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KING JOHN.*

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*KING JOHN.] The troublefome Reign of King John was written in two parts, by W. Shakfpeare and W. Rowley, and printed 1611. But the prefent play is entirely different, and in finitely fuperior to it. POPE.

The edition of 1611 has no mention of Rowley, nor in the account of Rowley's works is any mention made of his conjunction with Shakspeare in any play. King John was reprinted, in two parts, in 1622. The first edition that I have found of this play, in its prefent form, is that of 1623, in folio. The edition of 1591 I have not feen. JOHNSON.

Dr. Johnson mistakes, when he fays there is no mention, in Rowley's works, of any conjunction with Shakspeare. The Birth of Merlin is afcribed to them jointly, though I cannot believe Shakspeare had any thing to do with it. Mr. Capell is equally mistaken, when he fays (Pref. p. 15) that Rowley is called his partner in the title-page of The Merry Devil of Ed

monton.

There must have been fome tradition, however erroneous, upon which Mr. Pope's account was founded. I make no doubt that Rowley wrote the firft King John; and, when Shakspeare's play was called for, and could not be procured from the players, a piratical bookfeller reprinted the old one, with W. Sh. in the title-page. FARMER.

The elder play of King John was firft published in 1591. Shakspeare has preferved the greateft part of the conduct of it, as well as fome of the lines. A few of thofe I have pointed out, and others I have omitted as undeferving notice. The number of quotations from Horace, and fimilar fcraps of learning fcattered over this motley piece, afcertain it to have been the work of a fcholar. It contains likewife a quantity of rhyming Latin, and ballad-metre ; and in a fcene where the Baftard is reprefented as plundering a monaftery, there are ftrokes of humour, which feem, from their particular turn, to have been moft evidently produced by another hand than that of our author.

Of this hiftorical drama there is a fubfequent edition in 1611, printed for John Helme, whofe name appears before none of the genuine pieces of Shakspeare. I admitted this play fome years ago as our author's own, among the twenty which I publifhed from the old editions; but a more careful perufal of it, and a further conviction of his cuftom of borrowing plots, fentiments, &c. difpofes me to recede from that opinion.

STEEVENS.

A play entitled The troublefome Raigne of John King of England, in two parts, was printed in 1591, without the

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writer's name. It was written, I believe, either by Robert Greene, or George Peele; and certainly preceded this of our author. Mr. Pope, who is very inaccurate in matters of this kind, fays that the former was printed in 1611, as written by W. Shakspeare and W. Rowley. But this is not true. In the Second edition of this old play, in 1611, the letters W. Sh. were put into the title page to deceive the purchaser, and to lead him to fuppofe the piece was Shakspeare's play, which, at that time, was not published. See a more minute account of this fraud in An Attempt to afcertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. Our author's King John was written, I imagine, in 1596. The reafons on which this opinion is founded may be found in that Effay. MALONE.

Though this play have the title of The Life and Death of King John, yet the action of it begins at the thirty-fourth year of his life, and takes in only fome tranfactions of his reign to the time of his demife, being an interval of about seventeen years, THEObald.

Hall, Holinfhed, Stowe, &c. are clofely followed, not only in the conduct, but fometimes in the very expreffions, throughout the following hiftorical dramas; viz. Macbeth, this play, Richard II. Henry IV. two parts, Henry V. Henry VI. three parts, Richard III. and Henry VIII.

A booke called The Hiftorie of Lord Faulconbridge, baftard Son to Richard Cordelion," was entered at Stationers' Hall, Nov. 29, 1614; but I have never met with it, and therefore know not whether it was the old black letter hiftory, or a play upon the same subject. For the original King John, fee Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by $. Leacroft, Charing-crofs. STEEVENS.

The Hiftorie of Lord Faulconbridge, &c. is a profe narrative, in bl. 1. The earliest edition that I have feen of it was printed in 1616.

A book entitled Richard Cur de Lion was entered on the Stationers' Books in 1558.

A play called The Funeral of Richard Cordelion, was written by Robert Wilfon, Henry Chettle, Anthony Mundy, and Michael Drayton, and first exhibited in the year 1598. See The Hiftorical Account of the English Stage, Vol. II. MALONE.

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PERSONS REPRESENTED.

King John:

Prince Henry, his Son; afterwards King Henry III. Arthur, Duke of Bretagne, Son of Geffrey, late Duke of Bretagne, the elder Brother of King John. William Marefhall, Earl of Pembroke.

Geffrey Fitz-Peter, Earl of Effex, Chief Jufticiary of England.

William Longfword, Earl of Salisbury.'

Robert Bigot, Earl of Norfolk.

Hubert de Burgh, Chamberlain to the King. Robert Faulconbridge, Son of Sir Robert Faulconbridge:

Philip Faulconbridge, his Half-brother, baftard Son to King Richard the First.

James Gurney, Servant to Lady Faulconbridge.
Peter of Pomfret, a Prophet.

Philip, King of France.

Lewis, the Dauphin.

Arch-duke of Auftria.

Cardinal Pandulph, the Pope's Legate.

Melun, a French Lord.

Chatillon, Ambafador from France to King John.

Elinor, the Widow of King Henry II. and Mother of King John.

Conftance, Mother to Arthur.

Blanch, Daughter to Alphonfo, King of Caftile, and Niece to King John.

Lady Faulconbridge, Mother to the Baftard, and Robert Faulconbridge.

Lords, Ladies, Citizens of Angiers, Sheriff, Heralds, Officers, Soldiers, Meffengers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, fometimes in England, and fometimes in France.

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I-Salisbury.] Son to King Henry II. by Rofamond Clifford. STEEVENS.

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