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Against such a theory stand at once two highly significant facts, one acknowledged by Dr. Walker and one ignored. No clear typographical links between Q2 and F have been discovered and considerable passages in Q2 are omitted from F. These omissions, mostly explicable as theatrical cuts and natural enough in a playhouse manuscript prepared for performance,[16] are difficult to account for if the printers of F, which aimed at giving Shakespeare's plays "perfect of their limbes", were working from a copy of Q2 in which these passages were included. Moreover, while Dr. Walker has painstakingly collected evidence which would support her case, she has neglected items, even in her own categories of spelling and punctuation, which go against it.

Divergences between Q2 and F need perhaps even more careful handling than similarities. Anomalies common to two texts can sometimes establish that one was printed from the other; but in the nature of things it is difficult to prove the negative. This is especially so when divergences can be explained as (1) emendations made by a corrector of Q2 based upon the manuscript with which he was collating, as well as (2) the inevitable errors and alterations of the F compositors. Even so the divergences


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between the two are very great. It may be thought that Dr. Walker relies too heavily on compositors' errors as explanations of corruptions; and there are, I think, many features of the F text which the two causes of divergences are together insufficient to explain.

Erroneous readings. If the F text was in fact set up from a corrected copy of Q2, then the manuscript used by the hypothetical corrector of Q2 was certainly at one and possibly at more removes from Shakespeare's autograph; and it had also undergone alteration by or for the players. It had therefore plenty of opportunity for the corruption and vulgarization which have given in F so many inferior readings. But the question that arises is how far such corruptions would have been transferred by the collator to the copy of Q2 on which he worked. It is a necessary postulate of Dr. Walker's theory that the corrector sought mechanically to bring the Q2 text into line with the manuscript he was using, exercising no editorial discrimination; but granted that the aim was to secure a better text for F, I find it difficult to accept correction of so extremely mechanical a pattern as it would be necessary to infer.[17] A mechanical corrector might conceivably have introduced such nonsense as the notorious 'or Norman' for 'nor man' at III.ii.36 or 'our Nation' for 'the Nation' at IV.vii.95-if indeed these are not attributable to compositors' errors-perhaps even 'their corporall' for 'th'incorporall' at III.iv.118. But was 'inobled' deliberately introduced for the 'mobled' Queen? Without Q2 to guide him either a transcriber or a compositor might easily have so misread a manuscript copy; but, with 'mobled' twice in front of him in print, one would have expected a collator to pause before insisting on this reading and a compositor not to make this error three times over. Other nonsensical readings which could have arisen from the misreading of manuscript copy but which a corrector might have been expected to refrain from introducing into Q2 include: II.ii.580, warm'd (Q2 wand, = wann'd); III.i.48, surge (Q2 sugar); III.i.99, then perfume left (Q2 their perfume lost); IV.iii.7, neerer (Q2 neuer); IV.vii.143, I but dipt (Q2 that but dippe); IV.vii.156, commings (Q2 cunnings); IV.vii.183, buy (Q2 lay). It would have to be a very mechanical correction indeed which substituted readings such as these. And again one cannot well impute them all to simple errors of a compositor working from a printed copy. Some of them might of course have arisen from compositor's errors which, as we know often happened, a proof- corrector emended by guesswork without reference to copy. The complete collation of the Folger Folios which is now being undertaken might throw some light on this. But in the present state of my


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knowledge I see no reasonable explanation of F's numerous errors of this order on the assumption that F was set up from Q2.[18]

Stage-directions and speech-headings. In the matter of stage- directions, although a few small similarities have been noticed, the most obvious thing that emerges from a comparison of Q2 and F is the remarkable nonconformity of the two texts. A corrector of Q2 who achieved this result would have had to carry out a very thorough-going revision. This of course cannot be ruled out, for something of the kind was apparently done with Q6 of Richard III, if scholars are right in holding that F printed from that quarto.[19] But it is worth noting that the Hamlet alterations embrace a number of quite pointless variations. Among these I cite: I.ii.159, Q2 Enter Horatio, Marcellus, and Bernardo F Enter Horatio, Barnard, and Marcellus; II.ii.221, Q2 Enter Guyldersterne, and Rosencraus, F Enter Rosincran and Guildensterne; III.ii.52, Q2 Enter Polonius, Guyldensterne, & Rosencraus, F Enter Polonius, Rosincrance, and Guildensterne. In the last two a transcriber might easily have given Rosencrantz the priority normally accorded him elsewhere, but a deliberate transposition of the Q2 order, either by collator or compositor, is unlikely. At II.ii.39, Q2 has Exeunt Ros. and Guyld., and it is difficult to see why a corrector or a compositor with plenty of room should have wished to replace this explicit direction with the single word Exit. I do not think the correction of Q2 from a manuscript is a sufficient explanation of these changes.

