The Textual History of ’The Merry Wives of Windsor’

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The Textual History of ’The Merry Wives of Windsor’

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David Manning ^fhlt©

A dissertation submitted in partial fulfillment of tlie requirements for the degree of Doctor of Uiiloso.hy, in the Department of English, in the Graduate College of the State bniversity of Iowa

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uest ProQuest 10831785 Published by ProQuest LLC(2018). C opyright of the Dissertation is held by the Author. All rights reserved. This work is protected against unauthorized copying under Title 17, United States C o d e M icroform Edition © ProQuest LLC. ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway P.O. Box 1346 Ann Arbor, Ml 4 8 1 0 6 - 1346


/ /2*£ k


To Professor baldwin Maxwell, who suggested and directed this study, a deep





Indebtedness Is gratefully acknowledged*


coh tbtt s



I. The Theories Advanced • II. The Nature of the Texts ♦« * • • » • « • * III. Examination of the Theories • IV. The History of the Text

1 55 108 177

Bibliography •


Appendix I .


Appendix XI

• • • » ........... .

Appendix III * ......... .





THE THEORIES ADVA1TCED It has been apparent for many years to students of critical bibliography that the Merry wives of Windsor is fertile ground for textual examination.

Long before

Alfred W. Pollards monumental study of Shakespeare1a Quar­ tos and Folios,

scholars and editors

were aware of the

"bad* quality of the 1602 Quarto, and they had attempted to reconcile the existence of this corrupt text with a folio version which seemed to emanate directly from Shakespeare# Let us consider, initially, the two texts with which we shall concern ourselves#

The earliest reference

to the play Is to be found in the Register of the Stationers1 Companyi

18 Jam&rij (1602) John Busby

Entered for his cople under the hand of master Seton/ A Booke called an excellent coramedie of Sir Iohn ffaulstof and the merry wyves of Windesor

Arthur lohnson entered for his Copy© by assignment from Iohn Busby©, A booke Called an Excellent and pleasant oonoeyted Comodi© of Sir Iohn ffaulstafe and the morye wyves of Windsor • « « • • • vjd At a later time in the same year, Arthur Johnson 1 Pollard, A* W., Shakespeare Quartos and Folios. London, 1909#

2 Vide Malone, Shakespeare# London, 1821, Vol# 1, p# 12; see also Cap ell' In Boswell1s edition of Ualone's Shakespeare# Vol. 1, pp. 115 ff#

- a -

published the Quarto version of the play he had received from Busby#

Prom what source Busby obtained the manuscript

which was used for the Quarto has, of course, remained un­ known*

That the text was pirated seemed an obvious conclus­

ion even to Capell and Malone, as well as to more recent in­ vestigators*

But, in what manner the piracy was effected

(if such be the case), has been the basis of much disagree­ ment*

I’or with the reconstruction of the probable piracy

we are led headlong into the various textual theories expound­ ed by different schools* The title page of Johnson*& Quarto reads: A/ Most pleasant an/ excellent Co-/aedle, of Syr Iohn Palstaffe, and the/ merrie Wives of Windsor*/ Enter-mixed with sundrie/ variable and pleasing humors, of Syr Hugh/ the Welch Knight, Iustice Shallow, and his/ wise Cousin M# Slender#/ With the swaggering vaine of Aunclent Pistoll, and Corporal % m * / % William Shakespeare*/ As it has bene divers times acted by the right Honorable/ my Lord Chamberlain ;s servants# Both before her/ Malestie, and else-where#/ London/ Printed by T*C# for Arthur lohnson, and are to be sold at his shop in Powlea Church-^ard, at the signe of the / Flower de Louse and the Crowne./ 1602* 1 In 1619 there appeared a second Quarto, but its only dif­ ference from the firsts,was in a slightly altered title-page. Nor are we particularly concerned with a third Quarto which was published in 1650, sine© with some few changes in spell­ ing and punctuation it was bodily reproduced from the First Folio edition of the play* It is the first Folio which gives us the version 1 Daniel, P# A#, Merry V»ives of Windsor, 1G02, Griggs Facsimile, 1888.

of the horry Wives which is believed to have been printed from the proiapt-copy the King,s hen possessed*

That, in

most respects, it is more complete than the Quarto goes without saying; but, that the Folio is not "perfect ol their limbes" and "absolute in their numbers, as he conceived them," which Homing© and Condell proclaimed, is equally discernable*

All editors from Pope and Johnson to our own day

have found the need to draw upon the Quarto of Kerry Wives on more than one occasion, tr explain lacunae in the Folio text. Before examining these two main texts of our flay, it may be useful to study closely the various theories which have been advanced to account for the textual history of the Merry Wives*

It la an interesting workshop for the student

of comparative b bllography, the text of this play, for he 1 finds that theorists of the main bibliographic schools have attempted to reconstruct Its history in the light of their convictions. The first significant effort to place the Quarto 2 in a correct relationship to the Folio was In the First Sketch of Shakespeare*s Kerry Wives of Winds or by James 1 I refer to four main groups: (1) Those, who believe with Halliwell and Nicholson, that the "bad” Quartos are "first sketches”; (2) the advocates of the stenographicpiracy thoory, e* g. Px'iee, Foerster; (5) w. W* urog and the "school of memorlal-plracy; (4) the Dover WilsonPollard group* 2 Iialliwell, J* O,, ihe irst Sketch of Shakespeare's Kerry Wives of Windsor. London,' 184^7^

— 4 — Halllwell in 1842*

Mr* &alliw©ll was the first scholar to

examine in any close manner the tradition

that the Merry

Wives was written in fourteen days* Since this concept, 1 which goes back to John Dennis* is to play an important part, in the formulation of all textual theories concerning

our play,

it will be wise to look at Dennis* statement*


the lengthy dedicatory epistle to his play, The Comical Gallant, (which was mrely an alteration of the Heiry ^ives) 2 A Dennis whitesi "First, I knew very well that it had pleased one of the greatest queens that ever was in the world, great not only for his wisdom in the arts of government, but for her knowledge of polite learning, and her nice taste of the drama, for such a taste we may be sure she had, by the relish which she had of the ancients* This comedy v/as written at her command, and by her direction, and she was so eager to see it acted, that she commanded it to be finished in fourteen oaysj and v/as afterwards, as tradition tells us* very well pleas’d at the representation*" These few lilies, then, are the basis of a great amount of conjecture*

Regardless of whether we wish to use this tra­

dition to further our own point of view on the Merry Wives or not, 1 think we should scrutinize it vory closely in de­ termining its value*

In the first place, Dennis was partial

to the play, and wpuld paint Its previous history In the most favorable light*

M0st modem readers would not 3 agree with his statement later in the dedication that the 1 Dermis* John, The Comical Gallant* London, 1702*




Dennis, J*, op* clt»* p* iv* 3 Ibid*



5 -

Falstaff of the Merry Wives is supei'ior to th© Falstaff of Henry IV, 1 and 2*

But we must remember that Dennis

had printed the Comical Gallant at his own expense, and being eager to sell as many copies of th© book as poss­ ible he realized that any praise of the Merry Wives might augment th© value of his own commodity*

we know

enough of title-pages and prefaces, both in Elizabethan times and later, to say that on© must frequently take their statements and claims with a grain of salt,


virtually contradicts himself In the statement which we quoted above*

For he starts out by saying that he knew

very well that it had pleased Elizabeth, but he ends his statement with "and was afterwards, as tradition tells us, very well pleas’d at the representation**

In short, th©

source of Dennis’ knowing "very well11 was in the final an­ alysis only a tradition. We shall s .e, as we proceed, how subsequent ed­ itors and Shakesperlan scholars have utilized these few lines from Dennis* The "tradition" was reiterated by 1 Row© in 1709, when speaking of th© Queen h© says: "She was so well pleased' with that admirable character of Falstaff, In the two parts of Henry IV, that she commanded him to continue It for one play more, and to show him in love; this is said to be the occasion of his writ­ ing th© ’Merry Wives of Windsor* ’ How well he obeyed, the play itself Is an admirable proof*" 1 Howe, I**, Life of Shakespeare, London, 1709, pp* 8—9*

There is nothing in the statement, however, that Rowe could not have talcen from Dennis, and since he gives no evidence of a bettor authority than the latter, w© must view both , 1 assertions with caution* A year later Gildon published a supplemental volume to Rowe *s Shakespeare in which the same idea is expressed. nThe fairies in the fifth act make a handsome compliment to th© queen, In her palace of Windsor, who had obliged him to write a play of Sir John Falstaff in love, and which 1 am very well assured he performed in a fortnight a prodigious thing,""'when all is so well contrived, and carried on without the least confusion.** One other central point to any discussion of the text of the Merry \%ives Is the wcosen garmombles** plot. It was Knight


first pointed out the document entitledi

**A short and true description of the bathing journey which his serene Highness the Right Honorable Prince and Lord Frederick, Duke of Wur ternberg, and Teck, Count of Mumpelgart, Lord of Heidenheim, Knight of the two ancient royal orders of St. Michael in France and of the Garter in England, etc., lately performed In the year 1592, from Mumpelgart into the celebrated kingdom of England afterwards returning through the Netherlands, until his arrival again at Mumpelgart. Printed at Tubingen, by Erhardo Celllo, 1002.” It is important to remember that the Duke did not become a Knight of the Garter until five years after his visit to England.

Behind the warning by Sir Hugh to Mine Host to be­

ware of "three sorts of cosen garmombles, Is cosen all the 1 Gildon, J., Remarks on the Plays of Shakespeare, London, 1710, p. 291.

2 Knight, C., Library Edition of Shakespeare, Lonac-n,

i84o, voi. ui, p. rrrrt----------- —

- 7 Host of Maidenhead and heading11 lies an amusing tale•


Is apparent that the pompous Duke was an object of travesty, not only to Shakespeare and his circle, but also to the pop­ ulace who would be expected to recognize the "garraombles" allusion*

«(ith the age1® characteristic "distrust" of for­

eigners, it is not difficult to see how the tradition quick­ ly spread that the Duke and his followers misused a warrant for taking up post-horses free of charge* We shall have occasion to examine the "cosen garmombles” plot in more detail as we proceed*

^or the pres­

ent it is interesting to note what Mr* Halliwell, who was th© first scholar to use this material

ina textual


ion deduces from the visit of Count Mumpelgart* The essence of Halliwell*s theory regarding our play is that the Quarto version was written by Shakespeare in 1592, and that the Polio represents a much-revised later work* 1 The "amended" play, as he calls it, was written after the accession of King James to the English throne*

As evidence

that the Folio version was written after Elizabeth*© death 2 he cites such lines as the followingt Qi Falstaff: "You* 11 complainof

me to the council*11

F: Falstaff: "You*11 complainof

me to the king."

But if we remember that Shakespeare had preceded this play with the two parts of Henry IV, in which th© "king” rather 1 Halliwell, J. 0*, op. clt*, p* xv. 2 Ibid., p* xvil*

than th© "council" would be th© appropriate adjucator, then th© Folio reading is correct*

It must be granted that Shake­

speare is somewhat vague about setting the date in which the action of the play occurs#

¥et the playwright gives us such

definite clues as the following} III. il# 74j

"ihe gentleman is of no havings he . kept company with the wild prince and Poins . * "

According to Mr# Halliwell, the Quarto or "first sketch" was written several years before the "amended Folio, but if this Is true then how are we to account for Falstaffe's statement in the last scenes "What hunting at this time of night? II© lay my life the mad Prince of Wales Is stealing his fathers Dear©*" How Mr# Halliwell was aware of these links between the Henry IV plays and the Merry Wives. but since his theory placed th© Quarto of Merry Wives at 1592 he was rather at a loss for an explanation.

His explication of this crux

might be described as bordering on bibliographic desperation, 1 for he asks us to believe that th© two parts of Henry IV, — Ml

i m fi


like the Horry Wives, fii*at existed in a rough draft, and that, when the "first sketch" of the Horary Wives was written, those plays had not been worked over by Shakespeare in the form by which w© know them today#

In short, we are asked to

believe, for the sake of making the 1592 date for the Merry Wives seem plausible, that Shakespeare had written Henry IV, parts one and two, In 1591 or before# 1 Halliwell, J# 0., op# clt#. p# xxlx#

- 9 -

Halliwell mentions in one brief statement tnat the "sketch” which Johnson published as the Quarto was un­ doubtedly a piratical publication*

It is unfortunate that

he stopped with merely noting this fact, for as later schol­ ars v;ere to show, the key to an tinderstending of the text­ ual history of the play was in the analysis of the piracy* That this "first sketch" theory was not a satis­ factory answer to the many textual problems involved in the Merry Wives became apparent even to Mr* Halliwell,

For in

his later study, the Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare * there is little said of the earlier supposition*

As a matter

of fact, Halliwell repudiates the idea that th© "amended" version was composed after Elisabeth’s death by flatly stat1 ing "that it was composed before the death of Sir Thomas Lucy in July, 1600, may be taken for granted*”

It Is sig­

nificant to note that In his earlier discussion Mr, halliwell had not mentioned the so-called allusion to Sir %omas Lucy, but rather cited such evidence as "You’ll complain of me to the king" in the Polio to show it was poat-LlIzabethan#


he realized in the Outlines was the obvious contradiction of maintaining the Sir Thomas Lucy tradition and also claiming a date of 1602 or after for the composition of tho play. Thus, instead of riding his former theory, Halliwell forgets about "first sketches” and says of the Quarto*

"a catch­

penny publisher surreptitiously issued a very defective copy, 1 Halliwell, J« o*, Outlines of the Life of Shakespeare, London, 1898, p* 156#

- 10 one made up by Bome poetaster, with the aid of short-hand 3k notes, into the form of a play*" Y1th this statement he was approaching a point of view which editors of the last fifty years have found more tenable* As we proceed with the study of the Merry Wives, we shall see that there are three Incidents, or traditions which have been construed as actual incidents, which we must consider closely*

Mr* Halliwell introduced each of the

three, i* e., (1) the composition of th© play In fourteen days at the request of the Queen, (2) the Sir Thomas Lucy episode, and (5) the topical relevance of the "cosen garraombles" plot*

2* With the publication of Frederick Fleay1s Life of Shakespeare in 1886 we find a new attempt to account for the textual difficulties Involved In our play*

Mr* Fleay took

a position between the outdated Halliv/ell theory and the ad­ vanced hypothesis of F* A* Daniel*

In writing of the Quarto


he said: "It has been held to be merely a first sketch of the playi this theory is untenable. Mr* P. A* Daniel holds It to be a stolen version made up by a literary hack from shorthand notes obtain d at a representation." And ho legitimately points out that the Daniel point of


I cy /

gives no explanation of the "cosen garmonibles" of III. 6, nor 1 Halliwell, J* 0*, op* clt«, p* 15C* 2

Fleay, F* 0., Life of Shakespeare, London, 1886, p. 211.

- 11 does it show how entire scenes (e# g* that of the fairies) exist in a different version from the Polio* 1 Fleay believed that the Quarto was printed from a partly revised prompters copy of an older version of the play, which became useless when Shakespeare had made his 2 final version* This older version of the play, Fleay claimed, was th© Jealous Comedy which Shakespeare1s company performed on January 5, 1595*

Unfortunately for Mr. Fleay 3 (and Kr# Dover Wilson who holds a similar view ) th© Jeal­

ous Comedy has never been discovered*

Thus* from the outset,

their Inal stance on associating the Merry Wives v/ith this earlier play is baaed on a supposition which can not be subjected to proof*

But that does not deter hr# Fleay from

going farther and claiming that this older version of the Merry Wives* which was called the Jealous Comedy* made use of the Mumpelgart Incident of 1592*

Fleay*s deduction is

that since there is mention of "cousin garmombles" in the Quarto, and a "Jealous Comedy" appeared on the boards in the first month of 1593, the two must obviously be linked. 4 The date of the Folio version of the Kerry wives 1 gFleay, F* 0** rop* niMu eft** mrur • p* 215# Ibid.. p. 17. 5 Wilson, J* D., Th© Kerry Wives of Windsor* Cambridge* 1921* .— ~ ~ — 4 Fleay, F* 0*, op* cit*, p« 210#


12 -

was probably th© Court performance in February 1600, accord­ ing to Ur* Fleay*

In placing the play this late, Fleay joinc

th© isajoirity of 19th century editors, who believe that Henry V nust have preceded the Merry Wives# The basis of their reasoning rests on the idea that Merry Wives was written after Henry V in compliance with th© Queen* s desire to see Falstaff in love, since Shakespeare had not fulfilled his promise in th© epilogue to 2, henry XV, to Introduce him in Henry V. The reason for Falstaff*s failure to appear in Henry V is ascribed by Mr. Fleay to the defection of th© actor who had 1 taken the part* H© suggests that Kemp©, Bees ton, Duke, and Fallant loft the Shakespeare company between th© production of 2 Henry IV and the Merry Wives. This much Is apparent In Mr. Fleay*© casej

it *

rests mainly on a hypothetical Jealous Comedy for which there is one recorded performance, January 5, 1595.

This ciato of

performance is tho only evidence we have of this so-called Ur-Merry wives.

5* Th© most important 19th century contribution to the textual history of our play appeared in 1688 whon P. A.

2 Daniel wrote a critical Introduction

to the*Griggs Facsimile

of the 1602 Quarto of the Merry Wives* At the outset of his 1 Fleay, F. G.>, op, cit., p. 210. 2

Daniel, P. A., Shakespeare*s Merry Dives of Windsor, tli© first Quarto, 1602"! A Facs imlleHEn FEoio-LlThorrg oliy by William Griggs, London, 1808.

15 discussion, Daniel makes it clear that he lias little sym­ pathy for the first sketch theory.

He queries why Shake­

speare should work on so poor a sketch* later to be amended 1 and enlarged to almost twice its length. He says, wl’his seems to me inconsistent with the marvellous facility man­ ifested in his works and testified to by his contemporaries.M Thus, Daniel accounts for th© poorness of th© Quarto by claiming that it is a pirated version of a play shortened for presentation on the stage* Daniel recognizes that the first objection to his general theory will be that in many places th© corresponding passages of the Folio and Quarto do not run parallel to each other.

If the Quarto were only a shortened version of the

Folio It would b© difi icult to account for this fact.


he points out that this ©ame kind of dialogue-shuffling is also found in th© "bad" Quarto of Henry V. In short, when un­ authorized versions of pirated texts appear, It is small won­ der that they are garbled* Daniel also anticipates a more potent objection to th© concept of a common original text of the Merry wives. 2 namely, that in several places.where the same subject matter Is dealt with, th© disagreement of style and treatment Is so noticeable would seem almost'impossible>that both passages came from .one source.

In this connection, Daniel

1 Daniel, P. A., op. cit., p. ill. 2

Ibid*. p. v.

