SHAKESPEARE, William (1564-1616). The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. Newly Imprinted and inlarged, according to the true and perfect Copy lastly Printed. London: W. S[tansby] for John Smethwicke, n.d. [c. 1619].
4o (181 x 131 mm). Collation: A-N4 (includes final blank N4). 52 leaves. Printer's woodcut device on title-page, woodcut head-piece and initial. (A few head-lines shaved, minor restorations to upper inner corner of the first quire, some minor marginal wormholes, some slight stains.) Tan morocco elaborately gilt, by M.D. Lahey; matching quarter morocco leather-lined chemise and morocco-faced slipcase.
Provenance: Lord Mostyn (sold Sotheby's 31 May 1907 as "the Property of a Nobleman", lot 482 for £180 to A. Jackson) --Perry (sold, July 1919 to) -- A.S.W. Rosenbach, sold to -- A.E. Newton (bookplate and binding, with a note from the binder to Newton discussing the commission; sold his sale, Parke-Bernet, part III, 29 October 1941, lot 190 for £).
THE FOURTH EDITION. "From internal evidence this edition follows that of 1611, from which it was printed, and precedes that of 1637. The date is generally given as circa 1630, but as there appears to have been a revival of this play about 1619, as there was in 1637, and as in the latter year an edition was published it is not unlikely that the present should have been brought forth by reason of the 1619 revival. At any rate the earlier date has the support of a formulable reason while 'c. 1630' is pure conjecture" (Pforzheimer).
EXTREMELY RARE: according to Bartlett's updated Census only twenty copies of the "undated" Hamlet are recorded, and the present copy constitutes the only traceable copy of three listed in private hands.
Bartlett 82 ("issued some time between 1611 and 1637; probably about 1630); Bartlett/Census, pp. 4-6; Greg 197d; Pforzheimer 881; STC 22278 (dating this edition "c.1625").