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THE PLAYS EDITED FROM THE FOLIO OF MDCXXIII, WITH VARIOUS
THE ENGLISH DRAMA, A MEMOIR OF THE POET,
AND AN ESSAY UPON HIS GENIUS
By RICHARD GRANT WHITE
LITTLE BROWN AND COMPANY
1861. bec. 24
Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1861, by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE,
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the Southern District of New York.
STEREOTYPED AT THE
BOSTON STEREOTYPE FOUNDRY.
Antony and Cleopatra occupies twenty-nine pages in the folio of 1623 ; viz., from p. 340 to p. 368 inclusive, in the division of “ Tragedies.” It is not divided into Acts and Scenes, and it is without a list of Dramatis Personæ.
ANTONY AND CLEOPATRA.
HIS Tragedy is founded entirely upon the “ Life of Marcus
Antonius,” in North's English translation of Plutarch, through the French version of Amyot. Closely as Shakespeare adhered to the same authority when he wrote Julius Cæsar, he followed it into still minuter details in selecting incidents for this great companion piece. Indeed, the tragedy is such a mere dramatization of the “ Life,” that to give in illustration from the latter all the passages which correspond to Scenes or speeches in the former, would be to reprint a large part of Plutarch's work. Daniel wrote a tragedy, Cleopatra, which was published in 1994, and the Countess of Pembroke's Tragedie of Antonie, which was translated from the French, appeared in 1595 ; but Shakespeare was in no way indebted to either.
Antony and Cleopatra was first printed in the folio of 1623, and with remarkable accuracy; the corruptions being, for the most part, minor errors of the press. It was entered for publication on the 20th May, 1608 ; and this entry is our only evidence as to the date of its production. It was probably brought out not long before.
The period of the action and the costume are matters of the commonest historical knowledge.