1 quotes Heywood1s famous complaint against the pirates: u3ome of my plays,” (says Heywood), "have, unknown to me and without any of ray direction, accidentally come into the Printer*s hands, and therefore so corrupt and mangled, copied only by the ear, that I have been unable to know them as ashamed to challenge them* n Daniel illustrates the untenable nature of the first sketch theory by comparing the first fifteen lines of the Quarto, scene 12, to the corresponding lines in the Folio, act III, scene lv«

Claiming that these Quarto lines cannot have been

written by Shakespeare (and they are only a sample of simi­ lar passages in the Quarto) he concludes that Shakespeare never wrote a first sketch* Thus Daniel, disposing of earlier speculations, offers a theory which has many points in its favor*

As he

2 reconstructs it,

the authentic, or Folio version, was short­

ened initially for stage performance*

How to this shortened

performance, undoubtedly open to th© public, came a literary hack who had been employed by the stationer to ret a copy of the play*

We ask ourselves how this pirate got the play in­

to his note-book*

And on this all-important question hr. 5 Daniel is somewhat vague* "ferhaps," he says, "ho managed to take

down some portions of the dialogue pretty accurate­

ly in short-hand, or obtained them by the assistance of some of the people connected with the theater.*1 1 Daniel, P* A*, op, cit*, p. vi. 2 Ibid*, p. vli-viii* 3

Kr. Daniel offers an Ingenious hypothesis to strengthen his idea that Busby employed the pirate,


ing that this same Busby was associated with the printing of Henry V, an admittedly spurious publication, Daniel claims that It was probably the same note-taker who was employed for both the Merry Valves and Henry V* Daniel*s ©v1 ~ Idenc© is stated: "There is a little peculiarity common to both these quartos which would seem to point to this conclusion* Shure for sure* shuts for suit, worell for world, occur in botE" indTThese peculiarities seem rather instances of phonetic spelling than printer*a errors." Yet, as Daniel realizes, since both Quartos, (i. ©., Henry V and Merry Wives) came from the press of Thomas Creed, It is not improbable that the printer alone was accountable. A stronger argument In support of the theory that th© copy for the Quarto was gained by viewing an actual per­ formance of th© play is the studied, descriptive stag© direct­ ions.

In the Folio there are virtually no stag© directions,

but th© nature of their appearance in the Quarto would indi­ cate that th© person responsible for the copy had seen the play. ,Xt is Daniel*s belief that neither the Folio nor the Quarto has come down to us in anything approaching a "perfect representation of the work a® it loft the author*a hands."

One noteworthy evidence of this is in the fact that

editors must use the obviously corrupt and pirated Quarto to 1 Daniel, P. A., op. cit., p. vii*

16 fill in linos and speeches In th© Folio*

And furthermore,

Daniel believes that a significant underplot has been care­ lessly cut from both texts*

He refers to th© plot in which

the conciliated duellists, Evans and Dr. Caius, gain revenge on Dine Host who had fooled them. 2 construction, Daniel showss

In a brilliant bit of re-

ffTwice, at the ends of scenes 1 and 111 of Act III (at the end of scene i only in Quarto) do thoy hint at something they intend# and in Act IV, scene v, after the Host has lost his horses, they are cur­ iously officious in cautioning him against the thieves; their threatened vengeance and the Host’s loss were doubtlessly connected* We might perhaps even suppose that Pistol and %m, who so unaccountably disappear from th© play after the second scene of Act II, were their hired agents in tills plot.” 3 Mr. Daniel sets the date for the Merry Wives in the latter part of 1599, claiming that it follows Henry V* In accepting the 1599 date, Daniel follows the tradition of Howe and Dennis that the Queen’s disappointment on not see­ ing Falstaff in Henry £ caused her to ask for the Merry l1?Ives. Thus, In summing up Mr* Daniel’s textual recon­ struction of our play, we see he believes that both Q arto and Folio emanate from a common source, that the version Homing© and Condell printed had been revised and cut, often crudely, and that th© Quarto was a pirated text obtained by a literary hack from shorthand notes procured at a represen­ tation* The significance of Daniel’s contribution can 1 Daniel, P* A*, op* cit., p* lx* Ibid* 3 Ibid*, p. viii.

- 17 hardly be estimated#

For the first time the importance of

the fact that the Quarto was a pirated copy of the play Shakespeare wrote was emphasized# As we have seen, the theory which Daniel offers has many points in its favor*

'*hat it was an advance over

any previous attempt to account for the differences in our texts is quite patent*

It is not strange then that the ed­

itor of the play in the Arden Shakespeare, hr* H* C. *Wt, should have been attracted to Daniel*a hypothesis when he came to writ© the introduction to his own edition of th© kerry Wives#

In answering th© question of how it was feas­

ible for Busby to b© able to present for sal© to the public the text of a popular play, which was cut down to only two1 thirds or a half of its true size, Hart says* "My reply to this is somewhat similar to what Mr# Daniel gives us as to the origin of the Quarto; it Is, in fact, almost identical, but I arrive at it in a somewhat different manner*" But If Mr* Bart agrees with Daniel he Is able to substantiate M s beliefs with scan© valuable reasoning, and In the main builds th© original theory of Daniel*s into a

2 more plausible whole.

With Daniel,

Hart hold® that there

was an authentic and sanctioned shortened version of the play in use*

This text was abbreviated from the company*a

prompt-book to accommodate a smaller company, or else for private presentation, that Is, for condensation into reduced 1 Hart, H, C*, (ed#) Merry Wives of Windsor, Indianapolis, --- * --------------1904, p* 12* • 2 Ibid*, pp, 13-14*

playing-time after court revels or banquets#

In line with this latter thought, Mr. Hart threw out a suggestion —

one, however, which he was not prepared

to examine to its limits#

In a casual line, he says:


the other hand, the Host in th© Quarto receives the full al­ lowance of apace.

He is but slightly curtailed in any place

from his proper position In th© Folio, so that he is oven more In evidence, comparatively, in the Quarto." This statement has the utmost significance to our

2 study.

Dr# Greg, in his brilliant investigation,

which we

shall examine next, found In this observation a ulue to the whole nature of the piracy of the Quarto text.

And we may

ask why Hart, on the threshold of a most important textual

discovery, should have passed It by so incidentally# There is much of value to be considered in some of 3 hla sub-points* For example, he saw clearly the significance of the omission from th© Quarto of the whole of the topical speech concerning Windsor Castle and the ^rder of the Garter. 4 In a sentence of fine critical intuition he says, "It is hard to avoid th© feeling, though it Is perhaps not capable of proof, that this play m s written for and acted at Windsor 5 itself." As Mr* Hotson was later to show, the onl^ logical 1 Hart. H. C.. op. cit*, p. xx. 2 Greg, V*. !», The Merry Wives of Windsor, 160;., Oxford, 1910# *---- ------3; Hart, H. 0., op. cit,, p, xvill. Ibid. Hotson, Leslie, Shakespeare versus Shallow, London, 1931.

explanation of the "cousin ganuombles" episode points to an initial court performance for the play. Mr. Hart, in piecing the composition of the play In 1598,

and before that of Henry V, is convinced that the

Merry wives was written at the time when Falstaff had ar­ rived at the summit of his popular reputation.

It is more

difficult to prove the type of statement that Hart makes a 2 few lines later* ttHo doubt the plan of Henry V was already formed, and perhaps the play was In the course of preparat­ ion; but Falstaff was taken down to Windsor, Instead of across to France.”

There Is nothing in Henry V which either

corroborates or denies Hart’s assertion.

For my own part, I

feel that any elaborate attempt to fit th® Merry Wives in with the temporal events of the Prince Hal plays Is largely wasted effort. In summing up both the theories of Daniel and Hart, we must reiterate that their textual reconstructions were in the ri^ht path#

¥©t it was not until Dr. Greg pick­

ed up the important clue in Hart’s introduction, and from it laid the foundation for the ^memorial” theory of piracy that the road was, I believe, open to the true textual history of the Merry Wives.

4. We come then, to what is, perhaps, the most imHart, 2

°P« pit.. p. xxxviii.

Ibid.» p. xxxlx.

portant single study yet published on the textual history of our play.

In 1910, Dr.

W# Greg published an edition

of the Quarto with a vitally challenging Introduction. Even 1 today it is recognized as "one of the two main foundationstones of the present-day study of "bad” Quartos which have been securely laid by Dr. Greg.” As we proceed it will become apparent that I owe much to Dr* Greg*s study.

In the first place, I am in com­

plete agreement with him that the basis for the Quarto text involves a memoi'Ial reconstruction rather than stenographic. And secondly, that the host was mainly responsible for the Quarto text seems equally true.

However, Dr. Greg has used

these two main points to offer an account f or the composit­ ion of the Quarto with which I am not in accord. In his la2 ter study on the Quarto of Orlando Purloso. Greg advanced a theory, which, as we shall see, has many attractive sug­ gestions for my own textual reconstruction of the Merry ^flves* 3 Dr* Greg is careful to anticipate th© main argu­ ment which might be brought against his theory that th© Host was the pirate of the Quarto text.

He examines the Idea

that th© hypothetical reporter bribed the Host to lend him Duthie, G. I*, The Bad Quarto of Hamlet. Cambridge, 1941, p. 39. 2 Greg, W, w», Two Elizabethan Stage Abridgements * the Battle of Alcazar and Orlando Furioso, An Essay in Critical Bibliography. Oxford, 1923. 3 Ibid.. p. as.

iw«L -

the manuscript of his part#

*£ this were true, the trans­

action occurred in one of two ways*

Ihe first Is that the

Host gave his part to the pirate before the latter wrote his version, and it was the basis for the text.

The second

is that he received the Host1s side after he wrote his copy and merely used it for correction*

Greg disposes of both

of these ideas by showing that if the pirate had the Hostfs 1. part before he wrote his v ersion, "why are there even in

this part frequent small verbal discrepancies of a nature too slight and unmeaning to be accounted for by subsequent revisions?"

On the other hand, if he received the manuscript

after he had written his version, why do those small errors show up in some of the Host*s speeches and not in others? Greg admits that these obstacles might b© met by saying that instead of getting the manuscript from the Host, th© reporter merely received a verbal record from an actor who had not committed hia part, to memory perfectly*


2 as Dr* Greg counters*

"^bls falls to account for another

remarkable phenomenon observable in th© Quarto, namely, the comparative excellence of the reporting of those scenes in which the Host is on the stage even where he takes no prom­ inent part in the conversation*" Thus, establishing the significance of the Host*s function in th© piracy, Greg makes certain deductions from this fact,

^e believes, initially, tha$ .jfoo.pirate whqj:ro- ...

a Xblu.. p. 31.





no ***** « cured the text for Busby was no one but the actor oi the host1a part,

'Ihls actor, who to be &ure hae not memor­

ized his own ptrt perfectly, supplied from memory as much else of the play as he could remember.

Ih&t this actor

should not know his own part faultlessly is not unusual, 1 Greg claims, and he cites the fact that authors constant­ ly bewailed unsanctioned changes and bits of gag for which the actors were responsible, and also that there were no consecutive runs for plays in Shakespeare’s day, so that the number of roles an actor had to have at his ooismand at the same time was large. It follows that this actor-pirate would become familiar with considerable portions of the other actors’ parts from hearing them during the play, and that he would remember those lines more clearly which were most familiar2 ly Intertwined with his own lines. As Greg points out* ”% i s is precisely the state of things which exists in the Quarto, ^ot only do we find the Host’s part alone usually In more or less verbal agreement in the two versions, not only do we as a rule find the versions springing into substantial agreement when he enters and relapsing into paraphrase when he quits the stage, but when he disappears for good and all at the end of the fourth act (and the actor likely went home or to the tavern) we find that what remains of the play is in a more miserably garbled condition than any previous portion,* After this paragraph of sound analysis, Grog deu cides to make his case less categorical and admits! 11It 1 Greg, Tfi, \V., op. cit. , p. 56. 2 Ibid., p. 37, 3 Ibid., p. 38,

— 25 — may be, of course, that the actor himself did not write out the copy, but dictated It to some devil in Busby1s office; it may even be that the version was concocted in collaboration by the actor and a reporter*n He is careful 1 to tell us later that the Host "produced, as the result of a week or two*s labour with a not very ready pen, a rough reconstruction of the play, in which, naturally enough, his own part of the Host was the only one render­ ed throughout with tolerable accuracy.n Dr* Greg, then, believes the textual history of the play to be as follows: Shakespeare wrote the fcer2 ry telves "somewhere about 1598*11 This date, of course, is somewhat vague, since somewhere about 1598 could be 1597 or 1599, but that is as specific as Grer wishes to be on this particular point.

This play was acted on the

stage and was In the main the same text that we have in the Folio version, except for one important elimination from the prompt-book which we assume served as copy for tho Folio*

This excision was In the plot by which Klne

Host of the Garter is defrauded of his horses, which Greg believes played a much more substantial part in Shakespeare’s original play than the Folio version indi3 cates. Greg further believes that this plot was inti1 Greg, Vv, y;., op. cit*, p* 37. 2 Ibid., p. 41. 3 Ibid.



mately interwoven with the denouement oi the iInal at* Dr* Gre^ feels obliged to show ?/hat happened to this aforementioned plot, and he proceeds to do so, but 1 with an explanation which X feel is somewhat too ingenious* "After a while, and for some reasons which I do not attempt to explain, it became necessary or desirable to modify and largely to remove this horso-stealing plot# • The work was handed over to one of the. play­ wrights connected with the Lord Chamberlain*s company with Instructions. &© made the necessary excisions and worked over the remainder so as to conceal any too obvious traces of the knife* The last act was probably wholly recast, and following his instruct­ ions, ho supplied two alternative versions thereof, on© adapted for representation at court, the other on the common stugeV" But having gone this far, Greg offers a series 2

of deductions, which seem to me largely unmotivated* "These alterations were clumsily applied to thd stage versions* The new popular fifth act was substituted for the original, and in other parts where necessary the altered version was introduced* But the actors were lazy and made but a very poor attempt to learn the new dialogue, while whenever possible they con­ tented themselves with mere omissions, ignoring the new material altogether* The ossibly felt some re­ sentment at the interference which threw crtra work on their shoulders, and introduced bits of gag con­ taining sly allusions to forbidden natter* The play has caused some talk, possibly scandal, and an enter­ prising but unscrupulous stationer scented an opport­ unity* The company wes not improbably in disgrace and absent from London at the time* One of the hired actors, however, who had filled a not unimportant role in the play remained behind and proved amenable* M This actor, then wrote out a rough reconstruction of the play. His own part was, of course, written out with fair accuracy* But of the recent Interpolations ho hau little renerabrance 1 Greg, W* **, op* clt*, .p* 59. 2

Ibid., p. 41.


2S -

even so far as hie own speeches were concerned.

Thus the

copy for the Quarto was procured and on January 18, 1602, It was entered in the Stationers1 Register by John Busby. The importance of Creg’s study was that for the first time the key to the nature of the piracy of the Quarto was indicated*

**e showed clearly that a memorial

reconstruction could account for the differences between the Quarto and the Folio versions of the play*


his main directions I hope to indicate later in this s tudy a textual history which will answer some of the questions which Dr. Greg’s study only raised*

6. In 1917, Mr. J. K. Robertson read before the 1 Shakespeare Association a paper on The Problem of the Merry Wives of’Windsor.

In this essay, Robertson not only

offered a textual history of the play, but suggested sever­ al substantiating points which make his case interesting if not entirely convincing. 2 As he sees it,

Shakespeare wrote the voroion of

the Merry Wives that we know as the Quarto, in 1393; that is, Shakespeare reworked an old ilay that belonged to the company, and it appeared In January, 1593 as the Jealous Comedy. But Shakespeare did not do much in this Jealous 1 Robertson, J* M., The Problem of the herry v.lves of Windsor. London, 1917* 2 Ibid., p. 11.




Comedy except insert the heat of the ecriic matter* As X Hobertson claims; “Slender may or may not be his; but the mechanical fun of the French-English and Wesh-bnglish of Dr. Calu3 and Sir Hugh is not his kind of humor* any more than is Sir Hugh’s hat In lesson in the expanded play. ” The fact that Shakespeare uses this same type of humor in Henry XV and Henry V# i*o*» tho. English lesson of Katharine of Havarre, would indicate that Hobertson is wrong.


apparently Robertson enjoys going through tho list of con­ temporary dramatists —

Greene, Lodge, Dekker, even Chap­

man, to discover who might have written the main body of this Jealous Comody.slnce Shakespeare only touched it up here and there*

Hobe: tson believes that the intricate

structure of the play, with its intertwined plots, shows the collaboration of several hands*

But the only hand of

which he is sure in this 1595 comedy is that of Chapman. In Robertson’s own words, m d here 1 thoroughly agree with him, "Chapman is indeed about the last Elizabethan whom one would 2 expect to find collaborating in a Shakespeare play." Rob­ ertson* s evidence for associating Chapman with tho *W r y ulvoa is based on some vocabulary similarities; in the last act Faletaff says; ’Let the sky rain potatoes; let It* . . hail kissing comfits and snow erlngoes’ (V. iv. 24-7) Since the words potatoes end erlnffoea appear at no other 1 Hobertson, J. K., op. cit., p. 25* 2

• P* 13*

- 27 -

place in the Shakespeare concordar.ce, and since Chapman 1 has a line in his Hay-Da;/, *A banquet of oyster pies, potatoes* skirret-roots, eringoes, etc#1 Mr* Hobertson concludes that Chapman i© the author of the Folio line in the Merry Wives# Yet we find the same words, a© Hart

points out, used by bodge in his Devils Incarnate

in 1536, by Greene in the Hee and Shoe Conycatchor» 1592, by Kars ton in the Malcontent and by Dekker in the' Banlcrouts Banquet* Mr* Hobertson cites in all some twenty instances of Chapmanesque lines but only with a success that borders so largely on the possible rather than the probable, that I hardly feel we need consider them seriously# We come now to the contribution of Professor Dover Wilson to the textual history of our play#

In act3

uality, when we come to examine the Hew Cambridge edition Merry Wives* we shall concern ourselves not only with Professor Wilson but also Sir Arthur Qulller-Couch# Like4 wise, in ,the series of articles published In the London 1 Hobertson, 98 (?) - y - Shakespeare^ revision of revised Jealous ^omody on nas¥y asslngment*



1601-2 a m pirated Quarto Text

6* The possibility of various Elleabethari texts ap­ pearing surreptitiously, due to stenographic piracy, has boon much discussed by modern textual scholars*


the practice had been hinted by such 18th century scholars as fheo&ald and ^alone, it vma not until 1897 that any ex­ tensive research was made into the subject*

At tirfc tine,

Dr* C* Bewlscheit published his artile on "Shakespeare und die Stenographic, * in which he indicated that Timothy Bright1s Characterie* a rudimentary system of shorthand of the late

16th century, might have been utilized in pirating certain Shakespearian texts* The major job of developing Dr* Dewlscheit!s hy­ pothesis has rested with Professor Max Fbrster and his stud­ ents at Munich, a work which has been taken up by other Ger­ man universities*

The first study of this kind which dealt

with an actual "bad" Quarto of one of Shakespeare1s plays 1 was Dr* Paul Friedrich*s work on the Merry Wives of Windsor* Later, there appeared similar studies of Romeo and Juliet (Schotfcner, 1918), Henry V (Kraner, 1923), and King Lear (Stoessel, 1936)*

The attitude of English scholars toward

the use of Brightfs Characterle has been, on the whole, un­ favorable, and such men as Greg, Chambers, and Wilson have voiced many arguments against its acceptance*

In this country,

Professor Quincy Adams has supported the stenographic theory in an article on the first Quarto of King Lear* and Professor Price has argued similarly for the "bad" quarto of Henry V* But there are those, such as Madeleine Doran, who see no ev2 idencd of stenography in King Lear* and who, in general, are antagonistic to the whole theory*

Particularly opposed to %J the stenographic piracy school is Mr* W, T. Mathews, v/ho has

published a significant objection to the use of Characterle* 1 Friedrich, Paul, studlen zur im aeltalter Shake speares* Leipzig S' Doran, Madeleine,"The Quarto Shorthand," Modem Philology, Vol. 3 Mathews, w., Shakespeare and 4ih Series*

Sngllachen stenographic of M n g Lear and Bright's XXXIII* the Reporters, Library,


Professor FBrster cites an interesting variant in the Quarto of Kerry wives which would, seem to indicate that Bright*s system had been used at that place: *Xn the first Quarto (1602) of the Kerry lives of Windsor (1* 328# ed# W#W# Greg) --’"We" line" i's basing in W e Folio text — Mrs# Page# upon receiving a loveletter from Sir John Falstaff, is exasperated at the Knight*s forwardness, and exclaims: *what in God s name doth this man see in me# that thus he shoots at my honesty?' Vsi©nf but that I know my own heart# I should scarcely persuade myself I were hand#1 One feels that the word hand does not make sense. Heading the two sentences again carefully the thoughtful reader will hit upon the word honest as the word wanted by the con­ text# in correspondence™with the preceding honesty# And a comparison of Bright*s symbols for hand and honest shows at once that the meaningless hand may weXl' have originated in the confusion of the two' ’symbols by the transcriber# It is true# they differ in position and bottom-stroke* hand has a vertical position and the hook to the right, while honest is slanting with the hook to the left# But a stenographer writing hastily might well err in making the bottom-stroke to the right instead of the left#* The symbols as they appear in Bright are: hand ^ honest One looks through the Quarto of Merry Wives hoping to soe further examples of this type of variant#

But appar­

ently there are no others# for neither Friedrich nor Fore ter cite them# and I have been unable to find any others#


frequent appearance of this type of mistake by the piratestenographer would be a strong indication that the text was obtained by a practitioner of Bright*a system.

