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Oxford University Press, Amen House, London ..4 






1951, 1963 














'O K&apos 



N. C. 


IN these pages I return, divers* per aequora vectus> to 
the point from which I started in the last century. I 
then set out to write of Shakespeare, and of the English 
stage as a background for Shakespeare; and this has been 
throughout my theme, although I have not found it pos- 
sible to use quite that brevity of words which the confident 
surmise of youth anticipated. My remaining purpose is 
threefold. The present volumes complete the design of 
The Elizabethan Stage by a treatment of its central figure, 
for which in that book I had no space proportionate to his 
significance, .1 collect the scanty biographical data from 
records and tradition, and endeavour to submit them to 
the tests of a reasonable analysis. And thirdly, I attempt 
to evaluate the results of bibliographical and historical 
study in relation to the canon of the plays, and to form a 
considered opinion upon the nature of the texts in which 
Shakespeare's work is preserved to us. In so doing, I am 
led to a confirmation of the doubts expressed in my 
British Academy lecture of 1924 on The Disintegration of 
Shakespeare^ as to the validity of certain drifts of specula- 
tion, which tend to minimize at once the originality of 
that work and the purity of its transmission. I am not so 
much perturbed as some of my critics seem to think that 
I ought to be, by finding that my conclusions do not differ 
essentially from those which have long formed part of the 
critical tradition. That is itself the outcome of study 
through many generations by men of diverse tempers, 
starting from diverse standpoints. They have no doubt 
left something for modern scholarship to contribute, 
especially as regards the causes of major textual variations. 
But I do not think that revolutionary results really emerge 
from the closer examination of contemporary plays, or 


of theatrical conditions, or of the psychology of misprints. 
Shakespeare, as a dramatist, remains something more than 
the life-tenant of a literary entail, 

I have been on well-trodden paths, and my debt to 
others is heavy: among the earlier writers to Malone, 
Halliwell-Phillipps, and Dowden beyond the rest; and 
among my own contemporaries above all to Dr. W. W. 
Greg, whose published studies I cite on page after page, 
and upon whose generosity in counsel and information I 
have constantly drawn during the progress of this book. 
I have learnt much also from those accomplished biblio- 
graphers, Professor A. W. Pollard and Dr. R. B. McKer- 
row, and from Professor J. Dover Wilson, perhaps most 
where he most stimulated me to reaction. I have had help 
on various points from many others, to all of whom my 
thanks are due: Miss Eleanore Boswell, Miss M. St. 
Clare Byrne, Dr. H. H. E. Craster, Mr. F. H. Cripps- 
Day, Mr, P. J. Dobell, Mr. F. S. Ferguson, the Rev. 
W. G. D. Fletcher, the Rev. E. I. Fripp, Professor E, G. 
Gardner, Mr. S. Gibson, Mr. M. S. Giuseppi, Father 
W. Godfrey, the Hon. Henry Hannen, Miss M. Dormer 
Harris, the late Dr. J. W. Horrocks, Sir Mark Hunter, 
the Rev. P. J, Latham, Mr. E. T. Leeds, Dr. J. G. 
Milne, Professor G. C Moore Smith, Professor D. Nichol 
Smith, Professor Allardyce Nicoll, Mr. A, M. Oliver, 
Mr. S. C. Ratcliff, Mr. V. B. Redstone, Miss M. Sellers, 
Mr. Percy Simpson, Mr. K. Sisam, Professor C. J. Sisson, 
the late Professor E. A. Sonnenschein, Mr. A. E, Stamp, 
the Rev. W. Stanhope-Lovell, Mr. A. H. Thomas, 
Mr. F. C. Wellstood, Dr. C. T. Hagberg Wright. 
To the Pierpont Morgan Library of New York I owe 
permission to use the Holgate manuscript of Francis 
Beaumont's poem. 

At the end of my pilgrimage I have yet older memories 
to set down. The unfailing sympathy, encouragement 


and patience of my wife have been my mainstay through- 
out. To her, Artemis of the Ways, these volumes, like 
their predecessors, are dedicated. 

ov TroAAi] 8* TJ x&pis* &M' oofy* 

And I should indeed be an ingrate if I did not now recall 
the succession of those who have done so much, one after 
another, for the presentation of my work at the Clarendon 
Press. They have among them borne with my script and 
my divagations for well over a quarter of a century; and 
those who survive must share my feeling of relief, if not 
its intermingled regret, that the last of many chapters is 
now closed. 

E. K. C. 
EYNSHAM, July 1930. 


i, ii, iii. Henry the Sixth . 
iv. Richard the Third 
v. The Comedy of Errors 
vi. Titus Andronicus 
vii^The Taming of the Shrew . 
viii. The Two Gentlemen of Verona 
ix. Love's Labour 's Lost . 
x. Romeo and Juliet 
xi. Richard the Second 
xii. A Midsummer-Night's Dream 
xiii. King John 

xiv. The Merchant of Venice . 
xv, xvi. Henry the Fourth 

xvii. Much Ado about Nothing 
xviii. Henry the Fifth 
xix. Julius Caesar . 
xx. As You Like It 
XXL Twelfth Night . 
xxii. Hamlet . . 
xxiii. The Merry Wives of Windsor 
xxiv. Troilus and Cressida . 
xxv. All's Well that Ends Well . 
xxvi. Measure for Measure . 
xxvii. Othello . 

xxviii. King Lear . . * 
xxix. Macbeth .... 


xxx. Antony and Cleopatra .... 476 

xxxi. Coriolanus 478 

xxxii. Timon of Athens 480 

xxxiii. Cymbeline ...;.. 484 

xxxiv. The Winter's Tale .... 487 

xxxv. The Tempest 490 

xxxvi. Henry the Eighth 495 


i. Sir Thomas More 499 

ii. Edward the Third 515 

iii. Pericles 518 

iv. The Two Noble Kinsmen . . . 528 

v. Plays Ascribed in the Third Folio . . 532 

vi. Other Ascribed Plays .... 537 


i. Venus and Adonis .... 543 

ii. The Rape of Lucrece .... 545 

iii. The Passionate Pilgrim .... 547 

iv. The Phoenix and Turtle . . . 549 

v. A Lover's Complaint .... 550 

vi. Ascribed Verses 550 

vii. The Sonnets 555 






i. Christenings, Marriages, and Burials . . i 

ii. The Grants of Arms 1 8 

iii. Henley Street 32 

igrThe AdblJ^hgjapt^u *_ ... t * ^ *^-~<~**~ **3f 

v. Shakespeare's Marriage . . 7" . 41 

vi. The Clayton Suit 52 

vii. Shakespeare's Interests in the Globe and Black- 
friars ....... 52 

viii. Shakespeare and his Fellows . . . . 71 

ix. Shakespeare's London Residences . . 87 

x. The Belott-Mountjoy Suit .... 90 

xi. New Place ...... 95 


xii. Shakespeare as Maltster .... 99 

xiii. The Quiney Correspondence . . . 101 

xiv. The Old Stratford Freehold ... 107 

xv. The Chapel Lane Cottage . . . in 

xvi. Court of Record Suits . . . .113 

xvii. The Stratford Tithes 118 

xviit. The Combe Family 127 

xix. The Welcombe Enclosure .... 141 

xx. The Highways Bill 152 

xxi. A Preacher's Thirst 153 

xxii. Lord Rutland's Impresa . . . .153 
xxiiL The Blackfriars Gate-House . . .154 

xxiv. Shakespeare's Will 169 

xxv. Shakespeare's Epitaphs . . . .181 









SUBJECT-INDEX ....... 426 


I. South Warwickshire and Neighbourhood, from 
the tapestry map (Bodleian, Gough collection) 
made by the Sheldon weavers of Weston, late in 
the 1 6th century . . . Frontispiece 

II. Neighbourhood of Stratford-on- A von . facing p. 4 

III. Town of Stratford-on- A von . 6 

IV. Ferdinando, Earl of Derby, by permission from 

the portrait in the possession of the Earl of 
Derby, K.G., at Knowsley Hall ... 46 

V. Edward Alleyn, from the picture at Dulwich 

College, by permission of the Governors . 48 

VI. The Lords Chamberlain 64 

(a) Henry, Lord Hunsdon, from a print in the 
British Museum. 

(b) George, Lord Hunsdon, by permission from 
a miniature in the possession of the Duke of 
Buccleuch and reproduced from a print supplied 
by the Victoria and Albert Museum. 

VII. Richard Burbadge, from the picture in the 
Gallery of Dulwich College, by permission of 
the Governors 76 

VIII. William Sly, from the picture in the Gallery of 
Dulwich College, by permission of the 
Governors 78 

IX. John Lowin, from the picture in the Ashmolean 80 

. X. Nathan Field, from the picture in the Gallery 
of Dulwich College, by permission of the 
Governors 82 

XL Henry Peacham's Illustration of Titus Andromcus^ 
by permission, from the Harley Papers in the 
possession of the Marquis of Bath at Longleat 312 

XII A. Shakespeare's Signatures, to 

(a) The Deposition in Eelott v. Mountjoy^ 
from the Public Record Office. Photograph, 
by Messrs. Monger & Marchant. 

(b) The Conveyance of the Blackfriars Gate- 
house, from the Guildhall Library of the City 
of London. 

(c) The Mortgageof the Blackfriars Gate-house, 

from the British Museum . . facing p. 504 

XII B. Shakespeare's Signatures, to 

W> W> (/) The W M (first, second, and third 
pages), from the Probate Registry of the Pre- 
rogative Court of Canterbury at Somerset 
House 504 

XIII. Hand D in Sir Thomas More^ from British 

Museum Harleian MS. 7368, fol. 9 a . 508 

XIV. William Earl of Pembroke, from the brass 

statue by Hubert le Soeur in the Bodleian, 

based on a picture by Rubens . . . 566 

XV. Henry Earl of Southampton, from the picture in 

the National Portrait Gallery . . . 568 


XVI. John Davenant's Painted Chamber, at 3 Corn- 
market, Oxford, by permission of Mr. E. W. 
Attwood ..... Frontispiece 

XVII. Richard Quiney's Letter to Shakespeare, from 
the Birthplace Museum at Stratford-on- 
Avon, by permission of die Trustees . facing 102 

XVIII. Memoranda of Thomas Greene, from the 
Birthplace Museum at Stratford-on-Avon, 
by permission of the Trustees . , . 143 

XIX. Shakespeare's Will (First Sheet), from the Pro- 
bate Registry of the Prerogative Court of 
Canterbury. . . . . .170 

XX. Shakespeare's WiU (Second SheetJ, as above . 172 

XXI. Shakespeare's Will (Third Sheet;, as above. 

Photographs, R. B. Fleming & Co. . . 174 

3 142- 1 



pages 196-7 


XXII. Shakespeare's Monument, from Holy 
Trinity Church, Stratford-on-Avon. 
Photograph, Frith & Co. . . facing 182. 
Shakespeare's Bust, from the monument. 

Photograph, Frith & Co. . 184 

Cover of the Northumberland MS. 
(Reduced Facsimile), from intensified 
negative, with the background, and 
incidentally the last two letters of Dyr- 
month's name, eliminated 

XXV. Cover of the Northumberland MS. 
(Transcript). The facsimile and the 
transcript from F. J. Burgoyne, Collo- 
type Facsimile and Type Transcript of 
an Elizabethan MS. at Alwwlck Castle 
(Longmans, Green & Co., Ltd.), by 
permission of His Grace the late 
Duke of Northumberland, K.G. 

XXVI. Droeshout Engraving (First State),' 
from the title-page of the First Folio 
(Bodleian Arch. G. c. 8) I between 

XXVII. Droeshout Engraving (Second State), \ pages 240-1 
from the title-page of the First Folio 
(Bodleian Arch. G. c. 7) 

XXVIII. Memorandum of John Aubrey, from 

Bodleian Aubrey MS. 8, f. 45 V , facing 252 
XXIX. Memoranda of William Fulman and 
Richard Davies, from C.C.C. (Oxford) 
MS. 309, p. 22 . . . 257 

XXX. Warwickshire in 1610, from map by 
Jodocus Hondius in John Speed, Theatre 
of the Empire of Great Britain (i 6 1 1) . 354 


\Bibliographical Note. Most of the comprehensive treatises upon Shake- 
speare and the editions of the plays (ch. ix) deal with his personal biography 
side by side with his career as a dramatist. The Lives by S. Lee (1898, 
1925) and J. Q. Adams (1923) are full in this respect. Many documents 
collected by Malone and his predecessors are to be found in the revised 
Life of the Variorum Shakespeare (1821), ii, and its appendixes. Some 
additions were made by Collier and others, but more by Halliwell-Phillipps 
in his of 1848 and 1853, which are still of value, and in a number 
of smaller works, often issued in limited editions and now rare. Most, but 
not all, of these were brought together in his Outlines of the Life of Shake- 
speare which was often enlarged and took its final form in the seventh 
edition of 1887. Since his time the chief new discoveries have been those 
of C. W. Wallace, mostly published in Nebraska University Studies, v, x 
(1905, 1910). Selections of documents are in D. H. Lambert, Cartae 
Shakespeareanae (1904), and T. Brooke, Shakespeare of Stratford (1926). 
The papers at Stratford are calendared in F. C. Wellstood, Catalogue of 
the Books, Manuscripts, etc. in Shakespeare's Birthplace (1925). I give 
the most important documents and extracts from others, as far as possible 
from originals or facsimiles, with references to some minor dissertations, in 
Appendix A. These are supplemented by the contemporary allusions in 
Appendix B and the traditions in Appendix C. 

Books of primarily biographical interest are J, Hunter, New Illustrations 
ofSh. (1845); G. R. French, Shakespeareana Genealogica (1869); J. P. 
Yeatman, The Gentle Sh. (1896; 1904, with additions); C. C. Stopes, 
SJt's Family (1901), Sh.'s Warwickshire Contemporaries (1907), Sh.'s 
Environment (1914, 1918), SA.'s Industry (1916); C. I. Elton, William 
Sh. His Family and Friends (1904); J. W. Gray, SA.'s Marriage and 
Departure from Stratford (1905); A. Gray, A Chapter in the Early Life 
ofSh. (1926); J. S. Smart, Sh. Truth and Tradition (1928). 

There is no adequate history of Stratford-on-Avon. Dugdale's Anti- 
quities of Warwickshire (1656; ed. W. Thomas, 1718) is valuable on the 
origins. The Victoria History covers the college, gild, and school, but has 
not yet reached the parochial volumes. The Corporation archives are 
voluminous. H.P. provided a Descriptive Calendar (1863) and printed 
Extracts from the Council Books (1864), Extracts from the Subsidy Rolls 
(1864), Extracts from the Festry Book (1865), The Chamberlain? Accounts, 
i59-97 (1866), Extracts from the Chamberlain? Accounts (1866-7), 
Extracts from the Registry of the Court of Record (1867). These are being 
largely replaced by R. Savage and E. I. Fripp, Minutes and Accounts of the 
Corporation and other Records (1921-9, Dugdale Society, 4 vols. to 1592 
issued). R. Savage has printed tie Parish Registers (1897-1905, Parish 
Register Soc.) and G. Arbuthnot the Festry Minute Book (1899), J. H. 

3I42-I B 


Bloom's Shakespeare's Church (1902) is unsatisfactory. He has also edited 
the Register of the Gild of Holy Cross (1907). Other special studies are 
R. B. Wheler, Historical Account of the Birthplace (1824, 1863); G. 
Arbuthnot, Guide to the Collegiate Church (c. 1895); H. E. Forrest, The 
Old Houses of S. A. (1925). Early summary accounts are R. B. Wheler, 
History and Antiquities of S. A. (1806), and J. R. Wise, Sh.'s Birthplace 
and its Neighbourhood (1861); more recent S. Lee, S. A. from the Earliest 
Times to the Death of Sh. (1885, 1907), and E. I. Fripp, Sh.'s Stratford 
(1928). The surrounding neighbourhood is described in E. I. Fripp, 
Sh.'s Haunts near Stratford (1929); earlier guide-books are C. J, Ribton- 
Turner, Sh.'s Land(i%<)$)\ B. C. A. Windle, 8k. 9 s Country (1899); W. S. 
Brassington, Sh.'s Homeland (1903). 

Practically all the available information about John Sh. is collected in 
H.P.'s Outlines. Traditions of the poet's Stratford life are discussed in 
C. F. Green, The Legend of Sh.'s Crab-Tree (1857, 1862); C. H. Brace- 
bridge, 8A. no Deer-Stealer (1862); his grammar school in a Tercentenary 
Volume (1853); by A. F. Leach in 7.H. ii. 329, English Schools at the 
Reformation (1896), Educational Charters and Documents (1911); and by 
A. R. Bayley, Sh.'s Schoolmasters (10 N.Q. viii. 323; 12 N.Q. i. 321); 
J. H. Pollen, A Sh. Discovery: His School-master afterwards a Jesuit (1917, 
The Month, cxxx. 317); W. H. Stgrenson, 8k! s Schoolmaster and Hand- 
writing (1920, Jan. 8, T.L.S.)-> and'rts curriculum by T. S. Baynes, What 
Sh. Learnt at School (1894, 8k. Studies, 147); F. Watson, The Curriculum 
and Text-Books of English Schools in the Seventeenth Century (1902, Bibl. 
Soc. Trans, vi. 159); S. Blach, Sks Lattingrammatik (1908-9, J. xliv. 65; 
xlv. 51); J. E. Sandys, Education (Sh.'s England, i. 224). More general 
works on Sh.'s literary acquirements are H. R. D. Anders, Sk!s Books 
(1904); H. B. Wheatley, Sh. as a Man of Letters (1919, Bill. Soc. Trans. 
xiv. 109); R. Farmer, Essay on the Learning of Sh. (1767; Far. i. 300); 
A. H. Cruickshank, The Classical Attainments ofSh. (1887, Noctes Shake- 
spearianae 9 45); P. Stapfer, 8k. and Classical Antiquity (1880); J. C. 
Collins, Essays and Studies (i 895) ; R. K. Root, Classical Mythology in Sh. 
(1903); M. W. M c Callum, Sh.'s Roman Plays and their Background 
(1910); L. Rick, Sh. and Ovid (1919, J. lv. 35); E. R. Hooker, The 
Relation ofSA. to Montaigne (1902, P.M.L.A. xvii. 3 1 2) ; J. M. Robertson, 
Montaigne and Sh. (1909); G. C.Taylor, Sh.'s Debt to Monta igne(i<)2 5); 
C. Wordsworth, Sh.'s Knowledge and Use of the Bible (4th ed., 1892); 
T. Carter, 8k. and Holy Scripture (1905); J. A. R. Marriott, English 
History in Sk. (1918); H. Green, Sh. and the Emblem- Writers (1870); R. 
Jente, Proverbs ofSh. (1926 Washington Univ. Studies xiii. 391). On the 
specificsources of the plays are: J. Nichols, Six Old Plays (1779) ; K. Simrock 
and others, Quellen des Sh. (1831); J. P. Collier, Sh.'s Library (1844; <*. 
W. C. Hazlitt, 1875); I. Gollancz and others, 8k. Classics (1903-13); 
F, A. Leo, Four Chapters of North's Plutarch (1878); A. Vollmer, 8k. and 
Plutarch (1887, Archiv, Ixxvii. 353; Ixxviii. 75, 215); W. W. Skeat, 
Sh.'s Plutarch (1892); R. H. Carr, Plutarch's Lives (1906); W. G. 
BosweU-Stone, 8k.'s Holinshed (1896); A. and J, Nicoll, Holinshed's 


Chronicles as Used in Si.'s Plays (1927). On Shakespeare's knowledge of 
country life are H. Loewe, Si. unddie Waidmannskunst (1904, J. xl. 51); 
D. H. Madden, The Diary of Master William Silence (1897); C. Brown, 
Sh. and the Horse (1912, j Library, iii. 1 52); H. N. Ellacombe, Si. as an 
Angler (1883), Plant-Lore and Garden-Craft of Sh. (3rded. 1896);?. G. 
Savage, Flora and folk-Lore of Sh. (1923); A. Geikie, The Birds of Sh. 
(1916). On his medical knowledge are J. C. Bucknill, Medical Knowledge 
of Si. (1860), Mad Folk of Sh. (1867); J. Moyes, Medicine and Kindred 
Arts in the Plays of Sh. (1896). On his legal knowledge and conjectured 
training as a lawyer are J. Lord Campbell, Si. 9 s Legal Acquirements (1859); 
W. L. Rushton, Si. a Lawyer (1858), Si's Legal Maxims (1859, 1907), 
Si.'* Testamentary Language (1869), Si. Illustrated by the Lex Scrip fa 
(1870); J. Kohler, Si. vor dem Forum der Jurisprudenz (1883, 1919); 
W. C. Devecmon, In re Si.'s Legal Acquirements (1899); C. Allen, Notes 
on the Sh.-Bacon Question (1900) ; G. G. Greenwood, Si. 9 s Law and Latin 
(1916), Si.'s Law (1920); A. Underhill, ^(1917, 1926, Si.'s England, 
i. 381); D. P. Barton, Si.'s Links with the Law (1929). On other occupa- 
tions ascribed to Shakespeare are W. J. Thorns, Was Si. ever a Soldier? 
(1865, Three Notelets on Si.)i W. Blades, Si. and Typography (1872); 
W. L. Rushton, Si. an Archer (1897).] 

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE was born of burgess folk, not un- 
like those whom he depicts in The Merry Wives of Windsor. 
Stratford-on-Avon, however, had not grown up in the 
shadow of a royal castle. It was a provincial market 
town, and counted with Henley-in-Arden after the city of 
Coventry and the borough of Warwick among the business 
centres of Warwickshire. It stood on the north bank of 
the Avon, where a ford had once been traversed -by a 
minor Roman thoroughfare. A medieval wooden bridge 
had been replaced at the end of the fifteenth century by 
the stone one which still survives. The great western 
highway, following the line of Watling Street to Shrews- 
bury and Chester, passed well to the north through 
Coventry. But at Stratford bridge met two lesser roads 
from London, one by Oxford and under the Cotswolds, 
the other by Banbury and Edgehill; and beyond it ways 
radiated through Stratford itself to Warwick, Birming- 
ham, Alcester, and Evesham. 'Emporiolum non in- 
elegans' is the description of the place in Camden's 
Britannia , and Leland, who visited it about 1540, records 
that it was 'reasonably well buyldyd of tymbar', with 

B 2 


'two or three very lardge stretes, besyde bake lanes'. Topo- 
graphers give the name of Arden to Warwickshire north 
of the Avon and distinguish it as the Woodland from the 
cultivated champaign of the Feldon to the south. But even 
on the north bank of the river there were open corn- 
fields, as well as many enclosed pastures, and frequent 
hamlets tell of early clearings on the fringe of Arden. The 
lord had his boscus at Stratford in the thirteenth century 
and later a park, but Leland says that little woodland was 
visible there in his time. 

The town of Stratford only occupied a small part of 
a large parish which bore the same name. This ^ was ten 
miles in circuit and had i,5oohouseling people in 1546. 
Mercian kings had made wide grants to the bishops of 
Worcester, with a 'hundredal' jurisdiction independent of 
the sheriff over the liberty of Pathlow, for which they held 
wayside courts at Pathlow itself and at Gilleputs in Strat- 
ford. There was a monastery, afterwards discontinued, 
for the bishop and his household. Much of the dominion, 
even in Saxon times, had passed from the bishops by 
devolution to thanes and in other ways, and in the six- 
teenth-century parish there were several manors. The 
hamlet of Clopton was held by the family of that name; 
Luddington by the Convays of Arrow; Drayton by the 
Petos of Chesterton; Bishopston by the Catesbys of 
Lapworth and afterwards by the Archers of Tan worth; 
part of Shottery by the Smiths of Wootton Wawen. But 
the principal manor still remained with the bishop up to 
1549. In this lay the borough itself, the 'Old Town* 
which divided it from the parish church of Holy Trinity 
on the southern outskirts, and a considerable stretch of 
agricultural land in the fields of Old Stratford, Welcombe, 
and Shottery. 1 The bishop had also the distinct township 
of Bishop's Hampton, to the east of Stratford. On the 
south side of the river were the Lucy manor of Charlecote, 
the Greville manor of Milcote, and the Rainsford manor 
of Clifford Chambers in Gloucestershire. The hamlet of 
Bridgetown beyond the bridge was partly in the borough 

1 Cf. plan (Plate III). 




and partly in Alveston. To the north-east and north-west 
of Stratford were the villages of Snitterfield and Aston 
Cantlow. They had been 'Warwickslands', lordships of 
the dominant families of Beauchamp and Neville, and had 
reverted to the crown on attainder. For all these places 
Stratford was the natural urban centre, 1 

The borough had come into existence under Bishop 
John de Coutances (i 195-8), who had laid out part of his 
demesne in quarter-acre plots of uniform frontage and 
depth. These were held as burgages, practically on a free- 
hold tenure, subject to shilling chief rents, and with rights 
of division and disposition by sale or will. A separate 
manor court was presided over by the bishop's steward, 
but the burgesses probably chose their own bailiff and 
sub-bailiffs as executive officers. The court sat twice in 
the year, for 'leets' or 'law days' near Easter and Michael- 
mas. At these officers were appointed, transfers of 
burgages were recorded, small civil actions for debt 
and the like were heard, by-laws for good order were 
made, and breaches of these, with frays and infringements 
of the 'assizes' of food and drink and other standards 
for the quality of saleable articles, were punished. Side 
by side with the manorial jurisdiction had grown up 
the organization of the Gild of Holy Cross, which 
ministered in many ways to the well-being of the town. 
It dated from the thirteenth century. Early in the fifteenth 
it absorbed smaller gilds, and thereafter an almost con- 
tinuous register preserves the admissions of brothers and 
sisters, and the payments for the souls of the dead, whose 
masses were sung by the priests of its chapel. The 
members of the gild were bound to fraternal relations and 
to attendance at each others funerals in their Augustinian 
hoods. Periodical love-feasts encouraged more mundane 
intercourse. The gild had accumulated much property, in 
and about Stratford, from pious gifts and legacies. It 
helped its poorer members and maintained an almshouse. 
A school, which had existed in some form as far back as 
1295, was one of its activities. This had an endowment 

Cf. map (Plate II). 


from Thomas Joliffe for the gratuitous teaching of gram- 
mar by one of the priests. The gild buildings, which stood 
just within the borough, owed their latest form to Sir 
Hugh Clopton, Lord Mayor of London in 1492. He, too, 
had built the bridge. The affairs of the gild were in the 
hands of a Master and Aldermen, with two Proctors as 
financial officers. It was at the height of its reputation in 
the middle of the fifteenth century, and attracted members 
of distinction from far beyond the limits of Stratford. 
Later it suffered a decline, perhaps due in part to the rise 
of trade gilds, in which the craftsmen of the town were 
linked for business purposes. Probably the gild chapel 
counted for more in the religious life of the borough than 
the comparatively distant church. This belonged to a 
college of priests under a warden, which also had acquired 
much landed property, in addition to the ample tithes of 
the large parish. Two chapels in the hamlets of Bishopston 
and Luddington were under its control. 

The reign of Edward VI was a period of considerable 
change for Stratford. The gild and the college were both 
dissolved under the Chantries Act of 1547, and their 
revenues went to the crown. Provisional direction was 
given for the continuance of the school. In 1 549 Bishop 
Nicholas Heath was driven, apparently for inadequate 
compensation, to transfer his manor, with that of Bishop's 
Hampton, to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick and after- 
wards Duke of Northumberland, who aspired to restore 
the old domination of the Beauchamps and Nevilles in the 
county. It passed from him in the same year and back to 
him in 1553 by exchanges with the crown. On his at- 
tainder in 1553 Mary granted it to the duchess, and after 
her death in 1555 to the hospital of the Savoy. But this 
grant was almost immediately vacated, and the manor 
remained with the crown until 1 562, when Elizabeth gave 
it to Northumberland's son Ambrose Dudley, now in his 
turn created Earl of Warwick. On his death in 1590 it 
again reverted to the crown, but was sold and acquired by 
Sir Edward Greville of Milcote. 1 Another event of 1 553 

1 Cf. App. Ay no. xix. 

Scok qf yonts 

]00 200 300 400 

% doited line is the 
borouqh boundoru 

o u 

Oxford University Press 



had, however, reduced the importance of the manor and 
its court in local affairs. The inhabitants, perturbed by 
the^loss of valuable elements in their civic life, petitioned 
for incorporation as a royal borough; and this, presumably 
through the influence of Northumberland, then in power, 
was accorded by a charter of 28 June 1 553. The govern- 
ment of the borough was entrusted to a Bailiff and 
a Council of fourteen Aldermen and fourteen Capital 
Burgesses, with powers to provide for good order and the 
management of corporate property, to fill vacancies in 
their number, and to make annual election of the bailiff, 
Serjeants at the mace, constables, and such other officers 
as might prove .necessary. The Council was to have the 
return to royal writs within the borough, to the exclusion of 
the sheriff, and the bailiff to hold crown office as escheator, 
coroner, almoner, and clerk of the market. With a chosen 
alderman, he was to act as justice of peace. Authority was 
given for a weekly market and for two annual fairs, with 
a court of pie-powder. There was also to be a court of 
record under the bailiff, with jurisdiction in civil causes, 
where the amount in dispute was not more than 30. To 
meet the municipal expenses, the charter granted the 
property of the late gild, worth about ^46, and the rever- 
sion of a lease of the parish tithes granted by the college, 
with the reserved rent of $+. 1 The rest of the college 
property remained with the Crown. The funds granted 
were charged with the maintenance of the almshouse, 
and with salaries for the schoolmaster, the vicar, and his 
curate. A general reservation, which afterwards led to 
trouble, was made for the rights of the lord of the manor, 
and in particular the election of the bailiff was to be sub- 
ject to his approval, and he was to have the appointment 
of the schoolmaster and vicar. For some years from 1 553 
the records leave it rather difficult to disentangle the 
activities of the bailiff and his brethren from those of 
the court leet. But soon after a recognition of the charter 
by Elizabeth in 1560, the Council was regularly at work, 
holding its meetings at 'halls' every month or so in the 

1 Cf. App. A, no. xvii. 


buildings of the old gild, making its by-laws, surveying its 
property, approving leases, ordering the market, the fairs, 
and the almshouse, and raising small levies for public or 
charitable purposes to supplement its regular funds. 

It had at first a town clerk and afterwards a steward, who 
assisted the bailiff at the court of record. 1 This, in addi- 
tion to its jurisdiction between civil litigants, chiefly in 
cases of debt, took over the imposition of penalties for 
breaches of by-laws or of the assize. Frays may be assumed 
to have fallen to the justices of peace. The leet, although 
shorn of many of its functions, continued to be held. It 
presumably dealt with matters peculiar to the manor, such 
as the transfer of burgages. The constables, although 
chosen by the Council with other officers at Michaelmas, 
were sworn in at a leet. Disputes arose with the lords of 
the manor, about toll-corn, about commoners' rights, 
about the approval of bailiffs. Internal discipline also 
gave trouble. The aldermen and principal burgesses did 
not always attend halls regularly, and some of them were 
inclined to shun the responsibilities of office when their 
turns came. Towards the end of the century the Council 
was much occupied with affairs in London. 2 The in- 
dustries of Stratford were decaying and there had been 
disastrous fires. Suits were made to the Crown for ex- 
emption from subsidies, and for an enlarged charter. One 
was in fact granted by James in 1 6 10, which extended the 
boundary of the borough to include the Old Town. The 
minutes of council meetings are not very full. Rather 
more illuminating are the accounts of the Chamberlains, 
who had succeeded the proctors of the gild as financial 
officers. These were made up annually after each year of 
office and presented to the Council for audit about 
Christmas. The chamberlains collected the rents and 
dues, and kept a detailed record of their expenditure upon 
salaries, repairs to property, gifts, generally in wine and 
sugar, to distinguished strangers, and rewards to players. 
The accounts throw many sidelights on town history and 
on local personalities. Religious changes for example are 

x Cf. App. A, no. xvL Cf. App. A, nos. xii, xiii. 


traceable in payments of 1562-3 for defacing images in 
the chapel, and of 1563-4 for taking down the rood-loft, 
and in a council order of 1571 for the sale of copes and 
vestments. 1 

Stratford has been represented as a dirty and ignorant 
town, an unmeet cradle for poetry. There is some want 
of historical perspective here. No doubt sanitary science 
was in its infancy. But, after all, penalties for the breach of 
by-laws, if they are evidence that the by-laws were some- 
times broken, are also evidence that they were enforced. 
Nor was contemporary London, with the puppy dogs in 
its Fleet and its unsecured Moorditch, in much better 
case. Stratford had its paved streets and much garden 
ground about its houses. It was embosomed in elms, of 
which a survey of 1582 records a vast number in .closes 
and on the backsides of the burgages. 2 And all around was 
fair and open land with parks and dingles and a shining 
river. There was much give and take between town and 
country-side. The urban industries, weaving, dyeing, 
tanning, shoe-making, glove-making, smithing, rope- 
making, carpentry, were such as subserve or are fed by 
agriculture. Many of the burgesses were also landholders 
in the parish or in neighbouring villages. There was much 
buying of barley, for the making and sale of malt, which 
was a subsidiary occupation of many households. 3 Sheep, 
cattle, ducks, and ringed swine ran on the common pasture 
called the Bank Croft. Although remote, the town was 
not out of touch with a larger civilization. Access to Oxford 
was easy, and to London itself, by roads on which carriers 
came and went regularly, and the burgesses journeyed on 
their public and private business. Nor was it entirely 
bookless. Leading townsmen could quote Latin and write 
a Latin letter if need be. Critical eyes may have watched 
the Whitsun pastoral which David Jones produced in 
1 5 8 3 .4 The Grammar School was probably of good stand- 
ing. The schoolmaster's salary, which Joliffe fixed at I o, 

1 M.A. i. 128, 1385 ii. 54. 4 M.A. w. 137 : Tayd to Davi Jones 

* M.A. lii. 10$. and his companye for his pastyme at 

3 Cf. App. A) no. xii. Whitsontyde xiij 8 iiij a .' 


was increased to 20 by the charter. This was much more 
than the 12 $s. paid at Warwick or than the amounts 
usual in Elizabethan grammar schools, outside West- 
minster, Eton, Winchester, and Shrewsbury. It was 
better than the emoluments of an Oxford or Cambridge 
fellowship. And from Oxford or Cambridge came William 
Smart (1554-65), Fellow of Christ's, John Browns word 
(1565-7), a Latin poet of repute, John Acton (1567-9), 
Walter Roche (1569-71), Fellow of Corpus, Oxford, 
Simon Hunt (1571-5), afterwards a Jesuit at Douai and 
English penitentiary at Rome, Thomas Jenkins (i 575-9), 
Fellow of St. John's, Oxford, who came from Warwick, 
John Cottam (1579-81), and Alexander Aspinall (1581- 
1624). The actual curriculum of the school is unknown; 
it was probably based on those planned by Colet for St. 
Paul's in 1518 and Wolsey for Ipswich in 1529, and not 
unlike that in force at St. Bees in 1583. Colet required 
an entrant to be able to 'rede and write Latyn and Eng- 
lisshe sufficiently, soo that he be able to rede and wryte 
his owne lessons'. 1 But London had its sufficiency of 
elementary schools, and the easier standard of Stratford 
was content if a child was 'fet for the gramer scoll or at 
the least wyez entred or reddy to enter into ther accydence 
& princypalles of gramer'. 2 Even the preparation seems at 
first to have been given by an usher attached to the gram- 
mar school, whom the chamberlains paid 'for techyng ye 
chylder'. But by 1604 an independent teacher had for 
some time taught reading and his wife needlework, 
'whereby our young youth is well furthered in reading and 
the Free School greatly eased of that tedious trouble'^ 
In the grammar school itself there would be little but 
Latin; the grammar of Colet himself and William Lilly, 
revised and appointed for use in schools under successive 
sovereigns; some easy book of phrases, such as the Sen- 
tentiae Pueriles of Leonhard Culmann or the Pueriles 
Confabulatiunculae of Evaldus Callus; Aesop's Fables and 
the Moral Distichs of Cato; Cicero, Sallust, or Caesar, Ovid 
in abundance, Virgil, perhaps Horace or Terence; pro- 

1 J. xUv. 66. * M.A. i. 34. a M.A. i. 128$ iii. . 


bably some Renaissance writing, the Bucolica of Baptista 
Spagnolo Mantuanus or the Zodiacus Vitae of Marcellus 
Palingenius. There is not likely to have been any Greek. 
About sixteen a boy was ripe for the University. Sir Hugh 
Clopton had left six exhibitions to Oxford and Cambridge; 
it is not known whether the Corporation continued them. 1 
Such was the environment of the youthful Shakespeare. 
His father, John Shakespeare, was not of native Stratford 
stock; there are no Shakespeares in the gild register. 
John makes his first appearance in Stratford at a leet 
of 29 April 1552, when he was fined one shilling for 
having an unauthorized dunghill in Henley St. He may 
reasonably be identified with a John Shakespeare of 
Snitterfield, who administered the estate of his father 
Richard in 1 561.2 Richard had held land on two manors 
at Snitterfield, in part as tenant to Robert Arden of Wilm- 
cote in Aston Cantlow. He is traceable there from 1 528- 
9, and may possibly have come from Hampton Corley in 
Budbrooke. But his ultimate origin has eluded research. 
When grants of arms to John Shakespeare were applied 
for, the heralds recited ancestral service to Henry VII 
and a reward of lands in Warwickshire. No confirm- 
ing record has been found. Shakespeares were thick 
on the ground in sixteenth-century Warwickshire, par- 
ticularly in the Woodland about Wroxall and Rowington 
to the north of Stratford.^ A Richard Shakespeare was 
in fact bailiff of Wroxall manor in 1534, but his after- 
history is known, and excludes a suggested identity with 
Richard of Snitterfield. Other affiliations have been tried 
in vain. There was some cousinship between the poet and 
a family of Greene in Warwick, which may one day yield 
a clue. John Shakespeare, as administrator to his father, is 
called agrlcola or husbandman. Later his brother Henry 
is found holding land at Snitterfield, where he died, much 
indebted, in 1596. Other documents call John a yeoman. 
Technically a yeoman was a freeholder of land to the 
annual value of fifty shillings, but the description was 
often applied to any well-to-do man short of a gentleman. 

1 Leach 243. a Cf. App. A, no. ii. * C App. E. 


A more precise designation is that of 'glover 1 or *whit- 
tawer'. A whittawer cured and whitened the soft skins 
which were the material of the glover's craft. There can 
be little doubt that John Shakespeare combined these oc- 
cupations, and was a freeman of the Mystery of the 
Glovers, Whittawers and Collarmakers, which was one of 
the Stratford trade gilds. It does not weigh for much 
against the contemporary use of these terms that John 
Aubrey called him a butcher in 1681, and that Nicholas 
Rowe, who made the first attempt at a systematic bio- 
graphy of the poet in 1709, called him a wool-dealer. 1 
Likely enough, he had subordinate activities; he is men- 
tioned as selling both barley and timber. It is possible 
that he is the John Shakespeare who was tenant of Ingon 
meadow in Bishop's Hampton about 1570. He is clearly 
distinct from a John Shakespeare of Clifford Chambers, 
traceable there from 1560 to his death in 1610, and from 
a second John Shakespeare of Stratford, a corvizer who 
dwelt in the town from 1586 to about 1595, and whose 
progeny early biographers confused with his, 2 The poet's 
father married Mary Arden, daughter of that Robert from 
whom the grandfather had held land. He was of the 
ancient house of the Ardens of Park Hall, although the 
precise degree of relationship is uncertain. 3 Mary was a 
co-heiress in a small way. Robert left her some land in 
Wilmcote called Asbies by his will of 1556, and had 
probably already settled other property there upon her. 
She was also entitled to a share in a reversionary interest 
of his Snitterfield estate,-* The marriage must have taken 
place between the date of the will and i$ September 
1558, when a daughter Joan was christened at Stratford. 
She must have died early. There followed Margaret 
(c. 1562, b. 1563), William (c. 26 April 1564), Gilbert 
(c. 1566), a second Joan (c. 1569), Anne (c. 1571, b, 
1579), Richard (c. 1574), and Edmund (c. 1580). The 

' App. C, nos. xiii, xxv. The wool- > Cf. App. A, no. i (a), fc). 

dealer tradition established itself at ' Cf. App. A, no. ii. 

Stratfordj cf. App. A, no. iiij App. Q 4 Cf. App. A, no. iv. 
nos. xlvi, liv. 


actual day of William's birth is unknown. A belief that 
it was April 23, on which day he died in 1616, seems to 
rest on an eighteenth-century blunder. 1 In 1556 John 
Shakespeare bought two houses, one in Henley St. and 
one in Greenhill St. In 1575 he bought two other houses, 
the locality of which is not specified. In 1590 he owned 
two contiguous houses in Henley St. Of these the 
westernmost is now called the 'Birthplace' and the eastern- 
most the ' Woolshop'. But this tradition does not go back 
beyond the middle of the eighteenth century. Certainly 
the 'Woolshop 1 was the purchase of 1556. But whether 
John was living in the 'Birthplace* in 1552, or whether 
he was then living as a tenant in the 'Woolshop 1 , and 
bought the 'Birthplace' in 1575, has not been established. 2 
However this may be, the purchases suggest that John 
Shakespeare prospered in business. And he became 
prominent in municipal life.a Between 1557 and 1561 he 
appears as juror, constable, and 'affeeror' or assessor of 
fines at the court leet, and was himself again fined for 
leaving his gutter dirty and for not making presentments 
as ale-taster before the court of record. In 1561 and 
1562 he was chosen as one of the chamberlains, and it is 
perhaps evidence of his financial capacity that he acted, 
quite exceptionally, as deputy to the chamberlains of 
the next two years. Probably he was already a capital 
burgess by 1561, although his name first appears in a list 
of 1 564. His subscriptions to the relief of the poor during 
that year of plague-time are liberal. In 1565 he was 
chosen an alderman, and in 1568 reached the top of 
civic ambition as bailiff. In view of contemporary 
habits, it is no proof of inability to write that he was 
accustomed to authenticate documents by a mark, which 
was sometimes a cross and sometimes a pair of glover's 
dividers. 4 But it is unfortunate, because it leaves us igno- 
rant as to how he spelt his name. The town-clerk, a 
constant scribe, makes it 'Shakspeyr' with great regularity; 

1 Cf. App. A, no. i(a). 4 C. Sisson, Marks as Signatures 

* Cf, App. A y no. iii. ( Z 9 2 8> 4 Library, ix. 22), is sceptical. 

' CLM.A. passim. 


but some twenty variants are found in Stratford docu- 
ments. 1 After a customary interval John, like other ex- 
bailiffs, was again justice of the peace as chief alderman 
in 1571. A few years later there are indications of a 
decline in his fortunes. Throughout his career there had 
been suits by and against him for small sums in the court 
of record. These, however, appear to have been part of 
the ordinary routine of business transactions as conducted 
in Stratford. An occasional appearance in the High Courts 
involved larger sums. In 1571 John proceeded against 
Richard Quiney, the son of an old colleague Adrian 
Quiney, for ^50. In 1573 he had himself to meet the 
claim of Henry Higford, a former steward of Stratford, 
for j3- He failed to appear and a warrant for his arrest, 
and if not found, outlawry, was issued. He was still in 
a position to spend 40 on house property in 1575. But 
at the beginning of 1577 he suddenly discontinued at- 
tendance at the 'halls' of the Corporation, and never again 
appeared, except on one or two special occasions. In the 
following year he was excused from a levy for the relief 
of the poor, and rated at an exceptionally low amount for 
the expenses of the musters, which still remained unpaid 
in 1 579. His wife's inheritance was disposed of. The small 
reversion in Snitterfield was sold for ^4. Asbies was let 
at a nominal rent, probably in consideration of a sum down. 
The other Wilmcote holding was mortgaged to Mary's 
brother-in-law Edmund Lambert for ^40, to be repaid at 
Michaelmas 1580. It was not repaid. John Shakespeare 
afterwards claimed that he had tendered payment, and 
that it was refused because he still owed other sums to 
Lambert. This he does not seem to have established. He 
also maintained that Lambert's son John, to whom posses- 
sion passed in 1587, agreed to buy the property outright 
from the Shakespeares and their son William, and failed 
to keep his agreement. This John Lambert denied. 
There was litigation in 1589 and again in 1597, but the 
property proved irrecoverable. 2 A singular incident of 
1 580 still lacks an explanation. John Shakespeare and one 

1 Cf. App. E, no. iii. a App. A, no. iv. 


John Audley, a hat-maker of Nottingham, were bound 
over in the Court of Queen's Bench to give security against 
a breach of the peace. They failed to answer to their 
recognizances and incurred substantial fines. That of 
Shakespeare amounted to 20 for his own default and 20 
more as surety for Audley. 1 In 1587 an entanglement 
with the affairs of his brother Henry seems to have added 
to his embarrassment. And in the same year the patience 
of the Corporation was exhausted, and a new alderman 
was appointed in his place, 'for that M r Shaxspere dothe 
not come to the halles when they be warned nor hathe not 
done of longe tyme'. 2 Further court of record suits 
suggest that he was still engaged in business. On 25 
September 1592 he was included in a list of persons at 
Stratford 'hearetofore presented for not comminge moneth- 
lie to the churche according^ to hir Majesties lawes' ; and 
to his name and those or eight others is appended the 
note, 'It is sayd that these laste nine coom not to churche 
for feare of process for debtte'. 3 As arrest for debt could 
be made on Sundays in the sixteenth century, the explana- 
tion seems, in the light of John Shakespeare's career since 
1577, extremely probable. But the notion of a religious 
romance in the drab life of a town councillor has proved 
too much for his biographers, and much ingenuity has 
been spent in interpreting what little is known of John's 
personal and official life on the theory that he was in fact 
a recusant. The theorists differ, however, as to whether 
he was a Catholic or a nonconforming Puritan, and I do 
not think that there is much to support either contention. 
So far as the recusancy returns of 1592 are concerned, the 
positron is clear. They had nothing to do, as has been 
suggested by a confusion of dates, with the anti-Puritan 
legislation of 1593. In 1591 England was expecting a 
renewed Spanish attempt at invasion, and county com- 
missions were issued and announced by proclamations of 

1 M.A. iii. 6Z, from CoramRege Roll, M.A. iv. 148, 159. S topes, Cont. 31, 

AngUa 2o b , 2i a , Trin. 22 Eliz. suggests that this was the corvizer (cf. 

* M.A. lii. 170. vol. ii, p. 3) of whose religion, as of his 

3 S.P.D. Ettz. ccxliii. 76; Grevttie debts, we know nothing. 
Papers (Warwick Castle) 26625 texts in 


October 18,* The instructions to the commissioners are 
known. They were to collect the names of those who did 
not attend church, not to 'press any persons to answer to any 
questions of their conscience for matters of religion', but 
if they found wilful recusants, to examine them as to their 
allegiance to the Queen, their devotion to the Pope or the 
King of Spain, and any maintenance of Jesuits or seminary 
priests. Clearly Catholics alone, and not Puritans, were in 
danger. Beyond the return itself, the only document 
which may bear upon John Shakespeare's religion is the 
devotional will or mtamentum animae found in the roof of 
one of his Henley St. houses in the eighteenth century. 2 
I do not think that this is a forgery, but if the John 
Shakespeare who made it was the poet's father, it pro- 
bably dates from his early life, and carries little evidence 
as to his religious position under Elizabeth. Of his per- 
sonality there may be some genuine reminiscence in a 
seventeenth-century report of how a visitor, as to whose 
identity there must be some blunder, found in his shop 
'a merry cheeked old man that said "Will was a good 
honest fellow, but he durst have cracked a jest with him 
at any time'". 3 Although no longer a member of the 
Corporation, John was called upon to advise them on 
some difficulties with the lord of the manor in 1601. And 
on September 8 of that year he was buried. No will or 
administration is known, but of all the property which 
passed through his hands, only the Henley St. houses are 
found in those of the poet. 

Of William Shakespeare's own early days there is but 
little on record; and it is no part of my object to compete 
with those gifted writers who have drawn upon their 
acquaintance with Stratford and with the plays for the 
material of an imaginative reconstruction. We are told 
by Rowe, presumably on the authority of inquiries made 
by 'Thomas Betterton at Stratford, that his father bred 

1 Proctl. 837, 839; Dasent, xxii. 138, nals (i824),iv. 78; St. G. K. Hyland, A 

174, 1 8 1, 205, 21 1, 227, 245, 3 16, 324, Century of Persecution (1920), 196, 407. 

3*5> 33*> 34> 34*> 3 6 5> 3*9? >*> 47> * Cf. App. F, no. vi. 

5435 xxiii. 163, 188, 1915 Strype, An- 3 App. C, no. vii. 


him at a free school, but withdrew him owing to 'the 
narrowness of his circumstances, and the want of his 
assistance at home', 1 There is no reason to reject this, 
which agrees with what we know of John's financial 
history, or to look for a free school other than that of 
Stratford itself. It is unfortunate that no early lists of 
pupils are preserved there. Rowe's words suggest a some- 
what premature withdrawal. From Stratford also comes 
the earlier report of one Dowdall (1693) that the poet had 
run away from apprenticeship to a butcher.* He does not 
say that his master was also his father. But the story 
shows that Aubrey was not alone in his belief as to John 
Shakespeare's occupation, which he confirms by saying 
that William followed his father's trade and 'when he 
killM a calfe, he would doe it in a high style, and make a 
speech*. 3 Perhaps this really points to some early exercise 
of mimic talent. 'Killing a calf seems to have been an 
item in the repertory of wandering entertainers. 4 Rowe 
also learnt of Shakespeare's early marriage and departure 
from Stratford as a result of deer-stealing. The docu- 
ments concerning the marriage involve a puzzle. 5 It took 
place towards the end of 1582, not in the parish church 
of Stratford, or in any of the numerous likely churches 
whose registers have been searched; possibly in the chapel 
at Luddington, where an entry is said to have been seen 
before the register was destroyed. A licence for it was 
issued from the episcopal registry at Worcester on Novem- 
ber 27, and a bond to hold the bishop harmless was, given 
by two sureties on the following day. The procedure was 
regular enough, and carries no suggestion of family dis- 
approval. But the register of licences gives the bride's 
name as Anne Whateley of Temple Grafton and the bond 
as Anne Hathwey of Stratford. Once more, romantic 

1 App. C, no. xxv. grace behynde a clothe'. J. Raine, 

3 App, C, no. xviii. Priory of Tinchde (Surtees Soc.) 

3 App. C, no. xiii. ccccxli, cites a 'droll performance* 

4 Collier, i. 90, from Account of called 'killing the calf* by an eigh- 
Pracess Mary for Christmas 1521, teenth-century entertainer. 

*Itm pd, to a man at Wyndesore, for * App. A, no. v. 
kylling of a calffe before my ladys 


biography has scented a mystery. The probable solution 
is that the bond, as an original document, is correct, and 
that the clerk who made up the register blundered. Rowe, 
who certainly never heard of the bond, knew the name as 
Hathaway. There were several Hathaways in the parish 
of Stratford, and Anne's parentage is not quite clear. She 
may have been of Luddington, but more likely of Shottery, 
where one Richard Hathaway, of a family which bore the 
alias of Gardner, occupied the tenement of Hewland, 
now known as Anne Hathaway's cottage, and in 1581 
left money to a daughter Agnes, then unmarried. That 
Agnes and Anne, in common usage although not in strict 
law, were regarded as forms of the same name is unques- 
tionable. If there was any element of haste or secrecy in 
the affair, it may have been due to the fact that Anne was 
already with child. A kindly sentiment has pleaded the 
possible existence of a pre-contract amounting to a civil 
marriage. A daughter Susanna was baptized on 26 May 
1583, and followed by twins, Hamnet and Judith, on 
2 February 1585. Guesses at godparents are idle where 
common names, such as Shakespeare's own, are con- 
cerned. But those of the twins, which are unusual, point 
to Hamnet or Hamlet Sadler, a baker of Stratford, and 
his wife Judith. 

The story of deer-stealing has been the subject of much 
controversy. Rowe's account has the independent con- 
firmation of some earlier jottings by Richard Davies who 
became rector of Sapperton in Gloucestershire in 1695.* 
Probably, like Rowe, he drew upon local gossip. Rowe 
says that the exploit was in the park of Sir Thomas Lucy 
of Charlecote, that in revenge for prosecution by Lucy 
Shakespeare made a ballad upon him, and that as a result 
of further prosecution he was obliged to leave Stratford. 
Davies says that he was whipped and imprisoned by Lucy, 
and that in revenge he depicted Lucy as a justice with 
'three lowses rampant for his arms'. There is an obvious 
reference here to Merry Wives of Windsor, i, i, in which 
Justice Shallow complains that Falstaff has beaten his 

1 App. C, nos. OT, xjnr. 


men, killed his deer, and broken open his lodge, and 
threatens to make a Star Chamber matter of it as a riot. 
He is said to bear a 'dozen white luces' in his coat, and 
Sir Hugh Evans makes the jest on louses. The Lucy 
family had held Charlecote since the twelfth century, and 
bore the arms Vair> three luces hauriant argent. 1 The Sir 
Thomas of Shakespeare's day was a prominent justice of 
peace, and represented Warwickshire in the parliaments 
of 1571 and 1 584-5 . 2 It has been held that the whole 
story is nothing but a myth which has grown up about 
the passage in the Merry Wives of Windsor itself. But I do 
not think that, so far as the essential feature is concerned, 
we are called upon to reject it. Deer-stealing was a common 
practice enough, and was regarded as a venial frolic, even 
for young men of higher standing than Shakespeare's, 
Details are another matter. Lucy cannot have whipped 
Shakespeare, if he proceeded under the ruling game law 
of 1563, in which the only penalty prescribed was im- 
prisonment. Possibly, if the affair could be regarded as a 
riot, it might bear a more serious complexion. Nor does 
Lucy appear to have had a 'park', in the legal sense, at 
Charlecote. At his death in 1600 he had only a free- 
warren. It is true that the learned lawyer Sir Edward 
Coke included roe-deer, but not fallow deer, among beasts 
of warren, and although other authorities appear to dis- 
sent, it was certainly so decided in 1339.3 It is also true 
that the Act of 1563 appears to give protection to deer in 
any enclosure then existing, whether it was a legally en- 
closed park or not, and the free-warren at Charlecote may 
well have come under this provision. If the deer was not in 

1 The coat is repeated in four quar- indeed, seems to have been concerned 

tarings, making a dozen luces, on a with pheasants and partridges, not 

Lucy tomb at Warwick (Dugdale, deer (S. D'Ewes, Journals of Partia- 

. 348). mcnts, 321, 327, 363, 366, 369, 373, 

* He led a Committee (4 Mar. 374). 

1585) for considering a Bill for the * G. J. Turner, Select Pleas of the 

preservation of game and grain, which Forest (1901)9 x, from decision of 

did not become law, but he was King's Bench, 'Caprioli sunt bestiac 

replaced on a later Committee, and de warenna et non de foresta eo quod 

there is no reason to assume that he was fugant alias feras de foresta*. 
an active promoter of the Bill, which, 

C 2 


an enclosure protected by the game law, any foray upon 
it would have been no more than a trespass, to be remedied 
by civil action, and neither whipping nor imprisonment 
would have been possible. Rowe, however, only speaks 
of prosecution, and of a ballad, which may have amounted 
to a criminal libel. A single stanza, claimed as the opening 
of this ballad and containing the jest on lousiness, came 
into the hands both of William Oldys and of Edward 
Capell in the eighteenth century, with a history ascribing 
it to information derived from inhabitants of Stratford by 
a Mr. Jones who died in 1703.* If so, it represents a 
third tradition as old as those of Davies and Rowe. A 
complete version produced in 1790 by John Jordan, an 
out-at-elbows poet and guide for strangers in Stratford, 
was probably not beyond his own capacities for fabrica- 
tion. 2 There is, however, yet another alleged fragment of 
the ballad, in a different metre, said on very poor authority 
to have been picked up at Stratford about 1690 by the 
Cambridge professor Joshua Barnes. 3 Its jest on deer 
horns carries the familiar Elizabethan insinuation of 
cuckoldry against Lucy, whose monument to his wife at 
Charlecote lauds her domestic virtues. Obviously the 
fragments are inconsistent, and neither is likely to be 
genuine. But some weight must be attached to the four- 
fold testimony through Davies, Rowe, Jones, and Barnes 
to a tradition of the deer-stealing as alive at Stratford 
about the end of the seventeenth century. There is later 
embroidery which need not be taken seriously. 4 A writer 
in the Biografhia Eritannica (1763) ascribes Shakespeare's 
release from imprisonment to the intervention of Eliza- 
beth; another in 1862, professedly on the authority of 
records at Charlecote, to the Earl of Leicester, who died in 
1588, but to a pique of whom against Lucy the inspiration 
of the Merry Wives of Windsor is none the less attributed. 
Towards the end of the eighteenth century, perhaps owing 
to the discovery that there was no park at Charlecote, the 

1 App. C, nos. xxxiv, xliv. * App. C, nos. xli, xlvi, xlix, li, liv, 

2 App. C, no. xlvi. Ivii, Iviii. 

3 App. C, no. xvi. 


story was transferred to the neighbouring park of Fulbrook. 
This, however, had been disparked by 1557, was not in 
the hands of the Lucy family during Shakespeare's boy- 
hood, but was bought by them in 1615 and subsequently 
re-emparked. Some hit at Sir Thomas is probably involved 
in the Merry Wive$ of Windsor passage. But it would not 
be a justifiable inference that the presentment of Justice 
Shallow as a whole, especially in Henry IF, is in any way 
meant to be a portrait' of the worthy justice. Such por- 
traiture seems, to me at least, quite alien from the method 
of Shakespeare's art. A belief, once established, that a 
distinguished citizen of Stratford had enjoyed a wildish 
youth, may have encouraged the later tales of Shake- 
speare's drinking exploits, for which no origin other than 
the inventiveness of innkeepers need be sought. 1 

We cannot give any precise date to the Hegira. A story 
current at Stratford in 1 8 1 8 that the venison was stolen 
to grace the marriage feast is obviously part of the em- 
broidery. Children can be baptized but not begotten 
without a father, and it is reasonable to suppose that 
Shakespeare was still in Stratford during 1584.* We do 
not know whether his wife was at any time the companion 
of his absence. There is no record of her in London, and 
none in Stratford until after the purchase of New Place. 
But the boy Hamnet was buried at Stratford-on 1 1 August 
1596. On the other hand it is no proof of Shakespeare's 
continuance in Stratford that according to his father's 
allegation he concurred in the offer to sell the Wilmcote 
property to John Lambert about 1587.3 This seems to 
have been only an oral transaction, and wherever William 
was, there is no reason to suppose that he was beyond 
communication with his family. The words of Rowe's 
deer-stealing narrative and of Dowdall's parallel story of 
an escape from apprenticeship imply a migration direct 

1 App. C, nos. xl, xlvi. Dwell at London. W. S. was a Will', 

2 James Yates, servingman, in The but the date is too early, and there are 
Holds ofHumititie, 17, printed with his indications in the book which suggest 
Castell of Courtesie (1582), has colour- a Suffolk author. 

less Verses written at the Departure of 3 App. A, no. iv. 
his friende W. S. When he went to 


to London. But these can hardly be pressed. We have 
no certainty of Shakespeare's presence in London before 
1 592, when a scoffing notice by Robert Greene shows that 
he was already an actor and had already begun to write 
plays. 1 This is no doubt consistent with some earlier 
sojourn, which may have been of no long duration. A 
supposed earlier allusion to him as 'Willy* in Spenser's 
Tears of the Muses (1591) is now, I think, universally 
rejected. 2 We have therefore a very considerable hiatus in 
his history, extending over a maximum of eight years from 
1584 to 1592, to take into account; and it is obvious that 
many things may have occupied this interval, of which 
we are ignorant. Tradition, apart from some statements 
as to his introduction into theatrical life, has done little 
to fill the gap. It was the actor William Beeston who told 
Aubrey that he had been a schoolmaster in the country. 3 
Beeston's memory might well go back to Shakespeare's 
own lifetime, and the statement is not in itself incredible. 
The course at Stratford, even if not curtailed, would 
hardly have qualified him to take charge of a grammar 
school; but his post may have been no more than that of 
an usher or an abecedarius. Nor need we suppose that 
his studies, even in the classics, terminated with his 
school-days. The most direct contemporary evidence is 
that of Ben Jonson, who ascribed to him but 'small Latin, 
and less Greek 7 , writing naturally enough from the stand- 
point of his own considerable scholarship. 4 There has 
been much argument on this subject from the time of 
Richard Farmer's Essay on the Learning of Shakespeare 
(1767), and much enumeration of the books, ancient and 
modern,- erudite and popular, which may, directly or in- 
directly, have contributed material to his plays. The in- 
ferences have not always been discreet. The attempt, for 
example, of Professor Churton Collins to establish a 
familiarity with the Greek tragedians rests largely upon 
analogies of thought and expression which may have had 
a natural origin out of analogous situations. A saner 

1 App. B, no. iiij cf. p. 58. 3 App. C, no. xiii. 

8 App. B, no. i. 4 App. B,.no. xxii. 


judgement is that of Professor Henry Jackson, who after 
a careful survey of the evidence found no exceptional 
learning, but merely an example of a familiarity with 
classical themes, more widespread in Elizabethan days 
than in our own, and not indicative of anything beyond 
a grammar-school education. 1 One may reasonably as- 
sume that at all times Shakespeare read whatever books, 
original or translated, came in his way. It has been asked 
where he found them in the absence of public libraries. 
Did he borrow from the Earl of Southampton, or from 
Jonson or from Camden, or did he merely turn over their 
leaves on the stationers' stalls? These are foolish questions, 
to which I proposeno answers. We do not know what library 
he had of his own. Many volumes bear his signatures, and 
they are mostly forgeries. Some claim has been made for 
an Aldine Metamorphoses of 1502, for a translated Mon- 
taigne of 1603, and for a translated Plutarch of i6i2. 2 
Sceptics point out that he named no books in his will; 
there was no reason why he should, unless he wished^to 
dispose of them apart from his other chattels. As with 
Shakespeare's general learning, so with his law.. His writ- 
ing abounds in legal terminology, closely woven into the 
structure of his .metaphor. Here, again, the knowledge 
is extensive rather than exact. It is shared by other 
dramatists. Our litigious ancestors had a familiarity with 
legal processes, from which we are happily exempt. But 
many have thought that Shakespeare must have had some 
professional experience of a lawyer's office, although this 
was not the final opinion of the much-quoted Lord Camp- 
bell; and there are those who will tell you by which 
Stratford attorney he was employed. This is only one 
instance of the willingness of conjecture to step in where 
no record has trod. On similar grounds Shakespeare has 
been represented as an apothecary and a student of medi- 
cine. That he was a soldier rests on a confusion with one 
of many William Shakespeares at Rowington; and that he 

' Was Shakespeare of Stratford the Jackson O.M. (1926). 
Author of Shakespeare's Plays and * Cf. p. 506. 
Poems? in R. St. J, Parry, Henry 


was a printer on the fact that Richard Field, who issued 
his poems, came from Stratford. In a sense, these con- 
flicting theories refute each other. However acquired, a 
ready touch over a wide space of human experience was 
characteristic of Shakespeare. For some of this experience 
we need look no farther than Stratford itself; the early 
acquaintance with hunting and angling and fowling; the 
keenly noted observation of rural life, mingling oddly with 
the fabulous natural history which contemporary literature 
inherited from the medieval bestiaries. For the rest, we 
cannot tell where it was garnered. But we are entitled to 
assume a roving and apperceptive mind, conversant in 
some way with many men and manners, and gifted with 
that felicity in the selection and application of varied 
knowledge, which is one of the secrets of genius. What 
has perhaps puzzled readers most is the courtesy of Shake- 
speare; his easy movement in the give and take of social 
intercourse among persons of good breeding. We have 
not, indeed, to think of the well-to-do inhabitants of 
Stratford as boors; but the courtesy of a provincial town 
is not quite the courtesy of a Portia. Probably the true 
explanation is that, once more, it is a matter of appercep- 
tiveness, of a temper alive, not only to facts, but to human 
values. A recent writer has suggested, with no support 
either from records or from probability, that Shakespeare 
did not grow up at Stratford at all, but was carried off in 
childhood to learn both his courtesy and his Latin, like 
Drayton, as a page in the household of Sir Henry Goodere 
of Polesworth near Coventry. 1 No such guess is needed, 
nor can a similar one reasonably be based on a statement 
of a not very reliable writer that Fulke Greville, Lord 
Brooke, the son of Sir Fulke Greville, of Beauchamp's 
Court, Alcester, claimed to have been the 'master' of both 
Shakespeare and Ben Jonson. Greville was a patron of 
poets, but there is nothing to show to what period the 
claim, if it was made, related. 2 

A sprinkling of Shakespearfcs in the southern Cotswolds 

1 A. Gray, A Chapter in the Early * App, C, no. x. 
Life of Shakespeare (1926). 


and a 'tradition* cited in 1848 of a residence by the poet 
at Dursley have led to the supposition that he may there 
have found a temporary refuge. Justice Shallow is asked 
to countenance William Visor of Woncote against 
Clement Perkes of the hill; and it is pointed out that a 
Vizard was bailiff at Dursley in 1612, and that neighbouring 
families of Vizard of Woncot or Woodmancote and Perkes 
of Stinchcombe Hill long survived. 1 The conjunction of 
names might be more than a coincidence. But Perkes itself 
was a common name in Warwickshire and Worcestershire 
as well as in Gloucestershire, and in fact a Clement Perkes 
was born at Fladbury, Worcestershire, in 1568. Many 
Shakespearean names occur in Stratford documents. On 
most little stress can be laid. It is intriguing to find a 
Fluellen and a Bardolfe in the same list of recusants as 
Shakespeare's father, although Shakespeare knew Bar- 
dolfe as the title of a nobleman, and a Stephen Sly of 
Stratford z to match the Christopher and Stephen Sly of 
The Taming of the Shrew> although 'Slie' and 'Don Christo 
Vary' were already given by the source-play of A Shrew. 
Christopher Sly, however, calls himself of Burton Heath, 
presumably Barton-on-the-Heath, where the Lamberts 
dwelt; and Marian Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, must 
belong to the Wincot which lies partly in Clifford Cham- 
bers and partly in Quinton, where a Sara Hacket was 
baptized in 1 59 1 . 3 It is perhaps only a fancy that Clement 
Swallow, who sued John Shakespeare for debt in 1559, 
may have contributed with Sir Thomas Lucy to the 
making of Justice Shallow of Clement's Inn. 4 It seems to 
have been a Restoration stage-tradition that a ghost scene 
in Hamlet was inspired by a charnel-house in Stratford 
churchyard; one would have thought the setting more 
appropriate to the grave-digger scene. 5 Possibly the 
drowning of a Katherine Hamlet at Tiddington on the 
Avon in 1579 may have given a hint for Ophelia's end. 6 

1 Madden, 86, 372. 4 10 N.Q. x. 286. 

2 H.P. ii. 296, says 'Christopher* in s App. C, no. xxi. 
error. 6 M.A. iii. 50. 

Cf. App. C, no. viii. 


All this amounts to very little. Whatever imprint Shake- 
speare's Warwickshire contemporaries may have left upon 
his imagination inevitably eludes us. The main fact in his 
earlier career is still that unexplored hiatus, and who shall 
say what adventures, material and spiritual, six or eight 
crowded Elizabethan years may have brought him. It is 
no use guessing. As in so many other historical investiga- 
tions, after all the careful scrutiny of clues and all the 
patient balancing of possibilities, the last word for a self- 
respecting, scholarship can only be that of nescience. 

4 Ah, what a dusty answer gets the soul, 
When hot for certainties in this our life!' 


[Bibliographical Note. The earlier part of this chapter is based on the 
discussions in The Mediaeval Stage (1903) and The Elizabethan Stage 
(1923). In the latter part I have attempted to track more closely the 
downfall of Queen Elizabeth's company from 1588, and to restate my 
conjectures as to the relations of the companies of the Lord Admiral, Lord 
Strange, the Earl of Pembroke, and the Earl of Sussex during 1589-94 
in the light of criticisms of The Elizabethan Stage by W. W. Greg in 
R.E.S. i. 97, 257, and of the revival of an older view as to the origin of 
Strange's men in T. W. Baldwin, The Organisation and Personnel of the 
Shakespearean Company (1927). Most of the records of London and pro- 
vincial performances from 1 5 88 are in Appendix D. Those for the Queen's 
and Sussex's men must be supplemented from J. T. Murray, English 
Dramatic Companies (1910), subject to some corrections and additions 
from sources named in Eliz. Stage, ii. i and the Bibl. Note to Appendix D.] 

I HAVE elsewhere described, with such elaboration of 
detail as the envious wallet of time would allow, the 
gradual establishment of a habit of dramatic representa- 
tion in this country; tracing its analogies to certain 
mimetic elements in the customs of the folk, its remark- 
able emergence in the ritual of a church traditionally 
hostile to the histrfoneS) its relations to outstanding features 
of medieval society, to the communal celebrations of 
religious and trade gilds, to the ludi of courtly halls, to 
the varied repertory of the wandering minstrels. And 
I have endeavoured to show how the medieval passed 
into the Tudor stage; how humanism brought a new 
interest in the drama as an instrument of literary and moral 
education and even of theological and political contro- 
versy; how a special class of minstrels, the servants of the 
Crown or of noble lords, made acting an economic pro- 
fession and built the permanent London theatres; and 
how the theatres, buttressed on one hand by a paying pub- 
lic and on the other by court patronage, held their own 
against puritan opposition, until the Tudor polity itself 
went under in the civil and religious dissensions of the 
seventeenth century. 

Any intelligible study, however, of the life and work of 

28 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

the playwright Shakespeare must have its own prelude in 
a retrospect of the state of theatrical affairs, as they stood 
at the opening of the last Elizabethan decade, when that 
playwright made his first appearance. The story may be- 
gin with the year 1583, which was something of a turning- 
point in the history of the playing companies. In that year 
Edmund Tilney, the Master of the Revels, was called 
upon by Sir Francis Walsingham, the Secretary of State, 
to select a body of players for the direct service of the 
Queen, Probably Walsingham was acting in the illness of 
the Lord Chamberlain, the Earl of Sussex, within whose 
department the oversight of court revels properly fell. 
The Queen's men were taken from the most important 
of the existing companies, those of the Earl of Sussex 
himself, of the Earls of Leicester and Oxford, possibly of 
the Earl of Derby and Henry Lord Hunsdon. All these 
had made recent appearances at court. They received the 
rank of Grooms of the Royal Chamber, probably without 
fee, and were entitled to wear the royal livery and badge. 
The reasons for the appointment must be matter for con- 
jecture. An old royal company of interlude players, in- 
herited from the Queen's father and grandfather, had been 
allowed to die out some years before. In a sense the new 
men took their place. But it was not the practice of 
the economical Elizabeth to multiply household officers 
merely as appanages. And it may be suspected that the 
departure of 1583 was an incident in the endeavour of 
the government to assert a direct control of the London 
stage against the claims of the City corporation. If so, it 
was not the only such incident. A power to regulate public 
entertainments within their area belonged to the traditional 
privileges of the City, as of other incorporated towns. 
Moreover, a proclamation issued early in Elizabeth's own 
reign, on 16 May 1559, had specifically imposed upon 
mayors of towns, as upon justices of peace elsewhere, the 
duty of licensing plays, and had instructed them to dis- 
allow such as handled 'matters of religion or of the 
gouernaunce of the estate of the common weale'. Ob- 
viously many of the circumstances of plays were proper 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 29 

matter for local control. A local authority was best quali- 
fied to fix suitable times and places, and to take precautions 
against disorder, structural dangers, and infection. The 
plan would work well enough, so long as the authority was 
reasonable, and did not, as is sometimes the temptation 
of licensing authorities, try to convert a power of regula- 
tion into a power of suppression. Whether mayors and 
justices were equally well qualified to act as censors of 
the subject-matter of plays may be doubted; and even if 
qualified, they might not always see eye to eye with the 
central government. In any case the City of London had 
not, from the point of view of Elizabeth's government, 
proved altogether reasonable. The Queen required plays 
for her Christmas 'solace' at court; and, in order that these 
might be economically provided, it was desirable that the 
players should have an opportunity of making their living 
through public performances. The Corporation was com- 
posed of heads of households and employers of labour, 
who found that plays distracted their servants and ap- 
prentices from business and occasionally led to disorder. 
Moreover they were not uninfluenced by a growing 
puritan sentiment, which was hostile to plays in the ab- 
stract as contrary to the word of God, and found them in 
the concrete, even if they did not touch upon religion and 
state, full of ribaldry and wantonness. There had been 
friction for some years before 1583. The Privy Council 
had made more than one attempt to persuade the City to 
delegate the licensing -to independent persons, no doubt 
such as would be acceptable to the Privy Council itself. 
This had been refused, and a hint of the royal prerogative 
had been given in a patent to the Earl of Leicester's men 
in 1 574, which gave them authority to perform, in London 
and elsewhere, such plays as had been allowed by the 
Master of the Revels. The City responded in the same 
year with a complete code of play-regulations for their 
area. These need not have been oppressive, if not applied 
oppressively. But the players probably had their mis- 
givings; and they contributed perhaps more than the 
Privy Council itself to the defeat of the City, by setting up 

30 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

theatres just outside its boundaries, where they came under 
the control of county justices, less active and interfering 
than the mayor and his brethren. It was not a complete 
remedy. In summer the apprentices flocked to the plays 
even farther from their masters' doors, but in winter the 
comparative inaccessibility of the new houses made re- 
course to the City inn-yards still inevitable. Meanwhile 
the puritan sentiment gprew, and a spate of controversial 
sermons and treatises lifted the City into an attitude of 
complete opposition to the stage. Short epidemics of 
plague, during which the Privy Council and the City were 
agreed that plays must be inhibited, brought a complica- 
tion. It proved easier to get restraints established than to 
get them withdrawn when the plague was over. In 158 1 
the patience of the Privy Council was exhausted, and the 
precedent of 1574 was followed and extended in a new 
commission to the Master of the Revels, giving him a 
general power over the whole country, not merely to 
license individual plays, but to 'order and reforme, 
auctorise and put down* all plays, players, and playmakers 
'together with their i " 

ana ma) 

necessary, be overruled. No doubt the Master of the 
Revels, while carrying out the wishes of the Privy Council 
as to a general toleration for the players and as to censor- 
ship, would still normally leave details of times and places 
to local control. Perhaps, in exasperation, the City now 
committed a tactical blunder. An order was sent to the 
gilds, requiring all freemen to forbid the attendance of 
their 'sarvants, apprentices, journemen, or children* at 
plays, whether within or without London. It was a brutum 
fulmen, which could not possibly be made effective, par- 
ticularly beyond the liberties. But the City would not 
accept defeat, and it was probably during 1582 that, in 
defiance of the Master of the Revels and his commission, 
an ordinance was passed, replacing the regulations of 
1574 by a simple prohibition of plays within the area. 
The establishment of a company with the status and dig- 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 31 

nity of royal servants may reasonably be regarded as a 
counter-move on the side of the government. The City 
was overawed to the extent of appointing two inn-yards 
for the Queen's men in the winter of 1583. In the follow- 
ing year they again proved recalcitrant. The players 
brought their case before the Privy Council, and there was 
an elaborate exchange of arguments and proposals, as to 
which no formal decision is upon record. But it is clear 
from events that the City were defeated. They had obtained 
a small concession in a standing prohibition of plays on 
Sundays. But on the main issue they had to submit to the 
power of the royal prerogative, and to content themselves 
with showing cause for restraints of plays as often as pos- 
sible, and pressing for the extension of such restraints to 
the Middlesex and Surrey suburbs. 

The Queen's men remained the dominant London com- 
pany for several years after 1583. They did regular 
service at court during each Christmas season, according 
to an old routine, in plays carefully chosen by the Revels 
officers and rehearsed before the Master. Seventeen plays 
are credited to them for the five winters from 1583-4 to 
1587-8. It may have been a subsidiary object of their 
formation to reduce the number of companies which the 
City was called upon to tolerate. If so, it was partly 
counteracted by the fact that the Queen's men proved 
strong enough to occupy more than one playhouse. There 
was a protest against this in the negotiations of 1584, and 
it may explain an arrangement by which the Curtain was 
taken for a term of seven years from Michaelmas 1585 
as an 'easer' to the Theatre. 1 But the relations between 
companies and playhouses during this period are very 
obscure. James Burbadge, the owner of the Theatre, who 
had been a member of Leicester's company, was not 
chosen for the Queen's, and seems to have entered the 
service of Lord Hunsdon. Certainly, however, the 
Queen's made some use of the Theatre, and some use of 
various inn-yards during the winter. And in the hot days 
of summer a section of them, or perhaps the whole com- 

1 Nebraska Univ. Studies, xiii. 125. 

32 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

pany if plague was sporadic, travelled the provinces, where 
their livery generally secured them exceptionally liberal 
rewards. The older companies, robbed of their best men, 
became insignificant. Derby's disappear from the records; 
Leicester's, Sussex's, Oxford's, and Hunsdon's survived in 
the provinces. There were occasional visits to London. 
One play was given at court by Leicester's, one by a new 
company under the Lord Admiral, Lord Howard of 
Effingham, and one by the same men in combination with 
those of Hunsdon, who had become Lord Chamberlain in 
1585. There were also several performances of Activities', 
vaulting and tumbling, led by one John Symons, whose 
patron seems to have been generally Lord Strange, but in 
one year the Earl of Oxford. The chief rivals of the 
Queen's men at court were, however, the boy players. 
They were to some extent a survival. In the earlier Tudor 
dramatic annals the great choirs of St. Paul's and the 
Chapel Royal had been at least as conspicuous as the 
professional companies. In 1576 a playhouse had been 
constructed in an old building of the Dominican priory at 
Blackfriars, and this seems to have been occupied about 
1 583 by boys drawn from both these choirs, together with 
others from the private chapel of the Earl of Oxford. The 
boys followed the classic and literary tradition which 
humanism had brought into the drama, and their Masters 
employed academic scholars, such as George Peele and 
John Lyly. No doubt this served them better at court, 
than with the general London public. Lyly seems to have 
been the moving spirit of the Blackfriars combination, and 
soon after it broke down in 1585, he began a new series 
of plays for Paul's. The Queen's men, on the other hand, 
probably contented themselves with pieces of more old- 
fashioned and popular types. To this period may belong 
the early chronicle histories of The Famous Victories of 
Henry the Fifth and The True Tragedy of Richard the Third. 
The titles of the lost Phillyda and Choryn and Felix and 
Phitiomena carry more suggestion of literary influence. 
But evidently the Queen's relied largely on the pens of 
their own .members. One of these was Robert Wilson. 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1-592 33 

He is described in 1581 as capable of writing a 'librum 
aliquem brevem, novum, iucundum, venustum, lepidum, 
hilarem, scurrosum, nebulosum, rabulosum, et omni- 
modis carnificiis, latrociniis et lenociniis refertum*. His 
extant plays are of the nature of 'moralities'. Another was 
Richard Tarlton, of part of whose Seven Deadly Sins a 
*plot' or tiring-house outline is preserved. It shows an 
attempt at utilizing classical themes. But Tarlton's con- 
siderable reputation was evidently in the main that of a 
joyous jester and buffoon. 

The death of Tarlton in September 1588 probably 
shattered the fortunes of the Queen's men; and with it 
begins a very difficult phase of company history. Matters 
were complicated through the controversy aroused in 1 589 
by the anti-ecclesiastical tracts published under the name 
of Martin Marprelate, In this both the Queen's men and 
the Paul's boys took part, possibly at the instigation of 
Richard Bancroft, afterwards Bishop of London. If so, 
Bancroft's action was officially disapproved, and the players 
suffered. The Paul's company was suppressed. The 
Queen's was not, but was probably required to leave 
London for a time. 'Vetus Comedia hath been long in the 
country', says a pamphlet of October 20. It will be as well 
to track the Queen's men to their end. Wilson had ap- 
parently left the company before Tarlton's death, and 
among its leaders were now John Laneham and John 
Dutton, two of the original members, and John Button's 
brother Laurence. Moreover, John Symons had entered 
the Queen's service, possibly bringing with him some or 
all of Strange's troop of acrobats. This had presumably 
taken place before 14 August 1588, when *the Quenes 
plaiers' and 'the Quenes men that were tumblers' were 
rewarded together at Bath. 1 How far Symons maintained 
an organization independent of the older company it is 
impossible to say, in view of the habit of dividing forces, 
which evidently still continued. The travels of 1 58 8 were 
prolonged until the end of the year, and extended as far 

x Wardle in, from Account from dale of August xvij.s, more given by 
c. Whitsun 1588 to c. Whitsun 1589, M* Mayour to the Quenes men that 
'given to the Quenes plaiers the xiiij" 1 were tumblers z.s*. 

3142*1 D 

34 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

north as Lancashire, where Queen's men were at the Earl 
of Derby's house of New Park on October 16. The next 
day came 4 M r Button*. He was probably John Button 
of Button in Cheshire, but the actor Buttons may have 
been kinsmen of that house. On November 6 Queen's 
men were at Leicester, on Becember 10 at Norwich, on 
Becember 17 at Ipswich, evidently returning London- 
wards. There were Queen's plays at court on 26 Becem- 
ber 1588 and 9 February 1589, and an entry in the Revels 
Accounts of a pair of hose for 'Symmons the Tumbler' 
suggests that he contributed 'activities'. 1 The travels of 
1589 were long and widespread; the Marprelate episode 
was no doubt a factor. The movements of more than one 
group seem to be involved. A tour started at Maidstone 
in January, and went by a southern circuit through Canter- 
bury (c. Feb. 2), Bover, Winchester (Mar. 10), Glouces- 
ter (Apr. 17), Leicester (May 20). Here the reward was 
to 'others moe of her Mayestyes playars', distinct therefore 
from the 'certen of her Maiests playars' whose reward 
for 6 November 1588 appears in the same account. It 
may have been this or another group who are found 
moving northwards on an eastern circuit, at Ipswich 
(May 22), Aldeburgh (May 30), and Norwich (June 3). 
And either from Leicester or from Norwich Queen's men 
made their way into the north. They were at Lathom in 
Lancashire, another of Lord Berby's houses, on July 12 
and 13. Then track is rather lost of them. But they are 
more likely to have stayed in the north than to have 
returned to London, since Queen's men were again visit- 
ing Lord Berby, this time at Knowsley in Lancashire, on 
September n to 13, and on September 22 Lord Scrope 
wrote to the English ambassador in Scotland that they had 
been for ten days in Carlisle. He had sought them out 
from 'the furthest parte of Langkeshire', on hearing that 
King James wished them to visit Scotland, and they had 

1 I abandon the conjecture (Elix. the Queen's, but it does not follow that 

Stage, ii. 119) that Simons was tern- the Queen's gave none, and they already 

porarily with the Admiral's. It is true had tumblers at Bath (cf. supra} on 

that the Chamber Account ascribes 14 August 1588. 
(App.D) 'activities' to them and not to 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 35 

returned to Carlisle, where they had evidently already 
been. Perhaps they never visited Scotland, as a projected 
royal wedding was deferred. These dates show that it must 
have been a second or third group who started an autumn 
tour, again on the southern circuit, through Maidstone 
(Aug. 2), Canterbury, Dover, Winchester (September), and 
Bath (November). Less precisely dated visits to Coventry, 
Oxford, and Reading may belong to either of these tours, 
or even to the winter of 1588, but the Nottingham ac- 
counts for 15889 clinch the argument for the duplication 
of companies, by recording separate payments to 'Symons 
and his companie beinge the Quenes players' and to 'the 
Quenes players, the two Buttons and others'. By the 
Christmas of 1589 the Queen's must have purged their 
summer's offence, since they played at court, under John 
Dutton and Laneham, on December 26 and March i. 
There is no mention of Symons, or of 'activities' by the 
Queen's. The provincial visits of 1 5 90 are mainly undated. 
We may conjecture a summer tour, by Ipswich to Norwich 
(Apr. 22), then perhaps by Leicester and Nottingham to 
Knowsley (June 25-6) where 'M r Dutton' was again a 
visitor, thence through Shrewsbury (July 24), Bridgnorth 
and Ludlow (July), and home by Coventry and Oxford. 
An autumn tour may have included Faversham, Can- 
terbury (Aug. 10), Winchester, Marlborough, Exeter, 
Gloucester, and Leicester (Oct. 30). And that Symons was 
a participant in the summer tour may perhaps be inferred 
from the numerous records of 'activities'. At Ipswich the 
reward was for 'the Torkey Tumblers', at Norwich for 
'the Quenes men, when the Turke wente vpon Roppes at 
Newhall', at Leicester for 'certen playars, playinge uppon 
ropes at the Crosse Keyes', at Bridgnorth for 'the Quenes 
players at the dancing on the rop', at Coventry for 'the 
Queenes players and the Turk'. From Shrewsbury we have 
a fuller account of the rope-dancing by 'the Queen's 
Majesty's players and tumblers', and here the Turk be- 
comes an 'Hongarian'. 1 The Christmas of 1590 seems to 

1 Owen and Blakeway, Hist, of in I Shropshire Arch. Soc. Trans, iii. 
Shrewsbury, i. 385; W, A. Leighton 318, from Taylor MS. 

D 2 

36 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

give new evidence of division. Two separate warrants 
were issued on 7 March 1591; one to the Buttons for 

four plays from December 26 to February 14; the other 
to Laneham for a single play on January i. 1 And on the 
day after Laneham's performance a group of Queers men 
was already starting at Maidstone for the southern circuit. 
It can be tracked through Faversham, Canterbury (Jan. 
n), Dover, Southampton (Feb. 14), Winchester, Bath, 
Gloucester, perhaps Shrewsbury, Coventry (Mar. 24), and 
Oxford. And at Southampton, Gloucester, and Coventry, 
probably already at Faversham, it was working in com- 
bination with the Earl of Sussex's men. 2 By May it had 
crossed to the eastern counties, and here it was possibly 
reinforced by a second group, for at Ipswich rewards were 
paid to 'the Quenes players' on May 15 and to 'another 
company of the Quenes players' on May 28. The two 
groups may have gone on together to Norwich (June 23), 
where they pass out of sight. Meanwhile, as in 1590, a 
fresh tour set out on the familiar round by Maidstone 
(May 28), Faversham (June 2), Southampton (June 29), 
Winchester, and Bath. At Southampton *M r Button' is 
noted as the leader. Then the records fail, but Queen's 
men visited the Earl of Rutland at Winkburn in Notts on 
August 1 8, and were at Coventry both on August 24 and 
October 20, coming and going, maybe, from the marches or 
the north. The Shrewsbury visit may belong here. They 
were only called upon for one court play, on 26 December 
1591, but they are not traceable on the road again until 
March 30 at Canterbury. An allusion in Nashe's Sum- 
mer's Last Will and Testament suggests that at some time 
in 1592 a Queen's 'vice' was to be seen at the Theatre. 
Several tours are again probable during this year, but one 
can only definitely link dates for Ipswich (May i), Nor- 
wich (May 27), and Leicester (June 10); then Southamp- 
ton (Aug. 3) and Bath (Aug. 22); then Cambridge (c. 
Sept. i) and AldeburgH (Oct. 1 1), where the Queen's were 
rewarded 'at the same time' with Lord Morley's men; and 

1 Efa. Stage, iv, 163. 

* The Faversham entry says Essex's, but I suspect an error. 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 37 

finally Canterbury (Nov. 17) and Southampton (Nov. 26). 
But they were also at some time during 1591-2 at Maid- 
stone, Rochester, Winchester, Gloucester, Stratford-on- 
Avon, Coventry, Worcester, Nottingham, and again at 
Aldeburgh. At Cambridge they got into trouble with the 
University authorities, who feared infection from the 
plague then raging in London, and 'one Dutton* is again 
mentioned as their leader. 1 A letter from the Vice-Cham- 
berlain in December indicates that they would be pre- 
vented by the plague from, playing at court, and in fact 
they did not play, although other companies did. 2 Their 
provincial records for 1593 are comparatively few; the 
plague had made visitors from London unwelcome in the 
country. A tour seems to have started in a new direction 
by Oxford (Feb. 25). Queen's men were at Leicester 
(June 20), York (September), and Norwich (Oct. 1 8), and 
at some time in 15923 at Ipswich, Maidstone, Ply- 
mouth, Coventry, and Stratford-on-Avon.* They made 
their last appearance at court on 6 January 1594, and an 
attempt to maintain a footing in London is indicated by 
a season which they began, with their old associates of 
1591, the Earl of Sussex's men, at the Rose or perhaps 
Newington Butts on April i. It only lasted eight days. 
Henslowe's diary records a reconstruction on May 8, 
'when they broke and went into the contrey to playe' ; 4 and 
for the rest of the reign they are merely a provincial com- 
pany. No more is heard of the Buttons, or of Laneham. 5 
How long the relations of Symons with the Queen's, what- 
ever they were, lasted is uncertain. But there were still 
'tumblers that went on the Ropes' at Coventry in 1592-3, 
and 'a wagon in the pageant for the Turke* at Gloucester 
in 1594-5. These notices do not specifically name the 

There is, of course, a strong element of conjecture in 
all this mapping of travels, and the disclosure of new 

1 M.S.C. i. 190. belongs to August 1594. 

2 M.S.C. L 198. 4 Henslowe ii. 277. 

3 A Southampton visit ascribed by 5 A forged reference to him is in the 
Murray, ii. 399, to August 1593 really MS. of Sir Ttomas More (cf. p. 512). 

38 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

records may easily supplement or modify its details. But 
I think it is clear that, from the death of Tarlton onwards, 
the Queen's men were gradually losing their hold of 
London. Their court performances only number eleven 
for 1588-94 against the seventeen for 15838. In the 
country their livery served them better. But they had to 
split their forces, to join up with stray companions of the 
road, and to diversify their entertainments with acrobatic 
tricks. They were reverting to the hand-to-mouth exis- 
tence of the medieval minstrels. It is perhaps signifi- 
cant that in 1592 the City took advantage of the situation 
to suggest that public plays were no longer necessary, and 
that the Queen's service might be adequately provided 
for by 'the privat exercise of hir Maiesties own players in 
convenient place'. They approached Archbishop Whit- 
gift, and the cynical ecclesiastic advised them to bribe the 
Master of the Revels. But the money was not forth- 
coming, and other players took the place of the Queen's. 
The disorganization of the hitherto dominant company 
was, indeed, an obvious opportunity for new men. Two 
companies come to the front. One is the Lord Admiral's; 
the other Lord Strange's. The Lord Admiral's have the 
clearer origin. In 1583 a provincial company of the Earl 
of Worcester's men included Robert Browne, James Tun- 
stall, Edward Alleyn, Richard Jones, and Edward Browne. 
The last notice of Worcester's men is in March 1585, the 
first of the Admiral's in June 1585; and the connexions in 
which some of these names recur later make it a safe con- 
jecture that, when Lord Howard became Lord Admiral 
in 1585, some or all of Worcester's men entered his 
service. The Admiral's played at court, both indepen- 
dently and in conjunction with Lord Hunsdon's, in the 
winter of 1585-6. They travelled in 158 6, were in London 
by January 1587, but not at court, travelled again in 1 58 7, 
and returned to London by November. About Novem- 
ber 1 6 they were unfortunate enough to kill a woman and a 
child during a shooting scene, which must have been the 
execution of the Governor of Babylon in 2 Tamburlaine^ 
v. i. They now disappear from the provincial records 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 39 

until 1588-9, when a visit to Cambridge is recorded. 
Possibly they found retirement discreet; possibly they 
merely gave up travelling. They were at court on 29 
December 1588 and n February 1589 with plays, and 
also with 'feates of activity and tumblinge'.. Symons had 
no monopoly of these. About this time there was probably 
some reconstruction of the company, for on 3 January 
1589 Edward Alleyn purchased from Richard Jones his 
share of a stock of play-books and apparel which the two 
had held jointly with John Alleyn and Robert Browne. 
John Alleyn was a brother of Edward. He is described as 
'servant* to the Admiral in 1589. Other purchases of 
theatrical apparel by the Alleyns took place between 1589 
and 1591, and to two of these James Tunstall was a wit- 
ness. It is possible that Robert Browne was also bought 
out, since he was at Leyden in October 1590, and was 
accompanied by Jones on a second foreign expedition in 
February 1592. Conceivably their companions, John 
Bradstreet and Thomas Sackville, may also have been 
Admiral's men, but there is no proof of it. 

The origin of Strange's men is a more difficult problem. 
It is natural, at first sight, to regard them as a development 
from their lord's earlier players of Activities' ; and this, 
indeed, they may to some extent have been. Symons did 
not necessarily take the whole troop with him when he 
joined the Queen's. A reward was paid to Strange's at 
Coventry during the year ending on All Saints' Day 1588, 
but this may have been either before or after Symons's 
departure. Something is known of the pre-history of four 
men who were ultimately members of or associated with 
the later company. John Heminges is stated in his grant 
of arms to have been a servant of Queen Elizabeth, pre- 
sumably as an actor. He is not, however, in a list, perhaps 
not quite complete, of 30 June 1588. William Kempe was 
almost certainly the 'Will, my Lord of Lester's jesting 
plaier', mentioned in a letter from Utrecht of 24 March 
1586. A performance half dramatic, half acrobatic, of 
The Forces of Hercules was given before Leicester at 
Utrecht on April 23, and in August and September 

40 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

'Wilhelm Kempe, instrumentist' was at the Danish 
court of HelsingSr. Here too were George Bryan and 
Thomas Pope, with three other 'instrumentister och 
springere', Thomas Stevens, Thomas King, and Robert 
Percy, of whom there is no English record. A sixth, 
Thomas Bull, killed one of his fellows in a brawl, and 
presumably met his own end as a result. 1 The five, but 
not Kempe, went on to Dresden and were there until 1 7 
July 1587. This is doubtless the 'company of English 
comedians' which Heywood says that Leicester com- 
mended to the King of Denmark. 2 Their less dramatic 
acquirements were naturally prominent abroad. It does 
not of course follow that these comedians, except perhaps 
Kempe, had anything to do with Leicester's own long- 
lived English company. The Earl may have picked them 
up on the Continent itself. Thomas Bull, at least, had 
already paid a visit to Denmark in 1579-80.3 Moreover, 
Leicester's men were playing at court and elsewhere in 
England during the period of the continental travels. 
TJiey went on appearing in the provinces up to and after 
the Earl's death on 4 September 1 58 8, and if a Faversham 
record of 1 58 9-90 can be trusted, they were not even then 
disbanded. 4 Possibly they continued for a time in the service 
of the Countess, who had in fact similarly retained the com- 
pany of her first husband, the Earl of Essex, for some years 
after his death. There is not therefore much support for 
the theory that Leicester's men passed in a body to Strange, 
It has been recently revived by Professor Baldwin, who 
thinks that the continental travellers of 1586-7 were not 
Leicester's players but his musicians, and that on their 
return they amalgamated with his players under the pat- 
ronage of Strange. Leicester no doubt had musicians, who 
were at Oxford in 1 5 8 5-6, possibly before he went abroad.* 

1 J. L. E. Dreyer in T.LS. for Soc. Trans, i. 218) extracted the entry 

21 January 1926, citing C. Thranc, (0.1869). I have not been able to con- 

Fra Hofuiolemes Tid (1908)5 V. C. suit them. 

Ravn, Engehker Instrument r (1870). 5 Boas, St. and the Universities, 19. 

* Eltz. Stage, iv. 52. 3 Ibid. ii. 272. Baldwin, 76, confuses them with the 

4 The accounts were in a bad con- players and musicians of Edward Lord 

dition when J. M. Cowper (j R. Hist. Dudley, who were at Coventry (Mur- 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 41 

I do not think that the evidence allows us to say more than 
that as early as 10 June 1592 Kempe, who had probably 
been a Leicester's man, had joined either Strange's or, as 
will be seen, the Admiral's ; l and that, at some time before 
1590-1, Bryan and Pope, who had been on the Continent, 
had done the same. There are too many possibilities for 
confidence. Hunsdon's, who disappear after 158990, 
may have contributed an element, as well as the Queen's 
and Strange's tumblers. And some or all of the conti- 
nental company may have taken service on their return 
with Leicester's brother, the Earl of Warwick, or may even 
have been his men before they went abroad. Warwick's 
tumblers were at Bath in 1587-8, just about the time of 
the return, and Warwick's players at Ipswich in 1592. 
The real patron must then have been the Countess, since 
Warwick died on 20 February 1590, and left no heir. 

Strange's were not at court for the 1588-9 season. But 
on the following November 5 both they and the Admiral's 
were playing in the City. Perhaps one or both companies 
had failed to take warning from the fate of the Queen's 
and to keep their tongues off Martin Marprelate, for the 
Lord Mayor made an attempt to suppress plays, on the 
ground that Tilney 'did utterly mislike the same'. The 
Admiral's submitted, but Strange's showed contempt and 
performed at the Cross Keys, with the result that some of 
them found themselves in prison, 'Admiral's' are named 
as at court during the following winter, giving a play on 
28 December 1589 and 'activities' on 3 March 1590, 
'Strange's' are not, nor are any provincial visits ascribed to 
them during 1590. 'Admiral's', however, did an autumn 
tour, perhaps by Ipswich, Maidstone, Winchester, 
Marlborough (July 25), Gloucester (Sept. 17), Coventry, 
and Oxford. 2 In the following winter there were plays at 
James Burbadge's house, the Theatre, and here events 
occurred about which John Alleyn was afterwards called 

ray, ii. 238) in 1582-3. There is of six men in 1572 (Ettz. Stage, ii. 86). 

course nothing in his point that five z Jfewaaind Knack to Know a Knave. 

men were at Dresden and that the same * Possibly some of these visits may 

'taUsmanic' number are in the patent to have been late in 1589. There were 

Leicester's men of 1574. Leicester had two to Ipswich. 

42 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

upon to give evidence in a Chancery case. 1 The dispute 
was between Burbadge and one Mrs. Brayne, who claimed 
a share in the profits of the house, and charged Burbadge 
with contempt of court in disregarding an order which 
she considered to be in her favour. She paid several visits 
to the Theatre to demand her rights. One of these was 
in November 1590, and a deposition by John Alleyn on 
6 February 1592 suggests that it was on this occasion 
that James Burbadge spoke words of contempt, and his 
youngest son Richard beat one of Mrs. Brayne's supporters 
about the legs with a broomstick. Alleyn claims that he 'did 
as a servaunt wishe the said James Burbage to have a 
conscience in the matter'. Burbadge, however, said that 
*yf ther wer xx contempts and as many iniunccions he 
wold withstand them all'. And then Alleyn goes on to 
relate that 'when this deponent about viij daies after came 
to him for certen money which he deteyned from this 
deponent and his fellowes, of some of the dyvydent money 
betwene him & them, growinge also by the vse of the said 
Theater, he denyed to pay the same. He this deponent 
told him that belike he ment to deale with them, as he did 
with the poor wydowe, meaning the now complainant, 
wishing him he wold not do so, for yf he did, they wold 
compleyne to ther lorde & M r the lord Admyrall, and 
then he in a rage, litle reuerencing his honour & estate, 
sayd by a great othe, that he cared not for iij of the best 
lordes of them all/ Alleyn was, however, called upon to 
make a second deposition in reply to interrogatories on 
behalf of Burbadge, in which he was pressed as to the 
date of these events, and on 6 May 1592 he said that they 
took place 'about a yere past'. The words about the Ad- 
miral were spoken in the 'attyring house' in the presence 
of James Tunstall. I think that we must take this as 
Alleyn's most considered dating, and treat the tenure of 
the Theatre by the Admiral's as lasting to at least about 
May 1591. The court records for the winter of 1590-1 
are on the face of them rather odd. The Privy Council 

' Cf. JSltx. Stage, ii. 389. The de- Wallace in Nebraska University 
positions cited are printed by C. W. Studies, xiii. i. 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 43 

Register notes the issue of a warrant for plays and 'ac- 
tivities' on December 27 and February 16 by the * Ad- 
miral's' ; the Chamber Accounts show payments for these 
days to 'George Ottewell and his companye the Lord 
Straunge his players'. It is difficult to resist the inference 
that the two companies whose names are thus treated in 
official documents as equivalent had in fact appeared at 
court together. And if so they had probably been 'exer- 
cising' their court plays together in public performances, 
under an arrangement with James Burbadge which put the 
Theatre at their disposal. They may also have had the 
Curtain, since the lawsuit already cited tells us that it still 
served as an 'easer' for the Theatre. But the relations with 
Burbadge indicated by John Alleyn's evidence could 
hardly fail to bring any such arrangement to an end. Pro- 
vincial notices suggest an autumn tour of 'Admiral's' 
men in 1591, closely resembling that of 1590, by South- 
ampton, Winchester, Bath, Gloucester, and Oxford. 
'Strange's' seem also to have been at Bath. And there is 
some reason to suppose that by the summer of 1 59 1 a new 
London head-quarters had already been found at Philip 
Henslowe's Rose on the Bankside. The Alleyn papers at 
Dulwich contain an order by the Privy Council with- 
drawing a previous one which had restrained 'Strange's' 
men from playing there and had enjoined them to play- 
three days a week at Newington Butts. With it are peti- 
tions from the company and from Henslowe and the 
Thames watermen asking for the concession. Unfor- 
tunately neither order is recorded in the Privy Council 
Register, and the documents themselves are undated. The 
players' petition, however, was written 'nowe in this longe 
vacation'. It recites that 'oure companie is greate, and 
thearbie our chardge intollerable, in travellinge the coun- 
trie, and the contynuance thereof wilbe a meane to bringe 
us to division and seperacion'. Henslowe's petition begs 
that he may have leave 'to have playinge in his saide howse 
duringe such tyme as others have'. It does not look, 
therefore, as if there had been any general inhibition of 
plays. This seems to point to 1591 rather than to 1592, 

44 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

the only other possible year. In 1592 there was such a 
general inhibition on June 23, and it was to last to 
Michaelmas, and therefore through the 'longe vacation'. 
If I am right in supposing that 'Strange's' as well as the 
'Admiral's' had broken with James Burbadge in the 
spring of 1591, it seems necessary to refer to some earlier 
date two tiring-house 'plots' or book-keeper's outlines of 
plays, since both of them show Richard Burbadge as a 
performer, and he is not likely to have gone with the com- 
panies when they left his father. 1 One, now at Dulwich, 
is of The Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins. It gives 
an almost complete cast, which includes, as players of male 
characters, Mr, Brian, Mr. Phillipps, Mr. Pope, R. Bur- 
badg, R. Cowley, John Duke, Ro. Pallant, J. Holland, 
John Sincler, Tho. Goodale, W. Sly, Harry, Kitt, and 
Vincent; and as players of women, T. Belt, Saunder, Nick, 
R. Go., Will, and Ned. Two speakers and some others, 
probably mute, have no names assigned; the speakers, 
who are presenters, may have already been cast in a plot 
for the first part. The other plot, also probably once at 
Dulwich, is of The Dead Man's Fortune. Unluckily, it is 
not completely cast. The actors named are Robert Lee, 
Darlowe, 'b. Samme', and Burbage, who possibly played 
a messenger, but more probably a substantial part. To 
the inferences to be drawn from these plots I shall return. 
No less than six court plays are credited to 'Strange's' 
during the winter of 1591-2, on December 27 and 28, 
January I and 9, and February 6 and 8 ; none to the 'Ad- 
miral's'. The Queen's and Sussex's also appeared, once 
each, and a little-known company of the Earl of Hertford's 
men. On February 1 9 Henslowe begins a daily record for 
'Strange's' which lasts to June 23, Then came the inhibi- 
tion provoked by some recent disorders, probably arising 
from an agitation (cf. p. 511) against alien artisans 
in London; and before its termination at Michaelmas 
plague had broken out. 'Strange's' were at Canterbury by 
r 3> aad are a ko traceable at Gloucester, Coventry, 

1 Dr. Greg is revising the texts of Henslowe Papers, 127, for his Dramatic 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 45 

Cambridge, and Oxford (Oct. 6). Notices of 'Admiral's* 
men during this year are scanty. There is a possible one 
at Aldeburgh and a certain one at Ipswich on August 7. 
But here the Admiral's were not alone. The payment is 
apparently a joint one to the Earl of Derby's and to the 
Lord Admiral's players. By Derby's I think we must as- 
sume Strange's to be here meant. The Earl does not seem 
to have had a company after 1583. Strange's men would 
naturally have worn the Stanley badge, and a mistake is 
intelligible. 1 Late in the year, on December 19, 'Ad- 
miral's' men were at Leicester. The plague, however, 
lulled a little about Christmas, and plays at court became 
possible. Two were given by a company which at this 
juncture makes a rather surprising first appearance in 
dramatic annals, that of the Earl of Pembroke, and three 
by 'Strange's'. These men also got another month's 
season with Henslowe. But fresh plague led to a fresh 
inhibition on 28 January 1593, and on January 31 or 
February i the season ended. 'Admiral's' men were al- 
ready on the road as far afield as Shrewsbury on February 
3. Apparently they were weak in numbers, for at York 
(April) they were performing with a company described 
as Lord Morden's, possibly an error for Lord Morley's; 
at Newcastle (May) certainly with Lord Morley's; at Ips- 
wich with Lord Stafford's. Their name appears alone at 
Norwich and Coventry. 'Strange's 1 seem to have remained 
idle for a time, perhaps hoping for the plague to subside. 
Edward Alleyn was at Chelmsford with companions on 
May 2, and a record of 'Strange's' at Sudbury in 1592-3 
may perhaps identify them. On May 6 a special travelling 
warrant was issued by the Privy Council in favour of 
'the bearers hereof, Edward Allen, servaunt to the right 
honorable the Lord Highe Admiral, William Kempe, 
Thomas Pope, John Heminges, Augustine Phillipes and 
Georg Brian, being al one companie, servauntes to our 
verie good Lord the Lord Strainge'. It is a little uncertain 

1 A recusant list of 1592 (Bowden, coat with the eagle and child on his 
Religion of Shakespeare, 79) includes a sleeve*. 
priest, who 'uses to travel in a blue 

46 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

whether or not the 'being al one companie' is meant 
to cover Alleyn; in any case he was maintaining some 
personal relation to the Admiral, For a tour which fol- 
lowed, and in which Alleyn took part, his correspondence 
enables us to eke out the provincial records; and to learn 
that members of the company not named in the warrant 
were Richard Cowley, a boy of Alleyn's called John Pyk, 
and a 'M r Douton', who is less likely to be one of the 
Duttons, than Thomas Downton, who was later an Ad- 
miral's man. The route was by Maidstone, Southampton, 
Bath, Bristol (Aug. i), Shrewsbury, Leicester, and 
Coventry (Dec. 2). Alleyn, writing from Bristol, con- 
templated visits to Chester and York, and a return to 
London about All Saints' Day. Possibly the prolonged 
plague caused a change of purpose. The letters show that 
the company was travelling as 'Strange's'. It is Derby's at 
Leicester and Coventry, but on September 25 Strange had 
succeeded to the earldom. At Shrewsbury the payment 
was to 'my 1. Stranges and my 1. Admyralls players'. Prob- 
ably the two tours crossed here. The 'Admiral's' appear to 
have gone on to Bath and to have found fresh associates in 
Lord Norris's men. Again an error for Morley's is possible. 
Two other companies of interest to us were also on the 
road in 1593. One was Sussex's, who like 'Strange's' ob- 
tained on April 29 a special travelling warrant from the 
Privy Council. They went far afield, to Sudbury, Ipswich, 
York (August), Newcastle (September), and Winchester 
(Dec. 7). The other was Pembroke's, the new court as- 
pirants of the preceding Christmas. They made for their 
Lord's quarters in the Welsh marches, covering Rye, Bath, 
Ludlow, Bewdley, Shrewsbury, York (June), Coventry, 
Leicester, Ipswich. At Bath the careful chamberlains 
record a receipt of two shillings for a bow that 
Pembroke's men had broken. It is an allegory, for soon 
Pembroke's were themselves broken. There are no precise 
dates, and it is possible, although not very likely, that some 
of the visits may belong to the end of 1592. But that 
Pembroke's were in the provinces during 1593 we learn 
from a letter of September 28 in that year from Henslowe 



Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 47 

to Alleyn. They had by then, he says, been at home for 
five or six weeks, because they could not save their charges 
with travel, and had been obliged to pawn their apparel. 
The only company at court for the Christmas of 1 593-4 
was the Queen's. But there was a short cessation of plague, 
and Henslowe's book records a short season from Decem- 
ber 26 to February 6 by Sussex's men. This had been 
purely a provincial company from 1585 up to its appear- 
ance at court on 2 January 1 592. But we found it working 
with a travelling group of Queen's men in 1591, and after 
a fresh outbreak of plague and a consequent inhibition on 
February 3, this relation was now renewed in a second 
short season with Henslowe from I to 9 April 1594. 
Meanwhile 'Derby's' men were at King's Lynn, Ipswich 
(May 8), and Southampton (c. May 15) where in their 
turn they had combined with Morley's. The Earl had in 
fact died in the north on April 1 6, and although this does 
not appear to have been known at Southampton, when the 
company reached Winchester on May 16 they were 
described as the Countess of Derby's. 'Admiral's' men 
were with Henslowe from May 14 to 1 6. The plague was 
now really over, and a reorganization of the companies 
became possible. Already on May 10 and again on June i 
the City were considering some 'cause' concerning plays 
recommended to them by the Countess of Warwick. 1 It 
is just conceivable that she had contemplated maintaining 
a London company. If so, nothing^cameofit On June 5 
a company of Chamberlain's men is heard of for the first 
time since 1588-9. It was playing with Admiral's men, 
probably on alternate days, for Henslowe at Newington 
Butts. The arrangement seems only to have lasted 
until June 1 5. The companies then parted, and to the end 
of the reign shared the supremacy of the London stage. 
On October 8 Lord Hunsdon was negotiating with the 
City for the housing of 'my nowe companie* at the Cross 
Keys. 2 Most of the men named as 'Strange's' on 6 May 

* The first record is in Elix. Stage, shortly be printed in M.S.C, 
iv. 3155 the second has been recently * EKx. Stage, iv. 316. 
found by Miss A. J. Mill, and will 

48 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

1593, William Kempe, Thomas Pope, John Heminges, 
Augustine Phillips, and George Bryan, became Chamber- 
lain's men. So did others of whom we have heard, Richard 
Burbadge, Richard Cowley, John Duke, William Sly, John 
Sincler. Edward Alleyn, on the other hand, continued or 
resumed his service with Charles Howard, the Lord 
Admiral, and with him went Richard Jones, now back from 
the Continent, James Tunstall, and Thomas Downton. 
John Alleyn is not traceable as a player after 1591. There 
is some slight evidence connecting George Ottewell or 
Attewell with the Queen's in 1595. 

This complicated chronicle raises some problems 
which are perhaps beyond solution. What was the precise 
nature of the association between the Admiral's and 
Strange's men, and what period did it cover? My im- 
pression is that the court documents of 1590-1 enable us 
to put its beginning not later than 1590, and that from 
that year to 1594 it amounted to an amalgamation. It 
may have begun a little earlier, with the expulsion from 
the City in November 1589. It is of course only for 
1590-1 that the identity at court of the 'Admiral's' and 
'Strange's' is demonstrated, but the reputation of Edward 
Alleyn about 1592 renders it almost incr'edible that he was 
never .called upon to appear before the Queen between 
1590-1 and 1594-5; and if he did so appear, it can only 
have been as a 'Strange's' man in 1591-2 and 1592-3. 
In these years 'Strange's' are at least as predominant at^ 
court as the Queen's men had been in their day. In 1593* 
there is the clearest evidence that Alleyn, although retain- 
ing a personal status as a servant of the Admiral, was 
travelling as a 'Strange's' man. I take it that the Ad- 
miral's, weakened by the loss of Jones and Browne, and 
perhaps later of John Alleyn, were numerically a sub- 
ordinate element in the amalgamation. Possibly only 
Edward Alleyn and James Tunstall were left of the nucleus 
which came from Lord Worcester's service. Obviously 
the personal gifts, histrionic and financial, of Edward 
made him the effective manager of the company. I think 
it best to call it 'the Alleyn company'. Officially, in Lon- 



Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 49 

don at least, it seems to have been known as 'StrangeY. 
The provinces are another matter. The records of 1590 
and also, but for an isolated visit of 'StrangeY to Bath, 
those of 1 59 1 are for the 'Admiral's'. Both names are used 
in 1592 and 1593, and during these years probably two 
groups were travelling. There are distant records for 'Ad- 
miral's' at dates when 'Strange's' cannot have been far 
from London, Sometimes the paths of the tours intersect, 
and the groups play together. This is not in itself proof 
of corporate unity, since both groups also play on occasion 
with outside companies, such as Morley's. I interpret the 
facts as follows. At the beginning of the amalgamation, 
the best of the old Admiral's and Strange's men remained 
continuously in London. But at certain seasons a group, 
perhaps largely composed of hired men, was sent on tour. 
One may guess at either James Tunstall or George Otte- 
well as the leader. The arrangement is closely analogous 
to that of the Queen's men during the same period. 
Probably Queen's men could always pass in the provinces 
as Queen's men. I do not know what evidence of identity 
travelling royal servants had to carry with them. Noble- 
men's players certainly required a warrant from their lord. 
Probably the amalgamated company still held the Ad- 
miral's warrant, as well as Lord Strange's, and could use 
this for a travelling group. The London group, at the 
time of the petition of 1591 or 1592, were a 'greate' com- 
pany, and feared 'division and separation' if they travelled. 
They had the example of the decaying Queen's men before 
them. But plague drove them to form a second travelling 
group, and I think it also drove them to still further 
'division and separation'. The sudden appearance in a 
time of plague of Pembroke's men, only to be extinguished 
after a brief career, is perhaps best to be explained as a 
budding off from the great amalgamation. A third travel- 
ling warrant was thus secured. Again, either Ottewell 
or Tunstall, neither of whom is named in the travelling 
warrant for 'StrangeY, may have taken charge. Probably 
some play-books, formerly in use by the Alleyn company, 
were handed over as an outfit for the new venture, and in- 


50 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

eluded Titus Andronicus> not necessarily in the extant ver- 
sion, and 2, 3 Henry 71. The stage-directions to the latter 
preserve the names of five actors, Gabriel, Humfrey, 
Sinklo, John Holland, and Bevis. The first two names, 
not very usual, may point to Gabriel Spencer and Humfrey 
JefFes, of whom we have later record. All five may have 
been written into the books either before or after the 
transfer to Pembroke's, and the only one who can be 
shown to have gone with that company is Bevis, who is 
traceable in a gag found only in the reported version of 
2 Henry VI as given by them. 1 Holland and Sincler 
are in the 'plot' of Seven Deadly Sins already described. It 
is even conceivable that the names may have been added 
by the Chamberlain's on a revival, although Sincler alone 
or the five men is known to have passed to them. If so it 
must have been an early one, since Spencer and JefFes 
were with the later Admiral's by 1597. In any case 
the Chamberlain's revived the plays before 1599 
and left the names standing. 2 If they then used the 

original prompt-book, Sincler may have taken his old part, 
and the other names may have been allowed to pass as 
character-names. There is nothing to suggest that Pem- 

broke's, once constituted, did not form a distinct company. 
Henslowe's letter of September 1593 suggests that they 
were financially independent. But indeed we know 
nothing of the financial conditions under which the 
amalgamation itself worked. The fate of Pembroke's after 
September 1 593 is obscure. I formerly thought that there 
was an unbridged interval of three or four years before a 
company of the same name reappeared in I597- 3 But 
visits traced at Ipswich on 7 April 1595 and in 1595-6, 
and at Oxford in 1595-6, may point to some continuity 
of existence.* It may be significant that Gabriel Spencer 
and probably Humfrey JefFes belonged to the Pembroke's 
company of 1597. 

An earlier statement of these views has met with some 

1 Cf. p. 288. * Cf. p. 289. sites, 20. The Ipswich notices, found 

3 Eliz. Stage, ii. 131. by Mr. V. B. Redstone, will be printed 

4 Boas, Shakespeare and the Unwer- in M.S.C. 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 51 

demur from Dr. Greg, than whom no scholar is better 
acquainted with the evidence or brings more acute powers 
of criticism to its analysis. 1 The main point at issue is as 
to the date at which the amalgamation, which Dr. Greg 
prefers to call an alliance, began. He notes that in the 
Burbadge lawsuit John Alleyn spoke of the Admiral as 
the 'lord' of the players at the Theatre, and that the only 
names mentioned are those of Alleyn himself and of Tun- 
stall, both previously Admiral's men. And he thinks that, 
although the Admiral's and Strange's gave joint per- 
formances at court during 1590-1, they remained in- 
dependent away from the court; that the Admiral's used 
the Theatre and Strange's the Curtain; that James Bur- 
badge had some control of both houses; that Richard 
Burbadge played indifferently for both companies; and 
that a closer association between them only began at the 
Rose in 1 59 1 . I doubt whether there is sufficient material 
for any confident decision between these conflicting hypo- 
theses. I will therefore only comment that I know no other 
contemporary example of an actor playing concurrently 
for two companies; and that there is an a priori probability 
that the joint performance of plays at court had been 
preceded by joint 'exercise' in public. It is true, however, 
that in 1611-12 the King's and Queen's men, certainly 
distinct companies, seem to have combined for two plays 
at court. 2 The date of the amalgamation is not without 
importance, since it bears on the interpretation of the 
plots. These, from the presence of Richard Burbadge, 
should be earlier than the breach with his father. On 
Dr. Greg's theory each must represent the self-contained 
personnel of one of the constituent companies of the later 
amalgamation. If so, he is probably right in assigning the 
Deadly Sins to Strange's, whom he assumes to have been 
at the Curtain, while the Admiral's were at the Theatre. 
The cast in this plot is nearly complete, and it does not 
include Edward or John Alleyn or Tunstall from the Ad- 
miral's. It is true that two important parts, those of 
Henry VI and Lydgate, are not cast, and two of these 
' R.E.S. i. 257. Cf. App. D. 

