London: Humphrey Robinson & Humphrey Moseley, 1647.
FLETCHER, John. Comedies and Tragedies. Written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher Gentlemen. Never printed before, And now published by the Authours Originall Copies. London: Humphrey Robinson & Humphrey Moseley, 1647.
BEAUMONT, Francis, and John Fletcher. Comedies and Tragedies Written by Francis Beaumont and John Fletcher Gentlemen. Never printed before, And now published by the Authours Originall Copies. London: Printed for Humphrey Robinson, and for Humphrey Moseley, 1647.
First collected edition, Folio (12 5/8 x 8 3/8 inches; 321 x 210 mm.). , 75, [1, blank], 143, [1, blank], 165, [2, letter to Jonson], [1, blank], 71, [1, blank], 172, 92, 52, 28, 25-48, pp. Engraved frontispiece portrait of Fletcher by William Marshall in the first state, with the fourth line of the inscription reading “vates duplex” in lower case and with the signature “J. Berkenhead” in larger letters. Decorative woodcut head-pieces and initials. Text in double columns. Without the "Wild-Goose Chase" as is often the case as it was printed later in 1652.
Contemporary paneled calf, rebacked to style. Red morocco spine label, lettered in gilt. Spine lettered in gilt. Boards ruled in blind. Top edge dyed brown. Newer endpapers. Frontispiece with a repair to fore-edge margin, affecting a small portion of the engraving. Small, neat contemporary ink note to fore-edge margin of title-page. A few other pages with scattered contemporary marginalia. A few instances of light dampstaining to upper corner. Small hole to margin of leaf I4, just touching border and one letter. Leaf Pp with a clean slice through half of the page starting at the fore-edge but with no loss. Leaves 5G1-2 with a bit of staining. Leaf 5C3 with a 2-inch closed tear to bottom with no loss. Leaf 6C3 with a tear along fore-edge, just affecting a few letters and the border. Leaf 6F4 with top corner torn, affecting border and page number. Final three leaves with lower outer corners frayed, affecting a few letters. Prefious owner's bookplate to front pastedown. Overall a very good copy. Chemised and housed in a red morocco solander pull-off case.
The third great folio collection of Elizabethan drama after Jonson’s (1616) and Shakespeare’s (1623).
“Almost equal in importance in English literature to the First Folio of Shakespeare” (Rosenbach 25: 7). The playwrights Beaumont and Fletcher were regarded in their time as two men so closely in harmony as to constitute one mind: “Beaumont bringing the ballast of judgement, Fletcher the sail of phantasy... He who has not perused Beaumont and Fletcher can have no complete idea of the riches of English poetry” (Allibone I, 150-151).
No collected edition of Beaumont and Fletcher’s plays appeared before this posthumous one, which is dedicated by ten actors to Philip, Earl of Pembroke, and is introduced to the reader by the dramatist James Shirley. “This edition, which is said to have been edited by Shirley though the amount of revision he did is not known, contains all of the hitherto unpublished plays by Beaumont and Fletcher except the Wild-Goose Chase, the manuscript of this last having been lost” (Pforzheimer 53).
"Nothing which throws light upon the history of printing at this time is more interesting than the Postscript added at the end of the commendatory verses by Waller, Lovelace, Herrick, Ben Johnson and others" (Grolier English).
Greg III p.1030. Grolier, 100 English, 28. Pforzheimer 53. Wing B- 1581.