University of Virginia Library

Search this document 


expand section 
collapse section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 

expand section 



The present article was in the editor's hands before I had an opportunity to read an unpublished doctoral dissertation by Frank S. Hook, George Peele's Edward I (Yale, 1952). Mr. Hook's view of the text will, I understand, be presented in his proposed edition of the play, to be included in the Yale Works of Peele presently appearing under the general editorship of Charles T. Prouty. As I understand the positions, Mr. Hook and I are in substantial agreement that the text is non-reported yet revised; however, Mr. Hook believes that Peele himself made the revisions and that the extant text then served as the basis for London performances, whereas I feel very strongly that non-authorial revision, probably for provincial performance (as presented below) is responsible for the state of the Q1 text.


see E. K. Chambers, The Elizabethan Stage, III, 460; E. G. Fleay's earlier (1891) advocacy of the 1590-91 dating is here cited. Harold M. Dowling, in "The Date and Order of Peele's Plays," Notes and Queries CLXIV (March 18, 1933), 184, attributes Edward I to the winter of 1591, citing lines quoted from Peele's Polyhymnia (1590) and Descensus Astraeae (written before October 29, 1591), and literal parallels between Edward I and Marlowe's Edward II, a play which also contains echoes of Peele's Descensus.


Note however a similar variant in a repeated passage in Peele's Old Wives Tale where compositorial error in the first occurrence is likely (italics mine):

(D4v, 22-23) Head: Gently dip, but not too deepe, For feare you make the golden birde to weepe, (E4, 8-9) Voyce: Gently dip: but not too deepe; For feare you make the goulde beard to weepe.


Bullen, I, 98, n. 1. The reference is to the phrase, repeated in consecutive lines, "Sprung (descended) from the loins of . . ." (300-1). See also Bullen I, 111, n. 3, concerning the repetition of the word "welcome" twice in a single line (618).


Harry R. Hoppe has suggested in a brief footnote (The Bad Quarto of Romeo and Juliet, 1948, P. 76, n. 1) that Peele's The Old Wives Tale, Q1 1595, is a bad quarto, hut the general nature of the text does not seem to warrant such a designation. All five plays of Peele which survive appear to be abridged but non-reported acting versions.


This is the method employed, in the main, in Chapter IV of my unpublished doctoral dissertation, A Survey of Non-Shakespearean Bad Quartos, University of Virginia, 1953.


Historical facts in Edward I are only generally correct and do not correspond too exactly to the version given by Holinshed; however, no errors occur which cannot be attributed to the exigencies of dramatic presentation.


It has been suggested that David and Bethsabe represents an abridged (perhaps provincial) stage version, revised at least in part by Peele himself; see Arthur M. Sampley, "The Text of Peele's David and Bethsabe," PMLA, XLVI (1931), 659-671.


See Greg, Two Elizabethan Stage Abridgements (1922), pp. 99-100.


See G. I. Duthie, "The Text of Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet," Studies in Bibliography, IV (1951-52), especially 17-18; and Richard Hosley, "The Corrupting Influence of the Bad Quarto on the Received Text of Romeo and Juliet," SQ, IV (1953), especially 11-12 and 16.


Note a comment on the Edward I text by Harold M. Dowling, op. cit., 184: "The text shows that the play has been ruthlessly revised, serious matter being wholly excised so as to allow for the inclusion of comic and farcical scenes."


This list is intended to be illustrative not exhaustive. Accidental dropping and misplacing of lines, suggested by Dyce, Bullen, and other editors, may enter into the explanation of some of these passages, as well as conscious revision. There is a clearly misplaced four-line fragment in David and Bethsabe, at the bottom of G4v, indicating some kind of confusion in the manuscript; and it may be that such misplacements occur in Edward 1. See the above discussion of the passage at 2943-56.


Holger Norgaard, in Notes and Queries, CXCVII (October 11, 1952), 443, states his impression that "the play must almost certainly have been the source of the ballad, which in places is barely understandable without reference to the play." My own impression reverses this pattern of influence, but there is no positive evidence either way.


Bullen, I, 82. The last word was probably once "Queenhive"; Potters Heath is three times called "Potters Hive" in Edward I, at 2506, 2543, and 2548.


Neither of these events is mentioned in the anonymous ballad. The only reference to any child of Queen is in stanza 19 of the ballad, where it is stated that Elinor confessed to having had o-a base-born child" by a friar. In Edward 1, scene 25, the Queen confesses that Jone's father was a French friar. This is one of two specific links between the ballad and portions of Edward I which I believe to be in the main Peele's. The other concerns Elinor's pride in dress, mentioned in stanzas 2-4 of the ballad and in the play in scene 1, at 223-233, and 285-92. Peele may have had a general knowledge of the anonymous ballad when he wrote his play, or he may merely have known the tenor of the current vilifications of Queen Elinor. I do not think, as I am attempting to demonstrate above, that he is responsible for the more extensive use to which the ballad has been put in other scenes of Edward 1.


Possibly the occurrence of Rice's name in this stage direction indicates that the actor who portrayed Rice earlier is here doubling as an attendant of King Edward's. The stage direction in such case would be a playhouse addition made by a theatrical reviser and/or bookkeeper. The apparent confusion between stage directions and dialogue reflected in this line has a counterpart in David and Bethsabe at F4v, 17, in the direction, Hence murtherer, hence, he threw at him." Presumably the first half of this line belongs to the text-proper, not to the stage direction. The curious use of past tense for stage directions occurs both in David and, more rarely, in The Arraignment, but not in Edward 1.


The reference in scene 7 of Edward I at 1293-4, to "the booke of Robin Hood" (i.e., the prompt book), suggests that there was in existence a Robin Hood play earlier than Anthony Munday's Death of Robert Earl of Huntington, printed in 1601, and longer than the play which occupies the last eight pages of "A mery geste of Robyn Hoode and on hys Iyfe, wyth a newe playe for to be played in Maye games . . . ," first printed in an undated quarto ca. 1561-69.


See MSR, vi. In Henslowe's Diary, 11 (1908), 148, Greg defines "ne" thus: "The occurrence of the letters against a performance may therefore indicate one of three things: (i) that the play was new to the stage and had never before been acted; (ii) that it was new to the company, but had been previously represented by some other body; (iii) that it was new in its particular form, having received alterations since it was last acted."


Greg, in Henslowe's Diary, II, 176, has suggested Strange's instead of Queen's as the original owner of Edward l: "The present play belonged to Alleyn and may very likely, therefore, have come from Strange's men [Fleay's suggestion], being marked as new on account of revision. The edition of 1599 appears to be a mere reprint of that of 1593, so that any additions made in 1595 have perished. The printed text is mutilated, and may have been cut down for country performance during the plague of 1592-3."