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 Robert Allot, 1632 [c. 1641].
Median 2° (321 x 220mm). 454 leaves: COMPLETE. Roman and italic types. Double column, 66 lines, headlines and catchwords, pages box-ruled, woodcut head- and tailpieces and initials, engraved portrait of Shakespeare by Martin Droeshout in third state. (First 16 leaves with minor worming in lower margin, A2-5 with head-rules just shaved, four tiny rust-holes affecting a few letters, tiny paper flaw in 2r5 just affecting part of the outer border-rule, 4 corners torn without loss of text, some leaves with very light dampstaining, occasional dust-soiling, small stains, slight spotting). 18th-century English mottled calf tooled in blind and gilt, later gilt spine label (rebacked preserving earlier backstrip, repairs at corners and board edges); red morocco pull-off case.
‘GB’ initials on *1r, perhaps contemporary; Montague Garrard Drake (1692-1728), of Shardeloes, Bucks., MP for Amersham (bookplate dated 1708 on title verso); Bernard Quaritch Ltd., London, 27 November 1923 (collation note on lower pastedown); The Rosenbach Company, New York, before 1929 (typed catalogue notes laid in); Robert Walsingham Martin (1871-1961), of New Rochelle, N.Y. (bookplate; his sale, Parke-Bernet, 12 November 1963, lot 405, $2400); Paul Francis Webster (1907-1984)), noted lyricist (bookplate; his sale, Sotheby's New York, 24 April 1985, lot 74, $21,000); Albert H. Small.
THE SECOND FOLIO, third (and rarest) issue of the second collected edition of Shakespeare's plays. 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. 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 c. 1641 (STC 22274e.3 and 22274e.5 [the present issue]). The title-page bears the Allot imprint (Smith's Allot title 3, and its conjugate the "Effigies" leaf variant B).
The Second Folio contains JOHN MILTON'S FIRST APPEARANCE IN PRINT: an epitaph on Shakespeare in 16 lines, incipit: ‘What neede my Shakespeare for his honour'd bones’; this appears on the same page A5r as ‘Upon the Effigies’ in eight lines, incipit: ‘Spectator, this Lifes Shaddow is; To see.’ The inner forme containing these two poems is recorded in several states (in this copy: ‘Comick’ 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. A FRESH COPY.
COLLATION: pA6 *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); A-Z, Aa-Bb6 Cc2 (Comedies: A1r 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).
Greg III:1116; STC 22274e.5; 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.