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The earliest edition, of which any copy is at present known, of “Titus Andronicus,' appeared in quarto, in 1600, under the following title : The most lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times been playde by the Right Honour. able the Earle of Pembroke, the Earle of Darbie, the Earle of Sussex, and the Lord Chamberlaine theyre Servants. At London, printed by J. R. for Edward White, 1600.
In the folio collection of 1623 it appears under the title of · The lamentable Tragedy of Titus Andronicus.' It follows ‘Coriolanus,' and precedes “Romeo and Juliet.'
The external evidence that bears upon the authorship of · Titus Andronicus ' is of two kinds :
1. The testimony which assigns the play to Shakspere, wholly or in part.
2. The testimony which fixes the period of its original production.
The direct testimony of the first kind is unimpeachable : Francis Meres, a contemporary, and probably a friend of Shakspere-a man intimately acquainted with the literary history of his day-not writing even in the later period of Shakspere's life, but as early as 1598,-compares, for tragedy, the excellence of Shakspere among the English, with Seneca among the Latins, and says, witness, “for tragedy, his ‘Richard II.,
* Richard III.,' Henry IV.,''King John,' 'Titus Andronicus,' and his "Romeo and Juliet.”
The indirect testimony is nearly as important. The play is printed in the first folio edition of the poet's collected works—an edition published within seven years after his death by his intimate friends and « fellows;" and that edition contains an entire scene not found in either of the previous quarto editions which have come down to us. That edition does not contain a single other play upon which a doubt of the authorship has been raised; for even those who deny the entire authorship of · Henry VI.' to Shakspere, have no doubt as to the partial authorship.
We now come to the second point-the testimony which fixes the date of the original production of Titus Andronicus.'
Ben Jonson, in the Induction to his · Bartholomew Fair,' first acted in 1614, says—" He that will swear
Jeronimo,' or ' Andronicus,' are the best plays yet, shall pass unexcepted at here, as a man whose judgment shows it is constant, and hath stood still these five-andtwenty or thirty years. Though it be an ignorance, it is a virtuous and staid ignorance; and, next to truth, a confirmed error does well.”. Percy offers the following coinment upon this passage, in his ' Reliques of Ancient Poetry :'-“There is reason to conclude that this play was rather improved by Shakespeare with a few fine touches of his pen, than originally written by him ; for, not to mention that the style is less figurative than his others generally are, this tragedy is mentioned with discredit in the Induction to Ben Jonson's Bar