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SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The second Impression. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). London: Printed by Thomas Cotes, for John Smethwick, William Aspley, Richard Hawkins, Richard Meighen, and Robert Allot, 1632.
SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The second Impression. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). London: Printed by Thomas Cotes, for John Smethwick, William Aspley, Richard Hawkins, Richard Meighen, and Robert Allot, 1632.

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SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies. Published according to the true Originall Copies. The second Impression. Edited by John Heminge (d. 1630) and Henry Condell (d. 1627). London: Printed by Thomas Cotes, for John Smethwick, William Aspley, Richard Hawkins, Richard Meighen, and Robert Allot, 1632.

A LARGE FRESH COPY OF THE FIRST ISSUE OF THE SECOND FOLIO

Median 2o (330 x 218mm). 454 leaves: COMPLETE (see collation below). Five paper-stocks from French mills. Roman and italic types 82mm, larger cursive for headings, various romans and italics in the preliminaries. Double column, 66 lines, headlines and catchwords, pages box-ruled, woodcut head- and tail-pieces and initials, Shakespeare's portrait in third state, as usual.

BINDING: early-18th-century English gold-tooled mottled calf, double fillets around the sides, spine decorated in compartments with small tools, red morocco lettering piece "SHAKESPEAR WORKS", blind roll along edges of the boards, original endpapers (minor repair to joints, spine-ends and board-edges, some wear, joints splitting); red morocco pull-off case.

FIRST ISSUE of the second collected edition of Shakespeare's plays, known as the Second Folio. It was shared by the five publishers listed in the colophon, all of whom were proprietors of rights to one or more of the plays. The present is one of the copies reserved for Richard Hawkins, whose name and shop address "in Chancery Lane, neare Serjeants Inne" appear on the title (STC 22274c). Robert Allot took the largest interest in the edition (STC 22274 and 22274a), which his widow assigned to John Legat the younger and Andrew Crooke the elder in 1637, who were responsible for subsequent issues of the edition circa 1641 (STC 22274e.3 and 22274e.5).

The Second Folio contains JOHN MILTON'S FIRST APPEARANCE IN PRINT: an epitaph on Shakespeare in 16 verses, incipit: What neede my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones; it appears on the same page A5r as "Upon the Effigies" in eight verses, incipit: Spectator, this Lifes Shaddow is; To see. The inner forme containing these two poems is recorded in several states (in the Bruce copy: "Comicke" in line 3, "Laugh" in line 4, "passions" with ligatured double-s in line 6 of the "Effigies" poem); the outer forme contains the title (A2r), whose setting varies according to the publisher in the imprint. Like its predecessor, from which the edition was set page-for-page, the Second Folio has survived in relatively numerous copies, but it is now rarely found in early bindings.

COLLATION: A6 *4 (A1r blank, A1v Ben Jonson's verses To the Reader, A2r letterpress title and Martin Droeshout's engraved portrait of the playwright, verso blank, A3 editors' dedication to the Earls of Pembroke and Montgomery, A4r editors' note To the great variety of Readers, verso blank, A5r verses Upon the Effigies of my worthy Friend, the Author Master William Shakespeare and An Epitaph on the admirable Dramaticke Poet, W. Shakespeare [the latter by John Milton (1608-74)], verso blank, A6r verses To the memorie of the deceased Author by L. Digges and I.M., verso blank, *1r The Names of the Principall Actors in all these Playes, verso blank, *2 Ben Jonson's verses To the memory of my beloved, The Author, *3 verses On Worthy Master Shakespeare and his Poems by I.M.S., *4r Hugh Holland's verses Upon the Lines and Life of the Famous Scenicke Poet, *4v A Catalogue of all the Comedies, Histories, and Tragedies contained in this Booke); 2A-Z, Aa-Bb6 Cc2 (Comedies: 2A1r The Tempest, B4v The Two Gentlemen of Verona, D2r The Merry Wives of Windsor, F1r Measure for Measure, H1r The Comedie of Errors, I3r Much adoe about Nothing, L1v Loves Labour's lost, N1r A Midsommer Nights Dreame, O4r The Merchant of Venice, Q3r As you like it, S2v The Taming of the Shrew, V1v All's Well, that Ends Well, Y2r Twelfe Night, Or what you will, Z6v blank, Aa1r The Winters Tale, Cc2v blank); a-y6 (Histories: a1r The life and death of King Iohn, b6r The Life and Death of King Richard the Second, d5v The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and Death of Henry Sirnamed Hot-spurre, f6v The Second Part of Henry the Fourth, Containing his Death: and the Coronation of King Henry the Fift, i2r Epilogue, i2v The Actors Names, i3r The Life of King Henry the Fift, l4v The first Part of King Henry the Sixt, n4v The second Part of King Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Good Duke Humfrey, p6r The third Part of King Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Duke of Yorke, s1r The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell of Bosworth Field, u5r The Famous History of the Life of King Henry the Eight); aa-zz aaa-ccc6 ddd4 (Tragedies: aa1r The Prologue, aa1v The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida, cc3v The Tragedy of Coriolanus, ee6v The Lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus, gg5v The Tragedie of Romeo and Iuliet, ii6r The Life of Tymon of Athens, ll4v The Actors Names, ll5r The Tragedie of Iulius Caesar, nn4r The Tragedie of Macbeth, pp2v The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke, rr6r The Tragedie of King Lear, vv1v The Tragedy of Othello, the Moore of Venice, yy4v The Tragedy of Anthony, and Cleopatra, bbb1r The Tragedy of Cymbeline, ddd4r colophon, verso blank).

CONDITION: genuine text part of the "To the Reader" leaf A1 containing the correct watermark integrated into an old half-sheet (a few letters affected, but an almost invisble repair), similarly skillful repair to title-leaf affecting some letters and portrait slightly; tiny burn-holes, short tears, paper flaws or minor stains to some 35 leaves (including 2A2, F2-3, G6, K6, S5-6, T5-6, V6, a4, b2, c1, f1, g5-6, h3-5, m2-3, t2, x4-5, cc6, nn3, tt4, tt6, xx4, ccc5, ddd4), in some cases affecting one or two letters, otherwise this is a A LARGE COPY IN THE FRESHEST POSSIBLE CONDITION (unwashed and unpressed).

PROVENANCE: early marginal notes of single words on V6r and ddd3v, perhaps contemporary -- Charles, Viscount Bruce of Ampthill, succeeded his father Thomas as fourth Earl of Elgin and third Earl of Ailesbury in 1741 (engraved armorial bookplate, manuscript shelf-mark and cost code); by descent to -- Marquess of Ailesbury, his library removed from Savernake Forest and sold at -- [Sotheby's, 5th March 1919, lot 510, to Edwards] -- Frank Brewer Bemis (bookplate), his set of Shakespeare Folios sold by Dr Rosenbach in 1944 to -- Morris Wolf (his collection sold at Sotheby's, 6th June 1961) -- Caroline Newton (bookplate), the set purchased through John Fleming and resold to him -- Abel E. Berland 1970 (bookplate).


LITERATURE:
A.W. Pollard. Shakespeare Folios and Quartos: A Study in the Bibliography of Shakespeare's Plays. London, 1909.

W.B. Todd. "The Issues and States of the Second Folio and Milton's Epitaph," in: Studies in Bibliography V (1952-53), pp 81-108.

W.W. Greg. A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration III. (London, 1957), pp 1113-15.
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