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CRITICAL AND EXPLANATORY NOTES.
Adapted for Scholastic or Private Study, and for those qualifying for University
and Government Examinations.
One of the National Society's Examiners of Middle-Class Schools :
LONGMANS, GREEN, AND CO.
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I'WO GENTLEMEN of RICHARD II.
VEROVA. RICHARD III.
AS YOU LIKE IT. HENRY IV. PART I.
TWELFTH NIGHT, HENRY IV. PART II.
ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS HENRY V.
WELL. HENRY VI. PART I.
The COMEDY of ERRORS. HENRY VI. PART II.
MEASURE for MEASURE. HENRY VI. PART III.
MUCH ADO ABOUT HENRY VIII.
NOTHING. JULIUS CÆSAR.
TAMING of the SHREI. CORIOLANUS.
MERRY WIVES of ANTONY and CLEOPATRA,
WINDSOR, TROILUS and CRESSIDA.
MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S HAMLET.
CYMBELINE, KING LEAR.
The TEMPEST. OTHELLO.
ROMEO and JULIET.
THE PLAY of The Tempest stands first in the folio collection of 1623, and no earlier copy of it is known; but probably its first production was in 1610 or 1611.
In 1603 was first printed Florio's translation of Montaigne's Essays, a copy of which having Shakespeare's autograph on the fly-leaf is in the Library of the British Museum; and as in the present play there is a speech of Gonzalo unquestionably founded on a passage in Florio’s Montaigne, we may be sure that The Tempest was not written before 1603, unless Shakespeare had earlier access to Florio's translation in manuscript. That it was written not later than 1611 is evident from Accounts of the Revels at Court, preserved in the Audit Office, which contain a memorandum of a play called The Tempest having been presented before King James on Hallowmas Night (Nov. 1), 1611. Probably The Tempest was then a new play, as 'the still-vexed Bermoothes,' to which it refers, had recently become notorious from a narrative, published in 1610, of the shipwreck of Sir George Somers on the coast of Bermudas in 1609. In this and in other accounts the Bermudas were said to be inhabited only by witches and devils; and as earlier voyagers had reported the stormy dangers of the Bermudas, the recent relation of the disaster of 1609 might naturally suggest to Shakespeare the epithet still-vexed.'
Probably no actually existing island was intended by Shakespeare as the scene of this play. Certainly he could not with any propriety have chosen Bermuda to be the residence of such a being as Miranda, although he might well feign the midnight dew of that habitation of witches and devils to be of such