Who brought these unauthorized manuscripts along to the bookseller or printer? While it is possible that some audiences included 'bootleggers', professional scribes who wrote down as much as they could of the dialogue while the play was in progress so that they could then offer the text either to booksellers and printers or to rival theatrical companies, or to both, it is likely that many of the 'pirated' or 'reported' texts of Shakespeare's plays were provided by the actors themselves, sometimes working singly, sometimes in a group. Certainly, some of the existing quartos of Shakespeare's plays are believed to have been provided by actors, who wrote nearly everything down from memory. Actors' memorial reconstructions have their disadvantages, but they have their advantages too. On the debit side, the actors seem to have remembered some parts (presumably their own) better than others, and when memory failed them, they seem to have filled in with paraphrase, or with lines half-remembered from other plays. (In his Art of Coarse Acting the writer Michael Green defined a Coarse Actor as one who could remember the lines, but not the order in which they come: it sometimes appears that Shakespeare's plays were pirated by the coarsest actors in his company.) Often, too, the reported text is much shorter than the original, with whole scenes, as well as lines and speeches, missed out. On the credit side, however, some of the reported texts offer far more in the way of stage directions than do texts which have been authorially prepared for the printer. This suggests the mind of the

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It had been a thing, we confess, worthy to have been wished, that the Author himself had lived to have set forth and overseen his own writings. But since it hath been ordained otherwise, and he by death departed from that right, we pray you do not envy his friends the office of their care and pain to have collected and published them, as where before you were abused with diverse stolen and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by the frauds and stealths of injurious impostors that exposed them, even those are now offered to your view cured, and perfect of their limbs; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he conceived them.