E 2 

52 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

actors might have filled them. Dr. Greg suggests that they 
were filled by Heminges and Kempe. Neither part, how- 
ever, looks like such a jesting part as Kempe would 
naturally have taken. There is, as it happens, a 'Will 
foole' in the plot, but it was taken by John Duke. More- 
over, if this was a play of 1590-1, one would expect 
George Ottewell, the court payee for that year, to have 
appeared in it, and one of the vacant parts should on any 
theory have been his. It weighs, I think, a little against 
Dr. Greg's view that the plot, which in that view belongs 
to a performance with which Alleyn was not concerned, 
was found at Dulwich. This he puts down to an 'accident' 
during the later amalgamation. The Dead Man's Fortune 
plot, on the other hand, Dr. Greg ascribes to the Admiral's 
at the Theatre. I am not sure that this follows very rigidly, 
even from his own premisses. Besides Burbadge's, only 
three names of minor actors occur. They are not in the 
Deadly Sins plot, but might have taken the uncast Sins. 
One of them, Robert Lee, had a business transaction 
with John Alleyn and Thomas Goodale in 1 593 (cf, p. 5" 1 3), 
which proves nothing as to his origin, and recurs in the 
next century as a Queen Anne's man. No one of them 
is found in the later Admiral's company, unless *b. Samme' 
is Samuel Rowley. On my theory, which puts the amal- 
gamation earlier than the parting with the Burbadges, it 
is not possible to say more of the plots than that they 
represent performances either by the Admiral's or by 
Strange's or by the Alleyn company, and that they carry 
no evidence as to which members of that company, as we 
find it in 1593, had originally been Admiral's and which 
Strange's men. We are left without any ground for as- 
suming that the formation of the Chamberlain's and the 
later Admiral's men in 1594 represents a segregation of 
elements which had already been distinct before the amal- 
gamation. And we cannot tell at what dates, by 1592 and 
1593 respectively, Kempe and Heminges had joined one 
of the companies concerned. 

Finally, something must be said of the surviving 
dramatic texts which can be related to the companies 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 53 

operative in 1583-94. During the greater part of the period 
only a few were printed. The vicissitudes of the Chapel 
probably account for Lyly's Sappho and Phaon (1584) 
and Campaspe (1584) and Peele's Arraignment of Paris 
( l $*4)\ the suppression of Paul's certainly does for Lyly's 
Endymion (1591), Galathea (1592), and Midas (1592). 
From the Queen's came The Troublesome Reign of King John 
(1591) and presumably Wilson's Three Lords and Three 
Ladies of London (1590); from the Admiral's Tamburlaine 
(i 590). The Spanish Tragedy (S. R. 1592) had been played 
by Alleyn's company at the Rose just before its publication, 
although, like Arden ofFaversham (1592) and Soliman and 
Perseda (S. R. 1592), it was printed without any indication 
of its origin. New conditions were evidently brought 
about by the reactions of the plague upon theatrical 
finance and organization. From the close of 1592 to 
the spring of 1595 about thirty plays, certainly or 
probably from the companies of 1583-94, were registered 
or printed. Most of these are extant in contemporary 
prints; some only in prints of rather later date; some not 
at all. A few were probably rescued by the companies; 
thus the Admiral's Dr. Faustus (1604) and Jew of Malta 
(1633) were re-entered on the register before their ulti- 
mate publication; and so was King Leir (1605) which 
had been played by Sussex's and/or the Queen's for Hens- 
lowe in 1594. Several plays, again, carry no evidence of 
their company. Title-pages or register entries ascribe to 
the Queen's Friar Bacon and Friar Bungay (1594), True 
Tragedy of 'Richard III (i 594), Selimus (1594), Old Wive's 
Tale (1595), Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth (1598, 
S.R. 1594), Clyomon and Clamydes (1599), and the lost 
Valentine and Orson (S, R. 1595 and 1600). We can pro- 
bably add Wilson's Cobbler's Prophecy (i 594), and possibly 
James IV (i 598, S, R. 1 594) in which John Adams, trace- 
able as a Queen's man in 1588 but not in any company 
thereafter, seems to have been an actor. To the 'Admiral's* 
belonged Orlando Furioso (1594), Wounds of Civil War 
(1594), Battle of Alcazar (1594), Two Angry Women 
of Abingdon (i599)> and Massacre at Paris (n. d.); to 

54 . THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

'Strange's' Fair Em (n. d.)> to 'Ned Allen and his Com- 
panie' A Knack to Know a Knave (1594)- From these 
companies probably also came A Looking Glass for London 
and England (1594), played by 'Strange's' at the Rose in 
1592. To Pembroke's are ascribed Edward II (1594)* 
Taming of a Shrew (1594), and 2 Contention of York and 
Lancaster (1595). Presumably i Contention (1594) had a 
similar origin. To Sussex's are ascribed George a Greene 
(*599> S. R. 1599) and Titus Andronicus (1594). But the 
title-page of Titus Andronicus is exceptionally full, and 
claims performance of the play by Derby's, Pembroke's, 
and Sussex's. The evidence from a single name on a title- 
page must not be pressed too far. It is probably that of 
the last company which performed the play before it was 
printed. But this was not necessarily the company for 
which it was written. Play 'books' might be sold, either by 
a company as a whole, or by individual actors to whom 
they had fallen on a division of a joint stock. In some such 
way we must suppose that the Alleyn company acquired 
the Queen's play of Seven Deadly Sins\ possibly also the 
Looking Glass, since this, like James IV, seems at one time 
to have had John Adams in its cast. A company, again, 
might obtain permission to perform a play, of which the 
'book* was not their own property. Bacon and Bungay 
bears the name of the Queen's. They had played it, alone 
or with Sussex's, at one of Henslowe's houses in 1594. 
And in the same season had been played Jew of Malta, 
Ranger's Comedy, and King Leir. But Strange's had 
already played both Bacon and Bungay and Jew of Malta 
at the Rose, and both Jew of Malta and Ranger's Comedy 
certainly remained in the hands of the later Admiral's men. 
Probably, therefore, the Queen's and/or Sussex's only gave 
these three plays under some arrangement with Alleyn. 
To whom Leir belonged we cannot say. On the other 
hand, I do not think that performance by a company of 
a play already printed is proof at this period of ownership 
by that company before publication, although it is obvious 
that the possession of parts and properties would facilitate 
a revival. A definite protection of acting rights in pub- 

Chap. II THE STAGE IN 1592 55 

lished plays by the Lord Chamberlain seems to have been 
a seventeenth-century development. Alleyn's company 
had not, therefore, necessarily possessed Edward I 
(1593), which the later Admiral's possibly revived; 
nor do I think that the Chamberlain's had any 
special rights in Titus Andronicus> A Shrew, Famous Vic- 
tories^ Troublesome Reign, Leir, or Mucedorus. If so, a 
company could not very well sell a play both to another 
company and to a bookseller. It is likely that the book- 
sellers did not get all their 1593-5 stock in the same way. 
The ruin of the Queen's and Pembroke's may have led to the 
dispersal of their repertories in bulk or of the shares of dis- 
banded individuals. Titus Andronicus probably passed from 
Pembroke's to Sussex's and 2, 3 Henry PI from Pembroke's 
to the Chamberlain's. Even solvent companies may have 
parted with plays to meet temporary financial needs, or 
because they had become obsolete. In particular, versions 
adapted to the reducedpersonnelof travelling groups may not 
have been thought suitable for the London theatres. And 
some of the printed texts appear to rest, not upon tiring- 
house 'books', but upon surreptitious sales by actors or 
book-keepers of versions reconstructed from memory. 

The fragmentary nature of the evidence makes a 
dramatic history of the period extremely difficult. The 
work of even the best-known writers is uncertain in extent 
and chronology, and much of it has come down in muti- 
lated form. Marlowe's authorship of Tamburlaine is a 
matter of inference; it is only by an accident that we know 
the Spanish Tragedy to be Kyd's. Some at least of the 
anonymous plays are probably due to untraced pens. No 
satisfactory attribution of so remarkable a piece as Arden 
ofFaversham has been arrived at. We know that Thomas 
Watson was an active playwright, but nothing passes 
under his name, Henslowe was paymaster in the later 
'nineties to many penmen whose earlier careers are ob- 
scure. Henry Porter, for example, is now known to have 
been at work by 1589.* One may venture the suggestion 
that the rise of Alleyn was due, not only to his own powers 

' H. C. Hart, 3 Hen. VI (Arden), xlii. 

56 THE STAGE IN 1592 Chap. II 

as an actor, but also to his early employment of better 
dramatists than the Queen's could boast. All of Marlowe's 
known work, except Dido and possibly Edward //, seems 
to have been for companies with which he was associated. 
The Spanish Tragedy may have been written for him; if 
not, he made use of it later. Peele, Lodge, Greene, Porter, 
all contributed to his repertory. He carried on the tradi- 
tion of the literary drama, which Spenser mistakenly be- 
lieved to have perished with Lyly. I do not doubt that the 
Queen's, in their post-Tarlton days, attempted to follow 
suit. It is only an impression that they put their money 
on Greene as against Marlowe. I do not suggest that 
Marlowe, or Greene, or any other writer not himself an 
actor, was tied to a particular company. We know that 
Greene's university education did not prevent him from 
selling Orlando Furioso first to the Queen's, and then, 
when the Queen's were in the country, to the Admiral's. 


[Bibliographical Note. I have dealt fully with the Chamberlain's-King's 
men and their theatres in chh. xiii, xv, xvi, and xvii of The Elizabethan 
Stage (1923). Later books of importance are T. W. Baldwin, The Organi- 
zation and Personnel of the Shakespearean Company (1927); G. Hubbard, 
On the Site of the Globe Playhouse of Sh. (1923); W. W. Braines, The 
Site of the Globe Playhouse, Southwark (2nd ed. 1924). Some theatrical 
documents are collected and discussed in Appendix A, nos. vii, viii, and 
Appendix D. The books of wider range noted for ch. i are relevant for 
this chapter also. On Shakespeare's conjectured travels are K. Elze, Shs 
muthmasslicheReisen.(i%T$,; Essays, 254); Tk.JLlz^Italienische 
Skizzen zu St. (1878-80, J. xiii. 137; xiv. 156; xv. 230), Venezianische 
Skizzen zu SL (1899); G. Sarrazin, Sh. in Mantua? (1894, J. xxix.249), 
Neue italienische Skizzen zu Sh. (1895-1906, J. xxxi. 165; xxxvi. 95; 
xxxix. 62; xiii. 179), St. in Mailand? (1910, J. xlvi. 114); E. Koppel, 
War Sh. in Italien? (1899, J. xxxv. 122); W. Keller, Zu Shs italie- 
nischer Reise (1899, J. xxxv. 260); E. Sullivan, Sh. and the Waterways of 
North Italy (1908, Nineteenth Century, Ixiv. 215), Sh. and Italy (1918, 
ibid., Ixxxiii. 138, 323); J. S. Smart, Sh. 9 s Italian Names (1916, M.L.R. 
xi. 339); J. Stefansson, St. at Elsinore (1896, Contemporary Review., Ixix. 
20); H. Logeman, Sh. te Helsingor (1904, Melanges Paul Fredericy)\ 
W. J. Lawrence, Was SL ever in Ireland? (1906, J. xiii. 65). Shake- 
speare's personal relations to other writers are discussed in R. Simpson, 
The School of Sh. (1878); J. H. Penniman, The War of the Theatres 
(1897); R. A. Small, The Stage Quarrel between Ben Jonson and the So- 
called Poetasters (1899); G. Sarrazin, Nym and Ben Jonson (1904, J. xl. 
213); G. G. Greenwood, Ben Jonson and Sh. (1921); A. Gray, How Sh. 
'Purged' Jonson (1928); A. Acheson, Sh. and the Rival Poet (1903), 
Mistress Davenant (1913), Sh. 9 s Lost Tears in London (1920), Sh.'s Sonnet 
Story (1922); J. M. Robertson, Sh. and Chapman (1917). Theories as to 
his 'topical* handling of contemporary history, and in particular the lives 
of James I and the Earl of Essex, must be sought in the literature of the 
plays (ch. ix), especially Mid. N. Dr., Rich. II, Hen. V, Ham., Oth., Macb., 
K. Lear, Timon, Temp., and of the Sonnets (ch. xi). C. C. Slopes has 
written The Life of Henry, Third Earl of Southampton (1922). There is 
none of the Earl of Pembroke, beyond tike D.N.B. Conflicting views on 
Sh/s religion may be found in J. Carter, Sh. Puritan and Recusant (i 897), 
and H. S. Bowden, The Religion of Sh. (1899). A pleasant estimate of 
his character is that of H. C. Beeching, The Benefit of the Doubt (1916, 
Sh. Homage, 120).] 

THE intricacies of the last chapter have at least shown that 
1592 to 1594 were years of theatrical disorganization. It 


is during this period of hasty seasons broken by ^ plague, 
of the setting up and ruin of ephemeral companies^ that 
Shakespeare first emerges as player and playwright. 
Robert Greene, from his squalid death-bed on 3 Septem- 
ber 1 592, left a literary testament. It foreshadows the end 
of an epoch, that of the domination of the stage by Uni- 
versity pens. Greene's eclipse was shortly to be followed 
by that of Marlowe on 30 May 1593. But Marlowe and 
two others, probably Peele and either Nashe or Lodge, 
were the objects of Greene's address To those Gentlemen 
his Quondam Acquaintance, that spend their wits in making 
plaies. 1 It is a bitter attack upon the companies, who have 
been beholden to him for the lines they have spoken and 
have now deserted him. They will desert his friends like- 
wise, since they have now a writer of their own. 

Yes trust them not: for there is an upstart Crow, beautified with 
our feathers, that with his Tygers hart wrapt in a Players hide, 
supposes he is as well able to bombast out a blanke verse as the best 
of you: and beeing an absolute Johannes fac totum, is in his owne 
conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey. 

The invective was printed in Greene's Groats-worth of Wit, 
shortly after the author's death, and Henry Chettle, who 
prepared it for the press, made something of an apology 
for it in his own Kind-Harts Dreame, itself registered 
before the end of 1592.2 The letter had been 'written to 
divers play-makers' and was 'offensively by one or two of 
them taken*. With neither of these was Chettle acquainted 
when he worked on the Groats-worth, and with one of 
them he does not desire to be. But he thinks that he might 
well have moderated the reference to the other. 

That I did not, I am as sory as if the originall fault had beene 
rny fault, because my selfe have scene his demeanor no lesse civill 
than he exelent in the qualitie he professes: Besides, divers of wor- 
ship have reported his uprightnes of dealingwhich argueshis honesty, 
and his facetious grace in writting, that aprooves his Art. 

It is probable that the first play-maker here referred to is 

1 A PP- B n <>- * App. B, no. iv. 


Marlowe and the second Shakespeare, although this im- 

Elies some looseness in Chettle's language, since Greene's 
stter was obviously not written to Shakespeare. But there 
is nothing in the letter as we have it which could be 
offensive to any play-maker except Marlowe, who is 
spoken of as an atheist and Machiavellian, and Shake- 
speare, who is openly attacked. The others, presumably 
Peele and Nashe, *y un g luuenall, that byting Satyrist, 
that lastlie with mee together writ a Comedie', are handled 
in a more friendly spirit. However this may be, 
Greene's letter in itself is sufficient to show that by 
September 1592 Shakespeare was both a player and a 
maker of plays. And it is a fair inference from Greene's 
tone that he was only just taking rank as a serious rival to 
the University men. How far back are we to put the 
beginnings of his dramaturgy? Probably as far as 1591, 
if he is responsible, as their inclusion in Fi suggests, for 
2, 3 Henry VL Greene's letter parodies a line from 
3 Henry VI^ which must therefore itself have existed as 
early as 1592. The relation of these parts to i Henry VI \ 
produced by Alleyn's company on 3 March 1592, is best 
explained by regarding them as earlier productions of the 
same company, and since they were not being played in 
1 592, they had presumably been laid aside. As, moreover, 
the supplementary play is likely to have followed after no 
long interval, we may conjecturally put them in 1591. 
That, then, is the earliest year to which there is ground 
for ascribing any dramatic work by Shakespeare that we 
know of. And even as a player his career may not have 
begun long before 1592. It is a mere fantasy that he was 
enlisted by Leicester's men on a visit to Stratford-on-Avon 
in 15867; and Professor Baldwin's conjecture that he 
may have then begun a seven-year period of formal 
apprenticeship in a company rests upon a complete mis- 
apprehension of the nature of theatrical training. 1 Tradi- 
tion tells us, through the mouth of Dowdall (1693), that 
Shakespeare 'was received into the playhouse as a ser- 
viture', and through that of Rowe (1709) that he was *at 

* Malone in Var. ii. 1665 Baldwin, 286; cf. vol. ii, p. 82. 


first in a very mean rank'. 1 Both imply a direct trans- 
ference from Stratford, which I take to be a foreshortening 
of events; and both probably mean the same thing, that 
he was at first a hired man and not a sharer, which is likely 
enough. 2 Malone (1780, 1790) had heard from the stage 
that he was originally employed as*a prompter's attendant 
or call-boy, but the statement is dropped from his revised 
Life. It commends itself to Professor Baldwin.3 A story 
not given by Rowe, but apparently known to him and 
originally, derived from Sir William Davenant, tells how 
before Shakespeare became an actor he occupied himself 
in taking charge of horses at the playhouse door, and 
showed dexterity in the employment.* For what it is 
worth, the story points to the Theatre or Curtain, as these 
were the only houses reached by horseback. Both were in 
the hands of Alleyn's company or its component elements 
in 1590-1, and this company may well have seen his first 
beginnings, alike as actor and as writer. He is not, how- 
ever, traceable in the cast of the Seven Deadly Sins about 
I 59j unless we arbitrarily assume that he took one of the 
unascribed parts. The 'Will' of that cast was a boy, who 
took a woman's part, 5 

After Greene's outburst of 1 592, Shakespeare's position 
becomes shadowy again, up to the regrouping of the com- 
panies in 1594. We certainly cannot have any assurance 
that he was with Alleyn's company during their wander- 
ings. He is not named in the warrant of 6 May 1593, 
which probably gives only sharers, or in Alleyn's corre- 
spondence. He may have been with Pembroke's, if that 
was formed by a division of Alleyn's company, or with the 
group which travelled as the Admiral's, or even with Sus- 
sex's. 6 Or he may for a time have dropped acting, and 
become an unattached playwright. The only plays that 
can very well be assigned to this period are Richard ///, 
Titus AndronicuSy and Comedy of Errors. Of these Richard 

1 App. C, nos. xviii, xxv. * App. C, nos. xxxvi, xxxviii, xlii. 

2 Cf. vol. ii, p. 80. s Cf. p. 44. 

3 App. C, no. xlviiij cf. Baldwin, 6 Cf. App. D for the performances 
293. of the companies in 1592-4. 


/// is certainly a continuation of 2, 3 Henry VI. It is not 
in Henslowe's list of performances by the Alleyn com- 
pany, but it Seems clear that 2, 3 Henry VI must have 
passed to Pembroke's, and Richard III may have been 
done for them. Perhaps it reappears as the Buckingham 
given by Sussex's men in 1593-4, although the name 
would also fit a play on Henry the Eighth. The title-page 
of Titus Andronicus suggests that it was played successively 
by Alleyn's company, Pembroke's, and Sussex's, and any 
touches put to it by Shakespeare might have been for either, 
the last most plausibly, of these. The Comedy of Errors may 
have been 'the Gelyous comodey' produced by the Alleyn 
company on 5 January 1593, but about this I am far from 
certain. It is at any rate possible, however, that Shake- 
speare may have been writing for three companies during 
1592-4. Much research has been devoted to a conjecture 
that he spent part of this period in northern Italy. It is 
certainly true that when the plague was over he began a 
series of plays with Italian settings, which were something 
of a new departure in English drama; that to a modern 
imagination, itself steeped in Italian sentiment, he seems 
to have been remarkably successful in giving a local 
colouring and atmosphere to these; and even that he shows 
familiarity with some minute points of local topography. 
But the evidence is inconclusive, in view of what he may 
have learnt through books and the visits of others, or 
through converse with some of the many Italians resident 
in London. Supposed travels, now or at another time, to 
Ireland or to Denmark, are even more speculative. One 
is on safer ground in pointing out that the plague years 
gave opportunity for the development of literary ambitions 
outside the range of the drama, which took shape in the 
narrative poems of Venus and Adonis (1593) and Lucrece 
(1594). Each was dedicated with an elaborate epistle to 
Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton, a young noble- 
man of Catholic antecedents, who was just beginning to 
make a figure at court. A super-subtle criticism detects 
a great advance in the poet's intimacy with his patron 
between the two addresses, which I am bound to say is 


not apparent to me. In the first Shakespeare offers 'the 
first heire of my inuention', that is, his first published 
work, and will 'take aduantage of all idle houres, till I haue 
honoured you with some grauer labour*. In the second, 
'What I haue done is yours, what I haue to doe is jours, 
being part in all I haue, deuoted yours/ Each is sub- 
scribed 'in all dutie'. The phrasing in both cases seems 
to fall well within the normal scope of dedicatory formulas. 
Not many idle hours would have been at Shakespeare's 
disposal, had he done all the revisionary work and early 
drafts or fragments of plays, with which some writers 
credit his pupil pen; and if such theories were sound, 
which I do not believe, we should certainly have to ante- 
date 1591 for the beginning of his dramatic career. 1 If 
one can trust the apparent testimony of WilhUe his Avisa, 
he had at any rate sufficient leisure, in or shortly before 
1594, for an unsuccessful love affair. 2 

An Elizabethan patron was expected to put his hand in 
his pocket. Rowe tells us that Shakespeare met ^with 
'many great and uncommon marks of favour and friend- 
ship* from Southampton, and on Davenant's authority that 
the Earl 'at one time, gave him a thousand pounds, to 
enable him to go through with a purchase which he heard 
he had a mind to'. 3 The sum named is quite incredible. 
The aggregate of Shakespeare's known purchases in real 
estate and tithes throughout his life does not reach 1,000. 
Probably a cipher has been added to the figures during 
the transmission of the story; and some such amount as 
100 Shakespeare may have spent on acquiring a share in 
the Lord Chamberlain's company, when it was formed 
during 1594. There is no ground for supposing that he 
was the William Shakespeare who had enough spare cash 
to lend one John Clayton 7 in May 1592, and had to 
sue for it in 1 6oo. 4 At any rate Shakespeare comes before 
us on 15 March 1595 with an assured theatrical status as a 
payee on behalf of the Chamberlain's men for plays given at 
court in the winter of 1 594, and therefore doubtless a sharer 

1 Cf. ch. vii. App. C, no. xxv. 

2 Cf. p. 569. App. A, no. vi. 


in the company. 1 The Chamberlain's men, as we have 
seen, established themselves, like the Admiral's men who 
were destined to become their principal rivals, on the 
break-up of the Alleyn combination in the spring of 1594. 
Ferdinando Earl of Derby died on April 16. On May 16 
men under the protection of his widow were playing at 
Winchester, and 'Admiral's' men were playing for Hens- 
lowe in London. Very shortly afterwards the patronage 
of the Lord Chamberlain, Henry Lord Hunsdon, must 
have been obtained. But the parting with Alleyn may not 
yet have been quite complete, since on June 5 Henslowe 
began to record performances by 'my Lord Admeralle 
men & my Lorde Chamberlen men' at Newington Butts. 2 
The plays given included Titus Andronicus, Hamlet, and 
Taming of A Shrew. It may be that A Shrew was already 
The Shrew, but the Hamlet was certainly not Shake- 
speare's. Probably this arrangement terminated on June 
15, when Henslowe drew a line across the page of ac- 
counts, after which these three plays no longer appear. 3 
Thenceforward the two companies may be taken to have 
been quite distinct. The Chamberlain's were at Marl- 
borough about September.* On October 8 Lord Hunsdon 
was negotiating with the Lord Mayor for the use by 'my 
nowe companie' of the Cross Keys inn for the winter 
season. 5 It is best to assume that as a business organiza- 
tion the Chamberlain's company, unable to rely on finan- 
cial support from Alleyn, made a fresh start, and that its 
capital was contributed by the sharers. No doubt there 
was some apportionment of the 'books* belonging to the 
old combination, and in some way all those for Shake- 
speare's earlier plays, including any which had been per- 
formed by Pembroke's or Sussex's, seem to have passed 
into the hands of the Chamberlain's. Titus Andranicus, 
however, was already in print. The membership of the 
new company included the five men who had been named 
with Alleyn in the warrant for 'StrangeY of 6 May 1593. 

1 Cf. vol. ii, p. 319. 4 For all their provincial appear- 

2 Cf. App. D. ances cf. App. D. 

3 Greg, Henstowe, ii, 84. s Etiz. Stage, iv. 316. 


They were William Kempe, Thomas Pope, John Hem- 
inges, Augustine Phillips, and George Bryan. It also 
included Shakespeare and Richard Burbadge, who became 
its leading actor. Its history, first under the designation 
of the Chamberlain's men, and then under that of the 
King's men, is continuous throughout Shakespeare's 
career, and there is nothing to show that he ever wrote 
for any other company. It became dominant at court, 
giving thirty-two performances during Elizabeth's reign 
to tweftty by the Admiral's and thirteen by other com- 
panies. 1 And during this period its run of prosperity 
seems to have been substantially unbroken. 2 Plague only 
threatened once, for a short period in 1596.* In the same 
year there was a hitch, owing to the death of Lord Huns- 
don, and the appointment as Lord Chamberlain of William 
Lord Cobham, who was less favourable to the stage than 
his predecessor, and under whom the Corporation secured 
the exclusion of players from the City inns, while the in- 
habitants of Blackfriars successfully protested against the 
opening of the new house which James Burbadge may be 
presumed to have planned for the use of his son and his 
son's fellows. Curiously enough, one of the protestants 
was the new Lord Hunsdon, formerly Sir George Carey, 
and now the patron of the company. 4 But when he him- 
self became Lord Chamberlain on 17 March 1597, his 
players had once more the advantage of an official pro- 
tector. They had of course to face the restraint of 28 July 
1597, when offence was given by The Isle of Dogs, for 
which they were not responsible, and in August and 

tour between 1594 and the end of the reign. 5 But they 
stood to gain by the settlement at the end of the restraint, 
under which only two companies were to be tolerated, and 
although a Privy Council order of 22 June 1600 limited 
each company to two performances a week, it is clear 

1 EKz. Stage, iv. 164. 4 #/</. 

A fuller history of the company * Visits to Cambridge and Ipswich 

than I^have here room for is in tix. may belong either to the autumn of 

Stage, 11. 192. I594 or to 

* Elan. Stage, iv. 319. 





that the restriction was not long enforced. On the other 
hand they had to face fresh competition from the revival 
of the boy companies in 1599 and 1600, which for a time 
hit them pretty hard, and from the toleration of a third 
company of men in I6O2. 1 Some ruffles there were from 
time to time with the censorship. Richard II was printed 
in 1597 without the abdication scene, which had probably 
been thought unsuitable for an Elizabethan public. Fal- 
staff had to be substituted for Oldcastle in Henry IV and 
Broome for Brooke in Merry Wives of Windsor. Brooke was 
the family name of the Lords Cobham, who also claimed 
an hereditary interest in Sir John Oldcastle. In 1 598 there 
were complaints in Scotland that 'the comedians of 
London should scorn the king and the people of this land 
in their play'. 2 We do not know that these comedians 
were the Chamberlain's men. The Scots are hardly treated 
in Edward Illy printed in 1596, which may be theirs, and 
it is conceivable that the absence of the Captain Jamy 
episode (iii. 2. 69153) from the 1600 quarto of Henry V 
may be due to censorship, although other explanations are 
also possible. There is no sign, however, that these inci- 
dents brought any trouble upon the company. It is even 
more remarkable that they suffered nothing on account of 
the performance of Richard //, which they gave at the 
behest of some of the followers of the Earl of Essex, as 
a prelude to his misguided outbreak of 8 February i6oi. 3 
Elizabeth grumbled at the popularity of the play, but 
showed no resentment against the poet or the players. It 
may be that during 1600-1 they were absent for a short 
time from London. There are no certain provincial notices 
of them, but there is a possible one at Oxford, and the title- 
page of the Qi of Hamlet records that it had been played 
at Oxford and Cambridge and elsewhere, as well as in 
London itself, before it was published in 1603. But it is 
not clear that the journeying, if it took place, was due to 
Richard Ily and the company was at court on 24 February 
1 60 1, only a fortnight after the Essex affair, and again as 
usual during the following Christmas. Perhaps we may 

1 Elba. Stage, i. 298, 380$ iv. 321-34. * # Stage, i. 323. 3 App. D- 
3142,1 F 


credit Elizabeth's leniency, at least in part, to her personal 
liking for Shakespeare's art. Of this we are informed both 
by Ben Jonson's lines and by the tradition of her im- 
patience to see Falstaff in love. The alleged interchange 
of royal courtesies over her dropped glove, when the poet 
was enacting a king upon the stage, must, I fear, be 
abandoned. 1 No doubt the Tudor lady had moods in 
which she was capable of scourging those whom she most 
favoured. But the Lord Chamberlain was never far from 
the royal chair. The Hunsdons, father and son, were 
Elizabeth's nearest cousins and her close personal ad- 
herents. Of all the court, they could least be suspected of 
sympathy with seditious tendencies. It was easy enough 
to slip in a word to save honest men from the consequences 
of their indiscretions. After all, the company had only 
been a cat's-paw for the conspirators. It is impossible to 
suppose that Shakespeare, in writing Richard //, deliber- 
ately intended to suggest the analogy between Richard 
and the queen, which from a matter of jest at court became 
an mstrument of serious intrigue. The play is one of a 
series of studies in abstract kingship, which culminate not 
in the coup d'etat of Henry Bolingbroke, but in the coming 
to his own of Henry of Monmouth, a legitimate king both 
by right of birth and as a typical representative of the 
English nation. That while portraying Henry's kingship 
Shakespeare became a little doubtful about the ultimate 
fineness of his humanity, does not affect the main dramatic 
issue. The political philosophy of the plays, from Sir 
Thomas More, perhaps, to Ulysses, always lays its stress on 
degree, order, and unity. Imaginative biography, bent on 
its search for the topical, delights to represent Shakespeare 
as obsessed by the career of Essex and making that 
picturesque and second-rate personality the theme of play 
after play. His is the unstable mind of Hamlet, and 
Burghley, whom Essex hated, becomes his foil in Polo- 
mus. His is the ill-requited generosity of Timon, deserted 
by Ventidms as Essex was deserted by Bacon. Along such 
a way of thinking, Essex may also become Henry Boling- 

* App. C, no. Ivi. 


broke, or Henry of Monmouth, for all the difference 
between them, according to taste. There are, however, 
conflicting speculations. For some, Hamlet is not Essex 
but James, or both Essex and James, and the adventures 
of Mary of Scots and Bothwell, under the guise of Lord 
and Lady Macbeth, were chosen for the delectation of 
Mary's son. And the minor personages of the time, seen 
by us, not as their contemporaries saw them, but ill- 
focused through the fragmentary revelations of private 
papers, must all be brought into the picture. Most of 
these cobwebs are too flimsy to bear touching. One can- 
not be expected to argue whether Lord Buckhurst was or 
was not Sir Toby Belch. 1 I do not myself believe that, 
apart from some passages of obvious satire in comic scenes, 
there is much of the topical in Shakespeare, whose mind 
normally moved upon quite another plane of relation to 
life. What little there is, probably remains for the most 
part irrecoverable. Of course he had to build up his 
characters, consciously or subconsciously, and with the 
help of traditional stage types, from the Dualities of men 
and women he had known, or had read of in books. There 
was no other material for him or any other dramatist. But 
this is a very different process from the making of por- 
traits. For topics of political controversy, in particular, 
there was no room in the Elizabethan theatre, although 
the position was somewhat altered under the laxer and less 
popular administration of James. You could beat the 
patriotic drum against the Spaniards, of course. You 
could flout the Scots, at least under cover of an historical 
play. Even here there might be a risk, as the wind of 
diplomacy veered. But you could not ventilate the griev- 
ances of the subject, of which indeed there were few except 
the monopolies, or touch upon ecclesiastical affairs, or 
champion the conflicting views of Essex and Burghley as to 
bringing the war to an end, or above all meddle with the 
dangerous arcana of the succession problem. Least of all 
could you do this, if you were in a company which, since 
the Queen's men were never in London, had practically 

1 T.L.S* for 28 March 1929. 


become an official part of the royal household with a 
privileged and remunerative position, the preservation 
of which depended entirely on the avoidance of offence. 
I do not know what the topical theorists suppose that the 
censorship was about. They have a dilemma to face. 
Either the portraits must have been so veiled as to be 
unrecognizable, alike to the naked Elizabethan eye and 
through the microscope of modern research. Or alterna- 
tively the playwright would have tasted the Marshalsea 
and the players would have gone to pad the hoof in the 

Essex had a popularity which failed him lamentably 
when the critical moment came; and of this there is an 
echo in a chorus to Henry 7. The theorists, however, 
assume that Shakespeare was linked to his fortunes 

Essex led to his ruin. And the disaster is sometimes held 
to account for the critical attitude to society which be- 
comes apparent in Hamlet. How far Shakespeare's rela- 
tions with Southampton outlasted the early dedications is 
very uncertain. The only external fact which might con- 
nect them is a letter of 1599 from Lady Southampton to 
her husband in Ireland, in which she jests on the birth of 
a son to Sir John Falstaff and Dame Pintpot. 1 It is most 
unlikely that by Sir John Falstaff she meant Shakespeare 
himself. There are the Sonnets, and Southampton has been 
very generally accepted as the friend to whom, over a long 
period of years, many of these were written. I am quite 
sceptical about it. The identity of the friend may have 
eluded us. But if we are to find him in a known patron 
of Shakespeare, some at least of the facts point to William 
Lord Herbert, afterwards Earl of Pembroke, rather than 
to Southampton. The earlier supporters of this identi- 
fication did not get all the evidence. 2 And although 
Southampton was still alive when the First Folio was pub- 
lished, it was to Pembroke and his brother that Heminges 
and^Condell dedicated it. If Shakespeare was indeed 
writing for the company of Pembroke's father in 1592-3, 

1 App. B, no. xviii. a Cf . p . $66f 


he may already have been in touch with the Herberts, and 
a projected marriage in 1595 between the son and Eliza- 
beth Carey, granddaughter of the first and daughter of 
the second Lord Hunsdon, would be an adequate explana- 
tion for the earliest sonnets. Elizabeth Carey ultimately 
married Sir Thomas Berkeley, and it is quite possible that 
Midsummer-Night's Dream celebrated the occasion. It is 
reasonable to assume that the services of players to the 
lords of their companies were not merely nominal. 

The only fellow-poet to whom Shakespeare directly 
refers in his plays is Marlowe: 1 

Dead shepherd, now I find thy saw of might, 
Whoever loved, that loved not at first sight? 

His relations to others have been the subject of much wild 
writing. Probably nobody now believes that Greene's 
attack of 1 592 was only the last shot of a five-year pamphlet 
campaign, or that Shakespeare was the Post-hast ofHistrio- 
mastix, or that Ben Jonson pursued him with malignity, 
and made him the Poet-Ape of his epigrams. 2 These 
fancies have long gone to the limbo of critical aberrations. 
And with them should go Mr. Acheson's theory of a con- 
tinuous duel between Shakespeare and Chapman from Sir 
Thomas More, in which he supposes Shakespeare to have 
revised Chapman's work, to Troilus and Cressida? Some 
jesting at Chapman there may be in Love's Labour *s Lost, 
and if he was the rival poet of the Sonnets, which is not 
assured, Shakespeare treated him there with a courtesy 
touched by irony. But Mr. Acheson's attempt to trace a 
prolonged give and take of offence and retort between the 
writings of the two men is singularly far-fetched. There 
is more material to go upon with Ben Jonson. 4 Rowe 
(1709) had heard that the poets were 'profess'd friends', 
and that the acquaintance between them began with *a 
remarkable piece of humanity and good nature', when 

1 As You Like It, iii. 5. 81. A. Acheson, ., Chapman anJS.T.M. 

2 Simpson, ii. xx, 339; W. Gifford (Revue Anglo-Amtricaine, iiL 428, 
in Jonson's Works (ed. Cunningham), 514). 

I. brad; cf. Epig. Ivi. * Cf. App. B, no. xxii; App. C, 

3 A. Acheson, Sh. and ike Rival nos. iii, vi, vii. 
Poet (1903), &c.; F. L. Schoell and 


Shakespeare commended a play of Jonson's to the con- 
sideration of his company. 1 One would gladly think that 
Shakespeare is the Virgil of Jonson's Poetaster. 

That, which he hath writ. 
Is with such judgement, laboured, and distilPd 
Through all the needful uses of our lives, 
, That could a man remember but his lines, 
He should not touch at any serious point, 
But he might breathe his spirit out of him. 

I do not in fact think that Virgil was any one but Virgil, 
or that Shakespeare was the 'so happy a Genius' who 
collaborated in the lost first version of Sejanus. Jonson's 
considered judgement of Shakespeare is to be found in his 
First Folio lines and in his later Timber. It shows both 
admiration for the poet and affection for the man. It does 
not detract from the genuineness of the admiration that it 
was not uncritical. Jonson had a critical mind, and Shake- 
speare's way of writing did not altogether answer to his 
theory of what dramatic structure should be. Therefore 
he told Drummond that Shakespeare 'wanted Arte'. He 
censured a line in Julius Caesar, which Shakespeare appa- 
rently altered. He disliked the solutions of continuity in 
the action of Henry V. He thought that some of the in- 
cidents in the Tempest and Winter's Tale made 'nature 
afraid', and that Pericles was a 'mouldy tale', which in some 
respects it was. Perhaps he found 'horror' in Macbeth. 
All this is legitimate criticism by one poet of another. And 
if Jonson smiled at Shakespeare's 'small Latine, and lesse 
Greeke', his judgement chimes precisely with the refer- 
ence, so full of admiration and discriminating kindliness, 
in the recently recovered lines of Francis Beaumont: 2 

Here I would let slip, 
If I had any in me, scholarship, 
And from all learning keep these lines as clear, 
As Shakespeare's best are, which our heire shall hear 
Preachers apt to their auditors to show 
How far sometimes a mortal man may go 
By the dim light of Nature. 



In private talk Jonson may have adopted a more slighting 
tone towards his friend's erudition. He. is said thus to 
have incurred the resentment of John Hales. But if he 
chaffed Shakespeare's assumption of a motto in E.M.O. 
he became in return, according to repute, the mark for 
Shakespeare's epigrams. Friends need not spare each 
other, writing in the same tavern, and over the same quart 
pot. Is Jonson in Shakespeare's plays? About 1599 he 
became involved in the Poetomachia. 1 This started as a 
quarrel between him and Marston, and there is no reason 
to suppose that Shakespeare's was one of the 'petulant 
stiles' with which Jonson complained that for three years 
he had been provoked on every stage. But while he was 
preparing his Poetaster (1601) against Marston, he seems 
to have learnt of the intended production by the Chamber- 
lain's men of Dekker's Satiromastix. Dekker, therefore, as 
well as Marston, appears in Poetaster, together with a 
company of players, whose personalities are treated in no 
friendly spirit. There are doubtless some hits at the 
Chamberlain's men here. Professor Baldwin, with much 
ingenuity and little to go upon, has endeavoured to dis- 
tribute the parts.* But even he does not find Shakespeare, 
and if Jonson made any allusion to Shakespeare in this 
controversy, it can only be in the Apologetical Dialogue 
written after the appearance of Satiromastix later in 1601. 
Here, after defending his 'taxation' of some of the players, 
he adds: 

Onely amongst them, I am sorry for 
Some better natures, by the rest so drawne, 
To run in that vile line. 

A contemporary notice does, however, connect Shake- 
speare's name with the Poetomachia. In 3 Parnassus, a 
Cambridge play, probably produced in the winter of 
1 60 1-2, William Kempe, talking of academic writers, is 
made to say, 

'Why heres our fellow Shakespeare puts them all downe, ay and 
Ben Jonson too, O that Ben Jonson is a pestilent fellow, he 
1 Etiz. Stage, i. 381; iii. 293, 365, 428. a Baldwin 232. 


brought up Horace giving the Poets a pill, but our fellow Shake- 
speare hath given him a purge that made him beray his credit.' ' 

The 'pilP is in Poetaster, the 'purge' has been sought in 
various plays of Shakespeare. It is often taken to be the 
description of Ajax in Troilus and Cressida, i. 2. 19, which 
seems unnecessarily elaborate for its place, refers to 
'humours', and has not much relation to the character of 
Ajax as depicted in the play. Professor Sarrazin argued 
at length for Nym in Henry Fand Merry Wives of Windsor, 
and the suggestion has been revived by Sir Arthur Quiller- 
Couch. 2 Mr. Arthur Gray has recently suggested the 
censorious and libertine Jaques ofds Tou Like 7/. 3 I dare 
say there may be glances at Jonson in all of these, parti- 
cularly in Nym, who rarely speaks in Henry 7, and never 
in Merry Wives of Windsor, without using the word 
humour'. But I do not think that any one of them was 
the 'purge 1 . All the plays concerned, except Troilus and 
Cressida, are too early in date, since the writer of 3 Par- 
nassus clearly regarded the 'purge' as an answer to the 
'pill'. Probably the 'purge* was Satiromastix itself. Horace 
is promised one in i. 2. 294, although there is none of a 
literal kind in the play. The Cambridge writer may have 
thought that Shakespeare was responsible for it, since he 
introduces Kempe as a fellow of Burbadge and Shake- 
speare, although Kempe had left the Chamberlain's men 
in 1599, and Danter, who was long dead, as a printer. 

Shakespeare's success as a playwright appears to have 
terminated all other literary ambitions. His free handling 
of the dramatic form gave him ample scope for a wide 
variety of poetic expression. The narrative poems, if we 
may judge by the frequency of allusions to them and the 
number of reprints, won an early and lasting popularity. 
But they had no successors. The only occasional verses 
which bear Shakespeare's signature are the set on The 
Turtle and Phoenix, contributed to a volume in honour of 

1 App. B, no. xx; cf. Etiz. Stage, Wilson), xxxi. 

v, 38. 3 A. Gray, How Sk. 'Purged* Jon- 

2 J. 3d (1904), 2135 Merry Wives son (1928). 
of Windsor (ed. Quiller-Couch and 


one Sir John Salisbury in 1601. No dirge for Elizabeth 
or paean for James came from his pen. He stood aloof 
from the practice of commendatory writing, with which 
most of his contemporaries vaunted each other's wares. 
Professor Minto thought that he found him in a sonnet 
by 'Phaeton* prefixed to John Florio's Second Fruits of 
1591. It is or merit, but does not compel a recognition 
of Shakespearean authorship, and in any case antedates 
Venus and Adonis. 1 If any of his lyrics are among the 
anonymous work of the song-books, they were probably 
written for the stage. The few pieces ascribed to him in 
manuscript anthologies, like those in The Passionate P/7- 
grim y carry little authority. The authenticity of A Lover's 
Complaint, printed with the Sonnets, is gravely doubted. 2 
The Sonnets themselves are an exception. They continue 
the poetic impulse of the early work, and their composition 
covers a period of three years and more, probably from 
1595 to 1599 or 1600. One must suppose that some at 
least of them were originally intended for publication. 
How else could the immortality in verse promised to the 
poet's friend be secured? Shakespeare was known to 
Meres as a sonneteer in 1598. But unless a volume of 
1602 has been lost, the Sonnets remained in manuscript to 
1609, when they were printed without any token of oyer- 
sight by the author. To whomsoever written, William 
Herbert, or Henry Wriothesley, or an unknown, or a 
group of unknowns, the Sonnets give us glimpses of a soul- 
side of Shakespeare imperfectly revealed by the plays. A 
perturbed spirit is behind the quiet mask. Here is a record 
of misplaced and thwarted affections, of imperfections and 
disabilities, inseparable perhaps from an undesired way of 
life, which clog a mind conscious enough of its own power. 
Shakespeare, the myriad-minded, is 

Desiring this man's art and that man's scope. 

He is tired of life before his time, conscious of 'tann'd 
antiquity' in the full tide of years, brooding on the decay of 
beauty and the passing of friends, letting his imagination 

' Cf. p. 555. a <* P- 55- 


play freely around thoughts of death. One must not 
take too literally a way of writing which has some elements 
of traditional convention in it, or attempt to construct a 
complete personality from the transient utterances of in- 
dividual moods. But when all such allowance is made, there 
is some disharmony between the tone of the Sonnets and 
that of the vivid comedies, abundant in their rendering of 
the surface of things, which were contemporary with them. 
They lead up more naturally to the questionings of Ham- 
let and to the distasted essays in disillusion which followed. 
A reasonable measure of worldly prosperity came to 
Shakespeare. We do not know that he ever let go alto- 
gether of Stratford. The boy Hamnet died in 1596. 
Sentiment would trace a reflection of the event in the sym- 
pathetic treatment of Arthur in King John, which chrono- 
logy at least does not forbid. The two daughters, Susanna 
and Judith, remained. There had been no more children. 
About 1596 Shakespeare may have begun to pick up the 
broken threads of family life. His father survived to 1 60 1 . 
No will or administration is known, but it is evident that 
the Henley St. houses, all that was left of John's property, 
came into his son's hands, subject no doubt to a life- 
interest for the widow. 1 Probably it was the poet's money 
which financed an unsuccessful attempt of 1597 to recover 
the lost Arden inheritance at Wilmcote, as well as an 
application to the Heralds 1 Office in 1596 for a grant of 
family arms, which John had contemplated and dropped 
when he was bailiff of Stratford in 1 568-9,2 The grant 
was duly made, and the arms Or on a bend sable a spear 
of the first steeled argent, with a falcon bearing a spear as 
the crest, adorn the poet's monument. In 1599 there was 
a second application for leave to impale the arms of Arden, 
but if this grant too was made, neither Shakespeare nor 
his descendants appear to have availed themselves of it. 
The responsible heralds incurred some criticism for as- 
signing arms to a person of base degree, and defended 
themselves by reciting John's substantial position and civic 
dignities. In 1597 Shakespeare established himself in his 

App. A, nos. iii, xxiv. a App . A> no 


native town through the purchase 3 for 60 if the sum 
named in the fine can be trusted, of the substantial free- 
hold house of New Place. 1 This stood opposite the Gild 
Chapel, at the angle formed by Chapel St. and Chapel 
Lane, and had a large garden. It had been built at the 
end of the fifteenth century by Sir Hugh Clopton, and had 
passed by purchase through other hands. There was a 
curious hitch in the transaction with Shakespeare. William 
Underbill, the vendor, was poisoned by his son Fulke, and 
Shakespeare had to secure warranty through a fresh fine 
with another son Hercules, to whom the felon's estate had 
been granted. About 1 540 New Place was described as *a 
praty howse of brike and tymbar'. But in 1 549 it was out 
of repair, and that Shakespeare may have had to put it in 
order is suggested by the sale of a load of stone from him 
or his father to the Stratford corporation in 1598. In the 
same year he had in Stratford a store of ten quarters of 
malt, a commodity in which the well-to-do inhabitants of 
the town largely dealt, somewhat to the impoverishment 
of their neighbours in a time of dearth. 2 In 1598 also the 
correspondence of Richard Quiney of Stratford shows 
Shakespeare in friendly relations with a fellow-townsman, 
who applied to him for a loan to meet expenses in London, 
and at the same time in search of an investment. 3 Oldys 
has a stage tradition that he drew Falstaff from a land- 
owner who had refused to sell to him.* He ultimately, in 
1602, bought for 320 from the local family of Combe 
a freehold property in the open manorial fields of Old 
Stratford, extending to a hundred and seven acres of 
arable land, with twenty acres of pasture and rights of 
common. 5 This he probably let for tillage by the exist- 
ing tenant occupiers. And in the same year he acquired, 
for the use of his gardener, one may suppose, a cottage in 
Chapel Lane, which was copyhold of the manor of Row- 
ington. 6 He cannot as yet have dwelt much at New Place, 
although he is not known to have leased it. In London 

1 App. A, no. xi. * App. C, no. xxxiv. 

* App. A, no. xii. 5 App. A, no. xiv. 

3 App. A, no. xiii. 6 App. A, no. xv. 


he is traceable in 1597 as living in St. Helen's, Bishops- 
gate, where, like other poets, he neglected to pay his taxes. 
But by the end of 1 599 he had moved to the liberty of the 
Clink on the Surrey Bankside. 1 In both places he would 
have been in close proximity to his playhouse, at first the 
Theatre or Curtain, then the Globe. 

So Shakespeare stood, when Elizabeth made way for 
James. He too, no less than his predecessor, was 'taken', 
according to Ben Jonson, with the flights of the 'Swan of 
Avon' ; and there is no reason to doubt that Shakespeare 
remained a. persona grata after the change of reign. Several 
of his older plays were chosen to appear with new ones at 
the court performances of 1604-5. * am not so sure as 
was Sir Sidney Lee that the letter, said to have been once 
at Wilton, in which Lady Pembroke invited the king to see 
a representation of As Tou Like If in 1 603, is to be put down 
as ^ mythical. It certainly cannot now be found, but its 
existence was recorded by a competent historian in 1 8 6$. 2 
An anonymous writer about 1709 speaks of an 'amicable' 
letter, already also lost, but once in Sir William Davenant's 
hands, from James to the poet himself.s Commentators 
have not refrained from guessing that it was in acknow- 
ledgement of the honour paid to the new royal house in 

The status Q{ the former Lord Chamberlain's men suf- 
fered no diminution under James. On the contrary it was 
enhanced. They now became King's men and sworn 
officers of the royal household as Grooms of the Chamber 
in ordinary without fee.* Here the oversight of them still 
rested with the Lord Chamberlain, no longer Lord Huns- 
don, who retired early in the reign and died shortly after, 
but successively Thomas Howard, Earl of Suffolk ( 1 603- 
14), Robert Carr, Earl of Somerset (1614-1?), and 
William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke (1615-26). The 
appointment did not entail any regular household duties, 
other than those of players. But there was an exception in 
August 1604, when grooms were needed to attend the 

App. D, /.*. 1603. ' Etix. Stage, i. 311 



Constable of Castile, who came as an ambassador from 
Spain, and Shakespeare with eleven fellows waited in their 
red liveries during the peace negotiations. They acted 
now under the authority of a royal patent, which entitled 
them to appear both in London and in any city, university, 
or other town throughout the realm. 1 We have no great 
certainty as to the playhouses used by the Chamberlain's 
men at the beginning of their career. 2 They had the 
Theatre in 1596 and probably from 1594, and they may 
also have occupied city inns during the winter until that 
practice was stopped in 1596. In 1598 they were at the 
Curtain, The Theatre in fact was in bad repair, and after 
long disputes between the Burbadges and the ground 
landlord, its timbers were pulled down and carried to the 
Bankside. Here in the course of 1599 was opened the 
Globe. This is the house named in the patent to the King's 
men, and it remained in their possession throughout. In 
1608 they acquired the lease of the Blackfriars, and this 
they began to occupy in the autumn of 1609. Being a 
roofed house, it was more convenient for winter per- 
formances than the Globe, which it seems to have gradually 
displaced as the head-quarters of the company. The court 
performances under James were more frequent than had 
suited the economical disposition of Elizabeth, and during 
1603-16 a hundred and seventy-seven fell to the lot of 
the King's men. This was far more than half the total 
number given. 3 But there were difficulties to be faced. 
The rivalry of the boys was continued by other young 
aspirants, and there were now generally four and some* 
times five companies playing in London. Even the King's 
men themselves did not steer quite clear of troubles with 
the censor, and there was a restraint in 1608, for which 
they were not responsible, but which threatened a per- 
manent suppression, and had to be bought off at con- 
siderable expense. More serious, however, was the effect 

1 This would overrule the bar of cf. T.L.S. for 21 Feb. to 2 May 1929. 

1593 against performances in the uni- a Cf. Etiz. Stage, chh. xiii, xvi, xvii, 

versities of Oxford and Cambridge for a more detailed history of the com- 

(Etix. Stage, ii. 113; Dasent xxiv. 427; pany and its houses. 

M.S.C. i. 200) if it had been maintained ; 3 Cf. App. D, passim. 


of plague. The epidemic, from which London had been 
practically free for a decade, broke out again in 1 603. The 
theatres had been closed in March, when Elizabeth's ill- 
ness became dangerous, and hopes of a season on the 
arrival of James in May were frustrated. The King's men 
had to travel. The plague had subsided by the next spring, 
and the theatres were opened on April 9. The rest of the 
year was free from infection, but there were recrudescences 
in each of the next three summers, and a worse visitation 
in that of 1608, which lasted to nearly the end of 1609. 
It is probable that plays were more or less automatically 
suspended, at first when the weekly deaths from plague 
reached thirty, and from 1 608 when they reached forty 
over a rather wider area. On this basis there would have 
been closures during the greater part of October to 
December 1605, July to December 1606, July to Novem- 
ber 1607, and from the end of July 1608 to the end of 
November I6O9. 1 During all five years the King's men 
travelled. Theatrical profits must have been badly hit, in 
spite of special royal subsidies to the company, in 1603-4 
for their 'maintenance and relief, and in 1608-9 an ^ 
1609-10 to enable them to undertake 'private practice' 
for the King's service at Christmas. 2 Possibly this did not 
exclude the admission of spectators to one of the 'private' 
theatres. The Whitefriars seems to have been available in 
1608-9, although we do not know that the King's men 
occupied it. In 1609-10 they had the Blackfriars. After 
1609 Aere was no serious plague until 1625. But there 
was generally a little travelling in the summer. 

The company, in the strict sense, consisted of 'sharers', 
who were bound together by some deed of association, and 
divided the profits, after setting aside the proportion 
allocated to the owners of the playhouse, and meeting the 
current expenses.* But there were also hired servants, 
some of whom may have been primarily actors, while 
others were musicians, and others again stage attendants. 

' Ofe. Stage, iv. 345? F- P. Wilson^ EKx. Stage, iv. 168, 175, I7 6. 
The Plague <* ShaketpearS* Limdm 3 C f. App! A, no. vii, and jfffe. 
( X 9*7)- Stage, ch. xi. 




We hear of the stage-keeper, the tireman, and the book- 
keeper or prompter, who was an important personage. 1 
Probably all, except the book-keeper, were available upon 
occasion to take minor parts. There were also boys, who 
took the female parts. They seem to have been bound, 
perhaps for three years, to individual sharers, who under- 
took to give them training. 2 The names of only a few of 
the hired men and boys have come down to us, but of the 
sharers it seems possible, from patents and other official 
documents, from wills, and from actor-lists printed with 
plays, to construct a fairly continuous chronicle for the 
period of Shakespeare's career. 3 The First Folio itself 
gives us the names of twenty-six Trincipall Actors in all 
these Playes', and as twenty-four of them certainly became 
sharers, it is likely that they all did. Discrepancies with 
other records, however, make it difficult to regard the 
order of this list as that of seniority in the company. The 
patent of 1 603 shows eight sharers, William Shakespeare, 
Richard Burbadge, John Heminges, Augustine Phillips, 
Henry Condell, William Sly, Richard Cowley, and Robert 
Armin. There are nine names in the patent, but Lawrence 
Fletcher, who heads the list, had already been 'comediane 
serviture' to James in Scotland, and it is probable that his 
position was only honorific, and that, although appointed 
a groom of the chamber, he did not become a sharer. 
Shakespeare and Burbadge stand first in the Folio list, and 
are followed by Heminges, Phillips, William Kempe, 
Thomas Pope, and George Bryan. These five had been 
of Alleyn's company. We do not know the number of 
sharers in the Chamberlain's company; it may already 
have been eight. Cowley was a sharer by 1601. On the 
other hand Kempe, Pope, and Bryan had dropped out by 
1603. Bryan was then an ordinary groom of the chamber 
with household duties. Kempe left the company early in 
1599 and was replaced then or a little later by Armin.-* 

x Cf. p. 105; vol. ii, p. 80. Jester (M.L.N. xxxix. 447), suggests 

* Cf. vol. ii, p. 82. that, as 'Clonnico de Curtanio' is on 
a Cf. vol. ii, p. 71. the of two pamphlets of 1600 to 

* T. W. Baldwin, Shakespeare's be ascribed to Armin (//*. Stage, iii. 


The dates at which Condell and Sly became sharers are 
uncertain; they were 'principal comedians' in 1598. So 
were Christopher Beeston and John Duke. But these are 
not in the Folio list, and by 1602 they and Kempe, who 
had travelled in the interval, had joined the Earl of 
Worcester's men* They may never have become sharers 
of the Chamberlain's, Conceivably they did, but left as 
a result of some disagreement, which also led to the omis- 
sion of their names from the Folio list. 1 The patent of 
1603, therefore, seems to represent the company much as 
it had stood in the later Elizabethan days and to a great 
extent from 1594 onwards. Its terms leave room for the 
admission of fresh 'associates', who were doubtless sworn 
of the Chamber as they joined. In the summer of 1 604 
the number of grooms was increased to twelve. This is 
still the number in a patent of 1619; by 1625 one more 
had been added. Two of the new places of 1604 were 
probably filled by John Lowin and Alexander Cooke, who 
were already principal actors in 1603. I conjecture that 
the third fell to Samuel Crosse, of whom nothing is known 
outside the Folio list. He probably died almost at once 
and was replaced by Nicholas Tooley; one must expect 
early deaths in plague-time. The death of Phillips in 1 605 
left room for Samuel Gilburne; the deaths of Sly and 
Fletcher in 1608 for William Ostler and John Under- 
wood. About the same time William Eccleston and pos- 
sibly Nathan Field were with the company, but not at this 
date as sharers, since they are soon found elsewhere, and 
rejoined the King's as sharers later. Of Gilburne no more 
is heard. Cooke and Ostler died in 1 6 14, Armin in 1 6 1 5, 
Shakespeare in 1 6 1 6, and Cowley in 1 6 1 9, Gilburne was 
probably succeeded, not later than 1611, by Robert 
Gough, and the other five respectively by Eccleston, 
Robert Benfield, John Shank, Field, and Richard Robin- 
son. The patent of 1619 gives the names thus arrived at, 

300), he must have been there with and one at least seems to have been 

some other company after the Cham- -written in 1599. 
berlain's left for the Globe in 1599. * Cf. vol. ii, p. 79. Is it possible 

^But the pamphlets are unregistered, that they sold the company's plays ? 




and here Burbadge, Heminges, and Condell are the only 
survivors of the old Chamberlain's men. And while it was 
passing through its stages, Burbadge, long the histrionic 
mainstay of the company, died. His place was taken by 
Joseph Taylor, and that of Field, who died in 1 6 1 9-20, by 
John Rice. His is the last name in the Folio list. It is 
clear that the company was recruited in two ways; partly 
by taking in some of its own hired men and boys, partly by 
enlisting the most talented actors available from outside, 
some of whom had been trained as boys in the private 
theatres. Armin, Lowin, Ostler, Underwood, Eccleston, 
Benfield, Shank, Field, and Taylor all came from other 
companies. Gilburne, Robinson, and Rice had been boys 
with the King's; Gough, Tooley, and Cooke either boys or 
hired men. It is possible that these three and also Condell 
and Beeston were with the Alleyn company, as Sly, Cowley, 
and Duke certainly were, although not as sharers. The 
cast of Seven Deadly Sins has a Harry and a Kit, and 
a Ro. Go,, a Nick, and a Saunder, who were boys. But 
it is not safe to rely very much upon personal names. 1 

A distinction must be drawn amongst the sharers them- 
selves. Some of them were also 'housekeepers', having 
acquired an interest in the ownership of the Globe or the 
Blackfriars or of both houses. One of these was Shake- 
speare. When the Globe was built in 1599, Burbadge and 
his brother Cuthbert, who seem to have had an option on 
the site from the ground landlord, kept a half-interest for 
themselves and portioned the other half among Shake- 
speare, Phillips, Pope, Heminges, and Kempe. The 
housekeepers were responsible, perhaps for the erection, 
and certainly for the maintenance, of the fabric, and 
divided the proportion of takings paid over by the body 
of sharers as rent. Similarly when a lease of the Black- 
friars was surrendered to Burbadge by the Queen's Revels 
in 1608, he made new ones, under which Shakespeare, 
Heminges, Condell, and Sly each received an interest. 
Both at the Globe and the Blackfriars the holdings were 
redistributed from time to time, as housekeepers went out 


3142.* G 


or it was desired to admit additional ones, and conse- 
quently the value of Shakespeare's interests fluctuated. 
We do not know how long he retained them. The 
tenancies were 'in common', and therefore alienable to 
persons who were not members of the company. But they 
do not seem to have passed under his will, and therefore 
he may have parted with them before his death; that of 
the Globe very likely in 1 6 1 3, when the fire made a heavy 
expenditure on rebuilding inevitable. 1 

Analysis of Shakespeare's plays, with an eye to the pos- 
sibilities of doubling parts, shows that, as indeed might 
have been taken for granted, they were within the compass 
of the company. 2 The practice of doubling certainly 
existed; it is not necessary to assume that it was always 
carried to the full extent theoretically feasible, or on the 
other hand that every regular actor in the company per- 
formed in every play. The number of persons described 
in London parish registers as players suggests that there 
must always have been some 'resting', who could be called 
upon for occasional jobs, if need arose. From three to five 
boys would normally have been sufficient for the female 
parts; some special arrangement may have been required 
for Midsummer-Night's Dream and Merry Wives of Wind- 
sor. When the company was travelling, there would be 
advantages in keeping down the 'personnel^ but of course 
the less heavily parted plays could be chosen. Some texts, 
however, show indications of cuts, with the apparent 
object of reducing the cast. 3 Professor Baldwin has some 
ingenious speculations as to the 'lines' or types of part 
provided for each of the principal men and boy actors. 
I think that they are vitiated by a misconception as to the 
nature of theatrical apprenticeship, by a chronology which 
I believe to be erroneous, and still more perhaps by the 
complete absence of any data adequate to support so 
elaborate a superstructure. The printed actor-lists, of 
which there are none for Shakespeare's plays, rarely allot 
parts. The ascriptions of Restoration writers naturally 
relate to the Caroline period. Thus John Downes tells us 

1 Cf. App. A, no. vii. * Cf. vol. ii, p. 86. 3 Cf. pp. 229, 235. 




that Taylor acted Hamlet and Lowin Henry VIII and 
that both had their instructions from Shakespeare himself. 
This cannot be true of Taylor, who only joined the com- 
pany after Shakespeare's death. It might be of Lowin, 
but Falstaff, which James Wright gives him, was certainly 
not his from the beginning. Burbadge was doubtless the 
leading actor in his lifetime. We know that he did 
Richard III, Lear, Othello, 'young Hamlett', 'ould Heir- 
onymoe', probably in The Spanish Tragedy, Ferdinand in 
The Duchess ofMalfi> and this list, together with the general 
descriptions of him, suggests a versatility which is charac- 
teristic of 'repertory' companies and makes any assign- 
ment of 'lines' very problematic. Lowin probably became 
Burbadge's chief support in later days. The Fool was a 
familiar figure in every theatre, and we can trace the suc- 
cession of Kempe, Armin, and Shank, and even note a 
change of method, when Kempe's serving-men fools gave 
place to Armin's court fools. Pope is spoken of as a clown. 
Heminges seems to have followed Phillips as the business 
manager of the company. He is described as 'stuttering' 
in 1613 and appears in no actor-list after 161 1. The will 
of Phillips suggests that he was primarily a musician. So 
may have been Cowley, whose name is not in the actor- 
lists at all, although stage-directions show that he played 
Verges to Kempe's Dogberry. He had appeared as a 
musician in Seven Deadly Sins. It is likely enough that 
the boys were paired, to give a contrast of tall and short, 
dark and fair, lively and tender among the women. We 
must assume that Shakespeare, as a practical playwright, 
had some regard in plotting his plays to the material 
available for their interpretation. But I cannot believe 
with Professor Baldwin that he meticulously fitted the ages 
and complexions of his characters to those of their in- 
tended representatives. Here the argument as to a practi- 
cal playwright tells the other way. He would know that 
a repertory meant the periodical revival of plays, with 
changes in the cast and changes of age. And he would 
not be unfamiliar with the uses of 'make-up'. As to Shake- 
speare's own acting, we have little to go upon, except late 

G 2 


and rather conflicting hints through stage tradition. He 
'did act exceedingly well' says Aubrey. But Rowe got the 
impression that he was no 'extraordinary* actor, and that 'the 
top of his performance was the Ghost in his own Hamlet*. 
A story, dubious in its details, describes him as playing 
the very minor part of Adam in As Tou Like It. 1 Chettle, 
desiring to be courteous, reported him as 'exelent in the 
qualitie he professes', and 'qualitie' is a term more than 
once applied to the occupation of an actor. Davies of 
Hereford speaks of his kingly parts.* It is hazardous to 
infer that he played the king in Peele's Edward I from 
the lines (761-2): 

Shake thy speres in honour of his name, 
Vnder whose roialtie thou wearst the same. 

We may gather from Richard III and again from Hamlet 
that he was interested in the technique of his profession, 
and perhaps from the Sonnets that he found its practice 
irksome. 3 He, too, drops out of the actor-lists after E.M.I. 
(1598) and Sejanus (i 603), and it may be that after a time 
his plays, together, perhaps, with the oversight of their 
production, were accepted as a sufficient return for his 
share in the company. If so, he presumably did not get 
any special payment for them, although at an earlier date 
he may, as Oldys apparently learnt, have received 5 for 
Hamlet. I feel sure that Sir Sidney Lee has much over- 
estimated his theatrical income at more than 700. The 
evidence is complicated, but I do not see how, as sharer 
and housekeeper, he can ever have earned more, even in 
the best years, than about ^200. This of course would 
make him quite well-to-do by Jacobean standards. 4 

We may think, then, of Shakespeare, early in the reign 
of James, as still making his head-quarters in London, but 
more free than of old tor occasional sojourn in Stratford. 
Here he brought small actions in the Court of Record 
against one Phillip Rogers for the value of malt supplied 
and for a money debt in 1604, and against one John 
Addenbroke and his surety Thomas Horneby for a money 

1 App. C, nos. xiii, XSY, xxriv, xliv. 3 Cf . p. 560. 

* App, B, no. xxvii. * cf. App. A, no. vii. 


debt in 1608 9. l And here he added to his investments 
in 1605 by purchasing for ^440 the lease of a parcel of 
local tithes which had once belonged to the Stratford col- 
lege. 2 Malone thought he had evidence, not now forth- 
coming, that Shakespeare's London abode was still on the 
Southwark Bankside in i6o8. 3 Professor Wallace, how- 
ever, discovered a lawsuit which showed that in 1604 he 
was lodging in the house of Christopher Mountjoy, a 
Huguenot tire-maker, in Cripplegate ward, and became in- 
volved in the family affairs of his landlord. 4 Some informa- 
tion obtained by Aubrey from the actor William Beeston, 
a son of Christopher, indicates that at some time he also 
lived in Shoreditch.s Aubrey tells also of annual visits to 
Stratford, of the humour of Dogberry picked up from a 
constable at Grendon, which was in fact out of the road, 
and of lodging in Oxford at the house of John Davenant, 
a vintner who kept a tavern afterwards known as the 
Crown. This must have been much later than the days of 
Dogberry. Davenant is not known to have had the tavern 
before 1613, although he may have had it in 1 60 1 . A tavern 
was not normally a place for the reception of travellers, and 
if Shakespeare did not really lodge at the adjoining Cross 
inn, which seems also to have been at one time in Davenant's 
hands, he must have been a private guest. The house 
still stands in the Cornmarket St., and we may, if we like, 
fancy Shakespeare occupying a room in which some inter- 
esting mural decoration of the sixteenth century has recently 
been uncovered. 6 A gloss on the story, over which Aubrey 
hesitated, made Shakespeare the father of Sir William 
Davenant, born in 1606. It has not much authority and 
may owe something to Davenant's willingness to be sus- 
pected of more than a literary affiliation to the greater poet. 7 
The temper of Hamlet and Troths and CressiJa'lezds 
up, naturally enough, to the long unrolling of the Jacobean 
tragedies. These are not without evidence of mental strain 

1 App. A, no. xvi. s App. C, no. riii. 

2 App. A, no. xvii. 6 Cf. Plate XVI. 

3 App. A, no. ix. 7 Cf. p. 573. 

4 App. A, no. x. 


and sometimes exhaustion. Shakespeare's spirit must have 
been nearly submerged in Lear, and although the wave 
passed, and he rose to his height of poetic expression in 
Antony and Cleopatra, I think that he went under in the 
unfinished Timon of Athens. The chronology of the plays 
becomes difficult at this point, and it is therefore frankly 
a conjecture that an attempt at Timon of Athens early in 
1608 was followed by a serious illness, which may have 
been a nervous breakdown, and on the other hand may 
have been merely the plague. Later in the year Shake- 
speare came to his part of Pericles with a new outlook. In 
any case the transition from the tragedies to the romances 
is not an evolution but a revolution. There has been some 
mental process such as the psychology of religion would 
call a conversion. Obviously the philosophy of the tra- 
gedies is not a Christian philosophy, and in a sense that 
of the romances is. 1 Richard Davies, a Gloucestershire 
clergyman of the end of the seventeenth century, stated 
that Shakespeare 'dyed a papist'. 2 He may or may not 
have been misinformed, but I am not so certain as was 
Sir Sidney Lee that we can, without more ado, 'dismiss as 
idle gossip the irresponsible report', or that it 'admits of no 
question' that Shakespeare 'was to the last a conforming 
member of the Church of England'.a How did Sir Sidney 
know that Davies was irresponsible or a gossip ? What little 
is recorded of him suggests that he was a man of scholarly 
attainments. It was by no means unusual for a seventeenth- 
century Catholic to be buried in his parish church. 4 

It was perhaps about this time that Shakespeare's 
thoughts began to turn to New Place as a permanent 
habitation. If so, he deferred his purpose for a time, since 
his cousin Thomas Greene, the town clerk of Stratford, 
who appears to have been living jjn the house, noted in 
connexion with a transaction of 1609 that he had found 
he could stay there for another year.* We may put there- 
fore in 1610 the beginning of Shakespeare's final years 

1 Cf. Sh.: a Survey, 229, 241, 275, 4 Stratford Register, s.a. 1606, 1611, 

284, 290, 307. 1613. 

* App. C, no. xy. * App. A, no. ri. 

* Lee, 487. 


at his native Stratford, spent, according to Rowe, 'as all 
men of good sense will wish theirs may be, in ease, retire- 
ment and the conversation of his friends'. Even at Strat- 
ford time had brought some changes. His elder daughter 
Susanna had married John Hall, a local physician of some 
note, in 1607, and had herself a daughter Elizabeth. 
His younger daughter Judith was still unmarried. His 
mother had died in 1608. His brother Edmund had, like 
himself, become an actor in London, although not, so far 
as we know, in his company, and his death in 1607 had 
followed that of a base-born son. Two other brothers, 
Gilbert and Richard, were still alive in Stratford, and died, 
apparently unmarried, in 1612 and 1613 respectively. 
His sister Joan had married William Hart, a hatter, and 
had three sons. 1 Shakespeare's breach with London was 
not a complete one. He still wrote his plays for the King's 
men. But the intervals between them became longer, and 
in 1613, when the wedding of the Princess Elizabeth 
meant a period of theatrical pressure, he seems to have 
fallen back upon some kind of collaboration with the 
younger pen of John Fletcher. After 1613 he wrote no 
more. Occasionally he visited his old haunts. He was in 
London on n May 1612, when he made a deposition 
in Christopher Mountjoy's lawsuit, and showed a rather 
imperfect memory of events which had taken place eight 
years before. 2 He was there in March 1613, when he 
designed an impresa for Burbadge to paint, and for Francis 
Earl of Rutland to parade at the annual Accession tilt.3 
He was there on 17 November 1614, when Thomas 
Greene discussed Stratford business with him and his son- 
in-law Hall.* And it was in London property that during 
1613 he made his last investment, buying for 140 and 
immediately mortgaging for nearly half its value an old 
building in the Blackfriars, which had once been a gate- 
house to a lodging for the Prior of the Dominicans, and 
at later dates a head-quarters, of Catholic intrigue. 5 

1 App. A, no. L 4 App. A, no. acbc. 

a App. A, no. x. 5 App. A y no. xariii. 

App. A, no. xxii. 


But our imaginative setting for the last days of Shake- 
speare must be the open fields and cool water-meadows 
and woodland of Stratford, and the great garden of New 
Place, where the mulberries he had planted were yet 
young. He seems to have taken no part in municipal 
affairs. He made his contribution to the expenses of pro- 
moting a Bill for the better repair of highways, and gave 
hospitality to a preacher of one of the annual sermons 
founded by pious legacies. 1 Tradition and his will show 
that he lived upon friendly terms, not only with the leading 
citizens, but with well-to-do gentry of the town and its 
neighbourhood. 2 Prominent among these were a family 
of Combes. 3 Thomas Combe, whose grandfather had 
been a spoiler of the monasteries and his father appa- 
rently a Catholic, occupied the mansion of the dissolved 
college. He had died in 1609 and left two young sons. 
Upon his brother John, who was a rich money-lender, 
Shakespeare is credited by repute with exercising his epi- 
grammatic wit. If so, a legacy which he received under 
John's will of 1613 shows that kindly relations endured. 
In 1614 young William Combe, who was a freeholder at 
Welcombe on the Stratford manor, was drawn into a 
scheme for enclosing some of the open fields, and a con- 
troversy arose, which disturbed the peace of Stratford for 
some years. Shakespeare had himself no rights of common 
in the area affected, but both he as a tithe-holder and the 
Corporation, who owned the reversion of the tithes, might 
suffer loss, if the enclosure led to the conversion of arable 
land into pasture. So far as Shakespeare was concerned, 
an agreement for indemnification was made, and he seems 
to have taken no further interest in the matter.* If he had 
troubles in these years, they were concerned with his 
daughters. Susanna Hall in 1613 had to bring an action 
in the ecclesiastical court for the protection of her character 
from a slander of incontinence.* Judith, on 10 February 
1616, married Thomas Quiney, and the ceremony, which 

' nos - ** 3Dd - 3 A PP- A, no. rviii. 

App. A, no. xnrj App. C, nos. App. A, no. MX. 

* Iv - * App. A, no. i. 


took place in a season prohibited by canon law, led to the 
subsequent excommunication of the pair. 1 By the time 
the sentence was pronounced, the poet may have been 
already dead. John Ward tells that 'Shakespear, Drayton, 
and Ben Jhonson, had a merry meeting, and itt seems 
drank too hard, for Shakespear died of a feavour there 
contracted'. There is no reason to reject this report. Ward 
had been a student of medicine, and became vicar of Strat- 
ford in i662. 2 Drayton is known to have been in the habit 
offending his vacations at 'the Muses* quiet port' of 
Clifford Chambers near Stratford, where dwelt Sir Henry 
Rainsford, whose wife Anne had been Drayton's Idea.* 
Attempts have been made to determine the precise nature 
of Shakespeare's medical history, mainly upon the basis 
of tremors in the signatures to his will.* But the diagnoses 
of doctors are even less reliable when the patient is not 
before them than when he is. The will itself was probably 
drafted in January 1616, but interlineated and partly re- 
written later, and finally signed, without the formality of 
a fair copy, on 25 March.* There are small bequests to 
the poor, to various Stratfordians, and to Shakespeare's 
'fellows' Burbadge, Heminges, and Condell, who are to 
buy rings. Thomas Combe, the brother of William, is 
to have Shakespeare's sword. The widow, amply provided 
for by legal dower on the Stratford property, although 
that on the Blackfriars house had been barred, gets the 
second best bed by an interlineation. Jo^n Hart is to 
occupy her present house, which was ofJe of those in 
Henley St., for life, and to have ^20 and the poet's wearing 
apparel. Each of her three sons gets 5. Subject to certain 
contingencies, Judith Quiney is to have a marriage portion 
of 150, and another ^150 later. She is also to have a 
silver and gilt bowl. The rest of the plate is for Elizabeth 
Hall ; the other chattels and the leases for her parents. The 
real property in Stratford and London is entailed succes- 
sively upon Susanna and her heirs male, Elizabeth and 

1 Ibid. * Cf. p. 507. 

* App. C, no. ix. * App. A, no. xriv. 

3 O. Elton, MichaelDrcyton, 10, 1 28. 


her heirs male, Judith and her heirs male, with remainder 
to the poet's right heirs. 

Death took place on April 23. The little that was 
mortal of Shakespeare lies under the chancel of Stratford 
church. A doggerel curse on the stone above, locally 
believed to be from his own pen, has fortunately prevented 
exhumation. From the chancel wall a bust by Gheerart 
Janssen watches quietly. Above is the coat of arms ; below 
a laudatory inscription. The face is full and heavy, with 
a dome-like head; the modelling may have been from a 
mask. The present colouring dates from the middle of the 
nineteenth century, and as tor some time ^before that the 
bust was whitewashed, it cannot be relied upon. 1 The 
engraving by Martin Droeshout in the First Folio gives 
no more attractive presentment, and none of the innumer- 
able portraits which pass as Shakespeare's carry any 
guarantee of authenticity. 2 Aubrey asserts that the poet 
was 'a handsome well shap't man: very good company, 
and of a very readie and pleasant smooth witt'. There is 
no other reference to his personal appearance, but suffi- 
cient testimony to his manners. Rowe had gathered that 
he was held in esteem for his 'exceeding candor and good 
nature', but may be only echoing Ben Jonson, who wrote 
in verse of 'my gentle Shakespeare' and in prose described 
him as 'honest, and of an open, and free nature'. We can- 
not, I think, ascribe to Shakespeare that rigid propriety 
of sexual conduct, the absence of which in more modern 
poets it has too often been the duty of their family bio- 
graphers to conceal. The indications of the Sonnets and 
perhaps Willobie his dvisa, John Manningham's contem- 
porary talk of a more ephemeral intrigue, the gossip about 
Mistress Davenant, do not leave an impression of com- 
plete fidelity to^ Anne Hathaway.3 But as to the normal 
sobriety of his life we may be content to accept the report 
of William Beeston to Aubrey that 'he was not a company 
keeper' and that he 'wouldnt be debauched, & if invited 

1 App. A, no. xxv$ cf. Plates XXII, XXVI, XXVII. 
ni- ... J Cf. pp. 560, 569, and App. B,no. 

Cf. vol. u, p. 340, and Plates xriv. 


to, writ, he was in paine'. 1 The hope, apparent in Shake- 
speare's will, of founding a family was not destined to 
fulfilment. 2 Susanna Hall had no sons. Elizabeth Hall, 
who married successively Thomas Nash of Stratford and 
John, afterwards Sir John, Bernard of Abington in 
Northamptonshire, had no children. Judith Quiney had, 
but the last died in 1639. Shortly afterwards steps were 
taken to terminate the entail. Lady Bernard left the 
Henley St houses to the Harts in 1670, and the last 
remnants of Shakespeare's property were sold by a distant 
kinsman as her residuary legatee after Sir John's death 
in 1674. There are no existing descendants of Shake- 

1 App. C, no. xiii. 2 App. A, no. xxiv. 


[Bibliographical Note. A list of manuscripts of plays datable up to 1616 
is in /iz. Stage 9 iv. 404. Many of these represent court or academic plays 
for amateur performance, or purely literary compositions, or translations, 
or are too fragmentary or of too early date to throw light upon the practice 
of the professional companies. The Malone Society Reprints include 
admirable type-facsimiles, edited with full palaeographical descriptions by 
W. W. Greg or under his supervision, of Munday's John a Kent and John 
a Cumber (1923, ed. M. St. C. Byrne from Mostyn, now Huntington MS.), 
Sir Thomas More (1911, ed. W. W. Greg from HarL MS. 7368), The 
Second Maiden's Tragedy (1909, ed. W. W. Greg from Lansd. MS. 807), 
The Welsh Embassador (1920, ed. H. Littledale and W. W. Greg from 
Phillipps MS. 8719, now in Cardiff Public Library), Massinger's Believe 
as Ton List (1927, ed. C. J. Sisson from Egerton MS. 2828), Edmond 
Ironside (1927, ed. E. Boswell from Egerton MS. 1994), The Parliament 
of Love (1928, ed. K. M. Lea from Dye MS. 39), Richard Hoi Thomas 
of Woodstock (1929, ed. W. P. Frijlinck from Egerton MS. 1994). 
Similar in character is Sir John Fan Olden Barnavelt (1922, ed. W. P. 
Frijlinck from Addl. MS. 18653). There are also photographic facsimiles 
of John a Kent (1912), Sir Thomas More (1910), and Believe as You 
List (1907) in J. S. Farmer's Tudor Facsimile Texts. Two of the above 
plays are drawn from the collection of William Cartwright the younger 
(ob. 1687), in Egerton MS. 1994. This is described by F. S. Boas in 
Shakespeare and the Universities (1923), 96. It contains twelve other 
plays, besides a mask, several of which are in hand for M.S.R. Three 
represent plays also extant in early prints, Nero (1624), Fletcher's Elder 
Brother (1637), Daborne's Poor Man's Comfort (1655; cf. Eliz. Stage, 
iii. 271). One, Calisto or The Escapes of Jupiter, is put together from 
Heywood's Golden Age (1611) and Silver Age (1613), and is described 
by W. W. Greg in Anglica (1925), ii. 212. Four are available in more 
or less modernized texts, Dick of Devonshire and The Lady Mother (i 883, 
ed. A. H. Bullen in 0.. Plays, ii), Charlemagne or The Distracted 
Emperor (1884, ilia 1 , iii; 1920, ed. F. L. Schoell; cf. Ettx. Stage, iv. 5), 
Heywood's The Captives (1885, ibid, iv; 1921, ed. A. C. Judson), as well 
as J Richard II (1899, ed. W. Keller, J. xxxv. 3; cf. EBx. Stage, iv. 
42). The Fatal Marriage or A Second Lucreatya, The Two Noble Ladies, 
Loves Changelinges Change, and The Lanchinge of the Mary or The 
Seamans Honest Wife are unprinted, but the last is very fully studied by 
Boas. The manuscripts of Beaumont and Fletcher's Honest Man's Fortune 
(Dye MS. 9) and Bonduca (AddL MS. 36758) and of Middleton's The 
Witch (Malone MS. 12) are described by W. W. Greg (4 Library, vi. 
148); that of Beaumont and Fletcher's The Humourous Lieutenant (Lord 
Harlecffs MS.\ here called Demetrius and Enanthe, by F. P. Wilson 


(ibid. vii. 194); the five of Middleton's Game of Chess in R. C. Bald's 
edition (1929). The account of The Faithful Friends (Dyce MS. 10) in 
E. H. C. Oliphant, Beaumont and Fletcher, 526, needs revision. Manu- 
scripts of Middleton's Mayor of Quinborough and Beaumont and Fletcher's 
Beggar's Busk require description. The latter is said by F. Marcham, 
The 'King's Office of the Revels (192 5), 6, to be in a hand like that of The 
Witch. The late manuscripts of Hen. IF, Twelfth Night, and Merry 
Wives of W. are noted in ch. ix. Valuable dissertations on the nature 
of the manuscripts are W. W. Greg, Prompt Copies* Private Transcripts^ 
and the Play-House Scrivener (1925, 4 Library, vi. 148); C. J. Sisson, 
Bibliographical Aspects of some Stuart Dramatic Manuscripts (1925, R.E.S. 
i. 421); F. P. Wilson, Ralph Crane, Scrivener to the King's Players (1926, 
4 Library, vii. 194) ; W. J. Lawrence, Early Prompt Books and What they 
Reveal (1927, Pre-Restoration Studies], 

The relations of the Master of the Revels to the stage are described in 
Eliz. Stage, chh. iii, x, and xxii, and the working of the Jacobean and 
Caroline censorship may be further studied in V. C. Gildersleeve, Govern- 
ment Regulation of the English Drama (1908), F. S. Boas, Shakespeare and 
the Universities (1923), E. M. Albright, Dramatic Publication in England, 
1580-1640 (1927), S. R. Gardiner, The Political Element in Massinger 
(1875-6, N.S.S. Trans. 314), T. S. Graves, Some Affusions to Religious 
and Political Plays (1912, M.P. ix. 545), The Political Use of the Stage 
during the Reign of James I (1914, Anglia, xxxviii. 137). The hand- 
writings of the Masters are in W. W. Greg, English Literary Autographs, 

1 (1925), xxx. The fragments of Sir Henry Herbert's Office Book are col- 
lected from Malone (Fariorum, iii) and G. Chalmers, Supplemental Apology 
(1799), in J. Q. Adams, The Dramatic Records of Sir Henry Herbert (iw). 
A few additional ones are given from books annotated by Malone in W. J. 
Lawrence, New Tacts from Sir Henry Herbert 9 s Office Book (1923, Nov. 29, 
T.L.S.), and by F. P. Wilson (4 Library, vii. 209). Adams also reprints 
many of the papers collected by Herbert for his Restoration lawsuits, as 
given from AddL MS. 19256 in H.P., A Collection of Ancient Documents 
Respecting the Office of the Master of the Revels (i 870). The end of Herbert's 
career is traced in A.Nicoll, History of Restoration Drama (ed. 2, 1928),and 
L. Hotson, The Commonwealth and Restoration Stage (1928). There is 
much on the book-keeper and his fellows in T. W. Baldwin, The Organ- 
ization and Personnel of the Shakespearean Company (1927). W.W. Greg 
collected the 'plots' in Henslowe Papers (1907) and is re-editing them 
in his coming Dramatic Documents from the Elizabethan Playhouses. 
He discussed the conclusions to be drawn from them in The Evidence 
of Theatrical Plots for the History of the Elizabethan Stage (1925, R.E.S. i. 

2 57). He also printed the 'part' of Orkndo in Henslowe Papers* and edited it 
fully, in a parallel-text with the corresponding passages of the 1 594 Quarto of 
Orlando Furioso, in Two Elizabethan Stage Abridgements (1923).] 

SHAKESPEARE may be read, to profit and delight, in the 
barest of unannotated texts, and the plays may be taken 


in any order. Nor does their power to evoke mirth and 
emotion fail upon the stage, even through such distant ap- 
proximation to Elizabethan methods of presentment as the 
habits of modern producers and modern actors impose. But 
that bare unannotated text is already a reconstruction, due 
to generations of scholars, working by patient comparison 
and less patient conjecture upon the discrepant and often 
dubious versions handed down from the seventeenth cen- 
tury. And the unquiet spirit of criticism is still urgent with 
questions, for which the conscientious student will feel his 
obligation to attempt answers. These are the problems of 
transmission, of authenticity, of revision, of chronology. 
How far can the reconstructed text, after all, be accepted as 
a faithful rendering of the form in which Shakespeare left 
the plays? Was he the sole author of what passes under 
his name, or is his work, through adaptation or collabora- 
tion, entangled in the traditional canon with that of other 
men ? Did he himself alter or rewrite what he at first 
composed? Can we arrange the plays in an order of time, 
and so arrive at some nearer knowledge of the develop- 
ment of a personality, left obscure by the colourless facts 
of biographical record, the fragmentary notices of con- 
temporaries, the doubtful stories of a younger age, and the 
enigmatic self-revelation of the Sonnets ? The four prob- 
lems are closely interwoven, and their solution can best be 
approached through some consideration of the conditions 
under which Elizabethan plays were prepared for the 
stage and passed into print. 

The material available, although it is fairly abundant, 
has to be pieced together from many sources; and if it is 
occasionally necessary to draw upon Caroline, rather than 
Elizabethan or Jacobean, evidence, it must be borne in 
mind that the occupations, alike of actor and of printer, 
were hereditary and conservative, and that, while allow- 
ance must be made for changes in detail, the death of 
Shakespeare did not constitute a break in traditions which 
seem to have been fairly continuous from the middle of 
the sixteenth century to the closing of the theatres in 
1642. The plays of the earlier professional companies, so 


far as we can judge, came mainly from the pens of the 
actors themselves, and did not as a rule get into print. The 
independent playwrights appear in the course of the 
'eighties, when the University wits were turning to popu- 
lar literature as a refuge from the scanty and uncertain 
rewards of patronage. Thereafter they were the chief 
sources of supply, although the older practice was not 
entirely abandoned, and was in particular continued by 
Shakespeare for the Chamberlain's and King's men and 
by Thomas Heywood for Worcester's and Queen Anne's. 
Both were actor-playwrights, holding shares in individual 
companies and writing for these alone. The literary play- 
wrights, on the other hand, were free lances, finding no 
doubt their ordinary markets in accustomed quarters, but 
not tied to these, except, as in the cases of Henry Porter 
and Henry Chettle, under some temporary pressure of 
economic disadvantage. 1 Their relation to the boy com- 
panies may have been slightly different, since here they are 
sometimes found as members of the syndicates by which 
the companies were financed and controlled. 2 The records 
kept by Philip Henslowe throw light upon the procedure 
followed in the purchase of new plays from poets by the 
companies for whom he was the agent. 3 Jonson submits 
a 'plot' of a play, but never writes it. It is taken up by 
Chapman, who sends in two acts, and more. 
'We haue heard their books and lyke yt' writes an Ad- 
miral's man to Henslowe, directing payment to the 
authors. Another notifies, 'I haue hard fyue shetes of a 
playe & I dow not doute but it wyll be a verye good 
playe' ; Henslowe is to take 'the papers' into his own hands, 
as the authors have promised to finish it by Easter. A play 
of Richard Hathway's falls through. He is to 'haue his 
papars agayne' and to give security for the amount he has 
received. Robert Daborne enters into a bond to write a 
play by a given date, but his 'papers' come in slowly, and 
some of them are 'not so fayr written all as I could wish'. 

> i- 374- 1945 Greg, Henslawe Papers, 49, 55, 

* Ibid. i. 378. 56, 65-84. 

3 Ibid. i. 373$ ii. 161, 167, 2525 iii. 


He is ready to read instalments to Alleyn, and the whole 
play to the company when it is ready. When pressed for 
the last scene of another play, he writes, 'I send you the 
foule sheet & y 6 fayr I was wrighting as y r man can 
testify*. He 'will not fayle to write this fayr and perfit the 
book'. Evidently the companies watched closely the pro- 
gress of the plays which they commissioned. And the 
system of instalments was often applied to the payments 
as well as to the delivery of sheets. An 'earnest* was 
generally given at an early stage; there might be further 
advances later; and a payment 'in full' was made when 
the work was complete. The total amounts paid ranged 
from 4 to jio los. towards the end of the sixteenth 
century. About 1613 Daborne was getting from jio to 
20, and boasted that the King's men would give him 
25. A successful play might bring the author a gratuity, 
and a second or third night's 'benefit' seems to have be- 
come customary in the seventeenth century. 1 The plays 
were carefully preserved by the companies, and repre- 
sented a considerable capital value as part of their 'stock'. 
If a company was disbanded, they were divided among the 
'sharers', and old plays thus got upon the market. Alleyn 
seems to have acquired plays of the original Admiral's 
men in 1589, and he and other actors are found selling old 
plays to the later Admiral's at 2 each. 2 

The author's 'papers', which figure so largely in 
Henslowe's correspondence, come before us again in 
the epistle to the First Folio. 'Wee haue scarse receiued 

from him a blot in his papers', say Heminges and Condell, 
in commendation of their dead fellow's facility. Another 
term appears on the title-page, which describes the plays 
as 'Published according to the True Originall Copies', 
and in the head-tide, where they are 'Truely set forth, 
according to their first Originall'. This recurs in Hum- 
phrey Moseley's epistle to the first Beaumont and Fletcher 
Folio of 1647. He claims to give 'the Originalls from 
such as received them from the Authours themselves', and 
says that the readers would appreciate his difficulties if 

1 EliK ' Sta 8*> * 373- * Ibid. I 3725 ii. 165, 167, 179. 


they 'knew into how many hands the Originalls were dis- 
persed'. And he explains more fully: 

When these Comedies and Tragedies were presented on the Stage, 
the detours omitted some Scenes and Passages (with the Authour's 
consent) as occasion led them; and when private friends desir'd a 
Copy, they then (and justly too) transcribed what they Acted. But 
now you have both All that was Acted^ and all that was not; even 
the perfect full Originalls without the least mutilation; So that 
were the Authours living (and sure they can never dye) they them- 
selves would challenge neither more nor lesse then what is here 

This term 'original' is of common use in the records of 
the medieval stage, and there it seems to represent the 
authoritative copy of a play by which the performances 
were governed, and to replace the earlier Ordo of the 
liturgical drama. It often appears in some such form as 
'regenall', and it is difficult to resist the conviction that 
in the mind of medieval writers it was connected with 
regere. 1 Moseley does not use it in the medieval sense. 
It is perhaps so used when we learn that the Master of the 
Revels reallowed an old play, 'the originall being lost'. 2 
But it is clear that the ordinary Elizabethan term for an 
authoritative stage-copy was simply 'the book'. 3 This 
appears in the titles of play-manuscripts, and Dr. Greg 
points out that from these it sometimes made its way into 
titles as recorded in the Stationers' Register.-* Certainly the 
'book' was not in all respects identical with the 'original' 
as handed in by the author. Moseley indicates that pas- 
sages were omitted. But 'cuts' were only one feature of the 
adaptation which the 'original', even of a writer familiar 
with stage conditions, might require in order to make it 
a safe and adequate guide to actual performance. And 

1 Mediaeval Stage, ii. 143. book described by H. Granville- 

* Herbert 30. Barker in R.E. iv (1928), 233, as 

3 Modern writers often call the 'begun at rehearsals* and containing 

'stage-copy' the 'prompt-copy*, and notes of 'interpretation as well as 

no doubt this was one of its uses; cf. mechanism* is an elaborated type. 

p. 121. The earliest use of the term * 4 Library, vii. 3845 cf. the S. R. 

'prompt-book* in Q.E.D. is of 1809, entries for Mer. of Fen. and Per. 

and probably the modern prompt- 

3 142. i w 


indeed, although Moseleymayhave restored 'cut' passages, 
it is clear from his texts that apart from these he was often 
printing from 'books' which had undergone such adapta- 
tion. We may distinguish various kinds of adaptation. The 
author's intentions, as indicated in his original, might have 
to be accommodated to the stage-structure, properties, and 
actors of a given theatre at a given date, as well as to the 
time available for representation, and perhaps to the taste 
of a given audience. But, also, the expression of these 
intentions in the manuscript might itself require some cor- 
rection; speeches might be wrongly distributed, or stage- 
directions insufficient. A stage-copy must be precise. 
Further, before a play could be presented, it had to receive 
the allowance of a censor, by an endorsement on the stage- 
copy, and this might entail the alteration of passages likely 
to be objectionable to the censor, or in fact disapproved of 
by him. It is necessary to consider the operation of the 
agencies through which such adaptation was carried out 
and their effect upon the 'book'. 

I have already devoted much space to the question of 
Elizabethan stage-censorship, and need not repeat the 
whole story here. 1 The main agent was throughout the 
Master of the Revels, a Household official, working under 
the direction of the Lord Chamberlain, or in matters of 
higher importance under that of the Privy Council, the 
High Commission, or even the sovereign. His original 
functions included the review of plays given at court. 
Tentatively under a patent for Leicester's men in 1 574, 
more directly under a commission issued to him in 1581, 
and effectively, as overruling a claim to censorship by the 
London corporation, about 1589, they came to cover all 
plays given in public. A special arrangement for the 
Queen's Revels in 1604 proved unsatisfactory, and was 
not of long duration. The requirement of the Master's 
endorsement 'at the latter end of the said booke they doe 
play' is already recorded in 1 584. An Act to Restraine Abuses 
of Players^ which had effect from 27 May 1606, forbade 
the jesting or profane use in plays of 'the holy Name of 

317-3*5 ii- 48-54, 2215 iii. 168-70, 191. 


God or of Christ Jesus, or of the Holy Ghoste or of the 
Trinitie'; and although the Master is not specifically re- 
ferred to, he naturally kept an eye on its observance. 1 
From about 1607 onwards he seems also to have acted as 
licenser for the printing of plays, on behalf of the High 
Commission. Edmund Tilney was Master from 1579 to 
his death on 20 August 1610. But under James he had a 
deputy in his nephew Sir George Buck, who held a rever- 
sion of the post and became his successor. Buck lived to 
20 September 1623, but by 29 March 1622 he was mad, 
and Sir John Astley or Ashley, who in his turn held a 
reversion, was sworn in as Master. He did not officiate 
long. On 20 July 1623 he granted a deputation, for a 
consideration of j 150 a year, to Henry Herbert, brother 
of Lord Herbert of Cherbury and of the poet George 
Herbert, and kinsman of William Herbert, Earl of Pem- 
broke, then Lord Chamberlain. 2 Herbert was knighted 
and accepted by the king as Master on August y. 3 
Technically he long remained a mere deputy, but on 25 
August 1629, he obtained a reversion, with one Simon 
Thelwall, for their joint lives. A prior reversion had been 
granted to Ben Jonson on 5 October 1621.-* But Ashley 
outlived him, and from Ashley's death on 1 3 January 1 64 1 
Herbert held the Mastership in his own right. His duties 
lapsed at the closing of the theatres, and although he 
resumed them at the Restoration, it was only to incur 
serious embarrassment owing to the conflicting rights 
granted by Charles II to the patentees of the leading 
theatres. He died on 27 April 1673. Simon Thelwall was 
still alive in 1662, but does not appear at any time to have 
acted as Master. One William Blagrave collected fees for 
Herbert, and licensed a play as his deputy in 1635.5 

* Text in EKx. Stage, iv. 338. Court in 1629 and payee in 1635 * r 

a Cunningham xlix, from enrol- court plays given by the King's Revels 

ment of indenture in Audit Office. from there (Adams, Sh. Playhouses, 

3 R. Warner, Epistolary Curiosities, 3695 L.C. v. 134, p. 39. The pedigree 

3 . in Harl. Soc. Ixv. 83 does not show him 

Works, i. 237, from Patent Roll. a son of Thomas Blagrave, the Eliza- 

s Boas, Sh. and the Universities, 98. bethan Clerk of the Revels. He might 

Blagrave was a lessee of Salisbury be a grandson. I take this opportunity 

H 2 


Another deputy, Thomas Herbert, allowed the printing of 
a play in 1 63 y. 1 It is during Herbert's administration that 
we get the dearest view of the working of the censorship. 
He kept an Office Book, which seems also to have con- 
tained a few initial entries by Sir John Ashley. This was 
left at Herbert's death in his house at Ribbesford in Wor- 
cestershire. It was used by Malone in 1789 and by 
Chalmers before 1799. It was then in bad condition and 
has since disappeared. A statement of Halliwell-Phillipps 
in 1880 that it was in the possession of the Earl of Powis 
cannot be verified. 2 The extracts, however, made by 
Malone and Chalmers, although certainly not complete, 
enable us to get a fair notion of Herbert's activities; and 
further light is thrown upon them by a collection of papers 
relating to his post-Restoration controversies. 3 The Office 
Book contained dated entries of plays or alterations of 
plays and of other entertainments licensed for perform- 
ance by Herbert, and of plays and masks given under his 
supervision at court.* Here, too, he recorded such events 
as inhibitions for plague and the setting up of new theatres 
and companies. Only a few entries of licences for printing 
are among the extracts, and the publications concerned are 
generally not plays. Possibly, therefore, the citations of 
licences by Herbert and other Masters in the Stationers' 
Register normally refer to their licences for performance, 
and these were regarded as covering printing. Herbert is 
careful to note the fees he received, and the supplementary 
exactions m the way of 'benefits' and payments for 'Lenten 
dispensations' which he levied upon the companies. His 
brother, Lord Herbert of Cherbury, tells us that he made 
a great fortune out of court employment. But his losses 
after the Restoration were considerable. More interesting 
in the present inquiry is a group of entries showing the 
disallowances which he felt called upon to make. The 

of correcting the statement in EKz. ' Arber, iv. 376 

Stage, i. 99, that Thomas Blagrave * W. W. Greg in Gentleman's 

bved to the end of Elizabeth's reign. Magazine, ccc (1906)^2. 

He , nu buried at St. James's, derken- 3 AddL MSf A ' rf Bm N 

7\ * i ^ I59 (HarL SoC * 4 For ="** notices of Sha- 
Registers, xvu. 41). spearean revivals, cf. App. D. 


object of censorship, says one of the post-Restoration 
memoranda, 'is, that all prophaneness, oathes, ribaldry, 
and matters reflecting vpon piety and the present governe- 
ment may bee obliterated, before there bee any action in 
a publique Theatre'. 1 Possible interventions by players in 
civil or foreign politics called for constant vigilance. Her- 
bert 'reforms' The Duchess of Suffolk, which was full of 
'dangerous matter'. He refuses to allow a play of Mas- 
singer's, which we can identify as an early form of Believe 
as You Listy because it too had 'dangerous matter, as the 
deposing of Sebastian king of Portugal by Philip the 
Second, and ther being a peace sworen twixte the kings 
of England and Spayne'. 2 Another play of Massinger's, 
The King and the Subject, he only passes, with 'reforma- 
tions' and under an altered name, on express warrant from 
the king, who had read the book at Newmarket and 
marked a passage 'This is too insolent, and to bee changed'. 
In 1640 William Beeston is committed to the Marshalsea 
for giving a play without licence. 'The play I cald fof, and, 
forbidding the playinge of it, keepe the booke, because it 
had relation to the passages of the K.s journey into the 
Northe, and was complaynd of by his M.* 3 * to mee, with 
commande to punishe the offenders.' Other disallowances 
were due to the Aristophanic satire of prominent per- 
sonages. 'Abusive matter' in The Widow's Prize is re- 
formed. Shirley's The Ball must be purged from its 
personation of 'lords and others of the court*. Inigo Jones 
is protected against The Tale of the Tub and *M r Sewster' 
against The City Shuffler. A care for piety requires the 
committal of a broker 'for lending a church-robe with the 
names of Jesus upon it, to the players in Salisbury Court, 
to present a Flamen, a priest of the heathens'. Herbert 
was alive to profanity, and even, odd as it appears to us 
after reading the Caroline drama, to indecency. The 
Plantation of Virginia can only be tolerated, 'the profane- 
ness to be left out*. The Tamer Tamed is stayed and 
'purgd of oaths, prophaness, and ribaldrye'. A play re- 
ceived from Mr. Kirke is burnt by Herbert, after taking 

1 Herbert 125. * Cf. p. no. 


his fee, c for the ribaldry and offense that was in it*. Even 
Winter's Tale is not allowed without an assurance that 
there is 'nothing profane added or reformed'. On the 
other hand, Shirley's The Toung Admiral receives a special 
commendation for its freedom from 'oaths, prophaness, or 
obsceanes'. As to profanity, Herbert sometimes went too 
far. His reformation of Davenant's The Wits resulted in 
a protest to the king, and the king called Herbert into 
the window of his withdrawing chamber, and with great 
courtesy overruled him. Whereupon Herbert noted in 
the Office Book, 'The kinge is pleased to take/^V/z, death) 
slight, for asseverations, 'and no oaths, to which I doe 
humbly submit as my masters judgment; but, under 
favour, conceive them to be oaths, and enter them here, to 
declare my opinion and submission/ On the other hand, 
Herbert's vigilance sometimes failed him. It is true that, 
when Jonson's The Magnetic Lady came before the High 
Commission, he was absolved of blame. Presumably the 
players had foisted in something objectionable which he 
had not allowed. But we know from sources other than 
the Office Book that early in his career he was called to 
account for licensing a distinctly political play in Middle- 
ton's Game at Chess. 1 Professor Gardiner, moreover, has 
shown that some of Massinger's extant plays do in fact 
contain obvious political matter. Possibly Herbert had a 
blind eye for Massinger. They were both adherents of the 
Earl of Pembroke, whose politics were often in opposition 
to those of the Duke of Buckingham, 

^ Herbert, of course, was only just in office before the 
First Folio was published. But his objections to political 
matter can be abundantly paralleled from the earlier his- 
tory of the stage, and some protection had been given to 
persons of importance as far back as i6oi. 2 A tendency 
to criticism of society in general, and of the frailties of 
gallants and ladies in particular, was, however, a growing 

1 Cf.p. 125, James recalled 'acorn- date of this is unknown, but may be 

mandment and restraint given against 1604, when Cowry gave offence (Etiz. 

the representing of any modern Christ- Stage, i. 327). 

ian kings in those stage-plays'. The &Kx. Stage, iv. 332. 


feature of the seventeenth-century drama. Heywood,in his 
Apology for Actors, says: J 

Now, to speake of some abuse lately crept into the quality, as an 
inveighing against the state, the court, the law, the citty, and their 
governements, with the particularizing of private men's humors 
(yet alive) noble-men and others, I know it distastes manyj neither 
do I in any way approve it, nor dare I by any meanes excuse it. 

Similarly John Chamberlain writes to Dudley Carleton 
in 1620: 2 

Our pulpits ring continually of the insolence and impudence of 
women; and to help forward, the players have likewise taken them 
to task; and so to the ballads and ballad-singers; so that they can 
come nowhere but their ears tingle. 

An inevitable sequel drew the irony of Ben Jonson in 
Bartholomew Fair: 3 

It is finally agreed, by the foresaid hearers, and spectators, that 
they neyther in themselues conceale, nor suffer by them to be con- 
cealed any State-decipherer, or politique Picklocke of the Scene, so 
solemnly ridiculous, as to search out, who was meant by the Ginger- 
bread-woman, who by the Hobby-horse-man, who by the Costard- 
monger, nay, who by their Wares. Or that will pretend to affirme 
(on his owne inspired ignorance) what Mirror of Magistrates is 
meant by the lustice, what great Lady by the Pigge-woman, what 
conceal* d States-man, by the Seller of Mouse-trappes, and so of the 
rest. But that such person, or persons so found, be left discouered 
to the mercy of the Author, as a forfeiture to the Stage, and your 
laughter, aforesaid. As also, such as shall so desperately, or ambi- 
tiously, play the foole by his place aforesaid, to challenge die Author 
of scurrilitie, because the language some where savours of Smith- 
field, the Booth, and the Pig-broath, or of prophaneness, because 
a Mad-man cryes, God quit you, or blesseyou. 

Piety had been emphasized by the Act of Abuses. This can 

1 Heywood, Apology, 61. The date They make a libell, which he made 

is probably 1607 or 1608. Cf. Eliz. a play. 

Stage, iv. 250. ^ Earlier criticism of informers, not 

* Birch, Jamest 11. 200. necessarily concerned with plays, is 

3 /^.i 4 o. Cf.theapologeticaldia- cited by Albright 198 from Nashe, 

logue to Poetaster and the prologue to Wor ^ L a6o . ^ l82 . ^ 2I3 . 



hardly be set down to the personal predilections of James, 
who 'would make a great deale too bold with God in his 
passion, both in cursing and swearing, and one straine 
higher verging on blasphemie'. 1 Possibly it was a relic of a 
more general Bill for Reformation of the Common ^ Sin of 
Swearing and Blasphemy, which was passed, not with 
unanimity, by the House of Commons in 1 604, but did 
not become law.* In any case the personal austerity of 
Herbert pressed its very limited provisions rather far. 
That he regarded it as his duty to tighten up a rather lax 
administration is clear from his elaborate entry of 21 
October 1633 in the case of The Tamer Tamed. This was 
an old play, and in dealing with it he took occasion to lay 
down that old plays as well as new must be submitted for 
his allowance, 'since they may be full of offensive things 
against church and state; y* rather that in former time 
the poetts tooke greater liberty than is allowed them by 
mee'. He made two other requirements. One was that 
'The players ought not to study their parts till I have 
allowed of the booke' ; the other that 'The Master ought to 
have copies of their new playes left with him, that he may 
be able to shew what he hath allowed or disallowed'. It 
is not perhaps quite clear whether this was entirely new 
doctrine of 1633, or the revival of an older practice which 
had been allowed to lapse. Some old plays had been sub- 
mitted to Herbert before 1633. In a few cases they had 
undergone alteration. Most of the rest had been licensed 
by Sir George Buck. The allowed books of two at least 
of these, Winter's Tale and The Honest Man's Fortune, were 
missing, and that of Jugurth had been 'burnt, with his 
other books'. This was a Fortune play, and the burning 
might have been at the destruction of that theatre by fire 
in 1621, when in fact the play-books were lost. 3 It has 
been thought that books of the King's men might have 
perished similarly at the fire of 1613. But Winter's Tale 
had been revived since then, and the original Honest Man's 
Fortune seems to have turned up in time for the Folio of 

1 A. WeUdon, The Court and Char- ii. 9). * Cf. p. 238 

acter of King James (Secret History, Etix. Stage, ii. 442. 


1647. Moreover, Herbert also reallowed two old books 
of Buck's time for Prince Charles's men at the Red Bull 
and the Lady Elizabeth's at the Cockpit, and we can 
hardly assume unrecorded fires at their houses. It is 
possible, therefore, that Buck had been in the habit of 
keeping 'fair copies' of plays submitted to him, and that 
it was these which were burnt. 

When Herbert had done his worst for The Tamer 
Tamed on 21 October 1633, he returned it to the King's 
men, with an endorsement 'directed to Knight, their book- 
keeper', of which he recorded a copy. 

M* Knight, 

In many things you have saved mee labour; yet wher your judg- 
ment or penn fayld you, I have made boulde to use mine. Purge 
ther parts, as I have the booke. And I hope every hearer and player 
will thinke that I have done God good servise, and the quality no 
wronge; who hath no greater enemies than oaths, prophaness, and 
publique ribaldrye, wh ch for the future I doe absolutely forbid to 
bee presented unto mee in any playbooke, as you will answer it at 
your perill. 

It was 'of Knight' that he received a fee for The Magnetic 
Lady on 12 October 1632. In allowing The Launching 
of the Mary for another company on 27 June 1633 he 
wrote,' 'I command your Bookeeper to present me with a 
fairer copy herafter'. 1 It is unfortunate that we know so 
little about the men who were employed as stage book- 
keepers. A protection of 27 December 1624 for twenty- 
one 'musitions and other necessary attendantes', clearly 
including hired actors, employed by the King's men, gives 
the names of Edward and Anthony Knight, 2 One or other 
was presumably the book-keeper of 1633. Neither is in 
a later protection of 12 January 1637.3 John Taylor, the 
water poet, tells in a story of Thomas Vincent, who was 
'a book-keeper and prompter at the Globe playhouse', 4 

1 Boas, St. and the Universities, * Herbert 74. 
184. Adams (Herbert 35) prints 3 L.C. v. 134, p. 142. 
'faire', which recalls the new require- * Taylor's Feast (1638) in Third Col- 

xnent of 1633. But Herbert also noted lections of Spenser Soc. 70; cf. Baldwin 

of a play in 1624 that it was 'not of 124. 
a legible hand*. 


It involves John Singer, the Admiral's man, who left 
acting in 1603, and was probably dead by 1607. This 
maybe the same Vincent who appears in the 'plot' of Seven 
Deadly Sins. 1 According to Cavalier scandal, Hugh 
Peters, the Independent divine, had been a book-holder at 
the Red Bull. 2 After the Restoration, John Downes was 
'book-keeper and prompter' at Lincoln's Inn Fields.^ 
Many references to the book-keeper, book-holder, or 
prompter can be collected. 4 They do not tell us, as could 
be wished, where he was posted in the theatre. Obviously 
he must have been able both to make himself audible at 
the front of the stage, and to communicate with the tiring- 
house behind. The allusion in Cynthia's Revels suggests 
that he was in the tiring-house itself, but this, or even a 
place between the hangings and the stage-wall, seems 
rather far back. One would be glad to believe with Mr. 
Granville-Barker that he may have used a grated opening 
which Mr. Lawrence conjectures to have existed on the 

book prologue, faintly spoke After the 
prompter, for our entrance'; Cynthia's 
Revels (1601) ind. 158, *We are not so 
officiously befriended by him, as to 
have his presence in the Tiring-house, 
to prompt us aloud, stampe at the 
Booke-holder, sweare for our Proper- 
ties, cursse the poore Tire-man, rayle 
the Musique out of tune'; Oth. (1604), 
i. 2. 83, 'Were it my cue to fight, I 
should have known it Without a 
prompter'; Every Woman in her Hu- 
mour (1603-8), 'He would swear like 
an Elephant, and stamp and stare 
(God blesse us) like a play-house book- 
keeper when the actors misse their en- 
trance'; Maid in the Mill (1623), ii. 2, 
'They are out of their parts sure, It 
may be 'Tis the Book-holders fault: 
I'll go see*; lady Alimony (c. 1630-40), 
i. 2, 'He has been book-holder to my 
revels for decades of years ... Be sure 
that you hold not your book at too 
much distance. The actors, poor lap- 
wings, are but pen-feathered; and once 
out, out for ever*. 

' Cf.p.44- 

2 Hotson 15. 

3 Roscius Anglicanus (1708), A2. 

* John Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement 
de la Langue Francoyse (1530), 199, 
4 Boke bearer in a ploye, prottocolle'; 
John Higgins, Nomenclator (1585), 
501, 'He that telleth the players their 
part when they are out arid have for- 
gotten, the prompter or bookeholder'; 
Spanish Tragedy (c. 1589), iv. 4. 9, 
'Heere, brother, you shall be the 
booke-keeper: This is the argument of 
that they shew'; Summer's Last Will 
and Testament (1592), 1813, *You 
might haue writ in the margent of 
your play-booke, Let there be a fewe 
rushes laide in the place where Bad- 
wmter shall tumble, for feare of raying 
his cloathes: or set downe, Enter Back- 
winter^ with his boy bringing a brush 
after him, to take off the dust if need 
require. But you will ne're haue any 
ward-robe wit while you liue. I pray 
you holde the booke well, we be noto 
phis in the latter end of the play'; Rm. 
&Jul. (1595), i. 4. 7, 'Nor no without- 


ground-floor near one of the stage-doors, and Mr. Gran- 
ville-Barker himself thinks may have survived in a little 
latticed and curtained window, now or formerly cut in the 
prompt side ' tormentor ' in every theatre* 1 This would be 
convenient enough, especially if, as seems possible, there 
were doors set more forward than the back wall. 2 But Mr. 
Lawrence's grounds for his conjecture are not strong. 3 No 
doubt it was one of the functions of the book-keeper 
Knight in 1633 to prompt. But he had others. He pre- 
pared the 'book' for the Master of the Revels and the 
parts' for the actors. The protection of 1624 names a 
John Rhodes, taken by Professor Baldwin to have been, 
before Knight, book-keeper to the King's men. He 
might be a musician who died in 1636, but more likely 
the 'M r Rhodes, a bookseller, being wardrobe-keeper 
formerly (as I am informed) to King Charles the First's 
company of commedians in the Blackfriars', to whom 
Thomas Betterton was apprenticed.-* This John Rhodes 
was born about 1606 and was free of the Draper's Com- 
pany. He became a bookseller in Little Britain (1628, 
1641) and St. Martin-in-the-Fields (1656). But he did 
not give up the stage. He was arrested by the Lord 
Chamberlain on a dispute with a Prince's man (i 632) and 
for selling the King's men's plays (i 639). He was then of 
the Fortune. In 1644 he kept the Cockpit, and in 1660 
had a lease of this house, where he maintained Betterton 
and others as players, ultimately becoming a stroller. 5 
I doubt whether we can assume that a 'wardrobe-keeper' 

1 R.ES. iv. 234. Lieutenant, iv. 4, 16, but these were 

2 EKx. Stage, iii. 84, 100. not necessarily side-doors. They might 

3 Physical Conditions of the Eltxa- be before the alcove, where any desired 
bethan Public Playhouses^ 67. The frontage (Etiz. Stage, iii. 83) could be 
'grate* in 2 Antonio and MelKda, ii. 2. arranged. 