A comparison of speech-headings yields similar results. My own fragmentary observations confirm the conclusion of Dr. Philip Williams that in plays set from quartos the Folio compositors tended to be guided by the speech-headings in their copy.[20] But of course the speech-headings of a quarto might reach the F compositors already heavily altered by a collator, as Richard III, again, suggests. So perhaps not too much should be made of the discrepancy in III.iv. and IV.i. of Hamlet, where Q2 heads the Queen's speeches, with one exception, Ger., while F sticks steadily to Qu. The replacement of short by longer forms of speech-heading requires a different explanation. A compositor familiar with the play, if we could assume such, might, I suppose, have substituted such longer forms as


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Polon. for the Pol. which Q2, after an initial Polo., invariably uses. The occurrence of Polon. in F in I.iii, II.i and II.ii coincides with the work of compositor A, who always uses this form, while B overwhelmingly prefers Pol. [21] But Polon. turns up in one small block (III.ii.390 ff.), as well as sporadically elsewhere, in the work of B; and it is probable that this form of the speech-heading was the one commonly found in the copy, which A, according to his wont, tended to follow more exactly. Rosin., rather than the Ros. of Q2, would seem to have been the normal speech-heading for Rosencrantz in F's copy:[22] its use in F is quite consistent except for IV.ii.5, where Ro. occurs for reasons of space, and it runs through the work of both compositors. F's single instance of Marcell. at I.v.148, in a scene where both texts are otherwise content with Mar., is, on the theory that F was set up from Q2, more than a little odd.

Punctuation. A consideration of the punctuation provides more clues. It is true that there are passages showing a high degree of correspondence between the two texts. Dr. Walker has cited the 'To be or not to be' soliloquy, and another example might be the speech of Claudius which ends IV.iii. But the opposite situation is notorious in the 'What a piece of work is a man' speech, and whatever one's view of the alternative methods of punctuating this, the one thing that is clear is that the F punctuation did not derive from Q2.

It is Dr. Walker's observation of the Folio compositors that they "normally reproduced the majority of the parentheses in their quarto copy".[23] This does not suggest that their copy for Hamlet was Q2, where, discounting passages of text which are not present in F at all, I count eleven instances of parenthesis and find as many as nine of these not reproduced in F. Yet the F Hamlet gives plenty of evidence of compositor B's recognized penchant for parenthesis, which occasionally leads him into error. A good example occurs at II.ii.140 with '(my yong Mistris)', which is absurdly taken for a vocative. Yet in the same speech this compositor missed an obvious opportunity in the line which Q2 points

As I perceiu'd it (I must tell you that)
(II.ii.133) His omission of any point after 'that' suggests that he never even understood that the second half of the line was parenthetical. He can hardly have had Q2 before him either then or when he failed to recognize the parenthetical phrase at III.i.192:


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Ile be plac'd (so please you)
Ile be plac'd so, please you
These examples go against those three which Dr. Walker cites where F's erroneous punctuation seems to derive from Q2. And there are many similar ones. In the following cases F has been led into wrong, or at least inferior, punctuation precisely through not following Q2, and the natural inference is that Q2 did not serve as copy:                
I.ii.202   Q2 
Goes slowe and stately by them; thrice he walkt
Goes slow and stately: By them thrice he walkt,
II.iv.56  Q2 
With thoughts beyond the reaches of our soules
With thoughts beyond thee; reaches of our Soules
II.i.41  Q2 
Marke you, your partie in conuerse,
Marke you your party in conuerse;
II.ii.145-6   Q2  
she tooke the fruites of my aduise:
And he repell'd, a short tale to make,
she tooke the Fruites of my Aduice,
And he repulsed A short Tale to make,
IV.iii.24-6  Q2 
your fat King and your leane begger is but variable seruice, two
dishes but to one table, that's the end.
Your fat King, and your leane Begger is but variable seruice to
dishes, but to one Table that's the end.
IV.v.112   Q2 
Where is this King? sirs stand you all without.
Where is the King, sirs? Stand you all without.
IV.vii.45-6  Q2 
to see your kingly eyes, when I shal first asking you pardon,
there-vnto recount
to see your Kingly Eyes. When I shall (first asking your Pardon thereunto) recount
IV.vii.58-9   Q2  
And how should it be so, how otherwise,
Will you be rul'd by me?
as how should it be so:
How otherwise will you be rul'd by me?
The third and fourth examples in this list are spoken by Polonius, whose involved syntax frequently caused the F compositors trouble, in which the lightly punctuated Q2 gave little help. But I judge it to have offered more guidance in these two instances than F availed itself of. Again, of course, one must not neglect the possibility that an erroneous F reading might have arisen in proof-correction when a corrector tried to tidy up some compositorial muddle without reference to copy; and this should particularly be allowed for when, as in the second and fifth examples, an eccentric spelling ('thee' for 'the', 'to' for 'two') points to a likely source of confusion. But it would be very surprising if the proof-correction could be shown to account for all the misunderstandings I have cited.


