The text of Macbeth as it appears in successive editions of Shakespeare’s collected works.
The first collected edition of Shakespeare’s plays (STC 22273) – formatwise a folio in sixes. (That is, it consists of gatherings of three sheets folded together. The same is true for the next three editions.) Macbeth is part 3, pp. 131–51.
The second folio edition (STC 22274), copied page for page from the first. Macbeth begins at part 3, p. 151. There are a few attempted corrections, but it cannot be supposed that they have any authority. There are also numerous errors: in two places a whole line has been dropped. All in all, this edition is an unsatisfactory piece of work. The only reason for not ignoring it is that many of the guesses and mistakes made here were allowed by default to persist into subsequent editions.
The third folio edition (Wing S2913), copied page for page and quire for quire from the second. The spelling was mostly modernized. Macbeth begins at p. 711.
The fourth and last folio edition (Wing S2915), copied from the third, with the number of lines per column increased (from 66 to 74). Macbeth is part 3, pp. 40–58.
Macbeth in the octavo edition printed for Jacob Tonson in 1709, copied from the fourth folio edition, but quite thoroughly ‘revis'd and corrected’ by Nicholas Rowe. There is an engraved frontispiece for each play: the one for Macbeth is a view of the parade of apparitions in act 4, scene 1.
A facsimile reprint (which I have not seen) was published in 1999, with an added introduction.
A second printing of Rowe’s edition, possibly later than 1709 (though that is still the date which appears on the title-page) but earlier than 1714. The differences are slight, but some of them seem to be intentional.
The reprint of Rowe’s edition reprinted in 12mo format, with a few further adjustments. The new frontispiece, drawn and engraved by Louis Du Guernier, is a loose copy of the one in the octavo edition.
Macbeth in the quarto edition printed for Jacob Tonson in 1723–5, copied from the 12mo reprint of Rowe’s edition, newly ‘collated and corrected’ by Alexander Pope. There is no frontispiece.
Pope’s edition reprinted in 12mo format, with a few further adjustments. The frontispiece is the same plate made for the 12mo printing of Rowe’s edition: only the direction to the binder has been altered.
The first-ever separate edition of Shakespeare’s Macbeth – a 12mo booklet printed for Tonson and others in 1729 – took its text and footnotes from this 12mo reprint of Pope’s edition.
Macbeth in the octavo edition printed for Arthur Bettesworth and Charles Hitch and others in 1733, copied from the 12mo reprint of Pope’s edition, revised by Lewis Theobald. There is no frontispiece.
A separate 12mo edition of Macbeth, copied from Theobald’s octavo, was published in 1734. The frontispiece used there is the plate drawn and engraved by Du Guernier for the 12mo reprint (1714) of Rowe’s edition, already reused for the 12mo reprint (1728) of Pope’s edition. The separate 12mo was reprinted in 1745, with a copy of Du Guernier's frontispiece engraved by Gerard Vander Gucht, and at intervals again after that.
Theobald’s edition reprinted in 12mo format, with a few further adjustments. There is a new frontispiece – Macbeth confronted by Banquo’s ghost – drawn by Henry Gravelot and angraved by Gerard Vander Gucht.
This edition was reprinted page for page in 1752 and 1757 and almost page for page in 1762. The next 12mo edition, published in 1767, was (for some reason unknown to me) copied from the original octavo; it was reprinted page for page in 1773. All of these editions have the same Gravelot plate for a frontispiece.
Macbeth in the quarto edition printed at Oxford in 1743–4, copied from a copy of Pope’s quarto edition annotated by Sir Thomas Hanmer. The frontispiece – Lady Macbeth walking in her sleep – was drawn by Francis Hayman and engraved by Hubert Gravelot.
Some of the alterations made by Hanmer had been suggested to him by William Warburton – and Warburton threw a tantrum when they were put into print. At his instigation, the entire Oxford edition was reprinted at London in 1745, with the emendations marked for which he claimed the credit. That reprint ceased to be of any interest when Warburton published his own edition just two years later.
Hanmer’s edition was reprinted at Oxford in 1770–1. The new edition, page for page the same, was seen through the press by Thomas Hawkins. There are some slight differences – in the spelling, for example (such as ‘horrour’ for ‘horror’) – but none of any significance. At the back of each volume is a list of variant readings from Theobald and Capell.