127, was quite clearly not at a door, 4 Downes, Roscius AngKcanus, 17. 

but at a vault below the stage (cf. 5 Baldwin 1285 McKerrow, Die- 

ii. i. 44; iv. i. 2715 v* i. i). The tionary, 227; A. H. Johnson, Drapers' 

setting of Eastward Hoe (v. 3. 6j v. 5. Company, iv. 155$ Nicoll 270-9; 

1 60) is uncertain and probably ab- Hotson 90, 99, 197, 205, 216; B. M. 

normal (#. Stage, iii. 149). More- Wagner, John Rhodes and Ignoramus 

over these are both 'private' theatre (R.E.S. v. 43). G. E. Bentley in 

plays. There is certainly action at a P.M.L.A. xliv. 8175 & v - I 3 2 > 

ground -floor window near a door in p. 310$ 134, p. 345. Greg ( 

Woman's Prize, iii. 5, and Humourous 359) shows him wH.M.Fortune (1625). 


is the same as a 'book-keeper'. He is more likely to be the 
same as the 'tireman', whom we find employed by the 
Admiral's and Worcester's men, as well as in the private 
theatres. 1 But the passage in Cynthia* s Revels shows that 
the book-holder was distinct from the tireman. Moreover, 
the tireman was available as a 'super', which the book- 
holder could not be. The book-holder was also distinct 
from the stage-keeper, since the pair, represented of course 
by actors, converse in the induction to Bartholomew Fair. 
On the other hand, the tireman and the stage-keeper might, 
for all we know, be the same. The tireman brings on stools 
and in a private theatre lights; the stage-keeper brings on 
chairs. 2 Who was responsible for communicating the book- 
holder's calls for actors, properties, and machines ? He must 
have had some help. Malone made and withdrew a con- 
jecture that this was Shakespeare's first duty as a 'servitor' 
or 'necessary attendant'. 3 

Some light is thrown upon the habits of censors and 
book-keepers, as well as upon those of authors and scribes, 
by a study of the few extant manuscripts of plays belong- 
ing to the professional companies which have been pre- 
served.* Nine of these have been reproduced in type- 
facsimiles, with full descriptions and annotations by palaeo- 
graphical experts and photographic facsimiles of sample 
pages. Of three full photographic facsimiles are also 
available.^ John a Kent is in the hand of Anthony Munday, 
and has his autograph signature at the end, A second hand 
has made some theatrical alterations. A date ' Decem- 
bris 1596' is probably in a third, and may have been 
appended to a memorandum lost through the mutilation 

. Stage, i. 371; ii. 149, 226, me S* suggests stage-keeper. Stage- 

54i- keepers appear as 'supers' in the MSS. 

* Sir John Fan Olden Barnavelt, of The Captives and The Two Noble 

2584 (s.d.), '2 Chains S**: [Mf Sir.'. Ladies, and apparently a corn- 

Probably Bir. is the actor George pany, to whom these belonged, had 

Birch. The editor does not interpret more than one (Boas 103). On the 

S, and says that the reading is academic stage the stage-keepers were 

doubtful; 'it is possible that gtr (Le. stewards (G. C. Moore-Smith, College 

gatherer) may be meant'. No doubt Plays, 46). 

gatherers were occasionally used as * App. C, no. xlviii. 

supers' (W&. Stage, i. 371). But to * C f. Si bUografMcal Note. 


of the final leaf. The play itself may be of much earlier 
date. The company is unknown. Sir Thomas More raises 
a Shakespearean problem, and is more fully dealt with 
elsewhere. 1 This, too, is in the hand of Munday. It has 
been submitted for censorship to Tilney, who has made 
and required alterations. No 'allowance' is endorsed. The 
original scenes have been partially cancelled, and new or 
rewritten ones added on inserted leaves or on strips pasted 
over old matter. These are in five hands, known as A, B, 
C, D, E. Hand D has been claimed as Shakespeare's. 
Hand A is Chettle's and E Dekker's. Hand B remains 
unknown, but may conceivably be Heywood's. Hand C 
is that of a stage-reviser. He transcribes and fits in addi* 
tions, but probably contributes none himself. And he 
makes corrections and alterations, both in the original 
scenes and in the additions, particularly D's. John a Kent 
and S.T.M. must at some time have been preserved to- 
gether. The same leaf of a vellum manuscript has been 
used to make covers for them, and the title on each cover 
is apparently in C's hand. A 'V thomas Thomas* on that 
of John a Kent is an unassignable scribble. But the second 
hand of that manuscript may be C's. He also wrote the 
plots of Seven Deadly Sins and Fortune's Tennis. 2 The 
Second Maiden's Tragedy is in the hand of a professional 
scribe. He inserted some small additions on slips, and 
there are corrections in a second hand, probably the 
author's, and stage-directions in a third. There are also 
a few corrections by Sir George Buck, whose allowance 
of the play 'with the reformations' is endorsed. Some 
conjectural ascriptions of authorship, which follow, are of 
much later date. 3 The play belonged to the King's men. 
Sir John Van Olden Barnavelt is also in a professional hand, 
identified by^ Mr, F. P. Wilson with that of Ralph Crane, 
who claims in his Worker of Mercy (1621) to have had 
employment for his pen from the King's men. He seems 
to have acted as a stage-reviser, making alterations and 
additions, and not merely as a scribe. The history of the 
play is known. It was produced in August 1619, prohibited 

1 Cf. p, 499. * Cf. p. 124. 3 EB. Stag?) iv. 45, 


by the Bishop of London, but finally sanctioned. The 
company was the King's. 1 The authorship has been con- 
jecturally ascribed to Fletcher and Massinger. It is pos- 
sible, therefore, that the manuscript represents a version 
revised to meet criticism. One cancel leaf and two 
additional slips, in the scribe's hand, have been inserted. 
Some passages, however, are marked by the censor, and 
one of these is initialled G[eorge] B[uck]. There is no 
allowance endorsed. The Welsh Embassador seems to be 
wholly in one hand, although the punctuation has been 
corrected and some marginal additions made after the text 
was written. The chronology of a prophecy suggests a 
date about 1623. The same main hand, probably that of 
a scribe, recurs in The Parliament of Love, and the condi- 
tion of the manuscripts indicates that they have been pre- 
served together. Both may have been written for the Lady 
Elizabeth's men, for whom Herbert licensed the Parlia- 
ment on 3 November 1624. This also has some correc- 
tions, of a literary character. An endorsed allowance has 
evidently been cut away. Believe as Tou List was dis- 
allowed by Herbert on 1 1 January 1631 and allowed for 
the King's men, according to the Office Book, on May 7. 
The manuscript is in Massinger's hand. He has evidently 
revised the play in the interval, partly transcribing and 
partly rewriting the original text. Some names left stand- 
ing in error show that the plot has been ingeniously trans- 
ferred from Sebastian of rortugal to Antiochus of Syria. 
A second writer, evidently a stage-reviser, has made a few 
alterations and appended a prologue and an epilogue in an 
English hand, and has added other alterations, a title on 
a wrapper, and a list of properties in an Italian hand. 
Only one passage, unfortunately mutilated in the manu- 
script, was 'reformed' by Herbert, whose allowance, here 
dated May 6, is endorsed. The stage-reviser was also the 
scribe of The Honest Man's Fortune and B.onduca, but 
Professor Baldwin's inference that he was John Rhodes 
can only be regarded as extremely hazardous. 2 The 

1 Gfldersleevc 114, from S.PJ)om. Joe. I, ex, 18, 37. 
* Cf. pp. in, 125. 


manuscripts of Edmond Ironside and Thomas of Woodstock 
may belong, as the composition of the plays more clearly 
does, to the sixteenth century. The main hand of each 
is probably that of a professional scribe, with stage correc- 
tions and additions of different dates and in more than 
one hand, which point to seventeenth-century revivals. 
Edmond Ironside carries no evidence of submission to the 
Master of the Revels, Thomas of Woodstock seems to have 
been marked by him, and a lost final leaf may have borne 
an allowance. 

A few other manuscripts, although not fully repro- 
duced, have received some expert examination. The Honest 
Man's Fortune is one of the transcripts allowed by Herbert 
for the King's men in place of lost 'books', and has his 
endorsement of 8 February 1624, and a few 'reformations'. 
Another hand has made a few alterations for stage pur- 
poses. At the end is written what may be a mere scribble, 
but may be the signature 'Jhon' of the main scribe. 1 
The Faithful Friends is in the hand of a scribe. There 
are corrections and alterations in more than one 
hand. One seems to have been concerned to meet the 
views of a censor, but no allowance is endorsed. An in- 
serted scene has been ascribed without justification to the 
hand of Massinger. The company is unknown and the 
date uncertain, but probably not earlier than i62i. 2 
Edmond Ironside and Thomas of Woodstock come from a 
collection of fifteen pieces, probably made by^ the younger 
William Cartwright, who had been an actor in the King's 
Revels company of 162 9-3 7.* He became a bookseller 
during the Civil War, and may have obtained plays^from 
various sources. Several plays of the collection are linked 
by revising hands and actor-names, but too obscurely to 

1 EUx. Stage, iii. 227; A. Dyce, Oliphant, Beaumont and Fletcher, 360, 

Beaumont and Fletcher, iii. 331$ C. J. 526; W. W. Greg in 4 Library ix. 

Sisson in R.E.S. i. 422 and Believe as 207. 

Toil List, xvi; W. W. Greg in 4 F. S. Boas, Sh. and the Uniwer- 

Library, vi. 150; cf. p. 107. sities, 107; E. Boswell, Toung Mr. 

* EKx. Stage, iii. 232,- A. Dyce, Cartwright (1929, M.L.R. xxiv. 125)5 

Beaumont and Fletcher, iv. 1995 C. J. cf. Bibl. Note. 
Sisson in R.E.S. L 427$ . H. C. 


determine a common stage-history for them. Some of 
the actors are found among the Revels company in 1635. 
The Two Noble Ladies was played by an ephemeral 
Revels company in 1622-3. The Captives was licensed 
for the Lady Elizabeth's by Herbert in 1624. The Lady 
Mother has an endorsed licence of 15 October 1635 by 
William Blagrave. An allusion to a 'boy at the Whyte- 

, were at Salisbury Court in 1635. Herbert himself en- 

dorsed The Launching of the Mary with a licence on 2 7 June 
1633, but made considerable 'reformations*. This manu- 
script and that of The Captives appear to be in the hands 
of the authors; those of The Lady Mother and Dick of 
Devonshire are probably, and that of The Poor Man's 
Comfort Certainly, in those of scribes. 1 The Escapes of 
Jupiter is in Heywood's hand, and represents a revision 
in one play of his own Golden and Silver Ages. Some 
broken lines and other irregularities are the result. The 
direction 'A song Iff you will' shows that the author had 
the stage in mind. The Dering manuscript of Henry IV 
and those of Merry Wives of Windsor and Twelfth Night 
formerly owned by Halliwell-Phillipps probably rest on 
the printed texts. They may have been prepared for use 
in performances, but they have not been subjected to 
recent expert examination. In that of Twelfth Night the 
names of characters were marked at points where the 
actors were needed to be ready. 

All the manuscripts so far considered were intended to 
serve a theatrical purpose. They have many features in 
common, but the earlier ones suggest that a distinctively 
theatrical style was a matter of gradual development.* The 
fully reproduced plays are all written on both sides of folio 
paper, in fairly even columns, with wide side-margins. 
I he number of lines to a page varies considerably, as be- 
tween play and play, and sometimes within a play. The 

V*' r* I!?"*"* a Thmas of Weodstoc* was issued 

u. ax*. 


paper has sometimes been lightly folded before use, to 
facilitate alignment. Prose and long verse lines often ex- 
tend into the right margin. The original .stage-directions 
are either centred, or placed in a margin. This is most 
usually the right margin, as in prints. But sometimes 
entrances are kept by themselves in the left margin. Mar- 
ginal directions are often enclosed, wholly or partly, by 
rules, or marked off from the text by a dash or virgule, or 
brackets. In Bamavelt an inverted virgule in the left mar- 
gin seems to call attention to them. The speeches are 
separated by rules of varying length. In Ironside, they 
are an addition, and only continue through part of the 
play. The speech-prefixes are placed in the left margin. 
The names are given in full in John a Kent, and generally 
in Believe and Ironside. In the other plays they are more 
often abbreviated and followed by a colon or full stop. 
Ironside sometimes adds a virgule. The main script is 
always English, although it may have an admixture of 
Italianized forms. But personal names and foreign words 
are normally, although far from consistently, written in 
Italian script. This is used also, in Barnavelt and 2 M.T., 
for some other important words. The practice with regard 
to stage-directions and speech-prefixes varies. English 
script is normal for both in John a Kent and Ironside, al- 
though the latter often substitutes Italian. In S.T.M. the 
stage-directions are English. The prefixes are irregular; 
the generic names tend to be English, and the personal 
names Italian. In most of the other plays Italian is nor- 
mal, both for directions and prefixes. Believe is excep- 
tional, in that Massinger makes no use of Italian script 
for any purpose. The writing, of authors, as well as 
professional scribes, is generally careful and legible. Hey- 
wood's hand in Captives, as elsewhere, is bad. The initial 
letters of verse lines are minuscule, with some admixture of 
majuscule in John a Kent, S.T.M., and Ironside. Massinger 
generally begins a fresh sentence within a line by a minus- 
cule, but this is abnormal. Abbreviations are employed, 
mainly for very common words. The ampersand is used 
sparsely in John a Kent, 2 M.T., and Barnavelt, and more 

3142- I 


often in Welsh Embassador, Parliament of Love, and Be- 
lieve \ the in Ironside, 2 M.T., Welsh Embassador, and 
Parliament of Love\ and old conventional signs for -us in 
Ironside and for -que in Believe. In 2 M.T. such signs 
survive as mere flourishes. The amount of punctuation 
varies. There is hardly any in Ironside, Welsh Embassador, 
and Parliament of Love; it is light in Believe, heavy in 
John a Kent, adequate in the rest. The period ends com- 
plete and self-contained sentences; the colon clauses, but 
also, rather more freely than in modern writing, sentences 
linked in sense to what follows. The semicolon is rare in 
the earlier plays, probably more common than the colon 
in Believe. In John a Kent and S.T.M. a colon often sug- 
gests a pause, longer than the sense would justify, at the 
end of the penultimate line of a speech. Normally there is 
a tendency to omit stops at the ends of lines. In 2 M.T. 
a turned comma is used as an exclamation mark, and is 
difficult to distinguish from the interrogation mark. In 
S.T.M., Ironside, and Welsh Embassador, a heavy stop is 
sometimes replaced or supplemented by a virgule. A dash 
is preferred in 2 M.T., which also uses the dash freely at 
changes of address and speech-ends. Round brackets 
serve as parentheses, to enclose vocatives and explanatory 
phrases. They are rare in the earlier plays, but tend to 
become excessive, from a merely literary point of view, 
later. Passages intended for omission are generally in- 
dicated by a vertical line down the left margin. It may or 
may not have a short arm-piece between the lines at top 
and bottom, turning it into a bracket. Sometimes they are, 
concurrently or alternatively, scored over with vertical, 
diagonal, or horizontal lines. For the most part, they 
remain legible. Small corrections, if not made currente 
calamo, are interlineated, often but not always with a caret 
mark. For longer additions or alterations two methods are 
available. They may be written in the right margin. Here 
there is room for from one to four verse lines, placed at 
full length and at right angles to the main text. 1 Some- 
times, however, the writing is parallel to the text, and then 

1 John a Kent, 1525 Barntwelt, 724, 2334. 


verse lines have to be divided, and look like prose. 1 Alter- 
natively, the writing may be upon separate pieces of paper. 
These, if complete leaves, are inserted between the original 
leaves. 2 If mere slips, they are fastened over these. 3 The 
exact place at which they are to be read in may be indicated 
by a hand, asterisk, or similar sign, or by a 'cue 1 . Small 
crosses in the left margin seem to be indications, generally 
by the censor, that particular lines require alteration or at 
least reconsideration. 

The censor's dealings with the manuscripts are con- 
sistent with our other records of his activities. Six of the 
plays bear or bore his allowance at the end, in three cases 
with warnings for the observance of his 'reformations'. 
Barnavelt, on the other hand, although it has been before 
him, has no allowance. I think we must infer that a 
further submission would have been necessary. And 
surely this would have been so with Sir Thomas More> if 
the revision had ever been completed. It is hardly pos- 
sible to hold with Dr. Greg, that Tilney's note at the 
beginning was even *a very conditional licence*. It must 
be added that in some of the six and also in some other 
plays there are passages which, although not clearly 
marked in the censor's own hand, seem to have been 
altered in order to obviate his objections. It is of course 
not always possible, unless there is a recognizable differ- 
ence of ink, to say to whom a mere deletion should be 
ascribed. The censor's main preoccupation is naturally 
with politics. Believe a$ Ton List had undergone such 
careful revision that there was practically nothing left for 
him to do. Barnavelt, too, may have already been revised. 
The original version may have laid more stress on Barna- 
velt's Arminianism than the Bishop of London could ap- 
prove. But in the later one Sir George Buck found that 
the Prince of Orange, as in effect a foreign sovereign, was 
'too much presented', and required a not very effective 

1 S.TM. 610, 638, 6475 2 M.T, Faithful Friends, iv. 4. 
2260; Barnavelt, 1028, 1063, 1106. S.T.M. Additions III, V$ 2 M.T. 

* S.T.M. Additions I, II, IV, VI 5 238, 248, 1700, 1724, 21885 Launching 
Barnawelt % 763, 1403, 1536, 2919$ of the Mary. 

I 2 


toning down of passages which criticized or barely named 
him, or exalted his opponent. 1 One of these might per- 
haps have been taken to be an indirect reflection upon 
James. 2 In Sir Thomas More Tilney was mainly concerned 
to eliminate any encouragement to contemporary agita- 
tion against French and Dutch settlers in London. But 
More's reasons for resigning the Lord Chancellorship 
must also be 'all altered', although one would have thought 
that the original author had left them obscure enough. 
The Launching of the Mary offended, because of allusions 
to a Dutch injustice towards English subjects in Amboyna 
and to increases in the English navy and munitions of war, 
at a moment when Charles desired to show a fair face 
towards Holland, in order to cover his veering in the 
direction of a Spanish alliance. Attacks on Catholics and 
on a 'vicious vicar* must go out, presumably to avoid 
offence to Henrietta Maria and to the ecclesiastics. But 
the censor will also curb the licence of dramatists in 
criticizing social abuses. That, in view of the proclivities 
of James, a wicked king in The Faithful Friends had better 
not have a favourite, was perhaps obvious enough, even 
before the play was submitted. But both in The Second 
Maiden's Tragedy and The Honest Man's Fortune there is a 
constant excision, not merely of reflections upon kings and 
their ministers, but of allusions to the follies of gallants, 
the lusts of women, and the corruptions of lawyers and 
officials, which shows a growing sensitiveness in high 
places. 3 Milton was not perhaps much concerned to 
defend the pens of dramatists, who too often made capital 
of what they professed to condemn. But the time for the 
protest of the Areopagitica was coming. The Act of Abuses 
itself probably left little real profanity for the Master of the 
Revels to tackle* Herbert seems to have thought Buck lax, 
and indeed some increase of rigidity is apparent. In The 
Second Maiden's Tragedy, 'Troth' and 'Faith' are allowed 
to stand, while 'Life' is meticulously cut out. In The 

1 Barruwelt, 36, 51, 281, 679, 724, s Many of the deletion-marks in 
- the MSS. of F.F. and H.M.F. are un- 

Ibid. 2434. noted in Dyce's edition. 


Launching of the Mary, according to Dr. Boas, both 'Yfaith* 
and 'Troth', as well as ' 'Slife' are banned, together with 
'every religious reference or expression, however inno- 
cent'. A comparison of the manuscript of The Honest 
Man's Fortune with the Folio texts of the play proves- rather 
interesting in this respect. The word 'God' occurs rather 
often in the text of 1647, which presumably rests upon 
the author's original. In anticipation of Herbert, the 
scribe of the manuscript has almost always replaced it by 
'Heaven', and the same substitution is even more scrupu- 
lously carried out in the text of 1 679. On the other hand, 
many minor asseverations, such as 'By my troth', to which 
Herbert does not here seem to have taken exception, remain 
in the manuscript, but are represented, together with some 
coarse but not exactly profane expressions, by dashes in 
both the printed texts. 

It is upon the operations .of the stage-reviser that the 
manuscripts are most illuminating. One may reasonably 
identify him with the book-keeper, carrying out, maybe, 
on some points, instructions received from the company or 
an authoritative member of it. He appears in nearly all 
the manuscripts, to a varying extent; perhaps most con- 
spicuously in Believe as Tou List. And the services which 
he renders are multifarious. In Welsh Embassador and 
Honest Man's Fortune he may himself be the scribe. In 
Sir Thomas More he certainly copies additions by divers 
hands, and fits them to their places in. the original text. 
He may add a title-page or a prologue and epilogue. 1 One 
would infer from Herbert's Office Book that it was his 
special function to observe the requirements of the censor- 
ship. This is less obvious from the manuscripts. Mere 
deletions, as already noted, are difficult to assign, and sub- 
stantial 'reformations' seem to be generally the work of 
the censor himself or of the author. Nor is it clear whether 
the book-keeper's general overhaul of a play preceded or 
followed its submission to the Master. Here his object is 
to bring the manuscript into a state in which it can serve 
as an effective guide to an actual performance. Authors 

' J. a K., S.T.M. ( BeUeve (t.p. and pro!., epil.)- 


are not always very practical persons. The book-keeper 
may have to add missing speech-prefixes or alter erroneous 
ones. 1 Incidentally, he sometimes revises what he takes, 
rightly or wrongly, to be oversights in the text itself, 2 He 
applies deletion-marks to passages which it has been de- 
cided to cut. He looks to the intervals by which the action 
is to be broken. Here the practice of the authors is not 
uniform. Sir John Van Olden Barnaveltznd Believe as Ton 
List are fully divided into acts and scenes. Second Maiden's 
Tragedy, Welsh Embassador, and Parliament of Love have 
acts only. So has John a Kent, with an indication at the be- 
ginning of each act that it is scena prima. Sir Thomas More 
and Edmond Ironside have no original divisions. The book- 
keeper does not seem to be interested in scenes; it looks as 
if they were only literary divisions and of no importance in 
representation. But he is in acts. He marks them for 
himself in Edmond Ironside \ and in Believe as Tou List, 
while he sometimes cuts out the scene indications, he 
keeps those for acts, and notes two of them as 'long*, 
evidently thinking of an 'act' as an interval, rather than 
as a section of a play. 3 

As one might expect, the book-keeper is much con- 
cerned with the stage-directions. These are clearly in the 
main the work of the authors. Unless they are mere sub- 
stantival, participial, or adverbial marginalia, they are 
generally couched in the indicative mood. Very rarely they 
are in the imperative. 4 I do not think one need regard the 
imperative as a special note of the book-keeper. The 
habits of authors differ, but in the manuscripts the stage- 
directions tend to be pretty full, perhaps particularly in 
the earlier plays. The fullest of all are in Sir Thomas More. 
Processional entries, spectacular episodes, and fights are 
often described with much elaboration. The author has a 
double purpose to serve by his stage-directions. They are 
not all strictly necessary for the conduct of an actual per- 

1 E.g. Be&ve, 704, 709, 1989, > C. J. Sisson in Belteue, xxiii. 

2023, 2081. 4 y, a jf. f 73 $, 'look in his g, S.T.M. (cf. p. 502); BtUtaf, EJ. 955, 'Sound Drufe w* in'. 
> *335- 


formance. They are in part designed to explain the struc- 
ture of his play to the company and to make clear the way 
in which he wishes it to be staged. When his characters 
first enter, he often adds to their names indications of their 
social status, or of their relationships to other characters, 
such as we find in a modern theatre-programme. Some- 
times even an important character is left with a mere 
generic description and no name at all. 1 He makes notes 
of the costumes to be worn and the properties to be 
carried. 2 He gives the ordering of his entries. Personages 
must come in 'severally' or 'aloofe', and when a number 
enter together, he is careful to prescribe a grouping. 3 He 
provides for the use of the structural features of the stage; 
for 'one door* and 'the other door", for 'discoveries' by the 
alcove, for appearances 'above* and 'on the walles'. 4 More 
rarely he specifies the locality of a scene.s And to a greater 
or less degree he gives directions, often in the margin, for 
the movements and gestures of the actors; even for their 
attitudes and facial expressions. 6 Many of the points with 
which he is dealing will of course be settled in the tiring- 
room or at the rehearsals, long before the performance 

1 E.g. the Tyrant and the Lady (as in Sessions) sit the L. Maior, 

in 2 M.T. Justice Suresbte, and other Justices, 

a E.g. J.aK. 214, 'Enter lohn a Sheriffe Moore and the other Sherife 

Kent like an aged Hermit', 369, 'one sitting by, Smart is the Plaintife, 

drest like a Moore, w tt a Tun painted Lifter the prisoner at the barre'. 
with yellow oker, another with a * E.g. ?. a K. 137, 848, S.T.M. 

Porrenger full of water and a pen in 1862, E.I. 813 (doors); J.aK. 780, 

it', 780, 'Enter an antique queintly w&, S.T.M. i (ends of stage) 5 S.T.M. 

disguysde'; S.T.M. 410, 'Enter ... 104 (arras); Barnawelt, 1883 (study); 

DollinashirtofMaile, a head piece, 2 M.T. 1725 (tomb discovered); 

sword and Buckler', 955, 'the Lady Barnatuelt, 2144, Believe, 1958, 1983 

Maioresse in Scarlet'; 2 M.T. 1879, (above); Barnawelt, 887, E.I. 872 

'Enter Gouianus in black, a booke in (walls). 

his hand, his page carrying a Torche * S.T.M. 1412, 'as in his house at 

before hym'; Barnavelt, 2810, 'Enter Chelsey', 1729, 'as in his chamber in 

. . . w* h a Coffin & a Gibbett'; Believe, the Tower'. 

i, 'in philosophers habits', 2322, 'his 6 E.g. S.T,M. 240, 'shrugging 

head shaude in the habit of a slaue'. gladly', 1068, 'florishing his dagger', 

3 E.g. J. a K. 604, 'Enter the 1237, 'with great reference', 1575, 

Earle of Chester in his night gowne, 'pondering to him selfe' ; 2 M.T. 821, 

and Shrimpe Mowing aloofe of, 'Enter . . . sadly', 1657, 'Enter . . , 

some seruaunts w to him'; S.T.M. 104, wondrous discontedly'; E.I. 512, 

'An Arras is drawne, and behinde it 'hee shewes his tongue'. 



takes place. On the other hand, he is often lacking in 

gecision, particularly with regard to supernumeraries, 
e asks for 'lords' or 'officers' or 'attendants', and does 
not specify how many. He may give a deliberate option. 1 
Crowds, even when their members are elsewhere specified, 
come and go under a group designation. 2 Quite important 
characters may be handled in this vague way.3 Evidently 
much is left for the management to dispose as it will 
or can. 

The book-keeper revises the author's directions freely. 
He is careful to add missing entries. He does not trouble 
about exits, and many, clearly required by the action, re- 
main unnoted. Actors might be trusted to find their own 
way off the stage. But it was important that they should 
enter at the right moment. The author may fail to secure 
this. It is his tendency to place an entry just before the 
first speech of the character concerned. The cautious 
book-keeper sometimes shifts it to an earlier point, so as 
to allow time for the character to cross the stage, 4 He 
makes additional notes for the introduction of properties. 5 
And he provides much more fully than the author for the 
musical and other noises to be made behind the stage, 
often specifying^ the nature of the movement to be 
sounded, or the instruments to be used. 6 By the time he 
has got to work, the play has been cast, and the resources 
of the theatre wardrobe explored. He can therefore 
clear up the author's uncertainties, and be explicit as to 
the number of supernumeraries. He tends to economy, 
appointing one or two only, where the author would have 
liked more, 7 And for the same reason he occasionally 

: S.T.M, 453, 'Enter three or foure 
Prentises*, 954, 'so many Aldermen 
as may*; y.aK. 1098, 'pkying on 
some instrument*. 

> E.g. y. a K. 334, 'Enter . . . w* 
his crewe of Clownes 1 , 554, 'w^ their 
Consort', 648, 'his trayne'j S.T.M. 
411, 'a crewe attending*; 2 M.T. 
1657, 'nobles afarr of; E.L 104, 
'Enter a Companye of cuntrymen 
makeinge a noyse*. 

3 y. a K. 581, 'the Bridegroomes 
come foorth'; Believe, 1176, 'exevnt 

* J. a K., Barnavelt, Believe show 
this feature. 

* Barnavelt, 1184, 1610, 2159, 
2810; Believe, i, 301, 1185, 1793, 

6 y. aK., 2 M.T., Barnavelt, 
Believe, EJ. show this feature. 
7 Barnavelt, 334, 864. 


cuts out a small part for which the author has definitely 
provided. 1 When he has to rewrite a stage-direction, he 
often abbreviates it, leaving out the descriptive notes of 
relationship, costume, and the like, which are by now 
superfluous. 2 There are various indications that the book- 
keeper is considering the manuscript as one to be used for 
a prompt-copy. He notes the points at which properties 
and the like are required. But sometimes he also marks 
the points in advance, at which he must call for them to 
be made ready in the tiring-room. 3 Calls for particular 
actors, perhaps elsewhere occupied, to be brought to the 
door of entry, or for stage attendants to take up the post 
assigned to them, are similarly inserted. 4 It is also note- 
worthy, that while author's directions are generally in the 
right margin, those of the book-keeper are generally in 
the left, as if that was the place in which they would most 
easily attract attention during a performance. 5 The ex- 
ceptionally meticulous book-keeper of Believe as You List 
seems to have transferred some directions in this way, 
when there was no other obvious reason for altering them. 
In Welsh Embassador> where book-keeper and scribe may 
have been one, the original directions are in the left mar- 
gin. A similar care for practical convenience must explain 
the pains with which the book-keeper of Believe as You 
List transfers a bit of dialogue relating to a song from the 
top of one page to the bottom of another overleaf, so that 
it may be all before him at a glance. 6 Finally, and again 

1 J. a K. 608, 1295$ Barnavelt, 231, (for 830), 1824, 'Gascoine: & Hubert 

333, 459, 601, 820, 1182, 1215, 1817, below: ready to open the Trap doore 

2159, 2540; Believe, 618. for M* Taylor (for 1931), 1877, 

* E.g. Believe, 1985, 'Ent: laylor 'Antiochus ready: vnder the stage' 
(w* bread & water)' for 'Enter laylor, (for 1931), 1968, 'Harry: Willson: & 
with browne bread, & a woodden Boy ready for the song at y Arras' 
dishe of water'. (for 2022), 2823, 'Be ready: y .2. 

3 Believe, 654, 'Table ready: & .6. Marchantes: w m Pen: Curtis: & 

chaires to sett out' (for 732), 982, 'the Garde' (for 2862). In Welsh Emb. 

great booke: of Accomptes ready' nearly all entries have a marginal 'bee 

(for 1115), 2378, 'All the swords redy', normally from twenty to thirty 

ready' (for 2717 and 2722); Welsh lines before they occur. 

Smb. 1934, 'sett out a Table' (for * J. a K., S.T.M., 2 M.T., Believe, 

1962). E.I. show this feature. 

* Believe, 662, 'M r Hobs: calld vp' 6 Believe, 2023. 


to a varying extent, the casting of a play gets noted in the 
manuscript. Against the name of a character, the book- 
keeper writes the name, or more often an abbreviation of 
the name, of the actor who is to play it. As a rule only 
the smaller parts are so treated, and often by no means all 
of these. 1 It is very convenient for the modern scholar, 
since evidence for the dating of plays, or the assignment 
of them to the right companies, is thus furnished. But the 
book-keeper was not thinking of posterity. We must sup- 
pose that these notes, too, were made to help him in 
securing the smoothness of entries, and that he did not 
trouble to make them when he felt able to trust his 
memory as to the casting. 

The book-keeper does not trouble about the author's 
marginal directions for action and gesture. If they were 
valuable, they were probably transferred to the actors' 
'parts'. These were important subsidiary documents, to 
which there are many references. 2 We learn from Her- 
bert that the oversight of their preparation rested with the 
book-keeper. Unfortunately only one Elizabethan 'part' 
has survived. This is the part of Orlando, as played by 
Edward Alleyn, possibly in 1592, in Robert Greene's 
Orlando Furioso. It has been reproduced and carefully 
studied by Dr. Greg. 3 It is now mutilated, and preserved 
in separate leaves, without a tithe. About three-quarters of 
it survive. According to Dr. Greg's reconstruction, it 
originally formed a continuous roll, some 17 feet long 
and 6 inches wide, made up of 14 half-sheets of paper 
divided lengthways, and pasted together by the narrow 
ends of these strips. At the heads of some of the strips is 
written Orlando'. The careful script is mainly in an Eng- 
lish hand, probably that of a professional scribe, A few 
contractions are used. Some blanks have been filled in and 
some corrections made in Alleyn's own hand. The 

1 S.T.M. (i only, in an addition), (5), Captives (3), Thomas of Woodstock 
2 M.T. (2 only, not minor characters), (3), H.M.F. (3). 
Bamafveb (n), Believe (ir, with 6 a Eliz. Stage, ii. 44; iii. 194, and 
major characters incidentally and z in many plays of Shakespeare. 

Cf. Bibl Note. 


speeches assigned to the actor are transcribed successively, 
and separated by long rules, at the end of which are 
written the closing words, from one to four in number, of 
the foregoing actor's speech. These are the 'cues',' to 
which also there are many references. 1 Orlando's de- 
partures from the stage are sufficiently indicated by further 
rules and generally an 'exit'. There are some directions 
in the left margin, for action by Orlando himself, or for 
fights and other episodes during which he is silent. The 
verse is occasionally mislined; the initial letter of each line 
is in minuscule. The punctuation is slight; the comma 
is a stop of all work; stops are often omitted at the ends 
of lines; a comma, otherwise superfluous, sometimes 
marks the so-called caesura. Prose is written in lines of 
irregular length, but with no attempt to let the end of a 
clause be also the end of a line. 

The conduct of a performance involved, besides the 
parts, certain other subsidiary documents. The most im- 
portant was the 'plot', a skeleton outline of the action, 
with notes of entrances and exits, and of the properties and 
noises required. The plot was written in double columns, 
mounted on a sheet of paste-board, and pierced with a 
square hole to fit a peg. Seven plots, some only frag- 
mentary, are known, and of six the manuscripts survive. 
All have been reproduced, and studied in the minutest 
detail, by Dr. Greg. 2 Those of The Dead Man's Fortune 
and The Second Part of the Seven Deadly Sins were pro- 
bably used by Strange's men and the Admiral's, separ- 
ately or in combination, about 1590; those of Frederick 
andBasilea, The Second Part of Fortune's Tennis, Troilusand 
Cressida, The Battle of Alcazar, and The First Part of Tamar 
Cam by the Admiral's during 1597-1602. The Deadly 
Sins and Fortune's Tennis are in the hand of the book- 

1 Etiz. Stage, ii. 541 ; iv. 367, and in '.q.*, *qu'. Seventeenth-century writers 

several plays of Shakespeare. O.E.D. derived it from qualis or quando. The 

rejects a derivation from queue, which latter seems more plausible, but pro- 

the arrangement at the end of a rule bably in its Italian use. In Locatelli's 

may have suggested. The French Scenari (cf, p. 493) each episode 

term is replique. In early texts the is ended by an 'in q', introducing the 

word often appears as *Q', *q f , 'q.', "* a 


keeper concerned with Sir Thomas More. In the plots, as 
in some of the play manuscripts, the names of actors are 
appended to those of the personages whom thejr repre- 
sented. But they are more fully given, amounting in most 
cases to a complete or nearly complete cast for the play. 
Dr. Greg has pointed out that the phrasing of the descrip- 
tions of action often recalls that of the stage-directions 
supplied by authors, and suggests that the plots were 
abstracted from prompt-copies. They have their own 
characteristic in the frequent linking of successive entries 
by the words To them'. 1 They differ rather curiously 
from the extant play manuscripts in that more attention 
seems to be paid to scene-division, than to act-division. 
The scenes are always carefully separated by rules. In 
Dead Man's Fortune crosses placed upon some of them, 
together with accompanying directions for music, indicate 
act-divisions. Elsewhere there is no special sign for these, 
although they can sometimes be inferred from the in- 
cidence of dumb-shows, choruses, or the interventions of 
presenters. As in the plays, exits are often disregarded. 
We do not know exactly where the plots were hung; per- 
haps rather in the centre of the tiring-house, for the 
general use of the company, than at the prompter's 
corner, since he had a duplicate of the material at his 
disposal. A title 'The Booke and Platt of the Second 
part of The 7 deadly Sinns' suggests that, when not in 
use, book and plot were preserved together. Less im- 
portant than the plots were what we may call the 'scrolls'. 
These were copies of letters and the like, written out on 
separate pieces of paper, to be read by the appropriate 
actor, who was thus saved from having to commit them to 
memory. Their existence may be gathered from a schedule 
of them appended by the book-keeper to Believe as Tou 
List. Verses read by Orlando do not appear in his 'part'. 2 
One general remark on the theatrical manuscripts will 
help in a subsequent discussion. While they are some- 
times in the hand of the author and sometimes in that of 
the book-keeper or another scribe, it is clear that the same 

1 I find this formula in J. a K. 368. a Orlando Furioso, 648. 


copy might serve both as the official 'book* endorsed by 
the Master of the Revels, and as a working stage-copy, 
probably an actual 'prompt-copy', for the ordering of per- 
formances. And in Believe as Tou List and Launching of the 
Mary, at least, we have evidence that this copy might be 
the author's own original. 

Besides the theatrical manuscripts there are extant a 
few others of a different type. They are careful and some- 
times even calligraphic transcripts, evidently intended for 
private reading. Some have dedicatory epistles to patrons. 
Those which have been fully described are all rather late. 
Bonduca is in the hand of the book-keeper of Believe as 
Tou List, but Dr. Greg says that it has 'none of the usual 
stigmas of the prompt copy'. Similar manuscripts were 
prepared by Ralph Crane, the scribe of Sir John Barnavelt. 
Of these The Witch has an epistle, also in Crane's hand, 
from Middleton to Thomas Holmes. The Humourous 
Lieutenant is dedicated by Crane himself to Sir Kenelm 
Digby, and dated 27 November 1625. Of The Game at 
Chess he made two copies. One has no epistle; the other, 
which is an abridged version, has one to Thomas Ham- 
mond, in Middleton's own hand. Here the entries are 
massed at the beginning of each scene, as in some Shake- 
spearean texts. 1 The play had been suppressed for rather 
audacious political references in 1624, and was naturally 
dear to collectors. 2 Three other copies exist, for which 
Crane was not responsible. One is wholly, another partly, 
in Middleton's hand. Naturally manuscripts of this class 
do not tell us much about theatrical conditions. But there 
is an interesting note in Bonduca. When the transcript 
came to be made, part of the necessary material was miss- 
ing, and the book-keeper wrote in apology: 

The occasion, why these are wanting here, the booke where by 
it was first Acted from is lost: and this hath beene transcribd from 
the fowle papers of the Authors wh were founde. 

Unfortunately, he does not say whether the 'fowle papers' 
were preserved at the theatre or in the hands of the author 
or his representatives. 

1 Cf.p. 154. * M^.C.i.379j Bald 159$ B.M. Wagner in P.M.LA.iliv. 827. 


\BibliographicalNote. I deak fully with the general history of Elizabethan 
publishing in ch. xxii of The Elizabethan Stage (1923) and need not repeat 
the list of books and dissertations there given. Of recent additions, the 
most comprehensive is E. M. Albright, Dramatic Publication in England, 
1580-1640 (1927). The review by W. W. Greg in R.E.S. iv (1928), 91, 
will show that it requires handling with some caution. It has itself a full 
bibliography. Other contributions are A. W. Pollard, The Stationers* 
Company's Records (1926, 4 library, vi. 348); W. W. Greg, Some Notes 
on the Stationers' Register (1927, 4 Library, vii. 376), The Decrees and 
Ordinances of the Stationers' Company, 1576-1602 (1928, 4 Library, viii. 
395)5 E. Kuhl, The Stationers' Company and Censorship (1929, 4 Library, 
ix. 388). Fresh light may be expected from the text of the Decrees and 
Ordinances, excluded from Arber's edition of the Stationers' Registers, but 
now under preparation by W. W. Greg for the Bibliographical Society. 
A full bibliography of early drama from the same hand is also still expected. 
On the Shakespearean prints themselves the fundamental work is A, W. 
Pollard, Shakespeare Folios and Quartos (1909). It is supplemented for 
the Quartos by A. W. Pollard and H. C. Bartlett, A Census of Shake- 
speare's Plays in Quarto (1916); by H. R. Plomer, The Printers of 
Shakespeare's Plays and Poems (1906, 2 Library, vii. 149); H. Farr, Notes 
on Shakespeare's Printers and Publishers (1923, 4 Library, iii. 225). The 
literature of the First Folio is considerable. S. Lee prefixed an elaborate 
introduction to the Clarendon Press Facsimile (1902) and added A Census 
of Extant Copies with Some Account of their History and Condition. To 
this he made additions in 2 Library, vii (1906), 113, and in A Survey of 
First Folios contributed to Studies in the First Folio (1924, Shakespeare 
Association). Others are made by R. M. Smith and H. S. Leach in Lehigh 
University Publications^ i (1927). An example of special interest is de- 
scribed in F. Madan, G. M. R. Turbutt, and S. Gibson, The Original 
Bodleian Copy of The First Folio of Shakespeare (1905). The Shakespeare 
Association volume of 1924 also includes, besides papers elsewhere named, 
an Introduction by I. Golkncz, and a study of The First Folio and its 
Publishers by W. W. Greg, which supplements his The Bibliographical 
History of the First Folio (1903, 2 Library, iv. 258). Other dissertations 
are J. Q. Adams, Timon of Athens and the Irregularities in the First Folio 
(1908, 7.E.G.P. vii. 53); W. Keller, Shakespeares literarisches Testament 
V 9 ,. *, , x '' Die Anordmn & * ^akespeares Dramen in der ersten 
Foho-Ausgabe (1920, J. Ivi. 90); R. C. Rhodes, Shakespeare's First Folio 
(1923); F. P. Wilson, The Ja&ards and the First Folio of Shakespeare 
(1925, Nov. 5, 12, rjt.*.)s E. E. WiUoughby, An Interruption in the 

Printing ofFi (1928, 4 Library, ix. 262). C. A. Smith discusses Tie Chief 
Differences between the First and Second Folios of Shakespeare (1901, E.S. 
xxx. i). 

The Quartos of 1619 are studied from various angles in A. Wagner, 
Eine Sammlungvon Sh.-Quartos in Deutschland (1902, Anglia, xxv. 518); 
A. W. Pollard, Sh. in the Remainder Market (1906, June 2, Academy), 
Sh. Tf and Q? (1909), On the Supposed False Dates in Shn. Qf (1910-1 i, 
3 Library, i. 46; ii. 101), Sh's Fight with the Pirates (1917, 1920); 
W. W. Greg, On Certain False Dates in Shn. Qf (1908, 2 Library, ix. 
1 13, 381); S. Lee and others (1908, May 9 to 1909, Jan. 30, Athen*um)\ 
W. Jaggard, False Dates in Shn. Q? (1909, 2 Library, x. 208); A. H. 
Huth, On the Supposed False Dates in Shn. Qf (1910, 3 Library, i. 36); 
W. J. Neidig, The Sh. Qf of 1619 (1910, M.P. viii. 145), False Dates 
on Si. gf (1910, Century Mag., 912). 

A. W. Pollard's theory of the surreptitious or 'Bad* Quartos is set out 
in his Folios and Quartos and Shakespeare's Fight, and elaborated (cf. 
ch. vii), with the help of J. D. Wilson, in The 'Stolne and Surreptitious 9 
Shn. Texts (1919, Jan. 9, 16, March 13, Aug. 7, 14, T.L.S., with dis- 
cussion, Aug. 21, 28), and by Wilson in The Copy for Hamlet, 1603, and 
the Hamlet Transcript, 1593 (1918)- The 'shorthand' theory and the 
systems of shorthand on which it is based are discussed in M. Levy, Sh. 
and Shorthand (\W>), William Sh. and Timothy Bright (i<)io)\ C.Dewi- 
scheit, Sh. und die Anfange der englischen Stenographic (1897), Sh. und die 
Stenographie (1898, J. xxxiv. 170); O. Pape, Uber die Entstehung der 
Qi von Shs Rich. HI (1906); A. Seeberger, Zur Enstehung der Q des 
i Jeronimo (1908, Arch.f. Stenographie, lix. 236, 257); W. J. Carlton, 
Timothe Bright Doctor ofPhysicke (191 1); P. Friedrich, Timothy Bright 9 s 
Characterie (1914, Arch.f. Schriftkunde, i. 88); A. Schottner, Ober die 
mutmassliche Stenographische Entstehung der Qi von Shs R.J. (1918); 
H. T. Price, The Text of Hen. ^(1920); H. Roloff, Zu Ford's Neudruck 
von Brighfs Stenographiesystem 'Characterie* 1588 (1922, Archiv 9 cxliii. 
47); M. Forster, Zum Jubilaum der Sh.-Folio (1924, Z.f. Bucherfreunde, 
N. F. xvi. 53). I have not seen W. Kraner, Die Entstehung der ers ten 
Q von Shs Hen. V (1923). A study of the 'memorization' theory must 
start from W. W. Greg's edition of Qi of Merry Wives of W. (1910) and 
his Bad Quartos Outside Sh. (1919, j Library, x. 193) and Two Eliza- 
bethan Stage Abridgements: Alcazar and Orlando (1923). L. B. Wright 
has an interesting Note on Dramatic Piracy (1928, M.L.N. xliii. 256). 

A classification of the 'Good' texts must rest largely on the collations in 
the Cambridge Shakespeare. Parallel-texts and the analyses by P. A. Daniel 
and others in the Shakespeare Quarto Facsimiles and by J. D. Wilson in 
the New Shakespeare are valuable. Dissertations bearing on the subject are 
A. W. Pollard and J. D. Wilson, Wkrt Follows if Some of the Good Q 
Editions of Sh.'s Plays were Printed from his Autograph MSS.? (1920, 
Bit/. Soc. Trans, xv. 136, in summary); A. W. Pollard, The Foundations 
of SL's Text (1923, Brit. Acad)\ J. D. Wilson, The Task of Heminge 
and Condell (1924, &f . Ass. Studies, 53) ; P. Simpson, The Bibliographical 


Study of SL (1923, Proc. Oxford Bibl. Soc. i. 19); B. A. P. van Dam, 
Textual Criticism ofSh.'s Plays (1925, English Studies, vi. 97); W. W. 
Greg, Principles of Emendation in Bh. (1928, Brit. Acad!)\ 

MUCH has been written about the regulation of the 
London book-trade. It is not necessary to repeat here the 
story of its beginnings in the characteristic Tudor desire 
to control the expression of opinions hostile to the estab- 
lished order of things, from time to time, in church and 
state, 1 Earlier procedure had been regularized, before 
any play of Shakespeare could come in question, by an 
Order in the Star Chamber of 23 June I586. 2 This pro- 
vided for limiting the number of printers and of their 
presses, and put the licensing of books in the hands of the 
Archbishop of Canterbury and Bishop of London. It was 
in fact delegated to correctors, most of whom were epis- 
copal chaplains or prebendaries of St. Paul's. On the 
business side, the detailed administration was in the hands 
of the Company of Stationers, who in their turn were sub- 
ject to the linked supervision of the Privy Council and the 
ecclesiastical Court of High Commission. All the London 
booksellers, some 250 in number with their journeymen, 
and the great majority of the twenty or so printers, many 
of whom exercised the double trade, were freemen of the 
Company. Elected officers, a Master, two Wardens, and 
a Court of Assistants, governed its affairs. Most of our 
knowledge of the system is due to the well-preserved 
records of the Company. A few of these, as yet unpub- 
lished, may still give fresh light. The most important 
document is the Register, by the entry of his 'copy' in 
which a stationer might secure the sole right of selling 
a book, other than such as were held by the Company itself 
or by the crown printer, or by individuals, who were not 
always freemen of the Company, under privileges granted 
by letters patent. The privileges, however, did not affect 
plays; small affairs commercially, and generally handled by 
the less important stationers. The Company imposed 
severe penalties upon breaches of copyright. A great 
many plays were never entered in the Register at all, for 

* Cf. Etiz. Stage, ch. xxii. * Arber, ii. 8075 extract in Eliz. Stage, iv. 303. 

reasons which remain obscure. In some cases a desire to 
save the sixpenny fee on entry may have operated; in 
others the manuscript may have been illegitimately ob- 
tained, although it is not clear how far, if at all, the Com- 
pany concerned itself with such matters. 1 An unentered 
book presumably carried no copyright. But transfers of 
books from one stationer to another were also registered, 
and it seems that such a transfer might secure copyright, 
even when there had been no original entry. Sometimes 
stationers went out of business without disposing of their 
copyrights, and in such cases the books became derelict, 
and available for reprinting by others. 2 Whether copy- 
right also lapsed, when a book had been entered, but never 
published, is uncertain. In theory, it must be supposed 
that the Company were expected not to enter a book with- 
out seeing the allowance of the licenser upon the manu- 
script or a print. Practice did not always follow theory, 
where insignificant or obviously safe publications were 
concerned. But in 1599 special instructions were given 
by the archbishop and bishop 'that noe playes be printed 
excepte they bee allowed by suche as haue aucthoritye'; 3 
and thereafter in making entries, the Company's clerk 
generally recited the name of the licenser by whom, in 
addition to a warden, the authority was given, or added 
a note that printing was not to take place until proper 
authority was obtained. Presumably such conditional 
entries gave provisional protection to the copyright. 4 The 
entries suggest that about 1607 an arrangement was made 
by which the Master of the Revels normally acted as the 
official for licensing plays. 5 It is possible that, if the manu- 
script produced already bore the Master's allowance for 

1 Cf. EKz. Stage, iii. 176. record of a transfer of 21 Nov. 1606 

* Sometimes (Arber, V. 1) the Court (Arber, iii. 333). He licensed sixteen 
required a fee of 6d. in the for the alone in Apr.-Oct. 1607. Rhodes 29 
benefit of poor stationers. suggests that these had been held up by 

3 Arber, iii. .677$ Etix. Stage, iii. a dispute as to procedure. But eight 

168. * of the plays represent the repertory of 

* EUz. Stage, iii. 169; cf. p. 146. Paul's thrown on the market by their 

* The first licence by the Master closure in the latter part of 1606 (Etix. 
was perhaps a joint one with an ordi- Stage, ii. 225 iv. 390). 

nary episcopal licenser, noted in the 
3142.1 K 

acting, no further reference to him was necessary. 1 After 
Sir John Ashley became Master of the Revels in 1622, a 
letter was sent by the Lord Chamberlain to the Company 
concerning the licensing of plays, and was read to the 
master printers. 2 Some further restrictions on the entry 
of plays belonging to the acting companies will be dis- 
cussed later.s It must not be assumed that, because a 
play was not registered for copyright, it had not been 

The publication of Shakespearean plays, in separate 
issues known as the Quartos, was first approached by a 
group of publishers, among whom shifting business rela- 
tions seem to have existed, and some of whose proceedings, 
from a literary and probably also from a commercial point 
of view, were discreditable. John Danter, a printer, 
registered and published Titus Andronicus in 1594, and 
entrusted it for sale to Edward White and Thomas Mil- 
lington. In the same year Millington registered and pub- 
lished 2 Henry W, describing it as the first 'part of The 
Contention of York and Lancaster, and followed it in 1595, 
apparently on the strength of the same registration, with 
3 Henry VI, as The True Tragedy of Richard Luke of Tork. 
In 1597 Danter published Romeo and Juliet without 
registration. In 1600 Millington, now conjoined with 
John Busby, published Henry Ft This again was un- 
registered, but copyright was established by a transfer in 
the same year to Thomas Pavier. In 1602 Busby regis- 
tered Merry Wives of Windsor and transferred it on the 
same day to Arthur Johnson, who at once published it. 
Finally, also in 1602, Millington transferred to Pavier, 
'saluo iure cuiuscunque', not only The Contention, now 

1 Herbert, 105, 112, notes that Buck v. Iv, says that an entry in the Sta- 

licensed A King and No King 'to be tioners' Register without licence led to 

Acted in i6n, and the same to be an order to the Clerk 'at the instigation 

printed', but it is not quite dear of Sir Henry Herbert' not to enter 

whether these were two licences or one. *plays, tragedies, tragic comedies, or 

* Noted by Malone from the Sta- pastorals' without the authority of the 

tioners' Company's Cmrt Boot, C. 76, Master of the Revels. This was ap- 

in his annotated Shakespeare (1790), parently after the Restoration. 

i. 2. 132 (BodL Malme, 1046). Arber, 3 Cf. p. 135. 


described as the first and second parts of Henry VI^ 
but also Titus Andronicus. This had been Danter's, but 
Danter, who had been more than once in trouble with 
the Company for infringing privileges, was now dead, and 
possibly Edward White, who had reissued the play in 
1600, and Millington were able to claim it under the 
arrangement by which they sold it. The 'saluo iure cuius- 
cunque' must have been a reservation for the interest of 
White, who reissued it again in 161 i. So much for this 
group. With the exception of Titus Andronicus^ all their 
plays appeared in extremely bad texts, the nature of which 
will presently require examination. 1 Meanwhile, other 
publishers had got to work with better texts, Cuthbert 
Burby published Love's Labour's Los fin 1598 and Romeo 
and Juliet in 1599. This, which is described on its title- 
page -as 'newly corrected, augmented, and amended', was 
evidently meant to replace Danter's text, and as Love's 
Labour y s Lost bears a similar description, it is extremely 
likely that of this too there had been an earlier bad version. 
Danter, having failed to register, could be ignored; it is 
not so clear why Burby himself did not register either 
play. A more substantial contribution than Burby 's was 
that of Andrew Wise, who duly registered and published 
Richard II (1597), Richard III (1597), and I Henry IV 
(1598) by himself, and somewhat later 2 Henry IP '(1600) 
and Much Ado About Nothing (1600) in conjunction with 
William Aspley. He transferred the first three to Matthew 
Law in 1603, and is not heard of again. No doubt the 
other two remained with Aspley. Midsummer-Night 's 
Dream was registered and published by Thomas Fisher in 
1 600. Of him, too, nothingis known after 1 60 1 . Probably 
the book became derelict. Some doubt hangs about the 
activities of James Roberts, a printer who had acquired by 
marriage in 1593 a special right of printing bills for 
players. 2 In 1598 he registered Merchant of Venice^ sub- 
ject to an unusually worded condition that he should first 
obtain licence from the Lord Chamberlain. No publica- 
tion by him is known, but in 1600 he transferred the play 

1 Cf. p. 156. * Etix. Stage, ii. 548$ McKerrow, Diet. 229, 


to Thomas Heyes, for whom he then printed it. In 1602 
he registered Hamlet. This was published in the next year 
by Nicholas Ling and John Trundell. The printer was not 
Roberts, but Valentine Simmes. The text was a^bad one, 
much like those already noted. A good one, claiming on 
its title-page to be According to the true and perfect 
Coppie', was substituted in 1604. The publisher was 
again Ling, acting alone, and now Roberts was the printer. 
In 1607 Ling acquired Burby's copyrights of Love's 
Labour's Lost and Romeo and Juliet, and transferred 
them, together with Hamlet, to John Smethwick. An 
unregistered transfer of Hamlet from Roberts to Ling 
must be assumed. In 1 603 Roberts registered Troilus and 
Cressida, after the exceptional procedure of a 'full court' 
held'by the Company, and with the proviso that 'sufficient 
aucthority' must be obtained. He never published the 


y the end of Elizabeth's reign, therefore, ^ fifteen 
Shakespearean texts had appeared. Of these six, and 
probably seven (2, 3 Henry FI, Romeo and Juliet, Henry 7, 
Merry Wives of Windsor, Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost?}, 
were originally in bad texts, although of two and probably 
three (Romeo and Juliet, Hamlet, Love's Labour's Lost?) 
good ones were substituted. Of eight (Titus Andronicus, 
Richard II, Richard III, i, 2 Henry 'IF, Much Ado About 
Nothing, Midsummer-Night's Dream, Merchant of Venice] 
the original texts were good. A note in the Register sug- 
gests that at one time the publication of As Tou Like It, 
as well as Troilus and Cressida, had been contemplated. 1 
But these, with Comedy of Errors, Taming of the Shrew, Two 
Gentlemen of Verona, John, Julius Caesar, Twelfth Night, and 
All's Well That Ends Well, probably all of Elizabethan 
date, remained unprinted. There was little more fresh 

Sublication before the time of the First Folio. In 1607 
usby and Nathaniel Butter registered King Lear and 
Butter published it in 1608. Edward Blount registered 
both Anthony and Cleopatra and Pericles in 1 608. He pub- 
lished neither of them. But Pericles was published in the 


next year by Henry Gosson, to whom no transfer is 
recorded. King Lear and Pericles cannot be called good 
texts, although they are not of the same type as the bad 
texts of the early publishers. 1 Busby had been one of these, 
and both he and Butter were concerned with plays of 
Heywood, to the publication of which the author took 
exception. 2 In 1 609 Richard Bonian and Henry Walley 
registered and published a good text of Troilus and Cres- 
sida, with the unusual feature, in Shakespearean quartos, 
of an epistle, in which they complained of the unwilling- 
ness of 'the grand possessors' to allow publication. Either 
the earlier registration by Roberts had been overlooked, 
or his copyright had lapsed through failure to publish be- 
fore he left business about 1608. Finally, on the eve of 
the First Folio, Thomas Walkley registered Othello in 
1621 and published it in 1622. 

Meanwhile several of the plays had been reprinted from 
time to time, notably those in the hands of Law (Richard 
//, Richard Illy i Henry If^) and Smethwick (Romeo and 
Juliet^ Hamlet]. A scene omitted from the Elizabethan 
editions of Richard II was added in 1608. With this 
exception, there is not much to be said about the reprints. 
The distribution of them may be a measure either of the 
popularity of the plays or of the energy of the copyright- 
owners. 3 There was, however, one reprinting enterprise, 
the nature of which it has been left to the acuteness of 
recent bibliographers to establish. Examples have been 
preserved together, in half a dozen different collections, of 
ten plays which have certain features in common. They 
are rather taller than most Quartos, and their imprints are 
exceptionally short. They are as follows: 

2, 3 Henry VI (The Whole Contention betweene . . . Lancaster and 

Torke). Printed at London, for T. P. 
Pericles. Printed for T. P. 1619. 
A Torkshire Tragedy. Printed for T. P. 1619. 
Merry Wives of Windsor. Printed for Arthur Johnson, 1619. 
Merchant of Venice. Printed by J. Roberts, 1600, 

1 Cf. p. 154. * A table of prc-i623 Quartos is in 

* Cf. p. 47. App. G. 


King Lear. Printed for Nathaniel Butter 1608. 

Henry V. Printed for T. P. 1608. 

Z Sir John Oldcastle. London printed for T. P, 1600. 

Midsummer-Night's Dream. Printed by lames Roberts, 1600. 

The Contention and Pericles have continuous signatures and 
were clearly designed for issue together. It will be ob- 
served that two of the plays are not Shakespeare's. Both 
had been registered and published by Thomas Pavier; Sir 
John Oldcastle in 1600 and A Yorkshire Tragedy in 1608, 
The latter, but not the former, which was in fact written 
by Drayton and others for the Admiral's men as an 
answer to Henry IV ^ Pavier had at the time ascribed to 
Shakespeare. 1 Successive investigations by Professor Pol- 
lard, Dr. Greg, and Mr. Niedig have demonstrated that, in 
spite of the apparent variation in the dates, all the ten 
reprints really appeared in 1619. They came from the 
press of William Jaggard, the publisher, in 1599, of The 
Passionate Pilgrim. 2 Only the heads of the complicated 
bibliographical evidence, by which this conclusion is 
reached, can be given here. The type used for Merchant of 
Venice differs from that of the same size used by Roberts, 
who is not likely to have had a duplicate fount not trace- 
able in any other book printed by him. It was used by 
Jaggard. The ten plays are all linked by the watermarks 
on their paper, and the ordinary life of a 'make' of paper 
was too short to allow of the assumption that one used in 
1600 could still be available in 1619. Paper with similar 
watermarks was used by Jaggard, both before and after the 
latter date. Still more convincing grounds are to be found 
in the title-pages. The date-numerals are of a large size, 
not found elsewhere before 1610. All the plays, with one 
exception, bear the same printer's device (McKerrow 283) 
of three flowers on a stalk with the motto Heb Ddieu heb 
ddim. This is not known to have been used by Roberts, 
but was used by Jaggard, both before and after 1619. 
The Midsummer-Night's Dream bears another (McKerrow 
136), the arms of Geneva, with the motto Post Tenebras 
Lux. This was once used by Roberts, but also by Jaggard 

1 Cf. p. 535. a Cf. p. 547. 

before 1619, Finally, it has been shown, by accurate 
measurements and by recurrent flaws in the letters, that 
the lower parts of all the title-pages, except that of Mid- 
summer-Night's Dreamy must have been printed off from 
the same setting of type, which remained undistributed, 
while the actual titles were altered above it. The argu- 
ments as to dating seem to me conclusive. The other 
aspects of the transaction leave more room for conjecture. 
William Jaggard succeeded to the printing business of 
James Roberts about 1608, and by 1617 had associated 
in it his son Isaac Jaggard, whose imprint is on a book of 
that year. 1 The reprinting of 1619 was no doubt done in 
concert with Pavier who owned the copyright of five of the 
plays, and whose friendship with Jaggard may be inferred 
ifrom the fact that the latter named him as overseer in his 
will. 2 Presumably licence was obtained from Johnson for 
the use of Merry Wives of Windsor, and from Butter for 
that of King Lear. Of the other three, Midsummer-Night's 
Dream was probably derelict, and Merchant of Venice may 
have been believed to be so. Blount's registration of 
Pericles had already been overlooked, and there is 
nothing to show that Gosson had any copyright. The 
shortened imprints suggest that the title-pages were 
originally meant for half-titles in a comprehensive volume, 
which would naturally begin with a general and more 
explicit title-page. So far, there is nothing which points 
to any deliberate trade irregularity. On the other hand, 
the absence of continuous signatures after Pericles and the 
obsolete dates 4 i6oo' and '1608* seem to bear witness to 
departures from the original purpose. And the most 
plausible explanation of at least one of these departures is, 
I think, to be found in an intervention by the King's men. 
It was nothing to Pavier and Jaggard that they were 
reprinting bad texts and ascribing to Shakespeare plays 
that were not his. Perhaps Shakespeare's fellows viewed 

1 Heywood's A Woman Killed with * Greg, Emendation, 41, 4$, notes 

Kindness. It is interesting to note that that in Contention and Hen. V (both 

W. Jaggard had (cf. vol. ii, p. 365) a Pavier's) the texts of 1619 show some 

Warwickshire Shakespeare as an ap- unexplained anticipations of Fi. 

such proceedings with less equanimity. On 3 May 1619 
a letter was addressed by the Lord Chamberlain to the 
Stationers' Company directing that none of the King's 
men's plays should be printed 'without some of their con- 
sents'. Its exact terms are not preserved. But they appear 
to be recited in a later letter of similar import written on 
10 June 1637 by Philip Earl of Pembroke, then Lord 
Chamberlain, and brother of William Earl of Pembroke, 
who was Lord Chamberlain in 1619. It had been re- 
presented to Earl Philip's brother that by the printing 
of plays of the King's men 'not only they themselves had 
much prejudice, but the books much corruption, to the 
injury and disgrace of the authors', and the Stationers' 
Company had been advised 'to take notice thereof, and to 
take order for the stay of any further impression of any 
of the playes or interludes of his majesties servants without 
their consents'. 1 It is certain that in the language of the 
printing trade the term 'impression' covered a reprint as 
well as a first publication. We do not know how far Pavier 
and Jaggard had gone before this bombshell fell They 

1 Earl William's letter is recorded entered for printing, that notice there- 
by Malone under the date 1619 alone of be given to the king and queenes 
from the Stationers' Company's Court servants, the players, and an enquiry 
Book, C. f. 55*, in his annotated Shake- made of them to whom they do be- 
sfeare (1790), i. 2. 132 (BodL Malone, long; and that none bee suffered to be 
1046). Earl Philip's is printed in full printed untill the assent of their ma- 
from P.R.O. Ld. Chamberlain's Re- jesties' said servants be made appear to 
cordsj V. 95, f. 178, in 7ariorum, iii. the Master and Wardens of the com- 
160. He adds: 'I am informed that pany of printers and stationers, by 
some copies of playes belonging to the some certificate in writing under the 
king and queenes servants, the players, bands of John Lowen, and Joseph 
and purchased by them at dear rates, Taylor, for the kings servants, and of 
having been lately stollen or gotten Christopher Beeston for the king and 
from them by indirect means, are now queenes young company, or of such 
attempted to be printed; which, if it other persons as shall from time to 
should be suffered, would directly tend time have the direction of these corn- 
to their apparent detriment ana pre- panics.' A confirmation of 7 August 
judice, and to the disenabling them to 1641 by Robert Earl of Essex, then 
do their majesties service: for preven- Lord Chamberlain, for the King's 
tion and rediesse whereof, it is desired men, is printed from P.R.O. Ld. 
that order be given and entered by the Chamberlain's Records, V. 135, p. 135, 
master and wardens of the company of in MS.C. i. 364. It contains a 
printers and stationers, that if any list of sixty plays belonging to the 
playes be already entered, or shall here- company, none of which were yet in 
after be brought unto the hall to be print. 


may have issued all the ten plays. It is perhaps more 
likely that they had already abandoned the continuous sig- 
natures and perhaps the idea of a comprehensive volume, 
had separately issued those dated '1619', and had the rest 
ready in print. If so, rather than sacrifice their material, 
they took the rather hazardous course of altering the dates 
on these to agree with those of the last impressions, so 
that they might pass as not new at all. 1 The explanation 
is not wholly satisfactory, since it would have been safer 
to substitute fresh title-pages more exactly agreeing in 
detail with the old ones. But it seems to be the best 
available. 2 It is true that Henry V is given the date 1608 
and that the last impression now extant is of 1602. 
It is also true that the extant Midsummer-Night's Dream 
of 1600 does not bear the name of its printer, and that 
that printer is not likely to have been Roberts. It is con- 
ceivable, in both cases, that an edition, known to Jaggard, 
may have disappeared. But it is also possible that the 
*i6o8 > for Henry 7 may be due to a failure to alter the 
lower part of the type, as it had stood for King Lear. 
The affair of 1619 had one other repercussion. Merchant 
of Venice was not derelict after all. Thomas Heyes had 
left it to his son Laurence. He was then a boy, but he 
now put in a claim, and Merchant of Venice was adjudged 
to him in a full court on 8 July 1619. It remains to add 
that no further reprints in fact appeared, befof e the Com- 
mon wealth put an end to the Lord Chamberlain's authority, 
of any of the bad or unauthentic texts, except in so far as 
Pericles^ of which the history is throughout obscure, can 
be reckoned as one of these. 

Whatever the events of 1619, they can have left no 
enduring malice between the King's men and the Jag- 
gfards, since it was again from their press that the collec- 
tion of Shakespeare's plays known as the First Folio came, 

^ x McKerrow, 203, notes a probable throw my explanation out. Greg ap- 

similar antedating of an edition of proves his technical argument; if it is 

Heywood's Love's Mistress. sound, it is difficult to see why '1619* 

2 Neidig thinks that the Mer. of was allowed to appear on Merry Wives 

Fen. t.p. was printed before that of of W. t unless by a sheer oversight. 
Merry Wives of W. 9 which would 

with the active co-operation of Heminges and Condell, in 
1623. This contained eighteen of the nineteen plays al- 
ready published in Quarto. Pericles was omitted. Good 
texts of 2, 3 Henry VI> Henry V> and Merry Wives of 
Windsor appeared for the first time. Eighteen plays were 
added, and of these sixteen were covered by the following 
registration entry: I 

8 Nouembris 1623. 

M r Blounte Isaak Jaggard. Entred for their Copie vnder the hands 
of M r Doctor Worrall and M r Cole, warden, M r William Shak- 
speers Comedjres Histories, and Tragedyes soe manie of the said 
Copies as are not formerly entred to other men. viz*. Comedyes. 
The Tempest The two gentlemen of Verona. Measure for 
Measure. The Comedy of Errors. As you Like it. All 's well that 
ends well. Twelft night. The winters tale. Histories. Thethirde 
parte of Henry the sixt. Henry the eight. Coriolanus. Timonof 
Athens. Julius Caesar. Tragedies. Mackbeth. Anthonie and 
Cleopatra. Cymbeline. 

The licenser was here not the Master of the Revels, but 
one of the episcopal delegates, Thomas Worrall, a pre- 
bendary of St. Paul's. 2 The title-page of the Folio runs : 

Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies 
Published according to the True Originall Copies. [Portrait, signed 
Martin Droeshout sculpsit London] London. Printed by Isaac 
laggard, and Ed. Blount. 1623. 

There is a head-title: 

The Workes of William Shakespeare, containing all his Come- 
dies, Histories and Tragedies: Truely set forth, according to their 
first Originall. 

By 8 November 1623 Isaac Jaggard had succeeded his 
father, who was dead before November 4.3 The book, 
however, apart from its title-page and preliminary matter, 

1 Arber,hr. 107. A facsimile is in FJT W. W. Greg in 4 Library, vii. 381. 

Studies xix. A 'G. S.' in the margin is * Bibl. Soc. Trans, xiv (19x0), 1045 

modern and may stand for '00116101118 F. P. Wilson in T.L.S. 5, 12 Nov. 

Shakespeare* or 'George Steevens'. 1925. 

must have been printed during William Jaggard's life- 
time, since his name is in the colophon, which runs: 

Printed at the Charges of W. Jaggard, Ed. Blount, I. Smith- 
weeke, and W. Aspley, 1623. 

The first evidence of actual publication is the binding of 
a copy for the Bodleian on 17 February 1624. It may be 
assumed to have taken place in 1 623, as the date indicates. 
It can hardly have preceded registration, in spite of the 
inscription 'Ex dono Willelmi laggard Typographi. A. 
1623' on the copy once belonging to the herald Augustine 
Vincent. This is in Vincent's hand, not Jaggard's, and 
may only commemorate a lifetime promise. It has been 
shown that the date of '1622', said to have been found on 
a single example, is a fabrication. 1 But that earlier publica- 
tion was at first contemplated is shown by a Frankfort list 
of books published between the marts of April and Octo- 
ber 1622, which includes the entry Tlayes, written by 
M. William Shakespeare, all in one volume, printed by 
Isaack laggard, in fol.'. 2 Mr. Willoughby has an ingenious 
argument, based on recurrent flaws in a tail-piece, which 
makes it probable that printing began as far back as 162 1, 
and was suspended at an early stage in the composition of 
the histories, owing to the pressure of other work which 
there is reason for thinking that the Jaggards were regard- 
ing as urgent towards the end of that year, 3 If so, the 
initiation of the enterprise may have followed pretty closely 
upon the abandonment of that of 1619. 

The colophon shows that publication was undertaken 
by a syndicate of stationers. Edward Blount and Isaac 
Jaggard held the new copyrights. The play described 
in the Register as 'The thirde part of Henry the sixte' 
is clearly i Henry FL The transfer of the Contention 

1 Lee, Introd. to Foes, xxxiij Census, Catalogue for Oct. ifos-Apr. 1624 has 
24. the corresponding entry 'Master Wil- 

2 F. P. Wilson (1925, Nov. 5, Ham Shakespeares workes, printed for 
T.L.S.) from Catalogus Universal^ pro Edward Blount, m fol.\ 

Nundinis Franc ofurtensibus . There are 3 4 Library, ix. 262. The actor- 

other English books in this list, which list (cf. vol. ii, p. 78) also points to 

did not appear before 1623, and the 1621. 

in 1602 had made 2, 3 Henry VI the first and second 
parts, as viewed by the trade. Jaggard had no earlier copy- 
rights. Blount, who was not a printer as the title-page 
suggests, but a publisher of better standing than most of 
those who concerned themselves with Shakespeare's plays, 
may have forgotten that he had already registered Anthony 
and Cleopatra, together with the absent Pericles, in 1608. 
But possibly his right had lapsed through failure to pub- 
lish, or the object of the re-entry was to give Jaggard an 
interest. Smethwick contributed Romeo and Juliet, Love's 
Labour's Lost y and Hamlet, and Aspley Much Ado About 
Nothing and 2 Henry IV. The syndicate could use the 
derelict Midsummer-Night's Dream. But for other plays 
already in print they must have made arrangements with 
outside owners of copyrights; with Pavier for Titus An- 
dronicuS) 2, 3 Henry FI, and Henry V\ perhaps with White 
also for Titus Andronicus\ with Law for Richard II, Richard 
III, and i Henry IV \ with Heyes for Merchant of Venice \ 
with Johnson for Merry Wives of Windsor\ with Butter for 
King Lear, with Bonian and Walley for Troths and Cres- 
sida\ and with Walkley for Othello. Walkley, indeed, 
publishing after the Lord Chamberlain's letter of 1619, 
may himself have had no more than a conditional assent 
to his use of the play from the King's men. Two of the 
added plays, which are not in the registration entry, 
remain to be accounted for. The Taming of the Shrew and 
King John must have been allowed to pass as reprints of 
the old plays, The Taming of A Shrew and The Troublesome 
Reign of John, King of England, on which they were 
founded. A Shrew had been registered and published by 
Peter Short in 1 594, and sold for him by Burby. Dr. Greg 
thinks that Humfrey Lownes, who married Short's widow, 
might have claimed it But Burby had transferred it to 
Ling in 1607 and from Ling it had passed to Smethwick. 
The Troublesome Reign had been successively issued by 
Sampson Clarke, John Helme, and Thomas Dewes. It 
had never been registered, and there seems to have been 
no copyright. We are left to speculate why Pericles was 
excluded, Pavier appears to have had as good a claim to 

it as any one, except perhaps Blount himself. At any rate, 
his widow transferred his 'right in Shakesperes plaies or 
any of them' to Edward Brewster and Robert Bird in 1 626, 
and Bird transferred Pericles to Richard Cotes in 1 630. It 
can hardly be that a more satisfactory text than that of the 
Quarto was not available, for there were revivals in 1619 
and 1 63 1. 1 No doubt it was known to be only in part 
Shakespeare's, but Henry VIII^ which was in like case, to 
say nothing of some earlier plays, whose history may have 
been forgotten, were not excluded. The Two Noble Kins- 
men, however, was, and was published in Quarto, as by 
Fletcher and Shakespeare, in 1634. 

The Folio is arranged in three separately paginated 
sections, for comedies, histories, and tragedies respectively. 
Troilus and Cressida and Cymbeline rank as tragedies. The 
histories are in chronological order, but there may have 
been some half-hearted attempt to put comedie"s and 
tragedies not previously printed at the beginnings and 
ends of their sections. There are no half-title-pages for 
the sections or for the individual plays. No sufficient 
reason has been shown for supposing that the three sec- 
tions were set up concurrently, or that any presses other 
than those of the Jaggards were normally used. The types 
and most of the ornaments recur in other books printed 
by them. There are 908 pages in all, of which a few are 
blank. Misprints, both in the pagination and in the sig- 
natures, complicate the collation. 2 Some of these, and 
others in the text, were corrected during the course of the 
printing, and are not found in all examples. 3 Minor ir- 
regularities have affected the treatment of 2 Henry IV and 
Winters Tale** Something more important must have 
happened in the case of Troilus and Cressida. Apparently 
the original intention was to put it in the middle of the 
tragedies, but the printing was suspended, and at the last 
moment, possibly after the preliminary matter had been 

1 Cf. App. D. loughby adds others in RJ&.S. iv. 343; 

* Pollard, F. Q. 108, gives one, to- v, 198, and 4 Library, be. 385. 

gether with many bibliographical de- * Cf. p. 174- 

tails not necessary here. E. E. Wil- * Cf. pp. 380, 4**- 

printed, it was inserted at the beginning of that section. 1 
Some hitch in the negotiations for the copyright may have 
arisen. The preliminary matter itself is differently ordered 
in different examples. But Professor Pollard has shown, 
upon the evidence of signatures, conjunct leaves, and the 
presence and absence of watermarks, that the intended 
order was probably that found in the Grenville copy in 
the British Museum, This gives (a) verses to the reader, 
on the portrait, by Ben Jonson ; () the title-page and por- 
trait on an inserted leaf; (c) an epistle to the Earls of Pem- 
broke and Montgomery, by Heminges and Condell; (cT) 
an epistle to the readers, by the same; (<?) commendatory 
verses by Ben Jonson and Hugh Holland ; (/) a 'Catalogue' 
of the plays, from which Troilus and Cressida is omitted; 
(g) commendatory verses by Leonard Digges and an un- 
known I. M.; (K) a head-title and 'The Names of the 
Principall Actors in all these Playes', 2 The portrait is 
found in more than one state. 3 Steevens called attention 
to some parallels between the epistle to the readers and 
the works of Ben Jonson, and suggested that he wrote 
part of it and revised the rest. Professor Pollard offers an 
alternative in Blount, who showed some literary facility iri 
epistles to his editions of Marlowe's Hero and Leander 
(1598) and Lyly's Sixe Court Comedies (1632). Jonson's 
claim seems to me on the whole the better.* The research of 
Sir Sidney Lee has located over 1 80 extant examples of the 
First Folio, of which only fourteen are in a perfect state of 
preservation. As a rule, leaves have gone at the beginning 
and end. The Grenville example in the British Museum is 
as good as any. The largest known measures I3fx8f 
inches. The only example of which a continuous history 
can be traced is now in the collection of Mr. H. C. Folger. 
It was originally bought in 1628 by William Sheldon of 
Weston in Warwickshire, The example owned by the 

' Cf. p. 441. between (J) and (*). This would put 

* McKerrow, 162, suggests that con- all the commendatory verses together. 

fusion may have been caused by fold- Cf. vol. ii,, p. 240, and Plates 

ing the sheet containing (g) and (A) the XXVI, XXVII. 

wrong way round, and that possibly *' The epistles and commendatory 

they should come, in reverse order, verses are in App. B, nos. 1-liii. 


Bodleian in 1624 was sold when the Third Folio appeared 
in 1 663, and has recently been recovered. Various guesses 
have been made as to the probable size of the edition; 
Dr. Greg points out that a sale of less than 1,000 copies 
would hardly have repaid the publishers, unless the Earls 
of Pembroke and Montgomery showed munificence. 1 
Jaggard's interest in Shakespeare's plays was transferred 
by his widow to Thomas and Richard Cotes about 1 9 June 
1627, and Blount's to Robert Allot on 16 November 
i630. 2 The Second Folio was printed by Thomas Cotes 
for Allot, Smethwick, Aspley, Richard Hawkins, and 
Richard Meighen in 1632. Hawkins had acquired the 
copyright of Othello and Meighen that of Merry Wives of 
Windsor. The Third Folio was printed for Philip Chet- 
winde, who had married Allot's widow, in 1663, and to 
a second issue of 1664 were appended reprints of Pericles 
and of the 'apocryphal' London Prodigal, Thomas Lord 
Cromwell, i Sir John Oldcastle, Puritan, Yorkshire Tragedy, 
and LocrineJ The Fourth Folio was printed for a syndi- 
cate of booksellers in 1685. These later Folios and the 
post-i623 Quartos are of little value for textual criticism. 
Upon the nature of the copy which reached the pub- 
lishers, first for the Quartos and afterwards for the First 
Folio, the amount of % authority to be attached to the tradi- 
tional texts, as representative of what Shakespeare actually 
wrote, must in the last resort depend. I have already cited 
the claim of the First Folio, on its title-page and in its 
head-title, that its plays are derived from the author's 
'originals'.* And this receives some expansion in the 
epistle to the readers, where Heminges and Condell 

so to haue published them, as where (before) you were abusM 
with diuerse stolne, and surreptitious copies, maimed, and deformed 
by the frauds and stealthes of injurious impostors, that expos'd 

1 The price of the Folio may have * Arber, iv. 182, 243. 

been about i and that of a Quarto 3 Cf. ch. x. 

about 6<, but the question is obscure; 4 Cf. p. 96. 
c. McKerrow, 133. 

them: euen those, are now offer'd to your view cur'd, and perfect 
of their limbes; and all the rest, absolute in their numbers, as he 
concerned them. 

An epistle, like a title-page, is an advertisement, rather 
than an affidavit. But while a desire to exalt the merit of 
the Folio is apparent, it would be unreasonable to ignore 
altogether the stress laid upon the fidelity of the texts to 
the original intentions of the author. The eighteenth- 
century editors, impressed by corruptions and signs of stage 
manipulation, took the statement of Heminges and Con- 
dell rather lightly. Johnson in 1765 wrote of the plays: 

They were immediately copied for the actors, and multiplied by 
transcript after transcript, vitiated by the blunders of the penman, 
or changed by the affectation of the player; perhaps enlarged to 
introduce a jest or mutilated to shorten the representation; and 
printed at last without the concurrence of the author, without the 
consent of the proprietor, from compilations made by chance or by 
stealth out of the separate parts written for the theatre: and thus 
thrust into the world surreptitiously and hastily, they suffered 
another depravation from the ignorance of the printers, as every 
man who knows the state of the press in that age will readily 

Modern research, based upon a closer evaluation of the 
texts themselves, a wider knowledge of the methods of 
players and printers, and in particular a study of the 
manuscripts described in Chapter IV, has brought many 
qualifications to this judgement. But the doctrine of 
multiplied transcripts has died hard, and it was still pos- 
sible for Sir Sidney Lee to maintain in 1925, as regards 
the Quartos, that 'the publication of separate plays was 
deemed by theatrical shareholders, and even by dramatists, 
injurious to their interests', and that 'as a rule, the pub- 
lisher seems to have bought of an actor one of the copies 
of the play wl^ch it was necessary for the manager to 
provide for the company 1 ; and as regards the Folio, that 
'external and internal evidence renders it highly impro- 
bable that Shakespeare's autographs were at the printer's 
disposal', that the existing theatrical manuscripts were 
destroyed at the Globe fire in 1613, that the library was 

'replenished* from transcripts in the private possession of 
actors or from 'fair copies' which had been presented to 
friends and patrons, and that these were the foundation 
of the new texts of I623. 1 There are several statements 
here which invite comment. It is true that there are many 
indications of a desire on the part of acting companies to 
control the transmission of plays to the press. They are 
most frequent, as it happens, in the case of the Chamber- 
lain's and King's men. They begin with Roberts's entry 
of Merchant of Venice in 1597, made conditional on a 
licence from the Lord Chamberlain. This certainly sug- 
gests that the company were using the influence of their 
patron to protect themselves against publishers who hard 
not come to terms with them. And perhaps a similar 
inference is to be drawn from the following memoranda, 
which appear on a spare page of the Stationers' Register? 

My lord chamberlens metis plaies Entred 


27 May 1600 A moral of clothe breches and veluet hose 
To master 

27 May AUarum to London 


4 August! 

As you like yt, a booke 
Henry the ffift, a booke 

Every man in his humour, a booke 

to be staied 

The Commedie of muche A doo about 
nothing a booke 

Of the four 'staied' plays, Every Man In His Humour and 
Much Ado About Nothing were regularly registered later in 
August 1600 and published in good texts. There was no 
Quarto of As Tou Like It. But the stay, whatever its 
nature, did not prevent the appearance in 1600 of a bad 
text of Henry Vwc the acknowledgement of copyright when 
it was transferred on August 14 of that year. Professor 

1 Lee, ioo, 548, 559. "further aucthoritie*. A Larum for 

* Arber, iii. 37. The marginal notes London was printed in 1602 (Etisc. 

refer to Roberts's entries (Arber, iii. Stage, iv. z). No edition of Clothe 

x6x), both of which were subject to Breches is known. 
3142.1 L 

Pollard thinks that the Chamberlain's men, perhaps un- 
willing to invoke their patron too often, fell back upon a 
plan of employing Roberts to make conditional blocking 
entries, which were not to be acted upon, but would keep 
out other publishers, and that Blount's entries of 1608 
were meant to serve a similar purpose. 1 If so, the plan 
was not particularly successful, since it did not stop the 
bad texts of Hamlet and Pericles, or of Merry Wives of 
Windsor which Roberts did not enter, or prevent Bonian 
and Walley from publishing Troilus and Cressida in spite 
of the opposition of the 'grand possessors'. I agree with 
Professor Pollard that there is no reason to regard the 
operations of Roberts as fraudulent. But that he was an 
agent of the players seems to me very disputable. The 
terms of the Merchant of Venice entry do not suggest that 
they were relying on him. That his other entries, except 
in the case of Hamlet, were conditional, is hardly relevant. 
They are not, like that for Merchant of Venice, distinguish- 
able in form from many entries by other publishers, in 
which the further authority required was pretty clearly the 
allowance of an episcopal licenser. 2 Moreover an uncon- 
ditional entry would have served Professor Pollard's as- 
sumed purpose just as well. Roberts was a printer, and his 
object in making the entries may well have been to transfer 
them to another stationer in return for the printing rights. 
Perhaps it was not always attained. But he did print 
Merchant of Venice for Heyes in 1600, if not earlier; and 
although he did not print Qi of Hamlet, he did print Q2 
for Ling in 1604. And we must surely assume that the 
copyrights of Heyes and Ling, acknowledged later, were 
derived by transfer from Roberts. One way or another, 
the King's men seem to have been successful in safe- 
guarding most of their Shakespearean plays during the 
m reign ofjames, and from 1619 onwards th^y had, as has 
already been shown, protections from successive Lords 
Chamberlain* 3 Whether other companies shared these 
before 1637 is uncertain. But they had the same problem 

Pollard, S. F. 36, 42. EUx-Stage, in. 169. 

3 a. p. 135. 

to face, and did their best to protect themselves. We find 
the Admiral's in 1600 giving the printer 40,?. *to staye the 

ginting of Patient Gresell'. The agreement of the King's 
evels syndicate in 1608 contains a clause forbidding the 
individual partners to print the play-books. Heywood, in 
the epistle to his English Traveller of 1633, tells us that 
some of his plays 'are still retained in the hands of some 
Actors, who thinke it against their peculiar profit to haue 
them come in print'. 1 He is no doubt referring mainly to 
Christopher Beeston, who held most of the plays of Queen 
Anne's men, for whom Heywood had written. The state- 
ment in the First Folio that some 'surreptitious' plays did 
get into print can also be confirmed from Heywood. 2 In 
the epistle to his Rape of Lucrece (1608), he takes credit 
for not being one of those who 'have used a double sale 
of their labours, first to the Stage, and after to the presse', 
and says that he now only prints because 'some of my 
plaies have (unknown to me, and without any of my 
direction) accidentally come into the Printers handes and 
therfore so corrupt and mangled (copied onely by the eare) 
that I have bene as unable to knowe them, as ashamde to 
challenge them*. So, too, in a late prologue for a revival of 
his If Tou Know notMe^ Tou Know Nobody, he 'taxeth the 
most corrupted copy now imprinted, which was published 
without his consent', by Nathaniel Butter in 1605, and 
says that 

Some by stenography drew 
The plot: put it in print: (scarce one word trew:) 

Various reasons have been offered for the reluctance of the 
players to allow printing. Perhaps they thought^ as some 
managers are said still to think, that the competition of a 
book would diminish their takings. 3 It is often held that 
what they feared was the appropriation of their plays for 
acting by other companies. About this I am rather scep- 
tical. It is, of course, impossible to hold, with Miss Al- 
bright, that there was a common law stage-right, which 
would have prevented appropriation. 4 A common law 

1 Eli*. Stage, ii. 645 iii. 183, 292, 3 19. 3 McKerrow, 143. 
3 Ibid. Hi. 342, 344. 4 Albright, 2x7. 


right, laid down by no court, cannot be improvised for 
argumentative ends. A recorded action for a wrongly 
withheld 'book* in Downton v. Slater was merely for the 
value of the corporeal book and for damages arising from 
its detention, and in fact the court only awarded the value 
of the book. 1 But it is reasonable to suppose that there was 
some comity among the London companies in the matter. 2 
Very likely this would not cover plays acted by a company 
which had dropped out of the London theatres. Shake- 
speare seems to have been able to use the old Troublesome 
Reign of John, Famous Victories of Henry V> and King Leir, 
two certainly and the third probably Queen's plays, and 
the old Taming of A Shrew, a Pembroke's play, at any rate 
as sources. The company which originally produced The 
Spanish Tragedy is unknown. The Admiral's revived it 
with 'adicyons' in 1 602. But the Chamberlain's must also 
have played it, and probably about the same time, since 
the authentic version of the elegy on Burbadge names 
*ould Heironymoe' as one of his parts, and in 3 Parnassus 
he is represented as trying a novice in it. 3 It is even pos- 
sible that the edition of 1602 may contain the version of 
the Chamberlain's and not the Admiral's men. For in- 
vasion by one company of the legitimate repertory of 
another there is very little evidence. I do not think that 
the case of The Malcontent can be so accounted. It was 
originally a Blackfriars play, but was given also by the 
King's men, with 'additions', including an induction, in 
which comes this dialogue: 
Sly. ... I would know how you came by this play. 
GondelL Faith, sir, the book was lost; and because 'twas pity so 

good a play should be lost, we found it and play it 
Sly. I wonder you would play it, another company having interest 

in it. 
CondelL Why not Malevole in folio with us, as Jeronimo in 

decimo-sexto with them? They taught us a name for our play 5 

we call it One for Another. 

1 ESx. Stage, ii. 157. they did, I am not sure that it would 

* Greg suggests (&& iv. 96) that hurt the London companies very 

provincial companies may have made much. 

up their repertories from prints, but if 3 EU&. Stog', ii. 309, 

Surely this is chaff; one does not advertise a real theft in 
an induction. I take it that the King's and the Queen's 
Revels shared The Malcontent by arrangement, just as the 
King's and Paul's shared Satiromastix. 1 But of course a 
mere comity leaves room for abuses, and ultimately the 
Household officers stepped in to protest stage-rights as well 
as printing-rights. Heminges paid Sir Henry Herbert ^5 
in 1627 'to forbid the playing of Shakespeare's plays to 
the Red Bull company', and the Lord Chamberlain in 
1639 issued a mandate to rival companies not to 'inter- 
meddle* with William Beeston's repertory at the Cock- 
pit. 2 One of the plays named in this is Beaumont and 
Fletcher's Father's own Son> which was in fact printed 
in the same year, under the alternative title of Monsieur 
Thomas^ as 'Acted at the Private House in Blacke Fryers', 
where the King's men must have given it. Miss Albright 
thinks that these documents merely record arbitrations on 
disputes as to acting-rights, which arose when players 
changed companies. 3 But whether this is so or not, they 
had authority behind them. If we set nervousness as to 
stage-rights aside, the attitude of the players towards 
printing remains completely intelligible. It was mainly 
determined by financial considerations. They had a valu- 
able property in their manuscripts, and they did not in- 
tend, either that these should be used except when it was 
convenient to them, or that the purchase money paid by 
the stationers should pass into other hands. This may not 
have been much. The fee for a pamphlet and a play 
would rank as no more is said to have been about 2.* 
But it was some offset against the 6 or jio which the 
author had received. Philip Herbert's letter of 1637, 
carefully read, seems to put the whole matter on a financial 

1 EUx. Stage, iii. 293, 431. Jero- * Herbert, 64; Far. iii. 159. The 

nmo here is probably The First Part order of 1639 is in P.&O. Ld. 

oflerommo (EE&. Stage, iv. 22), per- CAamberlatn's Records,*?. 134, p. 337, 

haps written for the Chamberlain's as and has 'Cockpitt Playes appro- 

an introduction to Span. Trag. 9 but pried* in the margin; cf. M.S.C. i. 

printed in 1605 in a corrupt and pro- 364. 

bably 'reported* form, which suggests ' Albright, 230. 

performances by boys. * Pollard, S.F. 24. 

basis. The players had bought 'at dear rates*. They 
would have 'detriment and prejudice* if their plays were 
'stolen', and His Majesty's service would suffer, which 
was Herbert's reason for intervention. The fluctuations in 
the output of printed plays also suggest the prevalence of 
economic considerations. It was greatest in 1 594 when the 
companies were in straits owing to the plague; in 1600, 
when the Chamberlain's and Admiral's had had to face 
the cost of new theatres; in 1607 when the stock of the 
ruined King's Revels came on the market. Apart from 
the bad texts, there is really no a priori reason to suppose 
that copy for the Elizabethan Quartos of Shakespeare 
reached the stationers in any other way than through a 
normal process of sale by the companies. Let us credit 
these with a higher motive in the desire to replace the bad 
texts of Love's Labour V Lost, Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet 
by more commendable versions. Whether Shakespeare 
himself had anything to say in the matter, we cannot tell. 
But the prefatory epistles by other authors, which accom- 
pany so many plays, suggest that some concession had to 
be made by the companies to literary ambition, and pro- 
vide further evidence in favour of regular publication. 1 It 
is true that a large proportion of these were plays from the 
boys' companies, where the authors may have had some 
share of control. 2 It is true, also, that the authors them- 
selves sometimes complain that their hands were forced by 
the fear of unsupervised printing. 3 But this was largely a 
convention, inherited from the courtiers, who affected to 
write for their friends alone. 

I have been elaborate about the relation of the com- 
panies to the publishers because, if Sir Sidney Lee were 
right, the textual authority of the Quartos would be seri- 
ously diminished. His theory that the Folio texts were 
derived from dopies belonging to actors or private persons 
and collected after the fire at the Globe depreciates these 
in their turn. But here it is possible to be more brief. 
There is no proof that any manuscripts were destroyed at 

, ao& gives a partial list. * Ibid. iii. 344, 44x5 Albright, zo8- 

the Globe fire. The numerous accounts of this say nothing 
about them. For what they are worth, one tells us that 
the silken flag was burnt, and another that 'nothing did 
perish but wood and straw and a few forsaken cloaks*. 
Very likely this means no more than that no lives were 
lost. Sir Sidney cites as his sole evidence the fact, which is 
recorded, that at the Fortune fire in 1621 the Palsgrave's 
men lost their play-books, 1 But to argue thus, without any 
regard for the rules of logic, from the known separable 
accidents of one case to the unknown separable accidents 
of another, is not permissible. The books of the King's men 
may quite well have been saved, or, as has often been sug- 
gested, they may have been at the Blackfriars. The Al- 
lowed' book of Winter's Tale> that of Honest Man's Fortune, 
and the stage-copy of Bonduca were all at one time or other 
missing. The two latter must have been recovered before 
the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio of 1 647 was printed, and 
when a transcript of Bonduca was wanted, it was supplied, 
not from the sources indicated by Sir Sidney, but from the 
author's 'foule papers'. 2 And certainly the loss of Winter's 
Tale can hardly have been due to the fire, as a revival in 
1618 and possibly another in 1619-20 had intervened. 
The study of the extant theatrical manuscripts, a small 
sample indeed out of the many hundreds that must have 
been written, gives no support to Sir Sidney's statement 
that it was 'necessary* for the manager to provide copies 
for the company. A priori, one might perhaps have ex- 
pected that the author's original would have been laid up 
for ultimate reference in the theatre archives, and tran- 
scripts made for submission to the Master of the Revels 
and for the use of the prompter. It is clear that in fact 
the original itself sometimes became both the 'allowed' 
copy and the prompt-copy. The individual actors needed 
no copies except their 'parts'. On the other hand, the 
manuscripts give hardly less support to the notion of 'con- 
tinuous copy', which dominates the reconstructions of 
Professor Wilson; the notion, that is, of 'the long-lived 
manuscript in the tiring-house wardrobe, periodically 

1 Etiz. Stage, ii. 419* 44*- * Cf. p. 125. 

taken out for a revival and as often worked upon by fresh 
hands, abridged and expanded, recast to fit the capabilities 
of new performers, brightened with current topical allu- 
sions, written up to date to suit new tastes in poetic 
diction'. 1 Certainly transcripts were used for prompt- 
copies as well as originals; and indeed it stands to reason 
that the more a book-keeper had annotated a manuscript 
with the names of supernumeraries and other jottings for 
use in one series of representations, the more advantage 
there would be in making a transcript at a revival. A 
prompt-copy had above all things to be clear and easy to 
consult at a glance. We do not, for example, find sub- 
stituted names of fresh supernumeraries in the extant 
manuscripts. The same consideration would point to 
transcription in the event of substantial textual revision, in 
so far as that ever took place. 2 When Massinger had to 
recast Believe as Tou Li$t> he wrote out the old matter 
with the new; and the textual marginalia and slipped in- 
sertions which we do find in the manuscripts are, with one 
exception, of very limited extent. The exception is Sir 
Thomas More, and on a generalization from this obscure 
and probably abnormal case the doctrine of continuous 
copy is mainly founded. Professor Wilson's point that 
transcription would cost time and money cannot weigh 
much against obvious convenience; and it is safer to allow 
for the possibility that there may have been a good deal 
of it in the theatres, even if the career of Ralph Crane does 
not give us a glimpse of that recently banned ghost, the 
stage scdvener. On the other hand, there is no reason 
whatever why some, both of the Quarto and the Folio texts, 
should not have been set up from Shakespeare's auto- 
graphs; and a use of these for the Folio is the natural 
interpretation both of the epistle to the readers and of the 
stress laid on originals in the title-page and head-title. It 
would be taking the language too literally to argue that 
transcripts were in no case substituted, and where there 
are parallel texts, we are often driven by their disagree- 
ment to conclude that one or other, if not both, must be 

1 Disintegration of Shakespeare, 18; cf. Wilson, Temp, xxriii, 79. * C ch. vii. 


derived from such a source. In any case it would be 
pressing Heminges and Condell too hard to infer that the 
originals had been completely purged from the results of 
after-touching. Both in Folio and in Quarto texts, it is 
often possible to find traces of musical or spectacular 
elaboration, or of the book-keeper establishing his prompt- 
copy. In mere stage-directions it is difficult, where there 
is only one text, to distinguish his hand from that of an 
author writing, as Shakespeare wrote, in full knowledge of 
stage conditions, although a modification may sometimes 
be suspected from the form of the wording or from a 
duplication of substance. Where there are two texts, the 
book-keeper may show himself in additional notes for 
music or other noises, in divergence from the author's 
details, and perhaps most unmistakably in 'cuts'. 1 One 
cannot even altogether exclude the possibility of occasional 
recourse to a transcript made not as a prompt-copy, but 
expressly for the printer, or for the satisfaction of a private 
owner. Most of the extant examples of private manu- 
scripts, however, may be late, and the reference to them in 
the Beaumont and Fletcher Folio of 1647 certainly is. 2 
They may not have become usual before 1619, when the 
Lord Chamberlain's protection made the multiplication 
of copies less risky. 

One other possibility must be considered. Malone's 
theory of the construction of copy for the printers from 
actors' 'parts' has received some recent favour, notably 
from Professor Wilson. 3 A loss of prompt-copy, through 
fire or other cause, is generally assumed, together with 
reliance upon a 'plot' to help in the reconstruction. A 
generation obsessed by machinery calls the method 'as- 
sembling'. One would suppose, however, that both parts 
and plot, if preserved, would be kept with the prompt- 
copy, and that the loss of one would mean the loss of all. 
Certainly the 'book' and 'plot* of Seven Deadly Sins were 
at one time kept together/ The case for assembling is 

1 Cf. p. 235. * Cf. p.' 125. Texts in the First Folio (1922, Jan. 12, 

s He is supported by Rhodes, 96. T.L.S.). 
W. J. Lawrence dissents in Assembled * Cf. p. 124. 

primarily based upon the Folio texts of Two Gentlemen of 
Verona and Merry Wives of Windsor. These have a com- 
mon feature in the complete or almost complete absence 
of stage-directions, except for an initial entry for each 
scene, in which all the characters taking part in that scene 
are named, more or less in the .order of their appearance. 1 
Somewhat, but not quite analogous, is Winter's Tale. 
Here are the same comprehensive initial entries, except in 
two scenes (iv. 3 ; v. 2), but in some cases the successively 
entering characters or groups of characters are marked off 
from each other by colons. Moreover, there are some later 
stage-directions, including some repetitions of entries al- 
ready given. 2 On the theory the initial entries are taken 
from plots. These could of course provide them. It is 
not the case, however, that either the extant plots or the 
one extant part, that of Orlando, are witHbut stage-direc- 
tions other than entries; nor do the texts in question use 
the characteristic phrase 'to them' with which the plots 
link their entries. Professor Wilson uses three subsidiary 
arguments in support of assembling. One is the freedom 
of Two Gentlemen of Verona from textual difficulties, since 
a part must be made clear, even if the prompt-copy is 
confused; although he is not at a loss for an explanation 
when the text of Merry Wives of Windsor turns out to be 
far from lacking in textual difficulties. The text of Or- 
lando's j>art is by no means always clear. The second is 
the printing of prose in capitalized lines of varying length, 
rather like verse, which is certainly curious, and which he 
thinks may have been a practice in writing out parts. 3 The 
third is the appearance of gag, or what Professor Wilson 
thinks may be gag, but whether gag would get into parts, 
and on the other hand would not get into prompt-copy, 
I am not sure. Professor Wilson also finds assembling in 
As Tou Like It and Measure for Measure, which have not 
grouped entries, but have a paucity of stage-directions, 

'IM not sure that the itriesin * Rhodes, 99, gives the facts very 

Tw Gent . of Ver. iv. 2 and Merry inaccurately. 
JTivetofjr.v. 5 stricdy follow the *Cf.p.i8x. 
order of appearance. 

and on special grounds in Comedy of Errors and Merchant 
of Venice. 1 There would be no substance in these cases, 
unless a practice of assembling could be better established 
elsewhere. I do not think that assembling is inconceivable, 
as a last resort for recovering a text, when no original or 
foul papers or transcript was available. But surely it would 
be a very laborious and difficult business. Cues, at any 
rate in Orlando^ do not give the names of the speakers, 
and they often consist only of a word or two, which might 
occur at more than one speech-ending. All would perhaps 
go well in dialogue between a couple of speakers, but if 
many were concerned, the book-keeper would be con- 
fronted with a considerable puzzle, as he peered in search 
of the cue-words from one to another of half a dozen rolls 
or strips cut from rolls on the table before him. I should 
expect tp find in a text so produced two kinds of error, of 
which examples have not in fact been brought forward. 
One would be a false sequence of speeches and another 
the accidental inclusion of cues in the following lines. An 
alternative explanation of the grouped entries is to be 
found, as pointed out by Dr. Greg, in the influence of the 
'classical' method of scene-division adopted by Ben Jonson 
and some other playwrights. Here each new grouping of 
characters begins a new scene, and the names of the char- 
acters head it. Whether the adaptation of this arrange- 
ment to Two Gentlemen of Verona and Merry Wives of 
Windsor and in part to Winter's Tale was due, as Dr. Greg 
thinks, to a printer's devil, or to a freak of the author, 
must be matter for conjecture. 2 

The possibilities left open make it necessary to consider 
the origin of the printers' copy for each pla^ as a separate 
problem, in the light of such literary, scenic, and biblio- 
graphical indications as it may yield. A summary treat- 
ment, inevitably based to a large extent on the work of 
others, is alone feasible in such a book as this, but in the 
upshot, some classification of the texts may be attempted. 3 

1 Cf. ch. ix. 3 Cf. the discussions of individual 

a Greg, Merry Wives ofW. xvij cf. plays in ch. ix. 
p. 125 and Etix. Stage, iii. 200. 

An isolated group is formed by the corrupt editions of the 
early publishers, 2, 3 Henry VI (the Contention)^ Romeo and 
, Juliet '(Qi\HenryP,Hamlet(Qi),Merry Wives of Windsor. 
Professor Pollard has conveniently designated these as 
'Bad Quartos', They differ in detail, and each presents 
features of special difficulty. But they have in common a 
measure of textual corruption, far beyond anything which 
a combination of bad transcription and bad printing could 
explain. Many passages are only intelligible in the light 
of the better texts which followed. There are constant 
omissions leaving lacunae in the sense, constant para- 
phrases, constant inversions of the order of sentences, and 
dislocations in the sequence of dialogue and episodes. The 
metre is bungled; verse lines are wrongly divided; prose 
is printed as verse and verse as prose. The diction betrays 
a substitution of synonyms or loose verbal equivalents or 
of variant inflections, for the wording intended by the 
author. The-total effect is one of perversion and vulgariza- 
tion. To emend is futile; it is incredible that Shakespeare 
should have written or the Chamberlain's men presented 
such texts. 1 It cannot be doubted that these are primarily 
the versions which Heminges and Condell stigmatized as 
'surreptitious'. Whether a surreptitious origin is indicated 
by the circumstances of publication seems less clear. 
There was due registration of 2 Henry VI r , which may per- 
haps be taken to have covered 3 Henry VI> and of Merry 
PPives of Windsor and Hamlet^ but the transactions be- 
tween stationers as to Merry Wives of Windsor and Hamlet 
look rather unusual, and copyright for Romeo and Juliet 
and Henry 7 was only established through transfers. The 
omission of the publisher's address from the imprint of 
Romeo and Juliet is also exceptional, but one can hardly 
suppose that the authorities would not know where to 
find Danter, and books whose promoters really feared 
pursuit were apt to bear such addresses as 'Middleburg' or 
'ouersea in Europe', or to have no imprint at all. 2 Certain 

' Hubbard's 'edition' of the Qi of (Nashe, iii. 339) and the 'at the signe 

Haw.shows the futility. of the crab tree cudgell in thwack- 

* The 'at a place, not fane from a coate lane' of Pappe with en hatchet 

Place* of An Almond for a Parrot (Lyly, iii. 393) are burlesques. 

other features of some or all of the bad texts suggest that 
the copy for them was obtained, not by transcription 
from originals, but from stage performances by some pro- 
cess of reporting. There are errors which may be due to 
mishearing, although these are not unlike some which are 
made by printers and transcribers. 1 There are unmetrical 
ejaculations and connective words, such as actors intro- 
duce to accompany their gestures and demonstrate their 
indifference to the blank verse. There are bits of gag. 
The confusion tends to be greatest in bustling episodes _or 
in the rapid interchange of dialogue between a number of. 
speakers. In Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet there are stage- 
directions which look like the attempts of a spectator to 
describe the action seen on the stage. In Hamlet^ con- 
versely, bits of action seem to have been translated into 
dialogue. One naturally asks what kind of reporter can 
have been at work. A note-taker in the audience would 
almost inevitably have attracted attention. Moreover, there 
is one singular feature, apparent in all the texts except 
Henry 7 y which by itself seems to exclude such a note- 
taker. The dislocation of matter extends to the incorpora- 
tion in scenes of phrases which really belong to earlier 
scenes or even to later scenes. A long interval may 
separate these from their rightful positions. Such 'anti- 
cipations and recollections' imply a reporter who Has 
throughout some knowledge of the play as a whole, and 
point to a process, not of direct note-taking, but of 
reproduction from memory. The exhaustive analyses Jby 
Dr. Greg of Merry Wives of Windsor and of the analogous 
case of Orlando Furioso have explored the possibilities of 
memorization as a method of textual transmission, and 
have shown them to be fully equal to the production of 
such results .as the bad Quartos exhibit. 2 Speculation 
remains open as to the status and identities of the reporters. 
Obviously the members of the company which had per- 
formed a play would have better opportunities of becoming 
roughly familiar with its course and wording than would 

x Cf. p. 180. the practice of the seventeenth-century 

* Albright, 311, gives parallels from Spanish stage. 

mere spectators, even after repeated visits. The precise 
method may not have been the same in all cases. Dr. Greg 
inclines to think that Orlando was collectively reported by 
a group of actors, each in his turn dictating his part, and 
that the primary object was to reproduce a lost prompt- 
copy, rather than to furnish material for the printers. 1 
This theory implies conditions which could hardly apply 
to the Chamberlain's men's plays. Sometimes certain 
scenes are better reported than the rest and are linked by 
a common character, that of Marcellus in Hamlet^ that of 
the Host in Merry Wives of Windsor. Naturally the actors 
of these characters have incurred suspicion of treachery. 
.It is a hardly tenable view that it would be possible to 
prevent individual actors from obtaining, at performances 
or rehearsals, knowledge of scenes during which they were 
not themselves on the stage or waiting their calls at the 
stage-door. But no doubt they would be most successful 
in rendering dialogue in which they had shared. Where 
there is no such outstanding character, I have thought it 
possible that the reporter may have been a prompter. And 
in some cases there is reason to think that the help of a 
written 'part' (3 Henry 7I\ Hamlet) or of a 'plot' (2, 3 
Henry 71) may have been available. A report does not, 
except perhaps in Henry 7> wholly account for the differ- 
ences between the bad and the good texts. The per- 
formances reported or later performances represented by 
a prompt-copy may have been subject to variations in 
scenic detail or by cuts. There have been changes in 
nomenclature of characters in Hamlet and Merry Wives of 
Windsor. A little rewriting of bits of 2, 3 Henry 71 is not 
unlikely. Most of the bad Quartos contain passages of 
non-Shakespearean verse which amount to rather more 
than the ordinary padding of the reporter. This has led 
to a theory that the texts underlying them were not 
the completed work of Shakespeare, but earlier versions 

* Fynes Moryson (Etiz. Stt%e, i. L. B. Wright (M.L.N. xUii. z$6) gives 

343) describes the travelling companies examples of plays reproduced from 

on the Continent as *pronowncing parts and memory for performance in 

pceces and patches of English playes'. the eighteenth century. 

of the plays by other hands, only partially revised by him. 1 
There are, however, two other possibilities to be con- 
sidered. In the first place, a lapse of memory may have 
been remedied by sheer faking; and for this we need not 
call in a hack playwright, since many actors, as Henslowe's 
records show us, were capable of putting together a pky 
at need. In the second place, the vagrant memory or the 
reporter did not stop short at its 'anticipations and recol- 
lections' of scenes or a play other than that under reproduc- 
tion. It went so far as to bring in matter from alien plays. 
This is clearly to be traced in 2 Henry VI, Merry Wives of 
Windsor, and Hamlet, and in view of the number of plays 
now lost with which every actor and book-keeper must 
have been familiar, who shall say what limit is to be set 
to borrowings of this nature? I do not know that it js 
possible to say for what exact purpose the reporting of a 
play was undertaken. The amount which a bookseller 
would pay for 'copy* is not likely to have been very 
tempting. Dr. Greg is, I believe, inclined to think that 
the primary object was to enable a company to perform 
a play, the 'book* of which they had parted with or 
never possessed. But a company which performed a 
play without having the allowance of the Master of the 
Revels endorsed on the 'book' would be running a risk. 2 
I do not say that it was one which a provincial company 
in straits would never take. Perhaps these were the 'peeces 
and patches of English playes' performed abroad, and 
were sold to the stationers when the companies came 
home, as useless in this country. 

The counter-theory to reporting from memorization is 
reporting by shorthand. This art was in its infancy during 
the sixteenth century. The first system since Roman 
times appeared, after some private experiments of his own, 
in Timothy Bright's Characterie, an Arte of shone, swift 
and Secrete writing by Character (i588). 3 It was a very 
cumbrous one. Each letter had a symbol, but except in 

1 Cf. p. 226. a A reprint by J. H. Ford (1888) is 

* Etix. Stage, iL 222. shown by Roloff to be inaccurate. 

spelling out proper names, these were mainly used as parts 
of more complex symbols or 'characters', representing 
complete words. The characters were short bars, placed 
in various positions and modified at either end by angular 
or curved hooks. There were 570 of them, and to them 
corresponded a vocabulary of 570 words, the characters 
for which the scribe had to learn by heart. But a character 
might stand not only for a 'primitive' word, such as a 
noun, but also for its 'derivatives', such as verbs and ad- 
jectives, and for all inflexions both of the primitive and 
the derivatives. The discrimination was left to the intel- 
ligence of the note-taker and the transcriber, with the help 
in a few cases of diacritical marks in the form of one or 
more dots disposed around the characters. Further, a 
character might also stand, by what Bright called the 
'consenting' or 'dissenting 1 method, either for an equiva- 
lent to its proper word or for a word of opposite sense; 
and in these cases the note-taker was expected to write the 
symbol for the initial letter of the word really intended to 
the right or left of the character, as the case might be. 
Finally, the student was instructed that unless the very 
express words were necessary, the sense only need be 
taken with the character; that is to say, he might omit 
words and employ paraphrases. It is clear that a use, 
and in particular a bungling use, of this system might 
produce some of the features of our bad texts; the 
paraphrases, the confusion of inflexions, above all the 
substituted equivalents. A diacritical mark is easily 
omitted, or neglected in transcription. It might explain 
the omission of out-of-the-way words, for which even the 
consenting and dissenting methods made no provision. 
It would not, unless the bungling was very exceptional, 
explain the numerous cases in which Bright's vocabulary 
gives a simple character for the right word and the re- 
porter substitutes the wrong one. And it would not, any 
more than any other process of direct note-taking, explain 
the anticipations and recollections at all. A more sub- 
jective impression is that the system was altogether too 
cumbrous to be applied to anything so difficult as a play. 

There are examples of its use in reporting sermons. But 
the regular, even if impassioned, utterance of a preacher, 
with the reporter sitting in a strategical position among 
a quiet audience, is one thing. The give and take of several 
speakers, in the hubbub of a theatre, complicated by the 
need for noting speech-prefixes and the fear of detection, 
is quite another. It is fair to admit that German students 
of stenography, on the other hand, believe that the thing 
could be done and was done, although I do not know 
whether they have put their view to the test of practical 

Peter Bales in The Writing Schoolmaster (1590) and The 
Arte of Brachygraphy (1.597) has a system very much like 
Bright's. 1 Something more workable seems to emerge 
in John Willis's Art of Stenography (1602). This is too 
late for any of the bad texts under discussion, but it is 
earlier than Heywood's complaint of Stenography', or than 
any recorded allusion to 'brachygraphy' in the theatres. 2 
Bright does not use either term. That there was at some 
time reporting of plays by some kind of shorthand we 
must take from Heywood. His If Tou Know not Me, you^ 
Know Nobody y is not a good text, but it is not as bad asT 
the memorized bad texts of Shakespeare. Possibly the 
method of Willis was fairly efficient. It has not, so far as 
I know, yet received the expert examination in relation to 
play-texts which has been devoted to that of Bright. 
Professor Pollard suggests that the recovered scene of 
Richard 77, as it appears, badly mislined and showing 
lacunae^ in the Qj of 1608, may be due to shorthand. 3 
This may very possibly also be a factor in King Lear (1608) 
and Pericles (1609). Both have long continuous passages 
of verse printed as prose, and in King Lear these, although 

1 I have not seen his New Tears acted and uttered in the instant.' It is 
Gift for England. The Art of New a trial and not a play that is in ques- 
Brachygrapty (1600). The only copy tion in Webster, The Devil's Law Case 
is in the Bihtiotheque Nationale. (c. 1620), iv. 2. 28, 'Doe you heare, 

2 Sir G. Buck, Third Vniwrsitie of Officers? You must take speciaU care, 
England (1612), 'They which know it that you let in no Brachigraphy men, 
[brachygraphy] can readily take a to take notes/ For Heywood, cf. 
Sermon, Oration, Pky, or any long p. 147. 

speech, as they are spoke, dictated, 3 Pollard, Rich* tt, 64. 
3142.1 M 

fairly adequate textually, are almost entirely punctuated by 
commas. They look to me like the result of shorthand 
notes well taken, but not properly worked upon at the 
stage of transcription. Punctuation and metre are of 
course always the weak points of a report. It is perhaps 
relevant that all these texts are very much of the date of 
Heywood's complaint. 

There are fourteen plays for which we have parallel 
Quarto and Folio texts. They include at least two, Romeo 
and Juliet and Hamlet \ for which the Quartos had replaced 
reported ones. Love's Labour *s Lost may be a third. All 
the fourteen Quartos may reasonably claim Professor Pol- 
lard's epithet 'Good', in contradistinction to the six ad- 
mittedly 'Bad' ones. They are not all of equal merit, and 
Heminges and Condell would probably have claimed that 
^Troilus and Cressida and King Lear, if not also Othello, fell 
within the category of 'stolne and surreptitious' texts. 
There is no reason to suppose that the eleven others were 
not issued with the assent of the company. It is the exis- 
tence of parallel texts in these fourteen cases which gives 
us our closest insight into the nature of the copy which 
reached the printers. I discuss the relations of the texts 
in chapter ix, so far as is possible within the limits of brief 
disquisitions and without the opportunities for tabulation 
and illustration which an editing of the plays would afford. 
Here I can only set out summary conclusions. Of the 
fourteen Quartos, I take King Lear to rest upon a report, 
Richard III upon a theatrical transcript of a cut version, 
and Troilus and Cressida and Othello also upon transcripts, 
which may, however, have been made tor private col- 
lectors, and not for stage purposes. Othello, but not Troilus 
and ' Cressida, again represents a cut version. Love's 
Labour V Lost and Romeo and Juliet may rest in the main on 
originals, but it is possible that the former and probable 
that the latter was in part set up on a corrected example 
of a bad Quarto, and if so, an element of transcription is 
involved. The text of Romeo and Juliet is not good enough 
to exclude the possibility of more extensive transcription. 
The other eight may all be from originals. Titus Androni- 


cus is not very likely to have been in Shakespeare's hand 
throughout. The rest Richard II, j, 2 Henry IP \ Mid- 
summer-Nights Dream y Merchant of Venice^ Much Ado About 
Nothing^ Hamlet all might have been. I do not think 
that it is possible to say more than this in any case. The 
probability is highest for Hamlet^ since the Q version 
shows no signs of adaptation for the stage, and it is there- 
fore difficult to see why a transcript, at any rate for 
theatrical purposes, should ever have been made. Stage- 
directions of the type which suggest an author's hand 
might of course be preserved by a transcriber. 1 So 
too, although with less justification, might duplications of 
matter, such as we find in Love's Labour *j Lost and Romeo 
and Juliet^ as well as in Midsummer-Night's Dream. Nor 
can I attach much importance to the presence of abnormal 
spellings, analogous to those in the part of Sir Thomas More 
claimed for Shakespeare. These, too, might survive a 
transcriber, since ex hypothesi they must have survived 
a compositor. Could we' be sure that Shakespeare's hand 
is in Sir Thomas More, the recurrence of the spellings in 
some of the Quartos would be consistent with his hand 
being also in the copy for these. It would not be proof, 
for we could not in any event take it for granted that he 
had a monopoly of such spellings. At the same time, we 
know that originals, as well as transcripts, were used for 
stage 'books' ; and there is no reason to assume that tran- 
scripts '"were made without need. 2 Hamlet is apart, but 
although all the other six texts in question bear the 
evidence of intrusive actor-names or of cuts and other 
stage alterations, that their manuscripts had been used as 
prompt copies, there is nothing which could not be pro- 
vided for on the originals, at the most with the help of an 
additional leaf for Midsummer-Night *s Dream and an ap- 
pended slip for Merchant of Venice. Transcripts, for any- 
thing that we can trace, would be quite superfluous. 