Since# how­

ever# we have o**ly the one example in the play# it is quite 1 Forster# Max# "Shakespoare and Shorthand,11 Philological Quarterly. XVI# p. 16#

possible that the reading of hand for honost may have taken place in the shop of Thomas Creed©#

The word might have

come at the end of a line in the manuscript from which the copy was read# and thus the at night have been crowded above the word end missed by the compositor. We have numer1 ous examples of «s being misread as d In Elizabethan manu­ scripts#

As Professor Fbrater himself says# nA great many

variants are surely nothing else but printing mistakes.” When Dr. Friedrich wrote his study on the use of Bright fs system in the Merry Wives one of the first things he attempted to do was to disprove Dr. Greg’s theory concern­ ing Min© Host’s role In the piracy.

His objections are 2 grouped under five main points# as followst ttPolgende Punicte# gedrangfc zustaaengestellt# sprechen gegen Gregs Grund© und Hypothese: (1) Die wirtsrolle# als die ©iner Hauptperson, muszte von Jedem “playhouse thief#” auch von einem shorthand pirate# m’ dglichst gut wledergegeben jrerden, daher die relative treue ijber©inetinaaung der Quarto mit der Folio; (2) wortllche ^ongruenz der beiden Vcrslonen In do*. ^Irtsrolle 1st nleht durchaus vorhanded# was doch wolil be I Richtick©It der Gregechen Hypothec© su erwarten war©; (3) dl© Uberelnstimmungen in den Kollen der andcren Peroohen sind in don Szenen in denen der Wirt mit auf der Buhne 1st, nlcht imer so stark, wle man ©s erwarten oolite von dem Bericht einee Schauspielers # der sicher hauflg diese Reden nlthorte; (4) Manchmal w©Isen die belden Versionen auch nach dem Abgang© des Wirts wbrtllohe Entspreohungen auf; dies 1st insofern auffallig# als bekanntlich die melston Sck&uspielor gerade den ihrem Abtreten folgenden Partien wenig Aufmerksamkeit scheriken (3) auffallig 1st fernor, dass manchmal sogar die Stichworte# auf die hin der Wirt den Dialog# aufzunohmon hat# nioh uborelnstlmmen; gerad© die “watch wordsw kennt aber der Sohauspleler genau." 1

Vide Leon Kenner# Restoring Shakespeare, Lew fork# 1022, p. 48. 2 Friedrich# f.# op. cit.# p. 169.

Let us examine some of the examples which Professor Friedrich offers as evidences of Bright*s system being em­ ployed by the pirate*

I have chosen four examples used by

1 Br* Friedrich* firsts 1* (Folio) 1*3* 85

And his soft couch defile.

(Quarto) 1. 231

And eke his bed defile#

2 Of this* Friedrich says* gibt fur couch und bed

wBas Worterbueh der Characterle als Grundslegal lie an ^


vorllogendem Fallo wusste der das Stenogramm Kntaiffernde allcrdings diese Siegel*” One would expect that the pirate had to write down the symbol for lie and then put the consenting sign for £ at its left* so that when he transcribed his markings he would get* at least* a synonym of couch beginning with the same letter#

But this does notoccur here* nordoes it happen in

the next

example Friedrich citesj

2* (Folio) 1* 1* 066 (Quarto) 1. 76

and taken him by the Chains: and take her by the mussel*

Here we find that the pirate would use as his symbol from Bright’s table the sign which indicated the word fe .ter. Again we might suppose that the synonym which the pirate would use in his copy would begin with tho letter c, *f he employed the consenting: method in any way* 1 Friedrich* J?.* op# cit*. p* 174. Ibid.

One begins to

see what Dr# Duthie means when he says,

”It Is nuch more

reasonable to suppose that the system was not used when we find that the characteristic error which it would encour­ age Is not exemplified to any great textent in these Quar­ tos# n I will give one further example which Dr# Fried­ rich offers, and let the reader decide for himself whether the variant seams due to the limitations of Bright’s sys­ tem, or whether, as I hold, it is the obvious synonym which an actor who was reconstructing a text from memory would use# (Folio) 2* 2* 94-6 (Quarto) 1# 49

surely I thinks you have charmes, la I

By my troth, I think you work by inchantments T ------

As Dr# Friedrich points out

the grundsiegel for the two

words would be bliss# let how Inadequately the word bliss approaches the suggestion of a magic power wielded by Falstaff over the country wife#

Hie pirate, at best, could

use that symbol, but then would have to make a definite con­ senting sign which would indicate the correct synonym* There is hothing in the variant which appears in the Quarto that suggests such an action* Thus we have examined the theory that the quarto version of Merry Wives might have been printed from a text taken down by shorthand*

Although I cannot agree with

1 Duthie, 0# X#, op# pit*, p* IS# 2 Friedrich, P., op, pit** p* 175#

Professors Forster and Friedrich, I shall not go to the other extreme and claim that shorthand was never used in the transmission of an Elizabethan text*

It is difficult

to make out a case for Bright*a system on the basis of the evidence they have presented# At this point I wish to discuss the important 1 contribution of Professor Beslie Hotson as it concerns our study#

It is not my intention to explain the entire

carefully worked-out case which Professor Hotson presents, particularly since most of my readers are already familiar with his study#

But, by way of recapitulation, It may be

wise to summarize his main points# After many laborious hours in the Public fiecord office, Hotson discovered an interesting document which concerned William Shakespeare#

It appears, as he recon­

structed the case, that Shakespeare had been in some legal trouble with one William Gardiner, a justice of peace in Surrey#

Gardiner, it develops, was taking advantage of his

position as Justice of Peace to make it difficult for Shake­ speare and his fellow-actors at the Swan*

The fact that

Francis Bangley, owner of the Swan, was Involved In the same litigation with Shakespeare would indicate that the matter probably arose out. of some situation connected with the theater# Professor Hotson*s main contention is that Shake1 Hotson, J* L,» op* clt*, pp# 111-122.

- 38 speare was satirizing not Sir Thomas Buoy in the Merry Wives, but Justice Gardiner * After establishing the motive for the satire, he proceeds to show how the pass­ ages la the Folio version of our play point to Gardiner rather than Lucy*

The point which has always identified

Shallow with Sir Robert Lucy was the passage in which Slender boasted of the 'white luces' which were blazoned in Justice Shallow*s coat of arms*

From this identificat­

ion it was easy for some ingenious editor of the 18th cent­ ury to formulate the deer-stealing incident*

This, of course,

is a ela& example of how tenuous circumstantial evidence within a play can give rise to a tradition which will be ac­ cepted faithfully by following generations*

But when we

learn that Justice Gardiner*s first wife was the daughter of Robert Luce (or Lucy), the key to the whole question is 1 given to us* As Hotson points out, wIf Robert Luce had a coat of arms, his daughter would have a right to bear his arms, and her husband could impale them*

that Is to say,

marshal them with his own on his shield*w Farther investigation by Hotson provided the ev­ idence he wea seeking, and he found in the Stowe Manuscript 587 a record of Gardiner's funeral In which was drawn the Gardiner coat of arms*

There, to be sure, side by side with

the golden griffin were three white luces* . 1 Hotson, J* L*, oj>* clt., p. 87*

For til© first time an adequate explanation of the 'h'shite luce” Incident was presented*

The tradition, 1 it will be remembered, was started by Howe in 1709: wHe (Shakespeare) had by a misfortune common enough to young fellows, fallen into ill company* and, anongst them, some, that made a frequent practice of deer-stealing, engaged him with them more tiian once in robbing a park that belonged to Sir Thomas Lucy of Charlecote, near Stretford# For this he was per­ secuted by that gentlemen, as he thought, somewhat too severely* and in order to revenge that ill-usage, he made a ballad upon him, and though this, probably the first essay of his poetry, be lost," yet it is said to have been so very bitter that it redoubled the prosecution against him to that degree that he was obliged to leave his business and family in Warwick­ shire for some time and shelter himself in London*” For over two hundred years the tradition was accepted#


in this century some editors began to question tho matter# As K* C, Hart put it in his introduction to tho Arden edition of Merry Wives,

"if we had no tradition, what should

we make of the coat of arms passage? unmeaning*

It would be utterly

On the other hand, if we had not that passage,

I doubt if any one so inclined could be prevented from re­ jecting the whole tradition,"

Mr* Hart was also astute

3 enough to point out

that the character of Sir Thomas Lucy,

who was an important public man, is well known, and that neither it nor his personal history correlates In the slight est with the portrait of Justice Shallow#

. . , u r . SLS!;!!l!!!,, w ™ . Hart, H# C*, op* clt*, p* xxxii* Ibid,

But Professor

1700. p. .1.


40 —

Hotson presents the actual motive for the satirization of Shallow and his simple-minded nephew, Slondor, by showing the court trouble between hangley and Shakespeare on one side and old Gardiner and his nephew wayte, on the other* having established this fact firmly Bctson is I able to give us a date for the Merry Wives , which is mor accurate than that given by Greg or Mlson and Pollard* Since Gardiner died on November 26, 1597, the date would be the latest limit for the writing of the play*


all scholars and editors of Shakespeare agree that it was not his practice to satirize a man who had but recently died*

Thus, the play apparently was composed between Oct-

ober-November 1596, the time of the quarrel of Langley and Shakespeare with Gardiner, and a year later when Gardiner died* 2 Hotson carries us one step closer to the actual

occasion of the first performance of Merry Wives, in what seems to me sound deduction.

He agrees with the viow that

Shakespeare wrote the play for a court performance, and that it is not improbable that Queen Elizabeth had been delighted by Falstaff in the Henry IV plays and asked for a sequel. Whether the play was written in a fortnight or not is Im­ possible to determine, but that it was composed in great haste is evident throughout* 1 Hotson, Leslie, op. cit*, p. 111. 2

Ibid*, p. 113*

1 The play, he concludes,

was writ ten for the Feast

of tho Garter on St* George*s ^ay, April 23, 1397*

The evi­

dence within the Folio version of tho play itself points un­ equivocally to the fact that it was written for some festiv­ ity concerning the Garter.

The lines in the Pairy-Quoen*s

speech carry praise to the ordert And nightly, meadow-fairies, lock you sing, Like to the Garter*s compass, in a ring: Th* expressure that It bears, green let it be, More fertile-fresh than all the field to see; And Honl solt qUl mal j pense write In emeraicT tuftsfTowers, purple, blue, and white; Like sapphire, pearl, and rich embroidery, Buckled below fair knighthood1® bending knee: Fairies use flowers for their charactery. How there had not been an election of the Garter for four years; and It is unlikely that the Merry ViIves was written in 1593 since that would postulate its composition before Henry XV*

Moreover, the last act of the play pays handsome

tribute to the court of Elizabeth, so that we may discard the idea that the play was written after James came to the throne.

But Professor Hotson has one further evidence to

indicate that the 1597 Garter foast was the occasion for the play*s composition.

At this time five new Knights of the 2

Garter were created, and they were Frederick, Duke o^. vurttem­ berg; Thomas, Lord Howard do Walden; George Carey, Lord HunsGon; Charles Blount, Lord Mount joy; and Sir Henry Lee. 1 Hotson, J* h., op. eit., p. 115.

2 Ibid*

Of the Duke of L'urtteraberg we shall say more later, for he Is our old acquaintance Mumpelgbrt* ent let us look at one other name — don.

But for the. mom­

Geroge Carey, Lord Huns-

*%is same George Carey, oousin to Elizabeth, had recent­

ly been appointed Lord Chamberlain, by the sovereign, and as such was Shakespeare*s own patron.

What could b e more natur­

al than that Lord Hunsdon should carry the wish of the Queen to the chief-playwright of his company, indicating that the time for the play was only a few weeks away, and the occasion 1 was to be the Feast of the Garter. As Hotson puts it, ,fHunsdon must have known well before April 23 that his election was assured, and being master of the company which played most fre­ quently before Elizabeth, could pass on to his servant Shake­ speare the Queen1s wishes for a play to make them merry after the feast. * Thus we see that Professor Hotson had made two im­ portant points which w© can accept.

First of all, ho has dis­

missed the Sir Thomas Lucy tradition by pointing out the act2 ual person that Shakespeare w&a satirizing. And secondly, in showing that Gardiner died in November, 1597, he has given us 1 •' Hotson, J. L,, op. clt.. p. 120. 2

Professor I. Q* Adams argued convincingly that If Shakespeare had intended revenue by satire against Sir Thomas Lucy he might have taken it much earlier than In Merry Wives. I Henry VI gave him an open opportunity, for among Tts dramatis personae is Sir William Lucy, an ancestor of Sir Thomas Yet this representative of the family is portrayed with great respect* Vide Adams Life of Shakespeare. Boston, 1926, p. 00 fi

- 45 the latest date for the composition of our play*

He has

further substantiated his point by showing that the Merry ftlves was written for a Feast of the Garter, and that the only plausible time for that event was on April 23, 1597* In 1937 there appeared a book entitled Shake* ~1 apoare and the irp^t Horses by Professor Crofts of the Un­ iversity of Bristol*

This is a study which reads with all

the flavor of a mystery story, but one, unfortunately, which is based on so many resourceful speculations that one is re­ luctant to admit its validity to a world of fact*

And since

the task of the textual historian is to establish close prox­ imity to the facts of the event, even though they may be less exciting than tales of political Intrigue, on© Is forced to examine Crofts1 case in a critical light# His textual theory Is based on the concept that 2 the Folio Is not the original version cf Shakespeare*s play. Ho holds with Halliwell that it is a revision and amplificat­ ion of the Huarto text, but where Halliwell only gives broad outlines Professor Crofts fills in tho hypothetical action very closely. In the first weeks of May, 1597, according to 3 Crofts,

Shakespeare was asked (probably by royal command)

1 Crofts, J., Shakespeare and the Post Horses, Bristol, ~~ ’

1937. 2

Ibid*, pp• 131—40* 3 Ibid*, p* 132.

to write a play about Falstaff in love.

This play was to

be riven at the Garter festivities at Windsor on the 24th 1 , of that month. But Shakespeare s company did not have a play in stock that would do for this task, and to ’s.rite and produce a new play in the two weeks before the Installation feast was hardly possible. However, a rival company with whose constituents Shakespeare was on affable terms (perhaps Pembroke*s men) possessed a suitable play upon which he had had his eye for some time.

This was an Oldcastle play and since there had

been same trouble over the use of Cldccst!©1© name, Shake­ speare would get the play for a nominal sum* The Pembroke company, it developed, was quite willing to sell the play to

Shakespeare, provided he would

give some of their group roles in the performance.

To this

Shakespeare agreed, since with a number of actors already ’mowing their parts, the tremendous job of rehearsing and producing the play In two weeks might be accomplished# Shakespeare took the play home, but found that it would demand a considerable amount of r©-writing before an amorous prig, absurdly named Oldcastle, could eiserge as Fal­ staff.

would have to write new speeches for Falstaff, and

since a member of his own company, perhaps Kemp, who had made the part famous, would have to learn tho lines, why not have good ones? 1 It will be noted that Professor Crofts assigns the date of the play to the Garter Elections, as does Dr. ^eslie Hotson#

As our olaywrlght worked over the play he came 1 upon certain difficulties# Although, in the main, the play could stand as It was, with five or six parts being taken by ^'er»ibroke,s men who already knew their lines, there was still the necessity of changing the scene to Windsor and of interposing, In some way, a compliment to the Garter# So ^hakospe&re went to work, turning Sir Hugh Into a Welshman, changing Calua Into a Frochman, writing new speeches for Falstaff when he appeared with Pistol or Bardolf, but leaving his part untouched when he played opposite members of Pembroke’s company (especially Ford and Mrs# Quickly), and stuffing in Bardolph and Hym for no particular reason* 2 The play went into rehearsal — half the actors using linos from the old play, the others reading the new Shakespearian lines# ‘ In spite of all the confusion that such a procedure would entail (which Professor Crofts does not stop to consider) the play was ready for performance at tli© Garter festivities on Hay 24, 1597*

After this per­

formance, however, Shakespeare decided that this version would never do for the public stage*

As he started to re­

vise he saw it would have to bo expanded, for It was too short, and he would have to do something more with several of the parts that had been left quite thin and prosaic, es­ pecially Hrs* Quickly*s#

The patrons of bankside would cx-

1 Crofts, J*, op# cit#, p# 155* 2

Ibid*, p* 154#

— 4© — poet some thing more of the Mrs. Quickly they had met in Henry XV.

But why the groundlings at Banks id© should be

more demanding than the nobles at court is something Pro­ fessor Crofts does not explain*

We are asked to believe

that these discriminating nobles would call the play a 1 success (as Dennis1 tradition claims) but that the same play would not be satisfactory to London theatergoers* But to go on with the Crofts reconstruction, we 2 find that Shakespeare *a revision was hardly more than "a continuation of the patchwork that ho had begun for the first performance.M He changed the colour plot of the Fairy scene In Act V; he presumably also added the episode of William *age*s Latin lesson, although Professor Crofts doesn ft call this to our attention.

But for many of the pass-


ages ho merely tore out pages from the original manuscript he had made when he was revamping the Oldcastle play ho had received from Pembroke *s company.

this way ho saved him­

self the labor of copying those scones, even though those pages contained some glaring ©r.ors, which apparently he was too Impatient to mond* Thus, he completed the version aftor tho court per­ formance and laid It aside, having ho immediate need for the Merry Wives.