Macbeth in the octavo edition printed for John and Paul Knapton and others in 1747, copied from the 12mo reprint of Theobald’s edition, improved by William Warburton. Not so much an edition – more a monument to Warburton’s vanity.
Macbeth in the octavo edition printed for Jacob and Richard Tonson in 1765, copied from Warburton’s edition, revised and annotated by Samuel Johnson.
Reprinted page for page, with a few small adjustments.
Macbeth edited by Edward Capell in 1768. Capell was the first editor who saw it as a duty to base his text on that of the first folio edition. But he made numerous changes, not all of which can be counted as changes for the better. As well as adopting many of the emendations proposed by previous editors, he added some new ones of his own. All in all, his edition is a well-intentioned but far from fully successful piece of work. This file of mine is a simplified version of Capell’s text, with some of its eccentricities filtered out. (At least four copies of the book are available online, for anyone who wants to consult the original.) A list of errors to be corrected was included in the companion volume of notes published (after much delay) in 1780: I have made the requisite adjustments.
The second attempt at a critical edition of Macbeth. This is one of five plays published between 1770 and 1774 in a series sponsored by Charles Jennens and discontinued when he died. The design of the edition should be credited to him; but the hard work was done by an anonymous assistant, with the help of ‘hints and remarks’ from Jennens. Each play has an engraved frontispiece: the one for Macbeth – Banquo’s ghost appearing at the banquet – was drawn by Francis Hayman and angraved by William Wynne Ryland.
As I understand it, the anonymous assistant was a clergyman named Lemuel Abbott. Not much is known about him. He was ordained in 1755, became vicar of Thornton in Leicestershire in 1773 and died in 1776 (CCEd Person ID: 5213). A collection of his poems (printed in Nottingham) was published by subscription in 1765; it is dedicated to Charles Jennens. On the strength of that book, Abbott qualifies for a short article in DNB and ODNB. Neither article mentions his involvement with Jennens’s edition of Shakespeare. (Abbott had a son of the same name, initially apprenticed to Francis Hayman, who went on to gain some reputation as a portrait painter.)
Macbeth edited by Samuel Johnson and George Steevens. Copied from the first printing of Johnson’s edition. The revision of the text was Steevens’s responsibility.
Copied from the previous edition.
Copied from the previous edition. Seen through the press by Isaac Reed.
Macbeth edited by Edmond Malone. Copied from Johnson and Steevens’s second edition. Added at the end are the lyrics for ‘Speak, sister, speak’ and ‘Come away, come away’ (but not for ‘Black spirits, white spirits’), copied from one of the editions of D’Avenant’s play.
Copied from Malone’s edition. (Added at the end are large extracts from Middleton’s The Witch, the sole surviving copy of which was in Steevens’s possession by this time. I have not transcribed them.)
Macbeth in an octavo edition printed at Oxford in 1786–94. Copied from Johnson and Steevens’s second edition, retouched with some readings from the fourth. The editor, Joseph Rann (1731–1811), was a clergyman, vicar of Holy Trinity church in Coventry from 1773 till he died (CCEd Person ID: 19427). I see it said that he was friends with Thomas Warton.
Copied from Steevens’s marked-up copy of the previous edition. Seen through the press by Isaac Reed, with help from William Harris.
Copied page for page from the previous edition. Seen through the press by William Harris.
Macbeth edited by James Boswell. Copied from Johnson and Steevens’s fifth edition.
Macbeth edited by Alexander Dyce. Copied from Boswell’s edition.
Macbeth edited by William George Clark and William Aldis Wright. Copied from Dyce’s edition.
The same editors were responsible for a one-volume edition of Shakespeare’s plays and poems – they called it the ‘Globe Edition’ – issued in 1864 and for separate editions of some of the plays included in a series published for the use of schools by the Clarendon Press. Their separate edition of Macbeth (which silently omits the Porter’s second speech) was published in 1869. Each of these editions differs in some details from the others; I do not see that any one of them is uniformly best.
A second edition of the ‘Cambridge Shakespeare’, edited by Wright alone, was published in 1891–3. Macbeth is in volume 7 (1892). Some of the annotation is new, but the text (though the format is slightly different) seems to be exactly the same as before.
Macbeth reedited by Alexander Dyce. Copied from the first edition.
A third edition, copied page for page from Dyce’s marked-up copy of the second edition, was published posthumously in 1876. (Dyce died in 1869.) One spelling mistake (‘incarnardine’) was put right; otherwise the text appears to be identical.