From a comparison of the fourteen Good Quarto texts 
with their Folio counterparts two generalizations emerge. 
The first is that, in spite of the apparent wholesale re- 

1 Cf. pp. 118, 201. * Cf. pp. 1249 151. 

M 2 

pudiation of the Quartos by Heminges and Condell, 
nearly all the Folio texts were in fact set up from examples 
of the Quartos. As a rule, the Quarto used was the latest 
that had been issued. The evidence for this consists partly 
in a general resemblance of orthographical and typo- 
graphical detail, and partly in the repetition of obvious 
errors. It is at its strongest where the errors have 
been introduced in Quartos later than the first. It is 
less conclusive where there is only one Quarto, and a 
possibility remains that the common errors may derive 
from a common manuscript source. It has indeed 
been doubted whether Quartos were used for 2 Henry 
IV and Troilus and Cressida, although I think that in 
Troilus and Cressida the argument from general resem- 
blance is strong. The only certain exceptions are Othello 
and Hamht. The Quarto (1622) of Othello indeed may 
hardly have been in existence when the copy for the Folio 
was prepared. Here the texts are independent, but clearly 
represent the^same original, with cuts in the Quarto and 
accidental omissions in the Folio. In Hamlet, on the other 
hand, the Folio gives a cut version, in which theatrical 
alterations have been made. The second generalization is 
that most and probably all of the reprinted texts have 
undergone some modification beyond what can be attri- 
buted to the compositors. Even where there is no general 
textual divergence, there is theatrical alteration. Passages 
are^cut or added; stage-directions and speech-prefixes are 
revised; actor-names, which must be due to the book- 
keeper, make their appearance. 1 Invariably there seems 
to be some elimination, often very slight, of profanity, as 
a result of the Act of Abuses of 1606. I shall discuss this 
later on, and give reasons for supposing that its objective 
was theatrical rather than literary. 2 The total amount of 
departure from the Quarto basis varies considerably. 
There is very little in Romeo and Juliet, Love's Labour 's 
Lost, Midsummer-Night's Dream, Merchant of Venice, Much 
Ado About Nothing, and i Henry 17, and in these it may be 
regarded as wholly theatrical. To Titus Andronicus a whole 

1 Cf. p. 122. a Cf. p. 238. 

scene, possibly of late origin, has been added. In Richard 
II cuts have been restored and the scene which was re- 
covered by a bungling reporter for Q4 is regularly printed. 
But in this play textual differences also begin to occur. 
There is a reversion to some readings of Qi departed from 
by its successors. The changes in 2 Henry IV also include 
the restoration of cuts, but although numerous, they are 
again mainly theatrical. Textual divergence, however, is 
persistent in Richard III, TroilusandCressida&ndi KingLear, 
in all of which we get independent versions of a common 
original, analogous to those of Othello. In these cases at 
least we must assume that the Quarto used as a basis was 
altered from a theatrical manuscript which was regarded 
as authoritative. It does not, of course, follow that the 
alteration was always complete and accurate. The question 
arises as to whether the Quartos used for the Folio had 
been specially prepared to provide its copy, or had been 
originally altered for use as prompt-copies. Dr. Greg 
pertinently asks for more evidence that printed texts 
were ever, in ordinary circumstances, so used. I know of 
none, although a closer acquaintance than mine with late 
Jacobean and Caroline stage-history might perhaps fur- 
nish it. It is obvious that the substitution of a print for a 
manuscript would mean a gain in legibility for the book- 
keeper. But if this were the motive, one would expect an 
early Quarto, rather than a late one, to be used. Moreover, 
while the book-keeper's own alterations for revivals could 
as easily be made on a print as on a manuscript, the 
gain in legibility would largely disappear if such substan- 
tial variants as we find in Richard ///, Troilus and Crestida, 
and King Lear had to be incorporated. Other probabilities 
are rather conflicting. On the one hand, it is difficult to 
see why a transcriber, deliberately preparing a Quarto for 
the press, should take in those actor-names which a com- 
positor might very easily preserve through inadvertence, 
if he found them in a prompt-copy. On the other, the 
sporadic nature of the elimination of profanity is rather in- 
explicable on the assumption that the texts were primarily 
meant for theatrical purposes. I must leave it at that. 

There is less to be said about the eighteen plays for 
which the only texts are in the Folio, and the four for 
which the only alternative is a bad Quarto. There is no 
obvious reason why most of them should not have been 
set up from originals. That of J Henry VI is not likely to 
have been for the most part in Shakespeare's hand. Both 
this and 2, 3 Henry VI may contain some scenes of com- 
paratively late date. There are probably some theatrical 
interpolations in As Ton Like It and Cymbeline, and per- 
haps Tempest^ and both interpolations and cuts in Macbeth. 
An original ending may have gone from Taming of the 
Shrew. On the other hand, I do not suppose that Timon 
of Athens was ever staged. The known history of Winter's 
Tale makes it likely that it was printed from a transcript, 
and this is confirmed by some typographical features. The 
badness of the text in Measure for Measure and All's Well 
suggests that here too transcripts may have intervened. I 
have already considered the theories which ascribe Winter's 
Tale, Two Gentlemen of 'Verona, and Merry Wives of Windsor 
to Assembling 1 . The plausibility is greatest in the case 
of Two Gentlemen of Verona. 1 

We come back to the claim of Heminges and Condell 
and the Folio publishers to have given the plays 'according 
to the True Originall Copies' and 'absolute in their 
numbers, as he concerned them'. It is clear that this can- 
not be quite literally pressed. It may reasonably be ad- 
mitted that genuine pains were taken, according to the 
standard of the times, to secure reliable texts. The bad 
Quartos were (quite properly disregarded. The labour 
spent on glossing good Quartos from manuscripts must 
have been considerable. We could wish that First Quartos 
and not later ones had been chosen, but perhaps Heminges 
and Condell were not so familiar as we are with the pro- 
gressive deterioration of successive reprints. Doubtless 
the use of transcripts was sometimes inevitable; we know 
that the original of Winter's Tale was lost. Perhaps we 
could hardly expect that interpolations should have been 
removed; still less that they should have been placed in 

* Cf. pp. 153, 329. 

square brackets. Some hint might have been given of the 
occasional presence of non-Shakespearean scenes. A fuller 
text of Macbeth would have been welcome; that tf Romeo 
and Juliet could probably have been improved. Something 
must have gone wrong with the directions for the treat- 
ment of cuts, as a result of which Richard II and King Lear 
show lacunae in the Folio which are not in the correspond- 
ing Quartos. The greatest lapse is of course the complete 
failure to make any use of the full Second Quarto of 


[Bibliographical Note. Much of the writing on Shakespeare's publishers 
(cf. Bibl. Note to ch. v) deals also with -his printers. R. B. McKerrow, 
An Introduction to Bibliography for Literary Students (1927), gives an 
admirable survey of Elizabethan printing-house methods. Special studies 
by the same writer are The Use of the Galley in Elizabethan Printing 
(1921, 4 Library, ii. 97) and Elizabethan Printers and the Composition of 
Reprints (i<)2$ 9 4 Library, v. 3 57). Other vajuable dissertations are B. A. P. 
van Dam and C, Stoffel, Chapters on English Printing, Prosody and Pro- 
nunciation (1902); W. W. Greg, The First Edition of Sen Jonson's 
EM.O. (1920, 4 Library, i. 153), An Elizabethan Printer and his Copy 
(1923, 4 Library, iv. 102), Massinger's Autograph Corrections (1923, 1924, 
4 Library, iv. 207; v. 59), Tie Riddle of Jonson's Chronology (1926, 
4 Library, vi. 340), and P. Simpson, Proof-Reading by English Authors of 
the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries (1928, Proc. Oxford Bib/. Soc. 
ii. 5). 

The special problems of the relation of Shakespearean texts to Shake- 
spearean 'copy* are dealt with by A. W. Pollard, King Richard IL A New 
Quarto (1916); in the discussions of Sir Thomas More (cf. p. 499); by 
J. D. Wilson in the Textual Introduction (1921) to Temp. (New Shake- 
speare) and Spellings and Misprints in Qz <?/7/<0ar. (1924, Essays and Studies, 
x. 36); and by W. Blades, Common Typographical Errors, with especial 
Reference to the Text of Shakespeare (1872, Jan. 27, Athenaum) ; B. A. P. 
van Dam, William Sh.: Prosody and Text (1900), The Text ofSh.'s Ham. 
(1924), Textual Criticism of Sh.'s Plays (1925, English Studies, vi. 97) ; 
L, Kellner, Restoring Sh. (1925), on which W. W. Greg's review (R.E.S. 
i. 463) should be read. 

Useful works of general reference are E. A. Abbott, A Shn. Grammar 
(1869); W. Victor, SJL's Pronunciation (1906); W. Franz, Sh.-Grammatik 
(3rd ed. 1924); H. C. Wyld, History, of Modern Colloquial English (3rd ed. 
1925). Elizabethan script is analysed in the books on S.TM. and in that 
of Kellner, and by H. Jenkinson, English Current Writing and Early 
Printing (1915, BUI. Soc. Trans, xiii. 273), The Later Court Hands in 
England (i<)zffc M. St. C. Byrne, Elizabethan Handwriting for Beginners 
(1925, R..S. i. 198); R. B. McKerrow, The Capital Letters In Eliza- 
bethan Handwriting^^.-], R.E.S. iii. 28). W. W. Greg's English Literary 
Autographs (1925, 1928, in progress) give examples of many Elizabethan 
hands. On Orthography are A. Lummert, Die Orthographic der Fi der 
Shn. Drama (1883); T. Satchell, The Spelling of Fi (1920, June 3, 
T.L.S.); A. W. Pollard, The Variant Settings in 2 Hen. 17 and 
their Spellings (1920, Oct. 21, T.L.S.), Elizabethan Spelling as a 
Literary and Bibliographical Clue (1923, 4 Library, iv. i); M. St. C. 
Byrne, A. Munday's Spelling as a Literary Clue (1923, 4 Library, 
iv. 9), Thomas Churchyard's Spelling (1924, 4 Library, v. 243); 


W. Marschall, Sis Orthographic (1927, Anglic, Ii. 307). On Elisions 
are W. E. Farnham, Colloquial Contractions in Beaumont, Fletcher, 
Malinger and SA. as a Test of Authorship (1916, PM.Ld. xxxi. 
326); J. D. Wilson, A Note on Elisions in the Faerie Queene (1920, 
M.L.R. xv. 409). M. A. Bayfield, A Study of Shakespeare's Versification 
(1920), represents an extreme theory as to the treatment of elisions by the 
printers, which may be compared with that equally extreme in Van Dam's 
writings. A correspondence on the subject is in T.L.S. (1920, Sept.-Dec.). 
On Punctuation are P. Simpson, Si*. Punctuation (1911); R- M. Alden, 
The Punctuation of S&.'s Printers (1924, PM.L-4. xxxix. 557); C. C. 
Fries, Shn. Punctuation (1925, Michigan Studies in Sh. y Milton and 
Donne); H. Jenkinson, Notes on the Study of English Punctuation of the 
Sixteenth Century (1926, R.E.S. ii. 152); J. Isaacs, A Note on Dramatic 
Punctuation (1926, R.E.S. ii. 461); E. M. Simpson, A Note on Donne 9 s 
Punctuation (1928, R.E.S. iv. 295). The structure of Acts and Scenes is 
discussed by T. S. Graves, The Act-Time in Elizabethan Theatres (1915, 
S.P. xii. 103); M. Hunter, Act- and Scene-Division in the Plays of SL 
(1926, R.E.S. ii. 295); J. D. Wilson, Act- and Scene-Divisions in the Plays 
of Si. (1927, R.E.S. Hi. 385), They Sleepe all the Act (1928, R.E.S. iv. 
191); W. J. Lawrence, Act-Intervals in Early Shn. Performances (1928, 
R.E.S. iv. 78) ; W. W. Greg, Act-Divisions in SA. (1928, R.E.S. iv. 152).] 

THE printers of Shakespeare's plays, other than Danter, 
Roberts, and the Jaggards, may be taken to have been em- 
ployed by the publishers who owned the copyrights. Of 
those concerned with the first editions, the most prominent 
are Valentine Simmes, who did Richard //, Richard III, 
2 Henry T7 7 , Much Ado About Nothing, and the bad 
Hamlet^ and Thomas Creede, who did the bad 2, 3 
Henry VI, Henry V^ and Merry Wives of Windsor^ and the 
good Q2 of Romeo and Juliet. William White did Love's 
Labour *s Lost and Pericles^ Peter Short did i Henry IV^ 
George Eld Troilus and Cressida, and Nicholas Okes 
Othello. The printers of three plays are not named on the 
title-pages, and can only be guessed at on the doubtful 
evidence of the ornaments used. The bad Hamlet is thus 
assigned to Simmes and King Lear to Okes or to George and 
Lionel Snowden whose business he acquired about 1608. 
Midsummer-Night's Dream remains doubtful The orna- 
ments suggest Richard Bradock rather than Roberts, but 
Edward Allde is also a possibility. 1 The best work is that 

* Cf.p. 356. The ornaments recur a printer's ornaments are not so dis- 
in the editions of Marlowe's Ed tinctive as his 'devices'. 
ward II, printed by Bradock. but 


of Simmes, the worst that of Eld. Simmes, who was often 
in trouble for trade disorders, had been an apprentice to 
Henry Bynneman, a good printer according to Eliza- 
bethan standards, which were not high. Creede put good 
workmanship into some of his books, but his plays are 
nothing to boast of. One would gladly know more of 
these men and of their journeymen and apprentices, on 
whose equipment of intelligence, experience, sobriety, 
and attention much of the quality of Shakespearean texts 
depends. A practice of dividing work between different 
printing-houses does not seem to have affected the 
Quartos, except possibly Qi of Romeo and Juliet l , where 
the character of the setting-up changes half-way through 
theplay. 1 

The technique of Elizabethan printing has been care- 
fully studied by Dr. McKerrow, who finds that there was 
little advance in essentials between 1 500 and 1 800, and is 
able therefore to draw upon the descriptions in Joseph 
Moxon's Mechanick Exercises (1683). The main points 
from Dr. McKerrow's lucid and detailed account will serve 
as preliminary to a consideration of printing-house errors. 
It is necessary to distinguish between the functions of the 
compositor, the pressman, and the corrector. These may 
not, indeed, in a small establishment, have been separate 
individuals. In particular, although the earlier printers, 
especially those concerned with classical texts, employed 
competent scholars as correctors, it may be suspected that 
pamphlets and plays often had no supervisor but the 
master-printer himself, Irregularities in the make-up of 
a book may sometimes be due to the concurrent employ- 
Aient of more than one compositor or pressman on dif- 
ferent parts of it. 2 Probably there was little preliminary 
examination to ensure that the copy for the Quartos was 
complete and in order. It was handed, with directions as 
to the size of paper and type required, to the compositor, 
who fixed it in a stand on the desk or table at which he 
worked. A theory that it was dictated to him is now 

1 C p. 339. a McKerrow 128; cf. pp. 141, 339. 


generally abandoned. 1 There is little support for it, be- 
yond a tradition first recorded in the eighteenth century, 
that the practice, which would have been both incon- 
venient and expensive, was followed at Basle, and a few 
very singular 'auditory' errors, of which one or two sug- 
gest^ the incorporation of guttural noises or instructions 
coming from a reader. It is of course possible that dicta- 
tion may have occasionally been resorted to when the light 
was bad. Before the compositor were also ranged trays or 
'cases', divided into compartments to hold the types. 
These were separately cast on metal bodies, with the 
letters or other symbols in relief on their upper faces. 
Moxon shows a pair of cases, as used together in his time. 
The lower case holds the small letters, with the odd excep- 
tion of 'k', the punctuation marks, and the 'spaces', which 
had no reliefs; and the sizes of its main compartments are 
varied in proportion to the frequency with which each 
type is likely to be needed. The upper case, sloped at an 
angle above the lower one, holds the capitals, the numerals, 
and the more rarely used symbols. An Elizabethan 
printer, however, made considerable use of italic type, and 
either the arrangement of his cases must have been some- 
what ^different to Moxon's, or he must have had access tp_ 
additional ones for this purpose. In his left hand the 
compositor held the 'composing-stick', a short tray capable 
of holding six or eight lines of type, and adjustable to the 
required length of line. He memorized a line or so of 
matter from the copy before him, and with his right hand 
picked out the types from the cases in due order, and 
transferred them to the stick, putting the faces upside- 
down, since the outlines of the reliefs would be reversed 
in printing-off. Between the words he set spaces. If his 
matter did not fit a line, he 'justified' it by varying the 
width of the spaces, but for this he had less need than 
a modern compositor, since he could also modify the 
spelling. 2 When the stick was full, he slipped the contents 
into a larger tray or 'galley', which held just sufficient type 

1 McKerrow 241; Pollard, Rich. II, 345 Albright 326. * Cf. p. 186. 


for a page, and when this was full, he laid it aside for the 

At the stage of actual printing, the page-blocks of type 
were removed from the galleys, and placed in frames or 
'chases', each of which took enough pages to occupy one 
side of a sheet of paper. These constituted a 'forme*. 
There was an outer forme for one side of the sheet, and 
an inner forme for- the other, and the blocks were so ar- 
ranged that, when the sheet was folded, the pages would 
follow each other in the proper order. Plays had not, as 
a rule, pagination numbers, but a clue to the order was 
provided by setting-up the first word of each page as a 
'catchword' at the foot of that preceding it. Similarly the 
first page of each sheet bore a letter at the ^foot as a 
'signature', and the signatures ran in an alphabetical series. 
If four blocks of type were printed on each side of a sheet 
and it was folded twice it became a 'quarto* sheet of four 
leaves and eight pages. The signatures of a quarto were 
generally repeated with differentiating numbers on the 
first pages of the second and third leaves. An 'octavo' 
sheet was folded three times and had eight leaves and six- 
teen pages. 1 A 'folio' sheet was folded once only and had 
two leaves and four pages. But folio sheets were generally 
placed within each other in 'gatherings' of three sheets, 
six leaves and twelve pages. The first three leaves of such 
a gathering had a common signature letter, with a dif- 
. ferentiating number. The chase was packed between the 
blocks of type with larger spaces or 'furniture', corre- 
sponding to the margins of the pages when the sheet was 
folded, and firmly 'locked up' by wedges or 'quoins'. It 
was then placed on the bed of the press. This slid back- 
wards and forwards, and to its front was hinged a frame 
or *tympan', holding two sheets of parchment with pad- 
ding between them, on which the sheet of paper to be 
printed was laid. The type was inked with pads or 'balls' 
of cotton or hair covered with leather and fixed at the ends 
of short sticks. The ink did not reach the small spaces, 
but as it inevitably got upon the furniture of the chase, a 

1 The Qi of 3 Hen. VI* although classed with the Quartos, is really an Octavo. 


second frame or brisket', hinged in its turn to the free 
end of the tympan, held a protective sheet of paper, in 
which rectangular spaces, corresponding to the positions 
of the blocks of type, had been cut. The frisket was 
turned over the sheet on the tympan, and both frisket and 
tympan were turned over the chase. The bed of the press 
was then slid back under a screw, which brought down 
over tympan, frisket, paper, and chase a heavy wooden 
board or platen, and effected an impression of the inked 
type on the paper. Each sheet, of course, required two 
impressions, one for each side, before it could be folded, 
and had to be laid across a string to dry between them. 
All the copies of each sheet were printed on one side, 
before the other side was taken in hand. When the print- 
ing was complete, the type was 'distributed', probably by 
the compositor, who put a few lines into his left hand, took 
out a word or two at a time in his right, read them, shook 
the types apart, and dropped them into their compart- 
ments in the cases. 

Press-correction must often have been a very casual 
business. There is plenty of evidence that authors could, 
as now, see 'proofs', and even for the use, by the Jaggards 
and others, of 4 reviewes', or as we call them 'revises'. 1 
The modern slip-proofs, specially printed in 'long' galleys, 
had not, however, come into use, and what the author got 
would be an ordinary sheet, in which, if one side only had 
yet been printed, the pages would not be continuous. As 
a rule authors seem to have been expected to visit the 
printing-house daily, for the purpose of making their cor- 
rections; and they sometimes apologize for errors, on the 
ground that they could not do this. But there are cases 
in which proofs were sent out by messenger. Jonson, no 
doubt, saw proofs. There is nothing to indicate that 
Shakespeare did, and in view of the number and character 
.of the errors in the Quartos, it is unlikely. Nor can we 
suppose that, even if the copy was supplied rather by his 
company than by himself, any other member of it took the 

* McKerrow 65, 3055 Albright 3485 P. Simpson in Trans* Oxford Bibl. 
Soc. ii (19^8), 5. 


responsibility. Whether the Folio had ^ any editor is a 
rather more complicated question. 1 Failing an author to 
'oversee' the work, all rested with the press-corrector, and 
his operations were often perfunctory. Presumably he 
ought to have read the proof with the copy, or had the 
latter read to him, as was the practice in Moxon's day. 
But frequent erroneous corrections show that, even in 
reprints, he was apt to proceed by guess-work. Nor does 
it seem that printing-off was suspended until the proof 
had been considered. Different examples of the same edi- 
tion of a play often exhibit variant readings. Occasionally 
this may be due to the accidental displacement and wrong 
replacement of type. 2 But many variants can only be ex- 
plained on the assumption that corrections were made at 
a late stage, and that the incorrect sheets already printed 
were not scrapped, but used indiscriminately with the 
corrected ones when the book was put together. Different 
examples, therefore, may contain incorrect and corrected 
sheets in various combinations, and indeed one side 
of a sheet may have been corrected and not the other. 
This makes the work of a modern editor extremely 

The title-page and other preliminaries, such as epistles 
by an author or publisher, were generally printed, at any 
rate in first editions, after the body of the book. The * A' 
signatures might be reserved for them, or special signa- 
tures, such as asterisks, used. The title-page itself does 
not bear a signature. It is of the nature of an advertise- 
ment, and separate copies were struck off as hand-bills. 
Nashe complains that his Pierce Penniless bore a 'tedious 
Mountebanks Oration to the Reader'.* Title-pages were 
probably prepared in the printing-house. This accounts 
for the frequent laudatory terms and the elaborate des- 
criptive titles, which are not always -accurate. The Welsh 
parson of Merry Wives of Windsor appears as 'Syr Hugh 
the Welch Knight', and the Marina of Pericles as Mariana. 
The author's own wording is more likely to be found in 
a head-title at the beginning of the text. Advertisement 

1 Cf. p. 198. Cf. p. 176. 3 Works (ed. McKeirow), i. 153. 


"may also be traced in the mention of court performances 
(Love's Labour's Lost, KingLear\ and in the claims, some- 
times but not always justified, of reprints to be 'corrected' 
or 'augmented'. The engraved emblematic or other 'device* 
of the printer or publisher or some ornamental design 
often follows the title. At the foot of the title-page is the 
'imprint', which generally gives the name of the printer, 
of the publisher 'for' whom the book was printed, if dis- 
tinct from the printer, and the publisher's address. Some- 
times the printer's name is omitted, or only indicated by 
initials. And sometimes the address is that of a stationer, 
who had not himself financed the book, but was selling it 
on commission. 1 Imprints may show variants when two 
stationers were publishing jointly. In early books the 
imprint was at the end of the text in a 'colophon', but 
colophons are rare in plays. 2 To the imprint is usually 
appended the date of publication. Dr. Greg thinks that 
plays were dated according to the calendar year beginning 
on January I, and not according to the year beginning on 
March 25, which was generally followed both in private 
letters and in official documents, including the Stationers' 
Register.* A second 'issue' of an edition, from the original 
stock of sheets, may have a new title-page on an inserted 
leaf or 'cancel' replacing the old one, and a serious error 
in the text, discovered late, may be similarly corrected.-* 
It is uncertain whether, after printing, copy was restored 
to the owner, or destroyed as printing-house waste. If 
the Chamberlain's men sent their 'allowed' copies to the 
printers, they must, one thinks, have recovered them for 
their own protection in case of a revival. Only two bits 
of used copy are known, and they are not plays. One is 
a fragment of Hooker's Ecclesiastical Polity (1597), printed 
by John Windet. It has author's corrections, which have 
been observed in the print, although additional ones seem 
afterwards to have been made. 5 The other is the greater 

1 W. W. Greg in Studies, 130. * Cf. pp. 349, 380, 438. 

* McKerrow 95. s Bodl. AddL MS. C. 1655 cf. P. 

a Studies, 154, and The "Kiddle of Simpson (Oxford Bibl. Soc. Trans. 

Jonsorfs Chronology (1926, 4 Library* ii. 20). 
vi. 340). 


part of Sir John Harington's translation (1591) of Ari- 
osto's Orlando Furioso, printed by Richard Field. 1 Here 
also the print shows that the author made many alterations 
in proof. There are some special directions to the printer 
on the copy, and the printer himself has added symbols 
indicating where fresh pages should begin, and in one case 
where a particular ornament should be inserted. Such 
supervision is likely to have been more careful in Field's 
office than in those of inferior printers* This manuscript 
was probably returned to the author^ many of whose 
papers are preserved. 

The errors of printers must be looked at both qualita- 
tively and quantitatively. The causes of misprints are 
various. Some may be called mechanical, some psycho- 
logical. Mechanical errors may arise at several stages. 
Type may drop out of the stick or an ill-locked chase, or 
be pulled out by the inking balls, and be put back in the 
wrong order, even if loose type lying on the floor is not 
picked up instead. The paper on the frisket may be 
unevenly cut or may shift, and prevent the type at the 
ends of lines from printing. A space-type may project 
and leave an impression. A letter may be badly cast or 
broken, and its impression may look like that of some other 
letter. Thus a broken V may be indistinguishable from 
a *c'. But the most prolific source of mechanical error is 
what is known as 'foul case' ; that is, the presence of types 
in the wrong compartment, either because they have 
slipped from an overfull compartment into that below it, 
or more usually because they have been wrongly distri- 
buted. Many 'literal' misprints, which make no sense, 
may have this origin. Whether the very common but not 
textually important substitution of a 'turned n' for a V 
or vice versa is due to foul case seems doubtful. 2 

Most misprints, however, are psychological, and arise 
during composition, which must be taken to include the 
subsequent carrying out of corrections. They may be 

1 B.M.AddL MS. 189205 cf.W.W. McKerrow 2555 Greg in 
Greg, An Elizabethan Printer and his i. 466. 
Copy (1923, 4 Library, iv. zoz). 


further classified as due to failures either of vision, or of 
attention, or of memory, or of automatism, or of judge- 
ment. The classification is a rough one, since human 
faculties are not isolated. In particular, want of attention 
is to some extent a factor in all misprints, and may itself 
be the result either of stupidity or carelessness or self- 
confidence or haste or fatigue or drink or talkativeness or 
absorption in alien ideas. Similar misprints may result 
from different causes, and further many errors such as 
compositors make are also made by transcribers, and some 
even by authors in writing down their thoughts, so that, 
especially when transcription may have intervened, it is 
not always possible to be sure where the fault lies. The 
methods of transcribers have not been so closely investi- 
gated as those of printers. The manuscript of Alleyn's 
part of Orlando shows an example of careful transcription 
for the theatre. 1 But one may perhaps assume that a tran- 
scriber would often be less of a trained expert than a com- 
positor, and would be more likely to alter passages which 
he found difficult to read or understand. 2 

A failure of vision means, of course, a misreading of the 
copy. Professor Wilson tells us: 

It is a cardinal principle of critical bibliography that when any- 
thing is wrong with the text, the blame should be laid rather on 
the 'copy' than on the compositor. 3 

It may be doubted whether critical bibliography has any 
cardinal principle, other than the obvious one that every 
effect has a cause, and that the distribution of ink-marks 
on pieces of paper is no exception to the rule. However 
that may be, there are certainly competent bibliographers 
who do not accept Professor Wilson's principle. Thus 
Professor Pollard writes of 

the ease with .which errors were introduced in the process of printing 
and the extreme danger of assuming that the faultiness of a printed 
text involves a corresponding faultiness in the manuscript which it 
follows. 4 

* Greg, Abridgments, 271. ' Wilson, Temp. xl. 

* Cf. pp. 440, 460. * Pollard, Etch. IT, 3*. 

3I42.X V 


And Dr. Greg says: 

It must now be abundantly evident that other causes besides 
misreading are at work in the production of misprints; indeed, that 
these other causes are probably more widely operative than errors 
of the eye. Nothing could in feet be more misleading than the 
dogma that 'Misprints must be accounted for by the Handwriting'. 1 

The antithesis of 'copy' and 'compositor' is, indeed, in 
itself misleading; what we are concerned with is the 
relation between the compositor and his copy. But the 
manuscripts described in chapter iv are as a rule 
well written, and it is reasonable to suppose that, in 
Elizabethan times as now, the best workmen were set 
to handle the most difficult material. Moreover, there 
are abundant errors in reprints, where the complications 
of manuscript copy had not to be faced. Nevertheless 
failure of vision is a factor in misprinting, and Pro- 
fessor Wilson has furnished valuable analyses of the types 
of 'literal 9 error to which it might lead. His basis is 

primarily the hand of D in Sir Thomas More, and this, 
whether Shakespeare's or not, is at any rate a very normal 
Elizabethan hand, not unlike his, and at the same time 
such as any transcriber might employ. We have to en- 
visage an 'English' hand, in which most of the letter- 
forms differed from those of the 'Italian' hands now fol- 
lowed, which were then only just beginning to come into 
popular use. Some intermixture of Italian forms there 
may have been, and some differentiation, probably very in- 
complete, of foreign words, proper names, speech-prefixes, 
and perhaps stage-directions by Italian script. 2 Normally 
an italic fount of type provides a corresponding differentia- 
tion in print. The use of capitals for the word 'God' in 
Merchant of Venice (Qq), ii. 2. 75, is exceptional. Abnormal 
spellings in the copy might lead to misunderstanding. 3 Or 
again it might show contracted forms, although these do 
not seem very frequent in theatrical manuscripts. 4 A *p', 
with a loop to indicate the omission of letters, is easily 
misread, and a ^ looks much like an V, although it 

' JLJSJS. 1 47*. * Cf. p. 113. 3 Cf. p. 187. 4 Cf. p. 113. 


stands for V or *es'. The commonest confusions in re- 
producing an 'English* hand are due to the similarities 
between V and 'd', between V and V, between V and 
V, between 'c' and Y, and among 'm*, 'n', *u f , V, V, 
V, T (if undotted), and a particular form of V, all of which 
are or, unless very carefully formed, may be constructed 
of short downward strokes or 'minims'. It is clear, how- 
ever, from Professor Kellner's tables of misprints that 
there may be transmutation between almost any pair of 
letters, even where the production of a veritable word 
seems to exclude the probability of a cause, such as 'foul 
case', alternative to an error of vision. Obviously, long- 
tailed and long-stemmed letters are only likely to replace 
others with similar features. But letters, individually dis- 
tinct, may none the less be confused when they appear in 
combination. Many misprints involve more than one 
wrong letter within the same word; an initial error once 
made often tends to persist and to help in the misinter- 
pretation of its context. Beyond this, an inexperienced 
reader of manuscript will get a word wrong, by contenting 
himself with a mere general impression of it, without 
following the outlines of the letters at all. Possibly a tired 
or careless compositor might do the same, although it 
would be contrary to his training. It is a blunder which 
one would rather expect from a transcriber. Failure of 
vision may also be responsible for the misdividing of 
words. A word is split into two, or two words are merged 
in one. Of course the 'hand* of a manuscript is often a 
contributing factor in visual errors. A writer may easily 
degrade the rather elaborate forms of the 'English* letters. 
Concave and convex curves may not be properly dis- 
criminated. The Ts may be undotted. Tops of letters 
which should be closed may be left open. The minims 
may be superfluous or deficient. The spacing may be bad. 
Linking strokes may be made between words, or omitted 
between the letters of words. 

Failures of attention cause many errors. The com- 
positor, misled perhaps by the recurrence of the same 
word at the ends of neighbouring lines or clauses, starts 

N 2 


at the wrong point in memorizing a bit of copy, and leaves 
out a line or even a considerable passage. The parallel 
texts reveal some serious mutilations of this nature. 1 On 
the other hand, cancelled matter, such as a duplicate ver- 
sion, is sometimes inserted, through the neglect of a dele- 
tion mark. 2 Single words and letters are often omitted. 
When this is due to overlooking a repetition of them in 
the copy, it is called haplography. Words and letters are 
also unduly repeated, and that is called dittography. A 
whole line may be repeated, perhaps at the turn of a page. 
The order of letters, words, and lines may be dislocated, 
either through an initial error or through a careless at- 
tempt to correct one. 

Some of the most subtle and baffling misprints probably 
arise from failures of memory. The compositor reads more 
of his copy at once than his memory is able to carry, and 
reproduces it inaccurately. Thus, too, transpositions may 
occur. Prefixes and word-endings get altered. Much more 
considerable perversions may take place. The subcon- 
scious mind, through some association, substitutes for the 
right word an equivalent word, or even a contrasting word. 
If the compositor's apprehension of read matter works 
through auditory rather than visual representations, the 
substituted word may be one similar, not in sense, but in 
sound. Such results are much like those which the loose 
memories of actors and reporters also yield. 3 Or again, a 
past word, just leaving the threshold of consciousness, may 
be echoed, or a coming word, just entering it, may be 
anticipated. Authors themselves are very prone in writing 
to the same trick. Parallel texts often reveal the existence 
of memory errors; in the absence of these they may well 
remain 'cruces'. The human mind is a fallible instrument. 
There is further a kind of muscular memory due to habit. 
The compositor's reaching out for type becomes auto- 
matic. If he is tired, the automatism may fail, and he may 
take a type from the wrong compartment. Here is a third 
origin, besides foul case and the confusion of outlines, for 
literal misprints and erroneous spacing. 

* Cf. pp. 440* 459> 4*7- a Cf. pp. 331* 235. 3 Cf. P- 157- 


Finally, the compositor may fail in judgement where 
there is, or where he thinks there is, anything in his copy 
which requires regulating. He may mistake a parenthesis- 
bracket for a deletion mark. 1 He may insert a marginal 
addition at the wrong point. He may misinterpret an 
ambiguous contraction. He may expand an abbreviated 
speech-prefix incorrectly. He may attach a speech-prefix, 
written rather high or low, to the wrong line. He may 
incorporate a speech-prefix or a stage-direction in the text. 
He may, perhaps excusably, retain a book-keeper's note 
of an actor's name or other warning. 2 Errors of judgement 
must play some part in the complex phenomena of mis- 
lineation. Blank verse is often wrongly divided, and more- 
over verse is often printed as prose, and prose, perhaps 
less often, as verse. Again Professor Wilson must be 
quoted: 3 

If there is one lesson to be learnt from a bibliographical study of 
the Good Quartos, it is that compositors had no means of distin- 
guishing between prose and verse except by line-division in their 

This dogma, too, needs some qualification. It may be 
assumed that, in an age when there was much popular 
poetry, and a compositor was constantly setting-up both 
prose and verse, he acquired some knowledge of scansion. 
Normally he was called upon to capitalize the beginnings 
of verse lines and not those of prose lines, although both, 
unless Shakespearean manuscripts were unlike the extant 
manuscripts, began with minuscules in his copy. No 
doubt he often followed the lineation of the copy, but 
certainly he sometimes used his intelligence to regulate it 
according to what he believed to be the author's intention; 
and either method might bring him out. The confusion 
of prose and verse in the bad Quartos belongs to the 
reporter's muddled paraphrasing. But it is also a feature 
of good texts, particularly in scenes in whidii Shakespeare's 
rapid transitions between verse and prose are frequent, 
and which are sometimes complicated by the habit which 

1 Cf. p. 197. * Cf. p. 37. * Wilson, Earn. 50. 


Shakespeare shares with many other writers of letting his 
prose fall into blank verse rhythms. For example, Pistol's 
intrusions of bombastic verse into prose scenes regularly 
appear as prose in the Quarto 2 Henry IV and the Folio 
Henry V and Merry Wives of Windsor. Shakespeare cannot 
have written them so. There are many other instances. 
Professor Wilson is apt to regard the transitions as evi- 
dence of rewriting, and to treat misprinted verse as due 
to irregular arrangement in a margin. 1 But the transitions 
themselves are often of high literary value, and give no 
reason to suppose that they are not deliberate. It is diffi- 
cult not to attribute ,the misprinting to failures of the 
compositor's judgement. In other cases, where he has not 
the same ground for confusion, a blind following of the 
copy becomes more plausible. A marginal insertion might 
be written parallel with the main text, and in half-lines for 
lack of space. There are such insertions in extant manu- 
scripts, and others .where the lines are at full length and 
at right angles to the text. 2 Or again, as Professor Wilson 
has himself suggested, a writer, near the end of passage 
or scene, and also near the foot of a page, might crowd his 
matter and write two or three lines continuously. Sir 
Thomas More furnishes an example. 3 Either of these arrange- 
ments might result in the setting-up of short passages of 
verse as prose. But some other cause is required to account 
for the long passages so misprinted in the Quarto of King 
Lear. There are many of them and the text throughout 
the play varies much from that of the Folio, I conjecture 
that they are the notes of a shorthand reporter, which he 
has taken down with approximate fidelity, but has not felt 
able, or has not troubled, to arrange as verse. There is 
some confirmation of this in the fact that they are almost 
entirely punctuated with commas. Pericles has. some 
similar passages, especially in Acts iii-v, but they are 
better punctuated. On the other hand, the admittedly bad 
Quartos of Hamlet, Henry V^ and Merry Wives of Windsor 
have much more prose, capitalized and in irregular lengths 
like those of verse, than we can well ascribe to the com- 

1 Cf. p. 233. * Cf. p. 114. 3 Cf. p, 510. 


positor. Professor Wilson, who finds the same feature in 
A SArew, the Quarto Richard III, and the Folio Merry 
Wives of Windsor he might have added the Famous 
Victories thinks that the arrangement may represent the 
practice of some company, which liked to have its parts 
written so. 1 The Folio Merry Wives of Windsor and 
Richard III passages seem to me cases of ordinary mis- 
judgement. The Merry Wives of Windsor irregularities are 
trifling, and there is only one prose scene in Richard 7/7, 
which might easily upset the compositor. 2 In the other 
plays concerned there is a more or less marked tendency 
for the lengths to coincide with grammatical clauses. Per- 
haps parts might be written so, to facilitate memorizing, 
although the scanty prose in the Orlando part, while 
somewhat irregularly written, does not follow the clause- 
structure. I have noticed three rather similar bits of prose 
arrangement in the Folio, which come at the bottoms of 
pages, and may have been deliberately spaced out to cover 
some error discovered in a passage of composition which 
had progressed too far to make regular resetting prac- 
ticable.a Blank verse, even when printed as such, is often 
wrongly divided. Again a marginal insertion may some- 
times be responsible. 4 In the bad Quartos an initial omis- 
sion throws the reporter out, and the verse runs wrongly 
but plausibly, as verse sometimes will, from a medial 
pause of one line to one in the next, until another error 
or the end of a speech recovers it. In the better texts, a 
compositor may be similarly misled by an omission, per- 
haps due to a cut. In some of the later plays, such as 
Antony and Cleopatra and Coriolanus, it is noticeable that 
mislineation particularly affects the beginnings and ends 
of speeches. And here it looks like a result of misjudge- 
ment working upon irregularities in the copy. In the 
later plays Shakespeare tended more and more to end a 
speech and begin a new one in the middle of a line. The 

1 Wilson, Ham. 51. I/, ii. 65 iii. 4. 1-15. Dr. McKcrxow 

a Merry Wives of W. ii. i. 20-32, tells me that he too would attribute 

121-3; & 3* 8 7~9 2 > &f* Iff* i* 4* these examples of irregularity to the 

101-56. compositor rather than the 'copy* 

3 Ham. ii. 2* 211-18$ As Tou Like 4 Cf. e>g. pp. 360, 481. 


half-lines should no doubt have been written out separ- 
ately. But it may be suspected that in Shakespearean copy 
they were in fact often written continuously with the fore- 
going or subsequent lines. The compositor sometimes 
followed the copy and sometimes tried unsuccessfully to 
adjust the context. Finally, a single verse line is often split 
and printed in two half-lines. In the Folio, this is generally 
due to the narrow space available in the columns. It be- 
comes almost normal in the opening lines of speeches, 
where speech-prefixes have to be accommodated, and com- 
positors acquired a habit of splitting these lines, even 
where it was not absolutely necessary. Mr. Simpson sug- 
gests that other lines were deliberately split, to indicate a 
substantial pause in utterance. 1 This may very likely be 
so. There is often a change of subject or address, or a 
gesture or interval for reflection is conceivable. My treat- 
ment of mislineation is necessarily tentative. The whole 
subject needs more investigation than it has yet received 
or can receive here* 

It is difficult to measure the amount of divergence from 
Shakespeare's originals caused by misprinting, even where 
alternative versions are available. The general standard of 
typographical accuracy was not high, and is likely to have 
been at its lowest in such books as plays, especially if they 
were not 'overseen' by the authors. 2 The proportion of 
emendations adopted by modern editors is no safe guide, 
since the adoption is often superfluous, and on the other 
hand parallel texts disclose misprints which no editor 
would suspect and omissions which no emendation could 
recover. These may also exist in the single texts. For 
what it is worth, Dr. Furness calculated, without taking 
account of 'stage-directions, metrical division of lines, 
mere punctuation, and immoment changes of spelling, 
that the Cambridge editors adopted 60 emendations in 
the 3,064 lines of the single Folio text of Antony and Cleo- 
patra. The Globe edition obelizes about 130 lines as cor- 
rupt and incapable of emendation, or as bearing witness 

1 Simpson, Punctuation, 695 cf. p. * Albright 356 cites contemporary 
459. complaints and apologies by printers. 


to lacunae, in the plays and poems as a whole. 1 Dr. Greg 
thinks that, in view of the clearness of extant theatrical 
manuscripts and the probability that the best compositors 
were put upon manuscript copy, we may expect the errors 
of first editions to have been 'of the same order of mag- 
nitude* as those appearing in reprints. 2 The accuracy of 
reprints we can measure, since each Quarto at least seems 
to have been normally set up from its immediate pre- 
decessor, with some conjectural corrections, but without 
further reference to copy. The continuance of old mis- 
prints is itself one proof of this. Professor Pollard has 
traced the process of degeneration in the five Quartos of 
Richard IL* He assumes, for the purposes of the analysis, 
the authority of the Cambridge text, and lists divergences 
from it by way of the omission, transposition, addition, and 
substitution of words and letters, but not errors in 'line- 
arrangement, speakers, spelling, and punctuation', or a 
few others which he considers 'negligible'. On this cal- 
culation Qq2- between them make 214 errors which were 
not in Qi. Their contributions vary from .the 123 of Q2 
to the 1 8 of Q4. The Folio, reprinting from the Quarto 
of Much Ado About Nothing, introduces 122 errors. 4 On 
the other hand, Q2 of Jonson's Every Man Out of his 
Humour is an almost exact reprint of Qi. 5 Jonson, how- 
ever, 'oversaw' his own plays with extreme care. A little 
direct evidence as to first editions id furnished by some 
manuscript alterations made by Massinger in prints of his 
plays. In a presentation copy of The Duke of Milan, of 
which he does not seem to have seen proofs, he corrected 
33 errors and overlooked perhaps a dozen more. In a 
collection of eight plays he made between 200 and 300 
corrections, many of them merely in punctuation. Some 
had already been made during printing in variant examples. 
Of course he may have introduced a few afterthoughts. 6 
The conclusions to be drawn as to the purity of the Shake- 
spearean texts will differ for the pessimist and the optimist. 

1 Pollard, F.Q. 129. Wilson, Much Ado, 154. 

* Greg, Abridgements, 271. 5 Greg ia 4 Library, i. 153. 

* Pollard, Rich. II, 38. Greg, ibid. iv. 207; v. 59. 


The influence of the printing-house upon the texts is 
not confined to verbal misprints and mislineation. Pro- 
bably from the beginning, certainly in some of the re- 
printed Quartos, and more markedly in the Folio, there 
is a small amount of conjectural emendation intended to 
remove errors or presumed errors in the copy. Thus the 
later Quartos of Richard 11^ while accumulating misprints, 
also correct 25 out of 69 slips in Qi. There are some 
puzzling changes in the Henry V and the 2, 3 Henry VI 
of 1 6 1 9, which may even point to a source of amelioration 
more authoritative than conjecture. On the other hand, 
there are certain subsidiary matters, in which we have to 
recognize the probability of considerable departures from 
the originals. The most important of these are ortho- 
graphy, elision, punctuation, and capitalization. Ortho- 
graphy in the sixteenth century was in a state of transition 
and indeed of chaos. Private letters, even when written by 
well-educated men and women, show an extreme of in- 
dividualism. Grammarians, such as Richard Mulcaster, 
put forward systems on more or less scientific lines, but the 
modern standard spelling, as it gradually established itself 
during the seventeenth century, took its own way, without 
much regard for science. 1 Printed books display a uniform- 
ity much greater than that of popular usage, but within 
the limits of this there was still room for a great deal of 
variation. Many vowel-sounds could be represented either 
by a single vowel, a double vowel, or a diphthong. A mute 
4 e' could be added or omitted at will. The *y' was con- 
vertible with T and with *ie\ The variation affected the 
length of words, and it has already been pointed out that 
compositors made use of it in 'justifying' their lines. 2 This 
would not much affect blank verse, except in the Folioj 
where the double columns cramped the space. Individual 
compositors had probably their own tendencies. 3 It is 

1 R. Mulcaster, Ekmentarie (1582, the mute V, but adds, 'the Printers in 

ed. E. T. Campagnac, 1925), chh. xvi- consideration for the Justifying of the 

xxiv, with a table of spellings (ch.xxv). lynes, as it is sayde gf the makers to 

* Cf. p. 171. William Salesbury, make vp the ryme, must be borne 

Plain Introduction teaching how to pro- wythalT. 
nounce . . . Wekh (1567), complains of 3 T. SatcheU (1920, June 3, T.L.S.) 


clear that they were not normally expected to follow the 
spellings of their copy, and indeed to do so would largely 
increase the time taken in setting-up, and therefore the 
cost. Field's treatment of Harington's Ariosto furnishes 
good evidence, since Harington was in many respects 
particular about the printing. Of 136 variants from the 
modern standard Field normalizes 84, alters but leaves 
variant 29, and keeps 23. He adds 8 variants. 1 Similarly 
some habitual spellings found in the manuscripts of 
Gabriel Harvey do not appear in his printed work, 2 It 
is true that others by Anthony Munday and Thomas 
Churchyard do sometimes so appear. 3 Possibly an author, 
as now, could get his eccentricities respected if he made 
a point of it. But in any case one must not suppose that a 
compositor w;as always on his guard against the influence 
of his copy. He would be likely enough to follow it in an 
unusual word, or one which obviously represents a deliber- 
ate mispronunciation by Fluellen or another, or even else- 
where through inadvertence. And in fact 'occasional' 
abnormal spellings are common enough, and may some- 
times represent an author's spellings slipping through. 
There are a good many abnormal spellings in the con- 
troverted addition to Sir Thomas More, and some of these 
or of similar types recur in Shakespearean Quartos. 
Professor Wilson gives some valuable lists. 4 Of such 
things one writer could rarely have had a monopoly. 
Moreover, a compositor might himself have abnormal 
spellings at the back of his mind. Scime at least of those 
relied upon by Professor Wilson to link Shakespeare with 
Sir Thomas More are to be found in texts not at all likely 
to have been set up from originals or even transcripts 
of these. 5 

seems to show that two compositors, (Essays and Studies of the English As- 

with different tendencies, worked on sociarian, x. 36). 

Macbeth. s T1 "is a fa*** or a **auen (for 

4 Library, iv. no. eleven) is not 6nly in S.T.M. and in 

McKerrow 247. Mfr. of 7en., Love's Lab. Lost, and 

3 M. St. C. Byrne in 4 Library, Ham. (Qi), but also in Troil. & Ores. 
iv. o: v. 243. (Qi)> and in the reported Rom. V Jul. 

4 Sh.Hand, 1& Spellings and Mis- (Qi). This also has kudvsinckt, 
prints in the Second Quarto of Hamlet twiacUe, incke, senceks, dartenes, 


Elisions are important in that they affect the metre, 
since the presence or absence of them means the difference 
between disyllabic and trisyllabic feet. 1 Dr. McKerrow 
suggests that it was the business of the actors to know how 
to speak verse, and that possibly the author, no more than 
the compositor, would take much pains about the textual 
form, so that we may 'exercise our own judgement in its 
interpretation'. 2 Shakespeare's measure of confidence in 
the actors is shown by Hamlet's warning to them to speak 
'trippingly on the tongue', which can only mean not to slur 
the trisyllables. 3 Dr. McKerrow's doctrine is a comfort- 
able one for editors, but highly dangerous. It would 
justify Dr. Van Dam in adding innumerable elisions of 
his own and reducing the text of Hamlet to a strictly 
decasyllabic basis. And it would justify Mr. Bayfield in 
his constant disregard of apostrophes in the interests of 
trisyllabic rhythm. The methods are equally perverse. 
No doubt Spenser's frequent apostrophes show that he 
clung to the decasyllable.4 But dramatic blank verse may 
reasonably approach nearer to the manner of common 
speech than epic. Shakespeare certainly used both elisions 
and trisyllabic feet, and distributed them with a growing 
delicacy of ear. The ingenuous Mr. Bayfield, after argu- 
ing at length that the elisions were foisted in by tran- 
scribers and printers, arrived at the afterthought that they 
were probably legitimate but only indicated a light pro- 
nunciation of syllables. For this he conceived himself to 
find support in Jonson's use of apostrophes. Jonson, how- 
ever, knew perfectly well that an apostrophe normally 
meant the 'rejecting' of a vowel. 5 Professor Pollard be- 
lieves that elided syllables 'should almost always be pro- 
nounced, but so lightly as not to interfere with the rhythm 
of the verse'. 6 I have something of the same feeling 
myself. One retains some consciousness of the elided 

singlenest chaples, Uktnes, drudg, ttapp, + J. D. Wilson, A Not* on EMons 

bin (been), and other spellings regarded in the Faerie Queene (M.L.R. xv. 409). 

by Wilson as 'significant*. 5 Jonson, English Grammar, ii. i; 

1 Cf. p. 262. cf. Herford-Simpson, ii. 428. 

McKen-ow 250. 6 Pollard, Rich. //, 75- 

3 Ham, Hi. 2. x. 


sound, but it does not amount to a metrical syllable. This 
is, however, a subtlety which we cannot expect typography 
to recognize. It is true that, in the poems of Spenser and 
Donne, in Jonson's plays with some.frequency, and occa- 
sionally in the later Shakespearean Quartos and the Folio, 
wejjet a fully printed word followed by an apostrophe. 1 
This probably indicates not an elision, but merely a light 
pronunciation of what is still a syllable. It was an abnormal 
device, which has not endured. Ordinarily an apostrophe 
means an elision. 2 But often there is no apostrophe, and 
the elision is indicated merely by the omission of a vowel, 
or by its transference to the end of a word. 3 Often there 
is an accompanying consonantal modification. 4 An elided 
word may be merged with the next. 5 The elision of pro- 
nouns yields some special forms. 6 The prefixes of nouns 
and verbs may be dropped without an apostrophe. A 
rather minute examination of the elisions in the Qi of 
Merchant of Venice leaves the impression that in that text 
at least the copy was followed with some fidelity. Its 
elisions and trisyllables generally supply a satisfactory 
rhythm. One or two are clearly wrong, and a score or so 
of others may be doubtful. But even if these are misprints, 
the proportion is not a high one. Other First Quartos, 
even good ones, may very possibly be less correct. And 
certainly there is a tendency in reprints, and notably in 
the Folio, to alter readings in the direction of eliminating 
trisyllabic feet. 7 One cannot, therefore, feel much con- 
fidence in the elisions of plays which are only preserved in 

1 Bayfield 300; Herford-Simpson, trap. This is also found in S.T.M. 

ii. 430; Wilson in M.L.R. xv. 412. There is a discussion in T.L3. (1924, 

The Folio has to 9 th* (Ant. & Cleo. ii. i. Aug. 2i-Oct. 16) around the emenda- 

115 ii. 2. 25) and Qi of Oth. i. i. 67, tion of tie eft for theft in Love's Lab. 

carrf et. Last, iv. 3. 336. 

a Jonson says 'though it many d e.g. tis, twill, t&wolt, ist, Ile,yle t 

times, through the negligence of theyle, week, youle> ant, ont, ons, itk % 

writers and printers, is quite omitted*, yfoitk. I do not find Im or Fm in 

3 e.g. in Mer. of Ven. y ashamde, Mer. of Fen. I am easily runs into a 

tride, eyde> stolne. trisyllabic foot. 

e.g. voorshipt, *tmlockt> drest, crost, i Many examples are in Bayfield 

ie, tone, waft. 52 sqq. 
e.g. thcyiernoQn^ tmnteTt<jur % tyn- 


the Folio. 1 On the other hand, consonantal elision becomes 
more prominent in the later plays, and this may perhaps 
indicate a change in Shakespeare's own habit. 2 The ap- 
pearance of elisions in prose, where they have no metrical 
value, is rather puzzling. They often suggest a colloquial 
utterance, but are not used with any uniformity. 3 They 
may have come naturally to a pen accustomed to use them 
freely in verse. 

'Punctuation affords a difficult and much controverted 
problem. That of Elizabethan manuscripts is unprin- 
cipled and generally scanty. Harington's, in his transla- 
tion of Ariosto, is mechanical and pays little regard to the 
sense. His printer used great freedom in regulating it* 
Dr. McKerrow is no doubt right in thinking that any rules 
which existed are more likely to have been observed in 
the printing-houses than elsewhere. 5 Such rules had been 
formulated by Aldus Manutius in 1561, on principles 
which do not differ essentially from modern usage; and 
these may have introduced the semicolon, the function of 
which is still imperfectly established in our texts. 6 It is 
not recognized by such of the sixteenth-century gram- 
marians as discuss punctuation at all. 7 But even in the 
printing-houses there can have been little consistency of 
practice. The punctuation of the Quartos varies very 
much, and in some it is extremely bad. The Folio, when 
reprinting, makes many alterations, generally in the direc- 
tion of heavier stopping. Clearly different minds have 
been at work, and as clearly it is impossible to ascribe to 
Shakespeare much of what we find. This did not deter 

1 The tendency of the F printer a Cf. Bayfield 262 sqq. 

sometimes leads him to put '/ where 4 4 Library, iv. 115. 

the metre clearly requires it. 5 McKerrow 250. 

* The commonest are in such com- 6 Interpungendi Ratio in Qrtkogra- 

binations as o* tV and ? th\ but I find phiae Ratio (Venice, 1561), 525 cf. H. 

i* th* rears' our Birth (Wtnt. Tale, iv. Jenkinson in R.E.S. ii. 152. 

4. 592) and of Wallace (Wint. Tale, * John Hart, A Methode or com- 

iv. 4. 731), where whole words go. In fortable beginning for all unlearned 

Mer. of Fen. ever and never become (1570)5 R. Mulcaster, Elementarie 

ere and nere, but even is not elided, (1582), ch. xxij [G. Puttenham?] Arte 

except once, in the odd form in (iii. of English Poesie (1589), ii. 5. 


Professor Wilson from writing at the outset of his editorial 
work on Shakespeare: 

The old texts were prompt-copy, more akin to operatic score 
than to modern literary drama. This explains the ungrammatical 
punctuation which, hitherto neglected or despised by editors, is now 
recognized as of the highest dramatic importance. The stops, 
brackets, capital letters in the Folio and Quartos are in fact stage- 
directions, in shorthand. They tell the actor when to pause and 
for how long, they guide his intonation, they indicate the emphatic 
word, often enough they indicate 'stage-business'. 1 

This principle, so far as stops are concerned, Professor 
Wilson regarded as a 'discovery* of Mr. Simpson's Shake- 
spearian Punctuation (1911). He departs from it con- 
siderably in his detailed treatment of some individual 
plays. Thus in Much Ado About Nothing he discerns 
Shakespeare's careful punctuation mainly in set speeches, 
and elsewhere a light punctuation 'largely supplied by the 
compositor, who tound little guidance in his copy'. And 
in Love's Labour 's Lost he thinks that we get, again with 
some exceptions, a punctuation 'not only frequently ab- 
surd but greatly overweighted throughout, especially in 
the matter of full-stops'. The 'operatic score' has receded 
into the background. No doubt in the interval Professor 
Wilson has been influenced by a new study of Professor 
Pollard's theory, as set out in his Shakespeare's Fight with 
the Pirates and his edition of Richard II. This also assumes 
that Shakespeare was normally a rapid writer, who did not 
trouble about punctuation, but occasionally became more 
careful, when he wanted a speech delivered in a particular 
way, and that the printers, while perhaps adopting* his 
stops when there were any, were obliged to do the best 
they could for themselves when there were not. As to 
Shakespeare's main habit, Professor Pollard may very 
likely be right. If he wrote the scene claimed for him in 
Sir Thomas More> the inadequate punctuation of that would 
be a confirmation.* The belief in his occasional interven- 

1 Temp, xxix, xxxviL Professor composed of dots and dashes, like a 
Wilson disfigures his own text by in* feminine novel* 
troducing a new punctuation, largely * Cf. p. 510. 


tion to control the actors is more open to dispute. This 
also is at least in part derived from Mr. Simpson's in- 
vestigation, the object of which was to show that 'English 
punctuation has radically changed in the last hundred 
years', and that, while modern punctuation attempts to be 
logical, 'the earlier system was mainly rhythmical'. 1 Even 
if it were so, it would hardly bear out Professor Wilson's 
initial pronouncement, since Mr, Simpson was primarily 
analysing the punctuation of the Folio. This is largely 
its own, and we surely cannot suppose that its compositors, 
or indeed those of the Quartos, were undertaking the task 
of providing shorthand stage-directions. Mr. Simpson 
himself appears to be now content with Professor Pollard's 
view, although some phrases in his original statement were 
open to misconstruction on this point. 2 His main theory 
has had to stand the fire of much criticism, some of it ill- 
conceived. The term 'rhythmical' was not altogether a 
happy one, since it suggested a habit of regularly punc- 
tuating the end of every line, or each of those mid-line 
pauses which the Elizabethans and some modern metrists 
inaccurately call 'caesuras'. Such a habit is apparent in 
some contemporary printed verse, but not to any great 
extent in the Shakespearean texts. 3 On the contrary, stops, 
which would have been required in prose, are often 
omitted at line-ends; and this is intelligible, since an 'end- 
stopped' line by itself entails a pause quite equal to that of 
a comma. Professor Pollard's 'dramatic' expresses the 
meaning better, and perhaps 'rhetorical' is better still. 
When Mr. Simpson calls his collection of Folio uses a 
'system', he is putting it rather high. He contents himself 
with bringing together positive instances, and does not 
pay much attention to negative ones; and even then he has 
to acknowledge alternative uses. There are three ways, 
for example, of treating the vocative, and five- ways of 
treating the break in an uncompleted sentence. Neverthe- 
less, the collection is an illuminating one. It is a more 
fundamental criticism that the antithesis between a logical 
punctuation and a rhetorical punctuation is not really 

1 Simpson 8. * Proc. Oxford BibL Soc. i. 39. ? Cf. however, p. 123. 


sound. All punctuation has elements both of logic and of 
rhetoric. It has its origin in spoken utterance. Mr. Simp- 
son points out that 'distinction', which was an Elizabethan 
term for a 'stop', was used by classical grammarians in the 
sense of a 'pause'. 1 For the matter of that, a 'stop' also 
means a 'pause'. Pauses are primarily for taking breath in 
speech. On the other hand, the terms for individual stops, 
'period', 'colon', and 'comma', indicate in the language of 
the grammarians, not pauses, but sentences or parts of 
sentences. 2 The Elizabethans were conscious of the 
spoken aspect of pronunciation. Mr. Simpson quite 
rightly quotes Mulcaster and Heywood to show this. 3 
But Mulcaster and Heywood could not have said anything 
different, if they had had modern usage before them. In 
spoken utterance, however, the main pauses for breath 
come at the syntactical junctures which determine the 
logical structure. Were it not so, the utterance would be 
unintelligible. And if a written language uses stops, these 
naturally follow suit. The primary dominance of logic, 
however, still leaves a great deal of room for rhetorical 
variation of effect. Pauses can be lengthened or shortened, 
or additional ones introduced. Thus we may indicate the 
solemnity of emphasis, the affected hesitation which awakes 
attention, the rapidity of impassioned appeal. Stops can 
be similarly manipulated. Modern usage does not here 
differ essentially from Elizabethan usage. We divide sen- 
tences by full-stops, sometimes inserting a conjunction 
when the sentences are logically related. We link in- 
dependent but closely related clauses within a sentence by 
semicolons, some of us also by colons, or like Professor 
Wilson by commas. We link co-ordinate clauses and 
phrases and attach subordinate clauses and phrases by 

1 Ibid. i. 36. to the right and tunable vttering of 

a Fries 80 cites Aristotle, Cicero, our words and sentences/ Heywood, 

and Quintilian on the point. Apology* C 3 V 9 that academic plays 

3 Mulcaster, Elementarie, ch. xxi, taught a student 'to speak well, and 

'This title of distinction reacheth verie with iudgement, to obserue his com- 

far, bycause it conteineth all those ma's, colons, & full poynts, his paren- 

characts, and their vses, which I call theses, his breathing spaces, and dis~ 

before signifying, but not sounding tinctions'. 
which help verie much, naie all in aU 



commas or semicolons, or without stops. And these 
variations depend, not only on the length of the sentences, 
clauses, and phrases, but also upon deliberate rhetorical 
purpose. The divergence of the Folio from modern usage, 
which Mr. Simpson's examples illustrate, is in detail 
rather than in principle. Much of it is merely a matter of 
the use of symbols. A colon is put where we should 
put a full-stop, or where we should put a comma. 
The difference is in the value attached to the colon, 
not in the length of pause intended. A comma is 
often put where we should put a semicolon. Clearly the 
use of the semicolon was not yet fully appreciated. Mr. 
Simpson has a list of independent clauses linked by 
commas, but the actual length of pause required in utter- 
ance varies considerably. 1 A more free use of semicolons 
would have made a finer rhetorical differentiation prac- 
ticable. The colon is independently used, not only as now 
to introduce a quotation, but also, indifferently with the 
interrogation mark, to supply the want of an exclamation 
mark. There are differences to be observed also in the 
distribution of commas. Professor Pollard says that the 
Elizabethan usage was nearer to normal speech than ours, 
which 'balances comma by comma with a logic intolerable 
in talk'. I do not altogether agree. Modern usage has 
some superfluous commas, marking off vocatives and im- 
peratives and very short clauses and phrases. But often, 
if a pause is required for intelligibility at the end of such a 
clause or phrase, one is required at the beginning also; 
and the Folio habit of omitting an initial comma in such 
cases does not make for good utterance. What, however, 
strikes one most about the Folio is the frequent excess of 
its commas. They come, for example, according to Mr. 
Simpson, at the end of a composite subject, or again be- 
tween an accusative and a dative. Frequently, and in a 
most irritating way, they supplement a conjunction in 
linking nouns, verbs, and adjectives, which have a 
common position in a sentence. But surely, as so used, 
they are logical or grammatical, rather than rhetorical, 

1 Simpson if. 


devices. You do not want a rhetorical pause in such lines 
as 1 

The Cowslips tall, her pensioners bee, 
or " 

I could haue giuen my Vnkles Grace, a flout, 

Your brother, and his louer haue embrac'd; 

Th' extrauagant, and erring Spirit, hyes 

This last line has two commas, one superfluous and the 
other clearly wrong. And indeed the constant intrusion 
of a comma directly between subject and predicate is one 
of the most disturbing features in the Folio punctuation. 2 
Here, and in commas between. object and complement, 
and in similar intrusions of colons and even full-stops, Mr. 
Simpson often discerns a rhetorical purpose. It may some- 
times be there. There are parallel cases in the works of 
Donne, who seems to have punctuated more carefully than 
most of his contemporaries. 3 And there is no reason why 
the Elizabethans should not have handled the possibilities 
inherent in the system of punctuation rather more freely 
than we do. This would not constitute it a different 
system. But I cannot believe that any intention of Shake- 
speare is represented by the second stop in the line from 
Hamlet quoted above or by 

To each of you, one faire and vertuous Mistris; 
Fall when loue please, marry to each but one. 4 

Curiously enough, the Restoration found the punctuation 
bequeathed to it inadequate in just what Mr. Simpson 
regards as its distinguishing characteristic. In 1665 John 
Evelyn proposed that the Royal Society should invent 
some 'new Periods and Accents, to assist, inspirit, and 
modifie the Pronunciation of Sentences, & to stand as 
markes beforehand how the voice & tone is to be governed ; 
as in reciting of Playes, reading of Verses, &c. for the 

1 Mid. N. Dr. ii. x. 105 'Rich. Ill, Sonnets. 

ii. 4. 245 Meets, for Meas. i. 4. 405 * Grierson, Poems of Donne, n. 
Ham. i. i . 154. ocxii; E. M. Simpson in R.E.S. iv. 295. 

2 It recurs in the badly printed 4 All's WeU, ii. 3. 63. 

o 2 


varying the tone of the vo^ce, and affections, &c\ x For- 
tunately nothing came of it. In one respect, indeed, we 
are ourselves more rhetorical than the Elizabethans. They 
made little use of the dash; an unpleasing device which, 
as in this sentence, I try to avoid. Where there are pos- 
sible rhetorical stops in the Shakespearean texts, the 
general character of the punctuation must make us hesi- 
tate before ascribing them with any confidence to Shake- 
speare himself. There are obvious exceptions in such 
passages as Pistol's gabble while he eats the leek or the 
pace of Margaret's tongue in Much Ado About Nothing. 2 
Here the compositor may have preserved an intention of 
the author, as he sporadically preserved dialectic pronun- 
ciation. Clearly it is so with Quince's prologue. 3 

The parenthesis is on rather a different footing. It is 
not properly a punctuation mark, and primarily it encloses 
something which breaks the run of the sentence; an aside, 
a qualification, an afterthought. Here it may be regarded 
as rhetorical, and a change of intonation may be appro* 
priate. 4 But the use of it gets much extension in the Shake- 
spearean texts, and brackets merely replace commas, to 
enclose vocatives, exclamations, short appositions, ad- 
jectival or adverbial phrases, and the like. They also in- 
troduce quotations. Professor Wilson thinks that in Q2 
of Hamlet they generally imply 'some kind of mental or 
spiritual disturbance'. There are only thirteen examples, 
and most of them are quite colourless. 5 One may there- 
fore suspect a misapplied subtlety, when Professor Wilson 

My fathers spirit (in armes) all is not well, 
and adds that 'the brackets simply vibrate with the tones 

1 Cf. J. Isaacs in R.S. ii. 462. so not fullie coincident to the sentence, 

2 Hen. 7 9 v. i. 49; Much Ado, iii. which it breaketh, and in leading 
4. 93 . waxneth vs, that the words inclosed by 

3 Mid. N. Dr. v. i. 119, 'He hath them, ar to be pronounced with a 
rid his prologue like a rough colt; he lower & quikker voice, then the words 
knows not the stop'. either before or after them.' 

* Mulcaster, Elementorie, ch. xxi, * In i. 5. 170-8 the brackets excep- 

'Parenthesis is expressed by two half tionally include a divagation of nine 

circles, which in writing enclose some lines, 
perfit branch, as not mere impertinent, 


of mystery and amazement'. And when he finds 'a wild 
hysterical chuckle' in Qi's 

(My tables) meet it is I set it down, 

it is we who chuckle with the reporter. 1 The frequency of 
brackets varies. There are only thirteen pairs in Merchant 
of Venice and forty-four in Midsummer-Night's Dream. In 
both cases the Folio, reprinting, follows the Quartos, 
which looks as if the printers were normally guided by 
their copy in this respect. On the other hand, in i Henry 
IV) the Folio doubles the seventeen examples of the 
Quarto. Brackets are exceptionally common in Winters 
Tale\ there are even brackets within brackets. They seem 
to have become mere flourishes, and may confirm the con- 
jecture that Winter's Tale was printed from a calligraphic 
transcript. The Quarto of Othello omits two lines, which 
in the Folio are bracketed. 2 Did a transcriber take the 
brackets for deletion-marks? Inverted commas occa- 
sionally seem to call attention to gnomic passages. Pro- 
bably they came from copy. They are occasionally to be 
found in printed books of non-dramatic poetry, as well 
as in plays. 3 I do not see why the reporter could not have 
introduced them into the Qi of Ham Jet. 4 We may assume 
that the printers capitalized the beginnings of sentences, 
including some which follow a colon or semicolon, and of 
verse-lines, when they did not happen to be short of 
capital type.5 Individual words, mainly but not wholly 
nouns, also receive capitals. Very likely some of these are 
due to the author. The use is comparatively sparing in 
the Quartos, being commonest in tides and designations, 
names of classes of mankind, and personifications. The 
Folio considerably extends it, often capitalizing the names 
of animals, plants, and other natural objects, and of craft 
products. But there is no uniformity anywhere. Of course 
many of the words are important, but it is rather an 

1 Wilson, Ham. 9. 3 They are common, e. g. in 

a Oth. i. 2. 655 3. 63. If Qi of Sir John Dme^NosceTeipsum (1599). 

K. Lear is reported, its omission of 4 Wilson, Ham. n. 

i. i. 50-1 cannot be similarly ex- * Cf.p. 370. 



exaggeration to speak of 'emphasis-capitals*. A 'slight 
exaltation of tone* is often fanciful, even apart from 
conventions like 'Lord', 'Madam', and 'Sir'. 1 The frequent 
capitalization of C may be due to a scribal distaste for the 
insignificant minuscule, and that of M to the resemblance 
of the majuscule and minuscule forms. 2 Italics are used, 
both in the Quartos and the Folio, for proper names, 
but not quite systematically, and for speech-prefixes. 
The Folio regularly uses them for stage-directions 
throughout. 3 This is also the commonest practice in the 
Quartos. But sometimes the body of a stage-direction is 
in roman type and only the names or some of them in 
italics, and sometimes this arrangement is reversed. The 
variant methods may appear side by side in the same 
Quarto. It is notably so in Qi of Merchant of Venice. 
Broadly these uses of italics answer to those of Italian 
script in theatrical manuscripts, but the printers may well 
have done some regularization. 4 There is an exceptional 
appearance of italics for ordinary dialogue both in Qi and 
Q2 of Romeo and Juliet. They are also used normally for 
songs, letters, inscriptions, and the like. These were read 
from scrolls on the stage, but the scrolls were presumably 
extracted, like parts, from the originals. In the textsr it is 
not always clear by whom matter is read. It may merely 
have some such heading as *A letter 1 , without a speech- 
prefix. And if it is inserted in a speech, and a comment 
by the speaker follows, there is sometimes a second speech- 
prefix for the comment. This is so in Q2 of Hamlet ^ which 
is not likely to rest on a stage-copy. There is therefore no 
reason to think with Professor Wilson that elsewhere the 
same arrangement shows that a scroll formed part of the 
copy. 5 

It has been held that the Folio received, from Heminges 

1 Simpson 1035 Pollard, St. F. 93, other exceptions. ' 

Rich. IT, 30, 71. 4 Jonson's MS. Mas* of Queens, 

a Cf. McKerrow in R.E.S. iii. 29. Dr. Greg tells me, like a non-dramatic 

3 Some stage-directions in TV^u. MS. noted by McKerrow 251, has 

2, iv. i, v. i, !Tw Gent, offer, ii. 5, 6, 7, words underlined, as if for italicization. 

andMfr^J^wo/JP.i.i,ii. 1,2 have * Ham. ii. 2. 1255 iv. 6. 325 7. 505 

the names in roman type; there may be cf. Wilson, Me r. of Ven. 96. 


and Condell, or Ben Jonson, or Edward Blount, or an- 
other, some sort of editing beyond what a printing-house 
would naturally supply. The evidence is not very strong. 
The process of sophistication, already noticed in the ortho- 
graphy and in the smoothing out of metre with the help 
of elisions, is perhaps also traceable here and there in the 
diction. There may be some tendency to eliminate 
dialectic, colloquial, or merely unusual words and archaic 
inflexions. The use of 'a* for 'he', 'of ' or 'on' seems to 
meet with particular disapproval. Even puns are mis- 
understood or disliked. Trifling grammatical solecisms in 
moods and cases are removed. Adverbial adjectives give 
way to adverbs. There are substitutions of 'thou' for 'you' 
and of 'mine' for 'my' and of 'my' for 'mine* before a 
vowel or consonant respectively. I have noticed about a 
score of possible examples in Merchant of Venice? There 
are others in Professor Pollard's lists of variants for 
Richard II, in Professor Wilson's for Much Ado About 
Nothing^ and in Dr. Van Dam's for Hamlet, although here 
a transcript has doubtless intervened. It is not at all clear 
that we need look beyond the compositors. Indeed, the 
interchanges, especially between 'my' and 'mine', are not 
always in the same direction. Nor is it clear that the 
sophistication is deliberate; it may be merely due to sub- 
conscious misprinting. 2 One way or another, those of our 
texts which rest on the Folio alone are probably somewhat 
farther from Shakespeare's originals than the others. In 
the Quartos, except partially for Othello, and for some 
typographical devices in Pericles and part of the bad edi- 
tion of Romeo and Juliet^ the plays are not divided by acts 
and scenes. This is the commonest arrangement in prints 

1 Mer. of Vert. i. 2. 7 small < meane hand < cosin, hands, iv. i. 22 exacts* t 

(pun), 18 then be < then to be, 25 < exacts, 77 fretted < fretten, 123 soale 

whom < who, 47 afraid < afeard, 55 to < soule (pun), 14* endlesse < curelesse, 

be < be, 69 should < shall, i. 3. 123 258 should < doe, 290 whom < who, 

should < can, 152 it pleaseth < pleas- 334 thee < you, 379 Gods sake < God- 

eth, ii. 9. 7 thou < you, iii. i. 32 sake, v. i. 209 mine honour < my 

fledg'd < flidge (a good dialect word), honour, 233 my bedfellow < mine 

iii. 2. 93 makes < maketh, 160 nothing bedfellow. 
< something (pun), iii. 4. 50 cosins a Cf. p. 180. 


of plays belonging to the public theatres, 1 The Folio 
introduces such divisions, but very incompletely. Each 
play begins with the heading Actus primus, Scena prima, or 
in three cases Actus primus alone. The typography sug- 
gests that headings, with their enclosing rules, were set-up 
for blocks of plays, and transferred successively from one 
to another of them. 2 Seventeen plays are also fully divided 
by acts and scenes throughout, two imperfectly by acts 
and scenes, eleven by acts alone, while six remain 
undivided. These variations cannot be correlated at 
all exactly, either with the chronological order of the 
plays, or with Professor Pollard's theory that special 
care was spent upon those disinterred for the Folio. It is 
perhaps noteworthy that the four latest written plays are 
all fully divided, and that of the eight earlier plays of which 
revivals during 1610-23 are traceable, five are fully and 
three partially divided. 3 It is therefore at least possible 
that, while the division was imperfectly carried out, the 
information for it came from the theatre. Professor Wil- 
son's conjecture that the King's men came to pay more 
attention to act-intervals after they occupied the Black- 
friars in 1609 is an attractive one, 4 The curious stage- 
direction at the end of act iii of Midsummer-Night's Dream 
'They sleepe all the Act' is an addition of the Folio. 
Here 'Act' means the act-interval. Mr. Lawrence's argu- 
ment that the parody, if it is one, of the device in Histrio- 
mastix iii. 299 shows the act-interval to be of old standing is 
inconclusive, since Histriomastix itself may have received 
an addition before the print of i6io. 5 -The Malcontent 
shows that long act-intervals were not in use at the Globe 
in 1 6c>4. 6 It does not follow that there were no breaks at 
all. Shakespeare himself uses the terms 'act' and 'scene' 

1 EUx. Stage, iii. 1995 W. W. Greg Wilson (iv. 191). 

in R.E. iv. 152. 6 Ind. 89, on the additions made 'to 

2 . . Wfiloughby in R.E.S. iv. entertain a little more time, and to 
323. abridge the not received custom of 

3 Cf. 5. The plays are J, 2 Hen. music in our theatre*. But 'abridge' 
17, Much Ado, Jtd. Goes., Ham., is not found in the sense of 'bridge 
Twelfth Nigte, Oth., Macb. over*, and only means 'shorten'; cf. 

4 RJ2S. iii. 385. Elix* Stage, iii. 125, 132. 

5 Lawrence in R.E.S. iv. 78$ cf. 


rather indifferently, and with no clear technical signi- 
ficance. On the other hand, the evidence of the plots and 
the extant manuscripts seems to show that some account 
was taken both of act and scene divisions in the public 
theatres generally, and there is no obvious reason to sup- 
pose that the Globe was an exception. 1 A scene division, 
no doubt, need not have implied more than a momentary 
pause in the continuity of a performance. Whatever their 
origin, the Folio divisions can hardly be correct, or at least 
Shakespeare's, in j Henry 71, Comedy of Errors, Taming of 
the Shrew, King John, and Henry 7. Modern editors have 
frequently altered the scene divisions unnecessarily, in- 
troducing a new scene where there is no change of time or 
locality, or even a real clearance of the stage, but only a 
shift of action from the outer stage to the alcove or gallery, 
or a fresh 'excursion' in a battle. 2 The Folio supplies lists 
of 'actors', that is, of Dramatis Personae, for six plays, with 
indications of 'The Scene' for two of them. The object 
may be to fill up blank pages or half-pages. Professor 
Pollard traces editing in another feature of some of the 
special Folio plays. There is, he thinks, a 'substitution of 
literary for theatrical stage-directions, i.e. of notes helping 
- a reader to understand the play for memoranda reminding 
the prompter and actors of what had to be done'. 3 I once 
accepted this view, but have now come to regard it as 
extremely dubious. 4 Certainly the directions or the Tem- 
pest, Henry Fill, Timon of Athens, and Coriolanus are un- 
usually elaborate; but they are not more so, although they 
are more elegant, than those of 2, 3 Henry FI\ and these 
cannot be editorial, since they are substantially reproduced, 
perhaps through the medium of a plot, in the reported 
Contention. Of course the descriptive directions in some 
other 'reported' texts are not comparable. 5 I believe the 
stage-directions throughout the plays to be substantially 
Shakespeare's. They were no doubt modified by the addi- 
tions, eliminations, and alterations of the book-keeper, and 

1 Cf, pp. 118, 124. 4 Elix. Stage, iii. 196. 

2 M. Hunter in R.E.S. ii. 296. 5 Cf. p. 157. 
J SL F.Q. 125. 


to this point I shall have to return. 1 But in origin they 
seem to me to be the suggestive notes to the management 
of an author familiar with theatrical conditions, rather 
than theauthoritative instructions of the management to the 
prompter and actors. Looking at the matter chrono- 
logically, I conceive Shakespeare to have begun by writing 
stage-directions rather fully. When he settled down with 
the Chamberlain's men, and thereafter during the greater 
part of his career, they became comparatively slight. He 
was on the spot and was able to take his share in planning 
and rehearsing productions. In the late plays named above 
they are full again. It is an ingenious and probable sug- 
gestion by Professor Wilson that these plays may have 
been written in the country, for production during his 
absence. 2 The Tempest and Henry VIII^ in particular, are 
full of spectacular episodes, for which the dialogue by it- 
self would be an inadequate guide. Descriptive touches 
are natural here. But throughout the plays the general 
character of the directions is the same. They show fami- 
liarity with the technical resources of the theatre. And they 
contain notes for incidental action on the stage. But they 
also include others for apparel and the use of properties, 
for the grouping of entries, even for the bearing of the 
actors. Sometimes they indicate the relationship of char- 
acters; sometimes the scope of a scene, and very rarely its 
locality. 3 Thus they deal with points many of which had to 
be considered and settled in the tiring-house, long before 
the opening of performances. The suggestive element is 
especially noteworthy in directions which leave for later 
decision such details as the number of supernumeraries to 
be employed in a scene. These are precisely the features 
which we find in the directions written by the main hands 
in extant play-manuscripts, and which are freely altered by 
the book-keepers there.-* I think they are to be discerned 

Cf.p.236. 3 2Hen.IP(Q)>iv.i.i, 'Enter... 

Wilson, Temp. 80: CorioL fees. I within the fonest of Gaultree'j Hen. V 

do not suppose Timon to have been (F),iii. i. i, 'Scaling Ladders at Har- 

actuafly produced, and presumably flew*, 

many of the Hen. 7IU stage-directions + Cf . p. 1 1 8. 
are not Shakespeare's. 


in the four late plays, as well as in the earlier ones. 1 It is 
not inconsistent with what we may suspect of Shake- 
speare's temperament that many of his directions are 
written in an off-hand manner. The characters are desig- 
nated, now by individual, now by generic names. 2 When 
a group which has been once seen, returns, it often gets 
a summary description. Here again the extant manu- 
scripts provide parallels, as well as for the frequent omis- 
sion of entries and exits. The book-keeper should have 
supplied the former, if not the latter. 3 Sometimes the 
Folio and even the reprinted Quartos do, but only, one 
supposes, by inference from the text. I have an impression 
that Shakespeare sometimes wrote the initial direction to 
a scene before he had thought out the dialogue, and some- 
times, as a result, left the name of a character standing 
there for whom, after all, he had provided no speech. 4 
There is a casual aspect, also, about the speech-prefixes. 
They are often much abbreviated, and not consistently in 
the same form. Lords and servants may be differentiated 
only by a V, V, '3'. Dr. McKerrow thinks that the 

1 e.g. CorioL i. i. 227 'EnteraMes- theatrical structure i. i. 47 'Showts 

senger hastily', 231 'with other Sena- within', i. 4. 13 'on the Walks', i. 8. i 

tours*, i. 3. i 'Volumnia and Virgilia, 'at seueral doores', v. 5. i 'passing 

mother and wife to Marcius*, i. 4. i x>uer the Stage' j Temp. ii. i. i 'Enter 

"as before the City Corialus', 30 'Mar- ... and others', iii. 3. i 'Enter . . . &c*, 

cius Cursing', i. 6. i 'Cominius as it 17 'seuerall strange shapes . . . inuiting 

were in retire', i. 9. i 'Martius, with the King, &c. to eate*, 53 'with a 

hisArmeinaScarfe',ii. 2. i 'Officers, quient deuice', iv. i. 139 'certaine 

to lay Cushions, as it were, in the Reapers (properly habited)' not a 

Capitoll', 41 'Enter the Patricians, description, but a warning to have 

and the Tribunes of the People, Lie- 'wardrobe wit' 194 'Ariell, loaden 

tors before them: Coriolanus, Mene- with glistering appareU, &c.';^and for 

nius, Cominius the Consul: Scicinius theatrical structure, i. z. 63 'A con- 

and Brutus take their places by them- fused noyse within', iii. 2. 48 'Enter 

selues: Coriolanus stands', iii. i. i 'all Ariell inuisible' (a stage convention; 

the Gentry', 181 'a rabble of Pie- cf. #*. Stage, iii. 108), iii. 3. 17 

beians', 186 'They all bustle about 'Prosper on the top (inuisible)' cf. 

Coriolanus', iv. i . i 'the young Nobi- J Hen. VI for the only parallel to 'the 

lity of Rome', iv. 4. i 'Coriolanus in top' -v. i. 171 'Here Prospero dis- 

meane Apparrell, Disguisd, and couers Ferdinand and Miranda'. But 

muffled', iv. 6. 20 'three or foure v. i. 255 'Enter Ariell, driuing in 

Citizens', 128 'a Troope of Citizens*, Caliban . . .* inverts theatrical usage, 
v. 2. i 'to the Watch or Guard', v. 3. * Cf. pp. 119, 232. 
182 'Holds her by the hand silent', Cf. p. 120. 
v. 6. 9 '3 or 4 Conspirators'; and for 4 Cf. p. 231. 


compositors treated the prefixes in their copy freely, tending 
to unify the use of a form throughout a page. 1 Sometimes a 
prefix has got attached to the wrong line. If Shakespeare, 
like the writer of the addition to Sir Thomas More> wrote 
the text first, and added the prefixes afterwards, they may 
well have occasionally, in spite of speech-rules, been 
placed too high or too low. 2 

1 4 Library, ii. 102. a Cf. p. 510. 


Bibliographical Note. I have gone over much of the ground of this chapter 
in The Disintegration of Shakespeare (1924, British Academy) and The 
Unrest in Shakespearean Studies (1927, Nineteenth Century and After, ci. 
255). Dramatic collaboration is discussed in E. N. S. Thompson, Eliza- 
bethan Dramatic Collaboration (1908, E.S. d. 30); 0. L. Hatcher 
Fletchers Habits of Dramatic Collaboration (1910, Anglia, xxxiii. 219); 
F. E. Pierce, The Collaboration ofDekker and Ford (1912, Anglia, xzzvi! 
141, 289); L. Wann, The Collaboration of Beaumont, Fletcher and Mas- 
singer (1916, Wisconsin Studies, 147); W. J. Lawrence, Early Dramatic 
Collaboration: a Theory (1927, f re-restoration Studies, 340); C. Sisson, 
Keep the Widow Waking (1927, 4 Library, viii. 39, 233); E. H. C. Oli- 
phant, Beaumont and Fletcher (1927), Collaboration in Eliz. Drama ( 1020 
PhiL Q. viii). ^ V V 

My Disintegration lecture summarizes the earlier theories as to elements 
of unauthenticity in the Shakespearean canon. For later material I must 
refer to the Bit/. Notes to cL ix, and notably to J. D. Wilson's views as 
set out in the New Shakespeare. More general treatments are in E. H. C. 
Oliphant, Shakespeare's Plays: An Examination (1908-9, M.L.R. iii. 337; 
iv. 190, 342) and W. Keller, Sh. als UberarbeiterJremderDramen (1922, 
J. Iviii. 68). Many, but not all, of J. M. Robertson's studies are in his 
Sh. and Chapman (1917), The Shakespeare Canon (1922-30), Introduction 
to the Study of the Shakespeare Canon (1924). Some special points dealt 
with in this chapter are studied in F. H. Hoffmann, Uber die Beteuerungen 
in Shs Dramen (1894); J. M. Manly, Cuts and Insertions in Sh.'s Plays 
(1917, S.P. riv. 123); A. Gw, Actors' Names in Basic Shn. Texts (1925, 
PM.L.A. 3d. 530); W. J. Lawrence, SJL's Lost Characters (1928, Sh.'s 
Workshop, $<j),ANev> Shakespearean Test (ibid. 48); R. C. Bald, Macbeth 
and the 'Shorf Plays (1928, R.E.S. iv. 429).] 

THE canon of Shakespeare's plays rests primarily on the 
authority of title-pages. Thirty-six are included in the 
First Folio. Quartos, good and bad, of fifteen of these 
also bear his name; it is not on those of Titus Andronicus, 
Romeo and Juliet, or. Henry 7. Quartos also ascribe to him 
Pericles and a share in Two Noble Kinsmen, which are not in 
the Folio. The registration entries of 2 Henry 77 and King 
Lear, which name^him, probably themselves rest on the 
title-pages. There is confirmation for some of the plays in 
contemporary references. The most important is the list 
given by Francis Meres in his Palladis Tamia of 1598. 


This, on the assumption that Love Labours Won is an 
alternative title for Taming of the Shrew, contains twelve 
plays, but not Henry 7I> which must be early work. 1 John 
Weever in 1599 speaks of Romeo and Juliet and either 
Richard II or Richard Hits Shakespeare's, Gabriel Harvey 
in or before 1601 of Hamlet ', Ben Jonson in 1619 and later 
of Julius Caesar and Winter's Tale* The Revels Accounts 
of 1604-5 ass *g n to him Measure for Measure, Comedy of 
Errors, and Merchant of Venice^ but leave the Moor of 
Venice^ Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry V, and Love's 
Labour 's Lost anonymous. 3 This evidence is of a kind 
which is ordinarily accepted as determining the author- 
ship of early literature. It is better than anything which 
we have for many of Shakespeare's dramatic contem- 
poraries. The Spanish Tragedy, for example, is only at- 
tributed to Kyd on the basis of a casual reference by Nashe, 
and of Marlowe's authorship of- Tamburlaine there is no 
direct contemporary record at all. 4 But of course title- 
pages are capable of rebuttal, on sufficient external or 
internal grounds shown. Publishers are not always well- 
informed or even honest. Shakespeare's name is also in 
the registration entry and on the title-page of A Torkshire 
Tragedy and on those of The London Prodigal 'and Jaggard's 
reprint of Sir John Oldcastle, and the initials 'W. S.' are on 
those of Locrine (1595), Thomas Lord Cromwell (1602), 
and The Puritan (1607); and these six plays, with Pericles^ 
were added as his to the Third Folio in 1664. All s * x can 
be safely rejected from the canon. But the reason for the 
appearance of the name may not be the same in all cases. 
It is conceivable that Shakespeare or another W. S. 'over- 
saw' the printing of the old court play Locrine. Three of 
the other plays belonged to his company, and the pub- 
lishers may have been ignorant of their authorship. The 
same charitable supposition will not cover The Puritan or 
Sir John Oldcastle, a distinct play from Henry IP \ which also 
sometimes went under that name. The *W. S.' is simi- 
larly found on the Q2 of the Troublesome Reign, Shake- 

1 App. B, no. xiii. s App. D. 

* App. B, nos. xvii, xix, xxii. 4 Eliz. Stage, iii. 396, 421. 


speare's source-play for King John. This never got into 
a Folio. Other misascriptions are due to Commonwealth 
and Restoration booksellers. 1 The only bit of external 
evidence against the authority of the First Folio itself is 
the statement of Edward Ravenscroft in 1687 ^ at Shake- 
speare only touched up Titus Andronicus? But the inclu- 
sion of an individual play under the comprehensive title 
of that collection must not be pressed too far. Heminges 
and Condell and their publishers were not attempting a 
modern 'critical' edition, and no doubt their methods were 
imperfect. It is quite possible that they saw no harm in 
including without comment a play which Shakespeare had 
only revised, one or two for which he had a collaborator, 
and one to which he had contributed little, but which had 
long been linked to other 'parts' of an historical series. It 
follows, of course, that alien matter may be present in other 
plays than Titus Andronicus^ Taming of the Shrew> Henry 
VIII) and i Henry VI. Contrariwise the possibility that 
Shakespeare may have had a hand in some uncollected 
plays cannot be wholly disregarded. Nevertheless the 
Folio must be regarded as the chief authority for the main 
range of Shakespeare's dramatic responsibility, and it re- 
quires deference as coming from men who were in the 
best position to know the facts. A desire to do justice to 
a dead fellow' and some care taken in the work are ap- 
parent enough in the epistles. Mr. J. M. Robertson, who 
attempts to impugn the external evidence for the canon, 
tells us that the players ascribed to Shakespeare work that 
was not his 'in order to maintain their hold on the copy- 
rights', 3 They had no publishing copyrights, but were 

1 Cf. ch. x. every piece in their repertory in which 
* Cf. p. 316, and App, C, no. xiv. they had proprietary rights was for 
3 Canon n. xvii, *We may pardon Heminge and Condell a way of main- 
the players for obstinately specifying taining their own interest.' Mr. Ro- 
as Shakespeare's works in order to bertson protests (Canon in. 3) that he 
maintain their hold on the copyrights has not charged Heminges and Con- 
about which they are so obviously and dell with 'commercial fraud*. It may 
so naturally anxious a collection of be so$ I do not know what degree of 
plays as to which they knew and we misrepresentation in one's own finan- 
know that much of the writing is not cial interest amounts to commercial 
Shakespeare's at all'; cf. Introd. 66, 70, fraud. 
76, 80-1, 'To father on Shakespeare 


protected against stationers before 1623, and certainly 
an author's name on a print could not help them. If 
Mr. Robertson means stage-rights, his case might be 
better. 1 But the corroborative testimony of Meres can- 
not be disposed of by the repeated assertion that his 
list was 'derived from the theatre'. 2 We do not know 
whence he derived it. He was a literary clergyman, 
resident in London, and evidently interested in writers for 
the stage, about whom he tells us other things not recorded 
elsewhere. Many sources of information may have been 
open to him. His style tends to parallelism, and he 
balances six comedies of Shakespeare against six tragedies. 
He does not mention Henry VI. It would have upset the 
balance. But Meres did not complete his university career 
until 1593, and Henry VI may not have been played in 
London between his arrival and the compilation of his list. 
In so far as the authority of the Folio is departed from, 
it must, except for the isolated case of Titu$ Andronicus, be 
on grounds of internal and not external evidence. It has 
often been departed from. A chronicle of the earlier 
scepticisms need not be set forth here.s They rested in 
part on an imperfect knowledge of the order in which the 
plays were written, which made the variations of style 
puzzling, and they were largely modified by the chrono- 
logical investigations of Malone. Some oracular utter- 
ances of Coleridge bridge a gap. Modern essays at dis- 
integrating the canon start from Fleay, whose own theories 
were ingenious if kaleidoscopic, but who called attention 
to many features of the texts, both stylistic and biblio- 
graphical, which are still receiving study. It is at present 
held by ihany students, and with varying degrees of stress 
on the different issues, that the Quarto and Folio texts- 
have often been altered or abridged by other hands than 
Shakespeare's; that he revised his plays, with the result 
that variant texts, and even a single text, may contain 
fragments of different recensions; that he also revised the 

1 Cf. pp. 136, 149. Cf. The Disintegration of Shake- 

* Introd. 19, 59, 62, 65; Canon n. speare. 

21, 139. 


work both of predecessors and contemporaries, whose 
writing remains entangled with his in the texts. There are 
certain practices of Elizabethan dramaturgy, which have 
helped to create a prepossession in favour of such theories. 
Collaboration and revision are both verae causae. Col- 
laboration, rarely found in other forms of contemporary 
literature, was very common in drama. This can be estab- 
lished on records alone, without regard to the findings of 
conjecture. It begins with the courtly and legal amateurs 
of the 'sixties. Gorboduc> Tancred and Osmund, Jocasta y 
and later Locrine and The Misfortunes of Arthur had all 
from two to seven collaborators. 1 It is traceable among the 
University wits. The Looking Glass bears the names of 
Greene and Lodge; Dido those of Marlowe and Nashe. 
Greene, in 1592, addresses a 'young Juvenal, that biting 
satirist, that lastly with me together writ a Comedy'. 2 
Probably we find the practice at its maximum in Hen- 
slowe's accounts for the Admiral's and Worcester's men 
during 1597-1604, Fees were paid for about 130 new 
plays, and of these well over half were written in collabora- 
tion by from two to as many as five hands. Of the more 
important contributors Webster and Wilson never stood 
alone, Chettle only in 12 plays out of 44, Dekker in 9 
out of 41. An exception is Chapman, all of whose five 
plays were unaided, but for the use of a plot which Jonson 
had abandoned. 3 Jonson himself wrote one play alone and 
shared in three others. We may speculate as to the reasons 
for a method which cannot have made for good workman- 
ship, and we hardly get beyond speculation. Many of the 
plays were ephemeral productions. Plays did not have 
long runs. One which did not draw was quickly discarded, 
and a new one called for, often at short notice. Even for 
the court, Munday had to bind himself to furnish a play 
within a fortnight. 4 The playwrights themselves were 
needy, and presumably small but frequent returns suited 

1 Cf. p. 536 and Etix. Stage, iii. 320, 364. The ascriptions in Etiz. Stage, 

348, 456, 514. ch. xxiii, differ in some details} the 

* Ibid. iii. 451. facts are not always dear. 

3 Cf. Greg's tables in Henslowe, ii. * Henslowe, i. 93. 

3X42.1 p 


their purses. We have little information as to the men, other 
than Shakespeare and Jonson, who wrote for the Cham- 
berlain's company. Probably they were the same who 
wrote for Henslowe. There is no reason to suppose that, 
as a rule, a playwright, who was not himself an actor, was 
anything but a free lance. The special arrangements, by 
which Henslowe tied the impecunious Chettle and Porter 
to write for the Admiral's only, carry this implication. 1 
Jonson wrote two unaided plays for the Chamberlain's, 
but for his Sejanus of 1603 he had a collaborator, whose 
work, with a compliment, he replaced by his own, before 
it went to press. 2 There is no recorded parallel to this 
proceeding, which must be set down to Jonson 's conscious 
pride of artistry. In the seventeenth century we get the 
familiar and enduring partnership of Beaumont and 
Fletcher, although certainly Fletcher and probably Beau- 
mont also wrote independently. The contemporary testi- 
mony of Sir Aston Cokain informs us that Massinger 
also had a hand in some of the plays printed as Beaumont 
and Fletcher's in 1647, Chapman, Jonson, and Marston 
joined in Eastward Ho, and there were various shifting 
combinations, in which Dekker, Middleton, Rowley, and 
Webster are conspicuous. In Eastward Ho and in the 
Beaumont and Fletcher plays, the literary difficulties of 
collaboration are fairly well surmounted. Much has been 
written as to the way in which labour was divided in joint 
plays. It is not necessary to assume that the same method 
was always followed. Presumably an outline was agreed 
upon and some sort of & scenario prepared. Thereafter the 
actual writing might be distributed according to the inter- 
weaving of a plot and sub-plot, of which one might be 
tragic and the other comic. Or each author might follow 
up particular characters, which would come to much the 
same thing. Or one author might start all the main 
themes, and the rest carry them forward on his lines. 
There are certainly cases of a rough-and-ready partition by 

1 Eliz. Stage, i, 374. Sheppard's age makes it impossible 

2 Ibid. iii. 368. It has been shown for him to have been the collaborator. 
(cf. App. B, no. xrii) that Samuel 


acts. Daborne gave Tourneur an act of his Arraignment 
of London to write, and Dekker contributed the first act 
of Keep the Widow Waking and one speech in the last act. 1 
There is no evidence at all for anything of the nature of 
a line-by-line collaboration, which certainly would not 
have made for expedition. 

Clearly there need be no reason for surprise if Shake- 
speare occasionally had a collaborator. The problem of 
revision is more complicated. Plays which had been laid 
aside were often revived. A stock favourite was called a 
'get-penny'. 2 I have collected the notices of Shakespearean 
revivals. 3 The Admiral's men bought old plays in order 
to reproduce them. 4 When the Chapel resumed their 
activities in 1 600, it was complained that 'the vmbrae, or 
ghosts of some three or foure playes, departed a dozen 
yeeres since, haue bin seen walking on your stage heere'. 5 
And revival was sometimes accompanied by revision. 
Even with a familiar play, it was a fairly obvious device to 
increase the attraction. And sometimes a forgotten play 
was passed off as new. 6 It may be that higher entrance 
fees could be charged for a play called new. Revision does 
not seem to have been regarded as very exalted dramatic 
work. Dekker speaks of 'a Cobler of Poetrie called a play- 
patcher', and in Jonson's Poetaster Demetrius Fannius, 
who is probably Dekker himself, is *a dresser of plaies 
about the towne, here'. 7 It is difficult to estimate the 
extent of the practice. Again, it will be best to begin with 
recorded cases. Conceivably three or four plays marked 
'ne* in Henslowe's accounts for 1594-7 may have 'been 
revived and not strictly new; the significance of *ne' is 
not quite clear. During 1597-1603 the Admiral's men 
appear to have revived at least 23 old plays. The latter 

1 Henslauoe Papers, 72$ C. Sisson in London and the Countrey Carbonadoed 
4 Library* viii. 243. and Quartered (1632), 'The pkyeis 

2 Ettx. Stage, i. 372. are as crafty with an old pky, as bauds 

3 App. D. with old facesj the one puts on a new 

4 Etiz. Stage, ii. 167, 179. fresh colour, the other a new face and 

5 Ibid. ii. 43. name.' 

6 Beaumont and Fletcher, The False 7 Dekker, News from Hell (1606, 
One (c. 1620), prol., 'New Titles war- Works, ii. 146)$ Jonson, Poetaster, iii. 
rant not a Pky for new'j D. Lupton, 4, 367. 

p 2 


must have been popular, since 1 1 of them have come 
down to us in print, a quite disproportionate number, in 
view of the oblivion which has overtaken most of the 300 
or so plays named by Henslowe. If one may judge by the 
fees paid to the poets, only four of the revivals entailed sub- 
stantial revision and two others small alterations. There 
were also small' alterations to five recent plays, and new 
prologues and epilogues were written for three revivals. 1 
In several cases the plays concerned were being prepared 
for court, and alterations may have been due to the special 
scrutiny by the Revels officers required for court per- 
formances. The total amount of revision for the Admiral's 
men during a period of six years was therefore very slight. 
As to its nature we are not wholly in the dark. Three of 
the four substantially altered plays are extant. Of Old 
Fortunatus we have only the later text; it seems probable 
that the original play was in two parts and that the revision 
compressed them into one. Both Dr. Faustus and The 
Spanish Tragedy survive in duplicate versions. The earliest 
(1604) of Dr. Faustus is corrupt, and the textual history 
of the play is therefore difficult to reconstruct. But it is 
at least possible to trace, both here and in a later version 
of 1616, the progressive introduction of farcical prose 
scenes alien to Marlowe's design, 2 The Spanish Tragedy is 
in, somewhat similar case. Some alterations in the version 
of 1 602 amount to the insertion of new scenes into an 
otherwise unaltered text. It is, however, most improbable 
that these particular scenes represent the revision for the 
Admiral's men. 3 There are parallels elsewhere both to the 
compression of Fortunatus and to the expansion of Faustus 
and The Spanish Tragedy by added passages. Heywood, 

1 Henslowe, i. 94, 99, 114-16, 124- unspecified play (5^.)$ Jonson altered 

5, 143, 149, 153, 164-8, 171-3. Dek- the old Spanish Tragedy (2 and part 

ker altered the old Tessa's Melancholy of io)j Bird and Rowley altered the 

(4), Fortunatus (9), and Phaethon old Dr. Faustus (4)5 Middleton did 

(2), and did a prologue and epilogue a prologue and epilogue for Friar 

for Pontius Pilate (10* .); Chettle altered Bacon (5;.). 

the old Fayvode (i) and recent j, 2 * Cf . P. Simpson in Essays and 

Robin Hood (to/, each), j, 2 Cardinal Studies^ vii (1921), 143. 

Wolsey(i each), and Friar Rush (ios.), * Cf. p. 148 and W. W. Greg in 

and did a prologue and epilogue for an M.S.R. reprint, xviii. 


at some uncertain date, constructed an Escapes of Jufiter 
out of scenes taken from his series of Ages. 1 An allusion 
in Satiromastix suggests a possible counter-device of 
expanding one play into two. 2 Histriomastix appears to 
have been rehandled by the insertion of passages, some 
long and some short. 3 Chapman's Bussy D*Ambois was 
touched up, at some unknown date before 1641, possibly 
to improve its effectiveness on the stage. 4 Two plays of 
the King's men, The Malcontent and Mucedorus, received 
additional scenes, the former to lengthen the performance, 
the latter for a revival at court. The original conclusion 
of Jonson's Every Man Out of his Humour was altered 
because it had given offence. It is not certain whether the 
variants at the beginning and end of the corrupt Qi of 
Philaster indicate a revision. 5 No doubt there are later 
examples, and no doubt, as time went on, a tendency to 
bring revived plays into accordance with new dramatic 
fashions is likely enough to have developed. 6 But Sir 
Henry Herbert's documents of 162242 do not disclose 
any great change of conditions. The extracts made by 
Malone and Chalmers from his Office Book include 
notices of licences for some 1 30 plays. Of these only fifteen 
were old, and seven of them had been revised. One was 
a play of Fletcher's 'corrected* by Shirley; one had under- 
gone 'renewing' and one 'alterations'; four had had one 
or more scenes added. 7 There is throughout little evidence, 
so far as the records go, for any widespread theatrical prac- 
tice of what may be called stylistic revision, the systematic 

1 Greg in Anglica, ii. 212. not one pleases, and therefore they are 

2 Satiromastix, 980. Horace says driven to furbish over their old, which 
that Demetrius Fannius 'cut an inno- stand them in best stead, and bring 
cent Moore i' the middle, to serue him them most profit.' Heywood apolo- 
in twice; & when he had done, made gizes in 1637 for the out-of-date rhyme 
Poules-worke of it*. of his Royal King and Loyal Subject, to 

3 Eliz. Stage, iv. 17. which 'strong -lines' had come to be 

4 T. M. Parrott in M.L.R. iii. 126. preferred, 

8 EUx. Stage, iii. 222, 360, 43x5 iv. 7 Herbert may have missed some re- 

34.- vivals, although normally (cf. p. 104} 

6 Chamberlain writes in 1615 (Birch, he required old plays to be submitted 

James, i. 290), 'Our poets' brains and to him, and the extracts we have are 

inventions are grown very dry, inso- not (cf. pp. 93, 100) complete. A list 

much that of five new plays there is of revivals is in Albright 253. 


line-by-line correction or rewriting of old dialogue, either 
by the original author or by another. Examples of this 
may be found in Wilmot's recast of Gismond of Salerne as 
Tancred and Gismund^ and in some of Ben Jonson's re- 
handling of his own work, notably Every Man In his 
Humour. 1 But these were of the nature of literary rather 
than theatrical enterprises. The nearest approach to the 
same sort of thing in a theatrical text is the rewriting of 
parts of Sir Thomas More. It probably came before 
production, if there was a production. The rewriting 
of Believe As Tou List for the satisfaction of the censor 
is, of course, not in point. When, therefore, one finds 
stylistic revision brought forward again and again, as a con- 
jectural factor in the literary history of one after another in 
a series of plays, one is justified in expressing a profound 
scepticism as to whether the practice, if it existed at all, 
can have been anything like so universal as the theorists 
assume. And indeed all the probabilities are against it. 
The ordinary Elizabethan audience is not likely to have 
been very critical of style, and it is difficult to see how the 
process contemplated could have resulted in any increase 
of drawing power commensurate with the cost and trouble 
involved. Even if the rewriting could be done on the 
margins of an existing prompt-copy, which I do not be- 
lieve, the reviser would have to be paid and new parts 
made out. These any actors already familiar with the old 
version would learn with reluctance. Minor alterations or 
even the addition of scenes would not cause quite the same 
inconvenience, and no doubt some adaptation to changing 
conditions of cast, theatre, and audience may be taken for 
granted. . There are, of course, texts which have not come 
down to us in their original form. Some are reported; 
some have been interpolated; some have been abridged. 
Abridgement, like interpolation, is a form of revision, and 
it may involve consequential adjustment of context. Again 
we must assume that' it would not be lightly undertaken. 
The motives which prompted it are obscure. It has been 
held that plays were abridged for court performance. 

1 &. Stage, iii. 359, 514$ Herford-Simpson, i. 358. 


There is no obvious reason why this should have been so. 
Court entertainments often lasted for three hours, and a 
full-length play of 3,000 lines would not require more. 1 It 
is true that in Elizabethan, although not in Jacobean days, 
a mask often followed. For the matter of that, a jig often 
followed on the public stage. 2 Some of the shorter plays 
may have originally been written to go with an afterpiece. 
It has also been held that abridgement was for provincial 
performance. But again, while we do not know much 
about provincial conditions, it is a mere assumption that 
a country audience would want a particularly short enter- 
tainment. There is plenty of leisure in the country. It is 
true that, if a travelling company was a small one, the 
cutting of superfluous parts and spectacle might incidentally 
lead to shortening. But such companies were often ten or 
more strong, and probably many London plays could be 
found to fit them without going to the trouble and expense 
of extensive adaptation. 3 It is just possible that conditions 
of lighting tied the London public theatres themselves to 
shorter performances in the winter than in the summer, 
and that this may be one explanation of abridgement, 4 

I return to the topic of stylistic revision. Mr. Robertson 
questions the analogy suggested by the rarity of payments 
for alterations in the accounts of the Admiral's men; and 
of course such an analogy is not conclusive. It overlooks, 
he says: 5 

the cardinal fact that Shakespeare's company had in him what 
no other company possessed a gifted member who could revise for 
them any play that came into their hands, lending to other men's 
work new qualities of beauty and strength where he would or could, 
pruning redundances, and rewriting or planing down Chapmanese 

Mr. Robertson's 'cardinal fact* is neither Cardinal 1 nor a 

1 Etix,* Stage, i. 225. To the evi- Between our after-supper and bed- 

dence there given may be added Mid. time? 

N. Dr. v. i. 32, a EHx. Stage, ii. 551. 

what masques, what dances shr'l 3 Ibid. L 3^2$ cf. W. J. Lawrence 

we have, in T.LJS. (1919, Aug. 21). 

To wear away this long age of three * Elfa. Stage, ii. 543. 

hours 5 Canon, iii. 76. 


'fact'; it is a conclusion, not a starting-point, and it is a 
conclusion from Mr. Robertson's own long series of con- 
jectures. The only fact behind it, other than the inter- 
pretation of internal evidence for which it is treated as 
axiomatic, is the isolated statement of Ravenscroft about 
an exceptional play. I do not altogether reject that state- 
ment, but it is not much on which to establish a conception 
of Shakespeare's habitual method of work, so divergent 
as Mr. Robertson's from what we are told and what we 
can gather for ourselves of his temperament. 'His mind 
and hand went together; and what he thought, he uttered 
with easiness', say Heminges and Condell. 'He flowed 
with facility', says Ben Jonson. The last man, one would 
suppose, in the absence of rigid proof, to tie himself to the 
painful following up and meticulous correction of the 
thoughts and words of another. So far as facts go, it is the 
Admiral's and not the Chamberlain's company which we 
know to have had cobblers of poetry ready to hand, in 
Chettle and in Dekker, the 'dresser of plaies' chaffed by . 
Jonson, who between them did most of the small amount 
of revision required. 1 I doubt whether many critics think 
with Mr. Robertson that Shakespeare went on dressing 
up alien plays well into his mid-career, even if they believe 
him to have had a fancy for rewriting his own work. It is, 
however, very commonly held that such was the occupa- 
tion of his apprenticeship. Even this is hardly a certainty. 
Two things, besides Ravenscroft's statement, seem to have 
contributed to form the notion. One is the long-standing 
belief in the derivation of 2, 3 Henry ^/through a line-by- 
line revision of the Contention. That support must go, 
when it is realized that the Contention is a reported text, 
and could never have been written as it stands. The other 
is the reference to Shakespeare in Robert Greene's address 
of 1592 to his fellow dramatists, 2 

Base minded men all three of you, if by my miserie you be not 
warnd: for vnto none of you (like mee) sought those burres to 

1 Cf. p. in. It TOS Dekker also Worcester's men (Henslowe, i. 181). 
who altered Sir John Qldcastie for * Cf. App. B, no. iii. 


cleaue: those Puppets (I meane) that spake from our mouths, those 
Anticks garnisht in our colours. Is it not strange, that I, to whom 
they all haue beene beholding: is it not like that you, to whome they 
all haue beene beholding, shall (were yee in that case as I am now) 
bee both at once of them forsaken ? Yes trust them not: for there 
is an vpstart Crow, beautified with our feathers, that with his Tygers 
hart wrapt in a Players hyde, supposes he is as well able to bombast 
out a blanke verse as the best of you: and beeing an absolute lohannes 
fac totum^ is in his own conceit the onely Shake-scene in a countrey. 
O that I might intreat your rare wits to be imploied in more 
profitable courses: & let those Apes imitate your past excellence, 
and neuer more acquaint them with your admired inuentions. 

The phrase 'beautified with our feathers', helped by the 
parody of 3 Henry VI, i. 4. 137, has been regarded as a 
charge of appropriating the plays of Greene and his fellows, 
and in particular the Contention^ by rewriting them. 1 With 
the fall of the Contention^ this interpretation at once becomes 
less plausible. And a closer examination of the passage 
shows that there is really no charge of appropriation at all. 
It is an attack by a disgruntled poet on the players who 
have profited by him and now have no further use for his 
services, and one of whom thinks that he can do every- 
thing himself, and is taking the job of writing out of the 
mouths of better men. There is a charge of imitation at 
the end, no doubt, but imitation is not rewriting. The 
'beautified with our feathers* cannot be dissociated from 
the 'garnisht in our colours' applied just before to the 
actors as such, of which it is a mere variation. The line 
of attack, the use of the feather metaphor, the comparison 
of an actor to a crow, were none of them new. Nashe 
wrote in 1589 of gentlemen poets who had 'tricked up a 
company of tafFata fooles with their feathers*. 2 Greene 
himself in 1590 had made Cicero speak of Roscius as 
'proud with Esops Crow, being pranct with the glorie of 
others feathers'. 3 There is a conflation of themes drawn 
ultimately from Aesop, Martial, and Macrobius, all used 

' R. B., no doubt, so took it, when Stage, iv. 234. 

he echoed the Groat's-Worth in his 3 Francescoes Fortunes; cf. J?/r. 

Greene's Funeratls (App. B, no. vi). Stage, iv. 236. 

* Epistle to Menaphon-, cf. Eliz. 


to point the gibes of playwrights against their paymasters. 1 
It was Greene's prospect .of further employment, not 
his property in what he had already written, that he 

Shakespeare did not as a rule invent his plots; that is to 
say, the narratives to which he gave dramatic form. This 
we know, because for many plays we have his direct 
sources, although for others we may suspect that we have 
only more remote sources which reached him in inter- 
mediate versions, perhaps themselves dramatic. The 
direct sources he handled very freely when they were 
romance, and rather less so when they were history. Often, 
especially in the histories, he adopted words and phrases 
from what lay before him. Shakespeare is not revising 
Holinshed and Plutarch, and he is not merely pruning 
and planing down A Shrew, The Troublesome Reign, and 
King Leir. He is taking a story, using so much of it as 
appeals to his sense of dramatic values, altering what does 
not, and giving it literary form through his command of 
language. The habk of stylistic revision, if it was his at 
all, must be established elsewhere, and on internal, not 
external, grounds. The observed use of sources does not 
reveal it. The task has been approached from two angles, 
that of style itself and that of bibliography. Mr. Robert- 
son is the most prominent of many writers who find dis- 
parate styles in the plays of the canon. His conviction of 
these leads him to seek 'clues- to other dramatists, whose 
work it is historically possible that Shakespeare might 
have revised; and after he has framed to his satisfaction 
canons of their plays, the conviction is confirmed. Here 
are styles consonant to those which he repudiates for 
Shakespeare. As a result he transfers the primary re- 
sponsibility for Richard III, Richard II, Henry F, Julius 
Caesar, and Comedy of Errors to Marlowe, for Romeo and 
Juliet to Peele, for Two Gentlemen of Verona to Greene, 
for Troilus and Cressida, All's Well that Ends Well, and 
Measure for Measure to Chapman. There has been much 
collaboration between some of these and possibly with Kyd 

1 ER%. Stage> i. 377. 


and others. Shakespeare has rehandled all these, some 
more, some less, 'with a view, first and last, to making 
them serve the company's ends'. Of the plays as a whole, 
'the great majority are simply not of Shakespeare's draft- 
ing'. 1 Here, of course, common sense revolts. After all, 
we have read the plays for ourselves, and have learnt to 
recognize in them, through all their diversities, a continu- 
ous personality, of which style is only one aspect. A single 
mind and a single hand dominate them. They are the 
outcome of one man's critical reactions to life, which make 
the stuff of cdmedy, and of one man's emotional reactions 
to life, which make the stuff of tragedy. Something must 
be wrong with the methods which have led to such devas- 
tating conclusions. 

