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As the “ Vittoria Corombona,” and “ Dutchess of Malfy” of Webster, were strongly recommended to the notice of the Editor in one of the Reviews, he wishes to state the reasons that have influenced him in prefering for this selection “ The Thracian Wonder,” a drama certainly inferior to either of them. In doing so he must recal to the recollection of his readers, that when this work was first projected he stated that it was principally intended by it to remedy (in part at least) a grievance very severely felt by the admirers of our ancient dramatists, the difficulty and expense of procuring their works : it was part of the plan therefore, and announced as such, not to reprint any play to be found in Dodsley or Reed, or included in any modern publication whatever: “ Vittoria Corumbona," and the “ Dutchess of Malfy, (the one to be found in Reed's edition of Dodsley, the other in a later publication which differs but little from it) could not in consequence have been admitted by him without an express violation of his engagement. It would indeed have infinitely abridged his labours to have availed himself of the suggestion of those gentlemen, but he could not have justified himself to the possessors of those works, the majority he conceives of the subscribers to the present.

For the many errors that have, no doubt, escaped his notice in this play the Editor must claim, and conceives himself in some degree entitled to, great indulgence; and he believes it will readily be conceded him when the reader shall be informed that above two-thirds of the whole have been restored to verse. It is impossible for any one acquainted with the quarto to deny the propriety of this attempt : the execution is submitted to his candour, and the Editor cannot doubt but that he has sometimes exceeded, and sometimes fallen short of the intention of the poets. The plot is the wildest that can be imagined; and with some distant resemblance to the “ Winter's Tale” of Shakspeare, greatly exceeds it in improbabilities of every kind. Its authors most probably followed some story then pretty well known; but it seems entirely to have escaped the notice of Langbaine. To recapitulate the incongruities would be loss of time, and the reader, like the Honest Citizen and his Wife, in “ The Knight of the Burning Pestle” of Beaumont and Fletcher, (in the instance of the Princess of Cracovia) must be content to hear the parties talk, without inquiring how they came together.

As the “ Vittoria Corombona,” and “ Dutchess of Malfy” of Webster, were strongly recommended to the notice of the Editor in one of the Reviews, he wishes to state the reasons that have influenced him in prefering for this selection - The Thracian Wonder,” a drama cer. tainly inferior to either of them. In doing so he must recal to the recollection of his readers, that when this work was first projected he stated that it was principally intended by it to 'remedy (in part at least) a grievance very severely felt by the admirers of our ancient dramatists, the difficulty and expense of procuring their works : it was part of the plan therefore, and announced as such, not to reprint any play to be found in Dodsley or Reed, or included in any modern publication whatever " Vittoria Corumbona,” and the “ Dutchess of Malfy,” (the one to be found in Reed's edition of Dodsley, the other in a later publication which differs but little from it) could not in consequence have been admitted by him without an express violation of his engagement. It would indeed have infinitely abridged his labours to have availed himself of the suggestion of those gentlemen, but he could not have justified himself to the

possessors of those works, the majority he conceives of the subscribers to the present.

For the many errors that have, no doubt, escaped his notice in this play the Editor must claim, and conceives himself in some degree entitled to, great indulgence; and he believes it will readily be conceded him when the reader shall be informed that above two-thirds of the whole have been restored to verse. It is impossible for any one acquainted with the quarto to deny the propriety of this attempt : the execution is submitted to his candour, and the Editor cannot doubt but that he has sometimes exceeded, and sometimes fallen short of the intention of the poets. The plot is the wildest that can be imagined ; and with some distant resemblance to the “ Winter's Tale" of Shakspeare, greatly exceeds it in improbabilities of every kind. Its authors most probably followed some story then pretty well known; but it seems entirely to have escaped the notice of Langbaine. To recapitulate the incongruities would be loss of time, and the reader, like the Honest Citizen and his Wife, in “ The Knight of the Burning Pestle" of Beaumont and Fletcher, (in the instance of the Princess of Cracovia) must be content to hear the parties talk, without inquiring how they came together.

THE

STATIONER TO THE READER.

GENTLEMEN, It is now the second time of my appearing in print in this nature: I should not have troubled you, but that I believe you will be as well pleased as myself; I am sure that when I applied myself to buying and reading of books, I was very well satisfied when I could purchase a new play. I have promised you three this term—“ A Cure for a Cuckold” was the first; this is the second .; and the third, viz. “ Gamer Gurton's Needle," is ready for you. I have several others that I intend for you suddenly: I shall not (as some others of my profession have done) promise more than I will perform in a year or two, or it may be never; but I will assure you that I shall never leave printing, so long as you shall continue buying. I have several manuscripts of this nature, written by worthy authors; and I account it much pity they should now lie dormant, and buried in oblivion, since ingenuity is so likely to be encourged by reason of the happy restoration of our liberties. We have had the private stage for some years clouded, and under a tyrannical command, though the public stage of England has produced many monstrous villains, some of

which have deservedly made their exit. I believe future ages will not credit the transactions of our late times to be other than a play, or a romance: I am sure in most romantic plays there hath been more probability, than in our true (though sad) stories. Gentlemen, I will not further trouble you at this time; only I shall tell you, that if you please to repair to my shop, I shall furnish you with all the plays that were ever yet printed. I have seven hundred several plays, and most of them several times over, and I intend to increase my store as I sell: and I hope you will, by your frequent buying, encourage

Your servant,

FRANCIS KIRKMAN..

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