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Two further passages deserve more detailed consideration. The first is I.iii.8-10:

The perfume and suppliance of a minute
No more.
The suppliance of a minute? No more.
Here the F compositor was baffled by his copy as he should not have been if working from Q2. His running of 'No more' into the same line looks like an attempt to eke out the metre consequent on the dropping of 'perfume and', which was presumably absent from F's copy. The omission of the comma, which suggests that 'the suppliance of a minute' was taken to be the object of 'lasting', also supports this. The other passage, IV.vii.101-3, is also one in which F has an omission:  
If one could match you; the Scrimures of their nation
He swore had neither motion, guard, nor eye,
If you opposd them; sir this report of his
If one could match you Sir. This report of his
The dropping of two lines is not in itself remarkable. But the usual explanations-a deletion in the copy or a compositor's oversight-are not here available. The attachment of 'Sir' to the sentence which precedes instead of that which follows the omission suggests that the printer's copy itself ran straight on. I think, then, that a study of the punctuation does not assist the view that F was in general set up from Q2.

Spellings. Divergences of spelling are difficult to argue from. Abnormal spellings common to two texts-and Dr. Walker, as we have seen, has revealed a few pertinent ones in Hamlet-may well suggest dependence. But since the compositor was under no obligation to follow the spelling of his copy, the converse is not true. Yet there is one kind of word in which the compositor would normally be guided by his copy. I refer to proper names. Not all of these of course are significant: a compositor will have his own way of spelling Gloucester[24] and the names of other English earls or counties, as well as those of the classical figures who throng the Roman plays. But there are other names which must have been strange to the compositor, who would approach them without predilection. Hamlet has a number of these. The most striking are, to adopt


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the modern spelling, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern. These were well-known Danish names in the sixteenth century, and their possible occurrence in the ur-Hamlet and their pre-Shakespearian history in England do not concern us here. What does is the consistent orthographic divergence of Q2 and F. Q2 invariably prints 'Rosencraus', F normally (II times) 'Rosincrance'. The F exceptions-'Rosincrane' three times and 'Rosincran' once-may safely be regarded as erroneous, and in any case they come no nearer than the usual F form to the practice of Q2. Even if one could presume a corrector who changed u to n throughout Q2, I should find it impossible to believe in one who regularly replaced the medial e by i or the final s by ce. The medial i in F also runs consistently through the speech-headings (42 of them). The name of Rosencrantz's companion shows a like discrepancy: it is regularly spelt 'Guyldensterne' in Q2, 'Guildensterne' in F. The variants 'Guyldersterne' (twice) in Q2 and 'Guildenstern' (twice) in F are insignificant. What is significant is that, apart from two instances of i in Q2 (III.ii.376; IV.i.31), the variation between y in Q2 and i in F is consistently maintained throughout text, stage-directions and speech-headings. There are over forty instances.

The F spelling of these two names is, then, consistently different from that of Q2. And it cannot be attributed to a compositor, for both the compositors who worked on the F Hamlet followed exactly the same practice. The inference is inevitable that when they set up 'Rosincrance' and 'Guildensterne', together with speech-headings Rosin. and Guil. or Guild., they were following their copy. And therefore their copy could not have been Q2. This single piece of evidence seems to me conclusive.

Other rare names in Hamlet give confirmation. 'Fortinbrasse' or 'Fortenbrasse' in Q2 becomes 'Fortinbras' invariably in F, both compositors again being involved. F's substitution of 'Gertrude' for 'Gertrard' may be accounted mere normalization, but since it too is quite consistent with both compositors, it cannot be ignored. Q2 always spells 'Elsonoure', but in all three instances in II.ii, shared between the two compositors, F prints the name 'Elsonower'. It is true that at I.ii.174 compositor A spells it 'Elsenour', but even here the medial vowel and the absence of the final e do not suggest that the spelling derives from Q2. Osric, either in full or in abbreviated speech-headings, is in Q2 eight times spelt with a t- 'Ostr(ick(e)'-before appearing twice without it; but 'Osr(icke)' without the t is always used by both compositors in F.[25]

When a name is confined to that part of the play set up by one of the


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F compositors, the significance of divergent spellings lessens but does not vanish. The 'Reynaldo' of Q2, for example, is 'Reynoldo' in F in the one scene in which he appears; and since F's speech-heading is always Reynol., the crucial middle vowel is vouched for 17 times. 'Pirrhus' in Q2, though it has the variants 'Pirhus' and 'Phirrhus', retains the i in all 10 instances; in F it is invariably 'Pyrrhus'.[26] Q2's 'Ieptha' appears in F in all three instances as 'Iephta'. With Voltemand there is inconsistency in both texts: but where F spells 'Voltemand' in I.ii, Q2 has 'Valtemand', and when Q2 does spell 'Voltemand' in II.ii, F shifts to 'Voltumand'. The coincidence of 'Pollax' (Q2 pollax) at I.i.63 is offset by divergences elsewhere: for the Q2 'Pollacke' or 'Pollack' (II.ii.63, 75; IV.iv.23; V.ii.387), F has 'Poleak' and 'Polake'. Proper nouns or adjectives which have but a single occurrence include Q2 Nemeon, F. Nemian (I.iv.83) and Q2 Lamord, F Lamound (IV.vii.93); and, since it was apparently mistaken for a proper name, one might add Q2 Mallico, F Malicho (III.ii.149). Against all this there is not a single coincidence in the spelling of proper names throughout the play which can be held significant.