Everything indeed is wrong with them. It would be 
both tedious and unprofitable to follow Mr. Robertson's 
painstaking investigations in detail, when one's starting- 
point is a complete rejection of the axioms by which they 
are governed. And it is perhaps superfluous to stress the 
remarkable diversity between his reconstructions and those 
of other students who work, broadly speaking, upon the 
same lines. The variant distributions of Julius. Caesar 
among Marlowe, Shakespeare, Jonson, Beaumont, Chap- 
man, and Drayton furnish a noteworthy example. 2 No 
doubt a method may be sound, and may be more skilfully 
applied by one practitioner than by another. .But the con- 
flicts do not inspire any great confidence in the critical 
principles which underlie them. The fundamental error 
lies in a misconception of the limits within which the dis- 
crimination of styles, as applied to the particular subject- 
matter of the Elizabethan drama, must operate. The per- 
cipience of style is a very real quality. It has its origin, 
I suppose, in the same natural feeling for the value of 
words and the rise and fall of rhythm, which is the 
starting-point of literary expression itself; and it may be 
trained, half-unconsciously, through reading and reflec- 
tion and comparison into a valuable instrument of criticism. 
A quasi-intuitive sense is developed. It becomes effective 

1 Canon> iii. zoo, aoo. a Cf. p. 398. 


in the presence of a writer who has a characteristic style 
and has room and inclination to give that style free play. 
It enables one, for instance, to dismiss some of the apocry- 
phal plays ascribed to Shakespeare without more ado. It 
helps at least to disentangle collaborators, if their styles 
are sufficiently distinct, and their separate contributions 
of sufficient length. It must make allowance, of course, 
for many things; for the gradual evolution of styles, for 
influences, for experiments, for variations of interest and 
temper, for the adaptation of manner to subject-matter. 
It will be at a loss when a writer, as sometimes happens 
with Shakespeare, is bored, or in haste, or merely careless, 
and fails to hold his style. Moreover dramatic writing, and 
Elizabethan dramatic writing in particular, contains many 
bits of undistinguished joiner's work which may help the 
action along, but are in themselves colourless. One man 
might have written them as well as another. The most 
percipient critic cannot reasonably claim to have acquired 
a faculty which is fine enough to identify commonplace 
. passages or very short passages. And he will be wise if 
he refrains, so far as possible, from detecting the small 
touches of a reviser. Now and then a phrasing seems to 
stand out in startling distinctness from its context,- like 
the 'poor worm* which 'casts copp'd hills towards heaven' 
in the normally unShakespearean part of Pericles. 1 But 
even in such cases attributions can rarely be made with 
conviction. It is said that the ultra-violet rays will reveal 
over-painting in pictures through different effects upon 
different jngments. The sense of style does not work like 
an ultra-violet ray. It must be added that the sense of 
style is itself ultimately dependent upon external evidence. 
There is no way of getting at the characteristics of an in- 
dividual writer, except from work of which his authorship 
is acknowledged. And if the acquired sense is then used to 
discredit the canon wholesale, a vicious circle is set up, of 
which the inevitable result is chaos. 

The scholarly mind seeks to confirm its intuition by an 
analysis of the concrete features of style. A writer forms 

1 Per. i. 1. 100. 


his own rhetorical habits in the building of lines and the 
linking of line to line, in the use of exclamation, antithesis, 
iteration, and cumulation, in the balance of noun against 
noun and verb against verb. He has his own small man- 
nerisms of locution; his recurrent catch-phrases; his 
ellipses and inversions; his superfluous auxiliaries; his 
archaisms, it may be, and grammatical solecisms. These 
are the more characteristic, because they become uncon- 
scious, and are often at first sight unnoticeable. Such 
things can be observed and tabulated, with due regard to 
the risk of assuming monopolies in them. It is a matter 
of degree; one man may prefer 'you* and another 'ye'j one 
"em' and another 'them', if printers can be persuaded not 
to interfere. It is so too with rhythm. The normal iambic 
blank verse is capable of a great deal of variation, both in 
the structure of individual lines and in the grouping of 
lines into paragraphs. Stresses can be inverted; additional 
syllables can be introduced; pauses can come at the ends 
of lines or can break their flow; rhyme can be employed, 
sporadically, or with a clinching effect. Alliteration may 
be obvious or restrained. Writers acquire different habits 
of verse-manipulation, and many, like Shakespeare, follow 
different habits at different stages of their development. 1 
Many metrical variations can be expressed in statistics, 
but not all, and not the interplay of variations upon which 
the resultant rhythmical effect largely depends. Metrical 
analysis requires ample space, if it is to be significant, 
since a rhythmical habit is itself varied according to sub- 
ject-matter, and these variations only average out over 
long stretches of verse. Comparative figures for complete 
plays, perhaps for complete acts, may be of value, but not 
for single scenes and still less for single speeches. The 
method has proved useful in dividing the results of col- 
laboration. The rhythm of Shakespeare's later verse, for 
example, differs markedly from that of Fletcher's; less so 
from that of Beaumont's or of Massinger's. Naturally 
each writer has also his individual range of thought, of 
dramatic situations, of imagery, of allusion, of vocabulary. 

* Cf.cluviii. 


But here there is much give and take, and there is nothing 
more dangerous than the attempt to determine authorship 
by the citation of parallels. Authors repeat their predeces- 
sors; their successors repeat them; they repeat themselves. 
Shakespeare's self-repetitions are innumerable. They are 
commonest between plays of approximately the same date, 
but common also between plays remote in time, especially 
when analogous themes recur. His younger contem- 
poraries also repeat themselves freely and they repeat him 
just as freely. Parallels, therefore, are always open to a 
double interpretation, if chronology and lack &f ascription 
permit; they may be from one pen or from two. It could 
hardly be otherwise. All literature is full of parallels, but 
especially the literature of the Elizabethans, because they 
had a far more restricted tradition behind them than the 
moderns, and especially the literature of the dramatic 
writers, because they were men of the theatre. Even if 
they were not actors themselves, they lived in a world of 
representations and rehearsals, and their minds were filled 
with auditory images of spoken words, which naturally 
came to the surface when they wrote. Parallels are of all 
degrees; they descend from elaborate passages involving 
a combination of common elements, through dramatic 
motives, similes and metaphors, historical and mytho- 
logical allusions, special collocations of words, mannerisms, 
down to the mere occurrence of unusual words. They are 
in fact constantly brought forward by critics as evidence 
of common authorship. This they rarely can be. Where 
anonymous work is in question nothing better may be 
available, but conclusions so formed should at the most be 
held as possibilities. Probably the most striking parallels 
are the least evidential; it is the vivid idea or phrase 
which catches the imagination of another. There is a nega- 
tive value in comprehensive collections of parallels, how- 
ever slight, to a doubtful play. If none are found to a given 
writer, he is not likely to have written it. The converse 
does not hold true, but it may chime with other evidence. 
The collections made for Pericles and Henry VIII confirm 
distributions of shares arrived at on other grounds. It is, 


however, difficult, even when a concordance is available, 
to be sure that a collection is complete. 

The history of Shakespeare's writing is one of the 
gradual development of a characteristic style or series of 
styles. In its matured flights it is often unmistakable. Its 
beginnings belong to a period in which the difficulties of 
style-discrimination are at their maximum. The dramatists 
of the 'eighties may reasonably be called a school. 1 They 
have largely a common style and a common vocabulary, 
which owe much to Spenser, to the Elizabethan translators 
of the classics, to Seneca and his court imitators. Marlowe 
is the dominant figure, with Peele, Greene, Lodge, and 
Nashe as his satellites; Kyd stands a little apart. There is 
a mass of anonymous work. There were other prolific 
writers, such as Thomas Watson, of whose plays we know 
nothing. Probably we should be able to differentiate some 
of the personalities a little better, if we had reliable canons. 
Even now, Marlowe's is more distinct than the rest. But 
there are no such canons. Only from two to seven plays 
are ascribed to any one man, and of these many have been 
transmitted in such corrupt texts that they are valueless. 
The style of non-dramatic work may be compared; the 
translations of Marlowe, the pamphlets of Greene, the 
ceremonial poems of Peele. But these only give limited 
help in judging the handling of dialogued verse. It is 
illegitimate to follow Mr. Robertson in expanding the 
canons by adding first one anonymous play, and then on 
the basis of this another, and then again another. There 
is no certainty in this process, which mainly rests on 
parallels, and the chain becomes weaker at every link. 
This school was Shakespeare's early environment, and his 
first plays were inevitably in its manner. The influence 
of Marlowe is discernible until well on in his career. Mr. 
Robertson, who has all the arts of the debater, except 
perhaps that of lucidity, abounds in pejorative terms for 
what he calls the 'Imitation theory'. He represents it as 
charging Shakespeare with a 'passion for plagiarism', with 
'tranced' or 'slavish' mimicry, with 'abject parodies'. If he 

1 Cf. The Unrest in Shakespearean Studies (1927, Nineteenth Century). 


repeated the phrase of a predecessor, he must have been 
an 'avid copyist* or possessed by an 'overwhelming im- 
pulse of apery'. This is only beating the air. Young 
writers, even when they have done good work, do remain 
subject to influences, especially if they are of receptive, as 
well as creative, temperaments. There is no reason why 
Shakespeare should have been an exception. Very likely 
there was some deliberate imitation at first of admired 
models, but the issue is not primarily one of imitation. 
I have written above of parallels and repetitions. Psycho- 
logically, these may mean anything from plagiarism to 
quite unconscious echoing. A writer's mind is a well of 
subliminal memory, into which words and images sink, and 
to the surface of which they arise again, unbidden, in the 
act of composition. 1 I do not think it would be possible 
to assert Shakespeare's authorship of 2, 3 Henry VI on 
internal evidence alone. They are school work and full of 
school echoes. There are many images drawn from coun- 
try life, which set them a little apart, and may be marks 
of Shakespeare. Those which recall the sea are also note- 
worthy. Links of style with the plays to come, especially 
Richard ///, are not wanting. Double endings are much 
more often used to vary the blank verse rhythm than in 
any of the ascertainable plays of Marlowe and his fellows, 
and Mr. Robertson does not really meet this point, either 
by citing the higher proportion of double endings in Mar- 
lowe's non-dramatic translation of Lucan, or by the a 
priori argument that towards the end of their careers 
Marlowe, Kyd, and Greene must all have felt the need of 
some relief to the monotony of their earlier systems. 2 
Metrical evolution is not a Zeitgeist which all poets are 
alike bound to follow. We are not, however, left to in- 
ternal evidence for 2, 3 Henry VI, and there is certainly no 
such disparity of style as need compel us to abandon the 
authority of the First Folio. Ravenscroft's testimony puts 
Titus Andronicus upon a rather different footing. It may be 

1 Cf. the admirable study of the (1927)* 

working of Coleridge's imagination in * Canon, ii. 24; Introd. 275 cf. p. 
J. L. Lowes, The Eoad to Xanadu 260, 


that further study of the dramatic style of the 'eighties in 
relation to its origins will disclose lines of demarcation 
which are not at present apparent. At present it is tangled 
country, in which it is not much use to run like a hound 
through the undergrowth, catching a scent of Marlowe 
here, and whimpering there at a suspicion of Kyd or Peele. 
Complicated theories of collaboration and revision cannot 
be based upon such findings. 

Critical bibliography, or applied bibliography, as Pro- 
fessor Pollard prefers to call it, is a valuable and com- 
paratively new instrument of textual research. It begins 
with the observation of irregularities in the texts which are 
not capable of being explained by printing-house opera- 
tions, and ascribes them, reasonably enough, to the condi- 
tion of the copy brought to the printers. And it finds 
reasons for this condition in the vicissitudes through which 
plays may have passed at the theatre itself. It attempts, 
in fact, to reconstruct their stage-histories. In the hands 
of its initiators, this process has generally involved the 
assumption of one or more revisions; revisions by Shake- 
speare of earlier work, revisions of Shakespeare's work by 
later adapters, revisions by Shakespeare of his own work; 
and on occasion, since these are intrepid researchers, who 
do not quail before intricate conclusions, revisions of all 
three types successively. All this is not pure bibliography, 
although bibliographical facts are its starting-point. His- 
torical allusions in the plays are drawn upon to furnish 
support for suggestions of double or treble dating. Judge- 
ments of style are also involved, and incur the hazards of 
style-discrimination already considered, although these are 
diminished when it is only a question of comparison be- 
tween the phases of Shakespeare's own style, the general 
course of which is fairly well established. I must not be 
taken as implying that the judgements are always sound; 
they seem sometimes to rest upon work which is not fully 
characteristic. There are some anticipations of the biblio- 
graphical method in the unsystematic writings of Fleay. 
But it came to the front in two notable papers by Professors 
Pollard and Wilson on The 'Stolne and Surreptitious* 



Shakespearian Texts. 1 These are the bad Quartos of Romeo 
and Juliet, Henry V^ Merry Wives of Windsor > and Hamlet \ 
and the papers offer a common theory as to their origin. 
A factor or reporting by a pirate actor is admitted. But 
this is held not to explain all the facts. It is supposed that 
the pirate could only report scenes to which he had special 
access. Moreover, there are obvious cuts; there is non- 
Shakespearean, as well as Shakespearean matter, especially 
towards the end of each play; and there are 'bibliographical 
links* between the bad and good texts, in identical mis- 
prints, punctuation, spelling, capitals, and lineation, which 
imply 'some kirid of organic connexion* between the 
manuscripts used. The theory is that the plays existed in 
non-Shakespearean versions before 1593; that by that year 
Shakespeare had made a beginning with the revision of 
them all; that from the manuscripts in this condition 
abridged transcripts were 'hastily* taken for the provincial 
tour of 'Strangers' men which began in May 1593; that 
Shakespeare subsequently retouched and completed his 
revisions on the original manuscripts; and that when these 
were performed, the bad Quartos were printed from the 
transcripts, which had been brought by the pirate actor 
into 'some kind of conformity* with the final versions. 
These papers were followed by separate studies of Romeo 
and Juliet^ Henry 7, and Merry Wives of Windsor^ and 
had been anticipated in a more elaborate dissertation by 
Professor Wilson on Hamlet? Here the same theory was 
developed, except that Shakespeare was eliminated from 
the earlier revision of Merry Wives of Windsor^ and a 
revision of Hamlet^ anterior to his, by one or more drama- 
tists for an unknown company was introduced. There is 
much in the theory which I do not find it possible to 
accept. I do not think that the hypothesis of a memorizing 
reporter, who could do a little 'faking', is inadequate to 
account for the bad Quartos. 3 I do not accept the evidence 
for an early Merry Wives of Windsor or for traces of early 

1 T.L. (9 and 16 Jan. 1919). 1603, and the Hamlet Transcript, 

* Ibid. (13 Mar., 7, 14 Aug. (1918). 
1919); Wilson, The Ccfyfor Hamtet, * Cf. p. 157. 


dates in the others. My imagination boggles at the pic- 
ture of Shakespeare concurrently revising three or four 
different plays. The 'bibliographical links' are, I believe, 
confined to Romeo and Juliet and Hamlet, and they seem 
to me to point most naturally to some use made of the bad 
Quartos in setting-up the good ones. Here, indeed, is a 
particularly weak point in the theory. The transcripts, 
to accord with it, must have been, as Professor Wilson 
admits, 'meticulous', and what Elizabethan transcriber, 
working 'rapidly', is likely to have been meticulous about 
spelling, punctuation, and capitals? Two prepossessions 
appear to have had great influence upon the theorists. One 
is that of Shakespeare as essentially a 'play-patcher', for 
which I have endeavoured to show that there is little 
foundation. The other is that of 'continuous copy', which 
I suspect to be nothing but an illegitimate generalization 
from the anomalous case of Sir Thomas More, aided by 
a notion that the cautious and economical companies 
wanted above all things to avoid the multiplication of 
transcripts, although they did not, if the views of Profes- 
sors Pollard and Wilson are sound, take any care to keep 
them out of the hands of pirates when they were made. In 
order to fit Professor Wilson's reconstruction, Shake- 
speare's two revisions of Hamlet, if not also that of the 
anterior dramatists, must all have been done on the manu- 
script of the original play, and this must still have existed 
in 1604, and have served as copy for the Second Quarto. 
Newly written sheets may have replaced part of it, but on 
part the old matter must still have been standing, scored 
out and transformed by the superimposed results of at 
least two rehandlings on its margins and on appended 
slips. There is no room for a fair copy, because the 'bib- 
liographical links' between the two Quartos have to be 
preserved. Yet the Second Quarto does not show any 
obvious signs of the considerable textual disturbance 
which one would expect in such circumstances. 

Professor Pollard ias also made a study of the Yorkist 
plays, which may perhaps require reconsideration, if 
it is admitted that the texts of The Contention are re- 



ported. 1 Professor Wilson has dealt bibliographically with 
most of the comedies in full-dress editions. Here, too, the 
doctrine of 'continuous copy' is apparent, although many of 
the reconstructions involve transcripts at some stage or 
other. There are few plays which are not suspected, some- 
times on the faintest of indications, of having originated in 
therehandlingofolddramaticmaterial. Part of this material 
is here and there supposed to have been retained. 2 Fairly 
drastic adaptations by later hands are inferred. 3 But per- 
haps the most noteworthy feature of the treatment is its 
frequent resort to hypotheses of self-revision. 4 Even if 
one is unconvinced by Professor Wilson's reconstructions, 
one must be impressed by the alertness of his mind, the 
keenness of his observation, and the ingenuity with which 
he fits the details of complicated theories together. He has 
certainty called attention to many points which require 
explanation. I think that he often overlooks the possibility 
of alternative explanations. Still more I think that he and 
I take different views of Shakespeare's temperament. I am 
prepared to accept some very poor work as Shakespeare's. 
He must have 'been subject to moods, which were not all 
compatible with concentration on what he was writing. 
During a considerable period he was under the shadow of 
some preoccupation or disillusionment, the cause of which 
remains obscure; and the life and subtlety of his style 
suffered. But throughout he was often careless, and often 
perfunctory. He composed easily, and his artistic con- 
science did not impel him to be scrupulous in avoiding 
inconsistencies of time, action, and characterization. No 
doubt he was aware how very easily dropped threads pass 
unnoticed on the stage. I do not suppose that he had a 
very high opinion of the intelligence of his audiences. 
I am not essaying here a complete appreciation of Pro- 
fessor Wilson's contribution to Shakespearean scholarship. 
Much of it, especially on the strictly textual side, is ad- 

1 T.LS. (19, 26 Sept. 1918). 4 Love's Lab. Lest, Mid. N. Dr., 

a Com. of Err ^ Tarn. of Shrew, Mer. Men of 7en., As You Like It, Much 

ofVen^ Merry Wvoes of W. Ado, Temp. 
3 Two Gent, of Fer^Meas. for Meets. 


mirable. Some of his views on major problems have been 
referred to, 1 and others, directly concerned with re- 
vision, now demand consideration. I will begin with 
'cuts'. We know that cutting was a theatrical practice, 
since authors themselves have told us so. 2 That Shake- 
speare's plays were not immune is shown both by the 
condition of the bad Quartos and by some of the omissions 
in parallel-text plays, for which cuts are the most plausible 
explanation^ The latter are not extensive; they do not 
amount to the replacement of a three-hour play by a two- 
hour play. 4 Two or three hundred lines go, to prevent 
normal limits from being exceeded, or merely to prevent 
particular scenes or speeches from dragging. Probably 
Hamlet was always too long for performance as a whole. 
Shakespeare may have been more intent upon his poetry, 
than upon getting it over the stage-rails. One hopes that 
he remained unperturbed when some of his best lines were 
sacrificed. Cutting may be suspected also in plays for 
which we have not parallel-texts. The very short Macbeth 
possibly represents a substantial abridgement. In Professor 
Wilson's reconstructions abridgement appears as a factor 
subsidiary to revision.^ Old motives have been omitted or 
given less importance in 1 order that new ones may be 
introduced, and traces of the process remain. Among 
these he is apt to cite the presence of short lines. These 
may very well in some cases indicate cuts, especially when 
they are abrupt or harsh, or are accompanied by textual 
disturbance or some hiatus in the sense. But a great many 
of those called in aid by Professor Wilson do not pre- 
sent these features, and more plausible reasons can be 
found for them. Shakespeare made constant use of short 
lines for exclamations and interjections, for formulas of 

1 Cf . pp. 153, 1 8 1, 187, 191, (as some of the Pkyers pretended).' 

198. * Rich. Ill (Q), Tit. Andr. (Q), 

a /fc. Stage, iii. 192. W. J. Law- Rich. II (F), 2 Em. IV (Q), Ham. (F), 

rence (T.L. 21 Aug. 1919) adds Oth. (Q), K. Lear (F). 

R. Brome, The Antipodes (1640), 'You * Cf. p. 214. 

shall find in this Booke more than was s Two Cent, of Per., Much Ado, 

presented on the stage, and left out of Meas.for Meas., Temp. 
the Presentation for superfluous length 


welcome and dismissal, and for changes of address. To a 
growing extent he tended to end his speeches in mid-line. 
The beginning of the next speech does not always com- 
plete the line. Short lines occur also in mid-speech, and 
often with fine rhythmical effect. There is a pause for 
meditation or gesture, or for reversion to the business in 
hand. The cadence of a broken line seems to have pleased 
Shakespeare's ear. Professor Wilson knows all this very 
well, but these are alternatives which he commonly dis- 
regards when he is hot on the scent of a revision. He finds 
further evidence for abridgement in the dropped threads, 
and particularly in 'ghosts' who appear once and do not 
recur, and in personages to whom reference is made, but 
who do not appear at all. He supposes that these must 
have been given more prominence in lost scenes. The 
'kitchen vestal' Nell in Comedy of Errors is a ghost, whom 
'the young Shakespeare must surely have felt an almost 
irresistible temptation to make something more of than 
has come down to us'. 1 It is difficult to take such a 
priorisms very seriously. . Every dramatist has to resist the 
temptation to over-elaborate his minor characters. They 
serve the purpose of an episode and vanish. A good 
example of a personage, whom we should naturally have 
looked to see but do not, is Petruchio's cousin Ferdinand 
in Taming of the Shrew. 2 Petruchio, when he gets home, 
sends for Ferdinand to make Katharina's acquaintance, 
and he never comes. Perhaps the audience were not 
exactly on the tip-toe of expectation for him, but it is a 
badly dropped thread, all the same. In the Tempest, the 
Duke of Milan's **brave son* is said to have been seen in 
the wreck.* He does not appear with the other rescued 
travellers, and there is no lamentation for him. An in- 
troduction of Maudlin Lafeu would seem obvious in the 
last scene of All's Well that Ends Well> but she remains 
absent.^ In these and in countless other cases, I think we 
have a deliberate dramatic device. Persons and incidents 
are alluded to, but kept out of the action. The effect is 

1 Wilson, Cm. of Err. 76. 3 Temp. i. a. 43&. 

a Tom. of Shrew, iv. 1. 154. 4 All's Well* v. 3. 


one of solidity, as if life were passing on all the time behind 
the stage. Characters, again, are sometimes named in 
initial stage-directions, but have no share in the dialogue. 
Violenta enters with Diana in a scene of All 's Well that 
Ends Well) and is forgotten throughout. 1 Juliet is un- 
expectedly dumb on her first appearance in Measure for 
Measure? We must of course allow for mutes, especially 
in court or processional scenes. But sometimes the silence 
is clearly unnatural. Leonato is accompanied by 'Innogen 
his wife* at the beginning of Much Ado About Nothing.* 
She recurs in one later scene, but has not a word through- 
out the play. A lady, whose daughter is successively be- 
trothed, defamed, repudiated before the altar, taken for 
dead, and restored to life, ought not to be a mute. It is 
not motherly. Abridgement is a possible explanation. But 
did Shakespeare sometimes write down initial entries before 
he had thought out the dialogue, and omit through care- 
lessness to correct them by eliminating characters for 
whom he had found nothing to say, and ought to have found 
something to say, if they were to be on the stage at all ? 

To establish abridgement would not of itself serve to 
establish any further revision. Professor Wilson has been 
successful in pointing to mislineations which can be best 
explained as due to the incorporation in the text of pas- 
sages irregularly written in margins, or in one case on an 
appended slip with a catchword. 4 These may well be later 
additions. Some of them only amount to interpolations of 
clowning or spectacle. The most notable are in the last act 
of Midsummer-Night's Dream, and that act has, I think, 
been revised. Many other mislineations, to which he 
would assign a similar origin, may be better put down to 
different causes, such as the printer's confusion between 
prose and verse.* There are textual duplications also, 
where one may agree with him in thinking that corrected 
and uncorrected versions have been left standing together, 
through the absence or disregard of deletion marks. 6 This 

* Ibid. iii. 5. Wilson, Mer. vfVen* 106. 

* Meas.for Mcas\ i. 2. 120. * Cf. p. 181. 

3 Much Ado, i. x. i; ii. x. x. Some 6 Wilson. Love's Lab. Lost, 107. 
modern editions omit her. 


indicates revision, no doubt, in a sense, but by no means 
necessarily the wholesale revision of a play. The altera- 
tions may be mere afterthoughts at the time of original 
composition. We cannot, on this hypothesis, take quite 
literally the statement of Heminges and Condell that they 
had scarce received a blot in Shakespeare's papers. It 
would be absurd to take it quite literally. But it certainly 
does not suggest any constant habit of self-revision. An- 
other feature upon which Professor Wilson frequently 
relies is the variation of nomenclature. In so far as this is 
merely a matter of spelling, whether in text, stage-direc- 
tions or speech-prefixes, little importance can be attached 
to it. The orthographic vagueness of the Elizabethans 
reaches its maximum with proper names. The same name 
will have different spellings in a single letter or other docu- 
ment. Some men do not even spell their own names 
consistently; it seems that Shakespeare did not. 1 .The 
most one can say is that, if one spelling is habitually used 
in one batch of scenes and another in a second batch, the 
two batches are not likely to have been written at the same 
sitting. But Professor Wilson is more concerned with the 
variations in stage-directions and speech-prefixes between 
personal and descriptive or 'generic' names, and he has 
evolved a theory that generic names 'may be taken as clues 
suggesting revision'. He even goes so far as to conjecture 
that Dogberry and Verges may be designated as Con- 
stable and Headborough in a scene of Much Ado About 
Nothing because these, of all names, Shakespeare 'could 
not be bothered' to remember. 2 I do not believe a word 
of it* Such variations occur in nearly every play. Pro- 
fessor Wilson sometimes weaves them into his argument, 
and sometimes leaves them unnoticed. He lets Abner 
by and spots Melchizedek. Any attempt at a uniform 
application of his theory would indeed land him in chaos. 
Probably Shakespeare wrote Dogberry and Verges when 
he was conscientious before dinner, and Constable and 
Headborough when he was relaxed afterwards. It did not 
matter. He was not following the precise tradition of the 

* Cf. p. 506. * Wilson, Itntt Lab. Lost, naj Much Ado, 96. 


literary drama. The personal and the generic names 
would be alike intelligible to the players and their book- 
keeper. Similar variations are to be found in play manu- 
scripts and 'plots*, and here too we get summary notes 
for the return of groups, although it is with 'something 
of a gasp' that Professor Wilson comes in Love's Labour's 
Lost upon the 'bald* direction 'Enter the Ladyes'. 1 Re- 
vision, according to Professor Wilson, sometimes took the 
form of rewriting verse scenes in prose, and of this traces 
remain in the presence of lines still recognizable as verse. 
Terse-fossils' he calls them. I do not think that these 
rhythms have any such significance. They are a constant 
feature of Shakespeare's prose. They are most frequent in 
the comedies of his mid-career, such as As Tou Like //and 
Twelfth Night. But there are many also in Coriolanus and 
Winter's Tale, and no j>lay is altogether without them. 
Often they form single line speeches, and here it may be 
uncertain whether prose or verse is intended. But they 
also occur sporadically in the middle of speeches, and some- 
times in groups. Professor Wilson is far from noticing 
them all. The number might be much increased i^ 
with Professor A. E. Morgan, one took into account not 
only regular decasyllabic rhythms, but others which could 
be carried as such in a blank verse passage by substituting 
a verse intonation for a prose one and allowing for tri- 
syllabic feet. 2 These, however, when they come in a prose 
passage, do not really read as anything but prose. A 
dramatic value is sometimes involved. The rhythm cor- 
responds to a rise in the emotional scale of utterance. It 
is often so in single lines of As Tou Like It. And Shake- 
speare was not unconscious of the device. Orlando enters 
in a prose scene with 'Good day and happiness, dear 
Rosalind', and Jaques departs with the comment, 'Nay, 
then, God be wi' you, an you talk in blank verse'. 3 More 
generally, a writer, who makes habitual transitions be- 
tween prose and verse, may naturally have had the instinct 

i Wilson, Love's Lab. Lost, 1135 cf. SA.'t Henry W (1924). 
p. 119. 3 As You Like It, iv. 1-30. 

* A, E. Morgan, Some Problems of 


that the use of a rather rhythmical type of prose served to 
bridge the line of demarcation. But the feature is not at 
all one peculiar to Shakespeare. Verse rhythms are com- 
mon enough in prose or all kinds. The most austere 
modern taste, based on eighteenth-century models, tends 
to reject them from ordinary straightforward discourse. 
But they are freely used in imaginative writing, especially 
to give a final grace to a period. Landor has them and 
Walter Pater. Stevenson is fond of them. Ruskin ends a 
decorative passage of The Crown of Wild Olive with one 
decasyllabic and two octosyllabic rhythms. There are no 
doubt places in Shakespeare where, with what Professor 
Wilson calls 'a little innocent faking', several prose lines 
together could be turned into blank verse. The rhythms 
here may be a little overdone, but I do not feel that, 
without the faking, they are so obtrusive as to necessitate 
a theory of revision. 1 Professor Pollard, who has noticed 
the same characteristic of the middle comedies, realizes 
the difficulty of crowding Shakespeare's early years with 
too many first versions of plays, but thinks that he may have 
written some fragmentary scenes in verse, laid them aside, 
and utilized them for the prose of later plays. 2 The sug- 
gestion is one which there is evidence neither to confirm 
nor to refute. 

Internal evidence makes it necessary to accompany a 
general acceptance of the traditional Shakespearean canon 
with certain qualifications, which may be set out in sum- 
mary form. 3 Collaboration must be admitted in Henry Fill 
and probably in Taming of the Shrew, as well as in the 
uncanonical Pericles and Two Noble Kinsmen, and pos- 
sibly in Edward III. Of replacement of the work of a 
collaborator, which figures in some of the speculations of 
Fleay, and was presumably suggested by Ben Jonson's 
treatment of Sejanus, there is no sign. 4 Apart from the 
touching-up of Titus Andronicus, which rests primarily on 
external evidence, and the insertion of two late scenes into 

* Wilson, As To Like If, 945 cf. my 4 Library, v. 374. 
comment in Year's Work> vii. 125. 3 For details, cf. ch. ix. 

* Pollard, Foundations, 14, and in * Fleay, L.W. 180, 2045 cf. p. 210, 


the heterogeneous structure of i Henry VI \ there is nothing 
substantial which points to the dressing-up of alien plays. 
Some afterthoughts written into Low's Labour's Lost, 
Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, and Troilus and Cressida, 
are revealed by failures to delete the original wordings. 
Mislineations in The Shrew and Timon of Athens may indi- 
cate others. But such alterations are no proof of complete 
rewriting, and for this the evidence is of the scantiest. An 
exception may be made for Midsummer-Night's Dream, 
which looks as if it had been converted from a wedding 
entertainment into a play for the public stage, by some 
changes in the last act and the provision of an alternative 
ending. Some passages in 2, 3 Henry VI may owe their 
origin to a revival. We know, again on external evidence, 
that a line not now found in Julius Caesar met with 
criticism from Jonson. It would be absurd to lay down 
categorically that there has been no touching-up anywhere 
else. But that the great majority of the plays are Shake- 
speare's from beginning to end, and that, broadly speak- 
ing, when he had once written them, he left them alone, 
I feel little doubt. These are propositions which, so far, 
disintegrating criticism has entirely failed to shake. 

That most of the texts have undergone some adaptation 
for theatrical purposes is obvious. Here, again, I do not 
believe in any substantial rewriting. There has clearly 
been some shortening, and although the existence of 
alternative versions sometimes makes it possible to restore 
the omitted passages, this is not so for all the plays. 
Whether Shakespeare himself exercised any discretion as 
to the cuts we cannot tell ; they are not all equally judicious. 
A few interpolations can also be traced; bits of spectacle, a 

.ike It, Cymleline, Tempest, and notably Macbeth; bits of 

clowning in Merchant of Venice, Hamlet, King Lear, and pos- 
sibly Othello. 1 It is not always certain that the songs used 

1 Cf., however, Gildon's tradition bad Qq show evidence, would pre- 
(App. C, no. xxi) as to Shakespeare's sumably not get into the prompt- 
responsibility for incongruous clown- book, unless it was exceptionally suc- 
ing in Qtfatto. Sheer gag, of which the cessful. 


were Shakespeare's own. Altered stage-directions tell of 
casting decisions and of the activities of the book-keeper in 
giving effect to these and in clearing up uncertainties. The 
methods followed are already familiar to us in the theatrical 
manuscripts. 1 Again the parallel texts come to our aid. 
The Folio directions for i Henry IV almost exactly repeat 
those of the Quarto. In 2 Henry IV the basis is the same, 
but there has been a minute revision, which indicates a 
careful study of the text. Many directions are shortened 
by the omission of notes for apparel and the like. Errors 
are corrected, although a few new ones are made. Over- 
looked entries are marked. Indefinite numbers are re- 
placed by specific ones. Superfluous supernumeraries are 
eliminated. The same features are apparent in the Folio 
versions of Hamlet \ Othello, and King Lear, and to a lesser 
extent in other plays. The speech-prefixes may be checked, 
and the musical notes altered or varied. Mr. Lawrence 
thinks that the King's men did not use cornets until they 
acquired the Blackfriars and took on the musical tradition 
of that house. If he is right, the appearance of cornets in 
a Folio stage-direction would be evidence of production 
or revival in or after 1609. Such a revival would not of 
course necessarily imply textual revision, as Mr. Lawrence 
assumes. 2 Even where there are no parallel texts, the hand 
of the book-keeper may be suspected in directions so 
worded as to suggest a gloss or to leave a duplication.* It 
is not necessary to ascribe to him the placing of entries in 
advance of lines spoken by the entrants; or references to 
properties familiar in the tiring-house but not to the 
audience, such as 'Enter Piramus with the Asse head'; or 
technicalities such as 'for' in the sense of 'disguised as'.* 

1 Cf. p. 118. v. x. 190, 'Enter... E. Dromio of 

* W. J, Lawrence, Sh.*s Workshop, Ephesus'j Mer. of Ven. ii. 5. i, 
48. Lawrence doubts whether a simi- 'Enter lewe and his man that was the 
lar significance attaches to the mention Clowne'j As Tou Like It, ii. 4. i, 
of hautbois; cf. T.L3. (1929, June 13, 'Enter . . . Clowne, alias Touchstone's 
July 18, 25). Much Ado, ii. x. i, 'Enter Leonato, his 

* Com. of Err. iv. 4. 43, 'Enter . . . brother, ... and Beatrice his neece, 
a Schoolemasier, caU'd Pinch' 5 149, and a kinsman*, with similar examples 
Runne all out*, duplicating 150, *Exe- at ii. i. 89, 218; iii. 4. i j Hi, 5. i. 
unt omnes, as fast as may be, frighted'j * MM. N. Dr. iii. x. 106 (F)j As Tou 


An actor-author, thinking in terms of the theatre, might 
quite well so write. Norareimt- ^" J * " * " 

the book-keeper's, although the form would be natural 
for him. 1 I do not think that warnings for the preparation 
of properties in advance occur in the canonical plays. 
They do in Two Noble Kinsmen. But the book-keeper is 
clearly revealed in several places where the printer has 
preserved the name of an actor written beside or in sub- 
stitution for that of the character which he played. 2 
Generally this occurs in stage-directions, and the analogy 
of the theatrical manuscripts rules out the alternative ex- 
planation of Professor Gaw, who finds here the mind of 
Shakespeare unconsciously identifying the part with the 
personality of its representative^ The case is perhaps not 
so simple where, as in Much Ado About Nothing, the actor- 
names run through a series of speech-prefixes. But pro- 
bably Shakespeare wrote inadequate prefixes, in the form 
of mere numerals, and the book-keeper glossed them. A 
guard must be kept against the attempts of Fleay and 
others to find the names of actors in those assigned 
textually to servants and other members of crowds. 4 The 
book-keeper could have no occasion to trouble about 
textual names, and the author, writing in advance of cast- 
ing, would certainly not know to whom such small parts 
would be given. 

Traces of the censorship must also be expected in the 
texts. They are not very numerous. The Chamberlain's and 
King's men were, of all companies, in the closest relation 
to the court through their patrons, and the least likely to 
run counter to authority, except by inadvertence. An 
episode capable of political misrepresentation was removed 

Like It, ii. 4. i, 'Enter Rosaline for stage-hand. 

Ganimed, Celia for Aliena'j Dead * Cf. chh. ix, x (2, 5 Hen. PI, Tarn. 

Man's Fortune, plot 12, 'Exit Eschines of Shrew, Rom. & Jul., Mid. N. Dr., 

and enter for Bell veille'. 2 Hen. IP, Hen. P, Much Ado, AlTs 

* His 'Ring the bell* seems to have Well, T.N.K.), 

got into the text of Macb. ii. 3. 85. 3 A. Gaw, Actors' Names in Basic 

I do not know that we need ascribe the Shakespearean Texts (P.M.Ljt. xl. 

frequent 'Knocke* to him. In fact we 530); cf. p. 122. 

do not know whether knocking was 4 Fleay, L.W. 265 ; Wilson, Tarn. 

done by an in-coming actor or by a of Shrew, 118. 


from Richard II before it was printed, and restored in 
Jacobean editions. Possibly two passages, at which Anne 
of Denmark might be likely to take offence, were similarly 
removed from Hamlet. These point to press censorship, 
rather than stage censorship. Indiscreet nomenclature 
has been reformed in Henry IV and Merry Wives of Wind- 
sor ', and possibly in Hamlet. A jest on German and Spanish 
costume has disappeared from the Folio version of Much 
Ado About Nothing, and one on a Scottish lord from that of 
the Merchant of Venice. An intervention of the censor may 
also account for the absence of the 'four nations' scene, 
with its Captain Jamy, from the reported text of Henry V. 
We know that James resented the girding at Scotland in 
English plays. 1 Conceivably the absence of Shallow's 
'dozen white louses' from the reported Merry Wives of 
WindsorTR&y be no mere accident. There seems to have been 
some pruning of social and political criticism in King Lear, 
which has differently affected the Quarto and the Folio; 
of pathological details, with a similar divergence, in Troilus 
and Cressida; and of an unpatriotic sentiment and some 
bits of indelicacy in 2 Henry IF. All this comes to very 
little. The treatment of profanity is something of a 
puzzle. Dr. Greg, discussing the oaths in Merry Wives of 
Windsor^ suggests that they may not have been altered 
before the text was prepared for press in 1623, 2 This is 
possible, but it does not seem to me very probable. The 
Act of Abuses survived the wreck of more comprehensive 
measures against profanity, which were debated in Parlia- 
ment during 1604 an d 1605-6, but proved controversial 
and never got upon the Statute-book.3 It was of very 
limited application. No person may 'in any Stage play, 
Interlude, Shewe, Maygame or Pageant jestingly or pro- 
phanely speake or use the holy Name of God or of Christ 
Jesus or of the Holy Ghoste or of the Trinitie'. 4 Lam not 

1 Cf. p. 65. 251, 270, 286, 294, 300; Lords Jour- 

* Greg, Merry Wvws of W* xxxvi, nats, ii. 338, 340, 354, 365, 368, 

with a comparative table (liv) for Q 369, 381, 400, 4x2, 414, 4x6, 436, 

and F. Similar tables would be valu- 446. 

able for other plays. * Full text in Eliz. Stage, iv. 338. 

' Commons Journals, i. 247, 250, 


lawyer enough to know whether the courts were ever called 
upon to interpret the Act. Presumably it would bar the dimi- 
nutive oaths in which the divine names are corrupted or 
implied, but not those by the Virgin, or the saints, or the 
rood, or the mass, or mere imprecations. 1 Sir Henry 
Herbert, as we have seen, was inclined to press it hard, 
and was overruled by Charles I. 2 If the king had been 
a better etymologist, he would have realized that, while 
' Faith' was an asseveration, 'Death* and 'Slight* were, at 
least in origin, oaths. 4 By God's death* is said to have been 
the favourite oath of Elizabeth. 3 But whatever degrees of 
profanity the Act covered, it clearly only related to words 
spoken on the stage, and not to words put into print. One 
does not see, then, why the publishers of the First Folio 
should have gone to the pains of expurgation. There is 
certainly none in the Quarto reprints between 1606 and 
1623. Whether there is any evidence for Dr. Greg's sug- 
gestion outside Shakespeare, I am unable to say. The 
Honest Man's Fortune was reformed when Herbert re- 
allowed it in 1625, but printed with its oaths in the 
Beaumont and Fletcher Folio of 1 647, and again reformed 
for that of 1 679. On the whole it looks as if the expurga- 
tion of Shakespeare must date from stage revivals of 1606 
or later. Whatever its genesis, it is nowhere complete and 
in most plays quite perfunctory. My notes as to this are 
far from exhaustive, but perhaps sufficient to give a fair 
picture. The plays which have suffered most are J, 2 
Henry 17. Here 'God', 'Lord*, 'Jesus', even when seri- 
ously used, are generally omitted, or replaced by a sub- 
stitute. On the other hand, they are sometimes kept, even 
when profane. 'Christ* remains, but the epithet is dropped 
from 'christen names*. Of other forms, 'God's body', 
'God's light', "Sblood*, and 'Zounds* go, but 'Cock and pie' 
is kept. So, as a rule is 'Marry', but *By*r Lady* and 'By 

1 Examples of profanity are oaths Zounds, Gogs wouns, 'cock and pie*, 

by God's blood (plud), body, bodykins, by Gis, 'ods heartlings, lifelings, me, 

bread, lady, lid, liggens, lugges, light, my little life, my will, nownes, pilli- 

mother, sonties, wounds; God's my kins, plessed will. 

life$ and the corrupt forms, 'sblood, 2 Cf. p. 102. 

sdeath, 'sfoot, 'slid, 'slight, 'swounds, Speed, Chronicle, f. 1200. 


the mass', which one would have thought equally outside 
the danger of the Act, generally go. Even imprecations 
and asseverations are not always spared. Here the treat- 
ment is quite inconsistent, since 'Faith', 'By my troth', and 
'By this hand', while sometimes altered, are also intro- 
duced as substitutes. Similarly, although 'Heaven* nor- 
mally replaces 'God', there is at least one omission of 'By 
heaven'. 'The devil' and even 'Hang yourself are also 
omitted. Two scriptural citations are cancelled. 1 But it 
is amusing to notice that Hotspur's advice to his wife to 
leave 'in sooth' and swear 'a good mouth-filling oath' 
remains unaltered, except for the omission of 'Heart!'. 2 
One is tempted to think -that Herbert must have been at 
work on Henry IV \ possibly also on Othello, where the 
pruning, although less stringent, follows much the same 
lines. Elsewhere the asseverations are usually left alone, 
and even the revision of oaths proper is lightly taken. 
There is a fair amount of it in Hamlet. These plays give 
a little support to the theory that the expurgation took 
place at revivals, since there is some evidence for the 
performance of them all during 1606-23. On the other 
hand, the same is true of Much Ado About Nothing and 
Titus Andronicus. But Much Ado About Nothing has only 
lost a single passage, with four 'Gods' in it, and Titus 
Andronicus only the word 'Zounds'. 3 Of the other plays 
for which good parallel texts are available, alterations are 
not infrequent in Richard II and Richard ///, but Love's 
Labour V Lost, Midsummer-Night's Dream, Romeo and 
Juliet, and Merchant of Venice show only one or two apiece. 
There is more variation between the Folio and the bad 
Quartos of Henry ^and Merry Wives of Windsor, but here- 
we cannot tell how much profanity the reporters may have 
contributed. Fluellen in the one and Sir Hugh Evans and 
Doctor Caius in the other are, however, hard swearers, 
only equalled by Mrs. Quickly. The commonest feature 
throughout is the substitution of 'God' by 'Heaven'. In 

1 j Hen. IV, i. 2. 995 2 Hen. 17, 3 MuckAdo,\v.i. 19-**$ Tit.Andr. 
iii. 2. 41. iv. 2, 71. 

* i Hen. IF, iii. x. 252. 


Love's Labour 9 s Lost 'Jove' takes its place. 1 'The dickens' 
for 'The devil' in Merry Wives of Windsor is the earliest 
known example of that euphemism. 2 For some reason 
'Zounds' is an expletive particularly selected for reproba- 
tion. Nearly all the plays written after 1 606, as well as the 
earlier Julius Caesar, Troilus and CressiJa, and King Lear, 
have pagan settings, and to swear by heathen deities was 
safe enough. There are of course a few anachronisms. 
On the other hand, pagan asseverations, particularly by 
'Jove', also appear in plays whose setting is not pagan. 
Among the later plays Henry VIII has still a moderate 
amount of profanity. How far the early plays, for which 
we have only Folio texts, have been altered can only be 
matter for conjecture. In Twelfth Night, of which there 
were certainly late revivals, Sir Toby Belch swears less and 
more mildly than one would expect, and the use of 'Jove* is 
common. In King John the examples of 'Heaven' markedly 
outnumber those of 'God'. But it must remain doubtful 
whether such indications, or the slighter changes in some 
of the Folio texts already noted, can be taken as evidence 
of revivals. It certainly cannot be assumed that when 
"Rosalind swears 'by my troth, and in good earnest, and so 
God mend me, and by all pretty oaths that are not danger- 
ous', she was thinking of the Act of Abuses.* Quite apart 
from the use of 'God', profanity was 'dangerous', long 
before a Jacobean Parliament made it so. On the other 
hand, with the case of Much Ado About Nothing before us, 
it is equally impossible to assume that the preservation of 
numerous oaths in the Folio means that there was no late 
revival. The sporadic nature of the expurgation where 
any is traceable, remains perplexing. Professor Wilson 
suggests that it may have been more completely done in 
'parts' than in prompt-copies. 4 But if so, why should it 
have been done in prompt-copies at all ? It is an alternative 
possibility that marginal expurgations on prompt-copies 
were not always observed by the printers or perhaps were 
not thought worth the trouble of carrying to examples of 

1 Love's Lab. Lost, v. 2. 3x6. 3 As You Like It, iv. x. 194. 

1 Merry Wvues of W. iii. 2. 19. 4 Wilson, Love's Lab. Lost, 190. 



the Quartos when these were used as copy for the Folio, 
It certainly cannot be assumed that, even under the com- 
paratively mild regime of Sir George Buck, there was not 
more expurgation in the actual representation of revived 
plays, especially at court, than the state of the Folio texts 


[Bibliographical Note. Malone's Attempt to Ascertain the Order in which 
the Plays of Shakspeare were Written first appeared in the 2nd ed. (1778) 
of the Works by Johnson and Steevens. Its final form is in Variorum, 
ii. 288. G. Chalmers accumulated additional 'topical 9 allusions, many of 
which were far-fetched, in his Supplemental Apology (1799), 266, and 
others have been detected by later commentators. A collection is in H. P. 
Stokes, An Attempt to Determine the Chronological Order of Shakespeare 9 s 
Plays (1878). The successive chronologies of F. G. Fleay are in his Si. 
Manual (1876, 1878), 22, C. M. Ingleby's Sh. the Man and the Book, 
ii. (1881), 99 sff., and his Life and Work of Sh. (1886), 175. That of 
E. Dowden is in his Shakspere, His Mind and Art (1875, &c.), and as 
a table in his Shakspere Primer (1877), 56. That of F. J. Furnivall, in 
its fullest form, is in his Introduction to the Leopold Shakespere (1877) and 
in the revision of that, with the help of J. Munro, for the Century 
Shakespeare (1908). Naturally most biographies and systematic com- 
mentaries deal with the subject. Among German contributions are W. 
Konig, Ueter den Gang von Shs dichterischer Entooickelung (1875, J. 
x. 193); H. Conrad (Isaac), Z den Shs Sonn. (1878-9, Archiv, lix. 155, 
241; Ix. 33; Ixi. 177, 393; Ixii. i, 129), Die Son.-Periode in ShsLeben 
(1884, J. xix. 176), Die Ham.-Periode in Shs Leten (1885-6, Arch. 
Ixxiii.i63,37i; lxxiv.45; Ixxv.i, 269), ShsSelbstbekenntniss(i%<yj\Eine 
neue Methode der chronologischen Sh.-Forschung (1909, Germ.-Rom. Monats- 
schrift, i. 232, 307); B. T, Strater, Die Perioden in Shs dichterischer 
Entwickelung (1881-2, Archiv, Ixv. 153, 383; Ixvi. 121, 273; Ixvii. i, 
129, 417); G. Sarrazin, Zur Chronologie von Shs Jugenddramen (1894, 
J. xxix. 92), Zur Chronologie von Shs Dichtungen (1896, J. xxxil 149), 
W. Shs Lehrjahre (1897), Wortechos bet SA (1897-8, J. xxxiii. 120; 
xxxiv. 119), Aus Shs Meisterwerkstatt (1906); E. Ekwall, Die Sh- 
Chronologie (1911, Germ.-Rom. Monatsschrift, iii. 90). 

On vocabulary are R. Simpson, Sh.'s Once-Used Words (1874, N.S.S. 
Trans. 1 1 5), J. D. Butler, Once- Used Words in Sh. (i 886, N.r. SA. Soc.). 
Tables of such words for individual plays are in the Henry Irving Shake- 
speare. On Sh's. prose are H. Sharpe, The Prose in Sh!s Plays (1885, 
N.S.S. Trans. 523); V. F. Janssen, Die Prosa in Shs Dramen 
(1897); G. Bordukat, Die Aigrenzung zwischen Fers und Prosa in den 
Dramen Shs (1918). The special treatises on metre are given in the BibL 
Note to Appendix H. On other stylistic features are G. Kramer, Ueber 
Stichomythie und Gleichklang in dem Dramen Shs (i 889) ; L. Wurth, Da s 
Wortspielbei Sh ( 1 89 5) ; F. G. Hubbard, Repetition and Parallelism in the 
Earlier Elizabethan Drama (1905, P.M.LA.m. 360),^ Type of Blank 



Perse Line Found in the Earlier Elizabethan Drama (1917, PM.L.A. 
xzxii. 68); W. Hflbner, Der Pergleick bei Sh (1908); H. Earth, Das 
Epitheton in den Dramen des Jungen Sh und seiner Porganger (1914). 

Theories about Love's Labour's Won are in R. Farmer, Essay on the 
Learning of Sh. (1767, Par. i. 314)5 J. Hunter, Disquisition on Tp. (1839, 
New Illustrations of Sh. i. 130, 359); G. L. Craik, The English of Shake- 
speare (1857), 7; A. E. Brae, Collier, Coleridge and Sh. (1860); P. A. 
Daniel, Q. Facs. ofM.A. (1886), v; R. Boyle, A.W. and L.L.W. (1890, 
.$. xiv. 408); F. v. Westenholz, SAs L.L.W. (1902, Beilage zur Allge- 
meinen Zeitung)*, A. H. Tolman, Shs L.L.W. (1904, Views about Ham. 
243); H. D. Gray, L.L.L. with a Conjecture as to L.L.W. (1918).] 

A RECOGNITION of the substantial homogeneity of most of 
the plays simplifies the approach to the problem of chrono- 
logy, since it makes it reasonable to assume, in the absence 
of any special ground for suspecting an insertion, that 
datable allusions have not been added by a reviser, and 
that the mention of a play by name implies its existence 
much in the form in which it is preserved to us. It will 
again be well to attach primary weight to external evi- 
dence, and a convenient starting-point is provided by the 
list of plays in the Palladis Tamia of Francis Meres, which 
was presumably compiled before the registration of that 
book on 7 September I598. 1 This at once enables us to 
segregate a considerable group of comparatively early 
works. There are six comedies, Two Gentlemen of Verona, 
Comedy of Errors, Love's Labour's Lost, 'Loue labours 
wbnne', Midsummer-Night's Dream, Merchant of Venice\ 
four histories, Richard II, Richard III, Henry 17, King 
John\ and two tragedies, Titus Andronicus and Romeo and 
Juliet. Meres names them in the order here followed, but 
it is not necessary to suppose that he paid attention to their 
respective dates of production. On the other hand, the list 
is so^long as to suggest that it includes all that were known 
to him, and that it was only bjr a happy accident that he 
was able, by treating the histories as tragedies, to balance 
six of these against six comedies in accordance with his 
artificial manner of writing. Meres took his M.A. degree 
at Cambridge in 1591 and by incorporation at Oxford on 
10 July 1593. It was probably after that date that he 

1 App, B, no', xiii. 


came to London, where he was dwelling in Botolph Lane 
by 1597, and if so, Henry VI or any other play not on the 
stage between 1593 and 1598 may have been unknown 
to him. His mention of Henry IV leaves it uncertain 
whether he knew both parts, and the identity of Love 
Labours Won must for the present be left aside. 

Terminal dates before which production must have 
occurred can be established for a good many plays. The 
commonest sources are entries in the Stationer? Register^ 
or the title-pages of printed editions. The former give 
precise dates, the latter years only, which are best taken 
as calendar years. 1 Twice the Register specifically notices 
a court performance during the preceding Christinas. The 
lists of such performances for 1604-5 anc ^ 161 1-12 give 
some help. So does the Diary of Philip Henslowe. A few 
performances at the Inns of Court or in public theatres 
are independently recorded in contemporary documents. 
And there are a few literary notices, some of which are not 
capable of very exact dating. Echoes cannot be relied on, 
but Jonson's quotation of Julius Caesar in E.M.O., 
'Reason long since is fled to animals, you know*, is more 
than an echo. Only one play carries its own evidence. 
This is Henry V, where a chorus indicates not only a ter- 
minal date, but also an initial date, after which the pro- 
duction can be placed. As a rule the initial dates are much 
less certain than the terminal ones. Henslowe's 'ne's are 
fixed, but it is only the earliest of Shakespeare's plays with 
which Henslowe can have been concerned. An account 
of the Globe fire shows that Henry VIII was then a new 
play. For the rest we can only rely upon the dates at which 
'sources' became available, in most cases too remote to 
be helpful, and upon allusions in the plays themselves to 
datablehistorical events. These require handlingwith great 
caution. Few are so definite as to be primary evidence; 
others at the most come in as confirmatory, after a pro- 
visional date has been arrived at on safer grounds. We 
can be pretty sure that the references to Scottish kings of 
England in Macbeth are Jacobean, and if so, the reference 

' Cf.p.17* 


to equivocators in the same play is likely to be to the 
equivocators of the Gunpowder Plot, We can be a little 
less sure that the bit about the currish wolf in Merchant 
of Venice reflects the Lopez conspiracy, but if so, a phrase 
about a coronation may echo that of Henri IV. Yet both 
equivocation and coronations were common phenomena, 
to which any dramatist might refer at any date. So, too, 
were the plague and tempests and even eclipses, although 
an allusion is fairly plausible in Midsummer-Night's Dream 
to the rather unusual bad weather of 1594-5, which im- 
pressed the chroniclers, and an allusion in King Lear to 
the double eclipse of sun and moon in 1605, which was 
heralded by the astrological prophets. But Shakespeare 
does not seem to have been greatly given to 'topical' allu- 
sions, and the hunt for them becomes dangerous, especially 
if it is inspired by a desire to link the plays with con- 
temporary literary controversies in which he may have 
taken but little interest, or with incidents in the chequered 
careers of the Earls of Southampton and Essex, revealed 
to us by the ransacking of political archives, but of doubt- 
ful familiarity to the Elizabethan populace or its play- 
wrights. 1 

It is, however, possible, on external evidence alone, to 
draw up a trial-table of primary indications limiting initial 
and terminal dates for nearly but not quite all of the plays. 
They are not all equally convincing, but I have excluded 
a good many others which are less so. I put them in 
columnar form, the 'initial' indications on the left, the 
'terminal' indications on the right. The order, for con- 
venience of reference, is that of my final table. 2 

2 Henry 71. 

Registration (12 March 1594). 
Print (1594). 

3 Henry VI. 

Parody by Greene (ob. 3 Sep- 
tember 1592). 
Print (1595). 
* Cf. p. 67. * Cf. p. 269. 


I Henry PL 

Production (ne) by Henslowe Production by Henslowe 
(3 'March 1592). (3 March 1592). 

Allusion by Nashe in Pierce 
Penilesse (8 August 1592). 

Richard III 

Registration (20 October 1597). 
Print (1597). 

Comedy of Errors. 

Performance at Gray's Inn 
(28 December 1594). 

Titus Andronicus. 

Production (ne) by Henslowe Production by Henslowe 
(24 January 1 594). (24 January 1 594). 

Registration (6 February 1594). 
Print (1594). 

Two Gentlemen of Verma. 

Notice by Meres (7 September 

Love*s Labour *s Lost. 

Allusion to Chapman's Shadow Performance at court (Christ* 
of Night (1594). mas 1597-8 at latest). 

Print (1598). 

Romeo md Juliet. 

Print (1597). 

Richard II. 

No use in ist edition of Daniel's Use in 2nd edition of Daniel's 
Civil Wars (1595). Civil Wars (1595). 

Performance for Sir Edward 

Hoby (9 December 1595). 
Registration (29 August 1597). 
Print (1597). 

Midsummer-Nighfs Dream. 

Allusion to weather of 1594. Notice by Meres (7 September 
Allusion to baptism of Henry of 1 598). 
Scotland (30 August 1594)* 


King John. 

Notice by Meres (7 September 

Merchant of Venice. 

Allusion to death of Lopez Use of Gobbo as nickname for 
(7 June 1594). Sir Robert Cecil (27 October 


Registration (22 July 1598). 

1 Henry 17. 

Registration (25 February 

Print (1598). 

2 Henry IV. 

Survival of name Oldcastle 
(abandoned by 25 February 

Much Ado About Nothing. 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- 'Stay' in Stationers' Register 
ber 1598). (4 August 1600). 

Registration (23 August 1600). 
Print (1600). 

Henry 7. 

Allusion to campaign of Essex Allusion to campaign of Essex 
in Ireland (begun 27 March in Ireland (ended 28 Septem- 
1599). ber 1599). 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- 
ber 1598). 

Julius Caesar. 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- Performance seen by Thomas 
ber 1598). Platter (21 September 1599). 

Quotation in Jonson's E.M.O. 

Echo in Weever's Mirror of 

Martyrs (1599). 

As You Like It. 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- *Stay* in Stationers 9 Register 
ber 1598). (4 August 1600). 


Twelfth Night. 

Use of Robert Jones's First Book Performance at Middle Temple 
of Airs (1600). (2 February 1602). 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- 
ber 1598). 


Allusion to revival of boy actors Notice by Gabriel' Harvey (be- 
(1599). fore 25 February 1601). 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- Registration (26 July 1602). 
ber 1598). Print (1603). 

Merry Wives of Windsor. 

No notice by Meres (7 Septem- Registration (18 January 1602). 
ber 1598). Print (1602). 

Trot/us and Cressida. 

Echo in prologue of Jonson's Registration (7 February 1 603). 

Poetaster (1601). 
No notice by Meres (7 Septem- 
ber 1598). 

fMeres names no later plays, but his list is getting too 
remote to be worth citation.] 

Measure for Measure. 

Performance at court (26 De- 
cember 1604). 


Performance at court (i No- 
vember 1604). 

King Lear. 
Registration of source-play Leire Performance at court (26 De- 

(8 May 1605). cember 1606). 

Allusions to eclipses (27 Septem- Registration (26 November 
ber and 2 October 1605). 1607). 

Print (1608). 

Allusion to equivocation of Performance seen by Foraian 

Gunpowder conspirators (20 April 1611). 

(Jan.-March 1606). 
Allusion to reign of James I 

(25 March 1603). 


Antony and Cleopatra. 

Registration (20 May 1608). 


Performance seen by Venetian 
ambassador (5 January 1 6o6< > 
23 November 1608). 

Print of derivative novel (1608). 

Print (1609). 


Performance seen by Forman 
(2i<>29 April 1611). 

Winter's Tale. 

Performance seen by Forman 
(15 May 1611). 

Performance at court (5 No- 
vember 1611). 


Performance at court (i No- 
vember 1611). 

TJ -^ TJTT f T 

jnienry riii* 

Performance, as *new' play (29 Performance (29 June 1613). 
June 1613). 

Two Noble Kinsmen. 
Use of dance from mask by Beau- 
mont (20 February 1613). 

The table is a mere scaffolding. Four plays, Taming of 
the Shrew, All's WellThatEnds Well, Coriolanus, and Timon 
of Athens, do not appear in it at all; and for many others, 
especially in the Jacobean period, a considerable range of 
dating remains open* On the other hand, it provides confir- 
mation of the Palladis Tamia list for the early years, except 
as regards the Two Gentlemen of Verona and King John. It 
establishes fixed points for i Henry | VI, Titus Andronicus, 
Henry V, and Henry VIII\ and fairly narrow limits for 
Much Ado About Nothing, Julius Caesar, Merry Wives of 
Windsor, As Tou Like It, Twelfth Night, and Hamlet, on 


the reasonable assumption that if these had existed when 
Meres wrote, he would have named them. It points to an 
early run of Yorkist histories and a later run of Lancastrian 
histories. And it at least suggests several other tentative 
groupings. There is a common lyrical quality in Love's 
Labour's Lost, Romeo and Juliet, Midsummer-Night's 
Dream, and Richard II, which are all in Meres's list. 
There is a common vein of realistic comedy in Henry IF 
and the Merry Wives of Windsor, which are further linked 
by the recurrence of identical characters. There is a com- 
mon vein of courtly comedy in As Tou Like It and Twelfth 
Night. Both of these groups must come very near the 
end of the sixteenth century. Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and 
Troilus and Cressida again must all be late Elizabethan 
tragedies, and Othello seems to begin a series of Jacobean 
tragedies, to which King Lear, Macbeth, and Antony and 
Cleofatra, coming in no certain order, belong. Finally Cym- 
beline, Pointer's Tale, and Tempest, which emerge in rapid 
succession at the tail-end of the list, have again a common 
quality of romantic tragi-comedy, which makes it probable 
that they were not far apart in origin. These are not all 
equally valid inferences, since some of them rest, not so 
much upon positive indications, as upon the absence of 
earlier indications. But if they are provisionally accepted 
and the plays studied in accordance with the time-order 
of the groups, it is possible to arrive at an outline concep- 
tion of Shakespeare's development, as regards both drama- 
tic temper and the use of language, which in its turn 
makes a starting-point for further progress. This is not 
a book of aesthetic criticism, and I do not propose to 
retrace an argument which has been already worked out 
by many writers. Instead I will draw upon the admirable 
treatment of Professor Dowden. He distinguishes four 
stages in Shakespeare's career, which he calls respectively 
'In the workshop', 'In the world', 'Out of the depths', and 
'On the heights'. The first is the period of 'dramatic 
apprenticeship and experiment', the 'second that of the 
later historical plays and the mirthful and joyous comedies, 
the third that of grave or bitter comedies and of the great 


tragedies, the fourth that of 'the romantic plays, which 
are at once grave and glad, serene and beautiful poems'. 
He has a corresponding 'impression* of changes in diction. 

In the earliest plays the language is sometimes as it were a dress 
put upon the thought a dress ornamented with superfluous carej 
the idea is at times hardly sufficient to fil! out the language in which 
it is put; in the middle plays (Julius Caesar serves as an example) 
there seems a perfect balance and equality between the thought and 
its expression. In the latest plays this balance is disturbed by the 
preponderance or excess of the ideas over the means of giving them 
utterance. The sentences are close-packed; 'there are rapid and 
abrupt turnings of thought, so quick that language can hardly follow 
fast enough; impatient activity of intellect and fancy, which, having 
once disclosed an idea, cannot wait to work it orderly out'; 'the 
language is sometimes alive with imagery'. 1 

Of course Professor Dowden has a great deal more to say 
about Shakespeare's mental and stylistic history than this; 
I have only given so much as I think can be justified from 
a grouping of the plays on external evidence alone. A full 
literary and psychological analysis can only follow and not 
precede the establishment of a chronology. And in the 
meantime we are bound to a circular process. A pre- 
liminary dating sets up impressions of temper and style, 
and the definition of these helps to elaborate the dating. 
This is inevitable, once we depart from the external evi- 
dence. The chronology can only become a complex hypo- 
thesis, pieced together from materials not in themselves 
conclusive, and depending for its acceptance on the success 
with which it combines convergent and reconciles con- 
flicting probabilities. General impressions, such as Pro- 
fessor Dowden formulates, make it at once possible to give 
some expansion to the groups already realized. Two 
Gentlemen of Verona finds its natural affinities with the 
experimental plays, King John with the later histories, All 'j 
Well That Ends Well with Measure for Measure^ Coriolanus 

1 Dowden, Shakespeare Primer, 37, mances too, the intricate weaving of 

47. My own feeling is that the balance clauses is a closely fitting vesture for 

of thought and expression is recovered the involutions and qualifications of 

in the magnificent phrasing of Antony the ideas. 
and Cleopatra\ and that in the ro- 


and Timon of Athens with the Jacobean tragedies, Pericles 
with the romances. Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About 
Nothing approximate, perhaps rather less closely, to the 
joyous comedies. 

Obviously the mere grouping of plays is only the first 
stage of the chronological problem. There remain the 
more difficult tasks of determining an order of succession 
within the groups and between the members of over- 
lapping groups, and of fitting this order into the time 
allowed by the span of Shakespeare's dramatic career. 
Here it is legitimate to make some cautious use of minor 
topical allusions and echoes forwards and backwards, 
which were rejected as not sufficiently convincing to fur- 
nish primary evidence. An attempt is made to assemble 
these, play by play, elsewhere. 1 The cumulative results 
can at the most only support conclusions of higher or 
lower degrees of probability. The main effort ot recent 
scholarship has been to supplement external evidence by 
a closer analysis of style, and to establish chronological 
'tests' analogous to those which have already been dis- 
cussed as determinative of authorship. 2 The outcome is 
not without value, although a doubt must be expressed at 
the outset whether it is ever possible to determine an order 
for work of more or less level date upon stylistic considera- 
tions alone. The style of every writer has its intelligible 
development, no doubt. But it is not always a matter of 
smooth progression. Subject-matter has its reaction upon 
style. During all the first half of Shakespeare's career, he 
moves more freely in comedy than in history. Moreover, 
allowance has to be made for the influence of moods and 
for deliberate experiment. The resultant leaps forward 
and set-backs become apparent when a chronological order 
is already known, but may be very misleading as material 
from which to reconstruct one. Certainly particular 
aspects of style can be singled out and studied in isolation, 
and by such a process the general impression of charac- 
teristic style and of its phases is naturally both strengthened 
and refined. There is the aspect of structure, for example, 

' Cf. ch. ix. *' Cf. p. 220. 


in the types of character employed and the choice of 
dramatic situations. One may note that in the earlier plays 
comic relief is often afforded by the use of a lout and that 
in the later plays a court fool takes his place; or again 
that a rather artificial balancing between pairs of young 
men or young women tends to disappear after the experi- 
mental stage. On the other hand, such features are not 
always purely stylistic; they depend in part on the nature 
of the story adapted for the plot, and probably in part also 
on the succession of actors available. Nor are they all 
significant of period. The favourite device of concealed 
identity runs through the plays from beginning to end, 
One may take, again, Shakespeare's imagery, and compare 
its range at different periods. No doubt similes and meta- 
phors from country sights and sounds prevail in his earliest 
and perhaps his latest plays and those from urban life in 
his middle plays, although it must not be forgotten that 
the unconscious memory is a reservoir, giving up from its 
store things both new and old. There are aspects of dic- 
tion too, to be observed; an early habit of ringing the 
changes upon some particular word, a later habit of coin- 
ing new words, and so forth. All such investigations make 
for a closer and more confident grouping of plays, but they 
do not really help us to get beyond the grouping. 

I do not think that anything different can be said of the 
particular features of style out of which it has in fact been 
attempted to construct 'tests'. Of these there are three: 
parallels, vocabulary, metre. The parallel test is the inven- 
tion of the late Professor Conrad, 1 He proposed to deter- 
mine the time-relation of plays, not on the basis of 
conspicuous parallels, but by enumerating all the parallels,- 
both of thought and sentiment, which he regarded as the 
more significant, and of verbal expression, between each 
pair of plays, and forging a chronological chain in which 
each play would be linked on either side with those to 
which its parallels were most frequent. Professor Conrad, 
so far as I know, never published his full enumeration. 
A sample prepared for Twelfth Night was very far from 

. i. 232. 


complete. 1 And it is difficult to see how completeness 
could be secured. Verbal parallels can no doubt be traced 
by the patient exploitation of a concordance. But what 
scholar can claim the gifts of observation and memory 
required to assemble out of thirty-six plays all the parallels 
of thought and sentiment for which verbal clues are lack- 
ing ? Even if an exhaustive enumeration were available, 
it could not be stated in statistical terms. The units would 
not be convertible counters. They might be anything 
from mere repetitions of commonplaces to significant pas- 
sages pointing to some kind of association of ideas between 
the passages concerned. There is no valid criterion for 
demarcation of the two categories. Moreover, when an 
association of ideas exists, it may be due to some other 
cause than a common date of origin. It may arise from 
a similarity of situation, or a revival may have recalled old 
work to Shakespeare's mind. Broadly speaking, it is 
probably true that parallels are most frequent between 
contemporaneous plays. But this, again, does not take us 
beyond grouping. To some extent the same criticisms 
apply to Professor Sarrazin's vocabulary test; but not 
wholly, because recurrent words are much more nearly 
convertible counters than parallels of thought and phrase, 
and Professor Sarrazin limits his field to what he calls 
'dislegomena' and 'trislegomena', that is, words only used 
twice or thrice by Shakespeare. 2 In other respects his 
method is much like Professor Conrad's. The words listed 
include many rare or invented words, and also some which 
are not unusual, and the incidence of which is determined 
by the need for expressing the ideas which they connote. 
The latter are hardly significant. Once more, the recur- 
rences are commonest in plays of more or less the same 
date, although by no means confined to these. And once 
more we do not get beyond grouping* 

A great deal of work has been done upon what are 
roughly called Verse' or 'metrical' tests. Differences in 
the handling of blank verse afford units which readily 

1 y. xxxi. 177; cf. Sarrazin's criti- a y. xxxiii. 120$ xxxiv. 119. 
cism in J. xxxii. 163. 


lend themselves to statistical treatment. Variations in the 
length of lines, in the number of syllables carried by lines, 
in the value given to unstressed vowels, in the distribution 
of stresses and pauses, can all be enumerated and tabu- 
lated. 1 The extent of departure from the blank verse form 
by the introduction of prose and rhyme can also be 
measured. An intermixture of mediums is characteristic 
of Shakespeare from an early stage. Only about two-thirds 
of the hundred thousand lines or so occupied by the plays 
are in blank verse. The modification of blank verse itself 
is on the whole progressive. It culminates in the Jacobean 
tragedies, and in some of the more excited scenes of these, 
where transitions between prose and verse are also com- 
mon, the blank verse norm hardly remains recognizable. 
These metrical phenomena first attracted attention in the 
middle of the eighteenth century, when Richard Roderick 
noted the frequency of inverted first-foot stresses and 
'redundant* final syllables as characteristic of Henry VIII. 
Little use of them was made as a guide to chronology by 
Malone, except that he took a high proportion of rhyme 
as being a sign of early work. 2 The study was resumed 
nearly a hundred years after its initiation, notably in an 
essay by Charles Bathurst, in which the gradual changes 
in Shakespeare's manner, as regards both the employment 
of redundant final syllables and the coincidence of rhyth- 
mical pauses with line-endings, were well brought out. 
Much of the earliest work of the New Shakspere Society 
was also devoted to the subject. The chief contributor was 
F. G. Fleay. He was primarily concerned with 'tests' of 
authorship rather than of chronology. But he prepared a 
table, based upon the Globe text, in which he enumerated 
for each play the total lines, those of blank verse, prose, 
and rhyme, the abnormally short and long lines, and the 
redundant syllables, which he called 'double endings'. 
This was reprinted, with little alteration, in his Shake- 
speare Manual of 1876. Such a table, accurately done, 
would have been of great value as a basis for statistical 

1 I give what seem to me the most * Far. ii. 3*7. 
useful tables in Appendix H. 


analysis. Unfortunately Fleay's was extremely inaccurate, 
as may be seen from the fact that his totals often do not 
add up to anything like the Globe lines and sometimes 
diverge to the extent of hundreds. It is not very creditable 
to modern scholarship that these figures have been con- 
stantly reproduced down to Professor Tucker Brooke's 
Shakespeare of Stratford in 1926. Fleay in fact revised 
them, and printed new tables in C. M. Ingleby's Shake- 
speare the Man and the Book of 1 8 8 1 . Here he made some 
slight alterations in the basis, gave details for each scene, 
as weir as for each play, and claimed to have 'detected 
several errors' in the earlier version. The new figures are, 
however, still very far from accurate. 1 Other students, both 
English and German, now took up the investigation, and 
made an advance upon Fleay's methods by relating their 
results in percentage form to the total number of blank- 
verse lines in each play, and thereby making a statistical 
comparison between play and play possible. Professor 
K5nig, for example, thus dealt with several 'tests' in his 
Der Vers in Skaksperes Dramen of 1888. In more recent 
years a number of new tests have been worked out by 
Professor Conrad. Neither of these scholars gives the 
counts from which his tables of proportions are calculated, 
and Professor Conrad's tables ao not cover all the plays. 
Counts are supplied, however, in the dissertations, written 
under his influence, of Dr. Kerrl on King Juhn and Julius 
Caesar and of Dr.Norpothon Two Gentlemen o/Perona,znd 
for important features the lines counted are cited and some- 
times even quoted. This is, of course, the better method, 
as it facilitates checking, and makes it feasible to estimate 
the personal equation of the investigator. 

Some survey of the ground covered and of the diffi- 
culties to be faced may be attempted. There are no per- 
centage tables for the distribution of prose, and probably 
none would be helpful. It is used throughout the plays, 
except in two or three of the histories, and appears to have 
no chronological significance. If it is commonest in the 
second period, the reason is that comedies, to which it is 

1 Cf. vol. ii, p. 406. 

3X42.1 o 


particularly appropriate, then come most thickly. Merry 
Wives of Windsor is almost entirely, and 2 Henry IP \ Much 
Ado About Nothing, As Tou Like It, Twelfth Night, and 
All 's Well That Ends Well are predominantly, in prose. 
Hamlet has a great deal; Julius Caesar \ not far removed in 
date, less than almost any other play. King Lear, Coriolanus, 
and Winter's Tale have much more than their respective 
neighbours Macbeth, Antony and Cleopatra, and the Tem- 
pest. In scenes where prose and verse are mingled, it is 
not always easy to say whether a short sentence. should be 
treated as prose or truncated verse, or whether a rhythmic 
phrase in a prose environment is intended to be metrical 
or not. 1 Counts will differ according to the judgement of 
the counters on these points. For rhyme, Professor Konig 
gives percentages of rhymed decasyllabic lines to all lines, 
and Professor Conrad percentages of all rhymed lines to 
blank-verse lines. Probably alternate rhymes and certainly 
sonnets, songs, other short rhymes, and doggerel rhymes 
should be kept apart from the ordinary heroic couplets, 
since they are generally introduced for special purposes. 
Professor Heuser gives independent figures for heroic 
couplets. Doggerel, except for a few lines, some of which 
may be of doubtful authenticity, is only found in quite 
early plays. From the point of view of chronology, con- 
tinuous passages of rhymed dialogue should be distin- 
guished from sporadic couplets. The former rarely appear 
after Twelfth Night, and as a rule with some deliberate 
intention, such as the enunciation of sententious comment 
by choric elders. The latter are used throughout, but with 
diminishing frequency towards the end, as 'tags' to clinch 
long or significant speeches, or the final speeches of scenes. 
Here again counts may differ through uncertainty as to 
whether sporadic rhymes are intended as such, or are 
merely accidental. 

Chronologically, the departures from blank verse are of 
less importance than the variations within the blank-verse 
cadre itself. ^And among these again there is not much to 
be said about the abnormally short or long lines. Like all 



irregularities, they tend to increase, and reach a maximum 
in the Jacobean tragedies. But there is no even progres- 
sion* Richard III and Richard II alike show a con- 
siderable excess of both over many plays which follow 
them. The actual numbers have probably been perverted 
both by printers' errors and by the editorial rearrangement 
of lines, and some at least of the short lines may be the 
result of cuts. 1 Some writers distinguish between Alex- 
andrines with six marked stresses and other lines which 
they treat as five-foot lines carrying two redundant sylla- 
bles after the final feet. This seems to me unnecessary, 
since an ordinary five-footer often has no marked stress 
in the final foot. Professor Conrad has a percentage table 
for all six-footers, but the smallness of the total number 
deprives it of value. 2 In calculating, metrical variations 
generally, six-footers are best grouped with five-footers as 
normal blank verse. 

Variations of stress have not so far received much study. 
The investigation is a difficult one, because there is often 
much uncertainty as to where stress is intended to fall. 
The stress in disyllabic words and at least the main stress 
in longer words is fairly fixed, although in some words the 
Elizabethan was not quite the same as the modern usage. 
But monosyllables can be stressed or unstressed, according 
to a rhythmic intention. Actually, of course, there are 
degrees of stress, and upon this much of the finer modula- 
tion of verse depends. But for metrical analysis, one can 
hardly get beyond the distinction of relatively stressed and 
relatively unstressed syllables. The normal iambic line 
consists of five feet, in each of which an unstressed is fol- 
lowed by a stressed syllable. A continuous succession of 
such lines is rare in Shakespeare. There are many 'pyrrhic' 
feet in which both syllables are unstressed, and some 
'spondaic' in which both are stressed. Here we get level 
stress. There are also 'trochaic* feet, in which the stressed 
syllable precedes the unstressed syllable, instead of fol- 
lowing it. Here we get inverted stress. Shakespeare made 
progressive use of level stress, and up to the end of the 

1 Cf. p. 229. * Conrad, Maebet&> xxviiij cf. p. 266. 

s 2 


tragedies of inverted stress, as part of a general instinct 
to vary the iambic norm. Inverted stress is already fre- 
quent in Marlowe, chiefly in the first feet of lines, since 
trochees come most naturally after pauses. Shakespeare, 
as naturally, introduced them after his mid-line pauses, 
and occasionally elsewhere, although fifth-foot trochees 
remain exceptional throughout. Professor Conrad gives 
some figures as to these and as to trochees after the mid- 
line pause, and also as to what he calls 'Doppeljamben'. 1 
But these are no more than particular cases of level stress, 
in which a pyrrhic is followed by a spondee. I do not 
attach much weight to these figures, since I find myself 
constantly at variance with the scansion of foreign ob- 
servers and doubt whether they fully appreciate the inci- 
dence of English stress. In reading Shakespeare, I feel 
that there is a great deal of level stress, and that in many 
lines there are very few strong stresses. These features 
may vary at different periods, but the subject still wants 
working out. How far the actors emphasized stress, where 
it was optional, we cannot say. Polonius commended the 
'good accent* of a highly stressed speech; but he was no 

The most easily recognized type of syllabic variation is 
the use of the 'redundant* final syllables demonstrated by 
Bathurst. They make what are called 'feminine* or 
'double* or 'hendecasyllabic* endings. As a rule they are 
the unstressed final syllables of words, but include an 
increasing number of personal pronouns and even other 
unstressed monosyllables, Fletcher often employs stressed 
monosyllables, but Shakespeare very rarely. Percentage 
tables are given by Professors Kdnig, Hertzberg, and 
Conrad. Their results do not quite agree. Professor 
K6nig includes not only the ordinary double endings, 
which he calls 'klingende*, but also, as 'gleitende', the 
final feet of those six-foot lines, which do not form regular 
Alexandrines. And he excludes not only final syllables in 
-ed -est) and -ear, where these are capable of elision, but 
also those of a number of words, such as 'heaven*, 'devil', 

1 C6nrad, Macbeth^ mx, xxxv. * Ham. ii. 2. 489. 


'spirit', 'prayer', 'fire', 'hour', 'power', and the like, which 
can be pronounced either as monosyllables or disyllables. 
This he does on the ground that the monosyllabic pro- 
nunciation is predominant, although not invariable, when 
such a word comes in the middle of a line. My own feel- 
ing is that at the end of a line, where the line-break leaves 
room for an open utterance, the effect is disyllabic. One 
cannot here, I think, rely upon differences of spelling as 
a guide, since forms in -ier^ -ire and in -ower, -owre rhyme 
together in the poems. 1 On the other hand, I do not feel 
that word-endings in -ton and -ious, although these are also 
sometimes treated as disyllabic in the mid-verse at any 
rate of the earlier plays, make double endings. And so 
too with -ed iand -est. But clearly there is the possibility 
of divergent computations. Double endings are not always 
the result of an instinct for metrical variation. Sometimes 
they are due to the need for accommodating a refractory 
personal name within a line. Sometimes they emphasize 
a ringing of the changes upon words. The large number 
of them in King John, i. I, as compared with the rest of 
the play, comes from the recurrence of 'father', 'mother', 
and 'brother'. And it is curious to notice how often 
'money' and 'dinner* make double endings in the Comedy 
of Errors. Moreover, double endings are not felt by 
Shakespeare to be equally appropriate to all kinds of 
subject-matter. They are more frequent both in excited 
dialogue and soliloquy and in the give and take of social 
conversation, than in meditative or imaginative passages, 
or in (continuous narrative, or in grave oratory. 2 Redun- 
dant-syllables also occur before a mid-line pause, and 
Professor Conrad gives a percentage table for these; but 
they never become numerous. 3 More important is the 
'resolution' of feet by the insertion of additional unstressed 
syllables, whereby iambs become anapaests and trochees 
dactyls. These trisyllabic feet add much to the grace and 
flexibility of blank-verse rhythm, and a careful enumera- 

1 W. Victor, Shakespeare** Prwitm- (1874), 75> Mayor, 174; D. L. Cham- 
ciation, L 154, 264. bers, 44. 

* Cf. E, Abbott in N.S.S. Trans. 3 Conrad, Macbeth, xxvii. 


tion would probably show that Shakespeare made a pro- 
gressive and at times considerable use of them. Here, 
too. Professor Conrad has a table, for anapaests alone, 
which are by far the greater number. 1 I mistrust it, be- 
cause foreign students have a habit of treating as 'slurred* 
or elided many syllables which I should certainly sound, 
although lightly. The proportion of feet counted as tri- 
syllabic is thus much reduced. 

Variations in stresses and syllables affect the internal 
structure of lines. But the linking of line to line is also 
capable of variation. In the blank verse which Shake- 
speare inherited, the pauses almost invariably coincided 
with breaks between the lines. It was 'end-stopped' verse. 
There was a juxtaposition of clauses, principal and sub- 
ordinate, each occupying its full line, and it was by a suc- 
cession of such lines that Marlowe built up his rolling 
periods. Shakespeare escaped from the tyranny of the 
'drumming decasyllabon' by altering the incidence of 
pausation and introducing shorter clauses; and this was 
the main factor in the conversion of blank verse into a 
plastic medium, which both came nearer to the run of 
ordinary speech, and furnished a sensitive instrument for 
registering the rise and fall of emotion and following the 
turns of an intricate thought. The sense, in Milton's 
words, was now Variously drawn out from one line to 
another*. Statements that Shakespeare substituted the 
verse paragraph or the rhythmic phrase for the line as 
the unit of composition require some qualification. Just 
as the iambic norm of the individual line remains recog- 
nizable through the overlay of resolved feet and level or 
inverted stresses, so the recurrence of equivalent units, 
while modified by the manipulation of pauses, is not for- 
gotten. Such recurrence is of the essence of verse'. The 
form still controls the patterns which it comes to support. 
An obvious element in pause-variation is a reduction in 
the number of end-stopped lines. There are overflows of 
sense from one line to another. Some scholars speak of 
fr, or of *run-on* or offene lines. Where over- 

1 Conrad, Macbeth, anrix. 


flows occur, there can be no marked pause at the breaks 
between the lines. I agree with Dr. Bradley that a slight 
impression of pause always survives, but it is reduced 
to a minimum. The definition and valuation of overflows 
have been the subject of many discussions, and it cannot 
be said that there is any agreed basis. It is usually accepted 
that to constitute an overflow the sense of a single clause 
and the voice must run on together. But here are involved 
both the objective criterion of grammar, which analyses the 
sense, and the subjective criterion of elocutionary feeling, 
which rules the voice, is largely individual, and sometimes 
disregards grammar. Attempts have been made to rely for 
statistical purposes wholly upon the objective or wholly 
upon the subjective criterion. I think that the elocutionary 
feeling must have the last word. But there is clearly a large 
class of necessary overflows, in which the voice and the 
sense can hardly help coinciding. They occur when the 
line-break directly divides parts of a single clause placed 
in their logical order; a subject and the verb of its pre- 
dicate, the elements of a compound subject, a noun and 
its epithet adjective, a preposition and the noun it pre- 
cedes, a verb and its direct or indirect objective, an auxi- 
liary and a main verb, a relative or conjunction and the 
rest of the subordinate clause which it introduces. There 
are other cases in which there is still some running-on of 
the sense and no room for a marked pause, but in which 
more account may be taken of the line-break. An inver- 
sion of order diminishes the connexion between the 
divided parts of the clause. Or a vocative or short ad- 
verbial or adjectival qualification intervenes between one 
of these and the break. Or what is divided oflF may itself 
be such a qualification. Or a dependent noun clause may 
be divided from its governing verb. Or the division maj 
come between co-ordinate words occupying the same posi- 
tion in the clause. The treatment of such casqs as over- 
flows is largely optional. It is a matter of degree. The 
length of the divided-oflF member becomes a factor. Over- 
flow is encouraged by a mid-line pause shortly before the 
break and discouraged by a stress on the final syllable. In 


the following passage from the Tempest^ I have marked 
with one and two asterisks the lines in which overflow 
seems to me respectively optional and necessary, and of 
the former, in a solemn invocation I should only be sure of 
taking as overflows the second, fourth, eleventh, twelfth, 
and fourteenth, should reject the third and seventeenth, 
and should feel doubtful about the seventh, thirteenth, and 
sixteenth. I might, indeed, accept them at one reading 
and reject them at another. 1 

Ye elves of hills, brooks, standing lakes and groves, 

* And ye that on the sands with printless foot 

* Do chase the ebbing Neptune and do fly him 

* When he comes bade; you demi-puppets that 
By moonshine do the green sour ringlets make, 

** Whereof the ewe not bites, and you whose pastime ' 

* Is to make midnight mushrooms, that rejoice 
To hear the solemn curfew; by whose aid, 

** Weak masters though ye be, I have bedimmed 
The noontide sun, calTd forth the mutinous winds, 
And 'twixt the green sea and the azured vault 
Set roaring war: to the dread rattling thunder 
Have I gjven fire and rifted Jove's stout oak 
With his own bolt; the strong-based promontory 
Have I made shake and by the spurs pluck'd up 
The pine and cedar: graves at my command 
Have waked their sleepers, oped, and let *em forth 
By my so potent art 

I believe that my conception of an overflow and certainly 
of a necessary overflow is more restricted than those upon 
which Professors Kdnig and Conrad have based tables. 
Professor Conrad's percentages are the lower of the two. 
I find that Professor D. L. Chambers and Dr. Bradley 
also regard Professor Kfoig's net as cast too wide. He 
claims, however, only to include schrofe overflows, where 
the metrical pause is overridden, and not milde ones, 
where some account is taken of it. Professor Conrad's 
kichte overflows seem intended to be the equivalent of 
Professor Kdnig's schnffe* and his schwtre overflows the 

r. x. 35-50. 


equivalent of the 'light' and 'weak' endings studied by 
Professor J. K. Ingram. These are unstressed final mono- 
syllables. The light endings, upon which Professor In- 
gram thinks that the voice can very slightly dwell, are 
mainly pronouns and auxiliaries. The weak endings, which 
he thinks essentially proclitic, are prepositions and con- 
junctions. There are few of either class, and the weak 
endings only appear in the latest plays. Both represent, 
I think, nothing more than extreme cases of necessary 
overflows. A calculation of overflows is not by itself a 
complete measure of pause-variation. There are some of 
them, even necessary overflows, in pre-Shakespearean 
blank verse. But they do not much affect the character 
of the rhythm, because when the sense passes the line- 
break, it generally runs on, not to a mid-line pause, but 
to the end of the next line. Shakespeare's mid-line pauses 
grow in number. To the end there are more of them in 
broken dialogue, than in long speeches. Their incidence 
is greatest after the second and third feet. Pauses after 
the first or before the fifth foot, or even in the middle of 
these, are a comparatively late feature. One aspect of the 
development is a tendency to end a speech in mid-line. 
Professors Pulling and K6nig have tables for such end- 
ings, relating their percentages to the number of speeches, 
of which Professor Pulling gives a count. Professor Con- 
rad's table for divided lines is not on the same basis, since 
the line in which a speech ends is often not taken up by 
the next speaker, but remains short. There has not been 
much systematic study of internal mid-line pauses, although 
their importance was long ago pointed out by Sped- 
ding. 1 Drs. Kerrl and Norpoth count the pauses which 
require more than a comma to punctuate them in the 
special plays they study, and relate those in mid-line to 
the total number. Possibly a table showing the proportion 
of lines containing such strong pauses to the total lines 
would be a better guide. I have attempted to construct 
a rough one. 2 The distribution of lighter pauses, of 
course, also affects the rhythm, but these it is less easy 

. Trans. (1874), 26. * App. H, Tahk V, 


to be sure of. In any case one is dependent upon the 
punctuation of modern editors, which may not always 
faithfully represent Shakespeare's intention. 1 

Professor Conrad has a few miscellaneous tables. One 
of these attempts to represent the proportion of irregular 
to regular lines; and by an irregular line he means one 
which contains two trochees or two of his 'Doppeljamben', 
or a trochee elsewhere than in the first foot or after a mid- 
line pause, or one of the few anapaests he allows, or a one- 
syllable foot. It is a rather arbitrary distinction. Another 
table is for 'amphibious sections', the cases in which a 
half-line serves both as the end of one full line and the 
beginning of the next. Others bear upon pronunciation 
rather than upon metre, and show the gradual disuse of 
the unelided word-ending in -ed. z 

The verse-tests are by no means all of equal value, and 
much caution is required in drawing inferences from them. 
In the first place the variations occur discontinuously, and 
the law of averages must be respected. The greater the 
number of variations, and the greater the number of 
opportunities for variation, the more reliable an average 
figure, such as a percentage, is likely to be. In the present 
investigation, the measure of opportunities for variation is 
generally the number of lines, sometimes the number of 
speeches, taken into account. Percentages for total plays 
are therefore far more comparable than those for single 
acts; those for individual scenes or shorter passages have 
little meaning, because they do not leave room for the 
discontinuities to average out. Some passages in a play 
may show a continuous or nearly continuous series of 
overflows or double endings; in others there may be none 
over a considerable stretch. It is futile to point out that 
the former show an exceptionally high percentage of the 
variations, and to use this as an argument in favour of a 
diversity of authorship or a diversity of date, Mr. Robert- 
son^ handling of metrical evidence is much open to this 
criticism. For the same reason, one must look with sus- 
picion upon the attempts of Professor Conrad and his 

1 Cf. p. 190. * Comad, Macbeth, xxviii, xxx. 


followers to establish intervals between the composition 
of different acts of plays upon metrical grounds, and to 
isolate particular passages as metrically of later date than 
the rest. Even where complete plays are in question, the 
metrical tables are very likely to be misleading as to those 
in which the total amount of blank verse is small. Simi- 
larly, comparative figures are of little value, when the 
variations upon which they are based are only of rare 
occurrence. Accident may be too great a factor in these 
to make averaging reliable. Such are six-foot lines, extra 
syllables before mid-line pauses, anapaests as reckoned by 
Professor Conrad, light and weak endings. Nor must 
importance be given to small percentage fluctuations. 
The Conradist tables are expressed in per-mills instead of 
j>er-cents. This obscures the issue. In a play of 3,000 
lines, three occurrences of a variation make the difference of 
a whole unit in the per-millage. Even where percentages 
are used, they should be rounded off, and not calculated 
to decimals, which give an appearance of scientific pre- 
cision far from justified by the nature of the material. 

A second caution is that variations which become part 
of the unconscious or subconscious instinct of a writer are 
more likely to be significant of a chronological develop- 
ment than those which involve deliberation. Fleay, like 
Malone, was impressed by the abundance of rhyme in 
some of the early plays, and assumed that the proportion 
of rhyme was a measure of earliness. He went so for as to 
make Midsummer-Night's Dream the first of the comedies, 
and others have given the same position to Love's Labour f s 
Lost. But no man can substitute rhyming for blank-verse 
dialogue without realizing what he is doing, and it is most 
reasonable to suppose that at some date Shakespeare de- 
cided to make a deliberate experiment in lyrical drama. 
A very natural stimulus would be afforded by his experi- 
ence of lyrical work in the narrative poems. The actual 
percentage of rhyme in the plays affected by such an 
experiment is of no importance. There seems to have been 
a notion that rhyme was a characteristic of the pre- 
Shakespearean drama, which Shakespeare gradually dis- 


carded. It is true that mid-Elizabethan popular plays were 
written in various forms of doggerel. These, and not 
heroic couplets, were the 'iygging vaines of riming mother 
wits', which Marlowe .repudiated. There is little use of 
the heroic metre in the plays of Shakespeare's immediate 
predecessors. Marlowe has only a few sporadic couplets, , 
including some curious ones in which a line of blank verse 
interrupts the rhyme. Kyd's Spanish Tragedy has one con- 
tinuous scene, and there are some passages in Greene's 
James IV^ in Greene and Lodge's Looking-Glass^ and in 
scenes of i Henry VI^ which may not be Shakespeare's. 
There is more in the anonymous Selimus, and by Peele, 
mainly in Arraignment of Paris. But this is a court play for 
boys, and so, if it is of early date at all, is the anonymous 
Maid's Metamorphosis^ which only uses heroics. Sub- 
stantially, the medium of Shakespeare's models was blank 
verse. The rhyme of the lyric plays represents a fresh start 
and not a looking backwards. And it seems to bear some 
relation to a feature in his use of double endings. The 
growth of these does not follow a very smooth curve at any 
point. But it is particularly noticeable that, while he begins 
with a fairly high proportion, there is a marked drop, not 
only for the lyric plays, but also for King John and I Henry 
IF \ which must follow them pretty closely. Heroics them- 
selves, of course, have rare double endings. But it looks as 
if the constant recurrence of final stress, which is normally 
entailed by English rhyme, had reacted upon the manner of 
Shakespeare's blank verse. And the sudden rise in the per- 
centage for 2 Henry IF can only suggest that here too 
there is, an element of deliberate purpose. Conscious 
variation of metre is further illustrated by prologues 
and epilogues, by inserted plays and masks, and by the 
characteristic bombast of Pistol. These are meant to 
contrast with the ordinary dialogue, and should be left 
out of account in computing the variations of its blank 

JProbably the variations that most easily become uncon- 
scious are those of pausation. But here a third caution 
must be observed. A test, to be reliable, must be uni- 


formly applied throughout, and this is difficult, unless it 
is objective; rests, that is to say, upon units which can be 
identified and enumerated with certainty. But we have 
seen that the overflow test is extremely subjective; much 
depends upon the personal equation of the enumerator. 
It may be thought that this does not much matter, so long 
as the enumerator is the same throughout, since only one 
personal equation can be in question. It is not really so. 
Nothing can be more difficult, as any one who has dealt 
with large batches of literary examination papers will 
know, than to maintain a continuous subjective standard 
through a long series of qualitative judgements. Even 
Rhadamanthus has his moods. And there is the effect of 
environment to be reckoned with. The same man may 
very well be impressed by an overflow in a play com- 
paratively free from them, which he would certainly pass 
over where they come more thickly. 

In view of all the uncertainties attaching to the metrical 
tests, I do not believe that any one of them or any com- 
bination of them can be taken as authoritative in deter- 
mining the succession of plays which come near to each 
other in date; and I have chiefly used them as controls 
for the indications of external evidence. In the following 
table I have attempted to bring together the results of 
chapter ix and to fit them into the facts of Shakespeare's 
dramatic career as given in chapter iii. There is much of 
conjecture, even as regards the order, and still more as 
regards the ascriptions to particular years. These are partly 
arranged to provide a fairly even flow of production when 
plague and other inhibitions did not interrupt it. It is on 
the whole more practicable to take theatrical seasons, 
roughly from early autumn to the following summer, rather 
than calendar years, as a basis. I assume some slackening 
towards the end of Shakespeare's career, and do not treat 
literally Ward's statement that he supplied his company 
with two plays a year. 1 

1 Cf. App. C, no. ix. 



2 Henry VI. 

3 Henry 71. 

i Henry VI. 

Richard III. 
Comedy of Errors. 


Titus Andronicus. 
Taming of the Shrew. 


Two Gentlemen of Verona. 
Love's Labour's Lost. 
Romeo and Juliet. 

Richard II. 
Midsummer-Night's Dream. 

King John. 
Merchant of Venice. 

j Henry IV. 
2 Henry IV. 


Much Ado About Nothing. 
Henry V. 

Julius Caesar. 
As You Like It. 
Twelfth Night. 

Merry Wives of Windsor. 


1 60 1-2. 
Troilus and Cressida* 

All 's Well That Ends Well 



Measure for Measure. 

King Lear. 

Antony and Choftatra. 

Timon oj Athens. 



Winter** Tale. 



#**ry Fill. 

Two Noble Kinsmen. 

Something may be added about the main points of 
difficulty. The first is as to the position of Taming of the 
Shrew. It has often been put nearer to 1 598 than to 1 594, 
because of the resemblance of its provincial environment 
to that of 2 Henry IV. The neighbourhood of Stratford 


must, however, always have been within the scope of 
Shakespeare's memory. The problem is complicated by 
that of identifying the Love Labours Won of Meres's 
list. It is most natural to take this as an alternative title 
for some extant play. Such alternative titles, which may 
sometimes be no more than unofficial descriptions, are not 
uncommon, although the only ones which have got into 
the prints of the plays are The Contention of Tork and 
Lancaster for 2, 3 Henry VI and What Tou Will for 
Twelfth Night. But elsewhere we get, certainly or prob- 
ably, Robin Goodfellow for Midsummer-Night's Dream, Old- 
castle, Fahtaff and Hotspur for Henry IV, Benedicte 
and Eetteris for Much Ado About Nothing, Malvolio for 
Twelfth Night, All is True for Henry VIIL 1 Claims have 
been made for the equation of Love Labours Won 
with Love's Labour 's Lost, Midsummer-Night's Dream, 
Twelfth Night y Much Ado About Nothing, All's Well That 
Ends Well, Tempest, and Taming of the Shrew itself. The 
two first may be at once dismissed; they assume that 
Meres meant to attach a second title to the entries which 
follow and precede that of Love Labours Won, and 
this his wording makes impossible. There is little to go 
upon, except the implications of the title itself, and the 
possibility of finding a play of early date not otherwise 
named by Meres. The titles of Shakespeare's comedies 
have rarely any significance; As Tou Like It and What 
Tou Will are floutingly vague. Almost any love comedy 
might bear the title in question; it is least appropriate to 
Much Ado About Nothing, which is, however, on the border 
of Meres's range, and might fall within it The wit- 
combats between Benedick and Beatrice, resembling those 
between Berowne and Rosaline in Love's Labour V Lost, 
have been called in aid, and the references which the two 
plays have in common to Cupid as the god of love and to 
Hercules, who no doubt performed labours. Similarly, it 
is pointed out that the resemblance of twins is a motive 
common to Twelfth Night and the Comedy of Errors. But 
is it not more likely that an interval would have been 

1 Cf. vol. i, pp. 329, 343, 344, 346, 347, 382. . 


allowed to expire before such situations were repeated? 
The 'labours' found in The Tempest are Ferdinand's 
athletic wrestlings with the logs. There is really no reason 
for assuming an early version of Twelfth Night or of The 
Tempest. It is upon the assumption of such a version that 
the case for All 's Well That Ends Well has been defended, 
and this also I reject. A suggestion of an old as well as 
a new title might indeed be found in 'All is well ended, if 
this suit be won', and in Helena's statement just before 
that Bertram is 'doubly won'. Taming of the Shrew also 
has several references to winning, although more obviously 
the winning of Petruchio's wager than of his wife's love. 1 
If we set aside Much Ado About Nothing as too remote in 
theme from the title, Taming of the Shrew is the only 
comedy which, as it stands, could fill a gap in Meres's 
list. And the stylistic evidence, so far as one can judge it 
through the uncertainty as to the extent of Shakespeare's 
authorship, is in favour of a quite early date. With some 
hesitation I have put Merry Wives of Windsor at a little 
distance from the other Falstaff plays, and I think that this 
is justified by the borrowing from Hamlet in a report 
which must rest on early performances, since the ob- 
noxious name Brooke still survived. And if an explanation 
is necessary for the continuance of light-hearted comedy 
after the period of gloom had begun, the need to obey a 
royal behest may supply it. The time-relation of King Lear 
and Macbeth is not very clear. The verse-tests, as shown by 
Dr. Bradley, confirm the priority I have given to King Lear , 
but I cannot put much confidence in their application to 
a play like Macbeth^ which can hardly be in its original 
form. Nor am I at all clear about the dating of Timon of 
Athens. This Dr. Bradley would place between King Lear 

to that of King Lear ) and partly again on metrical grounds* 2 
But an unfinished play is even less likely than an abridged 

1 All's Wel^ v. 3. 315, 336$ Tom. If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain; 

cf Shrew, iv, 5. 23; v, 2. 69, 112, 116, If lost, why then a grievous labour 

1 86. But the winning of love's labour won. 

connotes an unsuccessful suit in Two * Bradley, 443, 470. 
Gent, of Per. i. x. 32, 

3X42.1 T 


play to answer to the metrical tests, and it would be hard 
to find room for Timon of Athens in the already rather 
full year 1605-6. I agree as to the temper. Both King 
Lear and Timon of Athens seem to show symptoms of mental 
disturbance. But mental disturbance may come in waves* 
It may very likely only be a whimsy of my own that during 
the attempt at Timon of Athens a wave broke, that an illness 
followed, and that when it passed, the breach between the 
tragic and the romantic period was complete. 


[Bibliographical Note. Facsimiles of Fi were edited by H* Staunton 
(i 866), H. P. (i 876), and S. Lee (1902, Cl. Press), and a series of all four 
Folios was issued (Methuen) in 1 904-10. A series of single plays, edited by 
J. D. Wilson, is in progress. For many purposes the very accurate reprint 
byL.Booth(i862-4)willserve. TheSAalespeart Quarto Facsimiles (i&$o- 
9, 43 vols.), supervised by F. J. Fumivall, replace the lithographic series 
( 1 862-71, 48 vols.) done by E. W. Ashbee for H.P. But the photographic 
reproduction is not always satisfactory. Only the more important of the 
critical editions can here be named. Many of them underwent reprints 
and revisions, and a list of these and of other editions of less critical sig- 
nificance is in W. Jaggard, Shakespeare Bibliography (iqii),^. The best 
eighteenth-century work is surveyed in T. R. Lounsbury, The First Editors 
ofSL (1906); H. B. Wheatley, Sfs. Editors (1916, BiM. Soc. Trans, xiv. 
145); A.Nicoll, TheEditorsofSLfromFitoMalone(ig2^StudiesinFi 9 
157); D. Nichol Smith, Sh. in the Eighteenth Century (1928). The first 
edition was that of Nicholas Rowe (1709, 6 vols.). It was followed ;by 
those of Alexander Pope (1723-5, 6 vok); Lewis Theobald (1733! 7 
vols.), who had criticized Pope in his Si. Restored (1726); Sir Thomas 
Hanmer (1743-4* 6 vols.); William Warburton (1747, 8 vok); Edward 
Capell (1767-8, 10 vols.), who added separate Notes andFarious Readings^ 
of which vol. i appeared in 1774, and was withdrawn, to be reprinted in 
1779 and reissued in 1783, with additions printed in I78o,andavol.iii,not 
directly concerned with the plays, called The School of Shakespeare. Capell 
had been preceded by Samuel Johnson, whose first edition (1765, 8 vok) 
underwent a series of revisions. The first (1773, 10 vols.), but for a little 
help from Johnson himself, was by George Steevens, who had already 
published his Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare (1766, 4 vok) from 
Quartos. The second (1778, 10 vols.) was also by Steevens, not, as is 
sometimes said, by Isaac Reed. Edmund Malone contributed to it his 
first Attempt to Ascertain the Order in which the Plays of Shakespeare were 
Written, and added a Supplement (17*0, 2 vols.) with notes, the first draft 
of his History of the Stage> and the poems and doubtful plays. To this he 
issued an Appendix (1783). The third revision was by Isaac Reed (1785, 
ro vols.). The fourth was again by Steevens (1793, 15 vok), and the 
fifth (1803, 21 vols.) and sixth (1813, 21 vok) by Reed. A few notes 
given by Malone to the edition of 1785, and critical of Steevens, led to an 
enduring feud, and Malone's Dissertation on the Three Parts of Henry 71 
(1787) was followed by an independent edition (1790* 10 vok). A 
revision occupied Malone to his death in 1812, and was published, so far 
as complete, by the younger James Boswell (1821, 21 vok). The book- 



sellers have chosen to call the 1803 and 1813 editions of Johnson and 
Steevens the First and Second Variorum Shakespeare;, and the 1821 edition 
of Malone, although of different origin, the Third Variorum. This does, 
however, incorporate many prefaces and notes of Malone's predecessors, 
and may be regarded as the final word of eighteenth-century scholarship 
on Shakespeare. Of the earlier nineteenth-century editions may be 
noted those of S. W. Singer (1826), C. Knight (1838 ?-43), J. P. 
Collier (184.2-4, revised 1858), G. C. Verplanck (1847, N.Y.), H. N. 
Hudson (1852-7, Boston, revised 1881), J. O. Halliwell [-Phillipps] 
(1853-65, Folio), N. Delius (1854-65, Elberfeld), A. Dyce (1857, 
revised 1864-7), R. G. White (1857-66, Boston), H. Staunton (1858- 
60). But another term was reached in the Cambridge edition of W. G. 
Clark, J. Glover, and W. Aldis Wright ( 1 863-6, 9 vols., revised by Wright, 
1891-3), with minute collations, which are still the basis of textual study, 
although modern scholarship looks for a closer genetic analysis of the rela- 
tions between the texts. This is in part supplied by the introductions of 
F. J. Furnivall, P. A. Daniel, and others to the Sh. Q. Facsimiles. The 
conception of a parallel-text edition by J. Appleton Morgan and others 
(1886-1906, BanksideyN^f. 9 22 vols.) is better than its execution. More 
scientific parallel-texts for individual pkys are noted separately. The most 
useful current edition for general commentary is the Arden (1899-1924, 
39 vols.) under the successive general editorship of W. J. Craig and R. H. 
Case, but the volumes, by various hands, are also of various merit. The 
New Variorum edition (1871-1928, 19 plays issued) by H. H. Furness 
and his son of like name, is overloaded with dead matter, and the earlier 
volumes pass out of date more rapidly than the kter ones are added. Other 
editions of note are by F. A. Marshall and others (1887-90, Henry Irving, 
8 vols.}, I. Gollancz (1894-6, Temple, 40 vols.), C. H. Herford (1899, 
Everslej> 10 vols.), A. H. Bullen (1904-7, Stratford Town, 10 vols.). The 
Tale edition (1918-28, 40 vols.) is by various American hands. The New 
edition of A.T. Quiller Couch and J. D. Wilson (1921-30, 13 pkys 
issued) is good on textual criticism and interesting but speculative on textual 
history. It is unfortunate that many editions, attractive to readers, sys- 
tematically follow the Folio text for all pkys. A text in Elizabethan spelling 
is still a desideratum. The Old Spelling edition of F. J. Furnivall, W. G, 
Boswell-Stone, and F, W. Clarke (1907-1 2, 17 pkys issued) remains in- 
complete. Much valuable commentary is also to be found in grouped 
editions of selected pkys for students, the Clarendon Press by W. G. 
Ckrk and W. A. Wright, the Pitt Press by A. W. Verity, an unnamed 
series (Ckr. Press) by G. S. Gordon, and the Falcon and Warwick 
editions by various hands. The latter are cited under the pkys concerned. 
Of angle-volume texts, the standard is the Globe (1864) by W. G. Ckrk 
and W. A. Wright, not so much for its readings, which are sometimes opea 
to question, as for its line-numeration, which is generally used for references. 
Some original errors in this were tabukted in N.S.S. Transactions (1880-6) 
3 f , and appear to have been corrected in kter issues. This numeration is 


preserved in the Eversley edition, from which, in view of its greater con- 
venience to the eyesight, my references are taken. Other single-volume 
editions are by W. J. Craig (1892, Oxford), W. A. Neilson (1006, Cam- 
bridge, U.S.A.). 

I have given for each pky a list of monographs and other dissertations, 
especially recent ones. These lists must not be taken as exhaustive. They 
exclude papers of aesthetic discussion, and probably some others of value, 
unknown to me, in foreign periodicals. They include some which I have 
not consulted, particularly on sources. I give these to supplement my own 
very slight treatment of Quellenforschung^ 


[S.R. 1594.] xijMarcij. Thomas Myllington. Entredfor 
his copie vnder the handes of bothe the wardens a booke 
intituled, the firste parte of the Contention of the twoo 
famous houses of York and Lancaster with the deathe of 
the good Duke Humfrey and the banishement and Deathe 
of the Duke of Suffolk and the tragicall ende of the prowd 
Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable rebellion of 
Jack Cade and the Duke of Yorkes ffirste clayme vnto 
the Crowne vj d (Arber, ii. 646). 

[Qi. 1594.] The First part of the Contention betwixt 
the two famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the 
death of the good Duke Humphrey: And the banish- 
ment and death of the Duke of Suffolke, and the Tragicall 
end of the proud Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable 
Rebellion of lacke Cade: And the Duke of Yorkes first 
claime vnto the Crowne. [Creede's device (McKerrow 
299).] London, Printed by Thomas Creed, for Thomas 
Millington, and are to be sold at his shop vnder Saint 
Peters Church in Corn wall. 1594. [Head-mh^artin caps.] 
The First Part of the Contention of the two famous Houses 
of Yorke & Lancaster, with the death of the good Duke 
Humphrey. \Running-title\ The first part of the conten- 
tion of the two famous Houses, of Yorke and Lancaster. 
[As Colophon, device and imprint repeated.] 

[Qi. 1595.] ThetrueTragedieof Richard Duke of Yorke, 
and the death of good King Henrie the Sixt, with the 
whole contention betweene the two Houses Lancaster and 


Yorke, as it was sundrie times acted by the Right Honour- 
able the Earle of Pembrooke his seruants. [Millington's 
device (McKerrow 302).] Printed at London by P(eter) 
S(hort) for Thomas Millington, and are to be sold at his 
shoppe vnder Saint Peters Church in Cornwal. 1595. 
[Head-title y under ornament with Stationers' arms] The 
true Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the good 
King Henry the Sixt [Running-title'] The Tragedie of 
Richard D. of Yorke, and Henrie the sixt. 
[In8,not4. t0 .] 

Facsimiles. C. Praetorius (1889, Sh. Q. xxxvii, ed. F. J. Furnivall; 
1891, Sh. Q. xxxviii, ed. T. Tyler). 

Reprints. ]. O. HaUiwell (1843, Sh. Socji W. C. Hazlitt (1875, 
Sh*s. Library, v. 379; vi. i); W. A. Wright (Cambridge Sh. ix. 

[Qa. 1600.] The First part of the Contention betwixt the 
two famous houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death 
of the good Duke Humphrey: And the banishment and 
death of the Duke of Suffolke, and the Tragical end of 
the prowd Cardinall of Winchester, with the notable 
Rebellion of lacke Cade: And the Duke of Yorkes first 
chyme to the Crowne, [Simmes's device (McKerrow 1 42).] 
London Printed by Valentine Simmes for Thomas Mil- 
lington, and are to be solde at his shop vnder S. Peters 
church in CornewalL 1600. [Head-title] The first part of 
the Contention of the two famous Houses of Yorke and 
Lancaster, with the death of the good Duke Humphrey. 
\Runmng-title'] The first part of the contention of the two 
famous houses, of Yorke and Lancaster. 
[An alleged issue printed for Millington by W. W. in 1600 rests 
only on a MS. tp. pre6xed, together with one reproducing the 
Simmes's imprint, to one of Malone's examples (Bodl. Mai 36), 
which has lost its printed tp. Probably Malone was guessing.] 

[Q2. 1600.3 T &e True Tragedie of Richarde Duke of 
Yorke, and the death of good King Henrie the sixt: With 
the whole contention betweene the two Houses, Lancaster 
and Yorke; as Jt was sundry times acted by the Right 
Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke his seruantes. [Orna- 


ment] Printed at Londou (sic) by W(illiam) W(hite) for 
Thomas Millington, and are to be sold .at his shoppe 
vnder Saint Peters Church in Cornewall. 1600* {Head- 
title.'] The True Tragedie Of Richard Duke Of Yorke, 
And The Good King Henrie The Sixt. [Running- 
title] The Tragedie of Richard D. of Yorke, and Henrie 
the Sixt. 

[S.R. 1602.] 19 Aprilis . . . Thomas Pavier. Entredfor 
his copies by assignement from Thomas Millington these 
bookes folowinge, Saluo Jure cuiuscunque viz. . . . The 
firste and Second parte of Henry the vj* ij bookes xij d 
Entred by warrant vnder master Setons hand (Arber, iii. 

[Q3- i6i9] The Whole Contention betweene the two 
Famous Houses, Lancaster and Yorke. With the Tragicall 
ends of the good Duke Humfrey, Richard Duke of Yorke, 
and King Henrie the sixt. Diuided into two Parts: And 
newly corrected and enlarged. Written by William 
Shakespeare, Gent [W. Jaggard's device (McKerrow 
283).] Printed at London, for T(homas) P(avier). [A2 
Head-title] The first part of the Contention of the two 
Famous Houses of Yorke and Lancaster, with the death 
of the good Duke Humfrey. [I Head-title^ under orna- 
ment with royal arms] The Second Part. Containing 
the Tragedie of Richard Duke of Yorke, and the good 
, King Henrie the Sixt. [Running-title, for both parts'] 
The contention of the two famous Houses of Yorke 
and Lancaster. . 

[Datable by continuity of signatures with those of Pericles (1619).] 
Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1886, Sh. Q. xxiii, xxiv, ed. F. J. 

[S.R.I623.] M r William Shakspeers Comedyes His- 
tories, and Tragedyes soe manie of the said Copies as^are 
not formerly entred to other men. viz* . . . The thirde 
parte of Henry ye Sixt . . 

[For full entry, cf. p. 138. ( This must be I Henry VL There 
is no original entry of 3 Henry VI* but the transfer of 1602 must 
have been relied upon.] 


[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] The First part of King Henry 
the Sixt. . . . The Second part of King Hen. the Sixt. . . . 
The Third part of King Henry the Sixt. [Histories, pp. 
96-172, sign. k2 v -q4\ Head-titles] The first Part of 
Henry the Sixt. . , The second Part of Henry the Sixt, 
with the death of the Good Duke Humfrey. . . The 
third Part of Henry the Sixt, with the death of the Duke 
of Yorke. [Running-titles'] The first Part of Henry the 
Sixt . . The second Part of Henry the Sixt. . . The third 
Part of King Henry the Sixt. 

[j Henry VI. Acts and sec. I, and in iii and iv all sec. marked 
(altered in modern eds.) 2, 3 Henry VI. Act i, sc. i marked for each.] 

Parallel-Texts. [2 Henry VI] C. W. Thomas; [3 Henry VI] 
A. Morgan (1892, Bankside, xix, xx). 

Modern Editions. H. C. Hart (1909, j Henry VI\ 1909, 2 Henry 
Vh 1910, 1925, 3 Henry Vl\ Arden}\ C. F. T. Brooke (1918- 
23, Tale\ 

Dissertations. E. Malone, Dissertation on H. VI (1787, repr. Par. xviii. 
553); C. Knight, Essay on H. VI and R. 7//(i838?-43, Pict.SA.vii. 399); 
R. G. White, On the Authorship of H. VI (1859, repr. 8k. vii. 403); 
F. G. Fleay, Who Wrote H. VI? (i 875, Macmillan's) ; J. Lee, The Author- 
ship of 2, 3 H. VI anil their Originals (i ZfaN.S.S. Trans. 2 19) ; N. Delius, 
ZurKiitik der Doppeltexte des Sh*s. 2, 3 H. VI (1880, J. xv. 21 1 ; Abl. 
" 95)? J- B. Hennemann, The Episodes in i H. VI (1900, P.M.L.A. xv. 
290); W. J. Courthope, On the Authenticity of Some of the Early Plays 
Assigned to Sh. (1903, H.E.P. iv. 455); K. Schmidt, Margareta von Anjou 
vor und lei Sh. (1906); H. Conrad, Entstehung des 2, 3 H. VI (1909,>anz. undengl. Unterricht, viii.48i); C. F. Tucker Brooke, The 
Authorship of 2, 3 H. 71 (1912, Tram. Connecticut Acad. xvii. 141); 
P. Seyferth, In welchem Verhaltnis Steht 2 H. Pisa Cont. und 3 H. FI zu 
True Tragj (i<)i6 9 AngIia 9 &. 323); H. D. Gray, The Purport of Sh.'s 
Contribution to i H. VI (1917, PM.L^f. xxxii. 367); A. W. Pollard, The 
Tork and Lancaster Plays in the Sh. Folio (1918, Sept. 19, 26, r.Z.$.); 
E. v. Schaubert, Drayton's Anteil an 2, 3 H. VI (1920); P. Alexander, 
2 H. VI and the Copy for Cont. and 3 H. VI and True Trag. (1924, 
Oct. 9, Nov. 13, ZVtA) WA H. VI and R. Ill (1929); C. L. 
Kingsford, Fifteenth Century History in Sh.'s Plays (1925, Prejudice 
and Promise in Fifteenth Century England, i); I. Gourvitch, Dray ton 
and H. VI (1926, N.Q. cli. 201, 219, 239, 257); A. Gaw, The Origin 
and Development of i H. VI (1926, Univ. South Carolina Studies, i); 
E. K. Chambers, The Relation of Cont. to 2, 3 Hen. VI ^(1926, Proc. Oxford 
Bill. Soc. ii. i, in summary), Actors' Gag in Elizabethan Plays (1928, 
Mar. 8, * 



(a) 2, 3 Henry VI. 