But this is not the end of our s tory, for Pro­

fessor Crofts has yet to account for the change of "gar.v.om1 Vide p. 5* 2

Crofts, J., op. pit., p. 13b.

bles" to "Duke de Jarmany*"

Is to be understood that

Crofts does not believe that Ghakospe&re was satirizing Humpellgart but rather the Lor~s Howard and Ilountjoy (the reason being some intricate political hatred between Essex 1 and the Howard faction)# As he puts it: "It seems to me much more probable that the Quarto reacting represents either a clumsy attempt by the actor to muffle the phrase "cousin germans,0 which had become dangerous, or possibly a belated recog­ nition of the fact that Mont joy was not one of the cousin germane at all, and that some looser phrase must be found# The fact that he was living in open adultery vfith the quondam mother-in-law of Lord Thomas Howard gave him a relationship for which "cousin germumble" may, for all I know, be the best term#" Having, as he thinks, disposed of "cousin garmombles," Crofts is ready to give the true explanation of 2 the por.t-horses# In September, 1596, the Governor of Dieppe, one De Ohastes, on a diplomatic mission to England at Gravesend ordered two of his servants to break open the saddle-door of a post-house at Greenwich and take two sad­ dle-horses for his use*

Thus, in the first or Quarto ver­

sion which was given at Windsor on Hay 24th, 1597, the ref­ erence to the De Ghastes episode would be timely* But there is one more matter which Professor Crofts must solve with his Ingenious pen before he can close the matter:

the question of how "cousin garmorables" be­

came "Duke de Jariaany."

Ao understand this fully v,e must

1 Crofts, J*, op* clt., p. 41 2 Ibid., p# 44 ff.

- 48

be familiar with the background of the intricate Court Quarrel which involved Essex, Cecil* Raleigh, and the How­ ards, to mention only the principal actors#

At any rate,

at the beginning of 1598, Sir Gillies Meyriek, steward to Essex, who was later responsible for the famous performance of Hichard IX, invited Shakespeare and his assorted troupe to produce the Merry wives at Essex House on February 14# This was agreeable to Shakespeare and he went to his work­ shop to get the production in order*

But since de Chastes

was a friend of Essex the episode would have to be hacked out and something substituted in its place*


then hit upon the brilliant Idea of using another postingseandal which would be sure to delight Essex and his constit2


In November, 1897,

John Howard {or Heywood) present­

ed at Chard a warrant issued without due authority by the horde Thomas Howard and Mount Joy, and persuaded the bailiff and constable to tftake up* two horses for him, which later involved these officials in legal proceedings.

What could

be neater than a reference to a positing scandal that involv­ ed the family of Essex1s rival, the Lord Admiral, disguised as *three cozen-germans” and a *duke de Jarmanie»*

The How­

ards, Crofts argues, were cousin-german of Elizabeth, and by this broad-side at them the troupe hoped to establish itself 1 Crofts, J* op* clt*, pp. 32-43. Ibid.

49 -

under the patronage of Essex, with Shakespeare as their author*

Thus Crofts identifies them with the 11third com­

pany” suppressed by the Privy Council on the 19th of Feb­ ruary, or five days after this supposed performance at Essex House*

Unfortunately, as with the bulk of this u-

nlque reconstruction, thei e is not one iota of evidence to -ctually indicate that conglomeration of Pembroke's and the Chamberlain's men was the ”third company#11 But what has happened to our Folio version? Professor Crofts has not much to say about this "patchedupw play, except that he believes it was never acted.


remained among the company's documents untouched until late in 1622, when H©minges cxnd Condell started to bring together the material for the Folio*

Brought to light some

25 years later it was copied fair for Jaggard1e press*


the scribe found Shakespeare's stag© directions disconcert­ ing and incomplete, so he adopted the "classical” system of scene-dlvision, used by Ben Jonson In his folio works of 1616.

7. As the final step in our review of the textual history of the Merry Wives I should like to examine the 1 theory of B. Crompton Bhodee* Although Crompton Abodeo has studied the four "bad” Quartos collectively, X think 1 Crompton J% 0^ohn, op# cit. 2 Murray, J. C., op. cit#, p. 174 seq.

- ISO -

1602, and on Candlemas Day (February 2, 1602-3) Shakespeare’s company travelled to Richmond Castle,where the Queen remained during her dying weeks.

There seems to me no evidence for

stating that the Chamberlain’s Men were In such disrepute that they were forced to take a provincial tour.

If they

toured In the provinces during the years between 1600 and 1603 It was because the finaclal pre;



of the "war of

the Theaters11 made it necessary. I have the i dling that the difficulties in Dr. Greg’s case revolve around his desire to give the pirateactor a better memory than he actually possessed.

In order

to do this Greg has to postulate that the version we have in the Folio had been revised by some unspecified playwright connected with the Chamberlain’s Men.

But I have suggested

that this is highly improbable. With the coming into being of this revised, stage-adapted Merry Wives

w© have all sorts

of problems, such as actors who are unable to learn new lang­ uages, and who insert sly passages of gag with double-entendre. And finally, perhaps because o£ the ’’scandal” which ^carry Wives caused, the bhakespeare company finds itself in dis­ grace andis forced to go on a. provincial tour.

In short,

Dr. Greg has created a complex series of corollaries from his improbable first proposition. For my own p&rt, I prefer to reconstruct the history of this t«xt on less complex speculations.

As X

have stated previously, I see no evidence of revision In the Folic*) version, except for the excision of possible bias-

- 131 phemous expressions (In accordance with the 1606 statute), and the change of "Brooke” to "Broome" for reasons 1 have given above.

If Dr. Greg were able to

osit some specific

reason why another playwright was hired by the company to make these revisions, when the man who was responsible for the play was an active associate of the players, I should be more Inclined to follow his theory* bet us look for evidences of revision in the 'W actual scenes of the Folio* In II* 11* of the Quarto wo find that **obin, Falstaff*s page, who appears in the Folio 1 scene, la lacking* Dr* Greg says, "The st&ge-ad&pter seems to have been at work on Robin*s part."

It Is difficult to

see why the innocent hob in should be removed from the London performance of the **erry lives#

Greg had led ue to believe

that the .reason for excision was certain potentially sedi­ tious material associated with the horse-stealing plot*


would we expect the stage-adapter to have removed hobin be­ cause the Chamberlain1a Men did not have a boy to play the part*

Their repertory demanded at lesst one or two boys

to play such parts as Robin and William Rage; the page In Taming oi the Shrew;

young Lucius In Titus Andronlcua,

Master Gunner*s son in 1 Ilcnry VI, Luce in Comedy of Lrrora; and Arthur in King John* When we come to IV* i. of th© Folio version wo find the Latin lesson scene* 1 Greg, W. ®*, op. cit*,

This episode ie not found in

132 the knarto*

Df this Greg says, "It introduces Lrs. Cage’s

young son, Mlllam and was, no doubt, for that and some ether reasons, omitted, from the stage adaptation*"

xhe on­

ly reason I can think of for omitting Willima Page's lesson from London performances would be, as -in the case of Hooin, that the company did not imv-0 the boys available who could * take the part# *t may be, however, that this scene was •

originally tied up with ths seditious horse-stealing plot in some way that neither Dr# Greg nor I have been able to discover*

Mien we see, however, that the omission of such

characters as Hobin, Will ^age, and servants, would facili­ tate the requirements of a limited group of strolling players, we have a logical explanation of the scene’s omission# There is ono other item about Dr# Greg's hypothesis that calls for a closer examination.

Concerning the copy

for the Folio, Greg says: n%yway Busby's wretched piracy could do them little harm so long as they had the authentic original in their possession# One day the author was turning over the leaves of his original at the playhouse# He perhaps pulled a wry face over the patchwork of the closing portion, but lorebore to touch it* Locking at the more original earlier scenes, however, a phrase here and there caught his eye that suggested improve­ ment* He wrote a few corrections at random and laid the book aside again# rs passed: the author died# In 1619, as p;*rt of an altogether shady enterprise, the surreptitious quarto oi" 1602 was reprinted* A year or two later an auth ritatlve edition of till the avail­ able comedies, histories, and tragedies of the author 1 Grog, W.

op* cit.,

- 133 was undertaken, with the good will of by a syndicate of London stationers# copy of the Lerry Wives was obt&Inea, and prepared for press with such car© cumstances seemed to demand#"

the company, ?he playhouse transcribed, as the cir­

hut according to what Greg has told us previously we would expect the emission of the Latin lesson scene, as well as any reference to Hobin, in the Globe playhouse copy that was given to Jaggard#

For the stage version made by Dr# dreg*®

playwright-adapter had excised both Hobin and Will Fag© from the copy*

If they appear in the folio text he will

have to admit that the copy given to Jaggard by Heminge and Condelle v-,as not the playhouse "book"# I have said that Dr# Greg's desire to credit the pirate-actor with a better memory than he actually possessed leads him into this com lex textual reconstruction*

For ex­

ample, If a stage-adapter removed Hobin from the London performances of the play, It would be no reflection on the pirate-actor'e memory if Hobin Is missing irorn the Quarto# if a stage-adapter wrote In a new scene in place of a potentially scandalous one, end the actors refused to learn their lines, It would be only natural that this now passage would be poorly reported in the Quarto.

1 believe that we

should approach the matter on less complex, if less ingenious lines#

%e may believe that the actor who played Mine Host

for the Shakespeare company supplied a fairly good proxaptcopy for a group of strollinp players with which he was

134 associated*

^‘hat he was capable of adapting the play to

meet the needs of a provincial company we have already demonstrated*

It is not necessary to postulate a myster­

ious revision In Shakespeare’s original text* as Dr# Greg has done, whenever Kine Host’s lines in the Quarto vary from his Folio speeches*

In some cases he actually forgot

the exact wording of his lines — that is not such a crime— and In other eases he was revising his lines to adapt t-.em to the needs of the prompt-book he was writing*

Ihe study of J* 22* Robertson, we found, was merely an elaboration of Railiwe11’s first sketch combined with lleay’s Jealous Comedy hypothesis*


is not able

to answer the basic objections to either theory*


son made the same mistake as Halllwell In insisting that the topical relevance of the "cousin-garmombies" episode was only to be iound In the 1592 visit of Kumpellgart to England*

*rom this belief he was bound to associate the

**erry Valves with a play about which we know nothing but its title, the Jealous Comedy* As * pointed out earlier in my discussion of Mr* Fleay’s theory, the fact that we have but one lone re­ ference to the Jealous Comedy* and that we know absolutely nothing about the play except its title, makes any conjec­ ture about it extremely tenuous*

But not so to Llr* Robert-

- 135son, for he construes this lone reference to the Jealous Comedy to mean that the play was suppressed after a per­ formance or two*

The reason for the suppression had some­

thing to do with the horse-stealing plot and the visit of Count Mumpellgart to Windsor in 1592*

On this point of

view Robertson is certain, just as was Halliwell in taking 1 the same point of view* But Halliwell had studied the Quarto closely enough to see that if he advanced a first sketch theory for the Merry Wives he also would have to say that the two parte of Henry IV originally existed in an unfinished state, and that, when the early sketch of the Merry Wly.cs was written those plays had not been altered and amended to the form %n which they have come down to us* Mr* Robertson tries to avoid the untcnability of Halliwell's statement by claiming that nothing in. t> > Quarto Indicates that Falstaff might have known Prince Hal in former days* Yet to whom other does Pal staff refer In the Quarto, than the jolly Hal of Henry IV, when he saysi H e lay my life the mad Prince of Wales is stealing his fathers Dears* And in the Polio we have *age disapproving of Fenton tecause j hee kept companie with the wllde Prince and Poins* But although Mr* Robertson will not regard these references as having only legitimate bearing on the ehronol1 Halliwell, J.O*, op* cit«, p* xxix*

136 ogy of our play,he does not refrain from using a similar device to strengthen his case.

will be remembered that

he is trying to prove that Shakespeare first introduced Falstaff in the Jealous Comedy-Merry Wives of 1593. His ob­ servations point tothe following conclusions}

”In the

Quarto version, which yields a play evidently written long before 1602, Falstaff is fat, but not old.”

In the folio

version, which hobertson calls the ^completed play,” he cites several references to Falstaff*a agot You are not young? no more am I* (Falstaff*s letter?

II. 1,6)

Syest thou so, Old «*ac? go thy ways. 1*11 make r; re of thy old body than I have done. (Falstaff to himself? II. II, 145-6) Yet in the Quarto we find similar references to Falstaff*a oldness? Ah, ^ack, will thy old body yet hold out? Good body, 1 thank thee, and 1*11 make nore of theo than I ha*d one. (Sc. vi, 544-7) Jest, His wells

have I lived to these years to be gullet now? (So. xvlii, 1539-40)

On the b^Sis of the thin evidence that Falstaff*s old age is mentioned six times in the Folio version, 2 ^obe tson deduces the following? ftIn short, Falstaff at his first "Shakespearian” ap1 hobertson, J. H*, op. cit., p. 9. 2 Ibid.

- 137 pcarance on the sta; ,e is simply fat and reasonably maturej and when Mrs. Ccuickly In 2 Henry XV says she lias known, him these twenty-nine yearc,“ he, also a known stage character and as such keeping her roaiden name, is, as it were, alluding to their early stage acquaintance* Xhafc is to say, the Merry ?Alves in its first form is the first in the serics of'tHe Falstaff plays as we have them.” It seems that hr* Kobe*tson attributes a chronological verisimilitude to bhakespe&r© which is hardly warranted by what we know of the playwright’s writing habits*

If what

Hobertson says about Mrs* quickly in 2 Henry IV and her

twenty-nine year acquaintanceship with Falstaff has any tie with earlier play, why is there no allusion In the slightest in the Henry IV play® to events which transpired

in the Merry hives?

One might expect that the allusions

would be mutually suggestive* One major objection to accepting the 1593 date with Its topical relevance to the "cousin garmombles" plot, is that neither Kobortson, nor any oth : followers of the first sketch

theory* can offer a reason why "garmombles"

'7 was not cut out by 1497-98.

^obertaon suggests that the

Jealous Comedy-Merry M v e a was drawn off the boards since "It is easily conceivable that a play in which governmental action was freely handled would be put under censorship.


may well have been, indeed, that the piece had to be for a time withdrawn."

Yet in this "amended version," as hobertsc.n

1 hobertson, J. &*, op* cit*, p. 11.

138 calls It, which he admits was written for performance at 1 Court, the plot concerning the Germans was, if anything, more fully developed than in the first sketch. This hardly appears as if the Queen would regard any allusions to Count Mmipellgart as being seditious*

$or do 1 think that Shake­

speare would be so uncautious ts to allow the play to be presented at Court without being familiar enough with his lines to know whether or not they were in any way lesemajeste*

I fail to understand the the type of critical

intelligence which will ascribe to Shakespeare all sorts of literary miracles and on the other hand make him virtual­ ly incapable of practical ability in handling his Globe af­ fairs*

&hat we often fall to understand is that Shakespeare

was also an actor and a "housekeeper" in the company —


so, all talk of the careless manner in which the first sketch was amended, with Shakespeare being little or not at all concerned with what the company did to his play, must be taken with a consld rable grain of salt* The final strong drawback to accepting hobertson’a hypothesis is that he offers no idea as to how the published Quarto came into being.

In Fleay,s case we sa7* an attempt,

t>t least, to account for this in hie theory that the Quarto was printed from a partly revised prompter13 book of the older version of the play, vhich had become useless when 1 hotertaon, J* ***., op> cit., p» 12.

- 139 Shakespeare made the final version.

Aside iron the fact

that this theory gives no explanation of how the partially revised prompt-copy got into Busby1s hands — extremely unlikely proposition —

in itself an

we know further that the

Folio is not an amended version because of the similarity of the Host1s part in the Quarto and Folio.

fhis is an

issue which Lobertson evades also, for why should not the part of the Host be amended along with that of the other characters? But if Fleay makes an effort to suggest how the copy for the Quarto came to Busby, hobertson does not con­ cern himself with this important item. Although he sees 1 that it ia na mutilated and piratical version or report, it was none the less a version of an earlier play than we possess in the Folio.”

In one respect what he says is

true herej for the version we have in the Folio was printed from a copy which underwent minor changes from 1397-8 until 1623*

'Fhe fact that a second Quarto was printed in 1619

would indicate that the play was apparently still popular and being acted In London with success. So we can expect certain changes in the prompt-book in the twenty odd years of its stage h'story prior to the printing of the Folio. It Is also true that the mutilated Quarto represents an 1 Hobertson,

H., op. cit., p. 8.

- 140 earlier version than we possess In the Folio in this sense that the piracy was made from the good prompt-copy text (which in 1623 supplied the copy for the Folio) at one point In its existence between 1597-8 and 1602.

It is not an

earlier play in the uaj Robertson suggests. Xf we are to believe Robertson, this Jealous Comedy-Merry Wives appeared early in 15S3, and after one or two perfoiTaances was drawn off the boards because of the Mumpellgart allusions.

Then later, after Oldcastie-Falstaff

became popular, the Queen desired to see somethin.; more of the fat rogue, so the Chamberlain1s Lien whipped up this re­ vised Merry Wives in great haste.

Such great haste, appar­

ently, that they forgot to cross out these hypotnetically seditious allusions of 1593, and thoy were left in for the Court performance* We are still left with the important issue of how this Jealous Comedy-Merry Wives came Into the hands of Busby untouched*

If the play were pirated, as Robertson

admits, it means that the text was received either through stenographic moans or by a memorial reconstruction,


of these techniques, however, postulate an actual performance or performances.

Since the Chamberlain’s hen had an amended

version of this play which had been written at the Qua on* s request, there would be no need of using the 61d Jealous Comedy.

And Indeed we see no refer once to it stve of that

- 14X lone performance of January 5, 15S3*

That the piracy did

not occur before the amended version is obvious when we realise that Busby did not print his Quarto until 1602*


X indicated In my discussion of Dr* Greg’s thesis, we may be almost certain that if Busby had received the text for the Quarto before 1602 he would have entered it on the Stationer* s Register*

This same ^usby had published on

August 14, 1000, an equally corrupt Quarto of Henry V# more than a year and a half before the Merry Wives*

Desiring to

capitalise on the Falstaff reputation, as he obviously did, it is clear that Busby would have published the Merry Wives if he had had the copy*

This entry of the Henry V quarto

in the Stationer’s Register gives us the very earliest date after which the pirated text could have been compiled* •Thus we see that Robertson’s first sketch theory, although an elaborate improvement over the thesis suggested by Halllwell almost a century before, fails to answer* the same basic objections*

Again a misinterpretation of the

topical relevance of the cousin-garmomb1es incident has led to the association of the Merry Wives with a play of which we know nothing except the title, Jealous Comedy* And finally, the attempt to link Dekker, Lodge, Greene and even Chapman iff with these two versions of the play Is based on the most unsubstantial type of speculation,yanu inference* V * # it* it

- 142 With the theory advanced by Rrofes. or Dover Wilson, with the collaboration of Dr. Pollard and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, 1 find myself in basic disagreement. ’ J?he main difficulty in the acceptance of general theory concerning the "bad” Quartos is that it will not answer two vital questions.

The first iss

that if prompt-copies

of seme pre-1593 version of the plays were available to the pirate, why did it take so long for the pirated Quartos to appear?

