myself that
every reader of the Family SHAKSPEARE will be pleased at perceiving that what is so
manifestly improper, is not permitted to be seen in it. The most Sacred Word in our
language is omitted in several instances, in which it appeared as a mere expletive; and it
is changed into the word Heaven, in a still greater number, where the occasion of using
it did not appear sufficiently serious to justify its employment.

Nec Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus.
In the original folio of 1623, the same alteration from the old quartos is made in a great
variety of places, and I have followed the folio.

I wish it were in my power to say of indecency as I have said of profaneness, that the examples of it are not very numerous. persons whose acquaintance with Shakspeare depends on theatrical representations, in

Unfortunately the reverse is the case. Those which great alterations are made in the plays, can have little idea of the frequent recurrence in the original text, of expressions, which, however they might be tolerated in the sixteenth century, are by no means admissible in the nineteenth. no example can in this place be given, for an obvious reason.

Of these expressions bent on me to observe, in behalf of my favourite author, that, in comparison with most

I feel it, however, incumof the contemporary poets, and with the dramatists of the seventeenth century, the plays


are and


of Shakspeare are remarkably decent; but it is not sufficient that his defects are trifling in comparison with writers who are highly defective. It certainly is my wish, and it has been my study, to exclude from this publication whatever is unfit to be read aloud by a gentleman to a company of ladies. I can hardly imagine a more pleasing occupation for a winter's evening in the country, than for a father to read one of Shakspeare's plays to his family circle. My object is to enable him to do so without incurring the danger of falling unawares among words and expressions which are of such a nature as to raise a blush on the cheek of modesty, or render it necessary for the reader to pause, and examine the sequel, before he proceeds further in the entertainment of the evening. .

But though many erasures have for this purpose been made in the writings of Shakspeare in the present edition, the reader may be assured that not a single line, nor even

the half of a line, has, in any one instance, been added to the original text. I know the i force of Shakspeare, and the weakness of my own pen, too well, to think of attempting

the smallest interpolation. In a few, but in very few instances, one or two words (at the most three) have been inserted to connect the sense of what follows the passage that is expunged with that which precedes it. The few words which are thus added, are connecting particles, words of little moment, and in no degree affecting the meaning of the author, or the story of the play. A word that is less objectionable is sometimes substituted for a synonymous word that is improper. In the following work I have copied the text of the last Edition of the late Mr. Stee

This I have done so scrupulously, as seldom to have allowed myself to alter either the words or the punctuation. Othello's speech, for example, in the second scene of the fifth act, will be found as it is in Mr. Steevens, and in the old editions of Shakspeare, not as it is usually spoken on the stage. In a few instances I have deviated from Mr. Steevens, in compliance with the original folio of 1623. I do not presume to enter into any critical disputes as to certain readings of “ Judean or Indian,” « Sables or Sable," or any thing of that nature, respecting which many persons of superior abilities have entertained contrary opinions. The glossary (but nothing except the glossary) is borrowed from the edition of 1803. It was compiled by Mr. Harris, under the direction of Mr. Steevens.

My great objects in this undertaking are to remove from the writings of Shakspeare some defects which diminish their value, and at the same time to present to the Public an edition of his plays, which the parent, the guardian, and the instructor of youth may place, without fear, in the hands of the pupil; and from which the pupil may derive instruction as well as pleasure ; may improve his moral principles while he refines his taste; and, without incurring the danger of being hurt with any indelicacy of expression, may learn in the fate of Macbeth, that even a kingdom is dearly purchased, if virtue be the price of the acquisition.

* My first idea of the FAMILY SHAKSPEARE arose from the recollection of my father's custom of reading in this manner to his family. Shakspeare (with whom no person was better acquainted) was a frequent subject of the evening's entertainment. In the perfection of reading few men were equal to my father; and such was his good taste, his delicacy, and his prompt discretion, that his family listened with delight to Lear, Hamlet, and Othello, without knowing that those matchless tragedies contained words and expressions improper to be pronounced; and without having reason to suspect that any parts of the plays had been omitted by the circumspect and judicious reader.

It afterwards occurred to me, that what my father did so readily and successfully for his family, my inferior abilities might, with the assistance of time and mature consideration, be able to accomplish for the benefit of the public. I say, therefore, that if “ The Family Shakspeare" is entitled to any merit, it orig tes with


cts are trifling Ish, and it has ad aloud by a

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alter either scene of the kspeare, not Ir. Steevens,


any critical or any thing tained cond from the · Steerens. Shakspeare the Public youth may derive in

refines his
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s a frequent

my father;
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of the plays

family, my complish for any merit,



Alonso, king of Naples.

MIRANDA, Daughter to Prospero.
SEBASTIAN, his Brother.
PROSPERO, the rightful Duke of Milan.

Ariel, an airy Spirit.
ANTONIO, his brother, the usurping Duke of Milan. IRIS,
FERDINAND, son to the King of Naples.

Gonzalo, an honest old Counsellor of Naples.




Caliban, a savage and deformed Slave.
TRINCULO, a Jester.

Other Spirits attending on Prospero.
STEPHANO, a drunken Butler.
Master of a Ship, Boatswain, and Mariners.

SCENE, the Sea, with a Ship; afterwards an uninhabited Island,


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SCENE I. - On a Ship at Sea.

Gon. Good; yet remember whom thou hast

aboard. A storm with thunder and lightning.

1 Boats. None that I more love than myself. You Enter a Ship-master and a Boatswain.

are a counsellor; if you can command these ele

ments to silence, and work the peace of the present, Master. Boatswain,

we will not hand a rope more; use your authority. Boats. Here, master : what cheer?

If you cannot, give thanks you have lived so long, Master. Good : Speak to the mariners : fall to't and make yourself ready in your cabin for the yarely', or we run ourselves aground : bestir, bestir. mischance of the hour, if it so hap. — Cheerly, good (Erit. hearts. Out of our way, I say.

[Exit. Enter Mariners.

Gon. I have great comfort from this fellow;

methinks, he hath no drowning mark upon him! Beats. Heigh, my hearts; cheerly, cheerly, my his complexion is perfect gallows. Stand fast, hearts; yare, yare : "Take in the top-sail ; Tend to good fate, to his hanging; make the rope of his the master's whistle. — Blow till thou burst thy destiny our cable, for our own doth little advantage ! wind, if room enough!

If he be not born to be hanged, our case is miserable.


Re-enter Boatswain.
GONZALO, and others.
Alon. Good boatswain, have care. Where's the

Boats. Down with the topmast; yare; lower, master? Play the men.

lower ; bring her to try with main course. [Acry Boals. I pray now, keep below.

within.] A plague upon this howling ! they are Ant. Where is the master, boatswain ?

louder than the weather, or our office Boats. Do you not hear him? You mar our

Re-enter SEBASTIAN, Antonio, and Gonzalo. labour ! keep your cabins . you do assist the storm. Gon. Nay, good, be patient.

Yet again ? what do you here? Shall we give o'er Boats. When the sea is. Hence! What care and drown? Have you a mind to sink ? these roarers for the name of king? To cabins : Seb. A plague o' your throat ! you bawling, blassilence : trouble us not.

phemous, uncharitable dog!

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