"GOLDEN LADS AND GIRLS ALL MUST, AS CHIMNEY-SWEEPERS, COME TO DUST": CYMBELINE, EXTRACTED FROM THE THIRD FOLIO, 1664
SHAKESPEARE. The Tragedy of Cymbeline. [London: Printed for P.C., 1664]. Folio (9 by 13-1/2 inches), period-style three-quarter calf gilt, red morocco spine labels, marbled boards. $1800.
Sixteen original leaves from the Third Folio, containing Cymbeline—the Bard's intricately plotted, romantic free-for-all—handsomely bound.
The four folios of Shakespeare are the first four editions of Shakespeare's collected plays. These were the only collected editions printed in the 17th century (a 1619 attempt at a collected edition in quarto form was never completed). The 1664 second issue of the Third Folio (from which this play was taken), is the first to include Pericles (along with six other spurious plays) and is therefore the first complete edition of Shakespeare's plays. The Third Folio is believed to be the scarcest of the four great 17th-century folio editions, a large part of the edition presumed destroyed in the Great London Fire of 1666. "The folios are incomparably the most important work in the English language" (W.A. Jackson, Pforzheimer Catalogue).
Leaves Cccc-Eeee4, which concluded the Third Folio, contain Cymbeline. "While scholars don't agree on why Shakespeare created such a strange and happy mess in Cymbeline, some believe that because it is one of his last plays, he was reflecting or summarizing his work" (Wall Street Journal). The facsimile title page and frontispiece reproduce these pages of the second issue of the Third Folio, bearing the date 1664 in the imprint rather than 1663. See Jaggard, 496.
A clean copy in fine condition.