In the case of Merry Wives it was nine years. The

second objection is that their hypothesis gives no logical explanation of how some minor actor or so tors were able to steal four abridged prompt-books from Shakespeare’s company in the six years between the appearance of Romeo and Juliet in 1597 and Hamlet in 1603. X cannot believe that any company would Ik ve been an incapable group of blockheads as to permit some smart minor actor or actors to rob them of play after play, let in essence, that is what the Pollard-^'ilson case implies. Moreover, they have not made the slightest suggestion as to how any minor actor would have access to an outdated prompt­ book copy of the plays abridged for the provincial tour of 1593.

As I stated in my objections to hr. Robertson’s

hypothesis, we may assume that Busby printed the Quarto of Merry Wives just as soon as he could get the copy.


while it is feasible than an actor or actors should prepare a text, which at beat I.; a mutilated version of the text

143 which we have in the ^ollo, since he had probably been acting recently in Merry Wives, is it equally possible to believe that nine years after the abridged version was made this actor was able to get a prompt-copy of this early text?

Yet that is what Pollard and Wilson suggest happened,

not only in the case of the Merry Wives but three other plays as well.

As Wilson was 1 ter to scy in the Cambridge

Merry Wives in speaking of his joint theory with Pollard* 1 he is "confident that the 1602 Quarto possesses a higher authority than has hitherto been suspected, that in fact the ^opy* consisted partly of an abridged playhouse version (probably in the form of players* parts) of an old play which had not yet been brought by revision into its final shape, and partly of additions made thereto by the pirateactor who was responsible for the surreptitious publication, ** The main point of divergence between my own hypothesis and that of the Cambridge editors is that X believe the Quarto to be exclusively a memorial reconstruc­ tion* whereas they bring in an unknown text of a pre-15G3 play to supplement whet they feel to be the inadequacies of the memory theory, X find It most difficult to believe that a minor actor would have access to the company1a prompt-book at any stage of the plsy*s history*

Even were the play obsolete

1 Dover Wilson, op, cit** p. 2In.

- 144 In its practical us© lor the company, one would presume that the prompt-copy v.&s kept by the Treasurer as a piece of company property which they did not want to fall Into the hands of unscrupulous publishers*

If it is possible

to account for the quarto text solely on the basis of a memorial piracy by one of the c rapany of the 1597-8 ver­ sion of the play, the only one which Shakespeare ever wroc©, then I so© no

reason for exhuming a Jealous ^omedy

to make a raison d*etre for the


Professor Wilson is willing to admit that parts of the play wore written from memory by the pirate-actor who, as Dr* Greg has

definitely shown, played

in what Wilson calls

the "final version,” but

to be the first and authentic version*


which I hold 1 But, he adds,

"reporting will not account for everything*"

In the first

place, reporting does not account for the verse-scenes in the Quarto.

These scenes, Wilson claims, are "different

both In style and matter from those in the Polio, and despite the poverty of the verse are quite beyond the scope of thepirate who in other parts of the Quarto is hardly able to writ© decent prose."

As regards the matter in the

one main vers© scene, i.e. V. v, X do not find the diver­ gence so very great* 1 Dover Wilson,

Aside from the deletion of the Garter op* cit., p. 96.

- 145 speech In the Fairy Queen*a lines, for which are sub­ stituted lines which would have more appeal for a London audience, there are no changes in the matter of the last scene* j?

Let us examine, at this point, the plausibility of this Jealous Comedy theory, as Wilson and Pollard have stated it, and, a bit later, as Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch adds his weight to their case*

The Wilson-Pollard hypoth­

esis is that the basic Jealous Comedy was a* play of con­ temporary London middle-class life, and that it had noth­ ing to do with either Windsor or the associates of jolly Prince Hal*

They cite tho same passage that hr* Hart had 1 previously designated as sounding "pure London*" Hu*

Where is fead?

go you and see where Brokers sleep, And fox-eyed serlants with their mase, Go laie the Proctors in the street And pinch the lowsie serlants face; Spare none of these when they are abed, but such who^e nose lookes blew and red* Wilson and Pollard cite as further evidence for

their case the fact that in the Quarto Dr* calus* closet is consistently called a counting-house»

Hut on close

examination we can see that the pirate-actor responsible for the Quarto text might easily substitute counting-house for the word used in the Fclio*

The H#B*D* defines the

1 Dover Wilson, J*, op* elt., p* 420*

- 146 word as follows s

"a building or apartment appropriated to

the keeping of accounts; a private chamber, closet,


cabinet appropriated to business and correspondence; an office#” And it further defines this usage with the exam­ ple:

1587 - Wills and Inv# K»C« (Surtees}* "In the lyttell

counting howsse within the great chamber#” stead of the deduction

In short, in­

that a counting-house would be suit­

able enough in the house of a London merchant, but inapprop­ riate in that of a Windsor physician, I see nothing in the suostitution of counting-house for closet that is incon­ sistent with the quality of the piracy in general*


is no reason why Dr* Calus should not have had a countinghouse, used, of course, in

the cense of office, which is a

legitimate usage of the word in Si’z&bethan times# It is interesting to note that In the NfE#D definition of closet, a, reference Is made to the Merry wives, 1# lv# 46#

This line reads;

Pray you, go and vetch me in my closet une bolt© en verde,— a box, a green-a box; The Quarto s.Imply has; My simples in a box© in de counting-house# The definition in the H#e #D*, which the .Folio line is used to Illustrate reads;


a private repository of

valuables*" On this basis I see no reason for considering 1 ’* countIng-house a remnant from the abridged Jealous Comedy

- 147 of 1593, but merely a verbal-substitution by the pirate* But Messrs. Pollard and Wilson have one further proof of the same nature*

They point out that not only does Dr. 1 Calus of the Quarto have a countlng-house in his home, Miut a stall outside it, since he bids his servant Rugby look out *ore the stall* for the approach of the furious Sir Hugh Evans (sc* vil).

Dr* Calus would appear to have

been originally a London shopkeeper*B A close examination of the Folio scene which corresponds to this passage in the Quarto would have saved Mr* this point*

Wilson from an error on

For in Act III, scene 1, 31, we finds

There comes my master, Master Shallow, and another gentleman, froir. Frogmore, over the stile, this way. It seems clear that the line which the compositor at Thomas Creede*s establishment set up should have read: John Kugble goe looke met your eies ore de stile, And sple and you can see de parson* It illustrates neatly word stile

the way our pirate worked, too.


was in his mind, although It comes later in the

Folio version and is not said by Dr. Calus.

And so to in­

dicate the direction from which the parson was supposed to come, the pirate gives the line to Doctor Caius. Thus we see and

that the verbal pegs which Pollard

Wilson nave cited need never have come from a Jealous

Comedy. The other main point for the Jealous Comedy Is stated by Sir Arthur Qulller-Couch*

^e claims that Shake-

- 148 -

apeare hastily superimposed Falstaff "upon an attenuated prig of a character, whose wriggling3 Shakespeare Just misses, through haste, to stifle*"

This original priggish

character they have called Joseph Surface for want of a better name, since neither Wilson or Pollard, or any other critic for that matter, has seen the copy for the Jealous Comedy*

Joseph Surface is a "lackadaisical sentimental

swain, Euphuistic in address*"

But the question is this*

to whom does Falstaff speak in a Euphuistic, sentimental manner?

Certainly not to Bardolf or fiym or Mine Boat*


us examine the two examples which Quiller-Couch cites. (2 *2 * 21 }

Falstaff (to Ford)

Would it apply well to the vehemency of your affection, that I should win what you would enjoy? Bethinks you prescribe to yourself very preposterously*

Here is a linewhich is smart humorous contrast to Falstaff’s usual manner of speaking.

It seems obvious that the Eliza­

bethan audience would have quickly caught the humor of Falstaff* s high-falutin * language.

For Falstaff is trying

to make an impression the country-bumpkin, Ford# The second example Sir Arthur gives us is (5. 5. 117 ff.): Falstaff*

And these arc not fairiesi I was three or four times in the thought they were not fairies — and yet the guiltiness of my mind, the sudden surprise of ~y powers, drove the grossness of the fop­ pery into a received belief, in despite of the teeth of all rhyme and reason, that they were fairies*

149 Apparently Sir Arthur takes Falstaff seriously at this point* But I do not think that Shakespeare was leaving a careless truce of Joseph Surface’s moral lesson in his text, no do X think that his audiences would have been surprised at B’alstaff*© sudden "goodness*"


refers to this speech as "sanctimonious words of repentance*" And yet In Henry IV* part 1, we find Falstaff voicing the i


same type of expression, but who believes that?

After the

battle of Shrewsbury, when Falstaff is unsuccessful In convincing Prince John and Prince Hall that he has slain Hotspur, he shrugs his shoulders and says (5, 4* 324}* Falstaff*

I’ll follow, as they say, for reward, H© that rewards me, God reward hiral If I do grow great, I’ll grow less; for I’ll purge, and leave sack, and live cleanly, as a nobleman should do*

This, too, sounds like repentance on Falstaff*s part, but his actions in 2 Henry IV give the lie to his better inten­ tions*

We may conclude that Falstaff was a past master of

easy repentance, and of using the proper words to express his new humility*

The London audiences who had seen this

device in Henry IV would also appreciate its humor in Berry Wives* Before leaving the topic, I feel that in all fairness to Messrs# Wilson and Pollard we should examine a few more examples of what they call the "Joseph Surface passages, which are too numerous to be ignored."

Thoy cite

- 150 tlie lines in which Mrs. F0rd, as she shows F&lsta f fs letter to Mrs# Page, says:

(2# 1# 55)

"He would not swear; praised women*a modesty; and gave such orderly and well-behaved reproof to all uncomliness that X would have sworn his disposition would have gone to the truth of his words#" It would indeed be a sorry affair if the sly rogue who had fooled the witty Hal on more than one occasion could not write a letter to a country-wife and make her believe it was true*

bet us remember that ,though the Falstaff of

the Merry Wives does not shown anything like his bril­ liance in Henry I W we

err in going to the other extreme

and making him a dolt*

If Falstaff protests sincere love

to Mrs* Ford, and is good enough actor to make her believe it, why should we insist on making him Joseph Surface? The other example Wilson and Pollard cite is even less convincing#

When Mistress Quickly assures

Falstaff that Mrs# Ford dotes upon him so much that surely he must have charms, Falstaff replies, Not X, I assure theej setting the attraction of my good parts aside, X have no other charms# But I ask, what is moi e natural than the old peacock, Fal­ staff, should answer in kind to the honeyed words of Mis­ tress Quickly?

Surely we have seen ample evidence in the

Henry IV plays' of Falstaff1s ego, especially regarding his —


. .4 -,v « ••

self-claimed prowess with the fairer sex#

And although the

Merry Wives is, by and large, a playof contemporary

- 151 Elizabethan life, the fact that Shakespeare attempted to suggest the &agland of frlnce Hal is Indicative of one important thing?*

Shakespeare was endeavoring to again cre­

ate a Falstaff, much like the jolly rogue who had captured th©hearts of Londoners in Henry XV*

In the probably hur­

ried circumstances under which the play was written, his comic hand slipped, and old Falstaff gets chastised by the country-folk, for casco his glib tongue being unable to get him out of his predicament*

^et throughout the play his

actions are no differently motivated than in the Henry IV plays*

&© may not be the brilliant rascal of the earlier

days, but he is hardly a Euphuistic, sentimental Joseph Surface# Regarding the difference In style In the repre­ sentative verse-secenea, I can see no reason why an actor who had beer; acting In vcrse-dramas for a period of time could not write verse as good (or as bad, If you wish) .as that which we have in the Quarto.

As for Professor Wilson’s

assertion that in some parts of the Quarto he is hardly able to compose decent prose, I think that a simile collation of the two texts will prove his statement to be vastly exag­ gerated#

I know of no particular passa c in the Quarto

which falls to be adequate prose uecauoo of the pirate’s reporting*

^e must be careful not to confuse the careless

workmanship of the compositor at Thomas Creede's printing1house with the pirate’s ability*

In the case of Hamlet,

- 152 1 as Dr. C. I, Duthle has recently shown,

the minor actor

who played Marcellus was able to make for provincial performance a memorial reconstruction of the Quarto 1 text, being able,

"when his memory failed, to write blank verse

of his own in which he often incorporated reminiscences and quotations of countless passages scattered throughout the full text."

Dm* study of verse which the pirate-Host

composed for the Herry Wives shows vphat it also contained suggestions and quotations from the authentic version. Sext, Professor Wilson asserts that a memorial piracy will not account for the "garmombles* passage, and "others which are not in the Polio and clearly derive from an earlier version."

But if the memory theory does not ac­

count for the passage, how much less adequately does Dover Wilson1® own hypothesis#

For, if the "garni^bles" inci­

dent goes back to the 1592 visit of the Count and the incident was fully treated in the Jealous Comedy of 1593, then why is the plot so poorly developed in the Quarto? Let us remember, Dover Wilson and Pollard have been claiming that the copy consisted In part of the abridged playhouse version of the Jealous Comedy, which was later made into the Merry Wives by Shakespeare,

If the pirate had the complete

1 2 Duthie, G. I*, The "Bad” Quarto oi Hamlet, Cxford, 1941. Ibid, p. 96.

- 153 "garmomblestt Incident at hand in this abridged playhouse version, why did he not make more use of it?

It begins

to appear that this incident points the way to a r.ajor in­ consistency in the Wilson theory,

I still am firm in be­

lieving that if Shakespeare allowed the horse-stealing plot to remain in the 1597-98 "revision” of the play, he had a reason for doing so.

The point is simply this:

I am cer­

tain that the Folio lines Have a care of your entertainments! there is a friend of mine come to Towne, tels me© there is three Cozen-Irmans, that has cozened all the Hosts of keadlna, of Maidenhead, of Cole-brooke, of horses and money, originally had from Shakespeare’s pen the words which we have in the Quarto, i*e#, cozen-garmombles.

As the years

went on, and the play was still being popularly produced 1 by the King1s Mean (as in the Court performances on the Sunday following Hallowmas day, 1604), the "garmombles" Incident was outdated,

Ho the words were changed to

ooaen-lermang. The question may be asked:

why did the pirate-

Bost us© the term "garmombles" in the 1602 copy?

Even if

the allusion had relevancy in 1597, as Professor Hotson 2 firmly shows, would an a cting version for a provincial company in the year 1600-1 letain the line? 1 Dover M l 3on, J*, op, olt,, p, 21 n, 2 Hotson, j, L*, op, olt., p, 113,

I am inclined

154 to believe that playing in the province©, probably in such towns as Reading and Maidenhead, Lhe x.irate-Host welcomed the chance to use a line which had a local allusion to it* If the people of Heading and the neighboring towns had actually been imposed upon by some of Mucpellgart*s retain­ ers In the matter of post-horses, it is not likely that they would forget It even after ten years* But how does Professor Wilson account for the "garraambles" incident appearing in th© Quarto?



lowing his pirate enough ingenuity to somehow get hold of th© prompt-book of the 1593 Jealous ^omedy, he tur. s about and would have the pirate so dull and inefficient that he copied out of this prompt-book a plot that was long outdat­ ed*

If what Wilson and Follard say is true, why do wo

have any mention of the Mump ellgart affair, since the pirate would see that It belonged to the old Jealous Comedy and had no business In Shakespeare*s Merry v.ives* I think w© may truthfully say that we need go back to no earlier version, to make plausible either the "garraombles" or any other of the passages which are not In the Folio*

For his last point against the memory-piracy, * 1

Vilson holds that it will not account for what he calls "certain links of material transmission between the two * Wilson, Dover, J*, op* clt*, p* 98.

155 *

texts, which — and scanty though they —

indicate that the copy for the Quarto was at least in purt transcribed from the same manuscript which, after revision, provided the materials for the authoritiative text*” As an example ox this, Boxer Wilson cites the following passages . in the Folio and Quarto*

(Folio, 2* 2* 512)

Not a pennyi * have been Gontent (Sir,) you should lay my countenance to pawn: I have grated upon by good friends for thr e Repreeves for you and you Coach*fellow Nlxa; or else you have lookfd through the grate, like a Geniny of Babooness I am damn1d In hell, for swearing to.Gentlemen my friends, you were good Souldlers, and tall*fellow©s. And when Mistre^pe Briget lost the handle of her fan, X booked on my honour thou hadst it not* (Quarto) Not a pennies I have been© content you shuld lay my coutenance to pawnes X have grated upon my ood friends for 5* reprlves, for you, and your oach*fellcw Nym, else you raighta looked thorow a grate like a gemlny of babones# I am darned in hell for swearing to Gentlemen your good souldlers and tall fellowess And when" mistress© Briget lost the handle of her Fan, I tooked on my honour thou hadst it not#


Professor Wilson contends that this Is excellent evidence that the texts at one point go back to the same source; 2 say that this is only an example of good memory work by the actor-pirate who provided the Quarto text* really see how close these two passages are*

bet us Dover Wilson

says, "The punctuation, apart from the commas, is practical­ ly identical, while spellings and capitals coincide in words like pawne* Coach-fellow* G.entlenen* Briget, Fan*1* but on

- 156 the other side of the ledger are the variants in spelling and punctuation*


(Folio) you were tall-fellowes

(Quarto) your tall fellowes



Geminy damn’d Mistress© took*t Hepreeves Daboones three through should

geminy damned Mistries© tooked reprives babones 3* txorow shuld

These are merely the variants in spelling*

If both speeches

were copied from a common source, how are we to account for omissions* such as: Folio:

I have been content (Sir,) you should lay my countenance to pawn©*


I have been content you shuld lay my countenance to pawn©:

or slight changrs in wording such as: Folio:

or else you had look’d through the grate, like a Geminy of Baboones:


or els© you might a looked thorow a grate like a geminy of babones*

And though there, are some close similarities in punctuation, there are more instances where It varies t . Folio:

1* 2* 3* 4*

three >4epreeves for you, your Coach-fellow Nim; through the grate, like a Geminy of Baboones: for swearing to Gentlemen my friends, you were good Souldlers, and tall-fellowes*

Quarto: 1* 2* 3* 4*

3* reprives, for you your Coach-fellow Kyra, thorow the grate like a geminy of babones for swearing to Gentlemen your good souldlers and tall fellowes:

- 157 Thus w© see that of the 82 words in the Folio version there are 12 variants In spelling in the Quarto text*

¥et both

speeches presumably emanate from the same abridged play­ house version of th© Jealous Comedy*

Besides these spelling

variants* there are two examples of word-omission and in­ stances of slight word-changes in the text*

And as for

the \ owprful clue*1 of punctuation; instead of being prac­ tically identical we see that while in four in&tanoes it is the same* on seven

instances it is utterly different*

Moreover* would Joseph Surface* th© sentimental speaker of Duphuisms, be likely to make a speech vfcich sounds so typically Falstaffian to most ears?

Yet, accord­

ing to Wilson* these Joseph Surface passages crept into the text on those occasions when thepirate relied upon the Jealous Oomedy prompt-book to supplement his memory. It would almost seem that in his «eal to have us accept the hypothetical Jealous Comedy. Professor Wilson has let speculation override the facts of the case* Thus* in summarising the textual history of our play as reconstructed by Dover Wilson with Dr. Pollard and Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch, 1 find myself in a basic disagree­ ment with their case*

I have indicated, first of all* my

objection to the Wilson-Pollsrd general hypothesis regard­ ing the “bad” Quartos*

*or the concept of having the four

1 Are we to believe that Nym was in the *odious Comedy, since his mane appears In both passages, ane since both speeches have a common pre-1593 source?