The tradition of scholarship from the time of Malone has, 
with occasional dissent, regarded The Contention (Q) as an 
original two-part play, afterwards revised as 2, 3 Henry VI 
(F). I formerly accepted this view, 1 but a recent study, 
suggested by Alexander's papers and Greg's work on 
Merry Wit}e$ of Windsor and Orlando Furioso^ has convinced 
me that it is wrong. Q and F compare as follows. The 
main structure, in plot, order of episodes, distribution of 
characters, even succession of speakers, is, subject to cer- 
tain lacunae and dislocations, the same* Q is in both parts 
the shorter by about a third, and omits a good deal of the 
best poetry in F. The purport of what is left agrees, but 
the differences of phrasing are very notable; especially in 
2 Henry VI> where Q throughout diverges far more from 
F than in 3 Henry VL Misprints in both texts must of 
course be allowed for. Sometimes the speeches are iden- 
tical. Sometimes the identity is only broken by the in- 
troduction of equivalent words, variant inflexions, variant 
minor parts of speech, variations in the order of words. In 
these passages there is often not much to choose between 
the two versions from a literary point of view. Sometimes, 
again, the versions are little inore than paraphrases of each 
other, with an occasional phrase in common, and some- 
times complete paraphrases. There are passages in Q 
which look like mosaics of scraps from F. Prose in Q 
may represent verse in F. A Q line often appears in an 
earlier or even later speech or scene or even part of F, 
and may be repeated there in Q. Thus in 2 Hen. VI^ 
iii. 49 of Q is from ii. 3. 29; vi. 55 from i. i. 254; x. 
14-15 from iii. i. 69-71 ; in 3 Hen. VI, v. 52-3 from i. 2. 
334; x. 301 from v. 3. 12; xii, 107 from v. 7. 22; 
xxiii. 19-21 from iv. 8. 60-1 ; also in 2 Hen. VI y ix, 1 1 8 
from 3 Hen. VI \ i. 4. 102; xxii. 64 from 3 Hen. VI^ ii. 5. 
I35. 2 Metrically, Q is inferior to F; it has more harshly 
irregular lines and many collocations of ten syllables, 

1 Eliz. Stage, ii. 130, 200$ ., a Survey, 4. 

3 I cite the lineation of the Sh. Quarto Facsimiles. 


which pay no regard to stress. The pronunciation of in- 
dividual words is more archaic in Q than in F. The linea- 
tion of Q constantly goes astray, and this often seems due to 
the omission of F words or to the presence of superfluous 
Connective' phrases (cf. p. 157) not in F, after which the 
verse lines follow regularly but are wrongly divided, until 
a broken line or a fresh error leads to recovery. Broadly 
speaking, Q is often halting and barbarous, where F is 
logical and rhythmical. 

Much of this can be explained and has been explained 
on the theory that a reviser took an old play in hand, wrote 
it up almost speech by speech, smoothed out metrical 
irregularities and obsolete pronunciations, replaced prose 
by verse, expanded throughout, added many poetical pas- 
sages, but at the same time took pains to use every shred 
of the old text which could be made to suit his purpose, 
either in its original or in an altered position. Against this 
theory there are two a priori objections. Firstly, there is 
no evidence (cf. p. 2 1 3) for any such practice of meticulous 
stylistic revision in the Elizabethan theatre. Secondly, 
who could ever have written such a text as Q, which in 
some places shows the hand of a competent dramatist, and 
in others is too bad for the veriest stage hack, to say 
nothing of the competent dramatists to whom it has been 
ascribed? It must anyhow have undergone corruption, 
and in fact the stylistic differences from F can be explained 
just as well by the corruption of a memorizing reporter 
(cf. p. 157) as by revision. Many of the features of Q, 
indeed, recur in the 'bad* Qq of Hamlet, Romeo and Juliet, 
Merry Wives of Windsor, and Henry 7, where also a reporter 
seems to be wholly or in part responsible. Moreover, a 
report is the best explanation of the mislineations, as due 
to 'connective' phrases picked up from the mouths of 
actors, of certain historical confusions whicli appear in 
the Q text, and one at least of which cannot have been 
due to the plotter of the play, and perhaps of numerous 
'auditory* errors, although the compositor may (cf. p. 1 80) 
be responsible for some of these. And it is the only satis- 
factory explanation of the transference of lines, often from 


later passages of the text, which a reviser is not likely to 
have studied in advance, but which the imperfect memory 
of a reporter, having already his knowledge of the whole 
play, may well have dislocated. The same imperfect 
memory will account for the unevenness of the reporter's 
work. Sometimes he attained fair precision. Often he for- 
got lines to the detriment of sense, grammar, and dramatic 
effect; often he misplaced lines or speeches; often he was 
only able to recover broken phrases; often he was driven 
to piece out a general recollection of purport with poor 
verse or prose of his own. As to who the reporter is likely 
to have been, there is room for difference of opinion. A 
shorthand writer (cf. p. 159) would not transfer remote 
lines. Alexander conjectures for 2 Henry Vl&n actor who 
had played Suffolk and Cade, perhaps with the aid of a 
fragmentary transcript, and for 3 Henry VI an actor who 
had played Warwick and Clifford, perhaps with the aid of 
'parts'. I do not see any evidence for a fragmentary tran- 
script, or know why any such document should come into 
existence. Conceivably the reporter had the short 'part' 
of the Citizen. 1 But I doubt whether the characters named 
by Alexander are so much better rendered than the rest 
throughout, as to point to actors. On the whole I am 
inclined to suggest that the reporter was a book-keeper, 
who would be in a good position to get a general but in- 
exact knowledge of the whole course of a play which he 
had often prompted. Perhaps he did 3 Henry VI better 
than 2 Henry VI because it had been more recently on the 
stage. And I think he may have retained a 'plot', which 
would not help him for the dialogue, but would for the 
ordering of the scenes, and for the stage-directions. These, 
in both F and Q, are exceptionally full and descriptive, 
with many notes on the purport of scenes, the relation of 
characters, grouping, apparel, properties, and both at 
entries and in the margin for action and the address of 
speeches. They differ by omissions and additions and in 
details. But they have dearly a common origin. The 
longest is identical in the two texts.* The hand of an 

. 3- 59- 


author is discernible, especially in part 2, in vagueness as 
to numbers and the like, left to the discretion of the 
management. The directions of F might well be the 
author's, perhaps expanded by a book-keeper; those of Q 
an adaptation for a 'plot'. Q, but not F, has the common 
'plot* formula for the entry of characters 'to* each other. 1 
Musical notes and a few directions in the imperative mood 
suggest that both sets were primarily for the guidance of 
stage action rather than a reader. 

In two scenes, however, of part 2 (i. 4; iii, 2) a different 
staging appears to be contemplated by Q and F, and this 
is not the only indication that the intervention of a re- 
porter does not by itself completely account for the relation 
of the versions. The basis of Q must have been a produc- 
tion for which the original text had been cut. Two or 
three short episodes may have been omitted. Sections of 
long speeches in F, which should have been the easiest to 
remember, have disappeared without leaving any traces 
upon Q. The object of the cutting is not quite clear. 
Probably a reduction in the time required for presentation 
was alone in view; there is no reduction in the number of 
actors needed for the most crowded scenes. It is not, of 
course, possible to say how much of the difference in 
length between F and Q is due to cuts, and how much to 
the reporter's lapses. The method of the cuts is interest- 
ing. Much of the poetry goes out, the similes, the classical 
allusions; all the Latin. This is noticeable even in short 
lacunae, which one would otherwise put down to the 
reporter. There is a process of vulgarization. If there was 
an adaptation by cutting for the stage, a few differences 
in the order of speeches and episodes may also be due to 
adaptation, rather than to the reporter. There is one pretty 
clear case. In part 3, iv. 6 has been cut, but a bit about 
Henry Tudor, too interesting to an Elizabethan audience 
to be lost, has been salvaged by attaching it to iv. 8. 

A few passages in both parts, while written in fairly good 
blank verse, are not in F or so unlike those in F as to require 
some buttressing of the 'report* theory. I do not suppose 

1 2 Htn. PI, ii, 3. i; 3 Hen. H, v. 6. i. 


that the same^ explanation is applicable to them all. One 
or two scenes in F (cf. infra) may have been rewritten after 
the Q production. Similarly, some highly coloured Q lines 
in i. 4 of part 2 may have been removed when the staging 
of that scene was altered. There are other special Q pas- 
sages, which are so featureless that perhaps they may 
reasonably be ascribed to the reporter. But there are two 
which betray the singular fact that his capricious memory 
has not stopped short of bringing in lines from another 
play altogether. He takes his vii. 10 and ix. 134-6 of 

2 Henry VI from Marlowe's Edward II 265 1, 965-6. On 
the other hand, Massacre of Paris 952-3, 1376-9, are pro- 
bably themselves taken from 3 Hen. VI, v. 3. 1-2 and 

3 Hen. VI, ii. i. 68-9.' There are similar transfers in the 
reported Qq of Hamlet and Merry Wives of Windsor (q.v.}. 
And if a play known to us has been so drawn upon, other 
comparatively striking Q lines may belong to plays not 
known. 2 Finally, Q probably incorporates some small 
theatrical interpolations and gags. Occasionally the men- 
tion of a place-name at the end of a scene helps the 
audience to locate a coming scene. The Cade episodes of 
Q chiefly differ from those of F by an unusual amount of 
dislocation and several gags. Such are the knighting of 
Dick Butcher (2 Hen. VI, Q xiii. 77) and others (xviii. 
17-21, 71-7) less decent. 

Discussions of authorship have been much complicated 
by the revision theory. Most of those who have found the 
hands of Marlowe, Kyd, Peele, Greene, Lodge, and Nashe, 
as well as of Shakespeare, in the plays, have held it, and 
have been dispensed by it from putting their theories to 
the test of indicating where one hand ended and another 
began. A partial exception is Fleay, who recognized the 
surreptitious character of Q, and in 1886 modified an 
earlier view by assigning 3 Henry VI substantially to 
Marlowe, and dividing 2 Henry VI between Greene (i. i), 
Peele (most of i. 2-ii. 4), Kyd (ii, i. 59-153), Mar- 
lowe (i. 3. 45-103; iii. i-iv. i), and Lodge (iv. 2-v. 3). 

1 Cf. Greg in M.S.R. Massacre, viii. 

* E.g. xxi. 52-4, inserted after 2 Hen. PI t v. i. 70. 


Shakespeare he only brought in about 1600, as revising 
2 Henry VI considerably and 3 Henry VI slightly. In 1 59 1 
he substituted Drayton as reviser. Von Schaubert also finds 
Drayton in several scenes, but this has been sufficiently 
refuted by Gourvitch. The external evidence of F and the 
1619 title-page of course tells substantially for Shake- 
speare, Meres does not name the plays as Shakespeare's 
in 1598, but while the presence of a name in his list has 
great weight, the absence of one has much less. There 
may, moreover, have been no revival between his coming 
to London and the compilation of his list. The plays, as 
they stand, are loosely constructed, especially part 2. The 
Cade scenes are naturally differentiated by their cornic 
subject-matter. Clifford's speech in 2 Hen. 7I y v. 2. 31- 
65, seems to me clearly of later style than the rest. It is 
certainly Shakespearean, although the unfortunate Miss 
Lee, pressed by Furnivall to be precise in her attributions, 
gave it to Marlowe, in spite of the internal pausation. The 
pastoral of j Hen. VI^ ii. 5, may also be later Shakespeare, 
although not so late. Otherwise I find no obvious sutures 
either of style or structure. The careless substitution of 
Elinor, Elianor and Nell for Margaret as the Queen's 
name in 2 Hen. VI y iii. 2, is odd, and would be odd on 
any theory of authorship. Pollard, a revisionist, thinks 
that the character of Richard has undergone transforma- 
tion; that he was originally conceived by Marlowe as a 
valiant hunchback, and afterwards altered by another 
writer, with a prospective Richard III play in his mind, 
into an ambitious hypocrite. And he supposes the Q 
version of the soliloquy in 3 Hen. VI r , iii. 2. 124-95, to 
be an afterthought indicating this change of intention, and 
inconsistent with the rest of his presentment in Q until 
almost the last scene, where it is clearly being linked up 
with the coming Richard III. On the assumption that F 
is the original text, this view can hardly stand. Richard 
only takes hold of the play, naturally enough, after his 
father's death, but his ultimate character is already ap- 
parent in ii. i. 41-2; iii. 2. 1-117; iv - * 8 3> 124-6. 
And he is still valiant at the end of Richard III. If, 


as I hold, Richard III is Shakespeare's, the continuity of 
Richard's character is strong ground for his authorship of 
3 Henry VI. The internal evidence of style I find difficult 
to handle. I do not think that we have adequate criteria for 
distinguishing with any assurance from the style of his 
contemporaries that of a young writer still under their 
influence. Most of the rhetorical features of Richard III 
are also to be found in 3 Henry VI^ but less continuously, 
among straightforward spaces of unornamented writing. 
The same is true, perhaps in a minor degree, of 
2 Henry VI. I do not see anything improbable in the 
stylistic development which the historical succession of 
the plays suggests. The large proportion of feminine 
endings in both parts tells for Shakespeare. Certainly 
there are many parallels of vocabulary and phrase to the 
work of other men, notably that of Marlowe and Peele; 
many also to Shakespeare's own plays and poems. But 
I think weight must be given to the numerous similes and 
metaphors from natural history and country life, some of 
them literary, but others testifying to direct observation. 
I do not find these in any of the contemporaries who.have 
been called in question. They are very common in Venus 
and Adonis and Lucrece. On the other hand, there are scraps 
of Latin, and many classical allusions. Richard III has not 
the erudition and not much natural history, except for the 
purposes of vituperation. Did Shakespeare take warning 
From the extent to which both features were *cut' by the 
actors in adapting 2, 3 Henry VII 

Greene's Groafsworth of Wit parodies 3 Hen. VI, i. 4. 
137. This does not in my view give us any information 
about the authorship of the line, but is certainly not in- 
consistent with Shakespeare's. But it shows that the play, 
and naturally also 2 Henry VI> were in existence before 
Greene's death on 3 September 1592. As the theatres had 
probably been closed since June 23, we may put them a 
little farther back. The title-page of the Q of 3 Henry VI 
makes it a play of Pembroke's men* Of these there is no 
trace before the winter of 1592-3, and some other com- 
pany may have been the original producers. The plays are 


not in Henslowe's list of 1592 for 'Strange's* men, and if 
theirs (cf. infra) can hardly be later than 1591. The stage- 
directions of 3 Hen. VI, i. 2. 48; iii. i. i, have 'Gabriel' 
for a messenger and 'Sinklo* and 'Humfrey' for two 
keepers. These are probably the actors Gabriel Spencer, 
John Sincler, and Humphrey Jeffes. There is a similar 
substitution in the stage-directions to 2 Hen. VI, iv. 2. i. 
Here among Cade's followers are 'Beuis' and 'lohn Hol- 
land'. They are not named in the text, although editors 
have chosen to take thence the Christian name of 'George' 
for Bevis, But John Holland, like John Sincler, is an 
actor in the cast (cf. p. 44) for 2 Seven Deadly Sins, as 
played by Strange's or the Admiral's or the Alleyn com- 
pany about 1590. Spencer and Jeffes are not in that cast. 
Of Bevis I know nothing, but probably he too was a minor 
actor. In 2 Hen. VI, ii, 3. 92, the Armourer says, 'there- 
fore, Peter, have at thee with a downright blow!', and Q 
adds, *as Bevys of South-hampton fell upon Askapart*. 
Surely Bevis played the Armourer as well as a rebel, and 
this is a bit of his gag. These names, interesting as they 
are, prove rather elusive, when one attempts to draw 
any inference from them as to the original ownership of 
2, 3 Henry VI. All the five actors may have been together 
in the Alleyn company; and again all of them may have 
passed from that to Pembroke's in 1592. That Bevis was 
in Pembroke's we can be sure, since his gag comes from 
a reported performance by them. Neither he nor Holland 
is heard of later. Sincler probably joined the Chamber- 
lain's men in 1594, as he is in Taming of the Shrew, and 
was certainly with them in 1597-8 and in 1604. But 
Spencer and probably Jeffes were in the Pembroke's com- 
pany of 1597, and thereafter both were in the Admiral's 
company. I formerly thought x that they might have been 
Chamberlain's men during 1594-7, but the recent dis- 
coveries (cf. p. 50} of evidence for a Pembroke's company 
in 1595-6 makes this now seem less likely. All that we 
can say with certainty is that the F texts may rest upon 
prompt-copy either for the Alleyn company about 1 59 1 or 

Stage, ii. 200. 


for the Pembroke company about 1593, and that the Q 
texts must rest on performances by the Pembroke com- 
pany about the same time. I suspect that the report was 
made for sale to the printers after the company broke 
down in the autumn of 1593. Dr. Greg suggests to me 
that it may have been made for performances earlier in 
1 593, and I am content to leave that as a possible alterna- 
tive. Somehow, the legitimate prompt-copies must have 
passed, from the Alleyn company on Dr. Greg's theory, or 
from Pembroke's on mine, to the Chamberlain's, who left 
the old actor-names standing in them. If Sincler did not 
change his part, they could pass as character names, or 
be disregarded, as the original directions and prefixes 
would be still legible. A revival by the Chamberlain's is 
pointed to, both by the alterations incorporated in the F 
text and by the reference in the epilogue of Henry V to 
Henry the Sixth: 

Whose state so many had the managing, 

That they lost France, and made his England bleed: 

Which oft our stage has shown. 

It may have been later than the record of Meres. The 
plays, as revived, seemed old-fashioned to Jonson, but the 
date of his reference (App. B, no. xxii) is not certain. 
There is no evidence of a Jacobean revival. The F text 
shows no changes due to the Act of Abuses. I cannot 
explain a few passages in which Q3 varies the Qi text in 
the direction of that of F. Whether derived from a per- 
formance, or from the information of the author or the 
theatre, they hardly justify the 'newly corrected and en- 
larged' of the title-page. 

The historical matter seems to be mainly from Holin- 
shed, but Halle, Fabyan, Grafton, and Stowe may also 
have been consulted. 1 

This is a very different problem. There is no Q. F has 
again elaborate stage-directions. Those in i often have the 
unusual opening 'Here'. The scene-division is confined 

1 Bos-well-Stone, xL 253. 
3142.1 u 


to iii and iv, and while iv is twice the length of i and ii, 
v is a single scene of 108 lines. As F does not divide 
2 y 3 Henry VI into scenes at all, these indications may have 
been taken over from heterogeneous 'copy', perhaps in 
more than one hand. Moreover, there are certainly several 
styles in the play. Various attempts have been made to 
disentangle and identify them, but none are quite satis- 
factory. I group the scenes, as divided in modern editions, 
in the following sections: (a}\. i, 3; ii. 5; iii. i,4;iv. 1,4; 
v. i,4.94-end;(^)i.2,4-6;ii. i-3;iii. 2-3; iv.7.33-end; 
v. 2, 3. 1-44, 4. 1-93; (0 iv. 3, 5, 6, 7. 1-32; (d) v. 3. 
45~end, 5; (e) ii. 4; (/) iv. 2. Sections (a) and () contain 
the bulk of the play, and are by distinct hands. In (a) 
the matter is of English politics, the quarrels of Gloucester 
and Winchester and of Somerset and York; it looks for- 
ward to 2> 3 Henry VI^ and the style more nearly resembles 
theirs than anything else in the play. In () the matter is 
of fighting in France and Joan of Arc. It is in a very 
inferior style, with many flat and some absurd lines, much 
tautology, and a tendency to drag in learned allusions. 
There is room for doubt as to whether a few colourless 
passages about Talbot (i. i. 10347; iii. 4. 127; iv. i. 
9-47; iv. 4) belong to (a) or (). But I do not understand 
how Pollard and others fail to appreciate the very clear 
differentiation between (a) and () during the greater part 
of i and ii. And I think that the same hands continue 
throughout. Gaw, however, who has made the fullest 
study of the play, thinks that the () matter passed in iii-v 
to two fresh hands. This view is largely based upon 
differences in the F spelling, of proper names, as to which 
(c p. 232) the Elizabethan practice was very loose. 
Certainly 'Gloster* and 'Glocester' appear within a few 
lines of each other in a perfectly homogeneous passage of 
iii. i. I cannot therefore attach much importance to the 
differences between 'loane'and *Ione*, TuzeTancTPucelP, 
*Burgundie' and 'Burgonie', merely because they are used 
in different scenes. Section (r) consists of the Talbot death- 
scenes, which are largely in heroic rhyme, They are often 
claimed for Shakespeare, but on the whole I think it is 


more likely that they are by the author of (b\ and the 
duplication of a tasteless comparison of Talbot and his 
son to Daedalus and Icarus favours this. But if so, the 
() man was a better hand at rhyme than at blank verse. 
Section (*/), containing the Suffolk and Margaret scenes, 
also points forward to 2, 3 Henry VI. I think it is by a 
third hand. Shakespeare's presence is only clear to me in 
(i), the Temple garden scene, and (/), an unrhymed Talbot 
scene leading up to (c). These I take to be new scenes, 
written in or later than 1594. Probably both replaced scenes 
of the original play; almost certainly (e) did, as later pas- 
sages carry on the motive of the roses. Some would add 
ii. 5, the scene with Mortimer in the Tower, but this 
I take to be the best of the (a) scenes. It has very few 
double endings, although that is not conclusive against 
Shakespeare in a single scene. As to the authorship of the 
original play, I feel no assurance. If Shakespeare is in it 
at all, it must be in (a). The evidence of F is not very 
strong here, since clearly by 1 623 the piece was regarded 
as an integral part of his Henry VI. The style of (a) might 
be a first stage in the development (cf. supra) up to Richard 
III. It is Marlowesque, and might also, as some think, be 
Marlowe's, The percentage of double endings (8 %) is 
high for Marlowe, and lower than that of 2, 3 Henry VI. 
If, however, as seems likely (cf. infra), i Henry VI followed 
these, an attribution of (a) to Shakespeare is much less 
plausible. In any case I do not think it necessary to as- 
sume, with Gaw and others, that he touched up' the work 
of other men in the play, merely because a few lines here 
and there are better or more like him than the rest. Hart, 
who disregards the distinction between (a) and (), finds 
Greene predominant in i and ii. This I much mistrust. 
The parallels quoted are very slight, and Greene's only 
extant history-play, James IV^ is of a very different type. 
If Greene is in the play, (<?) seems more like him. But 
I should be surprised to find him writing for Alleyn's 
company after the Orlando Furioso swindle, 1 and in the 
Groatsworth he seems aloof from his fellow dramatists 

n. 325. 

U 2 


as well as from the players. Gaw finds Peele in some of 
the () scenes, and I see no obvious reason why he should 
not have written them all, with the Talbot scenes. He 
uses rhyme in other plays, and the nationalist tone is like 
him. On the other hand, some of his characteristic 
mannerisms are not very apparent. Nashe, Lodge, and 
Kyd have also been speculated upon, and of course Chap- 
man by Robertson. 

Nashe, in his Pierce Penniless, registered on 8 August 
1592, records the triumph on the stage of *braue Talbot 
(the terror of the French) 1 , whom the spectators beheld 
'fresh bleeding'. 1 I do not think that any inference can 
be drawn for or against his own share in the authorship. 
But the date helps to identify the play with the *Harey 
the vj* produced by Strange's men for Henslowe (App. D) 
on 3 March 1592. It was *ne' and probably therefore either 
actually new, or substantially remodelled. Evidently the 
death of Talbot was already a prominent feature. Pollard 
thinks that behind i Henry VI^ as we now have it, is an 
original Joan of Arc play by two hands, altered at a first 
stage by the insertion of the Talbot death-scenes, and at 
a later by the garden, tower, and Margaret scenes, as links 
to an already existing York and Lancaster. It may be so. 
But the rivalry between York and Somerset is wanted in the 
play itself to explain the abandonment of Talbot (iv. 3, 4). 
And there are passages in other scenes than those named 
by Pollard which seem closely linked to 2, 3 Henry VI\ 
bits about the roses (iii. 4; iv. i); the disputes of 
Gloucester and Winchester (i. i, 3; iii, i; v. i), which 
lead to little here, but seem suggested by the 'ancient 
bickerings' of 2 Hen. VI^ i. 1. 144, although indeed this 
might be argued either way as to priority; a passing 
allusion (i. i. 39) to the duchess of Gloucester, so promi- 
nent in the later play; the prophecies (i. I. 48 ; iii. 1.187; 
iv. i. 182; iv. 3. 47) of the choric Bedford, Exeter, and 
Lucy. It is at least as tenable a theory that the whole 
thing, except Shakespeare's two later scenes, was put to- 
gether in 1 592, to exploit an earlier theme which had been 

1 Cf. #5. Stagf> iv. 238. 


successful. Even so the Admiral's men in 1599, after 
producing three parts of The Civil Wan of France > wound 
up with an Introduction to the Civil Wars of France. 1 A 
multiplicity of authors is sufficient to account for the odd 
scening of the 'copy* for F, as well as for the numerous 
inconsistencies of action in the play, even if some of these 
authors were not individually careless. Tentatively, there- 
fore, I ascribe 2, 3 Henry VI to 1591 and i Henry VI to 
1592. Presumably i Henry VI shared in the revival in- 
dicated by the epilogue to Henry V> for which the present 
ii. 4 and iv. 2 may have been written. 

There is an interesting bit of staging in the use of the 
'top' in i. 4 and iii. 2, 2 but I do not accept Gaw's elaborate 
argument to show that this was a new structural feature 
first invented at the Rose in 1592, or think with him that 
it was the loft from which the theatre's flag waved and its 
trumpet was blown. Nothing here could come into the 
action of a play, in view of the intervention of the project- 
ing 'heavens'. The 'top' must have been over the stage 
balcony, on a level with the upper row of galleries, as the 
balcony itself was on a level with the middle row. Halle, 
Holinshed, and Fabyan seem all to have been drawn upon 
for the historical matter.* The recital of Talbot's dignities 
in iv. 7 comes from his epitaph at Rouen, of which 
there are later printed versions in R, Crompton's Mansion 
of Magnanimitie (1599), and R. Broke's Catalogue and 
Succession of the . . Earks . . of England (1619).* But 
travellers went to Rouen, although Essex and his soldiers 
failed to take it in 1591, The chronology throughout the 
play is much perverted. Foreshortening was inevitable, 
since Henry could not well be presented on the stage as a 
child at the beginning of the play and marriageable at the 

1 EB&. Stage, ii. 169. Boswell-Stone, xi. 

* Cf. ibU. iii. 98. # 233- 



[S.R. 1597.] 20 Octobris. Andrewe Wise. Entred for 
his copie vnder thandes of master Barlowe, and master 
warden Man. The tragedie of kinge Richard the Third 
with the death of the Duke of Clarence vj d (Arber, iii. 93). 

[Q I - I .597-] [Ornament] The Tragedy Of King Richard 
the third. Containing, His treacherous Plots against his 
brother Clarence : the pittiefull murther of his iunocent (sic) 
nephewes: his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole 
course of his detested life, and most deserued death. As 
it hath beene lately Acted by the Right honourable the 
Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. [Ornament] At London 
IT Printed by Valentine Sims, for Andrew Wise, dwelling 
in Paules Chuch-yard (sic} y at the Signe of the Angell. 
1597. [No Head-title. Running-title} The Tragedy of 
Richard the third. 

Facsimiles. W. Griggs (1886, Sh. Q. , ed. P. A. Daniel); J. S. 
Farmer (1913, T.F.T. from Ashbee). 

[Q 2 - ?59 8 The Tragedie of King Richard the third. 
Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother 
Clarence: the pitiful murther of his innocent Nephewes: 
his tyrannicall vsurpation: with the whole course of his 
detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath beene 
lately Acted by the Right honourable the Lord Chamber- 
laine his seruants. By William Shake-speare. [Creede's 
device (McKerrow 299)] London Printed by Thomas 
Creede, for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church- 
yard, at the signe of the AngelL 1598. [No Head-title. 
Running-title'} The Tragedie of Richard the third. 
[Q3- 5602.] The Tragedie of King Richard the third. 
Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother 
Clarence: the pittifull murther of his innocent Nephewes: 
his tyrannical vsurpation: with the whole course of his 
detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath bene 
lately Acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Cham- 
berlaine his seruants. Newly augmented, By William 
Shakespeare. [Creedes device (McKerrow 299)] London. 
Printed by Thomas Creede, for Andrew Wise, dwelling 


in Panics Church-yard, at the signe of the Angell. 1602. 
[No Head-title. Running-title} The Tragedie of Richard 
the Third. 

[There are no augmentations] 

Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1888, Sh. Q. xlii, ed. P. A. Daniel). 
[S.R. 1603.] 25. Junii Mathew Lawe. Entred for his 
copies in full courte Holden this Day. These ffyve copies 
followinge ij s vj d viz. iij enterludes or playes. The ffirst 
is of Richard the .3. ... all kinges . . all whiche by con- 
sent of the Company are sett ouer to him from Andrew 
Wyse. (Arber, iii. 239.) 

[Q 4 . 1605.] The Tragedie of King Richard the third. 
Conteining his treacherous Plots against his brother 
Clarence: the pittifull murther of his innocent Nephewes: 
his tyrannicall vsurpation : with the whole course of his 
detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath bin 
lately Acted by the Right Honourable the Lord Cham- 
berlaine his seruants. Newly augmented, By William 
Shake-speare. [Creede's device (McKerrow 2 9 9)] London, 
Printed by Thomas Creede, and are to be sold by Mathew 
Lawe, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, at the Signe of the 
Foxe, neare S. Austins gate, 1 605. [No Head-title. Run- 
ning-title'} The Tragedie of Richard the third. 

[5. 1612.] The Tragedieof King Richard The Third 

As it hath beene lately Acted by the Kings Majesties 
seruants ... 1612. [Otherwise the same as Q[4.] 

[Q6. 1 622.] The Tragedie Of King Richard The Third. 
Contayning his treacherous Plots against his brother 
Clarence: The pittifull murder of his innocent Nephewes: 
his tyrannicall Vsurpation: with the whole course of his 
detested life, and most deserued death. As it hath been 
lately Acted by the Kings- Maiesties Seruants. Newly 
augmented. By William Shake-speare. [Ornament] Lon- 
don, Printed by Thomas Purfoot, and are to be sold by 
Mathew Law, dwelling In Pauls Church-yard, at the 
Signeof the Foxe, neere S Austines gate, 1 622. [No Head- 
title. Running-title'} The Tragedie of Richard the Third. 
Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1889, Sh. Q. xliii, ed. P. A. Daniel). 


[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue} The Life & Death of Richard 
the Third. [Histories, pp, 173-204, sign, q -t 2 V . Head- 
title] The Tragedy of Richard the Third: with the 
Landing of Earle Richmond, and the Battell at Bosworth 
Field. [Running-title'] . The Life and Death of Richard the 

[Acts and sec marked (altered in modern eds.).] 
Later Quartos. 1 629 (John Norton, sold by Mathew Lawe); 1634 
(John Norton). 

Parallel-Text. E. A. Calkins (1891, Bankside). 
Modern Editions. W. A. Wright (1880, O.U.P.)', G. Macdonald 
(i 896, Warwick), A. H. Thompson (i 907, Arden}\ . H. H. Furness, 
jun. (1908, New Var.}\ J. R. Crawford (1927, Tale). 

[Dissertations. W. OechelhaOser, Essay uterR. ///(i 868, J. iii. 27; 1 894, 
Shakespeareana}\ N. Delius, Vberden ursprilnglichen Text des R. Ill (1872, 
J. vii. 124; Abl. i. 234); F. G. Fleay, Who Wrote Hen. 71 ? (1875, Macmil- 
lan*s)\ J. Spedding, On the Corrected Edition ofR. 7/7(1875, N.S.S. Trans. 
i); E. H. Pickersgill, On the Q and the F ofR. Ill (1875, N.S.S. Trans. 77); 
R. Koppel, Textkritische Studien iiber Bhs R. Ill und Lear (1877); A. 
Schmidt, gf und F. von R. Ill (1880, J. xv. 301); K. Fischer, Sis 
CharakterentwickelungR. 777 (2nd ed. 1889); G. B. Churchill, R. Ill up to 
8k. (1900); K. Schmidt, Margareta von Anjou> vor und bei Sk. (1906); 
O.Pape, UberdieEntstehungderQivonR.IH(i^6), Die QivonR.III 
ein stenographist Rau&druck (1906, Arch. f. Stenographic, Ivii. 1 5 2, 1 86, 
241); R, A. Law, R. 777, /. 4 (1912, P.M.L.4. xxvii. ir7); W. D. 
Moriarty, The Bearing on Dramatic Sequence of the Paria in R. Ill and Lear 
(1913, M.P. x. 451); 0. J. Campbell, A Dutch Analogue ofR. Ill (1916, 
Wisconsin Studies, 231); A. W. Pollard, The Tork and Lancaster Plays in Fx 
(1918, Sept. 19, 26, T.Z.&); J. M. Robertson, The Authorship of R. Ill 
(1922, Si. Canon, i. 155); P. Alexander, S&.'sH. /7and R. 7/7(1929).] 

Each Q, other than Q$ y is reprinted from its immediate 
predecessor. There are occasional corrections, not involv- 
ing reference to a manuscript, and a progressive accumu- 
lation of errors. Q$ appears sometimes to follow 4 and 
sometimes 3. The use of both, or of a copy made up of 
sheets from each, has been suggested* It seems also 
possible that the sheets of 4 may have been corrected 
during printing, and some form, not collated, used as 
copy for Q5. Fi repeats many errors of the later Qq and 
one of them must have been used to print from; doubtless 
Q6, as several of these errors are not in the other Qq. 


On the other hand, the differences between Fi and all the 
Qq are so great as to point clearly to alteration of the Q6 
basis from a manuscript source. Q i and Fi must therefore 
be regarded as distinct texts. The main differences are as 
follows. F has about 230 lines which are not in Q. Of 
these about half are in six considerable passages (1.2.1 56- 
67; ii. 2. 89-100, 123-40; iii. 7. 144-53; iv. 4. 221-34, 
288342). They form parts of long speeches or long 
sections of dialogue, do not differ in style from the rest of 
the play, fit in without awkward joints, and in some cases 
leave the context abrupt or less effective when omitted. 
The other special F lines form short dispersed passages, 
often single lines. Q has about forty lines not in F, simi- 
larly dispersed, except one passage (iv. 2. 101-19), which 
again fits well into its context. A few passages show small 
transpositions of order, and the prose of Clarence's mur- 
derers in i. 4. 84161, most of which is correctly given in 
F, is capitalized throughout as verse in Q. But in the 
main the texts, agree in arrangement, speech for speech, 
and even line for line. There is, however, much divergence 
in phrasing, which, after allowing for numerous misprints 
in both texts and the influence of Q6 on Fi, disappears 
from iii. i. 1157 and from v. 3. 79 onwards. A word of 
one text is often represented in the other by a synonym or 
the same word in a different number, case, mood, or tense. 
Often a word is repeated in Q and another is substituted 
for the repetition in F. There is some tendency to uni- 
formity in variation. The which^ betwixt^ whilst of Q are 
several times replaced by tkat^ between^ while, or when in 
F. The same words are differently ordered within a line. 
Or the wording of one text is a complete paraphrase of the 
sense given in the other; A metrically normal ten-syllable 
line in F often represents one in Q which has one or more 
extra syllables. Shakespeare, of course, uses trisyllabic 
feet and six-foot lines, but many of these in Q are harsh, 
and occasionally the abnormality seems due to the intru- 
sion of an exclamatory or other 'connective' word, such as 
actors introduce to accompany their gestures. These facts 
are capable of more than one explanation, and there are 


broadly two views as to the relation between Q and F 
which they may indicate. It has been held that Q repre- 
sents the original text of the play, and F a later revision 
by Shakespeare or some other hand. And it has been held 
that F represents the original text and Q either a revision 
for stage purposes or a corrupt report of the play as 
staged. It generally goes with the first theory that the 
special F passages were added on revision and with the 
second that they were 'cut 1 in representation. I do not 
suppose that any very simple formula will explain every- 
thing. But substantially I regard the second theory as 
sound. In particular the suggested stylistic revision seems 
to me out of the question. There has been much incon- 
clusive discussion as to the respective literary merits of 
bits of Q and F wording. On balance, I think that F is the 
better of the two; and so it might well be on either theory. 
But the difference of value, for stage purposes at least, is 
negligible. And I cannot reconcile with any reasonable 
conception of Shakespeare's methods of work a revision 
limited to the smoothing out of metre and the substitution 
of equivalent words, without any incorporation of any new 
structure or any new ideas. Nor can I think that either 
Shakespeare or any one else at the theatre would have 
thought it either worth while or practicable to make actors 
relearn their parts with an infinity of trivial modifications. 
Still less can I, with Pollard, suppose that Shakespeare 
revised the F into the Q form. 

The history of the text must, I think, be somewhat as 
follows. The play, as written by Shakespeare, was slightly 
altered for stage purposes. It was shortened by cutting 
six long passages. Minor alterations were made to enable 
certain scenes (u 4; iL i, 4; iii. 4, 5; v. i, 2, 3) to be played 
with a reduced number of minor parts. Incidentally these 
account for a few of the lesser passages omitted in Q, and 
in connexion with them some small corrections of nomen- 
clature and topography (i. 3. 333; ii. I. 7, 66) seem to 
have been made in the text. Qi was based on this stage- 
version. I do not think that it was 'surreptitious', in the 
sense of being printed without the consent of the Chamber- 


Iain's men. There is nothing in the circumstances of the 
publication to suggest irregularity. Certainly some of the 
textual features omissions, paraphrases, substitution of 
equivalent words, incorporation of actor's 'connectives' 
are such as appear in 'reported' plays, and there are 
some 'auditory' errors. But the text, and in particular 
the lineation, is so much better than that of the accepted 
'bad' quartos, as to suggest the use of a transcript from the 
original. It must, of course, have been a bad transcript, to 
explain the verbal divergences from F. I suggest that it 
was specially prepared by the book-keeper for the printer. 
Possibly the original was required at the time for represen- 
tations. The book-keeper adopted the alterations marked 
on the original for stage purposes. His transcription, 
except for accesses of conscience at iii. I. I and'v. 3. 79, 
was done carelessly. He was familiar with the play, which 
he had prompted, and although he generally checked the 
succession of lines, in writing them out he often allowed 
himself to follow their purport as he had heard them, thus 
vulgarizing the style, and producing in a minor degree the 
features of a reported text. An occasional transference by 
memory from some other part of the play (ii. 2. 24 from i. 
4. 252 ; iv. 4. 507 from iv, 3. 48 ; iv. 4. 235 from iv. 4. 398) 
is particularly significant. Responsibility for the omis- 
sion of stray lines the transcriber must perhaps share with 
the Q printer. Shakespeare's original remained at the 
theatre, marked perhaps for the stage adaptation, but 
without further alteration, except the usual perfunctory 
excision of some of the profanity for a Jacobean revival. 
In 1623 it was made available for the correction of a Q6 
as copy for F, with instructions to restore the passages cut 
or altered for the stage, but not the oaths. The correction 
was not perfectly done, and the result was not perfectly 
printed. Among the errors were the omissions of a few Q 
lines, including iv. 2. 101-19* Possibly an editor, or no 
more than a press-corrector, may have made a few altera- 
tions, by conjecture, as printers of the successive Qq had 
done, or to bring into conformity with what he regarded 
as current usage. A substitution, perhaps only by mis- 


print, of -'Pursuing' for 'Ensuing' in ii. 3. 43 has left a trace 
in a catch-word. The respective stage-directions of Q and 
F are consistent with this view of the relation between 
the texts. Those of F are rather more elaborate than is 
usual in Shakespearean texts, although less so than those 
of 2, 3 Henry FL They include some for attiring or the 
use of properties, some indicating the scope of an opening 
scene, and some in the margin for details of action. These 
look to me more like the work of an author familiar with 
the stage than of a producer. But a producer may have 
added the numerous notes for the use of musical instru- 
ments. The directions of Q are clearly related to those of 
F, but vary in detail. Generally, but not always, they are 
shorter. Thus at iii. 5. i F has 'Enter Richard, and Buck- 
ingham, in rotten Armour, maruellous ill-fauoured', but 
Q merely 'Enter Duke of Glocester and Buckingham in 
armour'. I think the transcribing book-keeper has 
abridged. It is certainly less likely that an editor of F 
added descriptive touches for readers. An exceptionally 
literary note is at v. 3. 237, where the first line of 
Richmond's speech is followed by the heading 'His Ora- 
tion to his Souldiers'. But this is in Q as well as F, and 
in fact it is F, not Q, which omits at v. 3. 314 the corre- 
sponding heading in Richard's speech, 'His Oration to his 
army*. Ferhaps something should be said of the curious 
note 'Newly augmented' on the title-page of Q3. There 
are no augmentations. It may be merely a publisher's 
lure. I do not think it can be pressed as meaning that 
when sheet A, containing the title-page, was printed in 
1602, the publisher knew of a recent revision, new pas- 
sages from which he hoped, but afterwards failed, to get. 
He may just as well have contemplated an augmentation 
not of the play, but of his book, by adding passages of the 
original known to have been omitted from earlier Qq. 
The 'new additions* to 3 of Richard II were of such 
original matter. It has also been suggested that the words 
added in 1 602 ought to have appeared in 1 597, as an indi- 
cation that Richard III as a whole was Shakespeare's aug- 
mentation of an earlier pky. This seems to me desperate 


'Newly* could not be so used for the first time in 1602, 
although if it had appeared on an earlier title-page it might 
have been repeated without alteration. 

If a hand other than Shakespeare's is to be found in 
Richard III, it must be upon different grounds. Coleridge 
once, but not consistently, doubted the genuineness of the 
play. But the scepticism of some recent writers seems to 
be traceable to the influence of Fleay, who in 1 875 thought 
that the play was left unfinished by Peele and completed 
and revised by Shakespeare, in 1881 substituted Marlowe 
and Peele for Peele, in 1886 substituted Marlowe alone, 
but did not 'think it possible to separate Shakespeare's 
work from Marlowe's', and in 1891 added Drayton as a 
reviser for F. The theory in all its phases is but slightly 
argued. It is largely a matter of subjective impression. 
But stress is laid upon variations of nomenclature in text 
and speech-prefixes as evidence for two hands. Such 
variations seem to me (cf. p. 232) a constant feature of 
Shakespeare's work. Pollard thinks the incorrect use of 
'Derby' for 'Stanley' in certain scenes evidential. But his 
two hands are not Marlowe's and Shakespeare's; they are 
those of Peele, to whom he ascribes at least iii. I. 1157, 
and of a 'dull' man, found also in the True Tragedy. Shake- 
speare, besides revising the F form into the Q form, added 
the opening soliloquy, with i. 2 and perhaps the Mar- 
garet scenes, as audacious and splendid afterthoughts. If I 
have understood the view rightly, it is difficult to reconcile 
it with the obvious presence of these passages in the 
manuscript used for Fi. Robertson is a thorough-going 
sceptic. For him the play is Marlowe's, with 'primary 
collaboration' by Kyd in certain scenes. Heywood did 
*a good deal of later eking out and expanding'. But 
Shakespeare, 'however much he may have revised, con- 
tributes only some six or seven speeches, some of them 
very short'* The denial of Shakespeare is again based upon 
subjective impressions that the style and psychology are 
too 'primitive* to be his, and so different from that of 
such other plays as Robertson is prepared to allow him, as 
to exclude a common authorship. There are constant 


assertions, not convincing to me in detail, that such and 
such lines cannot be Shakespeare's. There is a theory, 
which I think quite unfounded (cf. p. 224), that Marlowe is 
more likely than Shakespeare to have written, at the date 
of 'Richard III \ a play with so large a proportion of double 
endings. Similarly, it is stylistic impression, with the help 
of the unreliable 'clues' afforded by echoes, mainly 
verbal, from other plays, which directs Robertson to his 
substitutes. There is no attempt to disentangle completely 
the contributions of Marlowe, Kyd, and Heywood. We 
are invited to see the hand, now of one, now of another. It 
is pointed out that Heywood duplicates certain episodes of 
Richard Him Edward IF. He is called a 'docile imitator', 
and it is indeed probable that he is here docilely imitating. 
I do not myself think (cf. p. 223) that we have any assured 
criterion for distinguishing on internal grounds between 
the diction, about 1593, of Shakespeare on the one hand, 
and those of Marlowe, Peele, and Kyd on the other; and 
it is therefore unsafe on such grounds to disregard the 
strong external evidence for his authorship. Nor do I see 
any adequate reason for assuming two hands. There are 
'dull* scenes, but the style is uniform throughout. It is 
a highly mannered rhetorical style, extravagant in utter- 
ance, with many appeals and exclamations. There is much 
violent and vituperative speech; the word 'blood' runs like 
a leit-motif through the play. Epithets, and sometimes 
nouns, are piled up, in pairs, with or without a conjunction ; 
in triplets or even greater numbers* Types of line- 
structure tend to recur. One is based on such a triplet; 
another is the 'balanced* line, of noun and epithet against 
Goun and epithet. A 'clinching' line at the end of a speech 
is also common. There are 'cumulative* passages of 
parallel lines with parisonic beginnings or ending. Words 
and phrases are repeated for emphasis. There is much 
'ringing of the changes* on individual words, between 
line and line and speech and speech. Sometimes this is 
progressive, as new words are introduced. Sometimes it 
takes the form of a bitter pun. There is rhetorical struc- 
ture, in antithesis antiphon, stichomythia. Some of it is 


ultimately of Senecan origin. All these features occur in- 
dividually in pre-Shakespearean plays and recur in later 
Shakespearean plays, with diminishing frequency. But I 
do not think that they are quite so massed and multiplied 
elsewhere. I find nothing here which might not be 
Shakespeare, at an early stage of development, and while 
he is still much under the influence of his predecessors. 
Perhaps I should make a qualification. I am not certain 
that the extremely ineffective speeches of the ghosts 
(v. 3. 1 1 8-76) may not be a spectacular theatrical addition^ 
Certainly the psychology is 'primitive', as compared with 
that of later plays. It is in the key and at the distance from 
life of melodrama, not tragedy. But its resemblance to that 
of Marlowe is not close. The concentrated remorselessness 
of Richard recalls him, of course, and so does the choric 
Margaret, in his earlier work rather than in Edward //, 
which must be the nearest in date to Richard III. But his 
presentation of character offers no parallel to the vivid 
analysis of the many-sided Richard, with his grim humour 
of introspection, his audacities and levities of speech, his 
irony and mock humility, his plausibility and adroitness, 
his histrionics and sense of dramatic effect. Nor is Mar- 
lowe's the give and take of the dialogue, in which speeches 
are not merely juxtaposed but articulated, as the ideas of one 
disputant provoke and determine those of the next. It is 
a natural and improvised, rather than a prepared, 

The play has been variously dated. There are several 
contemporary allusions to it and to Burbadge's playing of 
Richard (App. B, nos. xiii, xvi, xix, xx, xxiv), but all are 
later than Qi, with the possible exception of one by 
Weever, which is itself of uncertain date, and may refer 
to Richard II. Both style and psychology point to an 
early period in Shakespeare's work, and the links with 
Henry VI suggest that it followed that play after no long 
interval. I do not think it inconceivable that it was the 
Buckingham performed, not as a new j>lay, by Sussex's 
men on I Jan. 1594 (App. D). Certainly Buckingham 
is not the chief character, but Henslowe was not precise 


in his use of titles. The historical facts are almost all from 
the chronicles of Halle and Holinshed, themselves based 
mainly on Polydore Vergil's Anglicae Historiae (i 534) and 
the Life of Richard generally ascribed to Sir Thomas 
More. Holinshed substantially follows Halle, but each 
has some special features represented in the play, and pro- 
bably both were consulted. Possibly a hint or two came 
from A Mirror for Magistrates. It is not very likely that 
Shakespeare knew Thomas Legge's academic Richardus 
Tertius 1 although both have a wooing scene for Richard. 
Churchill 497 enumerates many parallels of incident and 
phrasing, not given by the chronicles, but often very slight, 
to The True Tragedy of Richard the Third? and thinks that 
Shakespeare used it. Hart points out that in this play, as 
in 3 Henry Fla&dRichardlll, Richard is given to the use of 
proverbial expressions. Its date is uncertain. It was regis- 
tered on 1 9 June 1 594, and printed in the same year as a 
Queen's play. The text is so bad as to render any inference 
hazardous. It seems to be a reported text, in which much 
of the verse has been paraphrased in prose. Even if the 
play itself was earlier the reporter may have incorporated 
reminiscences of Richard IIL Law notes a rather close 
resemblance between the handling of Rich. ///, i. 4, 
and that of sc. xix of LeirJ This was entered on 14 May 
1 594, but apparently not printed until 1 605, as it was then 
re-entered. It was played by the Queen's or Sussex's or 
both, not as a new play, in April 1 594, and may therefore 
be either older or younger than Richard IIL 

There was probably a Jacobean revival of Shakespeare's 
play, as the oaths are somewhat pruned in Fi, tut the 
first seventeenth-century performance on record was at 

court on 1 6 Nov. 1633 (App. D). There were rival 
plays on the theme of Richard IIL Robert Wilson wrote 
a second part of Henry Richmond for the Admiral's in 1 599, 
and a fragment of its scenario is at Dulwich. Jonson at least 
began a Richard Cwokback for the same company in 1602 
(Greg, Henshwt) iL 207, 222). Heywood'sP/easant Dia- 
logues and Dramas (i 637), 247, have lines headed 'A young 

i E8& Stage, iii. 407. md. nr. 43. IbM. iv. 25. 


witty Lad playing the part of Richard the third : at the Red 
Bull : the Author because hee was interessed in the Play to 
incourage him, wrot him this Prologue and Epilogue'. This 
would be a play of Queen Anne's men. To one of these 
must belong the story in R. Chamberlain's A New Booke 
of Mistakes (1637) of an actor who had to speak the lines, 

My leigej the Duke of Buckingham is tane, 
And Banister is come for his reward. 

and by a slip inverted the names. Banister is no character 
in Richard 777, but is in the Chronicles, the True Tragedy^ 
and the scenario of Henry Richmond. The first line is identical 
with Shakespeare's iv. 4. 533, but is of a type which two 
dramatists might be capable of hammering out indepen- 
dently. The Dutch De Roode en Witte Roos of Lankaster 
en Jork (1651) of Lambert van den Bosch is more likely 
to have had a source in one of these later plays than in a 
hypothetical early version of Richard III, which it does 
not appear to resemble, structurally or in language. 


[F 1. 1 62 3.] [Catalogue'] The Comedy of Errours. [Come- 
diesy pp. 85-100, sign. H i-1 2 V . Head-title] The Come- 
die of Errors [Running-title'] as head-tide. 
[Acts and sec. I marked.] 
Parallel-Text. A. Morgan (1894, Bankside). 
Modern Editions. H. Cuningham (iq^Ardtn)\ A, Quiller-Couch 
and J. D. Wilson (1922, C.U.P.) ; R. D* French (1926, Yah}. 
Dissertations. H. v. Friesen, Bemerkungen zu den Altersbestimmungen 
JfureinigeStuckevonSh. (1867,7.11, tf)\?.Ww^u&,Zmineuenta'eckte 
Sh.-quellen (i 879, J. xiv. 87); H. Isaac, Sis CJS. unddie Menachmen des 
Plautus (1883, Archlv, Ixx. i); J. Gr6ne, Zwei neuentdecke Quellen zu 
''~Sif CJ. (1894, J. xxix. 281); K. Roeder, Menechmi und Amfhitruo im 
englischen Drama bis zur 1661 (1904); F. Lang, Sfo C.E. in engllsche 
Sukntnarbeitung (1909); W. H. D. Rouse, The Mcnaechmh the Original 
ofSffs .. (1912, &l. Library); J. M. Robertson, The Authorship *fC.E. 
(1923, SA. Canon, ii. 136); E. Gill, A Comparison of the Characters ofCJE. 
with those in the Menaechmi (1925, Texas Studies, v. 79); A. Gaw, The 
Evolution ofCJS. (1926, PMJL-4. xli- 620). 
The text is a fair one, with a few mislineations, some of 



which are probably due to confusion by the sudden transi- 
tions between blank verse, prose, and doggerel in certain 
scenes. I see no obvious reason why a manuscript by 
Shakespeare should not have been the basis. Wilson, 
however, sees one in the absence of such abnormal spel- 
lings as he finds in some quartos, and takes to be author's 
spellings which have escaped the normalization of the 
printing-house. But whatever positive inference may 
follow from the presence of such spellings in one text, it 
is surely impossible to base a negative one upon their 
absence from another, in which the normalization may have 
been more vigilant. Wilson's own theory of the Comedy 
of Errors text involves (a) dictation to a scribe in the play 
house from () players* 'parts*, with the aid of a 'plot' for 
a few brief stage-directions, and (c) subsequent expansion 
by a second scribe imperfectly familiar with the text as it 
stood in the 'parts', who also touched up the speech-prefixes. 


For (a) he relies upon certain textual errors which might 
be due to mishearing, but such errors can also be made 
(cf. p. 1 80) through the subconscious operations of a com- 
positor's mind. Such a process of 'assembling* as () con- 
templates, although not inconceivable, would be attended 
(cf. p. 1 55) by serious difficulties. For (c) I find no sufficient 
ground. The stage-directions are mainly of a practical kind ; 
occasionally they contain a note of the relationship of charac- 
ters, or for attire or properties, or action ; occasionally some- 
thing is left by a 'three or foure' (iv4. 109) or *as fast as may 
be* (iv. 4. 1 50) to the discretion of the theatre. I think that 
they are primarily author's directions. But in places (iv. 
4, 43, 149 ; v, i . 1 90) a superfluity or error points to expan- 
sion, either in printing F or more likely by the book- 
keeper, who is probably also responsible for the first 
speech-prefixes after entrances, which as suggested by 
Greg, the author seems habitually to have left blank. The 
substitution of Juliana for Luciana (iii. 2. i) both in stage- 
direction and speech-prefix is probably a mere printers 
error. There are variations in the spelling of proper 
names, in the text as well as the stage-directions and 
speech-prefixes, which do not seem to me evidence of any- 


thing but a want of uniformity in spelling-habits. The 
speech-prefixes show the tendency to substitute descrip- 
tions for personal names, which is common in Shakespeare's 
plays, and represents, I think (cf . p. 2 3 2), an idiosyncrasy of 
his. They are also much abbreviated. Probably this was 
also so in the original stage-directions and the book-keeper 
has expanded them, not always correctly. Thus Antipholis 
appears for Antipholus until an occurrence of the name 
in the text serves as a guide to correction. An off-hand 
writer, a book-keeper, and a printer seem to me to explain 
all the facts, without recourse to any process of dictation. 
The play (1,777 lines) is Shakespeare's shortest, and was 
probably meant to precede a mask, jig, or other afterpiece. 
A few abrupt short lines and passages of textual corrup- 
tion may point to cuts, not necessarily of great length. But 
again I cannot follow Wilson in the theory that there has 
been substantial abridgement, perhaps by the excision of 
dinner scenes at the Phoenix and the Porpentine, which 
might have expanded the sketchy characters of the 
Courtesan, Balthazar, and the kitchen vestal, or in the 
further suggestion that this abridgement was for a pro- 
vincial tour. Any shortness of personnel would surely have 
led to cutting out Balthazar altogether. Nor do I think 
with Wilson that the transitions between blank verse, 
doggerel, and prose imply any rewriting of verse as prose. 
The staging of the play is interesting. The stage-direction 
(v. i. 10), 'Enter Antipholus^ and Dromio againe' sug- 
gests that the action was continuous throughout and the 
F division into acts uncalled for, since these characters 
left the stage at the end of Act iv. There are some unusual 
stage-directions indicating entries and exits 'from the 
Courtizans' (iv. i. 14), 'from the Bay* (iv. i. 85), 'to the 
Priorie' (v. i. 37), 'to .the Abbesse' (v. i. 281). Probably 
the stage was set in the same way throughout. At the 
back of the stage three houses or doors represented to the 
right and left the Priory with some religious emblem over 
it, and the Courtesan's house with the sign^ of the Por- 
pentine, and in the centre the house of Antipholus with 
the sign of the Phoenix. As Wilson points out^ Adriana 



and Luce must here appear 'above' in iii. i. There is no 
other action above and none within ; all is either at the doors 
of the houses, or in an open place, often referred to as 
the 'mart'. The mart scenes were played at the front of 
the stage, and the side entrances were supposed to lead to 
the bay and to the town respectively. But while characters 
sometimes seem to move direct from the mart to the houses, 
there are also passages which suggest that they go off the 
stage on the way between these. Such inconsistencies 
would probably not be much felt in a bustling action. 

Ritson suggested that the doggerel was taken aver by 
Shakespeare from an earlier writer, and the same view is 
held by many recent critics. 1 Some of it is in short pas- 
sages from the mouths of the Dromios, but most of it in the 
first part of iii. i, where several more serious characters 
share it with them; and this is taken as a scene retained by 
Shakespeare from a hypothetical earlier form of the play. 
Why it should have been so retained requires a more 
satisfactory explanation than it has received. Wilson says 
that Shakespeare 'thought it good enough to pass muster 
as it stood'; Gaw that he was so 'inexperienced' that he 
'left the scene as hopeless*. I will present the advocates of 
the retention theory with the fact that the word 'morne' 
(iiL i. 32), not used elsewhere by Shakespeare, is a com- 
mon vituperative term in the drama of Uaall's time, and 
add that it seems to me just as easy to suppose that here 
and in Taming of the Shrew and Love's Labour's Lost, where 
there is also a substantial use of doggerel, Shakespeare was 
consciously experimenting with an archaistic form for 
comic effect. There are other stylistic experiments in the 
play, comic stichomythia, rhyme, and lyric quatrains for 
the sentimental matter of iii. 2 and iv. 2, Nor can I attach 
much importance to the suggestion of an old text derived 
from the Paul's court play of 'The historie of Error' 
in 1577, perhaps through Sussex's court play of *A 
historie of fferrar* in i$%3* z We know nothing about 
these pkys except their names. Obviously Paul's might 
have adapted a Plautine play and called it Error. But there 

1 rar,b. 147. a /. Stags, iv. 151, 159. 


are many kinds of error. They might also, for example, 
have produced a moral with Error as a character. A 
Paul's play is not likely to have proved very suitable for 
Sussex's men, even if Paul's, who continued active up to 
1589, wanted to part with it in 1583. And Sussex's 
'fferrar' looks to me very much like Terrara*. I see no 
reason to suppose that the Revels Clerk made up his 
accounts from dictation. The kitchen vestal is called 
Luce in iii. i. 53 and Nell in iii. 2. 1 1 1, and this has been 
held to confirm the alien origin of the earlier passage. She 
is also called Dowsabel in iv, I. no, but that is a joke. 
I think that Shakespeare altered his name, either to get 
his pun on *an ell' or to avoid confusion with Luciana, and 
forgot to correct iii. i. 53. On either supposition . he 
left an inconsistency. There are others in the play. The 
age of the twins is differently given, unless there is a mis- 
print, by the various indications of i. i. 125, 133 and v. i. 
309, 326, 400. The goldsmith at iii. 2.178 has forgotten 
what he was told about the chain at iii. i. 117. 

The theory of continuous play-copy over a long span 
of years has proved so exciting as to lead more than one 
writer to suggest the intervention of yet another hand in an 
evolution from Error to Errors. The episodes dealing with 
the history of Egeon and -Emilia (i. i and parts of v. i) 
are written in a formal narrative style which contrasts with 
the more boisterous manner of the greater part of the play. 
Percentages are valueless in dealing with so small a num- 
ber of lines, but there are many grammatical overflows, 
although little pausation within the lines, several examples 
of the 'balanced' line, and few double endings. A touch 
or two here and there (i. i. 32, 64) may come from 
classical reminiscence. There is no reason why Shake- 
speare should not have thought a difference of style appro- 
priate to a difference between tragic and comic subject- 
matter. But Wilson tentatively suggested the hand of 
Greene, and Gaw would substitute Kyd. I think the pas- 
sages too weighty for the one and too dignified for the 
other. Robertson leaves them to Shakespeare, and in deed he 
leaves little else except the lyrical matter in iii. 2> regarding 


the play in the main as a comedy by Marlowe. This view 
is largely based on stylistic impression, helped out by 
very slight vocabulary 'clues' and an unfounded theory 
(cf. p. 224) as to Marlowe's supposed late addiction to 
double endings. In the absence of any evidence as to 
Marlowe's manner in comedy, for which Robertson sub- 
stitutes another hypothesis that he wrote in A Shrew, it is 
difficult to discuss it seriously. 

As to date, the first clear record of the play is the per- 
formance at Gray's Inn on 2 8 December 1594. Fleay-L./ir. 
178 is of course wrong in supposing that the hit at the 
barrenness of Scotland (iii. 2. 123) motived the protest of 
James against the scorning of himself and his people in 
London plays, since this was not, as he says, in 1595, but 
in I598. 1 But the corresponding hit (iii. 2. 126) at 
France, 'armed and reverted, making war against her 
heir', takes us a little farther back, as Henri IV became 
entitled to the crown on 12 August 1 589, and the struggle 
of the League against him was ended by a truce of 19 July 
1593. So far as this goes, the Comedy of Errors might quite 
well be 'the gelyous comodey' produced as a new play by 
'Strange's' men on 5 January 1593 (App.D). lamnotsure 
that it was not. Jealousy is a sufficiently prominent motive 
(ii. 2; iii. I ; iv. 2; v. i) to justify such a description from 
the inexact pen of Henslowe. On the other hand, it is a 
prominent motive in many comedies, and there were no 
further performances of the comedy during the season, 
unless it was identical with that of Cosmo. This would 
have been unusual. Moreover, there are two apparent 
echoes of the Comedy of Errors which seem to point to 
an earlier date than 1593. Wilson noted the resemblance 
to iv. 4. 889 of the phrase 'heart and good will, but 
neuer a ragge of money* in Nashe, Four Letters Confuted f 
registered on 12 January 1593 and published with the 
imprint * 1 592', which Greg thinks would not, in a popular 
pamphlet, mean 1593. Gabriel Harvey's Foure Letters, to 
which Nashe replied, was itself registered on 4 December 
1 592. The description of a villain in 4rde& of Faversham, 

* les Stage, i. 323. * ed, McKerrow, i. 301. 


ii. i. 51, registered on 3 April 1592 and printed in the 
same year, 1 links the epithets 'leane faced* and 'hollow eied'. 
much as they are linked in that of Pinch in v. i. 237-40. 
Of course echoes may go either way or have a common 
origin, but Arden has many from contemporary plays, and 
Nashe, earlier in his chaff of Gabriel Harvey in Four 
Letters Confuted $. 271) quotes Spanish Tragedy i. 2. 172, 
and adds 'Memorandum: I borrowed this sentence out of 
a Play. The Theater, Poets hall, hath many more such 
prouerbes to persecute thee with.' If, therefore, Nashe 
echoed Shakespeare we must put the Comedy of Errors 
back to at least December 1592. A private perform- 
ance then might -be compatible with a public produc- 
tion on the following January 5. But if Arden also 
echoed him, which I think the less certain of the two, we 
must put the Comedy back to at least the spring of 1592. 
The stylistic development, with its beginnings of lyric 
comedy in iii. 2, is in favour of the later date, after 
Shakespeare's work on Venus and Adonis. I must leave it 
at that. There was a revival at court on 28 December 
1604 (App.D). 

The main source, direct or indirect, is the Menaechmi of 
Plautus, but iii. i is probably due to his Amphitruo, in 
which a husband is locked out from his own house while 
a substitute eats his dinner, and this may also have sug- 
gested the addition of twin servants to the twin masters. 
The Comedy of Errors has elaborated and varied the 
intrigue and added the enveloping tragic action. Possibly 
the story of Apollonius of Tyre, used for Pericles (c 
p. 527) may have given a hint for this. Suggested 
parallels with Chaucer's Knighfs Tale and Sidney's 
Arcadia are very slight. A translation of the Menaechmi 
by W(illiam) W(arner) was registered on 10 June 1594; 
the only print known is dated 1595. The verbal resem- 
blances of this to the Comedy of Errors are trifling, and may 
well be accidental, but preliminary verses by Warner 
claim 'much pleasant error'. If Shakespeare used this, it 
was probably in manuscript, and in fact a printer's preface 

1 B&&. Stagey iv. 3. 


states that it was one of 'diverse of this Poettes Comedies 
Englished, for the use and delight of his private friends' 
by the translator. The Amphitruo might have been 
another. But I see no reason to doubt that Shakespeare 
could have read Plautus in the original. A puzzle is 
afforded by the appearance in the earlier stage-directions of 
the Comedy of Errors of the designations Antipholis Erotes 
(i. 2. i) and Errotis (ii. 2. i) for Antipholus of Syracuse, 
and Antipholis Sereptus (ii. i. i) for Antipholus of 
Ephesus. These look like misprints for Surreptus and 
Erraticus or Errans, although I do not accept the 
suggestion that the Plautine name for the Courtesan, 
Erotium, has contributed. Both in Plautus and in Warner 
the twins are Menaechmus and Sosicles, but Warner also 
calls them the Citizen and the Traveller, and the Plautine 
prologue, which Warner does not translate, speaks of the 
Citizen as surreptus\ while in the Comedy of Errors the 
Abbess (v. i. 351) says that 'rude fishermen of Corinth* 
took Antipholus of Ephesus from her. Possibly, there- 
fore, Shakespeare had access to a Latin text, such as the 
Plantin edition of 1566, which included the prologue. 


[S.R. 1594.] vj to die ffebruarii. John Danter. Entred for 
his Copye vnder thandes of bothe the wardens a booke in- 
tituled a Noble Roman Historye of Tytus Andronicus. vj d . 
John Danter. Entred also vnto him by warraunt from 
Master Woodcock the ballad thereof. vj d . (Arber, ii. 644). 
[Q 1 . J 594*] The Most Lamentable Romaine Tragedie 
of Titus Andronicus: As it was Plaide by the Right 
Honourable the Earleof Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and 
Earle of Sussex their Seruants. [Banter's device (Mc- 
Kerrow 281)] London, Printed by lohn Danter, and are 
to be sold by Edward White & Thomas Millington, at 
the little North doore of Paules at the signe of the Gunne. 
*594* [Head-title^ under ornament with initials I. D.] 
The most Lamentable Roman Tragedie of Titus Andro- 
nicus: As it was Plaide by the Right Honourable the Earle 
of Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex 





their Seruants. [Running-title] The most Lamentable 
Tragedie of Titus Andronicus. 

[Collection of H. C. Folger. Photographs of the tp. and four other 
pages are BodL Malone Adds.) 48, f. i.] 

[MS. 1595.] Harley Papers (Marquis of Bath's MSS. at 
Longleat) i. f. 159*. Calligraphic copy of i, i. 104-21 
(first half of line) and v. i. 125-44, linked by two and 
a half lines not in Qq F. There are slight textual and 
many orthographic variants, of which 'haystackes* (v. i. 
133) agrees with F, where Qi has 'haystalkes' and Q2 
and Q3 'haystakes*. At the end is a speech-prefix for 
Alarbus, who has no speech in Qq F. Above is a drawing 
of Tamora and two sons in supplication to Titus, and 
Aaron standing with a sword drawn. In the margin is 
'Henricus Peacham Anno mq 9 q', and a spare page 
is endorsed 'Henrye Peachams Hande 1595*. 
Facsimile. E. K. Chambers (1925, 4 Library, v. 3263 cf. Plate XI). 

[Q2. 1600.] The most lamentable Romaine Tragedie of 
Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times beene playde 
by the Right Honourable the Earle of Pembrooke, the 
Earle of Darbie, the Earle of Sussex, and the Lorde 
Chamberlaine theyr Seruants [Ornament], At London, 
Printed by I(ames) R(oberts) for Edward White and are 
to bee solde at his shoppe, at the little North doore of 
Paules, at the signe of the Gun. 1600. [Head-title] The 
most lamentable Romaine Tragedie of Titus Andronicus: 
As it was plaid by the Right Honorable the Earle of 
Darbie, Earle of Pembrooke, and Earle of Sussex theyr 
Seruants. [Running-title] The most lamentable Tragedie 
of Titus Andronicus. 

Facsimiles. E. W. Ashbee (1866); C. Praetorius (1886, Sh. Q. 
xxix, ed. A. Symons). 

[S.R. 1602.] 19 Aprilis . . . Thomas Pavier. Entred for 
his copies by assignement from Thomas Millington these 
bookes folowinge, Saluo Jure cuiuscunque viz ... A 
booke called Titus and Andronicus vj d Entred by warrant 
vnder master Setons hand (Arber, iii. 204), 
[Q3- 1611.] [Ornament] The most Lamentable Tragedie 


of Titus Andronicus. As it hath sundry times beene 
plaide by the Kings Maiesties Seruants [Allde's device 
(McKerrow 284)] London, Printed (by Edward Allde for) 
for Eedward {sic} White, and are to be solde at his shoppe, 
nere the little North dore of Pauls, at the signe of the 
Gun. 1 6 1 1 . [Head- and Running-titles^ nearly as in Q2 .] 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue"] Titus Andronicus. [Tragedies, 
PP- 3 1- 5 2 5 s ^S n * cc 4"^ e 2 *- Head-title.'] The Lamentable 
Tragedy of Titus Andronicus. [Running-title'] The Tragedie 
of Titus Andronicus. 
[Acts i, sc. i, ii-v marked.] 

[S.R. 1624.] 14 Decembris, 1624 Master Pavier John 
Wright Cutbert: Wright Edward. Wright John Gris- 
mond Henry Gosson. Entred for their Copies at a full 
Court holden 6 Novembris, last, The Copies of the 
Ballades hereafter perticulerly menconed. Provided that 
this entrance shall not preiudice any other man that have 
any Interest to any of them by any former Entrance or 
otherwise xx 8 . (128 titles, including) Titus and Audcon- 
mus (Arber, iv. 131). 

[S.R. 1626.] 4 August 1626. Edward Brewster Robert 
Birde Assigned ouer vnto them by Mistress Pavier and 
Consent of a full Court of Assistantes all the estate right title 
and Interest which Master Thomas Pavier her late husband 
had in the Copies here after mencioned . , viz* . . Master 
Pavier's rights in Shakesperes plaies or any of them. 
His parte in any sorts of Ballads . . (18 items) . . . Tytus 
and Andronicus (Arber, iv. 164). 
Parallel-Text. A. Morgan (1890, Bankside). 
Modern Editions. H. B. Baildon (1904, Arden)\ A. M. Wither- 
spoon (1926, Tale], 

German Version. Eine sehr Udgliche Tragcedia von Tito Andronico 
undder kaffertigen Kayserin (1620, Engelische Comedien und Trage- 
en}\ repr. W, Creizenach, Die Schattspiele der Englischen Komo- 
dianttn(i%%()} y i; tr. Cohn 161, 

Dutch Version. Jan Vos, Aran en Titus * ofWraak en Weerwraak 

(1641, &c). 

\Diuertoti0KS. H.P^ Memoranda m... T~d. (i 879); J. Appleton Morgan 


in Shakespeareana, vi (1888); M. M. A.Schroer, VttrT.4.(i$Qi); E 
Koppel, T.A. (1892, E.S. xvi. 365); H. Varnhagen, Zur Forgeschichte der 
FahlvonShs T.A.(i S<)3,E.$.xix.i6ft G.Svmzm,GermanischeHeldensage 
in SL's T.A. (i 896, Archiv, xcvii. 373); A. B. Grosart, Was Robert Greene 
substantially the Author of T.A. (i 896, E.S. xxii. 389); C. Crawford, The 
Authenticity <?/T.^.(i9OO,7.xxxvi. IO 9); H.deW. Fuller, TheSourcesof 
T.A. (1901, P.M.L.A. xvi. i); G. P. Baker, Tittus and Fespacia and Titus 
andOndronicus (1901, PM.L.A. xvi. 66); J. M. Robertson, DidSh. Write 
T.A.? (1905, revised 1924, as Introduction to the Study of the Shakespeare 
Canon}-, W. Keller, Die neuaufgefundene Q des T.A. von 1594 (1905* J- 
xli. 2 1 1); C. J. R. Schreckhas, Utter Enstehungszeit und Ferfasser des TJi. 
(1906); W. W. Greg, TJ*. (1908, Henslowe, ii. 159), T.A. (1919, 
M.L.R. xiv. 322); W. Dibelius, Zur Stoffgeschichte des T.A. (1912, y. 
adviii. i); H. D. Gray, The Authorship ofTJi. (1916, Ltland Stanford 
Jun. Univ. Flugel Memorial Vol. 114), T.A. Once More (1919, M.L.N. 
rxxiv. 214), The T.4. Problem (1920, S.P. xvii. 126), Sh.'s Share in T.A. 
(1926, P.Q. v. 166); C. F. Tucker Brooke, T 7 ^. and SL (1919, M.Z.AT. 
xxxiv. 32); T. M.Parrott, Sh. 9 s Revision ofTji. (1919, M.L.R. xiv. 16); 

F. Granger, 8 A. and the Legend of Andronicus (1920, Apr. r, T.L.S., 
followed by discussion); R. C. Rhodes, Titus and Vespasian ( 1 924, Apr. 1 7, 
T.L.S., followed by discussion);. E. K. Chambers, The First Illustration to 
Sh. (1925, 4 Library, v. 326); E. G. Clark, Titus and Pespasian (1926, 
M.L.N. xli. 523); A. K. Gray, Si. and T^i. (1928, S.P. xxv. 295); J. S. 

G. Bolton, The Authentic Text of TJ*. (1929, PM.Lji. xliv. 765). 

Qi was known in 1691 to Langbaine, who copied 'Essex* 
in error for 'Sussex' from its title-page. The only copy 
now known was found in Sweden in 1905. It has not 
been reprinted, but Keller gives a collation by E. Ljung- 
gren, which shows that its text was substantially that of 
>2, except that Q2 omitted 3^ lines after i. i. 35, 
evidently as inconsistent with the action later in the scene, 
and made a few less intelligible alterations in v. 3. Sub- 
ject to this, Qa was printed from Qi, 3 from Q2, and 
Fi from Q3, with the addition of iii. 2, which is in none 
of the Qq. The collation does not show whether in Qi, 
as in Q2, the speech-prefixes of i. 1. 1-56 and v. 1. 121-4 
are, exceptionally, centred. If they are, it may point to 
excisions during printing-off. The fragment in the 
LongleatMS. is on the whole more likely to be a perversion 
from Qi than to rest on an independent text. The Q 
stage-directions are rather full and suggest an author's 
hand. They are slightly varied in F, and at the beginning 
of Act ii F substitutes 'Flourish. Enter Aaron alone' for 


the 'sound trumpets, manet Moore* of the Qq, which appa- 
rently contemplated no act-interval. Possibly the use of 
An. for Titus throughout the speech-prefixes of iii. 2 and 
here alone and the spelling 'Tamira' for 'Tamora* in the 
text point to a distinct scribal origin for this added scene. 
The following data, in addition to those given in the 
bibliographical history, bear on the date and authorship of 
the play, (a) 'Strange's' men produced Titus and Ves- 
pasian as 'ne' for Henslowe on n April 1592 and played 
it to 25 January 1593; () Sussex's men produced Titus 
Andronicus as *ne' for Henslowe on 24 January 1594 and 
played it to 6 February 1594; (*) the Admiral's and/or 
Chamberlain's men played Andronicus for Henslowe on 
7 and 14 June 1 594 (App. D) ; (d) Jonson in 1 6 14 implied 
that Andronicus, like the Spanish Tragedy, had been on the 
stage 'these fiue and twentie, or thirtie yeeres' (App. B, 
no. xxii); (e) In A Knack to Know a Knave, produced by 
'StrangeY as 'ne' on 10 June 1592 and registered on 
7 January 1594, is the allusion (F2*): 

As Titus was vnto the Roman Senators, 
When he had made a conquest on the Goths; 

(/) Meres included Titus Andronicus among Shakespeare's 
plays in 1598 (App. B, no. xiii); (g) Ravenscroft in 1687 
reports a stage tradition that Titus Andronicus was by a 
'private author', and Shakespeare 'only gave some master- 
touches to one or two of the principal parts or characters' 
(App. C, no. xiv). This is the only bit of external evidence 
against the authenticity of any play in Fi. Partly as a 
result of it, and partly on stylistic grounds, Shakespeare's 
original authorship has been very generally doubted from 
the days of Malone onwards. Dissentients have tended to 
regard the play as very early work. Most of the doubters 
have assumed some measure of revision by him, but with 
no great agreement as to its nature and extent. There have 
been many attempts to find an alternative author, or 
alternative authors* amongst dramatists known to us. 
The latest is that of Robertson, who brings an elaborate 
and discursive investigation to the conclusion that there 


have been two, or, if I understand him aright, possibly 
three collaborations, and that while the final form is due 
mainly to Peele and partly to Marlowe, both of these, with 
Kyd and Greene, may have worked at earlier stages. Of 
course, if anything of this kind has happened, there is no 
solvent for the amalgam; and all that Robertson can do is 
to go through the scenes, pointing here to a passage in 
which he discerns the rhythm of one writer, there to a 
structural device, or a bit of characterization, or a 'clue* of 
vocabulary or phrase, which hints at another, and often 
finding that the clues conflict and that no conclusion is 
possible. The methods employed inspire me (cf. p. 223) 
with very little confidence, in view of the amount of 
'common form' in plays of the period and the number of 
little-known writers who may have been at work. In 
particular 'parallels', whether 'echoes* or not, are insecure 
evidence. There are many in Titus Andronicus to both 
plays and poems of Shakespeare, Those to Marlowe, Kyd, 
Greene, and others seem to me slight. But there are many 
also to Peele, and some, chiefly to his Edward I and his 
poem The Honour of the Garter, both printed in 1593, go 
rather beyond a repeated use of out-of-the-way words 
or of short collocations of words. As a whole the play does 
not very strongly remind me of any of Peek's known 
plays, although I think that he wrote with different 
degrees of care at different times. It has not the long 
pedestrian passages so common in Edward /and Alcazar ', 
or the passages of rhyme with which Peele generally 
varies his blank verse. The proportion of double endings 
is about the same as in i Henry 71, appreciably less than that 
in 2, 3 Henry VI. Whether the play can be very early work 
by Shakespeare, at some date before we have any standard 
for comparison, I cannot say. The subject-matter is imita- 
tive, but the actual writing is fairly competent, and does 
not obviously suggest a beginner. It cannot, as a whole, 
be Shakespeare's at a date later than Richard III and the 
Comedy oj Errors. 

If, then, one could be sure that the play was really 
new on 24 January 1594, 1 should be inclined to accept 


Ravenscroft's tradition much as it stands, and to suppose 
that the author, whether 'private' in the Restoration sense 
or not was some one unknown to us. He took his notions 
of plotting from Kyd, and outwent him in his use of 
realism, of horrors, of mystifications, of maniacal episodes; 
his notions of character-drawing from Marlowe and out- 
went him by representing Aaron as obsessed by a lust, 
not for power through conquest, or gold, or knowledge, 
but for abstract villainy. He had learnt to write from 
Peele and others, and made very free use, consciously or 
unconsciously, of the common stock of diction, and per- 
haps consciously of Edward I and the Garter. On this 
theory the difficulty would really be to lay a finger on any 
passages which Shakespeare could reasonably be supposed 
to have contributed. Here, as elsewhere, parallels afford 
little guidance. The mere out-of-door feeling of such 
passages as ii. 2. i~6; ii. 3. 10-29 is not special to him. 
The touches of closer natural observation in ii. 4. 54 ; iii. r . 
1 37 ; v. i. 14 are too slight to lay stress upon. The highly 
coloured descriptions of ii. i. 1-25; ii. 3. 22636; ii. 4. 
1 1-57; iii. i. 220-34 like the rhetoric of iii. i. 267-79; 
iv. 2. 87-105 seem of a piece with the play as a whole. 
The clown of iv- 3. 77-121 compares poorly with Jack 
Cade. Driven to a choice, one would fall back on a few 
comparatively dignified and far from showy speeches, such 
asL 1. 104-20, 148-56, 187-200; iii. 1. 1-47; iv. 4. 81- 
93 * v - 3- 67-95, I 59~7 J * ^ ^ ee ^ no confidence about them. 
Moreover, there is some reason to suppose that Titus 
Andronicus was not altogether new in 1 594. I do not attach 
much importance in this connexion to the German and 
Dutch versions of 1620 and 1641. They are late and 
there were apparently other continental versions ; a trace of 
one, probably related to the source of Vos, is in a German 
programme of 1699.* Fuller has compared them minutely 
with each other and with Titus Andronicus, finds that they 
have certain common incidents not in Titus Andronicus y 
and on the other hand, that, while all the incidents of 
Titus Andronicus are in one or other of them, some are 


only preserved in the German and the other in the Dutch. 
He infers that they derive from two distinct English plays, 
identifies these with the Titus and Vespasian and Titus 
Andronicus of Henslowe, and regards the extant Titus 
Andronicus as a conflation of the two. I do not accept the 
inference. The facts are quite consistent with the 
natural hypothesis of divergence from a common source 
in an adaptation of Titus Andronicus for continental travel, 
It is true that in the German version Lucius is renamed 
Vespasian, which might point to Titus and Vespasian. But 
nearly all the characters are renamed and the Goths 
turned into Moors, and in this process Vespasian might 
naturally suggest itself. On the other hand, it is not so 
clear, on the English evidence alone, that some form of 
Titus Andronicus did not exist before 1 594, and if so, that 
it was not Titus and Vespasian. In itself this title of course 
suggests a play on the siege of Jerusalem, but Strange's 
men had already a Jerusalem in 1592. That Qi repre- 
sents the play of 1594 is certain from the mention of 
Sussex's men on its title-page. The same title-page sug- 
gests earlier performances, not of necessity from precisely 
the same text, by Derby's and Pembroke's, and presum- 
ably in this order. We can hardly take Q2, which puts 
Pembroke's first on its title-page, but not in its head-title, as 
a better authority on the point than Q I . 'Derby's' in 1 594 
probably means Alleyn's company, which was 'Strange's' 
in 1592, when it gave Titus and Vespasian. Further, the 
allusion in Knack to Know a Knave y also a 'StrangeV play, 
points to a knowledge of Titus and the Goths, not Moors, 
in 1592, and no such combination is known outside 
Titus Andronicus. It may be then, after all, that 'StrangeY 
did produce a form of Titus Andronicus as Titus and 
Vespasian in 1592, and that it was transferred by them to 
Pembroke's, and by Pembroke's to Sussex's, who revised 
it as the extant Titus Andronicus. The appearance of a 
Titus and Vespasian in a Revels list of plays^about 1619 
(App, D) gives some confirmation to the view that the 
tides are equivalent. If we pressed Jonson's rather vague 
dating, we should have to put the origin of Titus Axdro- 


nicus as far back as 1589, but I do not know that we need 
press it. It must be added that the theory of a play written, 
or conceivably revised, in 1592, and then revised in 1594, 
is not without its own difficulties. It is a short interval for 
a play to become out of date in. Henslowe's *ne', what- 
ever its precise significance, is certainly a mark attached to 
a play "the fyrst tyme yt wasse playde'. 1 Generally it 
seems to have been a new play in the full sense. It is pro- 
bable that it was sometimes a revised play, and possible 
that it was sometimes an old play, given by a particular 
company for the first time. 2 But there is no -clear case of 
this last type, and there are several clear cases in which 
such a performance was not marked *ne'. We come back 
to authorship. If Titus Andronicus was not new in 1 594, we 
cannot of course say how much revision then took place, 
or whether Peele or another, as well as Shakespeare, 
helped in it. All that can be assigned to Shakespeare at 
that date seems very little to justify a 'ne'. And, again, 
if the play was originally written in 15*92, and still more 
if in 1589, the stylistic case against Shakespeare as an 
original writer is weakened, and as the Garter poem did 
not exist, that for Peele as an original writer is, so far as 
the parallels to it have any weight, strengthened. I am 
sorry to be so inconclusive, but the complicated data are 
themselves so. It remains to notice a theory put forward 
by Greg, It is this. The play was originally Pembroke's. 
They made a variant version for travelling. This did not 
include iii. 2. When they were in straits during 1 593, the 
variant version came into the hands of Sussex's, who played 
it for Henslowe, and then allowed it to be printed. The full 
version they sold to Alleyn. It was played by 'Derby's/ 
and passed to the Chamberlain's, who played it for Hen- 
slowe. This version was revised by Shakespeare, which 
accounts for the mention by Meres. It was afterwards 
burnt in the Globe fire. The King's men replaced it by 
a^copy of Q3, derived from the variant version, but added 
iii* 2, which they were accustomed to play, from memory. 
Shakespeare's revision is therefore lost, except in so far 

1 Henskwe, i. 4$, 50. Ibid. ii. 148 ; E8z. Stage, ii. 145. 


as anything of his may be in iii. 2. This is ingenious, and 
reconciles Meres with the difficulty of finding Shake- 
speare's hand in the extant text. But it assumes a con- 
siderable concatenation of unusual incidents, and involves 
the acceptance of the Q2 title-page as against that of Qi 
for the order of the performing companies. 

There were probably Jacobean revivals. The 'Kings' of 
the Q3 title-page might merely bring up to date the 
'Chamberlains' of Q2. But Jonson's reference of 1614 
and the Titus and Vespasian record of c. 1619 both suggest 
that the play held the stage, and F, although retaining 
'God', substitutes (iv. 2. 71) 'Out 1 for 'Zounds', a word 
which seems to have been especially within the danger of 
the Act of Abuses. If iii. 2 was not added at this or an 
earlier revival, it must have been in some way recovered 
from the original text, in which a mark of deletion may 
have excluded it from Qi. This seems less likely. The 
scene does not advance the action. The earlier part, no 
doubt, is not unlike the rest of the play. I have sometimes 
fancied that the fly episode might be Webster's. I see no 
clear signs of f 

The ballad registered by Danter in 1594 may, in view 
of the rather complicated ownership disclosed by the S.R. 
entries of 1624 and 1626, be that printed by A. Mathews 
for T. Langley in Richard Johnson, The Golden Garland oj 
Princely Pleasures (1620), and also in a broadsheet by 
Edward Wright. If so, it rested on the play as we have it. 
It was also appended to a chapbook version of the story, 
undated but printed by C. Dicey at Northampton in the 
eighteenth century, and described by HJP,, 1 and pre- 
sumably the same as one noted by Farmer. 2 It claims to be 
'newly Translated from the Italian copy printed at Rome*, 
but H.P. says nothing to suggest that it has any other 
source than Titus Andronicus* According to Steevens 
Painter's Palace of Pleasure (1566-7) speaks of the story 
of Titus as well known, but this must be due to a con- 
fusion.3 There are analogous themes in romance literature 

1 Rarities, 77; Memoranda m All's * Var.icd. 381. 
Well, fc ., 73 . 3 /&& and. 258$ Anders, 266. 

3142.1 7 


of rape and murder by a revengeful Moor and of love 
relations between a Moor and a European lady, but 
they do not come very close to the play. The studies 
of Morgan, Dibelius, and Granger make it likely that an 
ultimate source existed in some perversion of Byzantine 
chronicles dealing with the twelfth-century emperor 
Andronicus Comnenus and the more or less contemporary 
Thamar, Queen of Georgia. 


[S.R. 1594.] Secundo die Maij. Peter Shorte. Entred 
vnto him for his copie vnder master warden Cawoodes 
hande, a booke intituled A plesant Conceyted historic 
called the Tayminge of a Shrowe yj d (Arber, ii. 648). 

[1594.] A Pleasant Conceited Historic, called The 

taming of a Shrew. As it was sundry times acted by the 

Right honorable the Earle of Pembrook his seruants. 

[Short's device (McKerrow 278)] Printed at London by 

Peter Short and are to be sold by Cutbert Burbie, at his 

shop at the Royall Exchange. 1 594. 

Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1886, Sh. Q. xv, ed. F. J. Furnivall). 

Modem Edition. F. S. Boas (1908). 

[i 596.] P.S., sold by Cuthbert Burbie. 

[S.R. 1607.] 22. January. Master Linge. Entred for his 

copies by direccon of A Court and with consent of Master 

Burby vnder his handwrytinge These, iij copies, viz, . . . 

The taminge of A Shrewe (Arber, iii. 337). 

[1607.] V<alentine> S<immes) for Nicholas Ling. 

[S.R. 1607.] 19- Novembris. John Smythick. Entred 

for his copies vnder thandes of the wardens, these bookes 

followmge Whiche dyd belonge to Nicholas Lynge .viz. 

. . . , 9 The taminge of A Shrewe vj d (Arber, iii. 365). 

[Fi. 1623.] \Catak%ue\ The Taming of the Shrew. 
\Cemedie$ y pp. 208-29; sign. Sa v -Vi. Head-title and 
Running-titfe] as in Cat. 
[Acts L sc i, iii, hr. sc, i, and v marked; altered in modern eds.] 


[Q- i63iO A Wittie and Pleasant Comedie Called The 
Taming of the Shrew. As it was acted by his Maiesties 
Seruants at the Blacke Friers and the Globe. Written by 
Will. Shakespeare [Smethwick's device (McKerrow 376)] 
Printed by W. S. for lohn Smethwicke, and are to be 
sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstones Churchyard vnder 
theDiall. 1631. 

Parallel-text (F. and A Shrew). A. R. Frey (i 888, Banbide). 
Modern Editions. R. W. Bond (1904, 1929, j/n&); H. T. E. Perry 
(1921, Tale)-, AT. Quiller-Couch and J. D. Wilson (1928, C.Uf.). 

.[Dissertations. S. Hickson, T.S. (1850, 1 N.Q. i. 345); R. K8h!er, Zu Shs 
T.S. (1868, J. iii. 397); F. G. Flea/, On the Authorship of T.S* (1874, 
N.S.S. Trans. 85; Sh. Manual, 175); A, v. Weilen, SAs Porspielzu T.S. 
(1884); R. Urbach, Das Ferhaltniss des Shs T.S.zuseinen Quellen (1887); 
J. Bolte, Eine Parallel zu Shs T.S. (i 892, J. xrvii. 1 30); A. H. Tolman, 
Si. and T.$. and SA.'s Love's Labour's Won (1904, Piews About Hamlet, 
203); E. H. Schomburg, T.S. (1904); E. P. Kulil, SA.'s Purpose in Drop- 
ping Sly (1921, M.LJt. rsxvi. 321), The Authorship of T.S. (1925, 
PM.LA. xl. 551); J. M. Robertson, Marlowe and Comedy (1923, SA. 
Canon, ii. 134); P. Alexander, The Taming of A Shrew (1926, Sept. 16, 
T..&)> F - H. Ashton, The Revision of the W Text ofT.S. (1927, P.g. vi. 
1 5 1); B. A. P. van Dam, A .S. and T.S. (1928, English Studies, x. 97, 16 1). 

The bibliographical data up to 1 607 relate to The Taming 
of A Shrew J but it is clear that A Shrew and The Shrew 
were regarded commercially as the same, and that the 
copyright acquired by Smethwick in 1607 covered both 
Fi and the Q of 1631, which was printed from it Fi 
has the full author's stage-directions usual in Shake- 
speare's earlier work. I see no reason to think with Wilson 
that they were added by a second hand to a dictated tran- 
script. Doubtless, however, the manuscript had been used 
as stage-copy. There is an obvious addition at Ind. i. i, 
'Enter Begger and Hostes, Christophero Sly', which may 
be due to the book-keeper. At Ind. i. 88, the name of the 
actor Sincklo has been substituted for flayer. He is 
known as a hired man of the Chamberlain's company. 
Other possible actor-names in stage-directions or speech- 
prefixes are Nicke (iii. i. 82), Par (iv. 2. 7i),^F<?/(iv. 3. 63), 
reter (iv. 4. 69). They are not all certain and, unless 


Nicke is Nicholas Tooley, we cannot identify them. It is 
unsafe to assume that this Nicke and this Peter played the 
similarly named servants in iv. i. They are two out of 
five who appear and speak. There are six others who are 
named, but do not appear. One of these is Gabriel, whom 
it is still less safe to take as the actor Gabriel Spencer. 
These are all textual names, and the book-keeper cannot 
(cf. p. 237) be responsible for them. Gabriel can never 
have been cast. The act-divisions of F are not good, and 
the beginning of Act ii is not marked. 

The relation of A Shrew to The Shrew is a matter of 
dispute. I adhere to the older view that it was used as a 
source-play, and think that in basing The Shrew upon it 
Shakespeare had, exceptionally for him, the assistance of a 
collaborator. I assign to Shakespeare Ind. i, ii; ii. I. 1-38, 
ii5-326;iii. 2. 1-129, 15 1-2 54; iv. i,3,5;v. 2. 1-181. 
Possibly he also contributed to the Petruchio episode in 
i. 2. i 1 1 6. Some critics give him less than I have done. 
On my view his share amounts to about three-fifths of 
the play, and includes all the Sly and Petruchio-Katharina 
scenes. The other writer is responsible for the sub-plot of 
Bianca's wooers. I do not know who he was. Lodge, 
Greene, and Chapman have been suggested on very slight 
grounds. His work, although not incompetent, is much 
less vigorous than Shakespeare's. He has many awkward 
lines, which disregard stress or contain unmanageable 
trisyllabic feet. He uses double endings in much the same 
proportion (i 7 %) as Shakespeare ( 1 9 %). The numerous 
scraps of Latin and Italian and the doggerel belong to his 
part. *He makes less use than Shakespeare of phrases from 
A Shrew. Kuhl has argued for Shakespeare's sole author- 
ship, largely on the ground that the characterization, 
especially of Petruchio, is consistent throughout. He finds 
the stylistic differences inconclusive. Some of them are, 
individually, but collectively they are less so, and bear out 
a general stylistic impression from which I cannot escape. 
The collaborators may well have agreed upon a common 
conception of Petruchio. 

A Shrew furnished the main structure of both plots, 


with their characters and entanglement, and of the in- 
duction. Shakespeare in particular follows its details 
pretty closely, and although his dialogue, as well as that 
of his collaborator, is new, the recurrence of stray words 
and phrases and of half a dozen practically identical 
blank-verse lines (iv. 3. 171-3; v. 2. 114, 130-1) 
shows that the old text was continuously before him, 
There is a still closer resemblance in iv. 3, where many 
points in Grumio's jesting with the tailor are taken over 
from A Shrew. This is not sufficient to justify the sug- 
gestion that Shakespeare himself contributed to A Shrew, 
and Sykes has made a fair case for assigning the comic 
prose of that to Samuel Rowley. The rest of the play is 
mainly written in pedestrian verse, often neglectful of 
stress, but this is varied by some highly wrought sections 
or speeches, full of classical allusions, and much in the 
manner of Marlowe. Robertson and others have taken 
them to be Marlowe's, but the parallels to Tamburlaine 
zndDr.Faustus collected by Boas leave this hardly possible. 
Some of these might be mere echoes, but in others from 
two to four lines are reproduced, exactly or approximately, 
from Marlowe in a way which must exclude his author- 
ship. Nor does any known dramatist elsewhere use him 
in this fashion. It looks as if some one, conscious of his 
own poetic insufficiency, had attempted to heighten his 
style by deliberate imitation and even plagiarism. He may 
also have drawn from other plays, learnt or heard on the 
stage, but not preserved. If this is so, the date of A Shrew 
must remain uncertain. Lines in it seem to be satirized 
in Greene's Menaphon (1589) and Nashe's epistle thereto, 
but these may be among the borrowings. If the play is 
as old as 1589, it cannot have been originally written for 
Pembroke's men. Saunder, who is a player in^the induc- 
tion, probably only bears a character name, as it is textual 
in the main plot, where Saunder is the prototype of 
Grumio. In any case he can hardly be the Saunder of the 
Seven Deadly Sins plot (c. 1590), who was then still a boy 
taking women's parts. 

A somewhat different view from mine is put forward by 


Herford, who thinks that the conversion of A Shrew into 
The Shrew was done by the 'other hand', and that Shake- 
speare revised him. Similarly Miss Ashton would find 
traces of revision in the sub-plot. Wilson, who does not 
(cf. infra) regard A Shrew as a source, suggests revision 
by Shakespeare of a hypothetical play, from which he 
thinks that some clown-dialogue by Nashe may have 
been preserved. I do not find much evidence of -disloca- 
tion in F i to bear out such views. It is a fairly clean text. 
As Wilson points out, there is a tendency, more marked in 
some scenes than others, to drop or add small words, 
which may be that of an incompetent compositor or, as 
he thinks, a transcriber. Some speech-prefixes (iii. i . 46 
58; iv. 2. 18; iv. 4. 56) are incorrect or wrongly 
placed. There is no extensive mislineation. Hereand there 
a few lines are wrongly printed as prose, doggerel, or blank 
verse respectively. One longer passage (iii. 2. 169-85) is 
in prose instead of verse throughout, and may have been 
written in a margin. The 'Enter Peter' at iv. 4. 69, if it does 
not yield an actor's name, may mean that the Petruchio 
scene (iv. 5) had been started upon here, and then deferred 
for the addition of another 41 lines to the sub-plot scene 
iv. 4. There are some slight inconsistencies of action, 
such as Petruchio's call (iv. i. 154) for a 'cousin Fer- 
dinand', who never appears. I see nothing here which a 
compositor might not produce from careless or hasty copy, 
which incorporated some afterthoughts, and in which (cf. 
p. 204) the speech-prefixes had been written later than the 

The use of a collaborator may in itself point to haste. 
The play has been variously dated* It is sometimes put 
about ^1598, because Meres does not name it, and the 
induction has affinities of matter with Henry IV. But its 
metrical features are consistent with 1594, and it ifiay 
quite well be the Love Labours Won of Meres. This is 
largely an application of the method of exclusions, since 
there is no other extant comedy, at any rate in its present 
form, available (cf. p. 272). The title itself might fit 
almost any sentimental plot. Perhaps the fourfold refer- 


ence (v. 2. 69, 112, 116, 186) to Petruchio's winning of 
his wager is relevant. The title-page of A Shrew shows 
that it was played by Pembroke's men, who emerge late 
in 1 592, and were broken by September 1 593.1 A perfor- 
mance (App. D) for Henslowe on 13 June 1594 was pre- 
sumably by the Chamberlain's, and Henslowe's *A Shrowe* 
need not prejudice opinion as to which version was then 
used. On the whole I think it probable that A Shrew 
originally belonged to the Alleyn company, that it was 
handed by them to Pembroke's in 1592 and recovered in 
1593, that it was allocated to the Chamberlain's on the 
reconstitution of companies in 1594, and that they rather 
hastily based The Shrew upon it, sold the old book to the 
printers in May, a;id played the new one in June. About 
the exact details of this I should not like to be dogmatic. 
Henslowe does not mark the piece c ne' and it is possible 
that the Chamberlain's began by playing A Shrew and 
revised it a little later in 1594. 

A quite distinct theory of the relation between A Shrew 
and The Shrew has been outlined by Alexander 2 and 
accepted by Wilson. According to this, A Shrew is not 
the source of The Shrew, but a 'bad Quarto* of it, due to 
an attempt of Pembroke's, after owning The Shrew and 
selling it in 1593, to reproduce it from memory, with the 
aid of a good deal of rewriting, and to resume playing it in 
the winter of 1593-4* I am quite unable to believe that 
A Shrew had any such origin. Its textual relation to The 
Shrew does not bear any analogy to that of other 'bad 
Quartos' to the legitimate texts from which they were 
memorized. The nomenclature, which at least a memorizer 
can recall, is entirely different The verbal parallels are 
limited to stray phrases, most frequent in the main plot, 

A Shrew. He picks up phrases from Holinshed and 
North in just the same way. It is true, as shown by Hick- 
son long ago, that some of these phrases have more point 
in The Shrew than in A Shrew. But this might be the 
case on either hypothesis, and the A Shrew versions are 

1 &. Stage, XL 128$ cf. p. 46. T.LS. for 16 September 19*6. 


not unintelligible as they stand. Alexander's strongest 
argument is that the sub-plot of The Shrew comes closer 
than that of A Shrew to the ultimate source in Ariosto's 
/ Suppositi. This again is true, and I take it that Shake- 
speare's collaborator made use of I Suppositi or its transla- 
tion in Gascoigne's Supposes, as well as of A Shrew. 1 

Shakespeare himself probably used no other literary 
source than A Shrew, which had already incorporated 
widespread story-motives in the 'taming* itself and the 
transformed drunkard. He worked Warwickshire reminis- 
cences into the induction. Christophero Sly is in A Shrew, 
but Stephen Sly (Ind. ii. 95) figures in the enclosures 
controversy; Marion Hacket, the fat ale-wife of Wincot, 2 
came from just over the Gloucestershire border (App, 
C, no. viii); and Burton Heath 3 is presumably Barton- 
on-the-Heath, where dwelt Shakespeare's cousins, the 
Lamberts (App. A, no. iv). A note in the records of 
the Stationers' Company for 1596 of a suppressed ballad 
called 'The taminge of a shrewe' is untrustworthy (App. F, 
no. xi (^)). 

The 1631 title-page shows that the play held the 
seventeenth-century stage, and a court performance of 
26 November 1 633 is on record (App. D). A Jacobean 
revival may be pointed to by the counterblast in Fletcher's 
The Womarf3 Prize or the Tamer Tamed, of which, how- 
ever, the date is very uncertain, 4 and by an allusion in 
S. Rowlands, Whole Crew of Kind Gossips (1609): 

The chiefest Art I have I will bestow 
About a worke cald taming of the Shrow. 

The divisions in F are very irregular. A heading for ii has 
probably been omitted by accident. But v consists of only 
one scene of 189 lines, and the whole play is rather short. 
Possibly a final Sly scene has been excised for some reason 
of staging. There was one in A Shrew, and The Shrew 
seems rather incomplete without one. 

* EHx. Stage, w. 321. 4 Eltx* Stage, iii. 222; Oliphant, 
9 Ind. ii. 22 . Beaumont and Fletcher* 151. 

* Ibid. ii. 19. 

Chap. IX 329 


[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] The two Gentlemen of Verona. 
[Comedies, pp. 20-38 ; sign. B 4 V -D i v . Head-title] The 
Two Gentlemen of Verona [Running-title] The two 
Gentlemen of Verona. [At end] The names of all the 

[Acts and sec marked. The names of all the Actors' at end. Pages 
37 and 38 have the running-tide for M.W* in error.] 
Modern Editions. R. W. Bond (1906, Arden)\ A. T. Quiller- 
Couch and J. D. Wilson (1921, C.U.P.)-, K. Young (1924, Yale}. 
[Dissertation. F. G. Fleay, On the Date and Composition of T.G. (1874, 
N.8.S. Trans. 287, with comment by F. J. FurnivaU); J. Zupitza, V&er 
die Fabel in Shs T.G. (1888, J. xxiii. i); H. F. BrOndel, Shs T.G. in 
englischen Buhnenbearbeitung (1909); H. Norpoth, Mctrisch-chronolo- 
gische Untersuchung von Shs T.G. (1916); J. M. Robertson, The Author- 
ship of T.G. (1923, Sh. Canon, ii. i); O. J. Campbell, T.G. and Italian 
Comedy (1925, Michigan Studies)*, T. P. Harrison, Concerning T.G. and 
Montemayo/s Diana (1926, M.L.N. xli. 251). 

The F text is fairly free from misprints and mislineations. 
All the entries and nearly all the exits within the scenes 
are unmarked, and there are no stage-directions, except 
final exits and entries at the beginning of each scene for all 
its characters in the order, doubtfully correct for iv. 2, of 
their appearance. Wilson draws the inference that the 
text was 'assembled' from 'parts' with the aid of a 'plot*. 
There are considerable difficulties (cf. p. 153) about any 
theory of 'assembling', but perhaps the case for it is 
stronger in Two Gentlemen than elsewhere. In a few 
passages prose is printed in irregular capitalized lines. 
Wilson also thinks that the play has been abbreviated and 
added to by an adapter. I do not accept the mingling of prose 
and verse in certain dialogues, or the presence of blank- 
verse rhythms in prose, or mentions of personages who do 
not appear, as evidence of this. They are common features 
(cf. pp. 1 8 1, 230-4) of Shakespeare's plays. There may 
have been some abbreviation. The text is rather short, and 
some of the scenes (ii. 2 ; v. i ; v. 3) are summary, and there 
are a few abrupt short lines and corruptions which may 
indicate 'cuts'. But I do not think that any scenes or 


incidents have been omitted. Time is foreshortened here 
and there, but this easily passes on the stage. Nor do I see 
the hand of an adapter. There are inconsistencies of 
action and nomenclature, but these need point to no more 
than careless original work. Milan, Verona, and Padua 
are hopelessly confused. Apparently Shakespeare at first 
meant the main action to be at an emperor's court at Milan; 
then altered it to a duke's court at Verona, and forgot to 
make the indications uniform. Verona is nowhere said to 
be the home of Proteus, Valentine, and Julia; in fact they 
go from home by sea. Padua (ii. 5. i) must be a slip, any- 
how. Wilson suggests that the part of Speed is inter- 
polated, but it seems inextricable from that of Launce in 
ii. 5 and iii, I, and i. 2. 38 shows that Valentine had a page. 
There is some poor writing towards the end of the play, 
especially in iv. i and in v. 4, which is also bad in senti- 
ment. But the badness is not necessarily un-Shakespearean, 

Robertson thinks that Two Gentlemen is a comedy by 
Greene, and that Shakespeare only altered the opening and 
inserted or retouched some later passages. He lays stress 
on the poverty of much of the comic relief and on the end- 
stopped iambic versification. It is true that the iambic norm 
is less varied by trochees and pyrrhics than is usual with 
Shakespeare, and possible that, as a beginner in romantic 
comedy, he was influenced'by Greene, as he certainly was 
by Lyly. But Greene did not write the play ; if for no other 
reason, because he never used so many double endings. 

The date can hardly be fixed with precision. There is 
no external evidence beyond the mention by Meres in 
1598. Two allusions to Hero and Leander (i. i. 21; 
iii. 1. 1 19) are not necessarily later than Marlowe's poem 
of 1593. Allusions to 'the wars' and travels to dis- 
cover islands (L 3. 8), to pestilence (ii. i. 22), and to the 
winning and losing of love's labour (i. i. 32) are even 
more inconclusive. The 'print' in which Speed found ii, i. 
171-4 has not been traced. The play has affinities of 
motive, manner, and vocabulary to the Comedy of Errors, 
to Romeo and Juliet, Merchant of Venice, and others riper 
than itself, and to some of the Sonnets. This, together with 


the inequality of workmanship, led Fleay to conjecture that 
it is of two dates. According to one of several forms 
which his theory took, Shakespeare only finished the play 
after an interval; according to another it was written 
about 1591 with a collaborator, whose work Shakespeare 
replaced by his own in 1595. The notion of a diversity of 
dates has received some support, but I think that a single 
date, early in the season of 1594-5, really meets all the 
conditions, and that the outset of the career of the Cham- 
berlain's men was a not unlikely time for hasty composi- 
tion. No performance of the play is on record. 

The only clear source is the story of Felix and Felis- 
mena in Jorge de Montemayor's Diana Enamorada. If 
Shakespeare could not read Spanish, he may have used 
the translation of Bartholomew Yonge, printed in 1598 
but finished sixteen years earlier, or the French translation 
of Nicolas Collin (1578, 1587), or the play of 'Felix & 
Philiomena' given at court by the Queen's men in I585- 1 
Montemayor's story is varied and elaborated in Two Gentle- 
men, especially .by the introduction of Valentine, and with 
him the motive of the conflict of love and friendship. 
Shakespeare is obsessed by this theme in the Sonnets, 
and it is so common in Renaissance literature that slight 
analogies to Two Gentlemen in Lyly's Euphues and Endi- 
mion y Barnabe Rich's Apollonius and Silla (cf. p. 407), 
Fedele and Fortunio* and elsewhere become of little im- 
portance. There is a rather closer resemblance in the 
German play of Julio and Hyppolita> printed in Engelische 
Comedien und Tragedien (1620). But this is a tragedy, and 
its relation to Two Gentlemen or any possible forerunner is 
quite uncertain. Campbell notes that many features of 
Two Gentlemen are commonplaces in Italian comedy. 

[Q 1. 1598.] [Ornament] A Pleasant Conceited Comedie 
Called, Loues labors lost. As it was presented before 
her Highnes this last Christmas. Newly corrected and 
augmented By W. Shakespere. [Ornament] Imprinted 

1 /&. Stage, iv. 160. 2 1WA fr. 13. 


at London by W<illiam> W<hite> for Cutbert Burby. 
1598. [No Head-title. Running title'} A pleasant con- 
ceited Comedie: called Loues Labor's Lost. 
Facsimile. W. Griggs (1880, Sh. Q. v, ed. F. J. Furnivall). 
[S.R. 1607.] 22 January. Master Linge Entred for his 
copies by direccon of A Court and with consent of Master 
Burby vnder his handwrytynge These, iij copies, viz. ... 
Loues Labour Loste . . . (Arber, iii. 337). 
[S.R. 1607.] 19 Novembris. John Smythick. Entred for 
his copies vnder thandes of the wardens, these bookes follow- 
inge Whiche dyd belonge to Nicholas Lynge. viz. . . . 
1 1 Loues Labour Lost. vj d . . . (Arber, iii. 365). 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue'] Loues Labour lost. [Comedies, 
pp. 122-44; s ig n - L i v -M 6 V . Head- and Running-titles] 
Loues Labour's lost. 
[Acts marked, with iv repeated for v.] 

[Q2. 1631.] Loues Labours lost. A Wittie And Pleasant 
Comedie, As it was Acted by his Maiesties Seruants at the 
Blacke-Friers and the Globe. Written by William Shake- 
speare. [Smethwick's device (McKerrow 376)] London, 
Printed by W. S. for lohn Smethwicke, and are to be sold at 
his Shop in Saint Dunstones Church-yard vnder the Diall. 
1631. \Head- and Running-titles'] Loues Labour's lost. 
Parallel-Text. I. H. Platt (1906, Bankside^ xxi). 
Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1904, New Variorum^f}\ H. C. 
Hart (1906, Arden}\ H. B. Charlton (1917, Heath)\ A. T. 
Quiller-Couch and J. D. Wilson (1923, C. U.P.)\ W. L. Cross and 
C. F. T. Brooke (1925, Yale}. 

[Dissertations. S. Lee, A New Study ofL.L.L. (1880, Gentleman** Mag.)\ 
F. G. Fleay, Si. and Puritanism (1884, Anglia, vii. 223); G. Sarrazin, 
Die Entstehungszeit von L.L.L. (1895, J. xxxi. 200); J. de Perott, 
Eine tfanucht Parallels zu L.L.L. (1908, J. xliv. 151); J. Phelps, 
Father Parsons in SL (1915, Archiv, czxxiii. 66); H. B, Charlton, A Dis- 
puted Passage in Z.L.Z. (1917, M.L.R. xii. 279), A Textual Note on L.L.L. 
(1917^ 3 Lilarary 9 vw. 355), Tie Date of L.L.L. (1918, AfJLfc.xiii. 257, 
387);]. M. Robertson, LJ.J,. (1917 ,Sh* and Chapman, 107); H. D. Gray, 
Tie Original Version of L.L.L. (1918); A. Lefranc, L.L.L. (1919, Sous 
Le Masque de Si. 5. 17); A. K. Gray, Tif Secret ofL.L.L. (1924, PM,LJi. 
xsxix. 581); O. J. Campbell, L.L.L. Re-studied (192$, Michigan Studies)^ 
A. R. Bayley, OrMtms, tie it// (192$, N.Q. cxlviii. 399, 417). 


Qi is a badly printed text, with many 'literal' and other 
errors and blundering punctuation. It preserves a number 
of abnormal spellings. There are slight variants in the 
extant examples. Fi was set up from a Qi in which 
there may have been others. But the F printer has made 
many corrections and introduced as many fresh errors, of 
which Greg gives an interesting analysis in R.E.S. i. 471. 
Wilson shows that the example used had already been 
altered in the theatre by a revision of the stage-directions 
and speech-prefixes. Q2 was set up from F. The absence of. 
an original entry in the Stationers' Register and the 'Newly 
corrected and augmented' on the title-page of Qi suggest 
that it may, like the Q2 of Romeo and Juliet where the 
same conditions recur, have been preceded by a surrepti- 
tious print. If so, the title-page is not in itself evidence of 
anything more than revision of the printing, as distinct 
from a rewriting of the play. But a rewriting has been 
suspected on other grounds. Two passages, iv. 3. 296- 
317 and v. 2. 827-32, are clearly duplicated by what 
follows in each case, and Wilson is probably right in sug- 
gesting that they were marked for deletion and the marks 
disregarded by the printer. But it is by no means so clear 
that these changes were made at a rewriting of the play; 
the cancelled passages can be just as well interpreted as 
false starts at the time of the original writing. A half-line 
left in Q before iv. 3. 3 17, but omitted in modern editions, 
looks like an abandoned first attempt to amend that line, 
before the fresh start was made. Similarly, the first line 
of the rejected Berowne-Rosaline dialogue in v. 2. 827- 
32 was immediately used to open a Dumaine-Katharine 
dialogue, and the opening of a new Berowne-Rosaline 
dialogue deferred to 847. Something has also gone 
wrong with ii. i. Here Berowne is clearly meant to be 
paired with Rosaline throughout, Longaville with Maria, 
Dumaine with Katharine. But the arrangement is not 
consistently followed. Possibly Shakespeare has been 
careless; possibly confusion has arisen through an attempt 
to set up Love's Labour 'j Lost like Romeo and Juliet fav^ 
by correcting a bad Quarto. I do not think that Wilson 


has given a satisfactory explanation in terms of a rewriting. 
He finds, however, further evidence of this in (a) small 
typographical variations and dislocations in Q, which are 
capable of several explanations; () a supposed difference 
in the character of the stage-directions in different places, 
which seems to me imaginary, as the stage-directions are 
comparatively slight throughout; and (c) the use, here of 
personal, and there of generic, descriptions in stage- 
directions and speech-prefixes. And he assigns to a first 
'draft', more or less altered on revision, i. i, 2 ; ii. i ; iii. i. 
69-end; iv. 2, 3; and to a revised version, with traces of 
the first draft, iii. i. 1-68; iv. i; v. The variations of 
nomenclature, frequent enough in other plays, are more 
conspicuous in Love's Labour's Lost than elsewhere. We 
get, in full or abbreviation, Navarro and King for Ferdi- . 
nand, Braggart for Armado, Pedant for Holofernes, 
Curate for Nathaniel, Wench and Maid for Jaquenetta, 
Clown for Costard, Constable for Anthony or Dull, and 
i, 2, 3 Lady for Maria, Katharine, and Rosaline. Wilson 
uses some of these; others, which he does not use, do not 
square with his theory that the use of generic names points 
to rewriting. But this theory I do not (cf. p. 232) accept. 
Somewhat exceptional are the variations of Duke for King 
and Queen for Princess, since these appear in the text, 
and are inconsistent, except that the Princess apparently 
becomes Queen of France on her father's death in v. 2, 
and is thereafter addressed as 'Maiestie* instead of 'Grace'. 
H. D. Gray has made an independent attempt to trace the 
lines of a rewriting. He supposes that the original play 
ended with a complete rejection of the lovers; that 
Rosaline was transformed from a fair into a swarthy 
beauty; that Holofernes and Nathaniel were only intro- 
duced at the rewriting; and that this explains the differ- 
ence between the planning and performance of the 
Worthies* The view seems to me quite fantastic. Love- 
comedies do not end with rejections, Rosaline is through- 
out white-skinned; only her hair and brows are black; 
there is a similar difference between the planning and the 
performance of the play in Midsummer-Night's Dream. 


Both Wilson and Gray find their new matter mainly at the 
end. The great length of v. 2 is not, I think, relevant. 
Love's Labour *s Lost does not fall into acts. F might have 
divided better than it did, but probably there were no 
intervals in the play as originally given. It is possible that, 
if a 'surreptitious* early Q ever turns up y some of the 
supposed evidence for revision and other features of the 
text may prove to be due to an attempt, as in Romeo and 
Juliet^ to use a heavily corrected example of that as 'copy' 
for Qi. 

