'Richard II., Bolingbroke, York, and the rest, though they talk so well, do little else than talk, nor can all the charm of composition redeem in a dramatic point of view the weakness resulting from this accident in the play's construction.'
(Macready: Reminiscences. N. Y. 1875. P. 50.)
The Text of the Present Edition
Although until recently there were thought to be but four Quartos of Richard II (not counting that of 1634, derived from the Second Folio), A. W. Pollard has proved that it appeared in five Quarto editions in Shakespeare's lifetime. The characteristics of all these and their relations to each other and to the First Folio are discussed with great penetration by Mr. Pollard (Richard II: A New Quarto. 1916).
The First Quarto, without the author's name, had the following title-page:
THE / Tragedie of King Ri- / chard the se- / cond. / As it hath beene publikely acted / by the right Honourable the / Lorde Chamberlaine his Ser- / uants. [Simmes's device.] LONDON / Printed by Valentine Simmes for Androw Wise, and / are to be sold at his shop in Paules church yard at / the signe of the Angel. / 1597.
The Second Quarto, deriving from the first, and Pollard's newly established third, deriving from the second, were both printed in 1598, and bore on their title-pages the words, 'By William Shake-speare.'
The Fourth Quarto was the first to print the abdication scene (IV. i. 154–318). The earlier part of the edition, from which was drawn the copy in the Elizabethan Club of New Haven, supplying the title-page reproduced in facsimile in this volume, gave no