- 158 "bad quarto" plays exist In some early form before Kay, 1593, leaves two important questions dangling before us: (1) Wby did it take so long for the pirated Quartos to appear if prompt-versions of the plays were at the access of some pirate, and (2) how can it be that some minor-actor or actors were able to etzc-.Z.

our abridged prompt-books

from Shakespeare1s company between 1597 and 1603? Secondly, we have seen how in an attempt to sub­ stantiate their Jealous Comedy theory, Wilson and 1'ollard have designated certain verbal notes in the Quarto as being directly from the prompt-eopy of the jealous Comedy, which copy th© pirate used to supplement his memory*

In each

case, however, we have shown that the word or words may be accounted for simply from the pirate1s memory without re­ course to any prompt-book. More important to their case was the attempt by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch to show how a certain Joseph Surface, presumably the original portagonist of the Jealous Comedy reared his Euphuistic and sentimental head, not only in th© Quarto* but also in the Folio when Shakespeare became careless in als haste*

As we examined these so-called

Joseph Surface outcroppings, we concluded that Sir Arthur was taking Falstaff much too seriously, and was missing something of th© twinkle in FalstafX 1s eyes as he spoke the lines, which Elizabethan audiences would not have missed.

- 159

Vie noticed, particularly, that Falstaff only put on the Euphuistic dog, so to speak, when he was trying to make an impression on the wives*

Our next examination was that of the stenographic theory, which does not seem to fit the Merry ivives. Or. 1 ~ Friedrich’s thesis gives us no adequate explanation for the appearance of the good scenes in the Quarto when Kino Host is on the stage, and the relative poorness of those in which he Is not*

Stenography, furthermore, is unable to ac­

count for the various transferences of words, phrases, and lines from one act to another*

But most important is


fact, which our collation substantiates, that the variants in the Quarto are not the kind we should expect to find if Bright’s system were used* •*- am reminded, at tne outset, of a judicious footnot by Dr. Greg in his Orlando Furioso study, where he says: "Against Thomas ^eywood’s solitary assertion ’that some by stenography drew The plot* of his Queene Elizabeth* (the only relevant passage of the many comfonly cited) must be set the great a priori Improbability of such a proceeding* would* have Been a bold pirate who would have gone with pen, inkhoin, and paper to the Globe, i*nd sat scribbling -'n a comer of the gallery under the very noses of the ’gatherers1. 1 Friedrich, ?aul,’ Studien sur Enp-.lischen Stcnographie In leltalter Shakes; cares', Xeipzi*g,"1914♦ g Grog, Y/. W., op. cit., p. *260.

- 160 Th© suggestion is worthy of further extension, und one ral-ht add that the "housekeepers'* of Shakespeare*s company, who from 1594-5 had seen their plays appear in pirated Quarto editions, would certainly have been on the lookout for Just such pirates*

If they were gullible enough to

let such noto-takers appear not once (for no one claims that the stenographic piracy could be accomplished from viewing one performance), but several times, then they almost de­ served to lose their plays.

It was a different situation

for the compan;/ to put a restraining hand on some minor actor who had been hired only for the season and who upon leaving the company was able to take his part with him in his head, as well as re. iembrance of enough of the play to reconstruct t,n imperfect text. There are certain obvious objections to the general hypothesis of stenographic piracies, which apply, i also, to the Merry foives. In the first place, neither Dr, Friedrich nor Professor Max Forster

have been a ble to ex­

plain why the Quarto of the &er. y Wives presents a good version of those scenes in which Mine Host appears, and why the copy Is relatively poor when he is off the stage. If the answer is, that th© actor who played Mine Host spoke his lines more clearly and perhaps slowly than the others, we are still confronted with the evidence that the excel1 Forster, Max, Shakespeare-Jahrbuch, V. C8, i. C7 ff.

- - 161 lence of the scene is not restricted to the Host’s lines, but also to those characters who appeared with him*


these same characters* speeches are poorly reported in a following scene in which the Host is not on stage, we must admit that the matter of enunciation will not clear our problem. I Secondly, as Dr.

I* Duthle points out,


four "bad" Quartos "are full of transferences of words, phrases, and lines from one place to another, often at con­ siderable intervals.

The great frequency of these transfer­

ences Is one of th© most striking characteristics of these 2 Quartos." Moreover, as Professor Duthie shows, the fact that errors of mishearing sometimes appear in pirated texts does not ipso facto Intimate stenographic transmission. But perhaps the strongest argument against the steno raphie transmission of the "bad" Quartos is made by 3 Mr. IV. Mathews, who points out that if Characterle were used, the reporters apparently did not understand Bright’s consenting method.

As Is well known, Bright’s system con-

1 Duthle, G. I., op. cit., pp. 15-16. 2 Ibici., p. 16. 3 Mathews, V?., Modern Lanrua^e Review, Vol. xxvii, pp. 243 ff*

- 162 tained only a little more than 500 characters, and thus he added what Is known as the "consenting method" and the "dissenting method*"

In using the consenting method the

reporter wrote down the symbol of the list-word and then indicated the synonym by placing th© symbol for the first letter of the synonym to the left and slightly above the symbol for the list-word*

For example, the word

metamorphlzed. an epithet directed toward Falstaff In our play, would have had to be taken down in Bright’s system by putting down the symbol for change (which is in the Characterle table) and the symbol for the letter m at th© left.

How, as Mr* Mathews concludes. If Bright’s system

were used, let us say in the Merry valves*

one of the

most frequent types of errors in the play would be occurrence o f a variant which began with the same letter as the genuine reading*

To illustrate, In the second act, seen© 2, Falstaff

is berating Pistol, and in the course of the speech ho says: (Folio, I* X) I, xayselfe sometimes (leaving the feare of heaven on the left hand, and hiding mine honor In my necessity,) an faine to shuffle, to hedge* and to lurch* (Quarto) I, I, my self© sometimes, (leaving th® feare of God on theleft hand,) am faine to shufiel, to filch & to lurch* In this particular case, Bright has no list-word for hedf;e* but he does have a symbol for the word deceive*

v»© v^ould

- 163 expect, then, that th© stenographer would write down the symbol for the let er h at the left as a consenting sign. When it came time to transcribe his symbols it might well be that he had Jo*gotten the synonym of deceive cf which th© letter h was the Initial*

Thus we would expect a

variant starting with the letter h Instead of filch* Mr* Mathews has found In his study of the "bad" Quartos, and I can corroborate his findings as regards the Merry Wives in particular, that the number of such variants which we would expect to find Is actually trivial when contrasted with the great number of variants, often synonymous with th© authentic version, but which begin with a different letter* Another objection to the acceptance of the stenographic theory in the Merry VIIves lies in the i act that certain speeches and even scenes are too well reported for the limitations of Bright’s system*

In the canon of

Shakespeare1& plays we find the richest vocabulary that any literary man has ever used*

Let us, for e^^mple, see some

of the problems confronting a practitioner of shorthand in a typical Falstaff speech in the Quarto: Have I lived to be carried in a Basker, and thrown© into the Thames like a barrow of butchers Offal If $©11, and I be served such another tricke, lie give them leave to take out my braines and butter them, and give them to a dog for a Bew-yeares gift! BbloodJ the rogues slided me in, with as little remorse as if they had gone to drown© a blind bitches puppies in

- 164 the litter I And they might know by my size, I have a kln^ of alacrltie in sinking* And the bottom had bln &e deep as hell, I should downst X had bene drowned, but that the shore was shelvie and somewhat shallows: a death that I abhorre I ^'or (you know) the water swelled a man: and what a thing should I have bene when I had bene swelledl By the Lord, a moutaine of mumieyJ comparison with the Folio text we see that this is ex­ tremely good reporting*

The variants axe of such a nature

as to Indicate good memorial reconstruction, as — Quarto:

Have I lived to be carried in a Basket, and thrown© into the Thames like a barrow of Butchers offoll?


Have I lived to be carried In a Basket, (like a barrow of Butchers Offall,) and to be thrown© in the Thames?

In memorial transmissic. the process of anticipation within the line Is rot unusual« however, if we say that th© speech was reported by Bright’s system we must credit the pirat© with a deftness which his work in other portions of th© play will not substantiate*

For in the

minute or two required

by for the actor who played Falstaff to deliver this speech, th© reporter would find that no less than 35 of th© words were not in his Charac ter1© table * so that he would have to think of the word that was closest to the missing symbol and then put down a consenting symbol at Its left*

An such

words as shelvie, bitch, braines, alacrltie, and Thames, where not even the lis t-words in the table could give him much help, he probably would have to write them down in


In these numerous occasions when he would have

to stop and think which characteiical word was closest to the one he had heard, he would be apt to miss th© word or words which came directly after the word over which he had momentarily stopped.

Bor does this account for the transi­

tions made between longhand interpolations and the ordinary slowness of Bright’s system, which necessitated the writ­ ing of the initial letters moving the hand backwards, and also the cumbersome method cf writing In columns rather than in straight lines* The more we study this hypothec sis the le. s likely It seems that so inadequate a system as Bright’s can be made to account for a Quarto which Is as good in some scenes as the Merry Wives*

If we are to believe that the

Qn&rto text is the resuit of a reporter using Brightfs system, we should know more about his criterion for copy­ ing down passages which are relevant to the play*

«e find

that his behavior in this respect is frequently erratic. It seems more than just chance, to me, that in the first scene of the third act the Quarto is little more than para­ phrase of the Folio version until the scene is half over and the host enters*

From that time on, until the Host’s

exit toward the scene’s end, the Quarto is in fine agreement with the authentic text*

How is it that the stenographer-

pirate was able to get only a rough account oi bir Hugh

- 166 Evans* speeohes earlier in the scene, and then suddenly his system became so accurate that he was able to report even more difficult speeches by the same character with almost verbatim precisions It seems apparent that the central bairler to our approval of the stenographic transmission of the Quarto text in ^erry Wives

lies in the. fact that the Host’s scenes are

far superior In quality to those in which he does not appear*

Vve have indicated that this was due to the actor

who played Hine Host being responsible for the text, which he put together by a memorial reconstruction* Realising that the Greg hypothessis of the Host's role in the piracy is a difficult thing to account for by the use of Bright's system, Friedrich goes into some detail I to refute Greg* Let us take his points one by one* In the first place he tells us that we may account for the excel­ lence of the Host's part by the fact that his was one of the main roles and would naturally have to be well reproduced by anj play-house thief.

Hence, the shorthand •-irate took

Special pains to get his speeches and this accounts for the relatively true harmonizing of the Quarto with the Folio.

If this be true, and I stiongl.. suspect that Dr*

1 Friedrich, F., op* clt** p. 169*

- 167 Friedrich is grasping at straws to break Greg's central **

point, we car only say that the shorthand pirate had very ^ad judgment regarding the importance of the main roles* For, by Friedrich's inference, he took special pains to get the Host's lines down almost verbatim, but was so care­ less; at times with the part of Falstaff, who is actually the main charac tex^of Falstaff, who is actually the main character^ of the play, that his negligence is unforgiv­ able* His second point, that the word-congruence of the two versions on the part of the aost la not there entirely, seems to me perfectly explainable*

Ihe alight diffe:ences

in his part in the two texts are no more than one would ex­ pect of an actor who was playing In a repertory company and probably carry ng several parts during a season's perfor­ mances * Regarding the third objection to Greg's thesis, that the parts of the other persons when the Host Is on the stage are not as strong as one would expect from an account of an actor who had heard those passages often, I can only point out how diminished In excellence these came parts parts become when the Host is not on the stage* In ac­ tuality, Friedrich Is rot point any basic error in Greg's case at all, and is merely quibbling over the fact that one •would expect more from the Host* The last two issues which Dr* Friedrich raises

- 168 are more important and demand a careful rebuttal*

In point

four he remarks that sometimes the t wo versions show, even after the exit of th© Host, a congruence in words which Is hard to account for, since most actors give those passages following their exit little attention*

¥et this need not

necessarily be as Dr* Friedrich intimates*

Although we do

not know the rehearsal habits of Shakespeare's company, it is not unfeasible to consider that the actor who played M*n© Host would have had ample opportunity of observing scenes which preceded his or were directly subsequent*

If we say,

for example, that the rehearsal of Act one had been scheduled for the morning rehearsal, what was there to prevent the Host from observing the scenes In which he did not appear? Moreover, if we consider that the actor may well havo been considering the piracy of the play, whenever the opportunity of best making ua© of a pirated text appeared, we can see that he might readily have taken special pains to become acquainted with those scenes in which he did not appear* The last objection to the Host piracy is that sometimes, as he says, even .the cue-lines, according to which the Host has to take up the dialogue again, do not harmonize, and that Mine Host only knew the watch-words


This is true, as a matter of fact; yet I find this strengthens the memorial piracy

theory rather than weakens it*

for example, seme 4, act 4:


Throughout this scene we find

169 that Mine Host has had to make up the majority of lines (these same lines, however, showing anticipations and rec­ ollections of lines from the authentic text).

The xolio

version ends with a speech by Misti c,;s Page and concerns her scheme to marry Ann to Dr* Calus: The Doctor is well monied, and his friends Potent at Courtl ^e, none hut he, shall have her, Though twenty thousand worthier came to crave her! But inthe Quarto, the Host having already written as much as he could remember of Mistress Page's speech, earlier in the scene, has Master For«J. end it with a rhyming couplet of rather Xlat verset Well, send to Falstaff©! and if he come thither, Twill make us smile and laugh one moneth toglther. X find no way of accounting for the difference In the texts In such a scene as this by the use of Bright's Character!©* It is not logical to say that the reporter could have done as efficient a job of note-taking as in the scenes In which the Host appears, and then so poorly in subsequent scenes. The cumulative evidence seems to add up against , the stenographic transmission of the Quarto of Merry V,ives« One could mention, further, versions on the matter of time.

discrepancies in the two As in Act 3, 4, 46 of the

Polio we have: Fal* Do sol 'Betw.x-ne nine and ten,' saist thou? Qui* 'Bight and nine,* Sir*

170 but Quarto: Fal* ’ten, and eleven,* safest thou? Qulc* X, forsooth* How are we to account for this by Friedrich* s hypothesis? The only answer would be that It Is just another example of the reporters carlessriess, or his inefficiency in the use of Bright^ system*

close examination of the Polio

will show that this is not the case, and that we can ac­ count for the variant on the basis of our pirate-Host*s recollection of an earlier line in the play*

For in Beene

2 of the second act, we have Falstaff telling Ford (who is dle-guised as Brook): Fal:

I say X shall be with her between ten and elevenj In summary, then, since the stenographic theory

will not account for th© appearance of the good scenes in the ¥


Quarto when Mine Host is on the stage, and the relative p o m e sa by contrast when he is not; since it will not explain the many transferences of words, phrases and lines from one place to another; and most important, since the variants in the Quarto, as Mr* Matthew shows, are not the kind

that we

should expect to find if Bright1s system were used, I see no justification for assuming that the transmission of the ruarto text of Merry Wives

was accomplished by a practitioner

of Timothy Bright’s Characterie.

171 -

We next e;;m?iined the work of Professor J# V* Crofts

which dealt with Shakespeare and the PostHorses#

This, we saw, was a highly ingenious study linking the Folio version of Merry Wives with a single command perfor­ mance at Essex House on February 14, 1590#

Professor Crofts

attempted to show that the ".ganaombles” passage had noth­ ing to do with Count Mumpeligart, but rather was a hit at the lords toward, who were enemies of Essex# There is an inconsistency in


case, which should be pointed out# *t may be remembered that Shakespeare is supposed to have made the revised or Folio version shortly after the liar 24th performance# 1 Crofts puts its


"But if we suppose him to have been at work upon the Folio in July, when the trouble over the Isle of vogs occurred, his disgust may have been in tenslTIedTby external causes# On the 28th was issued the frivy Council*s order that all playing was to cease, and that the theaters on the Bankside were to be disman­ tled# As Shakespeare conte:-plated his untidy manu­ script he may well have felt that he was wasting labour# The thing had missed its market# It might never be wanted again# bo he twisted the loose ends roughly together, threw it aside, and went down to have another look at «ew Place and talk with his father about the Asbies mortgage#" But in early February he was called on to present the Merry 1 Crofts, J# V#, op# cit#, p. 34#

- 172 Wives at Essex House.

Since the old prompt-book had been

destroyed* as well as his ''manuscript'* for the Windsor v

performance* Shakespeare had no alternative but to use the Folio version*

But this was twice as long as the play

they had given at Windsor* and how could they learn it in two weeks and have it ready for production?

So Shakespeare

called the men together and told them to give the play as they had before Windsor, except for one detail* thieving business in the play

The horse-

not suitable for Essex

House because do Chastes and the Earl were Close friends* What was clever and timely before Lord Honsdon and Lord Thomas Howard and men of that party would be taken ill-man­ nered by the other group* Shakespearenaccordlngly hacked out the old scene* and replaced it with the episode of the 'three Cozen-Iermans' 1 and the 'Duke de Jamanie. "* Since he was not using the revised or Folio manuscript for this performance, it seems peculiar that he sould write the changes in the scene in that manuscript* particularly when he was to lay it aside and never use it a^ain as long as he lived.

How much more ex­

pedient it would have been to write out the Howard satire on "sides" and give them to the actors Involved. 1 Crofts* J** op* cit*, p. 137.

Since the

173 actors were giving the Windsor version, and from memory, it would be quite impossible to have a prompt-book at the hectic rehearsals' uurin.:: the two we.ks before the Essex House performance. But Mr. Crofts1 case can be broken in even a simpler way.

A close collation of our two texts will in­

dicate that Shakespeare did not cut out any horse-stealing scene, and more important, that the "Cousin-lerman" seems undoubtedly pointed toward a Germanic personage. When we examine this scene, V. 4., of the *olio version, \w


that if this is cne of the scenes that Shakespeare rewrote he must have spent precious little time in the revision. In the first place, both v .rsions contain the exact number of lines. According to the Crofts hypothesis the actorpirate who played the Host was remembering the scene from the Windsor performance.

What a coincidence that he should

remember the lines so well that they tallied almost verba­ tim with the Folio scene which he only acted once, at Essex House.

But for that matter, the Windsor or Quarto version

was acted only once, and from these two brief performances the actor-pirate was able to get such a grasp of the play that four years later he w*.s able to give to Busby the copy for the Quarto.

Mr* Crofts endows our pirate-Host with a

memory that is very phenomenal, in fact, a sup r-hu an memory.