So far as style is concerned, I see no evidence for two 
dates, and no evidence for a very early date. The versifica- 
tion is extremely adroit, and certainly not that of a begin- 
ner. I regard the play as the earliest of the lyrical group 
which includes Midsummer-Night's Dream, Romeo and 
Juliet, and Richard 77, and I put it in 1595. The variety 
entertainment at the close links it with Midsummer-Night's 
Dream and the black-browed and black-eyed Rosaline 
with the Sonnets. Nor are the numerous topical and 
literary allusions inconsistent with this date. The 'Mon- 
archo' (iv. I. 101) can in any case be a tradition only, as 
his epitaph in T. Churchyard, Chance (i 580), shows him 
then dead. Charlton has traced the 'first and second 
cause' in duelling (i. 2. 183) to Segar's Book of Honor and 
Arms (1590). The 'dancing horse' (i. 2. 57) of John 
Banks was travelling from 1591 until long after 1595* 
There is no reason whatever to suppose that Elizabeth 
shot a deer with a bow (iv. i) for the first or the last time at 
Cowdray in 1 59 1 . 'Lord have mercy on us' ^.2.419) was 
a formula used in theplague of 1592-3, but by no means 
for the first time. 1 There may be a reference in 'saved 
by merit' as a 'heresy in fair, fit for these days' (iv. i . 2 1) to 
the conversion of Henri IV on 25 July 1593. There must 
be a reference in 'piercing a hogshead' (iv. 2. 89) to the wit- 
exchange between Nashe and Gabriel Harvey, begun by 
Harvey's Pierce' s Supererogation (i 593). If, as seems prob- 
able, iv. 3. 346-7 echo Chapman's Shadow of Night, that 
was printed in 1 594. The Muscovite mask (v. 2) can have 

1 F. P. Wikon, The P&gut in SA.*f Lmu&n, 63. 


nothing to do with the wooing of Lady Mary Hastings 
for the Emperor of Muscovy in 1583, but does reflect an 
English interest in Russian affairs, and perhaps derives 
from the similar use of Russian apparel on 6 January 1595 
in the Gray's Inn revels which were also adorned by Comedy 
of Errors. Robert Southwell, in prison from 20 June 1592 
and executed on 21 February 1595, wrote some lines on 
eyes (App. B, no. xi) which have been supposed to echo 
Berowne's disquisition in iv. 3, but it is probable that 
they are of earlier date. There is an analogy to the 
jest on 'guerdon' and 'remuneration* (iii. i. 170) in J, M., 
A Health to the Gentlemanly Profession of Servingmen 
(S.R. 15 May 1598), sign. I, but nothing to determine 
priority. Obviously, if Love's Labour's Lost was revised, 
some of these passages may belong to the second version. 
But I find nothing which is necessarily later than 
1 595. The jest on* Ajax and the lion sitting on a close-stool 
(v. 2. 579) is based on the arms of Alexander, as given in 
Gerard "L&^Accedens ofArmorie (i 563, r 59 1), and is more 
likely to have given a hint to than taken one from Haring- 
ton's Metamorphosis of Ajax (1596). Shakespeare, if the 
borrower, would have worked in 'metamorphosis'. There 
may be other topical allusions in an obviously satirical play 
over which time has drawn a veil. Many attempts have 
been made to trace portraits in the exponents of the 
Worthies. Armado has been identified with the Mon- 
archo, Antonio Perez, Lyly, Philip of Spain, and 
Sir Walter Raleigh; Holofernes with John Florio, 
Bishop Cooper, Thomas Harriot, Chapman, and one 
Richard Lloyd, who wrote lines on the Worthies in 1584; 
Moth with La Mothe-F&ielon, a French ambassador, as 
far back as 1 568-75, and with Nashe ; and so forth. Most 
of this is mere beating the air. As Campbell points out, this 
underworld of Love's Labour 's Lost represents the stock 
masks of Italian comedy, the capitano and his zanni, the 
fedante or dottore^ the parasite or affamato, the clown, the 
magistrate. It does not follow that there may not be 
personal touches in the reproduction of them. Moth, like 
Nashe by Greene and Meres, is called (iii. i . 67) a 'Juvenal'. 


Holofernes gets his name from Rabelais, and Rombus 
in Sidney's May Lady, an entertainment of about 1578, 
is a rather remote analogy. 1 Both Chapman and Gabriel 
Harvey may have contributed something to Holo- 
fernes^ but it is pressing the thing too far to speak of 
portraits'. If the Q reading in iv. 3. 25$ *Schoole of 
night' is correct, there may be a further allusion to Chap- 
man's Shadow of Night> in which learning is called upon 
to shun the day, and perhaps also to Sir Walter Raleigh's 
alleged 'School of Atheism,' which Chapman seems to 
laud in his epistle, although apparently only knowing of 
it through Matthew Roydon. But if he was right in 
regarding Sir George Carey as a member, there could be 
no 'attack' by Shakespeare, since Carey was son of Lord 
Hunsdon, and later himself the patron of Shakespeare's 
company. No source is known for the main plot. If there 
was one, it may have helped to account for the Ferdinand, 
Duke, and Queen. No Ferdinand was ever King of 
Navarre. But Ferdinand is given (ii. i. 163) a father 
Charles and the dispute as to an inherited debt of 200,000 
crowns, for which Ferdinand holds part of Aquitaine, 
bears some analogy to financial transactions between a 
historic Charles of Navarre and the King of France 
about 1425. Probably, however, the visit of the Princess 
to Ferdinand rests upon something more recent than 
1425, in a visit to Henri IV at Nrac in 1578 by his wife 
Marguerite de Valois, a princess of France. They were 
separated, and questions of dowry, involving towns in 
Aquitaine, were at issue. Marguerite describes the visit 
and its festivals in herMemoires. She was accompanied by a 
troop of ladies, and temporarily renewed amorous relations 
with her husband. The Memoires also tell the pathetic 

story of the death, two years before, of HS&ne de Tournon, 
which seems to be alluded to in v. 2. 1 3-1 7. It took place in 
Brabant (ii. 1.114), whither Marguerite went after a visit to 
her brother, the Due d'Alen^on (ii. I. 61) in 1578. Shake- 

her brother, the Due d'Alen^on (ii. I. 61) in 1578. Shake- 
speare can hardly have known all this at first hand. Neither 
the Memoires nor the accounts of Henri and Marguerite by 

1 E&c. Stage, ili. 491. 

3I42.X Z 


Brantdme and others were yet available in print. Unless 
there was a source-play, some English or French traveller 
must have been an intermediary. On the other hand, the 
names of Berowne, Longaville, and Dumaine would be 
well enough known in England from events of later date. 
Armand and Charles Gontaut, successive Dues de Biron, 
and Henri, Due de Longueville, were supporters of Henri 
IV inhiswarsof 1589-93 for the crown of France. Charles, 
Due de Mayenne, was his opponent. He has probably been 
confused with another supporter, Mar&hal D'Aumont. 

Love's Labour's Lost suggests a courtly rather than a 
popular audience. Wilson, who puts his first version in 
1593, supposes it played at the Earl of Southampton's 
house in plague-time. A. K. Gray relates it to the Titch- 
field visit in the progress of 1591, x and thinks that South- 
ampton hoped to hint by the denouement at the desirability 
of a twelve-months' respite before his marriage to Elizabeth 
Vere. Southampton is the ready deus ex machina of 
Shakespearean speculation. If the title-page of Qi does 
not merely repeat an earlier one, the court performance 
to which it refers must, on Greg's view as to the dates on 
play title-pages (cf. p. 175), have been in 1597-8. The 
abrupt ending, 'The words of Mercury are harsh after the 
songs of Apollo', which was altered in F, looks like the 
beginning of an epilogue or of a presenter's speech for a 
following mask. Mercury has nothing to do with what 
precedes. There was a revival in January 1 605 and a per- 
formance at Cranborne's house or Southampton's (App. 
D). F alters 'God' into 'loue' in one only (v. 2. 316) of 
twenty cases. The 1631 title-page shows that the play 
held the stage after the King's men acquired the Black- 


[Q 1. 1597,] [Ornament] An Excellent conceited Trage- 
die of Romeo and luliet. As it hath been often (with great 
applause) plaid publiquely, by the right Honourable the 
L. of Hunsdon Ms Seruants. [Danter's device (McKerrow 


281)] London, Printed by lohn Danter. 1597 [Head-title] 
The most excellent Tragedie of Romeo and luliet. [Run- 
ning-titles] The most excellent Tragedie, of Romeo and 
luliet. (sign. A-D) ; The excellent Tragedie of Romeo and 
luliet. (sign. E-K)]. 

[A different type begins with sign. E at ii. 3. 82, and from the begin- 
ning of iii. 5 the text is divided by ornaments, apparently marking off 

Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1886, Sh. Q. xxv > ed. H, A. Evans). 
Reprints. P. A. Daniel (1874, N.S.S.); W. A. Wright (1893, 
Cambridge Sh. ix. 639). 
Modern Edition. F. G. Hubbard (1924, Wisconsin Univ. Studies). 

[Q2. 1599.] The Most Excellent and lamentable 
Tragedie, or Romeo and luliet. Newly corrected, aug- 
mented, and amended: As it hath bene sundry times 
publiquely acted, by the right Honourable the Lord 
Chamberlaine his Seruants. [Creede's device (McKerrow 
299)] London Printed by Thomas Creede, for Cuthbert 
Burby, and are to be sold at his shop neare the Exchange. 
1599. [Head-title] The Most Excellent and lamentable 
Tragedie, of Romeo and luliet. {Running-title'] The most 
lamentable Tragedie of Romeo and luliet. 
Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1886, Sh. Q. xxvi, ed. H. A. Evans). 
Reprint. P. A. Daniel (1874, N.S.S.). 
Modern Edition. P. A. Daniel (1875, N.S.S.). 
[S.R. 1607.] 22 January Master Linge Entred for his 
copies by direccon of A Court and with consent of Master 
Burby vnder his handwrytinge These .iij copies, viz. 
Romeo and Juliett . . . (Arber, iii. 337). 
[S.R. 1607.] 19 Novembris John Smythick. Entred for 
his copies vnder thandes of the wardens, these bpokes 

followinge Whichedydbelonge to Nicholas Lynge. viz 

10 Romeo and Julett vj d (Arber, iii. 365). 
[3. 1609.] The Most Excellent and Lamentable 
Tragedie, of Romeo and Juliet. As it hath beene sundrie 
times publiquely Acted, by the Kings Maiesties Seruants 
at the Globe. Newly corrected, augmented and amended: 
[Ornament] London Printed for lohn Smethwick, and 



are to be sold at his Shop in Saint Dunstanes Church- 
yard, in Fleete streete vnder the DyalL 1 609. [Head- and 
Running-titles, nearly as in Q2.] 

[4. n.d] Titky with Smethwick's device of 1612-37 
(McKerro w 3 7 6), Head- and Running-titles^ nearly as in Q3 , 

[In some copies 'Written by W. Shake-speare' precedes 
'Newly corrected . * .] 

Facsimile. C. Pmetorius (1887, Sh. Q. xxxvi, ed. H. A; Evans). 
[Fi, 1623.] [Catalogue] Romeo and Juliet. [Tragedies, 
PP- 53-79 (omitting 77-8); sign. ee3-gg2, Gg. Head- 
and Running-titles] The Tragedie of Romeo and luliet. 
[Act i, sc. i, marked.] 

[Q4- 1637.] Title, with Written by W. Shake-speare', 
Head- and Running-titles, as in 3. Printed by R. 
Young for John Smethwicke, . . . 1637. 
Parallel-Texts. T. Mommsen(i859); P. A. Daniel(i874, N.S.S.); 
B. R. Field (1889, Bankside, v). 

German Persian. Rondo und Ju/ietta (Cohn 309, with tr., from 
Vienna Hofbibliothek M S. 13107). 

Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1871, 1909, New Variorum)\ 
E. Dowden (1900, Arden}\ W. H. Durham (1917, Tale], 
[Dissertations. G. Pace-Sanfelice, The Original Story of R.J. (1868); 
P. A. Daniel, Brooke's Romeus and Juliet and Painter*: Rhomeo and 
7&/fe(x875,&&.); K.P. &\m]zt,DieEntwickelungderSagei>onR.J. 
(1876, 7. xi. 140), The Jolly Goshawk (1878, J. xiii. 205); F. G. Fleay 
(1877, Uacmttlaits Uag^ T. A. Spalding, On the First Quarto ofR.J. 
(i%7$,N.S.S. Trans. 58); R. Gericke, R.J. nach Shs MS. (1879, J. xiv. 
207); N. Delius, Brookis episches und Shs dramatisches Gedicht von R.J. 
(1881, J. xvi. 213; Ml. ii. 135); K. Lentzner, Zu R.J. (1887, Anglia, x. 
601); E. Dowden, R.J. (1888, Transcripts and Studies); A. Cohn, Adrian 
Sevin** Bearbeitung der Sage von R.J. (1889, J. xxiv. 122); L. Frankd, 
Untersuckungen zur Entwickelungsgeschichte des Stoffes von R.J. (i 890-1, 
Z. /. vergleichende Litteraturgeschichte, N.F. iii. 171; iv. 48), Sh. und 
das Tagelied (1893), Neue Beitrage zur Geschichte des Stoffes von Shs R.J. 
(1894, E.S. xix. 183); L. H. Fischer, Die Sage von R.J. in deutschen 
Prosa^Darstellungdes 17 Jahrhunderts (1890, J. xxv. 124); R. Davidsohn 
(1903, Deutsche Rundschau, cxvii. 419); C. F, McClumpha, Shs Sonn. und 
R.J. (1904, J. xl. 187); H. de W. Fdler, Romeo and Juliette (1906, 
M.P. iv. 75); W. Smith, A Comic Version of R.J. (1909, M.P. vii. 217); 
M. J. Wolff, Ein BeitragzurGesch. des Stoffes'von R.J. (1909, Z. /. ver- 
tfeichende Litteraturgeschichte, N.F. xvii. 439); S. B. Hemingway, The 


Relation 0/M.N.D. to R.J. (1911, M.ZJV. zxvi. 78); H. D. Gray, Romeo, 
Rosaline, and Juliet (1914, M.LJf. and*. 209); A. Schottner, Okr die 
mutmassliche stenographist Entstehung der gj von Shs R.J. (1918); 
J. D. Wilson and A. W. Pollard, R.J. (1919, Aug. 14, T.L.S.); R. Fischer, 
Quellen zu R.J. (1922); J.M.Robertson, R.J. (1925, Si. Canon, Si. 113); 
M. P. Tilley, 4 Parody ofEuphues in R.J. (i<)i6,M.LJf.di. i) ; G. Hjort, 
TAeGoodandBadQqofR.J.andL.L.L.(i<)i,6,M.L.R.Tai. 140); B.A.P. 
van Dam, Did Sh. Revise R.J.? (1927, Anglia, li. 39).] 

Qi is one of the bad Quartos (cf. p. 156), but it preserves 
many readings better than those of 2, which, although 
'Newly corrected, augmented, and amended', contains 
many errors. The fairly full stage-directions of Q2, with 
notes for the use of properties, suggest an author's hand 
supplemented in the theatre, of which there is a clear sign in 
the substitution (iv. 5. 102) of 'Enter Will Kemp' for 'Enter 
Peter'. Several entries and exits areunmarked. 3 is printed 
from Q2, and F and the undated Q independently from 
Q3. Each introduces some corrections, apparently from 
conjecture. As originally set up, Romeo and Juliet ended on 
p. 77 of the Tragedies, and Troilus and Cressida began over- 
leaf on p. 7 8 . When Troilus and Cressida (q.v.) was for a time 
withdrawn, the end of Romeo and Juliet was reprinted as 
p. 79 and Timon of Athens begun on p. 80 overleaf. The can- 
celled leaf with pp. 77-8 is accidentally preserved in two 
examples. ^ The relation of Qi to Qs has been the subject 
of much discussion. Qi is certainly a 'reported' text, and 
its derivation from an original more closely resembling 
Q2 is apparent. Lines necessary to explain the sense of 
what is left are omitted (i. i. 1 15-22; i. 2. 1-3 ; iii. 2. 45- 
51 ; 102-6). Points are lost through alterations of order 
(i. i . 1 9-37 ; 5 1-8 ; i. 2. 38-45). Passages are represented 
by mere paraphrases, or by scattered lines, with or without 
connective padding. The reporter tends to break down in 
bustling scenes, with much action and confused speech. 
The fight in i. i. 69-87 is only indicated by a stage-direc- 
tion, and the stage-directions generally vary from Q2 and 
often read like descriptions of action seen on the stage. 
Except a short dialogue of servants in i. 5, 117, no 
episode of Q2 is entirely omitted. There are many small 
mislineations, and a good deal of irregular metre* Even 


well-reported passages contain alternatives of syntax or 
vocabulary to the language in corresponding lines of Q2. 
Actor's ejaculations are occasionally introduced. There is 
a gag (ii. 4. 21). Most evidential of a reporter are trans- 
positions of lines and phrases from one place to another 
(i. i. 1 20 to iii, i. 172; ii. 4. 25 to iii. i. 104; ii. 6. 21 to 
ii, 3. 31 ; iii. 2. 88 to ii. 5. 26; iii. 4. 6-7, 33 to i. 5. 126; 
v. i. 64-5 to ii. 5, 5; v. 2. 6-8 to v. 3. 251). The reporter, 
however, is more competent than some others, and suc- 
ceeds in working his fragments into a fairly continuous 
text. The best-done scenes are perhaps i. i. 88-end; i. 2 ; 
i. 3. 1-48 ;i. 4; i. 5. 18-146; ii. 1-4; iii. 3; iii. 5. 1-59; 
iv. i. On the whole the work deteriorates from ii. 6 
onwards, and towards the end the divergence from Q2 is 
considerable. It does not seem possible to identify the 
reporter. If he was an actor, Capulet, the Nurse, Benvolio 
occasionally suggest themselves, but no part is consistently 
well rendered. Conceivably more than one hand has con- 
tributed. Several words look like errors of mishearing, but 
neither these nor the Equivalents' can be taken (cf. pp. 156 
61) as evidence of shorthand. 

A report does not account for everything. Very possibly 
the report is of a text shortened for performance. Qi has 
2,232 lines and Q2 has 3,007. It is hardly possible to 
distinguish the reporter's omissions from others, but 
several lacunae in long speeches or dialogues may be 
'cuts 9 . Other features of the relation between the texts 
have been explained on a theory of revision. Such a theory 
is stated by Wilson and Pollard. Q2 was printed from the 
author's MS. A transcriber would not, unless 'slavishly 
faithful*, preserve numerous careless slips, and notably 
a duplication of ii. 3. 1-4 in a passage inserted before the 
last two lines of ii. 2. Moreover, Q2 'teems with evidences 
of revision*, examples of which are in long passages of 
verse printed as prose, such as the Queen Mab speech in 
* 3- 54~9 * This must have been written in a margin 
without line divisions, or so heavily corrected in a margin 
that the compositor *cut the Gordian tangle by resorting 
to a prose arrangement*. If, then, Q2 was 'derived from* 


a revised MS., Qi must be 'derived from' this same MS. 
'at an earlier stage of its development 1 . The evidence for 
this is in the close typographical resemblance of Qi and 
Q2, as regards spelling, punctuation, and the use of capi- 
tals and italics, in certain passages, of which ii. 4. 39-46 
and iii. 5. 27-31 are examples. Qi contains 'pre-Shake- 
spearian' passages *of the Greene-Lodge school*. The 
MS. was twice handled by Shakespeare. At a first 
revision he brought Acts i and ii very nearly to their final 
state, but only rewrote iii-v here and there. At a second 
revision he altered iii-v less thoroughly, omitting to pre- 
fix sonnets, as he had done for i and ii, and leaving the 
spelling 'Capolet' in place of 'Capulet'. Qi represents 4 an 
abridged version of Shakespeare's first revision of an older 
play eked out by what a pirate could remember of the later 
version'. I do not find mis theory satisfactory. The term 
'derived from' is vague. Wilson and Pollard cannot mean 
that the actual MS. partly revised by Shakespeare was 
first altered by the reporter as copy for Qi and was then 
passed back to the theatre, further revised by Shakespeare, 
and used as copy for Q2. They must mean that what the 
reporter handled was a transcript; and this is consistent 
with their general theory (cf. p. 226) that Shakespeare, 
early in his career, made partial revisions of several old 
plays, of which abridged transcripts were prepared for 
provincial performance during the plague of 1 592-4. But 
if so, the typographical resemblance of parts of Qi and 
Q2, upon which they rightly lay stress, remains unex- 
plained. Wilson has himself made it probable, in dealing 
with other plays, that Shakespeare's orthography was 
individual, and was normalized, with his punctuation, in 
varying degrees by different printers. How could two 
printers, one perhaps working from the original, but the 
other from a transcript, itself certainly not literally true 
to the original, have produced the typographical resem- 
blance. This, moreover, is not confined to i and ii, but 
extends to clearly Shakespearean writing later, to which, on 
thetheory, Qi had only access through the reporter and not 
from a MS. The resemblance is certainly striking, and the 


only plausible explanation of it seems to be that some parts 
at least of Q2 were set up from corrected pages of Q i . To 
this also point cases (ii. 2. 54; iii. 3. 102) of common mis- 
lineation in Qi and Q2. I find a similar view taken by 
Greg, Emendation, 19, 49, and by Hjort and Van Dam. 
If it is sound, the alterations from 2 were them- 
selves transcribed, either in margins or on attached slips 
and sheets. I do not share the difficulty which Wilson and 
Pollard feel about this. If the duplication at the end of ii. 
2 and beginning of ii. 3 was not due to the transcriber 
himself, the first version was not necessarily more than a 
false start by Shakespeare, such as we find in Love's 
Labour's Lost y left undeleted or inadequately deleted. It 
would not take a particularly 'slavish* transcriber to copy- 
it as it stood. There is another duplication in Q2 of iii. 
3. 41. Certainly these are not evidence of a general 
revision of the play. Nor is the prose for verse of the 
Queen Mab passage, as this may merely represent cor- 
rections transcribed on a page of Qi. Prose for verse in 
Qi one may generally put down to the reporter. The only 
other long' passage of this kind in Q2 is, I think, i. 3. 
Here Q2 follows Qi, and both texts have another odd 
feature which has not been explained. In the dialogue 
between Lady Capulet and the Nurse, all the Nurse's 
speeches, but not Lady Capulet's, are italicized in Qi. 
The italics are carried on in Q2 and extended to one of 
two speeches omitted by Qi. The Nurse's speeches are 
also italicized by Qi, although not by Q2, in i. 5, but not 
in later scenes. One would suppose that the Nurse's 
'part', written in Italian script, was available for Qi, but 
the relation to Q2, although too close to leave room for 
revision, is not one of identity, and Qi also italicizes a 
speech (i. 3. 100-4) by another servant* I do not accept 
Robertson's suggestion that the lines in question may 
have been left behind him by a dead contributor to the 
play, and printed in italics as 'a way of paying a small 
tribute to his memory*. This is scientific criticism with 
a vengeance. 

On the whole, given the circumstances in which Qi 


and Q2 respectively were printed, I do not see sufficient 
reason for supposing either that Shakespeare retained 
dialogue from a pre-Shakespearean play, or that he re- 
wrote his own work. Robertson regards Romeo and Juliet 
as 'a composite play, drafted before Shakespeare by 
several hands, merely revised and expanded by him in 
the version preserved in Qi, and further modified by his 
and other hands in the version preserved in Q2*. Even 
in Q2 he finds much of Peele, whom he thinks the main 
'draftsman', and of Marlowe, Greene, and Kyd, although 
Shakespeare is allowed 'far more, alike of revision and of 
fresh writing, than he did in Titus'. I do not suppose that 
Wilson and Pollard would go as far as this, and I do not 
propose to take it seriously. The whole essay reads like 
a burlesque of Robertson's own theories upon earlier 
plays. Certainly there is some non-Shakespearean matter 
in Qi, especially towards the end. The most consecutive 
passages are ii. 6 ; iii. 2. 57-60; iv. 5. 43-64; v. 3. 12-17, 
and parts of v. 3. 223-67. I do not see that we need 
look for an author beyond the reporter. If he was an 
actor, as is probable enough, we know from Henslowe's 
records that many actors, without becoming habitual 
playwrights like Shakespeare and Heywood, were able to 
turn out a play upon occasion; and the style of 'the 
Greene-Lodge school' is just what such men mig;ht be 
expected to use, after better poets had grown out of it. 

As to date, 1591 has been favoured, usually for a 'first 
version 1 , because the Nurse (i. 3. 35) makes it eleven years 
since an earthquake, and there was a real earthquake in 
London in i^So. 1 This is pressing the Nurse's interest 
in chronology and Shakespeare's rather hard* The 
style of the play is that of the -lyrical group, and I should 
put it in 1595, preferably before Midsummer-Night* $ 
Dream, as its theme seems to be parodied in that of Pyra- 
mus and Thisbe, and its wall (ii. 1, 2) in Snout's wall. This 
and another point of staging are discussed in ESz. Stage, 
iii. 94, 98, Weever's mention of Romeo (App. B, no. xix) 
has been put as early as 1595, but may be as late as 1599. 

' EG*. Stage, iv. 208. 


A ballad on the story was registered on 5 August 1596.* 
The plague is recalled (v. 2, 9). The 'first and second 
cause* (ii. 4. 25) are from Segar's Book of Honor (1590). 
Rosaline (ii. 4. 4, 14) recalls her namesake of Love's 
Labour *s Lost. There is a general resemblance of phrase 
and imagery to much in the Sonnets. All this fits well 
enough with 1595. The company was then the Cham- 
berlain's, but the Qi title-page uses the designation 
which it bore when that was printed. We learn from 
Marston (App. B, no, xv) that the play was at the Curtain 
about 1598. There is no evidence of a Jacobean revival, 
beyond two alterations of 'Zounds' (iii. i. 52, 104) in F, 
which retains the rest of the profanity. 

The theme of escape from marriage through a sleeping- 
draught is as old as the Ephesiaca of Xenophon of Ephesus 
(4th cent. A.D.?). It came to Shakespeare through an 
Italian channel. Masuccio of Salerno told the story, much 
in its later form, of Sienese lovers in his IlNovellino (1476). 
Luigi da Porto's Istoria di due Nobili Amanti (c. 1524) 
transferred it to Romeo and Giulietta at Verona, and con- 
nected it with the noble families of Dante, Purgatorio, vi. 
1 06, 'Vieni a veder Montecchi e Cappelletti', although 
the Cappelletti seem to have been really of Cremona. 
From Da Porto it passed to the Infelice Amore (1553) of 
G. Bolderi, the Novelle (1554) of Matteo Bandello, and 
the Hadriana (1578) of Luigi Groto. It was treated as 
serious Veronese history by Girolamo de la Corte(i 5946), 
who followed Bandello in placing it during the rule 
(c. 1303) of Bartolomeo della Scala. There were various 
offshoots, including the Castehines y Monteses of the 
Spanish Lope de Vega. Pierre Boaistuau translated Ban- 
dello in the Histoires Tragiques (1559), and was in turn 
translated in William Painter's Palace of Pleasure (1565- 
7), and more freely handled in Arthur Brooke's poem 
The Tragical/ History* o/Romeus and Juliet (i 562). Of this 
Bernard Garter's Two English Lovers (i 563) is an imitation, 
with other names. A Romeo et Juliette by C6me de la 
Gambe, dit Chasteauvieux, was being played in France 

1 Arber, iii. 68. 


about 1581, birt is not preserved. 1 Shakespeare had 
probably read Painter, and not very successful attempts 
have been made to show that he used Luigi Groto and 
Lope de Vega. But substantially his source, so far as we 
know, was Brooke. Brooke, however, says, *I saw the 
same argument lately set foorth on stage with more com- 
mendation, then I can looke for: (being there much better 
set forth then I haue or can dooe)'. He does not tell us 
whether this play was Latin or English, popular or 
academic, and we cannot say whether it accounts for any 
of Shakespeare's divergences from Romeus and Juliet. A 
fragmentary Romeus et Julietta in Shane MS. 1775 dates 
from about 1615.* But Brooke's statement has naturally 
encouraged those who believe that Shakespeare rewrote 
an earlier play. Fuller has attempted to trace one behind 
the Dutch Romeo en Juliette of J. Struijs (1634), but does 
not convince me that this had any source other than 
Boaistuau, who was translated into Dutch by 1618. 
A Romeo and Juliet was played at N5rdlingen in 1 604 and 
at Dresden in 1626 and 1646.3 Robertson unjustifiably 
assigns to 1626 the MS. of the extant German Romio und 
Julietta^ which according to Creizenach, Schauspiele der 
Englischen Komddianten, xli, is shown by dialect and local 
allusions to have been written in Austria during the second 
half of the seventeenth century. It is based upon Shake- 
speare in the 2 form, since it uses passages (iii. 1. 157- 
80 ; v. 3. 1 2-1 7) as there given and not in Qi . But it has 
a preliminary scene in which the Prince reconciles Monta- 
gue and Capulet, and this, according to Robertson, must 
go back to England in 1562 when 'the dangers of civil 
strife are seriously dwelt upon', and 'is inexplicable as 
a German recast*. I cannot imagine why. The dangers of 
civil strife have been obvious to all peoples in al! ages. 
There were German renderings of Boaistuau from 1615 

1 E. Lanson in Revue tTHut. Lift. * EBx. Stage, ir. 378. 
x. 199; G. H. White in N.Q. cliv. 95. 3 Ibid. it. 283; Hen 86. 



[S.R. 1597.] 29 Augusti. Andrew Wise. Entredforhis 
Copie by appointment from master Warden Man, The 
Tragedye of Richard the Second vj d (Arber, iii. 89). 

[Qi. 1597.] The Tragedie of King Richard the second. 
As it hath beene publikely acted by the right Honourable 
the Lorde Chamberlaine his Seruants. [Simmes's device 
(McKerrow 142)] 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. [No head- 
title. Running-title] The Tragedie of King Richard the 

Facsimiles. C.Praetorius(i888,5A. Q.xviii, from Huth, now B.M., 
copy, ed. W. A. Harrison). W. Griggs (1890, Sh. Q. xvii, from 
Devonshire, now Huntington, copy, ed. P. A. Daniel). 

[Qa. 1598.] The Tragedie of King Richard the second. As 
it hath beene publikely acted by the Right Honourable the 
Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. By William Shake-speare. 
[Simmes's device (McKerrow 142)] London Printed 
by Valentine Simmes for Andrew Wise, and are to be 
sold at his shop in Paules churchyard at the signe of the 
Angel. 1598. [No head-title. Running-title] The Tragedie 
of King Richard the Second. 

[Q3 r 59 8 ] The Tragedie of King Richard the second. As 
it hath beene publikely acted by the Right Honourable the 
Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. By William Shake-speare. 
[Simmes's device (McKerrow 142)] London Printed 
by Valentine Simmes, for Andrew Wise, and are to be 
solde at his shop in Paules churchyard, at the signe of the 
AngeL 1598. [No head-title. Running-title] The Trzgedie 
of King Richard the Second. 
[W. A. White collection.] 
Facsimile. A. W. Pollard (1916). 

[SR. 1603.] 25 Junij. Mathew Lawe. Entred for his 
copies in full courte Holden this Day. These ffyve copies 
folowinge ... viz iij enterludes or playes . . . The second 
of Richard the .2. . . . all kinges ... all whiche by consent 


of the Company are sett over to him from Andrew Wyse 
(Arber, iii. 239). 

[Q 4 . 1 608.] The Tragedie of King Richard the second. As 
it hath been publikely acted by the Right Honourable the 
LordChamberlainehisseruantes. By William Shake-speare. 
[White's device (McKerrow i88 b )] London, Printed 
by W(illiam) W<hite) for Matthew Law, and are to be 
sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at the signe of the 
Foxe. 1608. [No head-title. Running-title'] The Tragedie 
of Richard [or King Richard] the Second. 

[Cancel t.p. in some copies.'] The Tragedie of King Richard 
the Second: With new additions of the Parliament Sceane, 
and the deposing of King Richard, As it hath been lately 
acted by the Kinges Majesties seruantes, at the Globe. 
By William Shake-speare. [White's device (McKerrow 
i88 b )] At London, Printed by W. W. for Mathew Law, 
and are to be sold at his shop in Paules Church-yard, at 
the signe of the Foxe. 1 608. 
Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1888, Sh. Q. xix, ed. W. A. Harrison). 

[Qj. 1615.] The Tragedie of King Richard the Second: 
With new additions of the Parliament Sceane, and the 
deposing of King Richard. As it hath been lately acted 
by the Kinges Maiesties seruants, at the Globe. By 
William Shake-speare [Ornament] At London, Printed 
for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules 
Church-yard, at the signe of the Foxe* 1615. [No 
head-title. Running-title'] The Tragedie of Richard the 

[Fi. 1623.] {Catalogue] The Life & death of Richard the 
second. [#/j/0H>j,pp.23--45,sign.b6-d5. Head-title^Tte 
life and death of King Richard the Second. [Running-title*] 
The life (Life) and death (Death) of Richard the second, 
[Acts and sec. marked.] 

[Q6. 1634.] By lohn Norton. 

Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1887, Sh. Q. xx, ed. P. A. Daniel). 

Parallel-Text. A. Waites (i 892, Bankside y Qi +F i). 

Modtrn Editions. E. K. Chambers (1891, Falcon)-, C, HL Herford 


(1893, Warwick}-, I. B. John (1912, 1925, Arden}\ LL M. Buell 
(1921, Tale). 

Dissertations. A. Schmidt, Q$ and F von R. // (1880, J. xv. 301); 
H. R. Plomer, An Examination of Some Existing Copies ofHayward's King 
Henrie 7^(1902, 2 Library, iii. 13); F. W. Moorman, SA.'s History Plays 
and Daniel's Civile Wars (1904, J. xl. 69); J. M. Robertson, The Author- 
ship ofR. II (1923, Sh. Canon 9 ii. 45); E. M. Albright, Sh.'s R. II and the 
Essex Conspiracy (1927, PMJL-A. xlii. 686) ; E. P. Kuhl, SA. andHayward 
(1928, S.P. xxv. 312). 

The interrelation of the texts is minutely examined in 
Pollard's admirable introduction to 3. Qi is a good text, 
and may very possibly have been printed from the author's 
manuscripts. Modern editors find on an average one error 
of wording to a page. Seventeen corrections were made 
during printing, and the extant examples contain corrected 
and uncorrected sheets in various combinations. The 
punctuation is generally careless and inadequate, but be- 
comes more elaborate in set speeches; and here Pollard 
(cf. p. 191) is inclined to trace the author's hand. A few 
mislmeations are generally due to the merging of short 
with full lines. I think there may be some textual dis- 
turbance in York's speech of ii. 2. 98-122, which reads 
very unmetrically. A variant spelling of 'Martiall* for 
'Marshall' in three out of four cases in i. 3 may have no 
significance. The stage-directions are of the short type, 
which now becomes normal in Shakespeare's plays. The 
later Qq were successively set up from each other, with 
some correction of errors, and a progressive accumulation 
of new ones, to which Q2 is the chief contributor. The 
'abdication* or 'deposition* scene (iv. i. 154-318) first 
appears in 4; it is in all extant examples, but all have not 
the cancel title-page calling attention to it. Some omis- 
sions and much xnislineation, partly due to these, suggest 
that the copy was derived from a shorthand report. F is 
shown by the retention of some Q errors to have been set 
up from a Q, This was probably 5, but just possibly 
3. Many fresh errors are introduced, and there are 
some colourless verbal variants, which are probably best 
ascribed (cf. p. 1 80) to the subconscious operations of the 
compositor's mind. But many Qi readings are also re- 


stored, and there are a few corrections, including two on 
points of historical fact, which are perhaps beyond the 
normal capacity of a press corrector. Moreover, the 
stage-directions are elaborated; there is a general substitu- 
tion of 'Heaven' for 'God'; the 'abdication' scene is pro- 
perly lined; and the omission of passages amounting to 
about 50 lines in all (i. 3. 129-33, 2 39-4 2 > 268-93 ; & 2 - 
29-32 ; iv. i. 52-9) may be due to a desire for shortening 
or the removal of obscurities. Pollard thinks that the 
example of Q$ used had been imperfectly collated with 
one of Qi altered to serve as prompt-copy. 1 

Some evidence for a date of production in 1595 is fur- 
nished by Samuel Daniel's CMl Wars between Lancaster 
and York. This was registered on 1 1 October 1 594. Two 
editions appeared in 1595, and the second of these con- 
tains parallels to Richard //, which are not in the first. 
Obviously both might have preceded the play, but on the 
whole it seems more likely, especially on the analogy of 
Daniel's handling of his Cleopatra (cf. Antony andClevpatra)) 
that he made these alterations after seeing it. And there is 
some confirmation of a 1595 date in a letter (App. D) 
from Sir Edward Hoby, apparently inviting Sir Robert 
Cecil to a performance of Richard II on December 9 of that 
year. This again is not quite conclusive, as one cannot be 
certain that the play was new. And although the style and 
lyrical tone of the scenes in which Richard figures would fit 
well enough with 1595, there is much poor and bombastic 
matter, especially in Acts i and v, which recalls the period 
of 2, 3 Henry VI and Richard III. Certainly Shakespeare 
is still under the influence of Marlowe in his handling of 
chronicle-history. Robertson, indeed, boldly claims the 
whole play as one by Marlowe or by Marlowe and Peele, 
'substantially preserved' in an adaptation by Shakespeare. 
I do not think that such parallels of vocabulary and diction 
as he produces are in the least capable of proving this; or 
that there is any clear evidence of Marlowe's hand, as dis- 
tinct from his influence; or that it is plausible to argue that 
Marlowe is likely to have made a use of continuous 

1 C, however, p. 165. 


rhymed dialogue, which is markedly absent from his 
known plays. Nor do I think that Peele writing poor 
matter under Marlowe's influence can be discriminated 
with any assurance on purely internal grounds from Shake- 
speare writing poor matter under the same influence. The 
conception of Richard's tragedy, as well as its detailed 
presentation, seems to me clearly Shakespearean and not 
Marlowean; and it is safest to assume that in the inferior 
scenes Shakespeare, completely uninterested in chronicle- 
history as such, allowed himself to slip into a perfunctory 
and traditional treatment of all that was not directly con- 
cerned with that tragedy. It is quite possible that he had 
an older source-play before him, and conceivably he may 
have preserved rather more of a predecessor's phrasing 
than he did in the almost contemporary King John. If so, 
it probably dealt, perhaps in a first part, with the murder 
of Thomas, Duke of Gloucester, a knowledge of which 
seems assumed in the play as it stands. Certainly there 
were other Elizabethan plays on the reign, besides Shake- 
speare's. There was the old Life and Death of Jack Straw, 
printed in 1593, but this does not cover the murder. 1 
There was the play, sometimes called Thomas of Woodstock^ 
preserved in Egerton MS. 1 994.2 This, although the manu- 
script has probably been used for a seventeenth-century 
revival, seems to be of sixteenth-century composition. It 
might conceivably be a first part of Shakespeare's source, 
if he had one. There are some slight verbal resemblances 
to Richard //, and the subject is die death of Gloucester, 
although this is not treated exactly as we should expect 
from the references in Richard //, since Mowbray is not 
among the characters. Neither Jack Straw nor Thomas of 
Woodstock can be definitely assigned to any company with 
which Shakespeare was concerned. But we do know from 
Simon Forman (App. D) that in 161 1 the King's men had 
a Richard II other than Shakespeare's, the description of 
which does not answer to either of them, but which 
covered Straw's riot, the death of Gloucester, on lines 
inconsistent with Richard //, and a plot of John of Gaunt 

*a. IKd. iv. 4*5 cf. p. in. 


to make his son king. Whether it also covered the actual 
deposition of Richard is not clear. Perhaps it is even more 
likely than Thomas of Woodstock to represent the first part 
of a source-play used by Shakespeare. 

There are many indications of an analogy present to 
the Elizabethan political imagination between the reign 
of Richard II and that of Elizabeth herself. A letter of Sir 
Francis Knollys on 9 January 1578 excuses himself forgiv- 
ing unwelcome counsel to the queen. 1 He will not *play the 
partes of King Richard the Second's men'; will not be a 
courtly and unstatesmanlike flatterer. Clearly the phrase 
was familiar. Henry Lord Hunsdon similarly wrote at 
some date before 1588, 'I never was one of Richard IFs 
men'. z More cryptic is a letter from Raleigh to Robert 
Cecil on 6 July 1597, 'I acquainted my L: generall 
(Essex) with your letter to mee & your kynd acceptance 
of your enterteynemente, hee was also wonderfull merry 
att y c consait of Richard the 2. I hope it shall never alter, 
& whereof I shalbe most gladd of as the trew way to all 
our good, quiett & advancement, and most of all for her 
sake whose affaires shall therby fynd better progression/ 3 
All these allusions are of course in perfect loyalty, the 
utterances of devoted, if critical, officials. In 1 597 Cecil, 
Raleigh, and Essex were for once on friendly terms. The 
publication of Richard //, without the abdication scene, 
came shortly after Cecil wrote. In 1598 a disgruntled 
Essex drifted into an attitude of political opposition, and 
the government became, or professed to become, aware of 
an unfriendly parallel drawn between Elizabeth herself 
and the deposed Richard.-* John Hayward's prose history 
of The First Part of the Life andRaigne of King Henrietta 
was registered on 9 January 1599 and published with a 
dedicatory epistle to Essex, which contained a dangerous 
description of him as 'magnus et presenti iudicio et futuri 
temporis expectatione'. Apparently Essex took alarm and, 
after' keeping the book by him for a fortnight, moved the 
Archbishop of Canterbury to require the cancellation of the 

1 Wright, i. 74. * Strickland $53, nenbaum, Problem, 209, 
* Edwards, ii, 1695 facs. at Tan- 4 Cf, vol. ii, p. 323. 

3142.1 A a 


epistle. A second edition of the book was suppressed 
altogether. At the trial of Essex on 5 June 1 600 for his 
proceedings in Ireland, his relation to the book, which the 
queen had come to regard as seditious, was made one of 
the charges against him. In July Hayward and Samuel 
Harsnett, who had given the licence for publication, were 
called before the Star Chamber; and Hayward was im- 
prisoned. An official note of evidence against Essex com- 
piled at this time lays stress not only on the offending 
epistle to the book, but also on 'the Erie himself being 
so often present at the playing thereof, and with great 
applause giving countenance and lyking to the same', A 
few months later, on 8 February 1 60 1 , Essex attempted re- 
bellion. On the day before some of his supporters had gone 
to the Globe, where they had persuaded Augustine Phillips 
to revive an old play of Richard II. Evidence of this was 
given at their arraignment for participation, in Essex's 
treason, and was used with Hayward's book to suggest 
that the earl, who had some remote claim to the crown 
through a descent from Thomas of Woodstock, had 
planned to play the part of Henry Bolingbroke to Eliza- 
beth's Richard. On all this several interesting points arise. 
In the first place, there can surely be little doubt that the 
play of 7 February was Shakespeare's. It was given by 
the Chamberlain's men. A play produced in 1595 and 
laid aside might well be 'stale', from the theatrical point 
of view, by 1 601 . It dealt with the deposing and killing of 
the king, and although we know from Forman that the 
company had another play of Richard II in 1 6 1 1, it is on 
the whole improbable that its subject-matter overlapped 
with Shakespeare's. That some of the references speak 
of a play of *Henry IV is immaterial. The frequent 
performances which Essex was accused in 1 600 of having 
attended must of course have been earlier than that of 
1 60 1, at which indeed he was not present. They are no 
doubt those which the Queen spoke of to Lambarde in 
1 60 1 as given '40*^ times in open streets and houses*. And 
they may reasonably be placed about 1595, in view of 
a statement in some Directions for Preachers of 1601 that 


Essex had^ been plotting treason for six or seven years. 1 
The deposition scene was evidently given at the 1601 per- 
formance. I think it was probably given in 1595 also. 
That it was part of the original writing is quite clear. The 
lines immediately preceding it have been altered in Qi to 
square with the excision, but this has left without point the 
Abbot's subsequent comment 'A woeful Pageant haue we 
here beheld*. Pollard, however, thinks that it may have 
been cut in representation, partly because the Chamber- 
lain's men thought that there was 'too much Richard' in 
the play, and partly because of the Pope's bull of deposition 
in 1596. There was (cf. p. 366) no such bull, and 
it seems to me more likely that the interest taken by Essex 
in the play led to some popular application of the theme 
to current politics, and this in turn to the intervention of 
the censor, perhaps at the theatre, but more probably when 
the play came to be printed. That it was written with any 
Seditious intent is of course most unlikely, and indeed only 
an unreasonably sensitive instinct of suspicion could re- 
gard the deposition scene in particular as encouraging 
resentment against Richard. The Hunsdons, whom the 
company served, were always loyal supporters of Eliza- 
beth, and in no way entangled with the fortunes of Essex, 
even if Essex himself can be supposed to have had any 
notion of aping Henry of Bolingbroke as early as 1595. 
Nor is Sir Edward Hoby likely to have invited Cecil, of all 
men, to witness a disloyal play. And Shakespeare's own 
supposed attachment to Essex is a merely speculative 
theory. Even in 1601, little blame seems to have fallen 
upon the Chamberlain's men. A passage in Hamlet (q.v.) 
may imply that they travelled for a time. But they were 
at court a few days after the trial of Essex and several 
times in the following winter. Under James, who had 
an affectionate remembrance of Essex, the deposition 
scene could safely be printed. The 1608 title-page and 
the attention paid to the Act of Abuses in the F text indicate 
a Jacobean revival. Probably Shakespeare's was the 
Richard II given at sea (App. D) by Keeling's sailors in 

1 Cheyney, ii. 535. 


1607. They are not likely to have used anything but 
a printed play. There was a revival at the Globe in 1631 
(App. D). ^ 

The mam source of Richard II was the Chronicle of 
Holinshed, in the second edition of 1587, since ii. 4. 8 
uses a passage not in that of 1577. For a few historical 
points other chroniclers may have been drawn upon. Two 
features not in Holinshed, the introduction of Queen 
Isabel, and the attribution of a soliloquy to Richard just 
before his murder, are common to Richard II and the first 
edition of Daniel's poem, but the treatment, both of these 
topics and of the rest of the action, is so different as to 
make an influence either way unlikely. Miss Albright's 
suggestion that Shakespeare may have used Hayward's 
history in manuscript is perverse, in view of the relative 
dates of the prints. She rests it on a statement by Hayward 
that he had contemplated handling the subject a dozen 
years back, and neglects his further statements that he had 
told no one of this, and only began to write the book a year 
before it was published. There are parallels, but they may 
best be explained through use by the historian of the play. 


[S.R. 1600.] 8 Octobris. Thomas Fyssher. Entred for 
his copie vnder the handes of master Rodes and the 
Wardens. A booke called A mydsommer nightes Dreame 
vj d . (Arber, iii. 174). 

[Qi. 1600.] [Ornament] A Midsommer nights dreame. 
As it hath beene sundry times publickely acted, by the Right 
honourable, the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written 
by William Shakespeare. [Fisher's device (McKerrow 
32 1)] 1T Imprinted at London, for Thomas Fisher, and are 
to be soulde at his shoppe, at the Signe of the White Hart, 
in Fleetestreete. 1600. [Head-title'] A Midsommer Nights 
Dreame. [Running-title] A Midsommer nightes dreame. 
[The printer may be Allde or Bradock. An elaborate ornament at 
the end recurs qn the t.p. of Edward II (i 594), and that is linked by 
its final ornament to Edward II (i 598), which Bradock printed.] 
Facsimile. W. Griggs (1880, Sh, Q. Hi, ed J. W. Ebsworth). 


[2.1619.] [Ornament.] A Midsommer nights dreame. 
As it hath beene sundry times publikely acted, by the 
Right Honourable, the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants 
Written by William Shakespeare. [W. Jaggard's device 
formerly Roberts's (McKerrow 136)] Printed by lames 
Roberts, 1600, [Head-title] A Midsommer Nights 
Dreame. [Running-title'] A Midsommer nights Dreame. 
[On the misdating cf. p. 133.] 

Facsimile. W. Griggs (1880, Sh. Q. iv, ed. J. W. Ebsworth). 
[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] Midsommer Nights Dreame. 
[Comedies, pp. 145-62, sign. N-O 3 V . Head-title] A Mid- 
sommer Nights Dreame. [Running-title] A Midsommer 
nights Dreame. 
[Acts marked.] 

Parallel-Text. W. Reynolds (1890, Bank$ide> Qi + Fi). 
Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1895, New Pariorum); E. K. 
Chambers (i 897, Warwick)-, H. Cuningham (1905, Arden^ W. H. 
Durham (1918, Yale}-> A. T. Quiller-Couch and J. D. Wilson 

(1904, a OP.). 

Dissertations. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, Introduction to MJf.D. (1841), 
Illustrations of tie Fairy Mythology ofMM.D. (i 845, Sh. Soc.), Memoranda 
on MJf.D. (1879); N. J. Halpin, Giants Vision in MJf.D. (1843, Sh. 
Soc.); C. C. Hense, Sis MJf.D. Erlautert (1851); K. Elze, 2am MJT.D. 
(1868, y.iii. 150; Essays, 30); H.Kuiz 9 ZumMJt.D.( 1869,7.17. 268); 
F. Krauss, Eine Quelle zu Shs MJfJ). (1876, J. xi. 226); B. ten Brink, 


0/MJV.D. (1878); A. Schmidt, Diealtesten4usgal>cndesMlf.D. (1881); 
Dr. Finkenbrink, The Date, Plot and Sources of MJf.D. (1884)-, K. 
Gaedertz, Zur Kenntniss der altenglischen Buhne (1888); E. FlQgel, 
Pyramys and Tyste (1889, Anglia, xii. 13, 631); G. Hart, Die Pyramus- 
und-TMsbe Saga (i 889-91) ; A. Wiirzner, Die Orthographie derteiden Qq 
von ShsMJtf.D. (i 893) ; G. Sarrazin, DieAtfassungszeitdcsMJfJ).(i 895, 
Archiv, xcv. 291), Scenarie und Sta/age im MJV.D. (1900, Archiv, civ. 
67); L. Frankel, 7or-Shakespearesches Pyramus und This&e-Stuck? (1897, 
J. xxxiii. 275); R. Tobler, Sis MJf.D. und Montemayor>s Diana (1898, 
J. xxxiv. 358); W. Vollhardt, Die Beziehungen a*erMJt.D. zum italic- 
niscken Schaferdrama (i 899) ; F. von Westenholtz, Sis Gewonnene Lieks- 
mUk (1902, Jan. 14, Beilage zur Allgemeim Zeitung); H, Reich, Der Mann 
mit dem Eselskopf(i^ J. xl. 108) ; F. Sidgwick, Sources and Analogues of 


. (1908, SJt. Classics^ S. B. Hemingway, The Relation ofMJf.D. 
to R.J. (191 1, MJLM. xrvi. 78) ; E. K, Chambers, The Occasion ofMMD. 
(1916, St. Homage, 154); W. J, Lawrence, St. from a New Angle (1919, 


Studies, viii. 442), Date cfMJf.D. (1920, Dec. 9, T.L.S.), A Plummet 
for Bottom's Dream (1922, Fortnightly, cxvii. 833;' Sh.'s Workshop, 7 5) ; A. 
Lefranc, Le TMalitl dam MJfJ). (1920, Melanges Bernard Bouvier)\ 
E. Rickert, Political Propaganda and Satire /*MJV.Z>.(l923,M./ > .xxi, 53, 
133); A. Eichler, DasHoflwhnenm&sige inShsMM.D. (1925, J. hi. 39) ; 
H. Spencer, A Nice Derangement (1930, M.L.R. xxv, 23). 

Qi is a fairly well-printed text, with some abnormal spell- 
ings, and may be from the author's .manuscript. The 
stage-directions are not elaborate. Q2 is from Qi, and Fi 
from Q2, but Wilson's analysis points to the incorporation 
of notes for a revival. The clearest indication is the stage- 
direction at v. i. 128, 'Tawyer with a Tmmpet before 
them'. A division into Acts has been superimposed upon 
a text written for continuous performance, resulting in the 
stage-direction at the end of iii, 'They sleepe all the Act', 
by which is meant the act-interval. 

The hymeneal character of the theme has led to the 
reasonable conjecture that the play was given at a noble 
wedding, and various writers have suggested the weddings 
of (i) Robert Earl of Essex and Frances Lady Sidney in 
April or May 1590, (2) Sir Thomas Heneage and Mary 
Countess of Southampton on 2 May 1594, (3) William 
Earl of Derby and Elizabeth Vere at Greenwich on 
26 January 1595, (4) Thomas Berkeley and Elizabeth 
Carey at Blackfriars on 1 9 February 1 596, (5) Henry Earl 
of Southampton and Elizabeth Vernon about February 
or August 1598, (6) Henry Lord Herbert and Anne 
Russell at Blackfriars on 16 June 1600. There is obvious 
flattery of Queen Elizabeth as the 'fair vestal throned by 
the west' (ii. i. 14868), and a possible allusion to the 
bride in the 'little western flower' on which Cupid's bolt, 
harmless against the 'imperial votaress', fell. The imagery 
of this passage has been regarded as a reminiscence of the 
entertainment of Elizabeth at Kenilworth in 1575, and 
more plausibly of that by the Earl of Hertford at Elvetham 
in 1591,* although there is a generic quality about such 
pageants, and the special feature of *a mermaid on a dol- 
phin's back 9 does not belong to either occasion. The 

1 Efa. Stage, i. 122. 


flattery does not of course prove that Elizabeth was present 
at the wedding celebrated 

at tut wituxuiig *^i^L/j.en.^ij. \s^ Midsummer-Night s x^/cw/^, 
although it is likely enough. She was in fact at weddings 
(3) and (6), and very possibly at (4), since the bride was 
her god-daughter, and the grand-daughter of her cousin 
and Lord Chamberlain. It may be assumed that she was 
not at (i), (2), and (5), all of which brought the bride- 
grooms into disfavour, while (5) was in secret, and not 
likely to have received the publicity of a play. Considera- 
tions of date also make (i), (5), and (6) improbable, and 
the effective choice lies between (3) and (4). I have de- 
scribed the circumstances of these in SA. Homage, 154, but 
should add that the Derby wedding was certainly at 
Greenwich, although the Queen seems to have accom- 
panied the bride to Burghley House a few days later, and 
a play might have been given at either place. 1 Of the 
Berkeley wedding, unfortunately, no details are known. 
The Queen was at Richmond, but could easily have come 
to Blackfriars by river. The use of the Chamberlain's 
company would be natural enough on this occasion, since 
the bride's grandfather and father were its successive 
patrons; and Sir George Carey's musical establishment 
(cf. vol. ii, p. 86) could perhaps supply any additional 
boys needed to impersonate fairies. Some of the Chamber- 
lain's men had of course formerly been the men of Derby's 
brother and predecessor, Ferdinando, Earl of Derby. Earl 
William, however, had a company of his own, although, 
so far as we know, only a provincial one. 2 A family 
chronicler tells us that affection between Thomas Berkeley 
and Elizabeth Carey began in the autumn of 1595. Wil- 
liam Stanley and Elizabeth Vere might possibly have met 
at Elvetham in I59i> but a conceivable reflection of that 
in the 'little western flower' is too slight a clue to lay stress 
upon. Either wedding would fit such indications of date 
as the play yields. It belongs to the lyric group of 1 59476- 
I do not think that the proposed show of Muses mourning 
for the death of learning in beggary (v. i . 52) is an allusion 
to the death of Robert Greene in 1592, It was to be a 

Cf. Eliz. Stage, iv. 109. * J* 


'satire, keen and critical', which suggests something on 
the lines of Spenser's Tears of the Muses. Greene, although 
a University man, could hardly stand for a typical repre- 
sentative of learningin such a connexion. If any particular 
death was in mind, Tasso's, on. 30 April 1 595, seems more 
plausible. The bad weather described in ii. i. 8 1 1 17 is 
probably that which began in March 1594, prevailed 
during the greater part of that year, and ushered in a long 
period of corn shortage (cf. App. A, no. xii). The alarm 
of the clowns (iii. i. 33) lest that 'fearful wild-fowl' the 
lion might scare the ladies recalls the abandonment of a 
projected lion at the baptismal feast of the Scottish Prince 
Henry on 30 August 1594, A True Reportarie of which 
was registered on 24 October 1594.* This allusion, as 
well as that to the weather, would be more up to date in 
January 1595 than in February 1596. On the other hand, 
if Pyramus and Thisbe parody Romeo and Juliet (q.v.), 
Midsummer-Nights Dream is likely to be the later play 
of the two. Moreover, there are allusions (i. 2. 31, 42; 
v. i . 47) to the labours of Hercules, and, while this is 
nothing in itself, the last appears to confuse his fight 
against the Centaurs with that of Theseus, and may echo 
the similar confusion in Heywood's Silver Age? which 
again may be the 2 Hercules produced by the Admiral's 
on 23 May I595- 3 The labours of Hercules, however, had 
been dramatized before I592. 4 

There remains the question whether Midsummer- 
Nights Dream is all of even date. In v. i, 1-84 correctly 
lined passages alternate with others which are mislined, 
and I agree with Wilson that the latter probably represent 
additional matter written without lineation in the margin 
of the manuscript. They are a little more freely written 
than the original lines which they supplement. This hardly 
excludes the possibility that they were afterthoughts at the 
time of original composition. Wilson, however, also points 
out that the fairy mask of v. i. 378-429 and the epilogue 
of 430-45 look very much like alternative endifigs to the 

1 Arbcr, H. 662. s Etix. Stage, iii. 344. 

* ed. Pearson, iii, 141-4. Ibid. ir. 241. 


play. On the whole I think that there has probably been 
some revision in v. I take the epilogue as the later ending, 
and conjecture that children used for a mask at the wed- 
ding were not available on the public stage; and that 
possibly some personal allusions to the bride and bride- 
groom were also replaced by other matter, in order to 
adapt the play for theatrical use. Others, however, carry 
the notion of revision a great deal farther. Wilson himself 
conjectures an original writing in 1592 or earlier and an 
intermediate revision in 1594, both possibly hymeneal, as 
well as a final revision, which he believes to have covered 
the fairy scenes as well as the last act, and to have been 
for the Southampton wedding of 1598. His case for the 
first revision rests mainly upon differences of style between 
the lover scenes and the fairy scenes, which, such as they 
are, seem to me sufficiently explained by the difference of 
subject-matter; and that for the revision of the fairy scenes 
themselves upon the appearance of generic for personal 
names in the stage-directions and speech-prefixes of certain 
passages, which also I find unconvincing (cf. p. 232). I 
have discussed this reconstruction more fully in M.L.R. 
xx. 340. Lawrence thinks that the play was written in 
1 598 to gratify a popular taste for 'nocturnals', and that 
Thibbus car' (i. 2. 37) is a gird at Dekker's lost Phatthm 
of that year. 1 This hardly seems to need refutation. He 
assigns a revision to the Herbert wedding of 1600, and 
takes the death of learning to be the death of Spenser in 
1599. But we have an account of the Herbert wedding, 
which tells of a mask of eight, not nine, Muses, but of no 
play. 2 Miss Rickert supposes that the play was planned by 
the Earl of Hertford in 1595, as a political move, en- 
couraged by the Cecils, in support of his son's claim of 
succession to the crown; that this son is the changeling 
(ii. I. 21, 120); that the rival claim of James of Scotland 
and his offers of marriage to Elizabeth were satirized in 
Bottom; that Hertford dropped the scheme; and that the 
play was adapted for the public stage about 1598 by a 
revision 'by which both the allegory and the satire were 

iii. 30*. 


almost obscured'. The notion is worked out with great 
ingenuity, and is quite incredible. No doubt plays in deri- 
sion of James were given in England; 1 and if the traits 
of resemblance noted by Miss Rickert seem rather far- 
fetched, much can be done by make-up. But Hertford and 
the Cecils could never have conceived that a presentation 
in which it is Titania who is enamoured of Bottom, rather 
than Bottom of Titania, would make a satire attractive 
to Elizabeth. Equally impossible is the assumed adaptation 
of the discarded skit for theatrical use, since if the allegory 
and satire are there at all, they are not so far 'obscured' 
as not to be still apparent, at any rate to Miss Rickert. 

But I am breaking a butterfly. It is an amusing com- 
ment that Midsummer-Night's Dream was probably one 
of the first plays chosen for revival before James, on 
i January 1604. *We had', writes Dudley Carleton to 
John Chamberlain, *a play of Robin goode-fellow.' 2 F 
only expunges a single profanity (v. i. 326), but it was 
probably a later revival than that of 1 604 in which Tawyer 
(cf. supra) played, and there is a curious story (App. D) of 
what appears to have been yet another for the Sabbath 
delectation of Bishop Williams in 1631. A common- 
wealth droll of The Merry Conceited Humours of Bottom the 
Weaver was printed in 1661 and in Francis Kirkman's 
Wits y or Sport upon Sport (1672). 

There is no comprehensive source. Shakespeare was 
presumably familiar with fairies and with Robin Good- 
iellow in Warwickshire folk-lore. There is much of Robin 
in R. Scot, Discovery of Witchcraft (1584), together with 
a version of the story, as old as Lucian and Apuleius, of 
transformation into an ass. W. Adlington's translation 
(1566) of Apuleius was more than once reprinted. There 
is no ground, other than forgeries (cf. App. F, no. xi, ), 
for assuming a sixteenth-century version of Robin Good- 
fellow y his Mad Prankes and Merry Jests, registered on 
25 April 1627, or of the ballad of The Mad Merry Prankes 
efRoten Goodfellow, registered on 23 March 1631. The 
nature of a play of The King of Fairies, mentioned by 

&. Stage, i. 323. a #/. ft. 279 . 


Nashe in 1 589 and Greene in 1592, is unknown. 1 Oberon 
comes ultimately from the romance of Huon of Bordeaux, 
and an old play with this title was given by Sussex's men 
in 1593-4 (App. D). Oberon is the fairy king in Greene's 
James IV? ana Auberon in the Elvetham entertainment. 
Here the queen is Aureola, and in a Woodstock entertain- 
ment of 1575 Eambia.3 Ovid, Met. iii. 173, but not his 
translator Golding, uses Titania as a synonym for Diana. 
In W. Bettie's Titana and Theseus, registered on 1 3 August 
1 608, she is not a fairy, but a mortal princess. A hint for 
the love-juice might have been taken from Chaucer, Mer- 
chant's Tale, 2258, where the fairies are Pluto and Proser- 
pine, or from Montemayor, Diana Enamorada (cf. T.G.). 
Chaucer's Knightes Tale or North's Plutarch (1579) would 
furnish the Theseus matter, and the Merchant's Tale, 2128, 
happens also to have one of many allusions to the well- 
known story of Pyramus and Thisbe. A book of Tefymus 
and Thesbye' was registered by William Griffith in 1562- 
3, but is unknown, 4 Nor can statements b)r Warton, 
H.E.P. iv. 297, and Collier, Stationers' Registers, ii. 80, that 
it was printed for Thomas Racket, be verified. T. More, 
A Dialogue of Comfort against Tribulation (Tottell, 1553), 
has an engraved representation of the story on its title- 
page, which can hardly have been originally designed 
for that book. It recurs in J, Brende's History of Quintus 
Curcius (Tottell, 1553), according to Gaedertz 25, who 
traces it to a German engraving of 1526, which he ascribes 
to Lucas Cranach. There are some verbal resemblances to 
Shakespeare'streatmentinapoem by LThomsonin Clement 
Robinson's Handef ull of Pleasant Delites (i 584). A play on 

thethemebyN(athaniel?)R{ichards?) indddLMS. 15227, 
f . 5 6 V , is of seventeenth-century origin. The repertory of a 
company, possibly of English actors, at NOrdlingen and 
Rothenburg in 1 604, included a Pyramus and Thisbe* but 
Herz 79 shows that the story was well known on the Con- 
tinent, and had been dramatized in Germany by 1601. 

Ibid. iv. 236, 241. 4 Arber, i. 21 

JW<*.iH.330. *MBz. Stage,* 

3 Ibid. iii. 402; iv. 66. 




1591.] The Troublesome Raigne of lohn King of Eng- 
nd, with the discouerie of King Richard Cordelions Base 
sonne (vulgarly named, The Bastard Fawconbridge): also 
the death of King lohn at Swinstead Abbey. As it was 
(sundry times) publikely acted by the Queenes Maiesties 
Players, in the honourable Citie of London. [Thomas 
Orwin's device (McKerrow 273)] Imprinted at London 
for Sampson Clarke, and are to be solde at his shop, on 
the backeside of the Royall Exchange. 1591. [Head-title, 
under ornament with Stationers' arms and W. D., and 
Running-title'] The troublesome Raigne of King lohn. 

[1591.] The Second part of the troublesome Raigne of 
King lohn, conteining the death of Arthur Plantaginet, 
the landing of Lewes, and the poysning of King lohn at 
Swinstead Abbey. As it was (sundry times) publikely 
acted by the Queenes Maiesties Players, in the honourable 
Citie of London. [Ornament] Imprinted at London for 
Sampson Clarke, and are to be solde at his shop, on the 
backeside of the Royall Exchange. 1591. [Head-title y 
under ornament as in Part i] The Second part of the 
troublesome Raigne of King lohn, containing the en- 
traunce of Lewes the French Kings sonne: with the 
poysoning of King lohn by a Monke. [Running-title'] The 
troublesome Raigne of King lohn. 
Facsimiles. C. Praetorius (1888, Sh. Q. xi, xli, ed. F. J. Furnivall)j 

Modern Edition. F. J. Furnivall and J. Munro (i 9 1 3, Sh. Classics). 
[1611.] The First and second Part of the troublesome 
Raigne of John King of England. ... As they were 
(sundry times) lately acted by the Queenes Maiesties 

Players. Written by W. Sh Valentine Simmes for 

lohn Helme 1611. 

[Separate head-tide for Part ii, but continuous signatures.] 
[1622.] The First and second Part of the troublesome 
" -'- ne of John King of England. ... As they were 

Chap. IX KING JOHN 365 

(sundry times) lately acted. Written by W. Shakespeare. 
. . . Aug. Mathewes for Thomas Dewe . . . 1622. 
[Separate tp. for Part ii, but continuous signatures. Dewe seems 
(Arber, iv. 190) to have had some partnership with John Helme, 
who died in 1616.] 

[1623.] [Catalogue] The Life and Death of King John 
[Histories, pp. 1-22; sign. a-b5 v . Head- and Running- 
titles'] The life and death of King John. 
[Acts and sec. marked, with iv repeated for v (altered in modern 

Parallel-Text. A, Morgan (1892, Bankside, xviii). 

Modern Editions. F. G. Fleay (1878); G. C. Moore Smith (1900, 

Warwick)\ I. B. John (1907, Ardm}\ H. H. Furness, jun. (1919, 

New Variorum^ S. T. Williams (1927, Tale). 

Dissertations. E. Rose, Sh. as an Adapter (1878, Macmtilan's Mag^ 

G. H. E. Kopplow, Sis K.J. und seine Quelle (1900); G. C. Moore 

Smith, Bh's K.J. and tie T.R. (1901, Furnivall Misc. 335); A. Kerrl, 

Die Metritchen Unterschiede von Shs K.J. und J.C. (1913); F. Lieber- 

mann, Si. als Bearbeiter des K.J. (1921-2, Arckiv, cxlii. 177; cxliii. 17, 


The bibliographical entries up to 1622 relate to the 
source-play, The Troublesome Reign of King John, 1 but the 
absence of King John from the S.R. entry for Fi suggests 
that, like Taming of the Shrew, it was regarded as com- 
mercially identical with its predecessor. Sampson Clarke 
is not traceable as a publisher beyond 1598, and it may 
be that thereafter T.R. was a derelict, and that neither 
John Helme nor Thomas Dewe could claim copyright 
against the F stationers. F is fairly well printed, with 
normal slight stage-directions. There are some variations 
in the speech-prefixes. 'Actus Secundus' has only y^-lines, 
at the end of which Constance is left on the stage. But 
the following iii. I. I gives her a fresh entry. Modern 
editors attempt to cure this by turning *Scaena Secunda' 
of F's 'Actus Primus* into ii and merging F's 'Actus 
Secundus' in iii. I. It is not satisfactory. The juncture at 
iii. i. 75 is very abrupt, and i in its turn is reduced to 
276 lines. Possibly an original ii. 2 has been cut. 

1 Efa. Stage, iv. 23. 


There is practically no external evidence to fix the date 
of the play before its mention by Meres in 1598. T.R. 
was available in print by 1591. Basilisco (i. i. 244) is in 
Soliman and Perseda (c. 1589-92). Little stress can be 
laid on suggestions that the Lopez plot of 1594 (cf. s.v. 
M.F.) recalled the poisoning of John, that repeated 
references (ii. i. 335; v. i. 17; v. 2. 48; v. 4. 53) to 
tempests and inundations reflect the weather of the same 
year (cf. s.v, M.N.D.), and that the 'choice of dauntless 
spirits' in 'English bottoms* (ii, i. 7 2) made its appearance at 
the Cadiz expedition of 1 596 ; perhaps not much more upon 
a possible echo of the death of Hamnet Shakespeare (August 
1596) in Constance's laments for Arthur. The Arden 
editor speaks of a papal bull of 1596 as .making regicide 
'meritorious' (iii. i . 1 76). He must have misread Malone's 
reference to the bull of 1 570. There was another in 1 58 8, 
the terms of which are unknown. On internal grounds, 
however, the winter of 1596-7 is not an unlikely date 
for the play. It has a general stylistic resemblance to 
Richard II, and is sometimes dated before it, on the ground 
that Shakespeare would not break the sequence of the 
Lancastrian tetralogy with another historic play. But 
Richard II belongs to the experiment in lyric drama, which 
the comparative paucity of rhyme in King John shows to 
have been abandoned, although its aftermath in an ab- 
stinence from double endings (cf. p. 268) is shared with 
i Henry IV. There are some fairly close phrasal echoes 
with Merchant of Venice. Kerrl regards i as written some 
time before the rest, and iii, 2, 3 and iv. i as revised con- 
siderably later; but this is on the basis (cf. p. 266) of 
verse-tests, which- cannot be safely applied to sections of 
no more than 276 and 216 blank-verse lines. There are 
certainly more double endings in i than elsewhere, but this 
is due to the constant recurrence of the words 'brother', 
'mother*, 'father* in final positions during the Bastard 
episode, and this is for emphasis on the theme, rather than 
for variety of rhythm. There is no evidence of a Jacobean 
revival. One can hardly suppose with W. W. Lloyd that 
*Now these her princes are come home again' (v/7. 115) 

Chap. IX KING JOHN 367 

refers to the return of Prince Charles and the Duke of 
Buckingham from Spain in 1623. 

The principal source was T.R. which is followed pretty 
closely as regards historical events, the selection of scenes, 
and even the logical run of many of the dialogues. The 
writing itself is all new, but Shakespeare must have kept 
the old book before him. Only one line (v. 4. 42) is in 
common, but in some 150 places a few words from T.R. 
are picked up and used, by no means always in the saine 
context. Where the structure is altered, there is generally 
a dramatic intention. There is less comedy. Although 
T.R. is in two parts, King John is only shorter by about 
300 lines. Shakespeare does not appear to have made any 
substantial use of chronicles. But some trifling variations 
from T.R. may be due to these. And somehow Shakespeare 
came to say (iv. 2. 120) that Eleanor died on April i. 
That is an historic fact, but was not in any available 
chronicle. Liebermann suggests that Shakespeare saw it in 
a calendar at the Earl of Southampton's house of Beaulieu, 
where Eleanor founded an abbey. But I incline to think, 
with Moore Smith, that he arrived at it by accident, having 
noticed April i as the date of a meteor, recorded by 
Holinshed on the same page as the death* 

There is nothing to bear out the suggestion of Pope 
that T.R. itself was by Shakespeare and William Rowley. 1 
Malone ascribed it to Marlowe, Sykes, Sidelights on Sh^ 
99, has made out a fair case for Peele, largely on the 
ground of small recurrent tricks of padding, which are 
more evidential (cf. p. 221) than echoes. The strong 
nationalist and anti-papal tone is consistent with Peele. 
Robertson, Introduction, 278, 400, weakens some details 
of the case, and argues for Marlowe in the stronger pas- 
sages, finding also some inconclusive 'clues' to Greene 
and Lodge. 

1 Var. acr. 193. 



[S.R. 1598.] xxij Julij. James Robertas. Entred for his 
copie vnder the handes of bothe the wardens, a booke of 
the Marchaunt of Venyce, or otherwise called the Jewe of 
Venyce, Prouided, that yt bee not prynted by the said 
James Robertes or anye other whatsoeuer without lycence 
first had from the Right honorable the lord Chamberlen 
vj d (Arber, iii. 122). 

[S.R. 1600.] 28 Octobris. Thomas Haies. Entred for his 
copie under the handes of the Wardens and by Consent 
of master Robertes. A booke called the booke of the 
merchant of Venyce vj d . (Arber, iii. 175). 

[Qi. 1600.] The most excellent Historic of the Merchant 
of Venice. With the extreamecrueltie of Shylockethe lewe 
towards the sayd Merchant, in cutting a iust pound of his 
flesh: and the obtayning of Portia by the choyse of three 
chests. Asithathbeenediuers times acted by the Lord Cham- 
berlaine his Seruants. Written by William Shakespeare. 
[Ornament] At London, Printed by I(ames) R(oberts) 
for Thomas Heyes, and are to be sold in Paules Church- 
yard, at the signe of theGreeneDragon. 1600. [Head-title] 
The comicall History of the Merchant of Venice. [Running- 
title] The comicall Historic of the Merchant of Venice. 
[Cited by Cambridge and other eds. as Q2.] 
Facsimile. C. Praetorhis (1887, Sh. Q. xvi, ed. F. J. Furnivall). 
[Q2. 1619.] The Excellent History of the Merchant of 
Venice. With the extreme cruelty of Shylocke the lew 
towards the saide Merchant, in cutting a iust pound of his 
flesh. And the obtaining of Portia, by the choyse of three 
Caskets. Written by W. Shakespeare. [William Jag- 
gard's device (McKerrow 283)] Printed by J. Roberts, 
1600. [Head-title, under ornament with royal arms] The 
Comical History of the Merchant of Venice. [Running- 
title] The Comicall History of the Merchant of Venice. 
[Cited by Cambridge and other eds. as Qi. On the misdating cf. 
P- 1330 
Facsimile. W. Griggs (1880, Sh. Q. vii, ed. F. J. Furnivall). 


[S.R. 1619.] 8 Julxj 1619. Laurence Hayes. Entred for 
his Copies by Consent of a full Court theis two Copies 
following which were the Copies of Thomas Haies his 
fathers viz*. A play Called The Marchant of Venice, . . . 
(Arber, iii. 651). 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] The Merchant of Venice. 
[Comedies, pp. 1 63-84, sign. O 4-$ ^\ Head- and Run- 
ning-titles] The Merchant of Venice. 
[Acts marked.] 

[Q3- l6 37-] M. P. for Laurence Hayes. 
['Actors' names' <Dramatis Personae) on back of t.p.J 
[4. 1652.] for William Leake. 
[Sheets of Q3 reissued.] 

[S.R, 1657, Oct. 17.] Transfer from Bridget Hayes and 
Jane Graisby to William Leake (Eyre, ii. 150). 
Parallel-Text. W. Reynolds (i 888, Banhide^ Qi+Fi). 
Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1888, New Variorum}-, C K. 
Pooler (1905, 1927, Arden}\ W. L. Phelps (1923, Tale}\ A. T. 
Quiller-Couch and J. D. Wilson (1926, C.t7,P.). 

Dissertations K. Elze, Zum M.7. (1871, J. vi, 129; Essays, 67); L. 
Toulmin Smith, The Bond-Story in M.V. (1875, N.S.S. Trans. 181); S. 
Lee, The Original of Shy lock (i 880, Gent. Mag.), Elizabethan* England and 
the Jews (1888, N.S.S. Trans. 143); H. Graetz, Shytock in den Sagen, in 
den Dramen, und in der Geschichte (1880); J. Bolte, Jakob Rosefeldfs 
Moschus (i 886, J. xxi. 1 87), Der Jude von Fenetien (i 887, J. xxii. 1 89), 
ZurShylockfabel( 1 892, J. xxvii. 22 5); W. A. Clouston, Shylockandhis Pre- 
decessors (1887, June 1 8, Aug. 6, Academy)\ E. K6ppel, M.7. (1892, E.S. 
xvi- 372); J- W. Hales, $L and the Jews (1894, E.H.R. ix. 652); A. 
Dimock, The Conspiracy of Dr. Lopez (1894, E.H.R. ix. 440); E. Moiy, 
Ms Jude von Malta und Shs M.7. (1897); R. Eberstadt, Der Shylock- 
vertrag und sein Urbild (1908, J. xliv. i); F. Brie, 2ur Entstehung des 
M.7. (1913, J. xlix. 97); B. A. P. van Dam, The Text of M.7. (1927, 
Neophilologus, xiii. 33); A. Tretiak, M.7. and the Alien Question (1929, 
R.E.S. v. 402). 

Qi is a good text, and requires very little emendation, so 
far as the wording goes, except for a few literal misprints. 
A bad one at iv. i . 73-4 was corrected while sign. (4 was 
being printed off and does not appear in all examples. 
Some departures from Qi in modern editions are due to 

3X42.1 B b 


the erroneous belief of the Cambridge editors that Q2 was 
the earlier version. The mislineations are slight, and 
generally caused by a wrong treatment of short lines. The 
author's intention as regards elisions seems, as a rule, to 
be carefully regarded. The punctuation is less good; full 
stops or colons are occasionally omitted or inserted in 
error. There are some odd typographical features. A tem- 
porary shortage of type may perhaps explain the-frequent 
appearance of lower-case initials at the beginnings of lines. 
It is difficult to believe, with Van Dam, in an aberration 
through which the compositor followed the minuscules 
which he probably found in his copy. There is a variant 
use of roman and italic types for stage-directions. These 
are normal. One entry and several exits are left unmarked. 
A theatrical hand has probably added some definition, 
glossing, for example (ii. 5. i), 'Enter lewe and his man 
that was' with the final words 'the Clowne'. Lancelot is 
often 'Clowne' and Shylock 'Jew' in stage-directions and 
speech-prefixes. Wilson, who generally finds evidence of 
revision in such variants, here suggests the type-shortage 
as the cause, but the feature is common (cf, p. 232) in 
Shakespearean texts. Abbreviated speech-prefixes have led 
to some confusion among minor characters of similar 
names. Wilson may be right in thinking that Shakespeare 
only provided a Solanio and a Salerio, and that a Salarino 
has emerged from the confusion. The 'Dramatis Per- 
sonae* of the 1637 Q include Salanio and Salarino, but 
not Salerio* This may only rest on inference from the 
stage-directions. There is some irregularity in the use of 
speech-prefixes before and after letters and inscriptions 
read (cf. p. 198) from 'scrolls'. I see no clear reason why 
the copy used for Qi should not have been in Shake- 
speare's hand. The features just described seem charac- 
teristic of him, and the compositor has passed some 
abno'rmal spellings analogous to those (cf. p. 1 87) in other 
plays. I do not, therefore, find sufficient evidence for the 
element of 'assembling' in Wilson's elaborate reconstruc- 
tion of the textual history of the play. As pointed out by 
Greg, the phrase 'A booke called the booke of in the S.R. 


entry of 28 October 1 600 suggests the use of official copy 
from the theatre. 1 

Pollard, F. and Q. 98 > and Wilson have sufficiently 
shown that Q2 and F were set up independently from Qi. 
Some misprints have in both cases been corrected and 
others made, and in both cases there has been some 
attempt at a revision of stage-directions and speech-pre- 
fixes, and at conjectural emendation, generally erroneous, 
of sense, grammar, metre, and spelling. I do not know 
that most of this is beyond a printing-house corrector, and 
Jaggard is not very likely to have had access in 1619 to 
theatrical manuscripts. But the Qi used for F prob- 
ably represented prompt-copy. Musical notes have been 
added. Two profanities (i. 2. 121; v. i. 157) have been 
removed, and the substitution (i. 2. 83) of an 'other' for 
a 'Scottish' lord points to Jacobean censorship. What is 
more puzzling is that some of the Q2 and F alterations 
agree, and that a few of these are not very likely to have 
been independently arrived at. Possibly the corrector of 
F glanced from time to time at a copy of Q2 preserved 
in Jaggard's printing-house. 

I return to Wilson's reconstruction. This I have dis- 
cussed more fully in M.L.R. xxii. 220. It involves (a) the 
prompt-book of The Jew (v. infra) ; () several probable 
intermediate handlings by various dramatists; (r) a revi- 
sion by Shakespeare early in 1594; 00 ^ e addition of a 
passage after the execution of Lopez in June 1594; 
(i) a further revision by Shakespeare at an unknown date; 
(/) the presumable loss of the prompt-book; (g) the tran- 
scription by one scribe of the dialogue from players' 
'parts', with abbreviated speech-prefixes to form a new 
prompt-book; (K) the addition of stage-directions by an- 
other scribe; (*) the insertion of theatrical interpolations. 

I agree with Greg and Wilson that v. i. 34-48 is prob- 
ably a theatrical interpolation in the interests of the clown, 
disclosed by the misplacement of a catchword intended to 
connect it with the text. But its existence hardly justifies 
the assumption that one (iii. 2. 216) of several indelicacies 

4 Library, vii. 384$ cf. p. 97* 


is also an interpolation, and still less the treatment by 
Wilson of iii. 5, with its beautiful laudation of Portia from 
Jessica's mouth, as a scene in which 'Shakespeare had no 
hand whatever'. Nor do I find adequate evidence for the 
supposed double recension by Shakespeare, either in the 
fact that the mask planned in u. iv-vi is^never given; or 
in the obscurity as to the cause of Antonio's melancholy, 
which to me as to Wilson seems sufficiently explained by 
his prevision of the loss of a friend through marriage; or 
in the frequent short lines, which are all, except possibly 
ii. 6. 46, intelligible enough without recourse to the sup- 
position of cuts. 

As to the date of the play, there is not much external 
evidence to go upon. Some reference to the execution of 
the Jew Roderigo Lopez on 7 June 1 594 for the attempted 
poisoning of Elizabeth and of Don Antonio of Portugal 
(confused by Lee 134 and others with Antonio Perez) is 
probable; especially, as Wilson points out, in the Pytha- 
gorean description (iv. I. 134) of Shylock as inhabited by 
the spirit of a wolf (lupus) 'hang'd for human slaughter'. 1 
But the analogy of Shylock to Lopez is not very close, 
and there is obviously little, beyond the name, between 
the Merchant and Don Antonio. There may also be an 
allusion (iii. 2. 49) to the coronation of Henri IV on 
27 February 1594, although presumably every coronation 
has its flourish. In any case such allusions are not neces- 
sarily quite contemporary. On the other hand, the Gobbo 
of the play seems likely to have inspired two malicious 
references by Francis Davison in letters of 1596 to an 
unnamed enemy of the Earl of Essex, who can only be 
the hunch-backed Robert Cecil. 2 On October 27 he 
writes, 'If he be vanquished ... all the world shall never 
make me confess, but that bumbasted legs are a better 
fortification than bulwarks, and S* Gobbo a far greater and 
more omnipotent saint than either S* Philip or S 1 Diego'. 
And on November 10 he writes, evidently with reference 
to Cecil's appointment as Secretary of State, of 'the late 

1 Cf. Donne, Progress of the Soul, 401. 

2 T. Birch, Elizabeth, ii. 185, 204. 


instalment and canonisation of the venerable saint'. If I 
am right, Merchant of Venice can hardly be later than the 
autumn of 1 596, although of course it might have furnished 
Cecil's nickname some time before. On general grounds 
of style and links with other plays and the Sonnets^ the 
autumn of 1 596 is a very probable date for the play, which is 
certainly more mature than the comedies of i $94-5. There 
was a revival for the court in the winter of 1 604-5 (App- D) 
The two main elements of the plot, .the bond-motive 
and the casket-motive, have been traced as old and wide- 
spread story themes. So far as the bond-motive is con- 
cerned, it is unnecessary to go farther back, in seeking an 
ultimate source for Merchant of Venice^ than // Pecorone, 
iv. i, of Ser Giovanni of Florence, written c. 1378, but 
first printed in 1558. This combines the lover and his 
older friend, the wooing of a lady at Belmont, the friend's 
bond to a Jew for a pound of flesh, the intervention of the 
lady dressed as a lawyer, and the ring begged as a fee. It 
does not bring in the theft of the usurer's daughter, which 
is, however, found in another bond story, yielding several 
points of resemblance to Shakespeare's, in Anthony Mun- 
day's Zelauto (1580). And the test by which the lady is 
won is other than that of the casket-motive. This may 
have been substituted from the 66th story of Richard 
Robinson's version, apparently first printed in 1577, of 
the Gesta Romanorum. 1 Possibly Shakespeare did not him- 

self link the two themes. Stephen Gosson's Schoole of 
Abuse (1$ 7 9) mentions a 'lew . . . showne at the Bull . . . 
representing the greedinesse of worldly chusers, and 
bloody mindes of usurers: . , . neither with amorous 
gesture wounding the eye : nor with slouenly talke hurting 
the eares of the chast hearers'. 2 We know no more of this 

There may conceivably be an allusion to it in 
fcreene's Mamlttia (1583), 32, 'He which makethchoyce 
of bewty without vertue commits as much folly as Critius 
did, in choosing a golden boxe filled with rotten bones' ; 
and less probably, in view of the date, in a letter (c. 1573) 

1 S. J. H. Herrage, Early English a Etiz. Stage, iv. 204. 
Versions of the G.R. xxii. 


of Gabriel Harvey to Edmund Spenser, describing him- 
self as 'He that is faste bownde unto the in more obliga- 
tions then any marchante in Italy to any Jewe there'. 1 
There is of course nothing to show that Merchant of Venice 
had any closer relation to the Jew than that of theme. As 
it stands, it certainly does not justify the ethical com- 
mendation of the puritan Gosson. Wilson does not go far 
towards establishing a textual continuity between plays 
of different companies, fifteen or twenty years asunder, 
with several probable intermediate handlings by various 
dramatists, by pointing to a Shakespearean inconsistency 
as to the number of Portia's wooers, to another as to the 
precise political effect which a refusal of justice to Shylock 
would have upon the state of Venice, and to the presence 
in the play of a scrap of doggerel and some passages of 
inferior workmanship. There are traces of euphuism in 
i. 2, but so there are elsewhere in Shakespeare. 

Merchant of Venice probably owes something to the Jew 
of Malta, but nothing to Wager's Cruel Debtor* or to 
Gerontus the Jew and the Mercatore in R. Wilson's Three 
Ladies of London,* or to the bond-story in the ballad of the 
Northern Lord.* There are some verbal parallels in that of 
Gernutus.* Whether this is the 'ballad called the vserers 
rewarde* registered on 19 June 1594 must be uncertain. 6 
Those in the 9^th declamation? of The Orator (1596), a 
translation by L(azarus) P(iot) from the Histoires Tra- 
giques (1588) of Alexandra Vandenbushe or Sylvain, are 
very slight, and it is doubtful whether the translation, 
which had still to be made when the book was registered 
on 1 5 July 1 596, is not later than Merchant of Venice itself. 8 
Piot was at one time identified with Anthony Munday, 
but H. Thomas, Spanish and Portuguese Romances of 
Chivalry (1920), has distinguished them. An earlier and 
apparently only partial translation of the Histoires Tra- 
giques by E. A. was registered on 25 August 1590, but is 

1 G. Harvefs Letter-Book, 78. Jttf. i. x. 375. 

* Arber, ii. 654. 

.,...* , . . 

EB*. Stop, Si. 515. * Hazlitt, $h. Library, i. i. 355. 

Haditt, Si. Library, i. i. 367. * Arber, iil 67. 


unknown. 1 The names Shylock (cormorant) and Jessica 
(looker-out) are shown by Gollancz to be of Hebrew 
origin. Gobbo is traceable as a family name at Titchfield, 
Hants. 2 

English actors in Germany, probably the company of 
John Green, played The Jew or The Jew of Venice at 
Passau (1607), Griz (1608), Halle (161 1), and Joseph the 
Jew of Venice at Dresden (i626). 3 Possibly this is also 
the play called at Grz A King of Cyprus and a Duke of 
Venice^ and in part at least the foundation of a later German 
play by the actor Christopher Bliimel (born 1630) of 
which MSS. are at Vienna and Karlsruhe. This contains 
elements from both Merchant of Venice and Jew of Malta, 
but cannot be called a version of either. A King of Cyprus, 
a Duke of Venice, a Venetian Jew, called both Barabbas 
and Josephus, and a French Doctor are among the charac- 
ters. It must remain uncertain whether the compilation 
also drew upon Dekker's lost Jew of Venice^ registered on 
9 September i6$3, 4 and whether this bore any relation 
to the Admiral's play or plays of the Venetian Comedy and 
the French Doctor in 1 594. 5 But it is safe to say that no 
ground has been shown for the suggestion of Fleay, L. and 
W* 30, 1 97, that Merchant of Venice was founded on a Jew 
of Venice written by Dekker c. 1592, 



[S.R. 1598.] xxv to die February. Andrew Wyse. Entred 
for his Copie vnder thandes of Master Dix: and master 
Warden Man a booke intituled The historye of Henry 
the inj* with his battaile of Shrewsburye against Henry 
Hottspurre of the Northe with the conceipted mirthe of 
Sir John Ffalstoff vj d (Arber, iii. 105). 
[H.P. had (Rarities^ 19) a fragment (sign. C, 4 leaves) of an edition 
which he thought earlier than Qi. It is now in the collection of 
H. C. Folger (Bartlett 25).] 

x Ibid. ii. 560. 3 Etiz. Stage, ii. 281. 

* L. G. Thompson in T.LJS. 17 4 Ibid. iii. 301. 
Sept. 1925. s Cf. Greg, Henslowe, ii. 170. 


[Qi. 1598.] The History of Henrie the Fourth; With the 
battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King and Lord Henry- 
Percy, surnamed Henrie Hotspur of the North. With the 
humorous conceits of Sir lohn Falstalffe, [Short's device 
(McKerrow 278)] At London, Printed by P(eter) 
S(hort) for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church- 
yard, at the signe of the Angell 1598. [Head-title] The 
Historic of Henry the fourth. [Running-title'] The Historic 
of Henrie the fourth. 
Facsimile. W. Griggs (1881, Sh. Q. viii, ed. H. A. Evans). 

[Q2. 1599.] The History of Henrie the Fourth; With 
the battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King and Lord 
Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the North. 
With the humorous conceits of Sir lohn Falstaffe. Newly 
corrected by W, Shake-speare. [Stafford's device (Mc- 
Kerrow 281)] At London, Printed by S(imon) S(taf- 
ford) for Andrew Wise, dwelling in Paules Church-yard, 
at the signe of the Angell. 1599. [Head- and Running- 
titles] The Historic of Henry the fourth. 

[S,R. 1603.] 25 Junij. Mathew Lawe. Entred for his 
copie in full courte Holden this Day. These ffyve copies 
followinge . . . viz iii enterludes or playes . . . The Third 
of Henry the .4 the first parte. all kinges ... all whiche 
by consent of the Company are sett ouer to him from 
Andrew Wyse (Arber, iii. 239). 

[Q3. 1604.] The History of Henrie the fourth, With the 
battell at Shrewsburie, betweene the King, and Lord 
Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the North. 
With the humorous conceits of Sir lohn Falstaffe. Newly 
corrected by W. Shake-speare. [Ornament] London 
Printed by Valentine .Simmes, for Mathew Law, and are 
to be solde at his shop in Paules Churchyard, at the signe 
of the Fox. 1604. [Head- an4 Running-titles] The His- 
toric of Henry the fourth. 

[4. 1608.] The History of Henry the Fourth, With the 
battell at Shrewesburie, betweene the King, and Lord 
Henry Percy, surnamed Henry Hotspur of the North. 
With the humorous conceites of Sir lohn Falstalffe. Newly 


corrected by W. Shake-speare. [Ornament] London, 
Printed for Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop 
in Paules Churchyard, neere vnto S. Augustines gate, at 
the signe of the Foxe, 1608. [Head-title] The Historic of 
Henry the fourth. [Running-title'] The History of Henrie 
the fourth. 

[Q. 1613.] The History of Henrie the fourth, With the 
Battell at Shrewseburie, betweene the King, and Lord 
Henrie Percy, surnamed Henrie Hotspur of the North. 
With the humorous conceites of Sir lohn Falstaffe. Newly 
corrected by W. Shake-speare. [White's device (McKer- 
row i88 b )] London, Printed by W(illiam) W(hite> for 
Mathew Law, and are to be sold at his shop in Paules 
Church-yard, neere vnto S. Augustines Gate, at the signe 
of the Foxe. 1613. [Head-title'] The Historic of Henrie 
the fourth. [Running-title] The Historic of Henry the 
[Q6. 1622.] T(homas) P(urfoot) for Mathew Law. 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] The First part of King Henry 

the fourth. [Histories, pp. 46-73, sign, d 5 v -f 6. Head-title] 

The First Part of Henry the Fourth, with the Life and 

Death of Henry Sirnamed Hotspur. [Running-title] The 

First Part of King Henry the Fourth. 

[Acts and sec. marked.] 

[Q?- J 63 2 '] lohn Norton, sold by William Sheares. 

[Q8. 1639.] John Norton, sold by Hugh Perry. 

Parallel-Text. W. H. Fleming (1890, Bankside). 

Modern Editions. R. P. Cowl and A. E. Morgan (1914, 1923, 

Arderi)\ S. B. Hemingway (1917, Yah}. 


[S.R. 1600.] 23 Augusti. Andrew Wyse William Aspley. 
Entred for their copies vnder the handes of the wardens 
Two bookes, the one called . . . Thother the second parte 
of the history of Kinge Henry the mf* with the humours 
of Sir John Falstaff: Wrytten by master Shakespere. 
xij d (Arber, iii. 170). 


[Q. 1600.] The Second part of Henrie the fourth, con- 
tinuing to his death, and coronation of Henrie the fift. 
With the humours of sir lohn Falstaffe, and swaggering 
Pistoll. As it hath been sundrie times publikely acted by 
the right honourable, the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. 
Written by William Shakespeare. [Ornament] London 
Printed by V(alentine) S(immes) for Andrew Wise, and 
William Aspley. 1600. [Head-title] The second part 
of Henry the fourth, continuing to his death, and corona- 
tion of Henry the fift. [Running-title] The second part 
of Henry the fourth. 

[In some examples a cancel sheet E, with six leaves in place of four, 

adds iii. I, originally omitted.] 

Facsimile. W. Griggs (1882, Sk. Q. ix, ed. H. A. Evans). 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue'] The Second part of K. Henry 

the fourth. [Histories, pp. 74-100+2 pp. unnumbered, 

sign.f6 v -gg8 v . Head-title] The Second Part of Henry the 

Fourth, Containing his Death: and the Coronation of King 

Henry the Fift. [Running-title] The second Part of King 

Henry the Fourth. 

[Acts and sec ^ marked. ^ The Actors Names' at end. Pollard, 

^0* X 3^j Scribes some irregularities in the printing.] 

Parallel-Text. W. H. Fleming (1890, Bankside). 

Modern Editions. S. B. Hemingway (1921, Tah)\ R. P. Cowl 

[Parts I and II] 
Dering MS. 

[A compilation, in a seventeenth-century hand, of scenes from Q5 
of Part i and Q of Part 2, probably for private performance, with 
alterations in the hand of Sir Edward Bering (1598-1644) of 
Surrenden, Kent, where the MS. was found.] 
Edition. J. O. Halliwell-[Phillipps] (1845, Sh. Soc.). 
Dissertations. ]. Gairdner, Historical Elements in SA.'s Falstaff (1873, 
Fortnightly)^ K. Hagena, Remarks on the Introductory Scene of 2 Hen. 17 
(1878, tt*A Tram. 347); F. Solly-Flood, The Story of Prince Henry of 
Monmouth and Chief- Justice Gascoign(i%*6, 2 R.Hist.Soc. 7JwRf.iii.47); 
G. Sanazm, Falstaff, Pistol, Nym und ihre Urbilder (1902, Kleine SL 
Studien} 9 Nym.undBenJ<mson (1904, 7,xl.2i2); F. W. Moorman, SL 9 s 
History Plays and Daniel's Civile Wars (1904, J. xl. 69); W. Baeske, 
Oldcastle-Falstaff in der engtttchen Literatur bis zu SA. (1905); L. W. 


Harcourt, The Two Sir John Fa/staffs (1910, 3 R. Hist. Soc. Trans, iv. 50); 
C. L. Kingsford, The First English Life of Henry ^(1911); H. Ax, The 
Relation of Sh.'s Hen. 17 to Holinshed (19 1 2) ; A. W. Pollard, The Parian* 
Settings in 2 Hen. IV and their Spellings (1920, Oct. 21, T.L.S.)\ J. 
Monaghan, Falsta/ and his Forbears (1921, S.P. xviii. 353); A. E. 
Morgan, Some Problems of Sh.'s Hen. 7^(1924,^.^1.); R. P. Cowl, 
Some Literary Allusions in Hen.IV(i<)2$ 9 Mar. 26, T.L.S.), Echoes of Henry 
IV in Eliz. Drama (1925, Oct. 22, T.L.S.), Some Echoes in Eliz. Drama 
of Hen. 7/^(1926), Hen. IV and Other Plays: an Experiment with Echoes 
(1927), Notes on the Text of Hen. 7/^(1927), Sources of the Text of Hen. IV 
(1929); J. E. Morris, The Date of Hen. 7^(1926, Jan. 28, T.L.S.); W. G. 
Bowling, The Wild Prince Hal in Legend and Literature (1926, Washington 
Univ. Studies, xiii. 305); R. A. Law, Structural Unity in the two Parts of 
Hen. 7/^(1927, S.P. xxiv. 223); J. Dawtrey, The Falstaff Saga (1927). 

The successive Qq and Fi of Part i are regularly set 
up from each other, with the usual misprints and conjec- 
tural alterations. Nothing more than these justifies the 
'Newly corrected* of the Q2 title-page. The Cambridge 
editors thought that Qq earlier than Q$ were probably 
consulted for Fi, but the few cases in which F seems to 
revert to these are all capable of explanation as conjec- 
tures. Profanity has, however, been excised from Fi with 
exceptional thoroughness. The normal stage-directions of 
Q i are preserved by F I . Q I is therefore the sole authority 
for the text. This is somewhat rough metrically, owing 
partly to the difficulty of manipulating proper names, and 
partly to misprints as to elisions and the like, which editors 
might perhaps emend more freely than they do. 

The Q and Fi of Part 2, on the other hand, although 
representing substantially the same text, show much 
greater variation in detail. The Q stage-directions are normal, 
and some disagreements (i. i . i , 34, 1 6 1 ; i. 3 . i ; ii. 4. 2 1 ; 
iv. 3. 27, 8 1 ; iv. 4. i) between stage-directions and text as 
to the personages introduced are best explained as the 
result of changes of intention by the author during 
composition. Thus in i. I. Lord Bardolf has replaced Sir 
John Umfreville through a belated historical correction, 
not fully carried out. There are some abnormal spellings, 
such as 'Scilens' for 'Silence*, which may also (cf. p. 187) 
point to the author's hand. The MS. has probably been 
used as prompt-copy, since at v. 4. i the name of the 


actor Sincklo is given to the Beadle whom he played. 
When Q was first set up, iii. i was omitted, and Pollard's 

employed in partly resetting sheet E with two additional 
leaves to allow of its introduction* Some examples of 
Q retain the unrevised sheet. Slighter corrections are also 
found in other sheets. The main differences between Q 
and F are as follows. There are many small textual 
variants. These do not indicate constant subconscious 
substitutions, such as some plays (cf. p. 180) exhibit. 
Many look like alternative readings of a difficult copy, and 
many like sophistications in F or wording and grammar. 
Some short lines are perhaps needlessly filled out. Pro- 
fanity has again been meticulously removed. There are 
several passages, aggregating 168 lines, not in Q (i. i. 
166-79, 189-209; i. 3. 21-4, 36-55, 85-108; ii. 3. 
23-45 ; iv. i. 55-79, 103-39), and as the absence of some 
of these leaves lacunae in the sense, they may all be taken 
as 'cuts' in Q. On the other hand, F omits about forty lines 
found in Q. These are mostly short passages not likely to 
be cuts. They are probably not all to be explained in the 
same way. Some may be due to slips of the F printer, and 
others (i. 1. 161 ; iii. i. 53-6 ; iv. i. 93, 95) to emendation. 
But a few suggest that the censorship of profanity has been 
extended to passages of indelicacy (ii. 1. 126-7; " 2. 26 
30; ii. 4. 159-62; iii. 2. 337-9, 340-3) and in one case 
(i. 2. 240-7) anti-patriotic criticism. They are not suffi- 
ciently detached from their contexts to be 'gags' in Q, The 
F stage-directions and speech-prefixes show, unlike those 
of Part 2, careful revising, with close attention totheindica-. 
tions of the text, although with some slips, e.g. the omis- 
sion of an exit and re-entry at iii. 2. 234, 258. 'Suggestive* 
stage-directions and non-speaking personages have been 
eliminated and entries unmarked in Q added. It seems 
clear that Ffollows inthemain a theatrical manuscript. This 
may, indeed, have been thesamemanuscriptwhich was used 
for Q, but if so it had undergone subsequent overhauling 
by the book-keeper, and the intention of Q must have been 
to observe, and that of F to disregard, the cuts shown upon 


it. It is not equally clear that no use was made of Q in 
printing F, There are several cases of common error, 
which would at least be consistent with such use. But 
these, between F and a single Q, have not the evidential 
value which attaches to common errors between F and the 
derivative Qq of other plays. 

Morgan thinks that, apart from the 'cuts' in the Q of 
Part 2, both parts have been abridged. His evidence for 
this consists mainly of short lines. So far as Part i is con- 
cerned, the explanation is quite superfluous; but Part 2 
has some abrupt short lines, left imperfectly corrected by 
F, in the King's speech at iv. 5. 60-82. However this 
may be, I cannot (cf. p. 233) accept Morgan's further 
view that the prose scenes have been rewritten from an 
earlier metrical version, at the time when Shakespeare 
substituted Sir John Falstaff as his leading humorist for 
Sir John Oldcastle. As to the fact of this substitution 
there can be no doubt. Tradition from as early as about 
1625 (App. C, nos. i, iv, v, xxxiv) records it, and it has 
left traces in the texts. In Part i, it has left the jesting 
address 'my old lad of the Castle* (i. 2. 47) pointless,, and 
ii. 2. 115 unmetrical. In Part 2, Old. still stands for Fal 
as speech-prefix to i, 2. 137 in Q, and the Epilogue, 
originally short, as the prayer for the Queen left in error 
by Q at the end of the first paragraph shows, has been 
extended by two other paragraphs, of which one intro- 
duces a dance, and the other an apology, 'Olde-castle died 
Martyre, and this is not the man'. F completes the 
revision, by transferring the prayer to the end of the third 
paragraph. There is an echo in the rival Admiral's play 
of i Sir John Oldcastk, 1 produced in November 1599, 
where the prologue has ' 

It is no pamperd glutton we present, 

Nor aged Councilor to youthfull sinne, 

Let fair Truth be grac'te, 

Since forg'de inuention former time defac'te. 

A reason for the change can readily be found in the fact 
that Sir John Oldcastle married an ancestress of the Lords 

1 Etix. Stage, iii. 306. 


Cobham, who were prominent at the Elizabethan court. 
It had clearly been made before Part 2 was registered on 
25 February 1598, and almost equally clearly not before 
the play was originally produced, since 'Oldcastle' lingered 
in popular usage as the name of the character. Henry IV 
must have been the Sir John Old Castett with which the 
Lord Chamberlain entertained an ambassador on 8 March 
1600, since the players were his men and not the 
Admiral's; 1 and it is alluded to in Field's Amends for 
Ladies (1618), iv. 3, as 

The Play where the fat Knight, hight Old-castle, 
Did tell you truly what his honour was ? 

There is a similar reference as late as Hey for Honesty 
(1651), iv. i, and even in an official document (App. 
D) the play seems to be called Quid Castel in 1638. 
Perhaps, therefore, the Cobham intervention came 
when i Henry IV was specially reviewed by the Revels 
officers for court performance. 2 It may not only have 
been Oldcastle's name that went. At i. 2. 181 of Part i, 
Prince Henry's thieving companions are 'Falstaffe, 
Haruey, Rossill, and Gadshil', and at ii. 4. 193, 195, 199, 
are speech-prefixes for Ross. F here eliminates him by a 
conjectural redistribution of speeches, but it is clear from 
other parts of this scene and from ii. 2 that Bardolph and 
Peto were among the thieves. In Ettz. Stage, iii. 196, I 
took Rossill and Harvey for actors' names; wrongly I 
think, since 2 Hen. IP \ ii. 2. i, has the stage-direction 
'Enter the Prince, Poynes, sir lohn Russel, with others'. 
F substitutes 'Enter Prince Henry, Pointz, Bardolfe, and 
Page'. This cannot be right, since Bardolph and the 
Page enter later at 75. But apparently Peto has replaced 
Sir John Russell and Bardolph Harvey, with the awkward 
result of having two Bardolphs in the plays. Both Russell 
and Harvey were familiar names at the Elizabethan court. 
Possibly a desire to advertise the purging of the offence 
led to the publication of j Henry IF unusually soon after 
its production. This can hardly have been earlier than 

'Cf.App.D. * /*/</. i. 224. 


1597. A few historical allusions, which have been held 
to a date later than 1596, are indeed unconvincing. But 
obviously the play was later than Richard //, and its 
relative maturity of style makes it reasonable to put it 
after John. And I think that Part 2 must have followed 
pretty quickly. It is true that Meres' notice in the autumn 
of 1598 might cover either one or two parts, but Justice 
Silence is named in Jonson's E.M.O. of I599, 1 and the 
survivals of Oldcastle and Russell suggest that the 
writing had begun before these names were censored. 
Cowl's derivation of Pistol's 'Cannibal' for 'Hannibal' (ii. 4. 
1 80) from a passage in Brandon's Virtuous Octavia of 1 598 2 
has not much weight against this. It may well be originally 
Pistol's, and echoed both by Brandon and by Jonson in 
E.M.I. (1598) iii. 4. 53. If I am right as to date, the 
offended Cobham was probably Henry Brooke, the 
eighth lord, whose susceptibilities had perhaps also to be 
consulted in Merry Wives (q.v.), and not his father 
William, the seventh lord, who was Lord Chamberlain 
from 8 August 1596 to his death on 5 March 1597. 
Court revivals of one or other or both parts of the play 
are traceable (App. D) in 1612-13, c. 1619, 1625, and 

The historical source of Henry 17 was Holinshed's 
Chronicle. This only touches lightly upon the Prince's 
youthful wantonness, and for an elaboration of the theme, 
the introduction of Oldcastle, and the naming of a minor 
character Gadshill after the scene of his exploits, Shake- 
speare probably drew upon The Famous Victories of Henry 
the Fifth) an old play of the Queen's men. This was 
registered on 14 May 1594, but the first extant edition is 
dated 159 8. 3 The text, wholly in prose, is probably an 
abridged one, perhaps from a two-part play. But there is 
little ground for Morgan's theory that the original was in 
verse, that it passed to the Admiral's men and was pro- 
duced by them in a revised form, as their Henry ^ of 1 5 9 5-6, 
and that it was then transferred by them to the Chamber- 
lain's, and became Shakespeare's source for Henry IV 

1 Ibid. iii. 360. * Ibid. iii. 236. * Ibid. iv. 17. 


and Henry V. Conjecture for conjecture, it is much more 
likely that an edition of the Famous Victories^ as we now 
know it, was issued about 1594, but is now lost, and that 
this was used as a source by Shakespeare, and perhaps 
independently by a writer for the Admiral's. There is no 
evidence, and little probability, that the Chamberlain's 
and the Admiral's ever interchanged play-books. I have 
considered the possible Gloucestershire local colouring of 
Part i in ch. i. Oldys (App. C, no. xxxiv) has a tradition 
that Falstaff was drawn by Shakespeare from a Stratford 
neighbour. Dawtrey would find in him a ruffianly and 
portly Captain Nicholas Dawtrey, who served in Ireland, 
and was later a persistent suitor at court. But if Shake- 
speare wanted a model for his elaboration of a familiar 
stage type, there must have been many out-at-elbows 
soldiers of fortune available. 


[S.R. 1600?] 

4 August! 

* * * * * * * I + 1*. 4> * /4 

The Commedie of muche A doo about > ?* ? s a A . N 
nothing a booke j(Arber, m. 37). 

[On the significance of this entry cf. p. 145.] 

[S.R. 1 600.] 23 Augusti, Andrew Wyse William Aspley. 
Entred for their copies vnder the handes of the wardens 
Two bookes, the one called Muche a Doo about nothinge 
. . . Wrytten by master Shakespere. xij d . (Arber, iii. 170). 

[Q. 1600.] [Ornament] Much adoe about Nothing. As it 
hath been sundrie times publikely acted by the right 
honourable, the Lord Chamberlaine his seruants. Written 
by William Shakespeare. [Ornament] London Printed by 
V(alentine) S(immes) for Andrew Wise, and William 
Aspley. 1600. [Head- and Running-titles] Much adoe 
about Nothing. 

Fac&mle. C Praetorius(i886, Sh. Q. xiv 5 ed. P, A. Daniel). 
[Fi, 1623.] [Catalogue'] Much adoo about Nothing. 


[Comedies, pp. 101-21, sign. I 3~L i, Head- and Running- 
titles] Much adoe about Nothing. 
[Acts i, sc. i, ii-v marked.] 
Parallel-Text. W. H. Fleming (1889, Bankside). 
Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1899, New Variorum); F. S. 
Boas (1916); F. Tucker Brooke (1917, Yale)\ A. T. Quiller- 
Couch and J. D. Wilson (1923, C.I7.P.); G. R. Trenery (1924, 
Arden}\ A. G. Newcomer (1929). 

Dissertations. J. P. Collier, Dogberry and his Associates (1844, St. Soc. 
Papers, i. i); A. E. Brae, Collier, Coleridge and Sh. (1860); J. Bolte, 
Deutsche Ferwandte von Shs M.A. (1886, J.xxi. 310); K. Weichberger, 
Die Urquelle von Shs MA. (1898, J. xxxiv. 339); G. Sarrazin, Die 
Abfassungszeit von M.A. (1899, J. xxxv. 127); M. A. Scott, The Book of 
the Courtyer: a Possible Source for Benedick and Beatrice (1901, PM.LA+ 
xvi. 475); F. Holleck-Weithmann, Zur Quellenfrage von Shs Lustspiel 
MA. (1901) ; J. Le G. Brereton, MA. iv. 1. 145-60 (1928, R.E.S. iv. 84). 

Q is a good text, with a few abnormal spellings and light 
punctuation, especially in the prose scenes. A passage 
(iv. i : . 1 5760), originally omitted by the compositor and 
added with difficulty, has crowded the foot of a page. The 
stage-directions and speech-prefixes are more than usually 
casual, although the relations of the characters are often 
indicated. A good many entries and exits are unmarked. 
Characters are introduced who do not speak (i. i. i, 96, 
206; ii. 2. i), and one of these, Innogen, Leonato's wife, 
occurs twice. Other characters appear with generic instead 
of personal names; Don John as 'Bastard', Anthonio as 
'Old' or 'Brother'. The irregularity is greatest with Dog- 
berry and Verges. They are so named in iii. 3, and 
Dogberry is called 'maister Constable'. In iii. 5 they enter 
as 'the Constable, and the Headborough', and in some of 
the speech-prefixes Dogberry is 'Const. Dog' or 'Con. 
Do,'. In v. i they both enter as 'Constables' and are 
respectively 'Const' and 'Con 2' in speech-prefixes. These 
scenes remain intelligible. In iv. 2 they also enter as 'the 
Constables'; in the speech-prefixes Dogberry is variously 
Andrew (i.e. Clown), 'Kemp', 'Kern', 'Ke', 'Keeper' (a 
mere misprint), and only once 'Constable' ; Verges is 'Cow- 
ley', 'Couley', 'Const'. Obviously the names ofactors have 
been substituted for those of their parts. Wilson thinks 

3I42.I C C 


that this was done by Shakespeare who in revising (cf. 
infra) could not remember the names of his characters. 
These, however, he must have invented with some pains, 
and it is more plausible to suppose that he wrote 'Con i' 
and 'Con 2', and that the book-keeper, finding that in iv. 2 
'Con* also stood for Conrade, indicated the actors' names 
for clarity. He may also have made some additions to the 
speech-prefixes, notably at ii. i. 89, where a scribbled 
'and Balthaser, Bor(achio) dun lohn' has been read by the 
printer as 'and Balthaser, or dumb lohn'. 

F was set up from Q, with a few corrections and more 
misprints and sophistications, well analysed by Wilson. 
The example followed must have been used as, or cor- 
rected by, a prompt-copy, since at ii. 3. 39 the name of 
a singer 'lacke Wilson' replaces the 'Musicke' of Q. 
Musical notes have been added at ii. i, 89, 161, and there 
has been an inadequate and sometimes incorrect revision of 
stage-directions and speech-prefixes. The elimination of 
profanity is exceptionally perfunctory; one passage only 
(iv. 2. 19-22) has gone. The removal of a hit at German 
and Spanish costume (iii. 2. 347) suggests censorship, 
perhaps at the time (cf. infra) of the Palsgrave's visit in 

Much of the stage-direction and speech-prefix con- 
fusion can be cleared up by realizing that the singer Bal- 
thaser is also Anthonio's son and Leonato's 'cousin' and 
kinsman (i. 2. i ; ii. i. i s.-d.), and at i. i. 96 enters, pro- 
perly enough, as a mute; and that in ii. i Don Pedro 
dances with Hero, Benedick with Beatrice, Balthaser with 
Margaret, and Claudio, otherwise unpartnered, with 
Ursula, while Don John and Borachio look on. But Wilson 
supposes that old inappropriate stage-directions have 
survived from an earlier version from Shakespeare's hand, 
which he has revised by abridging the verse scenes and 
turning the Benedick and Beatrice matter from verse into 
prose. This theory, which I cannot accept, is supported 
by pointing to short lines, which are in tact few and not 
markedly abrupt; to a very few only of the many deca- 
syllabic rhvthms which the Drose. as in all Shakesneare's 


plays of about this date (cf. p. 233), contains; to two 
possible but not certain traces of alteration in particular 
passages (iv. i. 157-60; v. i. 106-8); to features of style, 
such as quatrains, 'reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet and 
Two Gentlemen of Verona^ which need mean no more than 
that Shakespeare had not quite abandoned his 'lyrical' 
manner in comedy; and to some obscurities as to the 
assignation of Borachio and Margaret, which are in part 
entailed by the use of a conventional plot-motive, and after 
all, as Wilson himself says, leave the business 'sufficient 
for the purpose' of the stage, although it provokes inquiry 
in the study. 

The date of Much Ado about Nothing is pretty closely 
fixed to the winter of 1598-9, by Kempe's disappearance 
from the Chamberlain's company (cf. p. 79) early in 
1599, and the absence of the play from Meres' list 
(App. B, no. xiii), unless indeed, which is not likely (cf. 
p. 272), it is Love Labours Won. With this date the 
evidence of the style is consistent; it seems to me to be 
nearest to that of Merchant of Venice. There is little else 
to take account of. Sarrazin's suggestion that the love- 
stories reflect those of the Earls of Southampton and Rut- 
land may safely be disregarded. The passage (iii. i . 9) on 


Made proud by princes, that advance their pride 
Against that power that bred it: 

has been compared with the arrogance of the Earl of Essex 
to Elizabeth about July 1598 ; but such a topical allusion 
would be very dangerous, and the observation may be 
quite general. There was a Jacobean revival in 1612-13 
(App. D), and an allusion by Digges (App. B, no. Iii) shows 
that the play still held the stage about 1640. 

The main theme, of a lover deceived by an impersona- 
tion of his mistress, has been traced back to the Greek 
Chaereas and Kallirrhoe of Chariton (c. 400). Less remote 
sources were available in the story of Timbreo and Fenicia, 
as given in Matteo Bandello's Novelle (1554), xxii, and 
translated therefrom in F, de Belleforest's Histoires Tra- 



giqueS) iii (1569), and in that of Ariodante and Genevra in 
Ariosto's Orlando Furioso (1516), canto v. Probably both 
were drawn upon, since Belleforest has the names of Peter 
of Arragon and Leonato and Messina as the locality, but 
does not, like Ariosto, make the heroine's waiting-maid 
the decoy. The Orlando was translated by Sir John 
Harington in 1591, but there had been earlier versions of 
the Ariodante story, which was used by Spenser in the 
Faerie Queene (1590), ii. 4, and presumably in the Ario- 
dante and Genevora given at court by the Merchant 
Taylors' boys in 158 3. 1 It has been thought that the 
title Panecia of a play, rehearsed and probably given by 
Leicester's men in 1574, may be an error for Fenicia, and 
that Bandello's story may have then been dramatized. 2 
Bandello was also the main source of Jacob Ayrer's Die 
Schdne Phdnicia (c. 1595), printed in his Opus Theatricum 
(1618). Ayrer was not uninfluenced by the plays of 
English travelling companies, but no dramatic link be- 
tween this piece and Shakespeare's has been established. 
It has been suggested that the wit-combats of Benedick 
and Beatrice may have been inspired by those of Gaspare 
Pallavicino and Emilia Pia in Baldassare Castiglione's // 
Cortegiano (1528), translated by Sir Thomas Hoby in 
1561. Aubrey (App. C, no. xiii) says that Shakespeare 
picked up the humour of the constables in journeying from 
Stratford to London through Grendon in Bucks, although 
this is a little off the direct road. 

[S.R. 1600?] 

4 August! 

* . i 

Henry the ffift, a booke \ to be staled (Arber, iii. 37). 

* .1 

[On the significance of this entry, c p. 145.] 

