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THE TEXT CAREFULLY RESTORED ACCORDING TO
THE FIRST EDITIONS; WITH INTRODUCTIONS,
A LIFE OF THE POET ;
REV. H. N. HUDSON, A.M.
REVISED EDITION, WITH ADDITIONAL NOTES.
IN TWELVE VOLUMES.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1871, by
NOYES, HOLMES, AND COMPANY,
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE stands the fourth in the list of Coinedies in the folio of 1623, where it was first printed. Like the four plays included in our first volume, the divisions and subdivis. ions of acts and scenes are carefully noted in the original edition, and at the end is a list of the persons represented, under the usual heading, “ The names of all the actors.” Though the general scope and sense of the dialogue are every where clear enough, there are several obscure and doubtful words and passages, which cause us to regret, more than in any of the preceding plays, the want of earlier impressions to illustrate, and rectify, or establish, the text. As it is, the right reading in some places can scarce be cleared of uncertainty, or placed beyond controversy.
· The strongly-marked peculiarity in the language, cast of thought, and moral temper of Measure for Measure, have invested the play with great psychological interest, and bred a strange curiosity among critics to connect it in some way with the author's mental history; with some supposed crisis in his feelings and experience. Hence the probable date of its composition was for a long time argued more strenuously than the subject would otherwise seem to justify; and, as often falls out in such cases, the more the critics argued the point, the farther they were from coming to an agreement. But, what is not a little remarkable, the best thinkers have nere struck widest of the truth; the dull matter-of-fact critics have borne the palm away from their more philosophical brethren ;an cdifying instance how little the brightest speculation can do in questions properly falling within the domain of facts. Tieck and Ulrici, proceeding mainly upon internal evidence, fix the date somewhere between 1609 and 1612; and it is quite curious to observe how confident and positive they are in their inferences : Ulrici, after stating the reasons of Tieck for 1612, says, "The later origin of the piece - certainly it did not precede 1609 - is