- 174 * can see no references to the toward postingscandal in the following *olic passage, which Crofts claims was used in the Sssex House performance (IV* v* 57-62)* Bar# ♦Run away with the cozonersl for, so soon© as I came beyond Eaton, they threw me off (from behind one of them,) in a 3lough of myre; and set spurres, an., away, like three Germane-aiy els* three Doctor Faustassesi Surely if Shakespeare were trying to satiri~e the Howards he would not have been so explicit in pointing the nationality of the cozeners#

Performing, as It were, in Essex House,

before the gathered enemies of the hord Admiral, why should Shakespeare have to veil the "hit” in such careful teutonic reference? Before we leave Professor Crofts* study 1 should like

topoint out one singular inconsistency of his textual


The whole case hinges on the fact that the Quarto 1 * version comes first, and Crofts is so certain of this that he ventures to reconstruct Shakespeare*s manuscript. manner of doing so Is very neats


first, he points out tiai

there are in the "bad11'Quarto of 1602- about 12 phrases or short sentences that editors have shown some tendency to accept as Shakespeare’s, though they are not to be found in thb ^olio version*

Professor Crofts obsezved that these

passages tend to occur at spaces of 62 Quarto 11ns, cr r 1 Crofts, H#, op* eft., ip. 51-66*

- 175 multiples of that number, and he suggests that the reason they are not in the *olio is, that standing at the foot of various pages, they had been thumbed away in the manuscript which Shakespeare had before him when revising and partly rewriting the play to produce the Folio version,

if this

were true one would have to conclude that Shakespeare did some extremely rough thumbing

at certain portions of his

manuscript, but on other pages the bottom lines were quite unthumbed and legible# &ut the hypothesis breaks down on even more ap­ parent grounds*

Since it is obvious that Shakespeare can­

not have worked on the pirated report that served as copy for the Quarto, it follows that tho report either agreed exactly and continuously in length with the original manu­ script (and this seems nigh impossible when we consider that the Quarto version was only produced once, according to Crofts), or we must take an even more alternative, i.e., the pirate reported it throughout in a constant ratio. As one finishes Professor Crofts* study there are several Incidental

Items that demand some explanation.

One wonders, for example, what sort of Oldcastle play it was that Pembroke's company had on the boards before they turned it over to Shakespeare.

From what we know of Shake, peare*s

Oldcastle (later changed to Falstaff) we should hardly expect that any play about that character would^portray him as a i

- 176 1 ttprlg and dupe.**

^et, according to Crofts, this was how

Oldcastle came to Shakespeare for the &erry Wives. I would rather accept the %ilson~Pollard hypothetical Joseph Surface from an equally vague Jealous Comedy than the Croftian idea.

But, unfortunately, we do not have to take either. And finally, 1 think we should use with caution

the Dennis tradition that Shakespeare finished and produced \ his play in fourteen days. We have seen how Dennis1 identification of Shallow with Sir Thomas Lucy has been chal­ lenged strongly by modem scholars.

It would seem that

Dennis based his Mtraditions ** on his own observations*


play showed great carelessness in certain portions, as In the time anachronisms and the confusion of the colors in the fairy masque scene.

And from this discemable fact Dennis

might easily have taken it into his head that Shakespeare must have written the play in a fortnight; otherwise, he could not account for the e:rors which filled the Folio version. Professor Crofts, however$ has found that the Dennis tradition fits his theory neatly, and lie accepts it without reservation*

Yet, In such a study as Ms, this

should not disturb the reader, since the whole hypothesis has such a nebulous ingenuity about it that one should not object to accepting one more speculation.


Crofts, J., op. cit., f'# 13o*

Chapter IV THE TEXTUAL HISTORY A few weeks befcr© the Carter elections on April 23, 1597, Shakespeare began to write the &erry ftlyes# Tra­ dition strongly claims that the Queen desired to see Falst&ff In love, and this may be*

It seems more likely, how­

ever, that the Court*s wish was merely for a new play, one in keeping with the joyous festivities of tin first Garter Election in four years*

*t appears wholly plausible that

this wish was conveyed to Shakespeare by his company*s patron, Georg© Carey, Lord Chamberlain*

This same George Carey,

Lord Hunsdon, a favorite of Elisabeth, heard he express a wish to see "that rogue, Falstaffe* in action again* Although pressed for time, Shakespeare went to work on the play, and within a short tine produced a manu­ script which mad© up In vigorous action what it sacrificed in his usual artistic expression*

By sbttlng the scene a-

mong the good bourgeoisie of Windsor town (his first and last attempt at a middle-class, contemporary play), Shake­ speare obviated the task of vaulting the better part of 3000 lines in blank verse*

In his play the only verse linos

necessary were those between the Anne Tag© and iiaster Ir,enton and some 100 lines for the fairy mafequerad© In the

- 178 final scene. It may bo that he derived some help for his plot 1 from a story in Tarleton’s Kewea out of Purgatorie, In Tarleton’s story (translated from a novella by Straparola, which only coincidentally resembles the Merry Wives in plot) the lover is concealed In a tub, or “driefatte" of feathers, Ihere is also a jealous husband in Tarleton’s account to whom the lover unwittingly boasts of his progre-s*

But, for

the main part, ,the various plots, such as they are, seem to belong to Shakespeare,

I‘here is nothing so complicated

about the -wooing of Anne Page by Slender, Or, Caius and young Fenton that we have to search for some obscure source for this plot*

Any resourceful Elizabethan playwright

could have formulated a similar plot \Ithout exerting him­ self too much, Shakespeare finished the play quickly and arranged for Its production.

In s.ite of its loose ends, the play was,

apparently, a success at Court, and was shortly afterwards presented for the public at the Globe,

Anachronisms, as

well as certain textual ambiguities which seem gross to the scholars of today, probably passed by the Globe spectator* In a play where four plots are v igorously being whirled before the audience, these errors are not apt to become vers 1 Vide Appendix I in ukc who had come

to court, after cozening tho

od citizens of Reading and

184 Branford, the pirate-actor changed a highly specialized hit of humor Into one suitable for hia comp any* s needs. Our actor-pirate-reviser also possessed a good enough knowledge of the psychology of provincial tudience appeal to focus his version on the broader comic episodes* To 11lustr i.te what X mean, we have in the Quarto the scene which corresponds to III* v* of the *clio coming before III* iv*

Scene III* ill, it will be remembered, is the

one in which Falstaff Is put back in the buck-basket and carried away.

An the Folio version the following scene

deals with the courting of Ann© Fage by Fenton, and later Slender.

But in the Quarto, the scene after the buck-bas-

ket episode again shows us Falstaff, who tells us about his immersion in the Thames*

In short, the actor-pirate de­

liberately switched the scenes around so as to keep the comic focus on Falstaff, who is, after all, the plays1s main character#

The Folio version is, perhaps, more subtle,

when it Interjects the Anee-Fage I^enton scene betw for "tinder box" "A" for "a" "Ills* Ba*" for "Mis. Pa.” "Rrooke” for "Brooke” "vill” for "will” "parr” for "part” "HIr Hu" for "Sir Hu" "ssave" for "slave”

Compositor omits entire word 1*

IV* ii* 60-1 MI. Fori

Why, my maidens Ant, Gillian of Brainford A witch* • have I not forewarned her of my house, Alas we are simple we, we know not what Is brought to passe under the colour of fortuneTelling* Corned down you witch, come downe*

Here we see a perfectly absurd statement attributed to a Misteris Ford, merely because the compositor has omitted Ford's name before the line beginning *A witch.' lyt is true that one or two of these errors may be due to "foul case."



Another example of the compositor's careless* ness in the matter of omitting a word occurs at II* ii* 100 $ Ford:

0 sir, when I have told you that, I told you all;

It is obvious that the line should read: Ford: The

0 sir, when I have told you that, I have told you all;

second have was omitted by

Creede's man, who hav­

ing set up the word so shortly before, neglected to do so the second time# VIII#

Compositor anticipates line of copy 1* II* 1* 51-63 Pa*

The humor of it, quoth you: Heres a fellow frites humor out of its wits# Mis* Pa* How now sweet hart, how dost, thou? Pa# How now man? How do you mistrls Ford? Mis* For* Well I thanke you good M* Page# How now husband, how chaunce thous art so melancholy? Ford* Melancholy, I am not melancholy# Goe get you in, goe* Mis* For* God save me, see who yonder is; Veele set her a works in this business©* Mis* Pa* 0 sheele serve excellent* How you come to see my daughter An I am sure* Quic* I forsooth that is my cowming# Mis* Pa* Com© go in with me# Come Mis* Ford# Here we have a good example of what

happens when the

compositor looks four or five lines ahead in his copy* Perhaps misled by Misteris Page's salutation of sweet hart to Frank Page, the compositor anticipated Mistresae

- 203

Quickly* s entrance by several lines.

The logical entrance

for Quickly is after Misteris Page's remark *0 sheele serve excellent# * and in the copy for the Quarto the en­ trance was probably indicated at that place#

I cite

this example, particularly, to show how the negligence of the compositor tended# in one further way, to mar the copy that had been given to him*

He thus creates

an illogical situation that should not be laid to the actor-pirate who supplied the text#

X do not wish to

mitigate errors which the actor-pirate made, by shift­ ing them to the compositor j but, on the other hand, I do not think that the actor-pirate should be confronted with gross errors which seem to emanate from no other place than Creede*s printing house#

In the preceding

section I have indicated the type of corruption which we can ascribe to the actor-pirate# allows himself to

But oven when he

write a nonsense passage (and such

occasions are few) the actor-reporter is never guilty of the crude type of error which X refer directly to the compositor* IX#

Compositor attempts to emend the copy At no other stage in the Quarto text does the

compositor show his inadequacy more conspicuously than when he attempts to emend words, which either he could not read clearly, or though were wrong# pf this Is scene act XV# v# 53t

A clear exam-

- 204 Host:

I am cosened Hugh, and coy Fardolph, • Sweet knight assist me, I am cosened* As this stands in the Quarto it does not make

logical sense*

For the compositor himself had set up

♦Exit* at the end of the preceding speech which was Sir Hugh Evans *«

In short, he knew that the Host’s

reference to *lfugh* would be nonsensical since Evans had just left, but that did not deter him from setting up the line that way*

where he made his actual error

was In his inability to read *cry* instead of *coy* * The corresponding line In the Folio indicates the true reading, thus: Host:

(Folio IV* v* 95)*

Hue and cry, villain, goJ— Assist me, knight— I am undoneJ

Since the line is spoken by the Host, whose speeches in the Quarto are very close to the Folio, It is most likely not a memory-error by the pirate*

Unable to read *cry*

the compositor hit upon the very ingenious idea of length­ ening Hu(e) to Hugh* and the devil with the punctuation* Two other examples of supposed emendation on the part of the compositor give us no further reason to believe that he was a particularly alert or intelligent person^

In II* iii* 11 we find the following speech by

the Host: ■^Phls expression is used by Shakespeare in 1 Henry IV, II* IV. 556, also*

— 205 — Host*

Bully to see thee fight, to see thee foine, to see thee traverse, to see thee here, to see thee there, to see thee passe the punto* The stock, the reverse, the distance: the montnce is a dead my francoyes? is a dead my Ethiopian? Ha what ses my gallon? my eseuolapis? Is a dead bullies taile, is a dead?

Since this speech is one in which the pirate-host best remembered his Folio lines, I am inclined to lay the sev­ eral errors in the passage to the compositor*

There is

little doubt that the whole speech caused him some trouble* We have seen how he

omitted a letter from mountance leav­

ing the incomprehensible montane* We have not mentioned his erratic use of punctuation heretofore, but one phrase demands our attentions

the montnce is a dead my francoyes?

A colon after montance would have made the line comprehen­ sible*

I find it difficult to believe that any manuscript

which had been used as a prompt-copy for the players would have been so poorly punctuated*

It seems rather that the

compositor handled the punctuation markings as the mood came upon him* But when he came to the last two lines he found the copy was rather odd*

He read the word ♦Gallon11 and

assumed that the scribe had meant ’gallon!

♦Gallon1 made

more sense to him than ♦Gallon* ’ From the way he botched

irhe Folio spells it ’Gallon’ (II* ill* 24)

- 206

Bsculapius we may be certain that as far as the com­ positor was concerned Glaudius Galen might never have lived and given the world his medical lore* Hi's final emendation was less serious, although equally careless and unwarranted! Is a dead bullies talle, is a dead? In the Folio, II# iii# 25, he says; Hal

Is he dead, bully-stale?

is he dead?

If the compositor had only remembered a line which he had set up an act earlier he would have seen that in 1# 1# ill it read: Host: What ses my bully Rooke? schollerly and wisely}"'


But apparently he didn’t remember, and so he emendated bullie stale to bullies talle#

in each case that he

attempted to mend a line or word which seemed lame to him he showed his true mwiocre ability# X#

Miscellaneous errors 1# 2# 3# 4# 5* 6* r# 8# 9. 10# 11. 12. 13# 14#

I* ii# 10 I# ill# 34. I. ill# 4S& II* i* 110 II* ii* 9 II# 11 • 9 II# 11# 69 II# ii* 72 II. iii# 5 II* ill# 15 Ill# ii. 3 III. iii. 38 III. iii. 46 IV. iii# 3

"Falstfcffes Host" for wFalstaffe,


”1yre"~for "leere" "Herea’s” for "Here’s" "scipped" for "scippe" "tooked" for "took’t” ’’ho-” for "honour" "go too" for "go to" "Fal." for "For." "Hearing" for "Herring" "Sscuolapis" for "Bsculapius" "guesse" for "guests" "carries" for "carry" "Foord" for "Ford” "guesse" for "guests" (second time)

207 These errors range in seriousness from mere misreadings, such as "guesse" for "guests" (although it is strange that he should make the same mistake twloe,) to more negligent mistakes, as in II# ii# 9 where he printed the first two letters of "honour," put In a hyphen, hut neglected to finish the word when he started the next line# Nor is there any exouse for the type of care­ lessness he exhibits in II# 11# 72 hhere "Fal#" is misprinted for

"For#" The passage reads then: Fal# Fal# Fal#

And you too, would you speak with me? Mary would 1 sir, I am somewhat bolde to trouble you, My name is Brooke# Good M# Brooke your verie welcome#

This kind of non aequltur is a typical reflection on not wily the apparent Ineptitude of the compositor, but also the haphazard manner of Creede himself#

If the

proof had been read over by anyone in the establishment, from Creede himself to the least of printer’s devils, it is difficult to believe that such inaccuracies as this might remain in the text. I have gone into some detail to list the various types of errors made by Creede’s compositor in order to show that the printing of the Quarto was a careless and unworthy representation of the play*

It is only when we

study the printer’s corruptions that we are able to *rot a fair point of view on the pirate actor’s work in

208 reconstructing the text#

It is interesting that Professor

Albright should cite a passage from the Merry Wives which she uses against the memorial reconstruction theory, but which I have used to show the printer*s negligence.


her brilliant study* of dramatic publication in England, she writes * nLet us examine a few Instances where the Host is on the stage and there is sufficient resemblance in the action to justify a comparison of the wording of the Folio and Quarto. In Act II. sc. 3, line 23 of the Folio, the Host*8 speech runs; To see thee passe thy puncto, thy stock, thy reverse, thy distance, thy montant j Is he daad, my Ethiopian? Is he dead, my Francisco, ha Bully? What sales my Bsculapius? My Gallon? My heart of Elder? ha? la he dead bully«*stale?~ls he dead? The piratexactor renders this speech of his own in this fashions To see thee passe the punto. The stock, the reverse, the distance t the montnce is a dead my francoyes? is a dead my Ethio­ pian? Ha what says my gallon? my escuolapis? Is a dead bullies talle, is a dead? The whole scene is badly reported. * Miss Albright has chosen a telling scene, and her point would be convincing to one who had not seen how much at fault the compositor was in the quoted passage*

Ho, the

scene Is not badly reported, as we have shown (supra,) but merely garbled by a rather Incompetent compositor. 1Albright, B.A., Dramatic Publication in England, 1580-1640, Hew York, 1927, p. 303

- 209 But Professor Albright has made one substan­ tial hit1 at hr* Greg «s case# for which our own textual theory alone is able to

account# She questions why an

actor who presumably had his own part in manuscript would prefer to give the stationer a text of his own speeches from memory#

And why would the stationers

not rather buy the use of the 'part* rather than the memory?

Furthermore# she questions the wisdom of a

stationer who would hire an actor to report the scenes only when he was on the stage# if it were understood that he could not get the lines from the scenes in which he did not appear#

In this capacity she lays

out a wise suggestion:2 “Was it worth while for an actor to risfc his standing with the company by doing so without their consent? If we can now trace the guilty person by guess-work# would it not be quite easy for the company# who knew what each man played# to discover who turned traitor? If so# it is unlikely that many pirated texts could be accounted for by such a theory#* I am inclined to aj;r©e with Professor Albright *s objections to Bp* Greg*s caso.

The a priori difficulties

Involved in his textual history of Merry Wives are numer­ ous and involved# further point#

She concludes her objections with one

Admitting that it is quite probable that

there were a number of actors in the company who were 1Albright# E.A** op# clt# p# 305* 2Albright# E# A# op# clt# p# 306#




capable of giving a text to Busby, she questions whether any one of them would do so*1 “Was it worth while for an actor to risk his standing with the company by doing so without their consent? If we can now trace the guilty person by guess-work, would it not be quitt easy for the company, who knew shat each men played, to discover who turned traitor? If bo > it is unlikely that many pirated texts could be accounted, for by such a theory#“ But a minor actor, who^ no longer employed by the Chamberlain* s Men, had joined a group of strol­ ling players for a provincial tour, would not be con­ fronted with this problem#

This hypothesis also answers

another of Professor Albright1s points, l#e* the imper­ fect character of the Host*s own speeches#

If we consider

the fact that it may have been several weeks or months after his departure from the Chamberlain *s Men

and, ergo,

his performance of Mine Host in the Merry Wives, before he thought of reconstructing the play for the use of his provincial fellow-players, it is hardly strange that he would not remember his part perfectly*

ilaturaL ly, he

was not allowed to take his •part* with him when he left the company.