[Qi. 1600.] The Chronicle History of Henry the fift, 

1 Efa. Stage, iv. 159. a ibid. iv. 149. 


With his battel fought at Agin Court in France. Togither 
with Auntient Pistoll. As it hath bene sundry times 
playd by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his 
seruants. [Creede's device (McKerrow 299)] London 
Printed by Thomas Creede, for Tho. Millington, and 
lohn Busby. And are to be sold at his house in Carter 
Lane, next the Powle head. 1600. [Head-title] The 
Chronicle Historic of Henry the fift: with his battel fought 
at Agin Court in France. Togither with Auncient Pistoll, 
[Running-title] The Chronicle Historic of Henry the fift. 
facsimile. C. Praetorius (i 886, Sh. Q. xxvii, ed. A. Symons). 
Reprints. B. Nicholson (1875, N.S.S.); W. A. Wright (1893, 
Cambridge Sh. ix. 461). 

[S.R. 1600.] 14 Augusti. Thomas Pavyer. Entredforhis 
Copyes by Direction of master White warden vndcr his 
hand wrytinge. These Copyes followinge beinge thinges 
formerlye printed and sett over to the sayd Thomas 
Pavyer. viz. . . . The historye of Henry the V th with the 
battell of Agencourt vj d . . . (Arber, iii. 169). 

[Q2. 1602.] The Chronicle History of Henry the fift, 
With his battell fought at Agin Court in France. To- 
gether with Auntient Pistoll. As it hath bene sundry times 
playd by the Right honorable the Lord Chamberlaine his 
seruants. [Creede's device (McKerrow 299)] London 
Printed by Thomas Creede, for Thomas Pauier, and are 
to be sold at his shop in Cornhill, at the signe of the Cat 
and Parrets neare the Exchange. 1602. [Bead-title] The 
Chronicle Historic of Henry the fift: with his battel fought 
at Agin Court in France. Togither with Ancient Pistoll. 
[Running-title'] The Chronicle Historic of Henry the fift. 

[Q3- 1619.] [Ornament] The Chronicle History of 
Henry the fift, with his battell fought at Agin Court in 
France. Together with ancient Pistoll. As it hath bene 
sundry times playd by the Right Honourable the Lord 
Chamberlaine his Seruants. [William Jaggard's device 
(McKerrow 283)] Printed for T(homas) P(avier) 1608. 
[Head-title'] The Chronicle Historic of Henry the fift: with 
his battell fought at Agin Court in France. Togither with 


Ancient Pistoll. [Running-title-] The Chronicle History of 
Henry the fift. 
[On the misdating, cf. p. 1 33.] 

Facsimile. C. Praetorius (1886, Sh. Q. xxviii, ed. A. Symons). 
[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue-] The Life of King Henry the Fift. 
[Histories, pp. 69 ta-95 ins, sign, h-k 2. Head- and Run- 
ning-titles-] The Life of Henry the Fift. 
[Acts i, sc. i, ii-v marked (altered in modern eds.).] 
Parallel-Texts. B. Nicholson and P. A. Daniel (1877, N.S.S.); 
H. P. StokesfiSga, Bankside); E. Roman (1908). 
Modern Editions. W. G. Boswell-Stone (1880, N.S.S.); G. C. 
Moore Smith (1896, Warwick); H. A. Evans (1903, Jrden); 

Dissertations. B. Nicholson, The Relation of the Q the F of Hen . 7 
(1870 NS.S. Traas.77); G.Sarrazin,JVyw undSenJotuon(\y>ip7.^. 

* 12 )?LDW^^ 

Hi i 3, 241); J- Le G.Brereton, BL's Wild Irishman (1917, ML.R ru. 
oV AW Pollard and J. D. Wilson, The 'Stolne and Surreptitious 1 Shn. 
L5 '-' " M >(i 9 io, Mar. 13, T.L.S.-); K.T. Pri- The Text of Hen. 7 

E. M. Albright, W F /Vto /ft 
PJtfX^.iliii.72 2 )- 
Fi is a fairly regular text, with few mislineations, except 
that Pistol's bombastic verse, occurring in prose scenes, is 
printed as prose. Editors have adopted a good many 
emendations; in the French and dialectic passages it is not 
always clear whether an error is a misprint or an intended 
blunder by a speaker. The stage-directions are normal. 
There are some summarized entries for crowded scenes, 
and some musical notes. They may represent prompt- 
copy, contributed to by author and book-keeper. 

Qa and Qs were probably set up independently from 
Qi, since 3 reverts to many Qi readings altered by Q2. 
The common divergences of Q2 and Q3 from Qi are 
limited to corrections of obvious misprints, with one or 
two possible exceptions which may be accidental agree- 
ments in conjectural amendment. Greg, Emendation, 41, 
45, notes that Q3, like the Contention of 1619, seems 
occasionally to anticipate a reading of Fi . 


If Qi is read side by side with Fi, it is impossible to 
regard it as anything but a continual perversion of the 
same text. Some of the verse-lines are truly rendered; 
others contain words related to those of Fi as variants of 
inflexion or indifferent alternatives, or words which read 
like mishearings. Many phrases are omitted, resulting in 
mislineations. Line after line is bungled metrically, by a 
writer incapable of handling blank verse. Larger omis- 
sions cause lacunae in the sense. Sometimes Q gives a 
mere paraphrase of the substance of F. The prose scenes 
are even more fragmentary, and are throughout in lines of 
irregular length and capitalized as verse. As a paradoxical 
result, Pistol's speeches resume verse form. There are 
some transpositions in the order of the dialogue, especially 
in the prose scenes. Two scenes (iv, 4, 5) change places. 
One passage, at the end of iii. 7, appears in F at iv. 2. 
62-3. There is at least one phrase, at the end of ii. 3, of 
indecent 'gag'. This corruption is far beyond what can be 
attributed to errors of transcription and printing, and can 
only be explained by some process of reporting. It in 
certain respects differs from that to be observed in 
Henry VI> Romeo and Juliet, and Hamlet. There is no 
introduction of un-Shakespearean verse; practically every- 
thing is related to F. Price has argued for the use of 
shorthand, but mainly on grounds, such as the mishear- 
ings and alternatives, which do not (cf. p. 157) exclude 
memorization. Some unevenness of demerit suggests that 
the reporter may have been an actor. The best-rendered 
scenes are those in which Exeter, Gower, and the Governor 
of Harfleur appear. Conceivably the 'part' of one or more 
of these may have been available, and conceivably^ 'plot', 
since a few marginal notes for action (ii. I. 103; iv. 8. 9; 
v. i . 30) are common to Qi and F. But if so it was a very 
skeleton one. The Q stage-directions are even slighter 
than those of F, There are no long descriptive stage- 
directions comparable to those in Qi of Romeo and Juliet. 
On the other hand, the omissions of Q point to a per- 
formance for which much of the F text had been 'cut'. 
It is hardly possible to distinguish short cuts from the 


reporter's lapses, but there is no representation at all in 
Q of the prologue, the four other choruses, and the epi- 
logue; or of three scenes (i, i ; iii. I ; iv. 2); or of sub- 
stantial passages (e.g. i, 2. 115-35; ii. 2. 105-42; iii. 2. 
&9- 1 53 & 3- I I-4* ; & 27-68 ; iii. 7. 140-69; iv. i. 
1-34, 118-39, 247-301; v. 2. 307-58, 387-400) in 
others. Cutting may be estimated to have reduced the 
3,381 lines of the play by about 1,000, making a per- 
formance in two instead of three hours possible. Eleven 
speaking parts are saved by the process, and this may point 
to a provincial performance. Some good Shakespearean 
matter goes, but it is of poetic rather than dramatic value. 
In any case compression in the basis of the Q text is more 
plausible than expansion for that of F, and there are ana- 
logies in the theatrical treatment of other long plays (cf. 
p. 229). The attempts of Nicholson and Craig to trace 
a literary revision fail to appreciate sufficiently the extent 
and nature of the Q corruption. As in other reported texts 
it entails vulgarization. And the historical corrections 
attributed to Q by Daniel are also illusory. It is true that, 
while F is in general closer to Holinshed than Q, its intro- 
duction of the Dauphin at Agincourt is a departure, 
inconsistent with the King's order (iii. 5. 64) for him 
to stay at Rouen, whereas Q leaves him out at Agincourt 
and gives his speeches there to Bourbon, But the incon- 
sistency is nothing to Shakespeare; the Dauphin must 
come into dramatic conflict with Henry; and I can only 
suppose that the reporter has failed to disentangle the 
French lords. He also brings in among them (iii. 7 ; iv. 5), 
apparently for the Rambures of F, a Gebon, possibly an 
actor's name. Price suggests a corruption of that of 
Samuel Gilburne, or less plausibly a Thomas Gibborne, 
only known as a Fortune 'housekeeper' in 1624.! Prob- 
ably the only change in F from the original text was the 
very incomplete excision of profanity. That it is un- 
abashed in the rather pointless episode (iii. 2. 69-153) of 
the English, Scottish, Irish, and Welsh captains, which is 
not in Q, tells against the suggestion that this is an inter- 

1 Murray, i. 214. 


polation motived by the Jacobean policy of a union of 
kingdoms. But although it is not altogether appropriate 
to Elizabethan conditions, Holinshed does in fact give 
Henry Scottish mercenaries. Moreover, while Captain 
Jamy is not unsympathetically drawn, would the king have 
altogether approved the selection of the name for a comic 
character? An alternative and perhaps more plausible con- 
jecture is that the passage was censored in 1599, because 
of earlier offence given to James by theatrical references 
to Scotland. 1 If so, we cannot suppose that it was restored 
when he saw the play on 7 January 1 605 (App. D), but the F 
printer may, quite properly, have ignored a deletion mark. 

The omission or the choric matter from Q may be only 
part of the abridgement, but it is also possible that -the 
performances reported took place after the unsuccessful 
return of Essex from Ireland on 28 September 1599 made 
the reference to him in the chorus before Act v unsuitable. 
The last two lines of that to Act ii must be an afterthought, 
intended to correct the suggestion of 34-5 that the locality 
at once shifted to Southampton. This may be due to the 
Folio editor, who may have had the choruses on loose 
scrolls, and should have inserted this one and begun Act ii 
a scene later. In fact his supplementary lines probably re- 
placed an act heading already set up, and he then put in Acts 
ii and iii where Acts iii and iv should be, and an Act iv, for 
which he had no chorus left, at random. 'Topical' specula- 
tion reaches its maximum of absurdity in Miss Albright's 
suggestion that the choruses belong to a special perform- 
ance given at the Globe to further the interests of the 
Essex conspiracy and that the phrase 'bringing rebellion 
broached on his sword' was meant to foretell a return to 
broach the cask of rebellion. 

A double Shakespearean handling is an element in Pol- 
lard and Wilson's interpretation of Qi as one of a group 
of old plays (cf. p. 226), partly revised by Shakespeare, 
and then transcribed in an abridged form for provincial 
use in 1593, and finally printed partly from this transcript 
and partly from an actor's report of a performance of the 

1 Eliz. Stage, i. 323. 


play as further revised by Shakespeare on the original 
manuscript. As in other plays of the group, a meticulous 
substitution of colourless equivalents is entailed. Pollard 
and Wilson's study is based mainly upon an examination 
of Act ii. In the verse scenes they take the metrical lines 
as derived from the transcript and the bungled lines as 
attempts of the reporter to fill the gaps. The metrical or 
tolerably metrical lines amount, so far as I can judge, to 
about 500 for the whole play, and would give a very 
sketchy outline of the plot, with many solutions of con- 
tinuity in the dialogue. But I suppose that Pollard, and 
Wilson think that this would be good enough for a pro- 
vincial audience. Surely, however, they give an obviously 
illiterate reporter an impossible task, in going through an 
apparently complete manuscript and determining, as he 
must have done with considerable accuracy, the exact 
points at which expansion from a very imperfect memory 
of the later version was required. There must of course 
have been more than 500 lines in the provincial play, but 
I understand the theory to be that for certain scenes the 
transcript was entirely abandoned and a report of Shake- 
speare's later prose scenes substituted. It is suggested that 
in these scenes the reporter played either Bardolph or 
Mrs. Quickly, but surely neither part is consistently well 
reproduced. The original play rehandled by Shakespeare 
is taken to have been itself a revision of the Famous 
Victories (cf. s.v. Hen. IF), and to have left traces in the 
choruses and historical scenes of the F text. 

This intermediate 1 Henry V is also assumed by Robert- 
son, as a play written about 1590 by Marlowe, probably 
with the collaboration of Peele and Greene, if not also of 
Kyd; revised for the Admiral's in 1 595, probably by Peele, 
although Munday, Chettle, Heywood, Drayton, and 
Dekker are also conceivable; revived with comic relief by 
Chapman; transferred by the Admiral's to the Chamber- 
lain's; and finally revised by Shakespeare and perhaps 
Chettle, Such a string of hypotheses, involving the pos- 
sible interaction of about a dozen writers at five stages is 
of course incapable of demonstration and would not repay 


systematic refutation. An example of Robertson's method 
is to be found in the suggestion that the reference to Essex 
may in an earlier version have been to some other episode 
in his career, such as his expedition to France in 1591. 
So far as Marlowe is concerned, the attempt to find his 
hand here is less plausible even than Robertson's attempt 
to find him in Richard II \ and the 'clues' of supposed un- 
Shakespearean words and phrases are extraordinarily thin. 
Shakespeare's historical source is again mainly Holins- 
hed, and for anything borrowed from the later scenes of 
Famous Victories it is not necessary to look further than the 
version left to us, which had become available in the 1598 
edition, even if there was (cf. p. 383) no earlier one. 
I think we must take the 'Ireland' of the chorus as meaning 
'Ireland', and therefore as datable between Essex's de- 
parture thither on 27 March 1599 and his return on 
September 28. Nor do I see sufficient reason for sup- 
posing the choruses to be of different date to the play as 
a whole. They are naturally written in a somewhat arti- 
ficial and old-fashioned manner. The metrical tests, for 
what they are worth, consist well enough with 1599, and 
the play must of course follow the promise in the epilogue 
to 2 Henry 17 to 'continue the story, with Sir John in it, 
and make you merry with fair Katharine of France : where, 
for any thing I know, Falstaff shall die of a sweat'. It is 
true that the general literary quality does not show any 
marked advance upon Henry IV itself. One may even 
trace a reversion, in spite of some fine rhetorical passages, 
to a more traditional way of handling chronicle matter, 
there less conspicuous. Perhaps Shakespeare was again, as 
in Richard //, imperfectly interested in epic themes. Nor 
are the added 'humorists' quite on the level of their pre- 
decessors. Wilson has made a fair case for finding traits of 
the Welsh soldier Sir Roger Williams in Fluellen; and 
Sarrazin for regarding Nym, with his jerky style and 
constant repetition of the word 'humour', as a satire of Ben 
Jonson's early dramatic manner; although I do not think 
(cf. p. 72) that it is the 'purge' which Shakespeare is said to 
have given him. Jonson's prologue to EMJ. (App. B, 


no. xxii), probably of later date than the play itself, in turn 
satirizes the chorus wafting the action overseas. The 
names of William Fluellen and George Bardolfe appear as 
those of fellow recusants (cf. p. 25) with John Shake- 
speare in 1592. Those of Bate, Court, and Williams are 
also found (French 327) in Stratford records. 


[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] The Life and death of Julius 
Caesar. [Tragedies^ pp. 109-30, sign. kk-ll5 v . Head- 
and Running-Titles] The Tragedie of Julius Caesar. 
[Acts i, sc i, ii-v marked.] 
Facsimile. ]. D. Wilson (1929). 

Modern Editions. A. D. Innes (1893, Warwick}\ M. Hunter 
(1900), F. H. Sykes (1909); M. Macmillan (1902, Arden}\ H. H. 
Furness (1913, New Variorum}\ L. Mason (1919, Tale). 
Dissertations. F. G. Fleay, J.C. (1874, N.S.S. Trans. 357; Sh. Manual, 
262); N. Delius, Shs J.C. und seine Quellen in Plutarch (1882, J. xvii. 
67; Abl.\\. 153); P. Simpson, The Date ofSh.'s J.C. (1899,9 AT.Q.iii. 
105, 216); E. Koeppel, Shs J.C. und die Entstehungszeit des anonymen 
Dramen The Wisdom of Dr. Dodypoll (1907, J. xliii. 210); P. Kannen- 
giesser, Eine Doppelredaktion in Shs J.C. (1908, J. xliv. 51); W. Keller, 
Zwei Bemerkungen zu J.C. (1909, J. xlv. 219); M. W. MacCallum, 
Sh.'s Roman Plays and their Background ( 1 9 1 o) ; H. M. Ayres, Sh.'sJ.C. in 
the Light of Some Other Versions {1910, PJfJL^t.m. 183); H. C. Bartlett, 
Quarto Editions of J.C. (1913, 3 Library, iv. 122); G. Sarrazin, Sh. und 
Orlando Pescetti (1913, E.S. xlvi. 347); A. Boecker, A Probable Italian 
Source of Sh.'s J.C. (1913); A. Kerrl, Die metrischen Unterschiede von 
Shs K.J. und J.C. (1913); A. de V. Tassin, J.C. (1916, Columbia 
Studies, 255); J. M, Robertson, The Origination of J.C. (1922, Sh. 
Canon,i.66)i W. Wells, TAr Authorship of 'J.C. (1923); M. H. Shackford, 
J.C. and Ovid (1926, M.LJT. xli. 172); F. Wolcken, Shs J.C. undMar- 
lowes Massacre at Paris (1927, J. kiii. 192); E. H. C. Oliphant, J.C. 
(1927, The Plays of Beaumont and Fletcher, 316), E. *WF. (192 8, Feb. 2 3, 

Julius Caesar is one of the best printed of the F additions, 
with only trifling dislocations. The stage-directions are 
normal. The^ spellings Antony, and occasionally in early 
scenes Antonio, diverge from the Anthony regularly used 
by Shakespeare elsewhere. There is a trace of a revision in 
iv, 3, not necessarily more than an afterthought at the 


time of composition. Brutus and Cassius discuss (143- 
58, 1 66) Portia's death. Thereafter (181-95) Messala 
announces that death to Brutus, who is apparently ignorant 
of it. Probably the first passage is an insertion, and the 
second has been left undeleted or imperfectly deleted in 
the manuscript. The play is a very short one, and a few 
abrupt short lines may be evidence of cuts. 

The date of production can be fairly definitely fixed by 
Platter's visit (App. D) to a Julius Caesar play on 21 
September 1599. He does not name the Globe, but the 
theatre was south of the river, and the Swan was probably 
not in regular use. 1 The Rose no doubt was, but as the 
Admiral's had new Caesar plays (cf. infra) in 1 5945 and 
again in 1 602, they are not very likely to have been staging 
one in 1599. Platter's 'at least fifteen characters' agrees 
fairly with Julius Caesar, on the assumption that he dis- 
regarded a number of inconspicuous parts. The date of 
1599 fits in well with other evidence. Weever clearly 
refers to the play in his Mirror of Martyrs (App. B, no. 
xix), which he says was fit for the print two years before 
1 60 1, even though it may have been added to in the inter- 
val. There is an obvious quotation of iii. 2. 109 in Jon- 
son's E.M.O. (iS99\ 0"- 4- 33X 'Reason long since is 
fled to animals, you know', as well as a less indicative 
repetition (v. 6. 79) of 'Et tu Brute' (iii. i. 77). The Wis- 
dom of Dr. Dodipoll^ printed in 1 6oo, 2 also quotes iii. 2. 109, 
.and 'Et tu Brute' is in S. Nicholson's Acolastus his Afterwit 
(1600). On the other hand, if there are echoes in iii. i. 
113 of Daniel's Musophilus and in i. 2. 52 of Sir John 
Davies's Nosce Teipsum, these were registered on 9 January 
and 14 April 1599 respectively. The play held the stage 
in the seventeenth century. Court performances are 
recorded (App. D) ih 1612-13, 1636, and 1638. 

Jonson tells us (App. B, no. xxii) that iii. 1.47 origin- 
ally ran 

Caesar did never wrong, but with just cause, 

and glances at the same passage in Staple of News (1626), 
ind. 36, 'Cry you mercy, you neuer did wrong, but with iust 

* Cf. EKx. Stage, ii. 413. * Ibid. iv. 54. 


cause*. Incidentally Jonson gives testimony, if that were 

needed, to Shakespeare's authorship of the play; and so 

does Digges (App. B, no. Hi) in 1640. Yet in no play of 

the canon have recent critics more persistently sought 

other hands. Fleay regarded it as an abridgement of 

Shakespeare's work, due to Jonson himself. Abridged it 

may be, but the evidence produced for any incorporation of 

Jonsonian matter, unless he suggested an alternative for 

iii. i. 47, is negligible. Robertson, Wells, and Oliphant all 

find a considerable substratum of Marlowe. Thereafter 

they diverge. Robertson supposes that Marlowe, perhaps 

with Kyd, although he only hints (i. 1 15) at this, wrote 

a play in three parts, dealing successively with the struggle 

of Caesar and Pompey, with Caesar's death, and with 

Philippu Part i was revived by the Admiral's as Caesar 

and Pompey in 1 594, x and Part 2, revised by Chapman and 

Dray ton and perhaps (i. 142) Heywood, as the second 

part of Caesar in I595* 2 Part 3 was revised as Caesar's 

Fall or The Two Shapes, also for the Admiral's, by 

Drayton, Dekker, Middleton, Munday, and Webster in 

1602, although of this Robertson does not seem very 

certain, and he makes no attempt to trace any of these 

writers except Drayton in Julius Caesar as we have it. 3 

However, Part i was then laid aside, until Chapman 

handled it in his Caesar and Pompey^ while Parts ii and iii 

were transferred by the Admiral's to the Chamberlain's, 

and revised by Shakespeare about 1 603. It may be noted 

that such a transference between rival companies is far 

from plausible, and also that Robertson is not accurate in 

stating that Henslowe does not record the plays of 1594 

and 1595 as *ne'. The writers of 1602 also got full value 

for a new play. Finally, according to Robertson, Jonson 

compressed Parts 2 and 3 into the present form of Julius 

Caesar either about 1607 or after Shakespeare's death. 

Wells thinks that a play, apparently a single play, by 

Marlowe was given for revision to Shakespeare, who 

abandoned it after completing the first 57 lines, and that 

1 Etix. Stage, ii. 143. 3 Ibid. ii. 179. 

2 Ibid. ii. 144. 4 Ibid. iii. 259. 


the rest of Julius Caesar is a revision by Beaumont, who 
disregarded Shakespeare's opening, slid the triumph into 
the feast of Lupercalia, and made no further use of the 
tribunes and their mob. Oliphant is surprised that Wells 
should find Beaumont's hand continuously throughout the 
play, and would reduce his share, if any, to little more than 
portions of iv. 3, regarding the rest as the work of an early 
writer, probably Marlowe, revised by Shakespeare. These 
conflicting theories may perhaps be left to cancel each 
other out. I believe them to be all equally misconceived, 
and to rest partly upon characteristic Shakespearean 
inconsistencies in the handling of detail, and partly upon 
two special features of the play. One is that, while Shake- 
speare's later tragedies move in a single curve to a catas- 
trophe in the death of the title-character, the action of 
Julius Caesar has two peaks, one in the Capitol and the 
other at Philippi, and the psychological interest is at least 
as much in Brutus as in Caesar. The effect of a double 
theme is therefore given. The other is that Shakespeare 
is deliberately experimenting in a classical manner, with 
an extreme simplicity both of vocabulary and of phrasing. 
This has already been noted by Bradley, Shakespearean 
Tragedy, 85. It is often admirably telling, but sometimes 
it leads to a stiffness, perhaps even a baldness, of diction, 
which may awake reminiscences of pre-Shakespearean 
plays, I do not see any special resemblance to Marlowe; 
the constant use of mid-line speech endings and mid-line 
pauses is not pre-Shakespearean at all. As for Beaumont, 
it is merely a matter of verbal parallels, and the derivation 
of Beaumont's diction from Shakespeare's has long been 
recognized. The element of simple dignity in the style of 
Julius Caesar, although we have no particular reason to 
suppose that he knew it otherwise than on the stage, 
seems to have made a special appeal to him. 

Of course there were Elizabethan plays on the Caesar 
story before Shakespeare's, and before those which Hens- 
lowe records. It was a favourite Renaissance subject. 
Marc Antoine Muret's Latin Julius Caesar (1544) had 
been followed by Jacques Grain's Cesar (1561) and 


Robert Gamier 's Cornelie (1574)) of which a translation by 
Kyd appeared in 1594.* An entry in Machyn's Diary ', 
which may record an English play as early as 1 562, seems 
to be in part a forgery. 2 The Paul's boys played a 
Pompey at court in i^Si, 3 and Gosson notes a Caesar and 
Pompey, possibly, although his words are not quite clear, 
at the Theatre, in his Plays Confuted of 1582.4 Richard 
Edes produced a Latin Caesar Interfectus at Christ Church 
in 1582, of which the epilogue alone survives. 5 On these 
or others many early literary allusions, some of which lay 
special stress on Caesar's triumph, may rest, although by 
themselves they would prove no more than a knowledge of 
the classical story. They are particularly numerous in 
Shakespeare's own early plays, continue to Hamlet, where 
there are three, All's Well that Ends Well, Measure for 
Measure, and Othello, and then disappear, except in Corio- 
lanus and Cymbeline, where Caesar is historically appro- 
priate, Shakespeare had purged his imagination or the 
theme. There are several also in Marlowe. But I find 
nothing to indicate that Marlowe ever wrote a Caesar 
play. Wells quotes Greene, Orlando Furioso, 457, where 

(like to Cassius) 

Sits sadly dumping, ayming Caesars death, 

Yet crying Ave to his Maiestie, 

combines it with Greene's Francescos Fortunes, where 
Cicero says to Roscius, 'if the Cobler hath taught thee to 
say Aue Caesar, disdain not thy tutor', 6 and decides that the 
cobbler must be Marlowe, and that the * Aue Caesar' is not 
from Edward III, i. 1. 164, but from a play by Marlowe 
with Cassius in it. But I hope to have shown 7 that the 
cobbler and his crow who cried * Ave Caesar', not to Julius 
but Augustus Caesar, came, like Roscius, from Macrobius. 
More interesting are the passages in Marlowe's Massacre 
at Paris, 1 220, 1 246, where the Guise before his death says 

1 Blix. Stage* Iii. 397. 5 Ibid. iii. 309. 

* Cf. vol. ii, p. 386. 6 Ibid. iv. 236. 

* EHx. Stage, iv. 158. 7 Ibid. i. 377. 


of himself, 'Yet Caesar shall goe forth', and again, 'Thus 
Caesar did go foorth, and thus he dyed'. The first phrase 
repeats JuL Caes. ii. 2. 28. Here it is in place, and Shake- 
speare's Caesar habitually speaks of himself in the third 
person. The Massacre, although written in I593> only 
exists in an undated edition, possibly as late as 1599. It 
is corrupt and may have an element of 'reporting' in it. 
Perhaps this brought the phrases in. But even if Marlowe 
wrote them, and took them from an earlier play, it would 
not prove that the play was his, still less that, as Wells 
thinks, he meant Caesar for a covert representation of the 
Guise, about whom, indeed, he showed no hesitation in 
writing openly. 

Shakespeare mainly derived his material from Plutarch's 
Lives of Brutus, Caesar, and Antony, as translated by 
Sir Thomas North (1579) from the French (1559) of 
Jacques Amyot. He often borrows North's actual wording. 
Individual passages have been compared with others in 
Lucan'sPA#rj#0, Cicero's Letters, Pliny's Natural History, 
Appian's Civil Wars, Dion Cassius's dnnals, Suetonius's 
Lives of the Caesars, and Orlando Pescetti's // Cesare 
(1594), but how far he drew directly upon these, it is 
difficult, in view of the lost earlier English plays, to say. 
The famous 'Et tu Brute' is probably in its origin an 
adaptation of the icol ov, rcWv of Suetonius* It has only 
been traced once in English literature before Julius Caesar, 
in the True Tragedy, xxi. 53; it is not in 3 Hen. VI, v. i. 
77-80, of which the passage in the True Tragedy is a cor- 
ruption. A play of Julius Caesar was given by John 
Green's company at Dresden in 1626,* It may or may not 
have been Shakespeare's. 

[S.R. 1600?] 

4 Augusti 
As you like y*, a booked to be staid 

/ (Arber, iii. 37). 

[On the significance of this entry, cf. p. 145.] 

1 Ibid. ii. 286. 
ana.! D d 


[F 1. 1623.] [Catalogue] As you Like it. [Comedies, pp. 
185-207, sign. 3-82. Head-title} As you Like it. 
[Running-title'] As you like it. 
[Acts and sec. marked.] 
Facsimile. ]. D. Wilson (1929). 

Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1890, New Fariorum); ]. W. 
Holme (1914, Arden}\ J. R. Crawford (1919, Yale}\ A. T. Quiller- 
Couch and J, D. Wilson (1926, C.U.P.). 

Dissertations. N. Delius, Lodges Rosatynde und Shs A.Y.L. (1871, J 9 vi. 
226; Abl i. 206) ; W. G. Boswdl-Stone, Sh.'s A.r.L. and Lodge's Rosalynde 
Compared (1882, N.S.S. Trans. 277)5 J. Zupitza, Die mlttelenglische For- 
stufe zu SAs A.Y.L. (1886, J. xxi, 69); C. H. Herford, Sh.'s Masters and 
A.Y.L. (1890); A. H. Thorndike, The Relation 0/A.Y.L. to Robin Hood 
flays (1902, J.E.G.P. iv. 59); W. W. Greg, Lodges Rosalynde: being the 
Original of&hls A.T.L. (1907, St. Classics); H. Conrad, Die ErzaUung 
von Gamelyn als Quelle zu SAs A.YJL. (1910, J. xlvi, 120); A. Gray f 
How Sh. * Purged* Jonson (1928) ; B. H. Newdigate, Harington, Jayues and 
Touchstone (1929, Jan. 3, 10, T.L.S.). 

F is a fair text, with only small typographical disturbances, 
chiefly due to rapid transitions between verse and prose. 
The stage-directions are slight, and only occasionally sug- 
gest the hands of the author (iL i. I ; ii. 4. i ; iii. 2. 131) 
and the book-keeper (L 2. 1 58, 224, 227 ; ii. 4. i ; ii. 5. 40; 
iv. 2. 1 1 ; v. 5. 1 14). Wilson suggests, without elaborating 
the point, that the copy may have been assembled from 

The entry in the Stationers' Register and the absence 
of the play from Meres* list of 1598 give limits of date, 
within which it is difficult to be more precise. On grounds 
of style a grouping with Twelfth Night, a little after Much 
Ado about Nothing^ in 1599 seems reasonable. The 'lover 
and his lass' song (v. 3. 17) is probably original here, as 
it echoes one at the same point in the source. There is a 
setting in Thomas Morley's First Book of Airs, or Little 
Short Songs (1600), of which the only known copy is in 
the collection of H. C. Folder. The forest theme may have 
been selected in rivalry with the Admiral's Robin Hood 
plays of I598. 1 The quotation (iiL 5. 81) of a line from 
Marlowe's Hero and Leander would come most naturally 

Chap. IX AS YOU LIKE IT 403 

after the publication of that poem in 1598. Some other 
historical and literary echoes which have been suggested 
are too vague or too remote in date. If 'Diana in the 
fountain* (iv. i. 154) was the image in Cheapside, that was 
set up in I596. 1 One cannot seriously, with Chalmers, 
relate the antithesis of court and country to the troubles of 
the Earl of Essex in 1599, or, with Aldis Wright, Rosa- 
lind's chaff about 'pretty oaths that are not dangerous' 
(iv. i. 193) and a magician who tenders life dearly 
(v. 2. 77), to the Act against witchcraft in 1603 or that 
against abuses of players in 1606. Of the earlier parallels, 
Wilson stresses a close one at iii. 2. 103, 1 19, and one less 
striking at ii. 2. 8, to passages in Nashe's Strange News 
of the Intercepting of Certain Letters of 1592 or 1593,* and 
thinks this unlikely to have been read by Shakespeare in 
1599. He also supposes that Shakespeare knew Hero and 
Leander in manuscript before it was published, which is 
of course possible, and that a reference to the death of 
Marlowe in a quarrel about a tavern bill, as well as to the 
'Infinite riches in a little room' of Jew of Malta, i. i. 72, is 
to be found in Touchstone's complaint (iii. 3. 14) that a 
lack of understanding 'strikes a man more dead than a 
great reckoning in a little room'. Such an allusion, which 
would surely have been rather heartless, does not seem to 
me plausible, and Wilson's points cannot of course weigh 
against the general evidence for 1598-1600. Indeed, he 
accepts this date, but only for a revision of an earlier 
version of 1593, which largely took the form of rewriting 
verse scenes in prose. For this he finds evidence, partly 
in textual inconsistencies as to the relative heights of 
Rosalind and Celia (i. 2. 284; i. 3. 1 17; iv. 3. 88) and as to 
the nomenclature or the Dukes (i, 2, 87, 246; v. 4. 160), 
both of which are more easily explained by misprints, and 
as to the period of the elder Duke's sojourn in the forest 
(i. i. 120; i. 3. 73; ii. 1.2), which is too Shakespearean to 
need explanation at all; but mainly upon a theory, sug- 
gested to him by Pollard, that certain prose passages, 
unusually full of scannable lines (cf. p, 233), had originally 

1 Stowe, Survey, i. 266. a Works^ i. 275, 324. 

Dd 2 


been written as verse. They make very good prose, how- 
ever, and in fact it is just as easy (cf. my criticism in Tear's 
Work for 1926) to rewrite as verse, with what Wilson 
calls 'a little innocent faking', passages which he does not 
believe to have been revised. 

As Tou Like It has been claimed, on the authority of a 
document not now verifiable (App, D), as the play given by 
the King's men at Wilton on 2 December 1 603. Nothing 
else is known of its after-history. It is quite possible, how- 
ever, that the verses of Hymen in v. 4. 1 14-52, markedly 
inferior in style to the rest of the play, may be a specta- 
cular interpolation not due to Shakespeare. There is no 
textual disturbance in F, but the scene would run well 
enough without them. A stage tradition (App. C. nos. 
xxxiv, xliv) represents Shakespeare himself as playing the 
part of Adam. 

The source is Thomas Lodge's prose novel ofRosalynde, 
orEuphues 9 Golden Legacy (1590), which itself owes some- 
thing to the Tale of Gamelyn, found, although not Chaucer- 
ian, in some manuscripts of the Canterbury Tales. It is pos- 
sible, although not very probable, that a further reference 
to this motived some small departures by Shakespeare from 
Rosalynde. But it was not in print until 1721. On A. 
Gray's theory that Jaques was Shakespeare's 'purge' to 
Jonson, cf. p. 72. Newdigate's suggestion that he stands 
for Sir John Harington is even less plausible. Harington 
was not that sort of man. 


MS. H:P., Reliques, 115, describes a copy from F2 appar- 
ently made for a seventeenth-century performance, and 
marked with the names of characters at their points of 
entry. It was afterwards at Warwick Castle. 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue'] Twelfe-Night, or what you will. 
[Comedies, pp. 255-75, sign. Y 2-Z 6. Head-title] Twelfe 
Night, Or what you will. [Running-title'] Twelfe Night, or, 
What you will. 
[Acts and sec marked.] 


Facsimile. J. D. Wilson (1928). 

Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1901, New Variorum)-, A. D. 
Innes (1895, Warwick); M. Luce (1906, 1929, Arden); G. H. 
Nettleton (1922, YaU)\ A. T. Quiller-Couch and J. D. Wilson 
(1930, C.U.P.) 

Dissertations. F. G. Fleay, On the Date and Composition of TJN. (1874, 

f ' - 9 //" "w*fc.j -w**. . v**v +rjL**ff I A U / U, 

#..$. 7>a. 88) and in f*y(*s *W /F0r& */ >$ **//, Ixxxv (1880, 
HakluytSoc. lix); H. Conrad, VberdieEntstehungszeit von TJf. (1805, 7. 
xxxi, 177), Z* ^ e^//r m* Air TJK (1912, .5. xlvi. 73); H. Meiss- 
ner, Die Quellen zu Shs TJf. (1895); H. Logemann, Johannes de Witt's 
Visit to the Swan Theatre (1897, Anglia, xix. 1 17); J. de Perott, Noch eine 
eventuelle Quelle zum TJf. (1910, J. xlvi. 118); I. Gollancz, Malvolio 
(1916, Sh. Homage, 177); J. D. Wilson, TJt. and the Gunpowder Plot 
(1929, June 1 3, T.L.S.). 

F is a good text, with normal stage-directions, including 
notes for the introduction of music and a misnaming (i. 5. 
177) of Viola as Violenta; it may rest on prompt-copy. 

The earliest notice of the play is John Manningham's 
record (App. B, no. xxiv) of a performance in the Middle 
Temple on 2 February 1 602. It was evidently then new to 
him. But it is so akin in style and temper to As Tou Like It 
that a somewhat earlier date appears probable; and if this 
is put in 1600-1, it is fairly consistent with such literary 
and historical clues as are not too tenuous to deserve con- 
sideration. We must, however, assume that if the song 
at ii. 3. 40 is Shakespeare's, which it may well be, it may 
not have been originally written for the play, since music 
for an air called 'O mistress mine* appears, without words, 
in Thomas Morley's First Book of Consort Lessons (1599). 
It is, however, not clear (Noble 8 1) that this setting was for 
Shakespeare's song, and one of Mistress Mine in Morley's 
Short Book of Airs (1600), now in the Folger collection, is 
said to be distinct from his. But the song-scraps in ii. 3. 
109-21 are from Robert Jones's First Book of Songs and 
Airs (i 600). Logemann's identification of the scene (iii. 4) 
where Malvolio appears cross-gartered with the action 
represented in De Witt's Swan drawing of 1596 must in 
any case be rejected; Twelfth Night can hardly have been 
played at the Swan. The satire of 'cross-wooing' in EM. O. 


(1599), iii. 6. 195, is too general to carry a special applica- 
tion to the play. On the other hand, the *fat fool', who will 
'rore out his barren bold iests, with a tormenting laughter, 
betweene drunke, and drie* in Poetaster (1601), iii. 4. 345, 
sounds very much like an echo of Sir Toby Belch. Sir 
Robert Shirley, returning enriched from Persia in 1599, 
perhaps inspired the allusion (ii. 5. 197) to 'a pension of 
thousands to be paid by the Sophy'; and the 'new map 
with the augmentation of the Indies' (iii. 2, 85) was 
probably the 'Hydrographical Description' prepared 
about 1598-9 by Emerie Molyneux. Examples are 
sometimes bound up with Hakluyt's Principal! Navi- 
gations (1598-1600). Orsino,Duke of Bracciano, visited 
London during the winter of 1 600-1 . x The rather vague 
reference discovered by Wilson in iii. i. 2435 to *ke 
Jesuit doctrine of equivocation (cf. s.v. MacbetK]^ already 
avowed by Robert Southwell at his trial in 1595, cannot 
weigh in favour of a date after the Gunpowder Plot 
against the evidence for one in or before 1602. 

Fleay thought that the Viola-Orsino-Olivia plot, fairly 
detachable from that of Malvolio, was. a revision of earlier 
work, chiefly because i. 2. 57 and ii. 4. 2 suggested to him 
that the songs were originally given to Viola; but this is 
very slight ground. Conrad found more parallels to early 
than to late work in this part of the play, and Sarrazin 
showed that this argument was based on inadequate 
observation. 2 It is open to any one to produce a fresh case 
for revision on the basis of the many scannable lines (cf. 
p. 233) in the prose scenes. 

The play was revived at court in 1 61 8 andagain underthe 
title MafooKo in 1 62 3 (App. D), and Digges (App. B, no. Iii) 
records its-pofmlarity in 1 640. The mildness of Sir Toby 
Belch's profanity may be due to Jacobean expurgation. 

The motive of a lady disguised as a page to the man she 
loves is widespread, and had been combined before Twelfth 
Night with that of the resembling twins and their separa- 
tion by a shipwreck. Shakespeare had already used one in 
Two Gentlemen of Verona and the other in Comedy of Errors. 

1 Chamberlain, Efix. 99. y. xxxii. 164. 


Manningham compared the play to the Italian Inganni. 
Perhaps he meant the Inganni of Nicolo Secchi (1562); 
perhaps that of Curzio Gonzaga (1592), which has the 
name Cesare; perhaps the earlier Ingannati (1537) of the 
academy of Intronati, which comes nearer to Shake- 
speare's handling, and has in the induction a Fabio, 
a Malevolti, and a mention of 'la notte di Beffana' 
(Epiphany). This was perhaps the source of a story in 
Matteo Bandello's Novelle (1554), ii. 36, translated in 
P. de Belleforest's Histoires Tragiques, iv (1571) 59; and 
this in its turn the source of the story of Afolonius and 
Silla in Barnabe Riche's Farewell to the Military Profession 
(1581). Shakespeare probably used this, as it adds the 
shipwreck theme, but his debt was not very great. He 
may also have read of the disguised lady in Giraldi Cin- 
tio's Ecatommiti) v. 8, or Sidney's Arcadia (1590), or 
the play of Sir Clyomon and Clamydes (1599), or Emanuel 
Forde's Parismus (1598), which also has a shipwreck and 
the names Olivia and Violetta. 

Riche's story became also the source of the German play 
Tugend- und Liebes-Streit (1677), of which an earlier form 
may have been the King of Cyprus and Duke of Venice^ 
played by Green's company of travelling English actors 
at Graz in 1608 and Dresden in 1626.* Creizenach, who 
prints Tugend- und Liebesstreit in Schausfiele der Eng- 
lischen KomSdianten (1889), 53, thinks that some common 
divergences from Riche here and in Twelfth Night may 
point to a lost English play as an intermediary. Riche says 
that some of his stories had been 'presented on a stage*. 

There is no clear source for the Malvolio episodes. 
Gollancz 2 has suggested an analogue to the misrule of 
ii. 3 in a quarrel at court between the Earl of Southampton 
and Ambrose Willoughby, and I have suggested another 
in a story told of Sir William Knollys and Elizabeth's 
maids of honour.3 

Efa. Stage, ii. 281, 286. * U. .- A Survey, 178. 

2 SL Homage, 177. 



[S.R. 1602.] xxvj to Julij. James Robertas. Entred for his 
Copie vnder the handes of master Pasfield and master 
Waterson warden A booke called the Revenge of Hamlett 
Prince Denmarke as yt was latelie Acted by the Lord 
Chamberleyne his servantes. vj d . (Arber, iii. 212). 

[Qi. 1603.] The Tragicall Historic of Hamlet Prince 
of Denmarke By William Shake-speare. As it hath beene 
diuerse times acted by his Highnesse seruants in the 
Cittie of London: as also in the two Vniuersities of Cam- 
bridge and Oxford, and else-where [Nicholas Ling's 
device (McKerrow 301)] At London printed (by Valen- 
tine Simmes) for N(icholas) L(ing) and lohn Trundell. 

1603. [Head-title] The Tragicall Historic of Hamlet 
Prince of Denmarke. [Running-title] The Tragedie of 
Hamlet Prince of Denmarke, 

Facsimle. W. Griggs (1880, Sh. Q. i, ed. F. J. Furnivall). 
Reprints. W. A. Wright (1893, Cambridge Sh. ix. 697); G. B. 
Harrison (1923). 
Edition. F. G. Hubbard(i92o). 

[Q2. 1604.] The Tragicall Historic of Hamlet, Prince of 
Denmarke. By William Shakespeare. Newly imprinted 
and enlarged to almost as much againe as it was, accord- 
ing to the true and perfect Coppie. [Nicholas Ling's 
device (McKerrow 301)] At London, Printed by 
I(ames) R(oberts) for Nicholas) L(ing) and are to be sold 
at his shoppe vnder Saint Dunstons Church in Fleet-street. 

1604. [Head-title j under ornament with royal arms, and 
Running-title] The Tragedieof HamletPrinceof Denmarke. 
[In some copies the tp. is dated 1 605.] 

Facsimle. W. Griggs (1880, Sh. Q. ii, ed. F. J. FurnivaU). 

[S.R. 1607.] 19 Novembris. John Smythick. Entred 
for his copies vnder thandes of the wardens, these bookes 
followinge Whiche dyd belonge to Nicholas Lynge. viz. 
... 6 A booke called Hamlett . , . (Arber, iii. 365). 

. 1 6 1 1 .] The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. 

Chap. IX HAMLET 409 

By William Shakespeare. Newly imprinted and enlarged 
to almost as much againe as it was according to the true 
and perfect Coppy. [Smethwick's device (McKerrow 376)] 
At London, Printed for lohn Smethwick, and are to be 
sold at his shoppe in Saint Dunstons Church yeard in 
Fleetstreet. Vnder the Diall. 1611. [Head-title} The 
Tragedie of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. [Running-title'] 
The Tragedy of Hamlet Prince of Denmarke. 

[Fi. 1623.] [Catalogue] The Tragedy of Hamlet 
[Tragedies, pp. 152-6, 257-80, sign, nn 4 v -qq v . Head- 
title*] The Tragedie of Hamlet, Prince of Denmarke. 
[Running-title'] The Tragedie of Hamlet. 
[Acts and sec. marked to ii. 2.] 

[4. n.d. (161101637)] W(illiam) S(tansby) for lohn 

[Q5- 1637,] R. Young for John Smethwicke. 

Parallel-texts. E. P. Vining (1890, Bankside, Qi+Fi); W. 
Victor (1891, Qi+Q2+Fi). 

German Version. MS. Library of Gotha, with title Tragoedia Der 
bestrafte Bruder-mord oder: Prinz Hamlet aus Dannemark, dated 
Tretz <Preetz in Holstein), den 27 October 1710*. 

Editions. H. A. O. Reichard (1781, OllaPotrida^ ii. 18)5 A. Cohn 
(1865, Sh. in Germany); W. Creizenach (1889, Schauspiele der 
Englischen Komodianten^ 125). 

Translations. G. Archer (with Cohn's ed. 5 under tide Fratricide 
Punished); H. H. Furness (1877, Hamlet, ii. 121). 

Modern Editions. H. H. Furness (1877, New Variorum); E. K. 
Chambers (1894, Warwick); E. Dowden (18199, 1928, Arden). 

Dissertations. T. Mommsen, Eeurtheilung Uber den Deliufschen #.(1855, 
Neue Jahrbuchf. Philolo&e und Psdagogik, Ixxii. 57, 107, 159); R. G. 
Latham, Two Dissertations on the H. ofSaxo Grammaticus (1872); F. A. 
Marshall, A Study ofH. (1875); K. Silberschag, SAs H., seine Quellen und 
folitischen Beziehungen (1877, J. xii. 261); B. Nicholson, Kemp and the 
PlayofH.Torickand Tar/to* (iSSo, N.S.S. Trans. 57); C.H.Herford 
and W. H. Widgery, The Qi of H. (i 880) ; G. Tanger, The Qi and Qs 
andFi, of H. (1880, N.S.8. Trans. 109), H. nach Shs Manuscript (1881, 
Anglia, iv, 211), DerB3. und sein Verhaltniss zu Sis H. (1888, J. xadii. 
224); H. Conrad (Isaac), Hs Familie (1881, J. xvi. 274), Die H.-Periode 


in Shs Lcben (1885-6, Archiv, Ixxiii. 163, 371; Ixxiv. 45; Ixxv. i. 269), 
H. und sein Urbild(i^ 9 Shs Selbst-bekenntnisse)\ F. G. Fleay, Neglected 
Facts on H. (1884, .$.vii. 87); W. Creizenach, Die Tragodie B.B. und 
ihre Bedeutungfur die Kritik des SKschen H. (1887, Berichte der Phil.- 
Hist. Classe der Sachsischen Gesellschaft der Wissenschafteri), B.B. and its 
Relation to SL's H. (1904, M.P. ii. 249), H.-Fragen (1906, J.xlii. 76); 
G. Sarrazin, Die Entstehung der H. Tragodie ( 1889-91, Anglia,*&. 143; 
xu'L 117; xiv. 322), Thomas Kyd und sein Kreis (1892), Das Personal von 
Shs H. und der Hof Friedrichs II von Danemark (1895, E.S. xxi. 330), 
Der Name Ophelia (1895, E.S. xxi. 443); F. A. Leo, Rosenkrantz und 
Guldenstern (1890-1, J. xxv. 281; xxvi. 325); R. Loening, Die H.- 
Tragodie Shs(i 892) ; O. Elton, Sh. 9 s H. ( 1 894, with Trans/. ofSaxo Gram- 
mattcus)\ J. Corbin, The Elizabethan H. (1895), The German H. and the 
Earlier English Persians (1896, Harvard Studies and Notes, v. 247); I. 
Gollancz, Hamlet in Iceland (1898), The Name Polonius (1914, Archiv, 
cxxxii, 141), Polonius (1916, Sh.Homage, 173); The Sources of 'H. (1926) ; 
M. W. MacCallum, The Authorship of the Early #. ( 1 90 1, Furnivall Misc.) ; 
J. Schick, Die Entstehung des H. (1902, J. xxxviii. xiii), Corf us Hamleti- 
cum (1906) ; A. H. Thorndike, The Relation ofH. to Contemporary Revenge 
Plays (1902, PM.L.A. xvii. 125); M.B. Evans, B.B.,seinFerhaltnisszu 
ShsH. (1902, K)io),B.B.undShsH. (1905,^.^.^.433); A.H.Tolman, 
The Flews about H. ( 1 904) ; H. Logeman, St. te Helsingor ( 1 904, Melanges 
Paul Fredericy)\ F.P.v. Westenholz, .D/V ^.-(37(1904, ^.^.xxxiv. 337); 
R. Zeckex,Boeve-4mlethus ^(1905); A. E. Jack, Thomas Kyd and the Ur- H. 
(1905, P.M.L.4. xx. 729); E. E. Stoll, SL, Marston and the Malcontent 
Type (1906, M.P. iii. 281), &., a Comparative Study (1919); J. W. Cun- 
liffe, Nash and the Earlier H. (1906, P.M.L-J. xxi. 193); C. M. Lewis, 
The Genesis of H. (1907); ^.^i^^S 9 7ersucheinerpraktischenH^Kritik 
(1907, Anglia, xxx. 56); R. B. McKerrow, Note on Preface to Menaphon 
(1908, Works ofNashe, iv. 444); J. Allen, The Lost H. of Kyd (1908, 
Westminster Reviezo)\ C. Meier, Zum Ur-H. (1909, Anglia 9 Beiblatt 9 -xL. 
1 19); J. D. Fitzgerald, The Sources of the H. Tragedy (1909), Qi ofH.: a 
Literary Fraud (1910), Qi ofH. (1919, Aug. 7, T.L.S.); E. B. Reed, The 
College Element in H. (1909, M . P. ^.453); J. Huizinga, Rosenkranz und 
Guldenstern (1910, J. xlvi. 60); W. W. Greg, TheH. Q? (1910, M.L.R. 
v. 196), The H. Texts and Recent Work in SA. Bibliography (1919, M.L.R. 
xiv. 380), Principles of Emendation in Sh. (1928), 23, 54; W. v. Gersdoff, 
7om Ursprung des deutschen H. (1912, J. xlviii. 148); M. J. Wolff, Zum 
Ur-H. (1912, E.S. xiv. 9), Italienisches bet St. (1920, E.S. liv. 473); 
G. G. A. Murray, H. and Orestes (1914, 1927, The Classical Tradition in 
Poetry, 205); H. D. Gray, Qz ofH. (1915, M.L.R. x. 171), Did Sh. 
WriteaTragedy ofDia*o?(i<)2o,M.l.R.xr. 217), Thomas Kydand Qiof 
H. (1927, PM.L~d. xlii. 721), Reconstruction of a Lost Play (1928, P.Q. 
vii. 254); }.k*?.VB&T3*m,ArethereInterpolationsintheTextofH.(iQi6 9 
Sh. Homage, 473), The TextofSh.'sH. (1924); J. D. Wilson, The Copy for 
H. 1603 and the H. Transcript 1593 (1918, from 3 Library, ix. 1 53, 217), 
Spellings and Misprints in Q* ofH. (1924, Essays and Studies, x. 36); 

Chap. IX HAMLET 411 

F. G. Hubbard, rA?M*w/^ ^ 

The Readings o/Qi ofH. (1923, PM.L.A. xxxviii. 792) ; J. M. Robertson, 
The Problem ofH.(i<)i<j),H. OnceMore (1923); V.0sterberg, Studierover 
H.-Texterne (1920); L. Winstanley, H. and the Scottish Succession (1921), 
H. and the Essex Conspiracy (1924-5, Aberystwyth Studies, vi. 47; vii. 37); 
A. Glutton-Brock, Sh.'s H. (1922) ; W. Pod, Q i ofH. (1922, 12 N.Q. zi. 
301); W. S. Fox, Lucian in the Grave-Scene ofH. (1923, P.Q. H. 132); 
K. Malone, The Literary History ofH. (1923), On the Etymology ofH. 
(1925, P.Q. iv. 158), Etymologies for H. (1927, R3.8. iii. 257), More 
Etymologies for H. (1928, R.E.S. iv. 257); Groot, H. 9 its Textual 
History (1923), De Geschiedenis van het Hamletprobleem (1928, Neophilo- 
logus, xiii. 282); H. Farr, Notes on SA.'s Printers and Publishers (1923, 
4 Library, iii. 225); E. Seligman and others, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern 
(1926, Jan. 7, 14, 21, 28, T.L.S.); W. J. Lawrence, #. as Sh. Staged It 
(1927, Pre-Restoration Studies, 102). W* Z>*/* of Sh.'s H. (1928, W// 
Workshop, 98), FA? Aty//<?ry 0/ 1 />fe H. Qi (1928, /W. no); J. M. 
Murry and others, A Sh. Problem (1928, July 12, Aug. 2, 16, 7M.S.); 
W. Marschall, Welchen Dialekt spricht Hamlet? (1928, Anglia, Iii. 362); 

G. F. Bradby, The Problems ofH. (1928). 

A play, not indicated as 'ne', of Hamlet was given 
by the Admiral's or Chamberlain's or both (App. D) 
for Henslowe at Newington Butts on n June 1594. 
Probably it belonged to the Chamberlain's, and later 
performances by them are recalled in T. Lodge, Wif$ 
Miserie (1596), 56, 'the Visard of y e ghost which cried so 
miserably at y* Theater, like an oister wife, Hamlet, re- 
venge'. In Dekker, Satiromastix, iv. i. 150, Tucca says, 
'my name's Hamlet revenge: thou hast been at Parris 
garden hast not ?' I This seems to suggest performance at 
the Swan in Paris Garden, as well as at the Theatre, but - 
the Chamberlain's men are not known to have used the 
Swan. The Ghost does not call 'Hamlet, revenge' in the 
Shakespearean texts, although the demand for revenge is 
in i. 5. 7. The old play is not likely to have survived 
Shakespeare's, but is still echoed in S(amuel) R(owlands) 
The Night-Raven (1620), sign. D 2, 'I will not call Hamlet 
Revenge my greeves'. It is uncertain whether it is quoted 
in Robert Armin, Nest of Ninnies (1608), 55, 'Ther ar, as 
Hamlet saies, things cald whips in store', 2 The passage 
is not in the earlier editions (i 600, 1 605) of Armin's work. 
The phrase 'things called whippes' is found both in 

1 Cf. Elisc. Stage, iii. 293. 2 Cf. ibid. ii. 300. 


2 Hen. VI) ii. i. 136 and in the additions to Spanish 
Tragedy (1602), 1904, but Armin's version suggests con- 
tamination by Ham. iii. i. 70, 'the whips and scorns of 
time*. Probably the old play already existed in 1589, and 
is referred to in Nashe's Efistle to Greene's Menaphon 
of that year, 1 'English Seneca read by Candlelight yeelds 
many good sentences, as Blood is a l>egger> and so forth; and 
if you intreate him faire in a frostie morning, hee will 
affoord you whole Hamlets^ I should say handfuls of 
Tragical speeches'. The whole passage is an attack on 'a 
few of our triuiall translators*, who are also imitators of 
Seneca. Allusions to 'the trade of Noverint) whereto they 
were borne* and to 'the Kidde in /Esop', suggest that 
one of these was Thomas Kyd, but do not, in view of 
Nashe's plurals, necessarily carry the inference that he 
wrote the Hamlet. 

It will be simplest, before describing the versions, to 
state my general conclusion, that Q2 substantially repre- 
sents the original text of the play, as written once and for 
all by Shakespeare, and that Fi, Qi, and Der bestrafte 
Brudermord (B.B!) are all in various ways based upon 
derivatives from that text. The literature of the play is un- 
wieldy, but the tabulation and analyses of structural and 
textual variants by Tanger, Wilson, De Groot, and Van 
Dam provide adequate material for a departure from 
many of their conclusions. 

Q2 is the fullest version, being longer by over 200 lines 
than Fi, and much more than half as long again as Qi, 
but it omits some 8 5 lines found in F i . It is a fair text, with 
little mislineation, light punctuation, and a good many 
abnormal spellings, and may very possibly be from the 
author's manuscript, but if so, numerous misprints suggest 
that this was not very legible. There is no evidence that it 
had been used as prompt-copy. The stage-directions are 
normal. There are some variations of nomenclature be- 
tween 'Queene* and 'Gertrard*, 'King' and 'Claudio', and 
'Courtier' and 'Ostricke'. The later Qq were set up 
successively from Q2 and each other. 

1 EKz. Stage, iv. 234. 

Chap. IX HAMLET 413 

The greater part of the F text is close enough to that of 
Q2 to show a common origin. But the absence of any 
typographical resemblance and of any but trifling and pro- 
bably accidental concurrence in error does not suggest that 
it was set up from that or any Q, even with the aid of 
an independent manuscript, such as must have supplied, 
not only the substantial passages lacking in Q2, but also 
a number of smaller omissions. Many of these are repeti- 
tions of words and phrases. This is an easy kind of mis- 
print, and a theory that these repetitions were inserted by 
the actors, or in particular by Burbadge, is quite super- 
fluous. They are not confined to one part, and in fact 
there are some in Q2, which F in its turn omits. The 
same trick of repetition is found in other plays, notably 
Richard III. Nevertheless, the manuscript underlying F, 
presumably in its origin a transcript from that underlying 
Qa, had no doubt been used as -a prompt-copy. The 
nomenclature has been unified, and the stage-directions, 
although still bearing a resemblance to those of Q2, have 
been revised, by clearing up indefiniteness, and omitting 
or varying the provision for music and properties. These 
changes may be ascribed to the book-keeper; but it is not 
obvious that some fresh notes for action, especially in the 
graveyard and duel scenes, would be required by him. 
Some of the numerous verbal variants in F from Q2 bear 
a similar explanation ; they are sophistications of vocabu- 
lary or grammar, such as we find in other F texts. Others 
are due to misprints on one side, or in the case of F mis- 
transcriptions. The subconscious mind of the transcriber 
is probably seen in the substitution of synonyms or other 
associated alternatives for Q2 words, and he may have 
emended occasionally to make sense of matter he could not 
read. The concurrence of Qi and F against Q2 points, 
on my view (infra) of Qi, to the responsibility of the F 
transcriber for a variant; that of Q2 and Qi against F to 
the responsibility of the F printer. There remain a few 
variants which it is difficult to explain. Wilson has shown 
that a combination of literal misreadings may lead to some 
odd transformations. Greg thinks that a few deliberate 


alterations were introduced into the transcript by or with 
the authority of Shakespeare. 1 The punctuation of F 
tends to be heavier than that of Q2. 

I come now to the substantial omissions of the two texts. 
There are only two in Q2 for which a reason other than 
printing-house carelessness must be sought; ii. 2. 244-76, 
a depreciatory account of Denmark as a prison, followed 
by a dialogue on ambition, and ii. 2. 352-79, where the 
travelling of the players is ascribed (cf. p. 65) to the 
success of 'an ayrie of children'. Both passages must have 
been part of the original text; the excision in the first case 
has left an awkward duplication of 'But' at the beginnings 
of two consecutive sentences, and in the second has ob- 
scured the point of the reference to the King's 'picture in 
little'. Perhaps the best explanation is that of De Groot, 
that by 1604 Anne of Denmark was Queen of England, 
and had taken the criticized company of children under 
her special protection. If so, we have an unusual example 
of cutting, not for stage purposes, but as a result of dis- 
cretion or censorship at the time of printing. One cannot 
always be sure whether the F omissions are due to accident 
or to cutting. But I think that the latter is responsible for 
i. i. 108-25; i. 4. 17-38, 75-8; iii.4, 71-6, 161-5, 167- 
70, 202-1 o;iv. i. 4 i~4;iv. 4.9-665^.7.69-82, 115-24; 
v. 2. 110-41, 144-50. One or two of these passages the 
players may have found obscure or undramatic, but they are 
mostly digressions, which do not advance the action, and 
their removal shortens long speeches or long sections of 
dialogue. They only amount to less than 200 lines and 
leave the play still a very long one. Probably iv. i. 4, 
although only a single line, was also cut, to save the intro- 
duction of two actors. There are other traces of similar 
savings, A lord drops out of v. 2, and one recorder (Hi. 2), 
one sailor (iv. 6), one ambassador (v. 2) were thought 
sufficient, where the author's stage-directions contem- 
plated more. A little of this cutting (cf. infra) may be later 
than the preparation of the transcript, and possibly F in- 
corporates other slight theatrical modifications. Thus 

1 Emendation* 24* <6. 

Chap. IX HAMLET 415 

there may be a bit of interpolated clowning ('Get thee to 
Yaughan' for 'Get thee in' of Q2) at v. 1 . 67. One would 
like to think that the 'O, o, o, o', which follows Hamlet's 
dying The rest is silence' at v. 2. 369, is another example, 
and its recurrence in the reported Q of Lear, v. 3. 309, but 
not in F, gives some encouragement. Profanity has been 
expunged, but only perfunctorily. 

Qi is a very difficult problem. It is generally accepted 
that many of its features are due to a reporter, introducing, 
as in 2, 3 Henry 71, Romeo and Juliet, Henry V, and Merry 
Wives of WindsoTy 'gross corruption, constant mutilation, 
meaningless inversion and clumsy transposition*. The 
attempt of Hubbard to 'edit' it, on the assumption that 
the corruption is only a matter of misprinting, leaves a quite 
incredible text. A comparison with Q2 and F, wherever 
the substance is the same, is a continuous revelation of 
the reporter. He makes omissions, causing lacunae of 
sense and grammar. He gives the beginnings and ends 
of speeches without their middles. He paraphrases. He 
merges distinct speeches. He makes a mosaic of recol- 
lected fragments. He catches vigorous words without 
their context. He makes double use of phrases. He 
shifts the order of bits of dialogue within their scenes. 
Above all he uses or echoes in one scene passages which 
really belong to an earlier or later one. Thus vii. 53 of Q i 
is from iii. 2. 354, ix. 211-21 from iv. 2. 12-23, xi. 34-5 
from i. 5. 49-50, xi. 46 from iii. 3. 90, xv. 8 from iv. 5. 
137; while i. i. 173 is echoed inii. 25 gf Qi, iii. 2. 138 in 
ii. 33, i. 2. 193 in iii. 12, iii. i. 160 in v. 38, i. 5. 185-7 
in viii. 18. The process entails much vulgarization. 
Many lines are unmetrical or bald. Many words are 
represented by weak synonyms; others by words of 
similar sound but different sense or no sense, which point 
to errors of hearing. By hearing, too, many 'connective' 
words introduced by actors have been incorporated. 
These, with omissions and failures to recognize Shake- 
speare's short lines, have led to much mislineation. 
Nearly all the prose is printed in capitalized lines of 
irregular length. A few exceptions may be due to the 


occasional realization of the compositor that he is deal- 
ing with prose. I do not think that the reporter was 
wholly ignorant of blank verse, in spite of his metrical 
lapses. He fakes up a good many lines, and when he comes 
on a couplet and has forgotten a rhyming word, he is often 
capable of substituting another. But he evidently fought 
shy of reconstructing imperfectly recollected long speeches, 
and left them incoherent. The stage-directions must be 
his own; they are of a descriptive character, although not 
so elaborate as some in Romeo and Juliet. And in two places 
(xi. 7, 115) he puts into words what he has merely seen 
as dumb action on the stage. Some portions of the play 
are better reported than others. The scenes (i. I ; i. 2. 1 60- 
258; 1.4; i. 5. 11391)) in which Marcellus occurs, are 
notably good, although not perfect, and it is quite possible 
that the reporter was the actor of this part. The single 
long speech (ii. 2. 60-80) of Voltimand agrees almost 
exactly with F. The reporter can hardly have played this 
himself, or he would not have corrupted the name into 
Voltemar. It may be that a manuscript of this small part 
was available. 

Some concurrences between F and Qi against Q2 
suggest that the text of the performances reported in Qi 
was derived from the same transcript which underlies F. 
Moreover, most of the passages cut in F find no representa- 
tion in Q i . There are, however, traces in a stage-direction 
at xi. 1 1 1 and a speech at xviii. 30 of iv. i . 4 and v. 2. 203- 
1 8. F must, therefore, at these points have diverged from 
the transcript. Q i , antedating the Act of Abuses > of course 
retains some profanity expunged from F. But it also has 
diverged. Two important structural changes have been 
made. One of these concerns the order of the tests by 
which the court endeavours to ascertain the reason of 
Hamlet's strangeness. There are three, in interviews 
with Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (the Schoolfellow 
scene), with Polonius (the Fishmonger scene), with 
Ophelia (the Nunnery scene). The sequence in Q2 and 
F is as follows. The King plans the Schoolfellow test 
(ii. 2. 1-39). Polonius plans the Ophelia test (ii. 2. 85- 

Chap. IX HAMLET 417 

167). Hamlet appears reading, andPolonius improvises 
his own test (ii, 2. 168-223). The Schoolfellow test is 
carried put (ii. 2. 224-323). Then the arrival of the 
players intervenes (ii. 2. 324-634). The failure of the 
Schoolfellow test is reported (iii. i. 1-28). Finally, the 
Ophelia test is tried (iii. i. 28-196). In Qi on the other 
hand, the Ophelia test is put much earlier, and immedi- 
ately follows its planning. We can hardly ascribe the 
difference to the reporter. He generally gets the succes- 
sion of his episodes right, and the link-passages in Qi 
indicate a careful modification to fit the new order. In 
particular Ophelia, absent from ii. 2 in Q2 and F, 
enters with her father at the point (vi. 19) corresponding 
in Q i to ii. 2. 40, and is thus available when Hamlet 
appears reading. Why the change should have been 
made is not so clear. It abridges the interval between the 
planning and execution of the Ophelia test, but lengthens 
the interval before the Schoolfellow test. Possibly it was an 
attempt to remove an original inconsistency, characteristic 
enough of Shakespeare, by which Ophelia is bidden to 
accompany her father to the King in ii. i, but left out in ii. 
2. The second change is towards the end of the play. 
Here Qi omits altogether iv. 6, in which Horatio receives 
Hamlet's letter about his voyage, and v. 2. 1-74, in which 
Hamlet and Horatio discuss the same matter, and sub- 
stitutes in the place of iv. 6 a different scene, in which 
Horatio, after Hamlet's return, tells the story of the 
voyage to the Queen. Here the original version must 
be that of Q2 and F, since v. 2. 174 is represented 
in B.B. 

Two other divergences in Qi are noteworthy. For the 
names of Polonius and his servant Reynaldo we get 
Corambis and Montano. It is impossible that these 
should, as Tanger thought, be mishearings of the reporter. 
Many students have assumed that Corambis and Mon- 
tano were the earlier names, but there is nothing to show 
this, and if I am right in supposing Qi dependent on Q2, 
the chances are that it was the other way round. Shake- 
speare used the name Corambus in All's Well^ iv. 3. 185. 

3I42.I * c 


There are two rather curious stage-directions in Q2, which 
may conceivably be relevant. At i. 2. i comes 'Enter , . . 
Counsaile : as Polonius, and his Sonne Laertes', and at ii. 
i.i, 'Enter old Polonius, with his man or two*. These may 
be mere examples of indefiniteness, although Laertes would 
make an odd councillor. But it is also possible that, when 
the change was made in an acting version, the new names 
were roughly noted in the original manuscript, and were 
there misread by the compositor. Again the motive for the 
change is quite obscure. One can only suspect censorship, 
or the fear of censorship. Gollancz has suggested that 
Polonius and his worldly maxims may be a reflection of 
the Polish statesman Laurentius Grimalius Goslicius, 
whose De Optimo Senatore was translated as The Counsellor 
in 1598. If so, this is another reason for regarding 
Polonius as the original name. It has often been thought 
that Polonius may glance at Lord Burghley, who wrote 
Certaine Preceftes, or Directions for the use of his son 
Robert Cecil. These were printed (1618) 'from a more 
perfect copie, than ordinarily those pocket manuscripts 
goe warranted by'. Conceivably Shakespeare knew a 
pocket manuscript, but Laertes is less like Robert Cecil 
than Burghley's elder son Thomas. And if the Chamber- 
lain's men feared that Polonius would be taken for 
Burghley and Reynaldo for Robert Cecil, why should a 
change of name but not of character make a difference. Can 
'Polonius' have resembled some nickname of Burghley? 
I do not profess to solve the mystery. But some theatrical 
allusion to Polish affairs seemed to me a possible element 
in the trouble about The Isle of Dogs in I597, 1 and there 
might have been some reason for avoiding the appearance 
of another at any time during 1 600-3, when negotiations 
with regard to the Baltic trade were taking place, on the 
one hand with Denmark and on the other with the 
Hanseatic towns, in some of which Poland had an interest 
in 1597.* Lastly, there is a passage in Qi which can 

1 Etix. Stage, iii. 455. passim\ cf. Dasent, xxx. 1955 Hatfield 

* N. R. Deardoff, Early Trade in MSS. xii. 283, 645. 
the Baltic duringthe Reign of Elizabeth, 

Chap. IX HAMLET 419 

only be a theatrical interpolation. Hamlet's advice to the 
players is in the main a report. But this is followed 
by a series of clownish witticisms which are not in Qa 
or F, and two of which Wilson has traced to the 1611 
edition of Tarlton's Jests, 5, 12. There was probably an 
earlier edition. 1 But in any case the witticisms were 
doubtless traditional, and their introduction here of the 
nature of 'gag'. Rhodes (Folio, 79) suggests that, as the 
reference to Hamlet's fatness (v. 2. 298) is not in Qi, and 
the interval since Yorick's death is given (v. i. 190) 
as a 'dozen* instead of '23' years, the part had been 
adapted to an actor of nineteen. This is ingenious, but 

How far, apart from these alterations, does the theory 
of a report account for Qi, as we have it ? I think that it 
accounts for most of it, and will here quote Greg's com- 
ment that his study of Merry Wives of Windsor had led 
him 'to doubt whether any limit can be set to the possible 
perversion which a text may suffer at the hands of a repor- 
ter'. 2 But in Hamlet^ as in other bad Quartos, we have to 
reckon with a certain amount of blank verse, which does not 
rest upon anything in Q2 and F, and is plainly un-Shake- 
spearean. To call these passages *pre-Shakespearean' is to 
beg a question, but they are not in Shakespeare's manner, 
although they might still be in that of others, when he was 
writing Hamlet. They are mostly short passages distri- 
buted amongst the reported matter, especially in the latter 
part of the play. And they are often difficult to distinguish 
from the reporter's fakings. One is certainly tempted to 
find patches of an alien hand or hands in the whole or parts 
of ill 65-70, ix. 50-6, 100-9, x. 1-12, xi. 37-41, 51-8, 
90-5, 104-7, 155-60, xiii. 41-4, xvii, xviii. 109-23, and 
perhaps in smaller fragments elsewhere. The Horatio- 
Queen scene (cf. supra} may be disregarded. That is no 
doubt un-Shakespearean, but due to an alteration. It is no 
doubt arguable that both in this scene and in xL 90-5, 
1047, the Queen's denial of complicity in the murder and 
ranging of herself on Hamlet's side put her character in a 

1 Eliz. Stage, ii. 344. * M.L.R. v. 197. 



different light to that of Q2 and F. But I doubt whether 
this is more than an accidental emphasizing of Shake- 
speare's own intention. There is certainly nothing in Q2 
and F to show that she had any part in or knowledge of 
Claudius's crime. In fact she shows no sign of disturbance 
in the play-scene, and she was certainly not a Lady 

The un-Shakespearean matter in Qi and the know- 
ledge which we have for Hamlet, as we have not in the 
cases of the other bad Quartos, that an earlier play on the 
subject has been lost, are the main supports to an alterna- 
tive reconstruction of the textual history, which has its 
most elaborate statement in Wilson's papers of 1918. 
He thinks that the reporter did no more than make 
additions to an early Hamlet text. This was an abridged 
transcript for provincial use from the old play as partly 
revised by Shakespeare. The revision 'had not extended 
much beyond the Ghost-scenes'. The original manuscript 
remained available for a subsequent further revision by 
Shakespeare into the Hamlet of Q2 and F. In this the 
reporter acted not only Voltimand and Marcellus, but also 
other small parts, perhaps a Player, the Second Grave- 
digger, Reynaldo, the Priest, Fortinbras's Captain, and 
the English Ambassador; and from his memories of the 
scenes in which these occur and such other fragments as 
he could pick up at the stage-door, he attempted to supply 
the gaps left by abridgement in the manuscript. Of other 
scenes he knew nothing, and here we get in Qi bits of the 
old play not reached by Shakespeare's first revision. This 
is of course all on the lines of Wilson and Pollard's general 
theory (cf. p. 155) as to the genesis of the bad Quartos. 
Apart from the general difficulties which I feel about that 
theory, I think that the application of it to Hamlet is in- 
adequate, in that I find constant traces both of the reporter 
and of Shakespeare in scenes, such as those of Ophelia's 
madness, which, according to Wilson, Shakespeare had 
not yet revised, and the reporter could not get at. Nor do I 
believe that, what with performances and what with 
rehearsals, a company could in fact effectively prevent an 

Chap. IX HAMLET 421 

actor from seeing any part of a play that he wanted to see. 
I have not space to follow here all the details of Wilson's 
ingenious argument. But he is clearly right in calling 
attention to the typographical resemblance, especially as 
regards orthography, between the earlier pages of Qi and 
Q2 . I do not find the same cogency in his arguments from 
a similar use, but at different points, of quotation-marks 
and brackets, or from a concurrence in misprints, which 
do not seem to me to be misprints. Wilson explains the 
resemblance by a 'meticulous* care in the writer of the 
early transcript to follow exactly the copy before him. 
But was an Elizabethan transcriber ever 'meticulous* 
about spelling? Possibly an attempt to begin the setting- 
up of Q2, as in the case of Romeo and Juliet^ upon an ex- 
ample of Qi, is the more plausible conjecture. If so, the 
attempt was probably very soon abandoned. 

I have no desire to be dogmatic upon a very obscure 
question, and even if one does not accept Wilson's view as 
it stands, some contamination of Qi by the old play is of 
course a possibility. The un-Shakespearean element rather 
predominantly affects scenes in which the Queen is present. 
I have sometimes thought that the reporter might have 
been the Queen, as a boy, in the old play, and helped 
himself out with memories of that. Certainly one ought 
not to bring in an expensive hack-poet for a surreptitious 
enterprise, of which the profits could not be great. But 
there is another alternative. The belief that Kyd wrote the 
old Hamlet has led to much search for Kydian parallels in 
Qi, and even in Q2. They do not amount to much, 
except in the case of the Spanish Tragedy. Those to 
i Jeronimo are irrelevant. The searchers have taken it 
for Kyd's in error, and the play only exists in a text, itself 
probably reported, of 1605.* There is only one to 
Sfanish Tragedy in Q2, and that is not a mere echo. In 
iii. 2. 304 Hamlet's 

For if the King like not the Comedie, 
Why then belike he likes it not perdy. 

1 Ettz. Stage, iv. 23. 


is clearly deliberate burlesque of Spanish Tragedy^ iv. 
i. 196, 

And if the world like not this Tragedie, 

Hard is the hap of olde Hieronimo, 

just as iii. 2. 264 'The croaking raven doth bellow for 
revenge* is deliberately burlesqued from True Tragedy of 
Richard III, 1892, 

The screeking Rauen sits croking for reuenge. 
Whole heads of beasts comes bellowing for reuenge. 

But in Qi, ix. in is comparable to Sp. Tr. ii. i. 26; xi. 
106-7 to iv. i. 46-7; xiii. 122 to ii. 4. 20; xv. 13 to iv. 
i. 178; xv. 14-15, 37toiv. 1.74, 126; xv. 53 to 11.5.23; 
xv. 54 to ii. 5. 41 ; xvi. 1 64 to iii. 14. 148 ; xvii. 8-9 to iii. 14. 
1 545. These are not all very close, but in bulk they seem 
to establish some echoing of Spanish Tragedy in Qi. 
But other plays, not Kyd's, are also echoed, Hen. V^ ii. 2. 
12, 58 in xi. 156, 159, and Dekker's Satiromastix, ii. 2. 29 
in xviii. 8, 35. Is not the explanation the same in all these 
cases, that the reporter, especially towards the end of the 
play, when he was growing tired or impatient, has helped 
out his failing memory with scraps from recent pieces 
familiar to him on the stage? And if so, of course, he may 
also have drawn upon plays not known to us. Henry Fand 
Satiromastix were Chamberlain's plays of 1599 and 1601 
respectively. Spanish Tragedy was revived by the Admiral's 
men in 1 602, but also, in all probability (cf. p. 148), by the 
Chamberlain's about the same time. 

B.B. has only come down in a text of 1710, but it may 
be derived from a Tragoedia von Hamlet einen printzen in 
Dennemark, played by John Green's company at Dresden 
in 1626, and possibly at Danzig in I6I6. 1 I believe 
that it throws no light on the early Hamlet^ being 
founded on an acting version of Shakespeare's play closely 
related to that underlying Qi. It cannot be from Qi 
itself, since it echoes many passages which are in Q2 and 
F, and must have been missed by the Qi reporter. Its 
source had diverged slightly less from the common trans- 

1 ESz. Stagey ii, 286; Herz 92. 

Chap. IX HAMLET 423 

cript than that of Qi. It had the name Corambus, but it 
also had still the Hamlet and Horatio episode from v. 2. i- 
74 of the original. B.B. itself has been much perverted by 
the introduction of German themes and a farcical wooing 
of Ophelia by a Phantasmo, who represents Osric. A 
Senecan prologue has been prefixed, which is inappro- 
priate to the play as it stands, since it introduces a motive 
of jealousy between the King and Queen not there used. 
There are only two or three passages on which any 
reasonable case for a pre-Shakespearean origin could be 
based. In iii. 10, Hamlet bids the King send him 'to 
Portugal, so that I may never come back again*, and this 
has been held to be an allusion to the disastrous English 
expedition of 1589.* But it may just as well be of much 
later origin. Germany had been interested in Portugal, for 
example, during the war of Portuguese independence in 
1 66 1 and that of the Spanish succession in 1704. It has 
also been suggested that Hamlet's reference (ii. 5) to his 
father's guards as an obstacle stands nearer to Belleforest 
(cf. infra) than to Shakespeare, and that his '.crocodile's 
tears' (iii. 5) are Belleforest's 'pleur dissimule*. But it is 
not possible to build an argument for a source upon such 
obvious ideas. 

There is not much evidence as to the precise date of 
Hamlet. The reference by Harvey (App. B, no. xvii) 
justifies putting it after the publication of Speght's Chaucer 
(1598) and almost certainly before the death of Essex in 
February 1601. Although 'innovation' may mean a 
political uprising, I do not think (cf. p. 65) that it does in 
ii. 2, 348, or that there is any allusion here to the Essex 
revolt. Lawrence 2 may be right in thinking that in 'the 
humorous man shall end his part in peace' (ii. 2. 335) we 
have one to the trouble caused by the original ending of 
Jonson's E.M.O. late in 1599.* The citation of a phrase 
in Qi of Merry Wives of Windsor (q.v.) gives us reason to 
suppose that Hamlet preceded that play. To put Hamlet 
in 1 600 would not be counter to any indication of style 
or allusion, and would bring it near Julius Caesar as a 

1 Cheyney, i. 153. 2 SASs WorlsAop, 101. 3 EIxz. Stage^aL 361. 


companion study of tragic idealism. The performances 
at Oxford and Cambridge mentioned on the title-page of 
Qi are likely, in view of the date of the S.R. entry, to 
have been earlier than 1603-4, when the King's came to 
Oxford. An unnamed company came in 15991600, 
and three in 1600-1. A revival at court seems to have 
been contemplated about 1619 and there was another in 
1637 (App. D). 

A vast deal of erudition has been devoted to the source, 
but most of it bears upon the Scandinavian, Irish, and con- 
ceivably Greek origins of the story of Hamlet, as found in 
the twelfth-century Historiae Danicae (pr. 1514) of Saxo 
Grammaticus. Thence it came into P. de Belleforest, 
Histoires Tragiques, v (1576), and from this version the 
play derives. It was translated in The Hystorie of Hamblet 
(1608), which has a tag or two clearly from the play itself. 
No earlier edition is known, but in any case it is likely that 
the old play was intermediate between Belleforest and 
Shakespeare, and some writers have suspected that an 
Italian tragedy may also have intervened. Whether the 
old Hamlet was by Kyd, it seems to me impossible to say; 
Nashe's reference is quite inconclusive and the verbal 
parallels are still more so. There are clearly resemblances 
of dramatic technique between Hamlet, as we have it, and 
the Spanish Tragedy. Both use a ghost, a play within a play, 
madness, a pair of sons seeking revenge for their fathers, 
a woman's suicide. This duplication or motives may really 
be held to point to the probability either of a single plotter 
or of two different plotters, according to taste. Nor can we 
say how far the divergences from Belleforest are due to the 
old play and how far to Shakespeare. All that we know 
about the old play is that there was a ghost in it, who 
called 'Hamlet, revenge!' Robertson, who makes little of 
the reporter, finds a considerable Kyd element both in 
Qi and Q2, and thinks that Chapman rewrote the inter- 
lude and the scene (ii. i. 1-74) between Polonius and 
Reynaldo, and perhaps contributed the Pyrrhus speech 
(ii. 2. 474-519) from an early classical tragedy of his own. 
This speech has also been claimed both as early work of 

Chap. IX HAMLET 425 

Shakespeare's own and as a parody of Marlowe and 
Nashe's Dido. 1 It is simpler, and equally plausible, to 
regard both it and the interlude as written with the rest of 
Hamlet^ in styles deliberately differentiated from that of 
the ordinary dialogue. They are, of course, not completely 
serious. It is only by accident (cf. vol. ii, p. 3) that the name 
Hamlet coincides with one familiar in Warwickshire, but 
of different derivation, but one may fancy (cf. p. 35) that 
the setting of Ophelia's death owed something to that of 
Katharine Hamlett in the Avon on 17 December 1579. 
The names Rosencrantz and Guildenstern have been 
much discussed. They are those of well-known sixteenth- 
century Danish families, who were connected by marriage. 
Both are said to be found in the official documents of the 
University of Wittenberg, and both appear, in the forms 
Rosenkrans and Guldensteren, among the ancestral 
names on a portrait of the astronomer Tycho Brahe, en- 
graved by Jacob de Gheyn at some date earlier than 1602 
from a painting of 1586. I cannot verify the statement of 
a descendant, that representatives of both families came to 
England on a diplomatic mission 'in the last decade of the 
sixteenth century'. 2 There seems to have been no such 
mission. There was, however, one in 1 603 for the corona- 
tion 3 and in May and June of that year a Laxman 
Gyldenstiern was travelling in England. 4 This, however, 
is too late to affect Hamlet. Shakespeare may have heard 
the names from the players who went to Denmark 
in 1 586. 5 There is no evidence for the conjecture that he 
himself visited HelsingSr. 


MS. H.l?.,ReKques, 72, described a copy which he believed 
to have been written 'during the Commonwealth for some 
private playhouse', and possibly to record stage-readings, 
not in Fi. It was afterwards at Warwick Castle. 

Etix. Stage, iii. 426. * R.O. Deputy Keeper's Reports, xlvi, 

T.L.S. 28 Jan. 1926. App. ii. 69; P.P. x. 47. 

s Efa. Stage, ii. 272$ cf. p. 39. 


. x. 77 


[S.R. 1602.] 1 8 January. John Busby. Entred for his 
copie vnder the hand of master Seton, A booke called 
An excellent and pleasant conceited commedie of Sir 
John Faulstof and the merry wyves of Windesor vj d . 
Arthur Johnson. Entred for his Copye by assignement 
from John Busbye, A booke Called an excellent and 
pleasant conceyted Comedie of Sir John Faulstafe and 
the merye wyves of Windsor. vj d . (Arber, iii. 199). 

[Greg (4 Library, vii. 378) notes that the original entry and that of 
the assignment are written in different hands.] 

[Qi. 1602.] A Most pleasaunt and excellent conceited 
Comedie, of Syr lohn Falstaffe, and the merrie Wiues of 
Windsor Entermixed with sundrie variable and pleasing 
humors, of Syr Hugh the Welch Knight, Justice Shallow, 
and his wise Cousin M. Slender. With the swaggering 
vaine of Auncient Pistoll, and Corporall Nym. By William 
Shakespeare. As it hath bene diuers times Acted by the 
right Honorable my Lord Chamberlaines seruants. Both 
before her Maiestie, and else-where. [Ornament] London 
Printed by T(homas> C(reede) for Arthur lohnson, 
and are to be sold at his shop in Powles Church-yard, 
at the signe of the Flower de Leuse and the Crowne. 
1602. [Head-title] A pleasant conceited Comedie of 
Syr lohn Falstaffe, and the merry Wiues of Windsor. 
[Running-title'] A pleasant Comedie, of the merry wiues 


of Windsor, 

Facsimile. W. Griggs (1881, Sh. Q. vi, ed. P. A. Daniel). 

Type-Facsimile, W. W. Greg (igio> 

Reprints. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps (1842, Sh. Soc.)\ W. C. Hazlitt 
(1875, Sh. Library, Pt. n. ii) 5 W. A. Wright (1893, Cambridge Sh. 
ix. 421), 

[Q2. 1619/1 A Most pleasant and excellent conceited 
Comedy, of Sir John Falstaffe, and the merry Wiues of 
Windsor. With the swaggering vaine of Ancient Pis- 
toll, and Corporall Nym. Written by W. Shakespeare. 
[William Jaggard's device (McKerrow 283)] Printed for 
Arthur Johnson, 1619. [Head-title] A Pleasant conceited 
Comedie of Sir John Falstaffe, and the merry Wives of 


Windsor. [Running-title'] A pleasant Comedy, of the 

merry Wives of Windsor. 

[On the misdating, cf. p. 1 33.] 

Reprint. G. Steevens (1766, Twenty of the Plays of Shakespeare). 

[F i. 1623.] [Catalogue] The Merry Wiues of Windsor. 
[Comedies, pp. 39-60, sign. D 2-E 6 V . Head- and Run- 
ning-titles] The Merry Wiues of Windsor. 
[Acts and sec. marked.] 

[S.R. 1630.] 29 Januarii 1629. Master Meighen. 
Assigned ouer vnto him by master Johnson and Consent of 
Master Purfoote Warden, All the said master Johnsons 
estate in the 4 Copies hereafter menconed . . . The merry 
Wives of Winsor (Arber iv. 227). 

[Q3- 1630.] T. H. for R. Meighen. 
Parallel-Text. A. Morgan (1888, Bankside). 
Modern Editions. H. C. Hart (1904, Arden}\ A. T. Quiller-Couch 
and J. D. Wilson (1921, C.C7.P.); G. van Santvoord (1922, Yale}. 
Dissertations. J. O. Halliwell-Phillipps, An Account of the only known 
Manuscript of SA.'s Plays (1843), The U.W. (1850, New Boke, 82); W. 
Vollhardt, Ein italienischer Falstaff (1907, Studien zur vergleichenden 
Literaturgeschichte, vii. no); J. D. Bruce, Two Notes on M.W. (1912, 
M.L.R. vii. 239); J. M. Robertson, The Problem ofM.W. (1917, Bh.Ass^\ 
A. W. Pollard and J. D. Wilson, The 'Stolne and Surreptitious* Shn. Texts. 
M.W. (1919, Aug. 7, !F.I..); R. S. Forsythe, A Plautine Source ofM.W. 
(1920, M.P. xviii. 401). 

All discussions of Merry Wives relate it to certain 
historical incidents which were brought to light in W. B. 
Rye, England as seen by Foreigners (1865), Iv. In 1592 
Frederick, Count of Mompelgart, and heir-presump- 
tive to his cousin Lewis, Duke of Wiirttemberg, visited 
England. Rye translates the relevant part of his Baden- 
fahrt as written by his secretary Jacob Rathgeb and 
printed in 1602. He was in the country from August 9 
to September 5, saw London, spent August 17-19 with 
the Queen at Reading and visited among other places 
Windsor (Aug. 19-21), Uxbridge (Aug. 25-6), Oxford 
(Aug. 26-8), and Cambridge (Aug. 29-30). At Oxford he 
was delayed because his post-horses werewornout, andcould 
not be replaced, even at double the normal cost. When he 


finally left London, however, he had a passport from the 
Lord Admiral, directing that he should be furnished with 
post-horses and shipping and 'pay nothing for the same'. 
Apparently the Queen gave him hopes of the Garter, and 
after his return to Germany he wrote several letters re- 
minding her of this, to which she returned characteristic and 
evasive answers. On 8 August 1593 he became Duke of 
Wttrttemberg. In 1 59 5 he sent an ambassador, John Jacob 
Breuning von Buchenbach, to urge his claim. Rye quotes 
Breuning's narrative of his mission at second-hand, but it 
was printed by A. Schlossberger, 1 and is translated in V. von 
Klarwill, Queen Elizabeth and Some Foreigners (i 92 8), 3 57. 
Breuning was in England from March 26 to May 23. He 
was at St. George's Feast on April 23, and visited Windsor 
and other places during May 6-8. The duke had in- 
structed him to buy some horses, but he found them 
expensive, and was nearly cheated with a spavined grey. 
He was much embarrassed by a certain John Henry 
Stamler, who had been for nearly a year in England, 
trying to obtain remission of export duty on a thousand 
bales of cloth. It was thought an unworthy request and 
had caused much comment. Stamler told Breuning that 
he was not a regular agent of the duke, but had a special 
mission. Here the duke notes on the report, Tut a rope 
round his neck*. Breuning suspected a fraud, and warned 
Essex against Stamler. Stamler produced copies of a ducal 
letter of 20 February 1 594 (now in Cott. Vety. F. iii, f. 97) 
asking for the export, and others of 12 December 1594, 
naminghimas the agent, and offering Burghley (LansJ. MS. 
Ixxvi, 68), a gold chain for his support. Essex obtained the 
original of the letter of February 20 and the date proved to 
have been altered from 1593 to 1 594. Ultimately Stamler 
admitted that his own commission was only from the 
ducal paymaster at Emden, and that the letters were not 
directed by the duke, but written and sealed by his secre- 
tary, who hoped himself to profit by the cloth. H.P. ii. 
266 says that Stamler was also engaged in 'nefarious 
equine transactions', but I think this only rests on a state- 

Stuttgart, Bibliothd des Litterarischen Verew y Ixxxi. 


ment by Breuning that, as he heard that Stamler was try- 
ing to buy a horse, he suspected that he meant to take 
flight, and had him watched. The duke got no satisfaction 
from Breuning's mission. He wrote further letters and 
did his best to explain the Stamler affair. He was in fact 
elected to the Order on 23 April 1597, and sent a second 
embassy in 1598 to express his gratitude. 1 But in spite 
of a protest in January 1599 and a third embassy in 1600 
he still could not get his insignia, and the investiture was 
left for James to grant in November 1603. 

The relation between Q and F has been minutely 
examined in the admirable study by Greg. F is 'a distinctly 
good, though demonstrably not perfect text'. There is 
nothing to show whether the manuscript used was of a 
playhouse or a literary type. The stage-directions are very 
slight. Only the final exits of each scene are noted, and 
except for a single 'Enter Fairies' (v. 5. 41), all the charac- 
ters of each scene are listed in initial stage-directions, 
according to the order in which they enter, but not that in 
which they speak. Greg explains this as an unhappy 
application by a 'devil charged with the duty of preparing 
the play for press' of 'the Jonsonian method of character 
indication to the English method of scene division'. 
Wilson regards it as a case of 'assembling' from 'parts' 
(cf. p. 153), 

Q is obviously a 'garbled and corrupt' text. The most 
obvious thing about it is the presence of a reporter. 'The 
playhouse thief reveals himself in every scene', bringing 
about 'gross corruption, constant mutilation, meaningless 
inversion and clumsy transposition'. Scenes iv. i and v. 
1-4 of F are omitted altogether, and there are consider- 
able omissions in other scenes, some of which cause sense- 
lacunae. Scenes iii. 4 and iii. 5 appear in inverted order. 
Particularly significant of a reporter are numerous 'anti- 
cipations and recollections' (cf. p. 157) of passages from 
earlier and later scenes. Moreover, there are similar 
transferences from other plays (sc. v. 352 from i Hen. IV y 
ii. 4. 366; sc. v. 363 from 2 Hen. I7 y v. 3. 124; sc. xiii. 

1 G. F. Bdtz, Memorials of the Garter, clxxxiii. 


1 1 88 from Ham. v. i. 312 in its Q2 and F form). The 
report degenerates from iii. 3 onwards and in iii. 4; iv. 4 
and v. 5 are passages of un-Shakespearean verse. Daniel 
tKought that the reporter may have been the same who was 
responsible for Henry V> but that is of a rather different type, 
and the common abnormal spellings cited by Daniel pro- 
bably point to the press of Thomas Creede. Greg has 
shown that in Merry Wives the reporter was almost cer- 
tainly an actor who played the Host, and reconstructed the 
play from memory. He appears in eight scenes, and in six 
of these not only his own part, although he was evidently 
not word perfect, but also the parts of others on the stage 
with him, are in unusual agreement with F. In iv. 5, 6, 
however, he is (cf. infra] less successful. Act v, in which 
he does not appear, shows the maximum divergence from F. 
Wilson agrees that the Host had a hand in Q, but thinks 
that bits of the text must be from a transcript, on account 
of some typographical resetnblances, which he perhaps 
exaggerates, in punctuation and capitalization to the 
corresponding bits of F; and that the transcription may 
have been from 'parts,' because of the repeated, although 
not invariable appearance of prose in capitalized lines of 
irregular length. But if 'parts', as is possible (cf. p. 183), 
were written in this way, the Host would have been 
familiar with it, and might quite well adopt it in writing 
out his report. In F Dr. Caius has (i. 4) a room with a 
closet behind it. In Q this becomes a shop with a counting- 
house behind and a stall in front. Perhaps it was so repre- 
sented on the stage. The Q stage-directions are full and 
often descriptive of action, and do not show the abnor- 
mality of those in F. 

Greg considers the possibility of cutting and perhaps 
consequent adaptation for the performance represented 
by Q, and so far as the greater part of the play is concerned, 
finds no satisfactory evidence for it. Some of the 'anticipa- 
tions and recollections' are from scenes omitted by Q, 
and as there are no obvious reasons why an adapter should 
transfer the passages, it seems likely that the scenes were 
in fact played. The parts of Robin in ii. 2 and iii. 2, 3, 


and of William in iv. I may, as Greg thinks, have been 
deliberately cut out. But Robin's part is very small any- 
how, and I think an oblivion of him by the reporter not 
impossible. The reporter may also have fought shy of 
William's Latin. But it is quite possible that this scene 
was only intended for the court performance, where it 
would please Elizabeth's pedantry. The omissions in i. i, 
where Q does not give the bit on the Lucy arms, and at 
the beginning of Act v are considerable. But these 
scenes precede or follow the concern of the Host with the 

On the other hand, Greg finds traces of more than one 
revision of the play. The most important of these he 
thinks to have been antecedent to both the Q and the F 
text, and to have involved two factors. One was an 
attempt 'to modify and largely to remove' a horse-stealing 
plot, of which traces remain, and which had some con- 
nexion with the Count of MOmpelgart. The motive 
appears in iv. 3 ; iv. 5. 64-95 > anc * * v - 6- i~5 All we learn 
is that three Germans, who had lodged for a week at the 
Garter Inn, borrowed three horses from the Host to meet 
their duke who was coming to court; that subsequently 
the Host was informed by Bardolph, Evans, and Caius 
that there was no duke, and that the Germans were 
cozeners who had run off with his horses, and had also 
tricked all the hosts of Reading, Maidenhead, and Cole- 
brook; and that he was left with a heavy loss. Here, as 
elsewhere, Q is a mere perversion of F, with the exception 
that Evans substitutes (iv. 5. 79) 'cosen garmombles' for 
the *Cozen-Iermans' of F. The meaning of 'garmomble' 
is 'confusion* or in a literal sense 'bruise', but it is reason- 
able to see a pun on Mdmpelgart's name. 1 Greg thinks 
that there must have been more in it, that the plot must 
have originally contributed to the denouement of v. 5, and 
that the horses arrested for FalstafFs debt (v. 5. 1 18) and 
the 'postmaster's boy* found in the guise of a fairy (v. 5. 
199) must have had some connexion with it A revision 
left the story in mid-air, and if the actors learnt the altered 

1 J. D. Bruce in MJ.JL vii. 240. 


matter badly, may also explain the comparative breakdown 
of the Host in reporting iv. 5. I am bound to say that I am 
very sceptical about this. Falstaff's horses were not the 
Host's, and it was the wives who plotted (ii. I.-96) to 
keep him dangling in Windsor until he had pawned them, 
Windsor must have been full of postmaster's boys. If 
the censor intervened, why did he allow the Germans and 
their duke to remain in the play at all ? There they are, 
quite recognizable, and no doubt they added considerably 
to the amusement of any Garter knights present at the 
court performance and familiar with the Duke of Wiirttem- 
berg's efforts to get his insignia. 'Garmombles' may be a 
bit of 'gag* in any case; there are probably others (sc. vii. 
704 ; sc. ix. 8 1 9-20 ; sc. xviii. 1 522) in the Q text. Certainly 
the episode is left in the air. So also is that of Shallow and 
his stolen deer. The play was written in haste and its struc- 
ture suffered. Of this haste, or of Shakespeare's careless- 
ness, there are other indications in the time confusion of 
iii. 5 and in the variant personal names of Thomas (i. i . 46) 
and George (ii. 1.153; v. 5. 213) for Page. Imagina- 
tions less bridled than Greg's have essayed to recover his 
lost story. Hart thinks that Evans and Caius plotted a 
revenge on the Host for the mock duel into which he had 
led them, and that the horse-thieves were really Pistol, 
Nym, and Rugby. This proves acceptable to Wilson, who 
adds that it looks as if Ford and Shallow arranged that 
the loss should ultimately fall upon Falstaff. I cannot 
imagine why all this should have been suppressed. 

The second factor in Greg's supposed revision is that 
the playwright, obviously not Shakespeare, who carried it 
out, was instructed to provide two alternative endings, one 
for the court, the other for the common stage, and that this 
accounts for the divergence between the Q and F versions 
of v. . This is no doubt substantial. The 'Garter' 
passage (v. 5. 60-77) of F, particularly appropriate to a 
court performance, is not in Q, and instead we get a long 
passage of octosyllabic dialogue, certainly not of Shake- 
speare's writing. Part of it echoes the F version, but 
Falstaff is absurdly described as a 'metamorphised youth', 


and there is a completely irrelevant passage about Serjeants 
and proctors, which reads like a scrap from some popular 
London poem. But Greg's theory would apparently make 
the F version also un-Shakespearean, and this I hesitate 
to accept. The Q has un-Shakespearean verse also in place 
of iii. 4. 1-2 1 and iv. 4 of F, and I take it that the explana- 
tion is the same in all three cases, namely that the Host 
had forgotten too much, and that an attempt was made to 
fill the lacunae. If the Host was incapable of faking some 
verse for himself, some one else was called upon. I find 
it easier to suppose this, than to believe that the same play- 
wright did both the divergent versions in v. 5, which are 
of very different degrees of merit. 

Greg finds some traces of further alteration in the F 
text, at later dates. One is of course a partial excision of 
oaths. A few passages containing minor variants between 
Q and F, he thinks that Shakespeare may have touched up 
at random on the theatre copy. The strongest case for 
this is at ii. 2. i, where Falstaff says 'I will not lend thee 
a penny', and Pistol replies in .Q, 'I will retort the sum in 
equipage', but in F 

Why then the world 's mine Oyster, 
Which I with sword will open. 

that Q has omitted one and F the other. But ir so, both 
must also have omitted some intermediate words of Fal- 
stafF, probably 'Not a penny', which he repeats in the next 
line. This would have been an odd combination of 
coincidence and diversity in error, but Q does seem here 
and there to retain an original phrase missed by the F 
printer. In one respect there has clearly been revision at 
some stage. In Q, the disguised Ford takes the name of 
Brooke, and the connexion of meaning shows that this 
was the original name. In F, it is altered consistently to 
Broome. This is, I think, a bit of cautious censorship. 
Brooke was the family name of that Lord Cobham to whose 
intervention the extrusion of Oldcastle from Henry IF was 
probably due. Some writers, and Greg among them, have 
found allusions to Oldcastle in Merry Wives itself. At 

3H2.I p f 


iv. 5. 6 the Host says of Falstaff, 'There 's his chamber, 
his house, his castle, his standing-bed and truckle-bed*. 
This has a good enough meaning, without any such 
allusion. At i. 3. 2 the Host calls Falstaff 'bully-rook', and 
no doubt in chess a 'rook' is, and was by the time of 
Guillim's Heraldrie (i 6 1 1), a 'castle'. But the Host applies 
the same term successively in ii. i to Page, Shallow, and 

If Oldcastle were in Merry Wives, we should have to 
put the date close to that of Henry IP \ as the Chamberlain's 
men are not likely to have gone out of their way later to 
provoke a memory of their indiscretion. But Q contains 
a transference (cf. supra) from Hamlet, and at the same 
time it must rest on a report of some of the earliest per- 
formances, since Brooke could hardly have survived the 
special review of the play by the Revels officers for the 
court. 1 It seems, therefore, that Merry Wives must be 
later than Hamlet, in spite of the difference of its tone from 
that of the comedies which immediately followed. I put 
it, therefore, in 1600-1. If the death of Sir Thomas 
Lucy (7 July 1600) became known about when it was 
ready, that may be the reason why the 'louses' do not 
appear in Q. That the play is in any case later than 
Henry V is likely, because the description of Nym as 
'corporal' would be meaningless, if he had not already 
made his appearance on the battle-field. It is of course an 
. irrelevant tact that in the biography of Falstaff the adven- 
tures of Merry Wives must precede those of Henry 7, where 
he dies and Pistol has married Mrs. Quickly. I think we 
may accept the story of Elizabeth's request, and suppose 
it motived by Shakespeare's failure to redeem in Henry V 
the promise of a reintroduction of Falstaff suggested by 
the epilogue to 2 Henry IV. The Garter passage suggests 
a performance at Windsor, where a choir of boys would 
be available for the fairies. Elizabeth does not seem to 
have been much at Windsor during the later years of her 
life, although the rather scrappy notices of her movements 
for some of those years forbid one to be positive. A short 

* Cf./&. Stage, 1.22$. 


visit is recorded in August 1601, but the Chamber Accounts 
show no payment for a play. 1 There was a Garter installa- 
tion on 26 May 1601, but the Queen was not ordinarily 
present at such ceremonies. 2 The play was given at court 
on 4 November 1604 an d again in 1638 (App. D). 

For Greg, as for me, there is no suggestion or the original 
version of Merry Wives having been by another hand than 
Shakespeare's. But this is not so for Wilson or for Robert- 
son. They adopt the notion of Fleay that the Jealous 
Comedy produced by the Alleyn company for Henslowe on 
5 January 1593 (App. D) may have been an early form of 
Merry Wives. It may, of course, have been any play with 
jealousy as a prominent motive in it. Comedy of Errors 
(q.v.) or another. But the notion fits in with the general 
theory of Pollard and Wilson (cf, p. 225) as to a group of 
early plays abridged in 1593 for provincial use, and con- 
tributing, with a pirate actor, to the bad Quartos. The 
particular application of this theory to Merry Wives^ so far 
as I can piece it together from Wilson's edition, which is 
not very explicit on the point, and the articles of 1 9 1 9, is as 
follows. The horse-stealing plot must go back to MOmpel- 
gart's visit of 1592 and a scandal due to his 'trick of 
commandeering horses under the Queen's warrant'. As 
to this it must be pointed out that there is no evidence of 
any such scandal, unless it is to be found in an allusion in 
Nashe's Summers Last Will and Testament of 1592 to 
'the horses lately sworn to be stolne'. 3 This is possible, 
but Nashe does not connect the matter with Mfimpelgart. 
The count had a difficulty in getting post-horses at Oxford 
on August 27. He had presumably no warrant for their 
impressment then, but on September 4 he received one 
from the Lord Admiral for his return to Gravesend. On 
the whole, the clue may just as well lie in the horse- 
dealing transactions of Breuning or Stamler in 1595. 
In the development of the play, eight stages are suggested : 
(i) The Jealous Comedy > a piece of unknown authorship on 
London citizen-life, with a befooled lover, who was not a 

1 Ibid. iv. 114. * G. F. Beltz, Memorials of the Garter > clxxxiii. 

3 Etiz. Stage, iii. 452. 



fat knight, but a 'simpering lady-killer', with the charac- 
teristics of Joseph Surface; (ii) a provincial abridgement, 
without, in this case, any handling by Shakespeare; (iii) 
a possible revision, still not by Shakespeare, into an 'Old- 
castle* play; (iv) a further revision by Shakespeare, 'per- 
haps with help from others', to meet Elizabeth's command; 
(v) an abridged playhouse version of this ; (vi) a further 
revision of (iv), involving alteration of the verse scenes; 
(vii) a further revision of (vi) at the time of the command 
performance; (viii) a possible abridgement of (vii) for the 
Jacobean revival of 1604. This is very elaborate, but I 
do not think that stages (iv) to (viii) are meant to differ 
essentially from Greg's reconstruction. F was based on 
'parts' of (vi), (vii) or (viii), and Q, if I understand Wilson 
correctly, upon a report of (v) by an actor, who had 'parts' 
of (iii) to fall back upon when his memory gave out. But I 
do not quite understand why, if this was so, he speaks (p. 
96) of the 'higher authority than has hitherto been sus- 
pected' of the Q version. Moreover, one of the passages 
(ii. 2. 4-13), upon the typographical character of which 
(cf. supra) he relies as evidence for the use of 'parts', 
contains a reference to Nym, and if so, Nym must have 
been in the Jealous Comedy^ which is hardly consistent 
with Wilson's acceptance of the view (cf. s.v. Hen. V} 
that he is a satire on Ben Jonson. However, the main 
issue is that, on Wilson's theory, there are un-Shake- 
spearean elements from the Jealous Comedy still surviving 
after the revisions in F, and still more, owing to the 
reporter's use of the 1 593 text, in Q. His 'bibliographical' 
evidence of revision in F consists partly of bits of verse 
printed as prose, largely, I think, as in Henry P, due to the 
confusion of the printer by Pistol's verse intrusions into 
prose scenes; partly of the familiar feature (cf, p. 233) 
of verse-rhythms in |>rose, which as usual he interprets as 
a result of rewriting in a fresh medium; and partly in the 
blending in some scenes of prose and verse, on which I 
will quote his collaborator, Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, who 
says, 'Shakespeare has everywhere a most delicate sense of 
the separate capacities of verse and prose, and alternates 


them with an easy tact quite superior to rule'. On literary 
rather than bibliographical grounds, Wilson ascribes to 
the Jealous Comedy some language (i. 3. 2; ii. i. 57-62; 
ii. 2. 186, 247-50; v. 5. 128-35) use d by or of Falstaff, 
which suggests a 'sententious philanderer' and euphuistic 
scholar, somewhat out of keeping with the main concep- 
tion of him. This seems to me rather hypercritical, given 
the haste of the play. Wilson does not, as he might have 
done, call in aid the 'metamorphised youth' (supra) of Q. 
But presumably the double dose of the Jealous Comedy in Q 
accounts in his mind for those sections of un-Shakespearean 
verse which I put down to the reporter of his assistant. 

Wilson does not attempt to identify his un-Shake- 
spearean author or authors. Robertson is less reticent. He 
takes Merry Wives for the first of the Falstaff plays, on the 
ground that both Falstaff and Mrs. Quickly seem to him 
to be comparatively young in Q, and I understand him 
to identify the version there represented with the Jealous 
Comedy itself. It was probably the work of several colla- 
borators, among them Shakespeare and possibly Chap- 
man. And Chapman had a larger hand than Shakespeare 
in the revision which produced the F version. This claim 
for Chapman is mainly based on the frail evidence of 
vocabulary clues. 

On the source of the plot there is not much to be said. 
The lover concealed in household stuff appears in several 
Italian stories. In Giovanni Straparola's Le Tredeci Piace- 
voti Notte (1550-3), iv. 4, followed in Richard Tarlton's 
Newes Out of Purgatory (1590) the vehicle is 'a greate 
driefatte full of feathers'; in Ser Giovanni Fiorentino's 
// Pecorone (1558) it is *un monte di panni di bucato', 
which is nearer to the buck-basket. Henry Julius of Bruns- 
wick employs a linen-basket in his Tragedia Hibeldeha von 
Einer Ehebrecherin (1594), the resemblance of which to 
Merry Wives is very slight, although it introduces an 
English clown (Cohn xliii, xlvii). The names Ford, Page, 
Evans, Herne, and Brooke have been traced in Elizabethan 
records of Windsor, 1 but they are mostly common names, 

1 R. R. Tighe and J. . Davis, Annals of Windsor, i. 666. 


and all but Brooke are noted by French 3 14 at Stratford. 
Later Windsor tradition pointed to the houses of Ford and 
Page, and a FalstafFs oak, which was also that of Herne 
the Hunter. I have considered the relation of the play to 
Sir Thomas Lucy and Shakespeare's deer-stealing in 

[S.R. 1603.] yfebruarii. Master Robertes. Entred for 
his copie in full Court holden this day to print when he 
hath gotten sufficient aucthority for yt, The booke of 
Troilus and Cresseda as yt is acted by my lord Chamber- 
lens Men vj d (Arber, iii. 226), 

[S.R. 1609.] 28* Januarii. Richard Bonion Henry 
Walleys. Entred for their Copy vnder thandes of Master 
Segar deputy to Sir George Bucke and master warden 
Lownes a booke called the history of Troylus and Cressida. 
yj d (Arber, iii. 400). 

[Q (first issue) 1 609.] The Historic of Troylus and Cres- 
seida. As it was acted by the Kings Maiesties seruants at 
the Globe. Written by William Shakespeare. [Ornament] 
London Imprinted by G. Eld for R. Bonian and H. 
Walley, and are to be sold at the spred Eagle in Paules 
Church-yeard, ouer against the great North doore. 1 609. 
[Head- and Running-titles'] The history of Troylus and 

[Q (second issue} 1609.] The Famous Historic of Troylus 
and Cresseid. Excellently expressing the beginning of 
their loues, with the conceited wooing of Pandarus Prince 
of Licia. Written by William Shakespeare. [Ornament, 
imprint, and head- and running-titles, as in first issue.] 
[For this issue, the original leaf Ai was cut away, and two new 
leaves substituted ; the first unsigned, with the amended title on 
the r and the v blank 5 the second signed ^[2, with an epistle 
(App. B, no. xxxii) not in the first issue.] 
Facsimile. W. Griggs (1886, Sh. Q. xiii, ei H. P. Stokes). 
[Fi . 1 623.] [No entry in Catalogue. Between Histories and 
Tragedies, pp., two unpaged, 79, 80, twenty-five unpaged, 


followed by one blank page; sign, two blank, ^MWWTa, 
Head-title] The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida. 
[Running-title*] The Tragedie of Troylus and Cressida on 
ff. 79, 80, thereafter Troylus and Cressida. 
[Act i, sc. I marked.] 

Parallel-Text. A. Morgan (1889, Bankside). 
Modern Editions. K. Deighton (1906, Arderi)\ ]. S. P. Tatlock 
(1912, Tudor)\ N. B. Paradise (1927, Tale). 
Dissertations. K. Eitner, Die Troilus-Fabel in ihrer Literatur-geschicht- 
lichen Entwickelung (1868, J. iii. 252); W. Hertzberg, Die Quellen der 
Troilus-Sage in ihrem Ferhaltniu zu Shs T.C. (1871, 169;) F. G. 
leay,OntAe Composition of T.C. (1^7^, N.S.S. Trans. 304.; Manual, 232); 
H. Ulrici, 1st T.C. Com'edy oder Tragedy oder History? (1874, J. ix. 26); 
C H. Herford, T.C. andEuphues, his Censure to Philautus (1888, N.S.S. 
Trans. 186); E. Stache, Das Ferhaltniss von Shs T.C. zu Chaucers gleich- 
namigen Gedicht (1893); R. A. Small, T.C. (1899, Stage-Quarrel, 139); 
R. Boyle, T.C. (1901, E.8. xxx. 21); A. Acheson, Sh. and the Rival Poet 
(1903); E. Koeppel, StudienuberShs Wirkungauf zeitgenossische Drama- 
tiker (1905); J. Q. Adams, Timon of Athens and the Irregularities in Fi 
(1908, J.E.G.P. vii. 53); K. Young, The Origin and Development of the 
Story ofTroilus and Criseyde (1908, Chaucer Soc!)\ N. E. Griffin, Un- 
Homeric Elements in the Story of Troy (1908, J.E.G.P. vii. 32); J. S. P. 
Tatlock, The Siege of Troy in English Literature, especially Sh. and Hey- 
wood (191 5, PM.L^A. xxx. 673), The Welsh T.C. and its Relation to the 
Elizabethan Drama (1915, M.L.R. x. 265); The Chief Problem in Sh. 
(1916, Sezoanee Review) ; W. W. Lawrence, The Love Story in T.C. (1916, 
Columbia Studies, 187); H. E. Rollins, The T.C. Story from Chaucer to 
Sh. (1917, PM.LJI. xxxii. 383); J. M. Robertson, T.C. (1917, Sh. and 
Chapman, 193); P. K. Guha, The Problem of Sh.'s T.C. (1926, Dacca 
Univ. Bull. ix. 23); P. Alexander, T.C. 1609 (1928, 4 Library, ix. 267). 

Q and F represent substantially the same text. Q is cer- 
tainly a good Quarto. Pollard, F.Q., 58, says that it 
was not used by the Folio editors. But I am inclined to 
think that F was set up from a copy of Q, not so much 
because of a few misreadings and abnormal spellings which 
they have in common, since these might be derived from 
a common original, as because of a traceable resem- 
blance in orthography and the like, of which ii. 2. 1 63-1 93 
afford a good illustration. Greg, Emendation, 12, and 
Alexander have independently criticized the view adopted 
by Pollard. The example of Q used must of course have 
been corrected from a manuscript, F has many better 


readings, although some worse, and it restores several 
passages omitted by Q. Most of these omissions (i. 3. 3 1 5 ; 
** 3- 59~65, 96; iii. i. 124; iv. 4. 79, 146-50; iv. 5. 206; 
v. 2. 68; v. 3. 20-2, 58; v. 10. 2 1-2) are probably mere 
printer's errors; thus in ii. 3 the repeated phrase 'Patroclus 
is a fool ' caught the printer's eye at 65 instead of 58. On 
the other hand, i. 3. 354-6 and iii. 3. 161-3, both of which 
are accompanied by corruptionin the neighbouringtext, and 
possibly also iv. 5. 132, 165-70, rather look like deliber- 
ate excisions of, or bungling attempts to emend, passages 
found unintelligible in a manuscript. I think that i. 3. 70- 
4, including the line 'When rank Thersites opes his mastic 
jaws' was probably also an accidental omission ; it has also 
been explained both as a dropped personal allusion (cf. 
infra) in Q, and as an addition in F. Finally, there is ii. 3. 
80-2, with its characteristic reference by Thersites to 'the 
dry serpigo'. The only reason for not regarding this as an 
error is that F in its turn abbreviates Thersites' medical 
details, as given by Q, in v. i. 20-8, but why Q should 
bowdlerize one passage and F another is not clean Either 
passage might be a gag, but two independent stage-ver- 
sions of this play do not (cf. infra) seem likely. F, like Q, 
makes some minor omissions (i. 2. 300; ii. i. 31-3; iii. i. 
95> "i- 3- 105-6; iv. 5, 29), which must be accidental; at 
iii. 3, 105-6, the occurrence of lines with identical endings 
is again the cause. At iv. 5. 96, F inserts unmetrically the 
words 'they call him Troylus'. These recur at 108, where 
they are metrical and Q has them. I can only suppose that 
Shakespeare originally wrote them at 96, then reserved 
them for a point later in the speech, replacing them by 'a 
true knight', and made a mark of deletion, which the 
printer failed to observe. A repetition at v. 10. 33-5 of 
three lines already used at v. 3. 1 1 3, where modern editors 
omit them, looks at first sight like a similar case, but here 
(cf. infra) the real explanation may be different. If I am 
right as to iv. 5. 96, the manuscript used for F was probably 
the author's original, and the variations between Q and F 
are intelligible on the assumption that this was so and that 
Q was printed from a transcript, perhaps made for a 


private owner. The epistle implies that it was not obtained 
from 'the grand possessors'; that is, the King's men. 
There are a good many verbal variants between the two 
versions, but given two printers, and for F the usual 
sophisticating editor, and for