It would be needed when the company decided

to produce the play again, at some later date#

The fparts1

were probably kept with the treasurer of the company, along with the “platt" and prompt-copy* ^Albright, E.A#, op# clt* p* 310


If I may bo permitted to cite on© further example from Professor Albright * study, I would like to Indicate how she has overlooked the negligence of the printer in condemning the pirate-Host *s reconstruc­ tion*

It Is not strange that she should cite passages

which strengthen here case, but a fair study of the gross errors which, on every hand, seem attributable to the printer, indicates that the pirate-actor furnished a text which is far better than the Quarto which emerged from Creede*a shop*

Here Is what Miss Albright says:

"Even in the speeches of the Host himself where there is some resemblance, one wonders why there would not be more If he were the reporter* For example, the Host says j *What say you to young Maister Fenton? He capers, he dances, he has eies of youth: he writes verses, he speakes holliday, he smels April aid May, he wil carry*t, he will carry't, •tis in his buttons, he will carry»t#* It is fair to compare with this an obvious attempt to reproduce substantially the same passage in the Quarto j •But what say you to young Maister Fenton? He capers, he dances, he writes verses, he smelles all April and May, he wil cary it, he wil carit, Tis in his betmes he wil carite* *" As a matter of fact, this is a good job of reporting when we discard the errors which patently have been made ^■Albright, E.A., ojgi oiU p. 304


by the compositor*

Surely we will not assign carlt

to the act or-reporter, nor betines or carite* We have seen the compositor*s inconsistency regarding punc­ tuation of any sort*

Here the copy probably read cari*t

or oary’t, but by leaving out the apostrophe he saved a moment, even* though the result was carit* The slight­ est bit of reasoning on his part would have shown him that not three words before he had set up cary It*


short, even if there were difficulty in reading cary*t, by simpl^y looking back he would have seen the correct usage*

Nor is he any less culpable in carite*

It may

be that Professor Albright actually believes that the reporter (who was able, obviously to remember cary would then write carit and carite, but nothing will convince me that these are not the errors of a compos­ itor,


in every scene shows his incompetence#


we finish correcting the passage, by showing that betmes is clearly a minim misreading of buttons by Creede *s man, we are left with a speech which is intelligently reported and substantially the same as in the Folio# Thus, our bibliographic examination of Busby’s Quarto of the Merry Wives has given us evidence of care­ lessness, not only on the part of the compositor, who probably did the best Job his abilities allowed him, but


by Thomas Creeds, who had been hired by Busby to print the play*

This same combination had been responsible

for Henry V in 1600*

I wish that space would permit me

to indicate the textual corruptions for which Creede *e printing was responsible in the Henry V*^

One begins

to understand the lament of the Archbishop of Canterbury who said*5* "X knew the tyme when greater care was had about printding; but now the paper is naught, the com** posers boyes, and the correctors unlearned: There is a farmer and he makes the benefit, and dareth for nothing about it* They heeretofore spent their wh^le time in printeing, but these looks to gains, gaine, gaine, nothing els*n The clergyman had indicated the main cause of. the decline of English printing, which was the rise of the bookseller at the expense of the printer*

If the bookseller were

such a one as John Busby the situation were only aggrav­ ated*

One can almost see Busby approaching the printer,

Creede j with the manuscript prompt-copy he has received from one of the returned provincial players*

Busby tells

Creede that this Merry Wives will have to be put up cheaply, the way they had done with Henry V, because there is no certainty that the piay will be a profitable seller*


any rate, Creede will share in the profits, whatever they ^Vide parallel texts of the First Quarto (1600) and First Folio (1623) editions, edited by Brinsley Nicholson for the New Shakespeare Society, London, 1077. ^Cases in Star Chamber, Camden Society (1836,) p* 305*

214 are*

So Thomas Creede takes the copy from Busby and turns

it over perhaps to one of the apprentices in the shop* F£om the nature of his subsequent performance he might well have been one of the boy-composera of which the Archbishop had complained*

If not a boy, he Is, then

probably one of the poorer workmen of the shop, or pos­ sibly some itinerant compositor who was hired for the Job*

Whoever he was he took few pains to transcribe the

copy Into accurate print* Yet even this corruption might have been rec­ tified to a large degree if a press-corrector had been on hand to go

over the proofs*

But there Is not one

scene in the Quarto, not even one signature that shows the hand of a press-corrector*

The closer we look at

this strange partnership between creede and Busby the more one is perplexed by the Quarto of Merry Wives* For we are told by McKerrow

that the workmanship of

Creede^s shop was superior to that of many of his contemporaries, that he maintained a well-stocked as­ sortment of types in M s office, and that he was \

frequently employed by the great Elizabethan publisher, William Ponsonby*

Fe™ was his experience with Shakes­

peare *s plays restricted to the printing of stolen III texts, for we see that in 1598 he had printed TH-cfaard —

- 215

for Andrew Wise, and the following year he was employed by Cuthbert Burby to print the "good” Quarto 2 of Romeo and Juliet* Yet suddenly In 1600 Thomas creede turns to the printing of an obviously corrupt and pirated text (Henry V) which has been given to him by John Busby, and two years later when Busby brings to him an equally cor­ rupt Merry Wives of Windsor, Creede prints it also*


may well be that Creede *s establishment was going through some lean years between 1600 and 1603 and that he did not have much choice about the books he wanted to print* Under any circumstances, the type of printing that was done in the Quartos of Henry V end Merry Wives was not apt to increase his reputation for careful workmanship* They both show an almost hurried attempt to finish off a distasteful job,


APPENDIX II Before we examine the work of the compositor at Jaggard*a shop, I wish to indicate how much better it is than that of Creede*s man in the printing of the Quarto*


we have noted, the careless workmanship on the Quarto shows, either that we are dealing with an inexperienced compositor, probably a young apprentice, or else some older, but inade­ quate, worker, who may have been hired by Creede for just this job alone*

It is difficult to believe that the work in

the Quarto could have been done by a creditable compositor who had been with Creede for any considerable period of time* 1 For, as we have seen, Creede *s shop is reputed to have turned out superior printing*

But in the Quarto we have the

hand, not of a skilled journeyman, but of one who did not hesitate as a last resort ot make cross changes, if he could not read the copy* The case differs materially when we study the workmanship of Jaggard’s man*

Not that there are not a

number of errors which seem directly referable to him*


there are no errors which distort the sense of the text, as In the Quarto#

Uor are there any apparent attempts at

1 McKerrow, R* B* op* clt*, p* 81*


Although there are 60 errors in the 2624 lines

of the version, they are mainly compositor’s slips, such as might be expected when a worker grew tired or relaxed his 1 steady focus on the copy for a moment. In the Quarto we found 54 errors in 1624 lines, many of which distorted the entire passage in which they occured.

At no place in the

Polio do we have a speech comparable to Quarto III. ii. 17, which exhibits the most witless type of Inefficiency* *he will cary it, he wil carit, tls in his betmes he wil cariten I have listed the printing errors in the Polio version of Merry Wives under the following eight divisions* I. ' II*


a. minim b. General

{aju, r*h, t*s etc.)

Compositor transposes letters in word



transposes words in line



omits one letter in word




puts finger into wrong division of type case




anticipates word in copy




omits word






most seriouserror is of this type Polio, 5. 1. 99* Host* Give me thy hand (Celestiall) so* Boyes of Art, I have deceiv’d you both. The Quarto correctly reads 3. i. 56* Host* Give me thy hand terestriall, So jfive me thy hand celestiall, So Boyes of Art I have deceiv’d you both.




I stated before one-fifth of the errors made by

compositor areminim-mlsreadings# which would

seem to indi­

cate some difficulty in distinguishing between the m, jv, w, £, and u in the copy* 1* Misreadings a* Mini, errors 1* I* i* 171 2. I* iii* 16 5* I* iii. 76 4* X*iv* 43-9

"vertuons" for "virtuous11 "live" for "lime" "honor" for "humor" "mal foy, for ehando, je man voi a le court le grande affaires,"1 for "mal foy, for chaud, je in1an vai a la cour— la grande affaire." 5. II. i. 57 "hundred" for "hundreth" 6. II* ii* 288 "rumivafcea" for "ruminates" 7. III. 1. 61 "acqualvted" for "acquainted" 8* IV. i. 53 "remewber" for "remember" 9. IV. vl. 40 "devote" for "denote" 10. V*iv. 2 "evter" for "enter" 11. V.Iv. 3 "cowe" for "come" 12* V.1. 30 "exeunt" for "exeunt"

b. General misreadings 1. I* I. 30 "per-lady" for "py*r lady" 2. I. i. 150 "Latins" for "Latea " (or latten) 3. I. iii. 75 "»ith" for "o'the" 4. III. iii. 15"Dotchet" for "Datchet" 5. Ill* v. 70 "wives" for "wlfefs" "Ginyea" for "Jenny's" 6. IV. i. 57 7. IV. i. 63 "lunaties" for "lunatics" 8. IV. Ii. 21 "lines" for "lunes" 9. IV. ii. 171 "ragge" for "hag(ge)" 10* IV* iii. 3 "Germane" for "Germans" 11. Iv. Iii. 11 "houses" for "house" 12. V# iv. 136 "Evant" for "Evans" The compositor had difficulty in this line with Shake­ speare's French interpolation. One shudders to thiilc what Creede1s man would have done with the same line had it been in his copy.

IX* Compositor transposes letters in word 1* II* ii. 296 nejitin for "exit* III. Compositor transposes words in line 1* Iv. ii. 105 "I hope not, I had liefe as hear© so much lead,** for H1 hope not, I had as liefe be&re so much lead." IV* Compositor omits one letter in word 1. I. I. 132 "Cater" for "Carter" 2* I. i. 229 "content" for "contempt" 3* I. I. 232 "discetion" for "discretion" 4. II. 1* 53 "praise" for "praised* 5, II. I. 141 "crochets* for "crotchets" 6* II* i* 162 "beter" for "better* 7. III. i. 98 "lad" for "lads" 8. Ill, iii. 203"hartly* for "heartily" 9. IV. ii. 117 "thl" for "this" 10. IV. iv. 34 "rag'd" for "ragg'd* V. Compositor puts finger in wrong division of type case 1* *III »j|iii*^.123"PaIstaffe* for "Palstaffe* .;.

* rV.


VI* Compositor anticipates word in copy 1* III. ill. 173*foolishlon" for "foolish* Ihe line readsji "Shall we send that foolishlon Carlon, Mist. Quickly to him?" VII* Compositor omits word in copy 1* II. 111. 54 "Pardon, Guest-Justice; a Monseur Mockewater" for "pardon, Guest-Justlcej a word Monseur Mockewater." 2* II, i* 4 "What, have scap'd love-letters in the hoily-day-time of my beauty— " for "llhat, have scap'd loveletters in the holly-day-tlme of my beauty--.* 1 This is a good example of the type of error which can be attributed to faulty memory on the part of the compositor. He memorises a line or two of the copy and procedes to set it up, seldom referlng to the copy once he has gone past the line which he has Just finished. Here he was focusing on the word carion and It unconsciously Influenced the word pre­ ceding it'*




VIII* Miscellaneous 1* I* Hi * 48 "legend" for "legions” 2. I* Iii.55 "illiads" for "oeillades" 3* I. iii*62 "cheaters” for "cheater" 4* I* iv*152 "hiim" for "him" 5* II* i. 33 "beleeee" for "believe" 6* II* ii*24 "hononor" for "honour" 7. II* ii* 27 "shufffle" for "shuffle" 8* II* ii* 144 "ore^flowes" for "ofreflowes" 9* III* iii* 92 "ashmed" for "ashamed" 10* III* iii* 37 "(M* Docto)rhe" for "(M. Doctor) he" 11* III* v* 30 "spersrae"for "sperme" 12* III* v* 51 "be" for "he" 13* IV* ii. 93 "JJiefcrlie" for "Mistress" 14* IV* ii* 105 "gin" for "ging" 15* IV* Iv* 10 "gold" for "cold" ‘ 16* IV* v. 58 "are" for "art" 17. V* I* 7 "Qai." for "Qui." 18* V* i. 16 "Broome" for "Broome" V 19* V* v* 70 "nightly-meadow-FalrIes" for "nightly, meadow fairies" 20* V* v* 73 "mote" for "more" 21* V* v. 75 "emrold-tuffes" for "emrald tufts" 22* V. v. 76 "saphlre pearl" for "saphire, pearl" The important point to remember in the work of Jaggard*s compositor is that the Folio version of the Herry Wives is not a particularly bad job.

When we consider the

various possibilitys for error open to the hand-compositor, it is little wonder that he should make 60 slips In approxi­ mately 22,500 words.

The parts which had been pasted to*

gether to make the copy for the Folio text may well have had words in which letters wore blurred, faintly inked or broken* The fact that one-fifth of all the errors were iiinin-misread­ ings tells us that our journeyman had some difficulty with.

- 22 1 -

such words as honor, denote, and come*

It is almost certain

that this man of laggard's worked along almost in a mechani­ cal fashion, setting up what he saw (or thought he saw) before him ,and~never pausing to make changes of any sort*


is difficult to see how he could mistake "remember" for "remewber" or "enter" for "evter" unless the type was erroneous­ ly distributed in the case box*

His errors, on the whole,

are those of execution, due sometimes to the failure of his memory, the tricky suggestions of ideas and sounds, or merely the loss of attention-focus*

At no time does he garble the

word so badly that we are at a loss to deduce what actually appeared in the copy*

In short, his errors do not deter us

from getting back to the actual lines that Shakespeare wrote*

222 -


Examples of Anticipation and Recollection by actor-pirate in Quarto of Merry Wives: 1# Quarto I# 1. S shallow: I will not be wronged# Folio I* 1# 8a Shallow: H© hath wronged me, Master Page I 2* Quarto I* 1* F>9 Annej

Now, forsooth, why do you stay me? What would you with me? Slender: Nay, for my own© part, I would little or nothing with you# I love you well, and my uncle can tell you how my living stands# And you can love me; why sol If not, why then "happie men be his dole*I Folio III# iv# 57 Anne: I mean Maister Slender, what would you with me? Slender: Truely, for mine own part, I would little or nothing with you* Your father and my uncle hath made notions# If it be my lucke, sol If not, "happy man bee his doleIw

5. Quarto I. Ivi 10 Quic# Folio I* iv# 95


4# Quarto I* lv. 49 Quic* Folio I# iv# 30


I promise you my Maister hath a great affectioned mind to mistresse Anne himself©• My master himselfe is in love with Mistress Anne Page# Tell your Maister lie doo what I can for him# Tell Master Parson Evans, I will do what I can for your Master:

5# Quarto II# i; 99 Shallow:

For the we be Justices and

— 223 —

Pa. Shallows Polio II* iiii. 40 Shallows

Pa. Shallows

Doctors and Church-men, yet we are the sonnes of women, Maister Page. True, Maister Shallow. It will be found so, Master Page. Though we are Justices, and Doctors, and Church­ men (Master Page), we have salt of our youth in usj we are the sons of women, (Master Page!) *Tie true, Master Shallow. it will be found so, Mais­ ter Page.

6. Quarto II. i* 104 Pages Maister Shallow, you yourself have belsn a great fighter, tho now* a man of peace. Polio II. ill. 36 Pages Maister Shallow! you have your selfe beene a great fighter, though now a man of peace. 7# Quarto III. ii. 26 Doc.

And dere be ven, to, I shall make de tirdl Sir Hus In your teeth, for shame. Folio III* iii. 206 Cas If there be one, or two, I shall make-a-the-turd.

8* Quarto III. 111. 52 Mis* Fords (speake louder!) But I hope tis not true, Misteris Page. Folio IV. li. 14 Mia. Fords n o , certainly! Speake louder. 9. Quarto III. iii. 58 Mis. Pages Folio IV. li. 37 Mis. Pages

Hang him, dishonest slave! we cannot use him bad enough! Hang him, dishonest varlet! we cannot misuse him inough•

10. Quarto III. ill* 66 Mis. Pages Mis. Ford;

Wives may be merry arid yet honest too. Shall we be condemned because we laugh? fTis old, but true* still

— 224

sowes eate all the draffs* Folio IV. 11 • 87

Mis# Page*

wives may be merry nnd and yet honest too. We do not acte, that often jest and laugh; 9Tie old, but true 9still swine eats all the draugh#

11# Quarto III* Iv* 49 An* 0 God I how many gross* faults, are hid and eovered in three hundred pound a yearel Folio

111# iv# 31 An % 0, what a world of vilde 111favour9d faults, Lookes handsome in threehundred pounds a yearst

12« Quartoi III# iv* 55 slenders well, nurse, if youle speake for me, lie give you more then lie talks of* Folio III* ii 48 Slenders We have appointed to dine with Miatrie Anne; and X would not breaks with her for more money then H e speake of# 13• Quarto III* ill* 79 Mis* Pages 1 faith, tls not well, Maister Ford, to suspect her thus without cause! Folio IV* ii 138 Shals By my fidelity, this Is not well, Master Ford! This wrongs you! Fords 19suspect without cause9, (Mistrie) do I? 14* Quarto III* v* 85 Fords And a man shall not only endure this wrong, but shall stand under the taunt of names! Lucifer la a good name; Barb&son goods good DlvelP namess But Cuckold, wittold! code! So! The Divel hi .iseIfe hath not such a name!

225 15* quarto III* v# 92 Ford* lie about It, least I repent too late* /' .y

Folio II# 11#276 Ford* I will about itl better throe hours too soone, then a minute too late! 16# Quarto IV* li 9 Mis* Ford* Gods body! here Is misteris Page! Step behind the arras. good sir John* Folio III* ill* 79 Fal: She shall not see mel I will esconce nee behind the arras I 17* Quarto IV* iv* 25 Ills* Page: The hour shalbe between© twelve and one$ Folio IV# vl* 19 Fentons Tonight, at Heme's Oak# just 'twiact twelve and one#


18# Quarto IV# ii# 36 Ford (to the two men)* How now# whither go you? Ha- whither go you? %

Folio III.iii* 1

19* Quarto V* v* 44 Folio V* v. 53 20# Quarto V* V* 91

Folio IV# v* 84

How now! whither beare you this? Qu* Spare neither legge, arme, head, nor face!




Pinch them, armes, legs, backes, shoulders, sides and shins* Weil, and the fine wits of the oourt heare this, thuyle so whip me with their keen jests, that thayle melt me out like tallow, drop by drop out of my grease* If it should come to the eare of the Court,how I have beene transformed and how my transformation hath been washed and cudgeld they would me It mee out or my fat, drop

- 226 -

by drop, and liquor fisherman's boots with me! 21* Quarto I* II# 20


Folio I# II# 71

Hyms I thanke thee for that humor#

22* Quarto I# ii# 7


I thanke thee for that humor.

Sir Hu: 1 must not be absent at the grace# I will goe make an end of my dinner; 'There is pepions and cheese behind#

L# 1# 239

Sir Hu: Od's plessed-wil! I wil not, be absence at the grace#

23# Quarto I# iv# 21

Quiet Take all, and pal all; all goe through my hands#

Folio II# ii# 107

Quicks Ase what she© will, say what she will, take all,

P&y all, 24# Quarto III#i# 30

Pas Kow, Sir Hugh, you are a scholler well-red, and very perswasive;

Folio II*. ii# 161 25. Quarto V# v#.101

Folio V. v# 117

26# Quarto IV* v* 42

Ford: Sir, I heare you are a Schollers For#* Ahere is a further matier yet, 5ir John# Tkeres 20 pound you borrowed of Maister Brookes

Fords *# and twenty pounds of money, which must be paid to faster broomo. Sir Hus So kad vdge me, the devises is excellent! I will also be there, and be like a ackanapes, and pinch him moot cruelly for his lecheries#

227 -

Folio IV. v. 66

Sir Hus I vdll touch the ehildnsn their behaviors: and I will be like a Jacke-anApes also, to bum© the Knight with my. Taber.

27. Quarto III. Hi. 59

Folio IV. ii. 60

&is. Fas: Better any shift, rather than you shamedI

Fall ...any ©xtremeitle, rather than a mischief©!

28. Quarto III* ill. 71-2

&is* Page*

Didyou hear© that? Idls# Fords I. I, peace I

Here we have an example in which the passage of the Quarto makes no point, since the actor-pirate omitted Mrs. Fordfs previous remark:

°I think© my husband hath

some special! suspicion of Falstaff*s being her©.11 29. Quarto X. 1. 65: t


mf come hasister Slender! dinner stales for you. Slen: X can ©ate no meat©, I thanke you. Pa: You shall not choose I say. Slen: H e follow you, sir! pray lead© the way! May, be hod, misteris Anne! you shall goe first! I have more reamers than so, 1 hope. An. ’ Kell sir, I will not be tx*oublesome. Folio I. i* 271: 14a. Pa. Come, gentle faster Slender, come! ve stay for ycy. SI* II© eat nothing* I thanke you, Sir* Me. Pa. By cocke and pie, you shall not choose, Sir! Come, com©} SI. Hay, pray you, lead the way! %&/ P&* ^ome on, 5irJ SI. Truely, I will not go first! truely, — la, I wlllnot do ycu that wrong.

An* X pray you, SirI SI. lie rather be unmannerly, than troublesome! You doe your self© wrong, indeed®, — la! Quarto XV. Iv* 14i Ford: lie to him once again like Brooke, and know his mind, whether heele come or not* Folio XV. iv. 75-6: Ford: Hay, lie to him againe in name of Brooke; Hee'l tell me all his purpose: sure, hee*l come.