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It will be necessary at the outset to examine the linguistic forms that are present in Field's two unaided plays: A Woman is a Weathercocke (published in quarto in 1612) and its companion piece, Amends for Ladies (quarto 1618).[1]


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ye   y'   d'ee   t'ee   w'ee   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   his   ha'  
WW  22  14  11  18  27  18  2[*]  
AL  15  11  30  11  24  26 

The linguistic pattern that emerges from these plays contrasts in a number of ways with the patterns of linguistic usage that have been found to be representative of the unaided work of Fletcher and Massinger. In neither of Field's plays does the occurrence of ye approach the Fletcherian usage; at the same time, his fairly steady though never frequent use of the form stands in contrast to the practice of Massinger, who tends to avoid the use of ye altogether. The very steadiness of its occurrence in the plays of Field contrasts with what we have observed of the practice of Beaumont.[2] Whereas there is nothing to distinguish Field's use of hath from its occurrence in the unaided plays of Massinger, his practice contrasts sufficiently well with that of Fletcher, who employs it no more than 6 times in a single play. Field's use of doth contrasts sharply with the practice of both his principal collaborators; as has been previously shown, the form occurs but thrice in a single one of the unaided plays of Fletcher, and its occurrence is almost equally negligible in the unaided work of Massinger, where it is found but 5 times in three plays.[3] Field's use of the contractions 'em, i'th', o'th', and 's for his is indistinguishable from Fletcher's; but since, as has been shown, these are forms that Massinger rarely or never employs at the period of his collaborations with Fletcher and others, the practice of Field, like that of Fletcher, contrasts with the Massingerian one on this score.[4]

The contraction ha' for have has been previously encountered chiefly in the work of Beaumont;[5] it does not occur in the unaided plays of Massinger, and is found but four times in three of Fletcher's unaided plays.[6] The contraction 'ee never occurs in isolation in Field's work, but always appears in combination with the preceding auxiliary do (contracted to d'), or the preceding prepositions to and with (contracted to t' and w' respectively). The form is clearly a feature of Field's linguistic pattern, and it is unfortunate for its worth as authorial evidence for his work that it is a feature of a number of other linguistic patterns as well. The contractions d'ee and w'ee occur in Shirley, as


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will be seen elsewhere in this section of the present study; and in a later section of this study, both forms together with t'ee will be found to occur frequently in the plays of Ford. Contractions in 'ee are found in three of the plays associated with Beaumont: in the 1613 quarto text of The Knight of the Burning Pestle (where it occurs once as d'ee, thrice as t'ee); in the 1647 folio text of The Noble Gentleman (once, as d'ee); and in the Lambarde manuscript text of Beggars' Bush (once as to'ee, once as keep'ee, once as ask'ee). And while the contraction does not occur in any form in the unaided plays of either Fletcher or Massinger, it appears in a number of Fletcher-Massinger collaborations: in the 1647 folio text of The Custom of the Country (5 times as d'ee); in the 1637 quarto text of The Elder Brother (once as would 'ee, once as t'ee); in the 1647 folio text of The Sea Voyage (5 times as d'ee, twice as t'ee); in the 1647 folio text of The Spanish Curate (once, as undertake 'ee). These sporadic occurrences of the 'ee contraction in the Fletcher-Massinger collaborations are with one exception (the would 'ee of The Elder Brother) found in scenes marked with the Fletcherian ye. There are some equally sporadic occurrences of the form (or variants of it, for it appears to have undergone sundry mutations in the folio texts) in The Knight of Malta, The Queen of Corinth, Four Plays in One, and The Honest Man's Fortune. To regard certain at least of these occurrences of 'ee as evidence of Field's work is permissible only if one is willing to grant significance to the fact that with one possible exception (V, 4 of The Honest Man's Fortune), the form occurs, not in the scenes where ye is found flourishing in full Fletcherian abundance, but in those scenes in which the use of ye approximates the moderate practice of Field in his two unaided comedies. This serves to point up the truth that there is no single linguistic form that can in itself be regarded as distinctive of Field's work; such evidence as is available for his share in a collaborated play must be based on the prevalence of the total linguistic pattern that characterizes his unaided work as we know it, and not on the single language forms of which the pattern is comprised.

The totality of Field's language preferences, considered as a linguistic pattern, contrasts on the whole successfully enough with the patterns that have been established for Fletcher and Massinger, and it is possible to draw some reasonably clear conclusions regarding their respective shares in a play of divided authorship. It is doubtful that the pattern of Field can be very satisfactorily distinguished from the linguistic pattern of Beaumont; Beaumont's sparing use of ye as opposed to its more regular occurrence in the work of Field provides what is perhaps the most notable point of contrast in the practice of the


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two dramatists. The extent to which Field's work can be distinguished from Massinger's is evident from an examination of the linguistic forms present in The Fatal Dowry, a play on which they are known to have collaborated. Published in quarto in 1632, with a title-page ascription to "P. M. and N. F.," the play makes it possible to examine the linguistic preferences of the two dramatists in a work of their joint-authorship, and it is gratifying to see that their preferences are as readily distinguishable as here at least they appear to be. In his edition of the play, Mr. C. L. Lockert attributes the shares of the two dramatists as follows: to Massinger: I; III, lines 1-343; IV, 2, 3, 4; V; to Field: II; III, lines 344 to the end; IV, 1.[7] The linguistic evidence bears this out. The following table sets forth the occurrence in the play of those language forms that possess any value as authorial evidence. (I have distinguished scenes within an act only in cases where Lockert's attribution indicates dual authorship.)

ye   y'   d'ee   t'ee   w'ee   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   his   ha'  
III (1-343): 
--- (344-end): 
IV, i: 
--, ii-iv: 
V:  12 

As is to be expected, the evidence of hath is of no use in distinguishing the work of Massinger and Field, and doth, which Field might be expected to employ, does not appear in his share of the play. But Field's use of ye and y', particularly in the second act, is striking; and he seems to be responsible for the single use of ye in Act III. The occurrence of d'ee, t'ee, and w'ee in IV, 1 is conspicuous. Massinger displays his normal preference for them to the contracted 'em; this is particularly apparent in the fourth act, where Field's scene one employs only 'em's, while the remainder of the act, for which Massinger is responsible, employs only them's. We note as well Massinger's tendency to avoid such contractions as i'th', o'th', and 's for his. Field seems to be wholly responsible for the occurrence of these forms in The Fatal Dowry. The use of the contraction ha' in Act II, near the end of Act III, and in IV, 1, seems clearly to be his, as well.

Even on this small scale it can be seen that the language preferences displayed in Field's unaided plays are evident in a play of which he


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was a joint author—and evident in such a way as to enable one to distinguish in some measure his work from that of his collaborator. Since The Fatal Dowry does not exhibit his customary use of doth, it does not present a completely accurate picture of his linguistic pattern, but on the evidence which it affords, and from what we know of his language preferences from his unaided work, we can form a reasonably accurate notion of what Field's linguistic practices will be. They will tend together to form a linguistic pattern marked by the occasional use of ye and y', a fairly regular use of hath and doth, and a tendency to employ such contractions as ha' and combinations with 'ee which, although present in certain of the Fletcher-Massinger collaborations, are not found in their unaided work.

The texts of the four plays in which Field's work is present in the Beaumont and Fletcher canon preserve the linguistic patterns of the collaborating dramatists in what is, on the whole, a remarkably faithful degree. Two of the texts appear to have been set from Crane transcripts, and Crane's care in preserving the linguistic forms of his authors has been noted.[8] It is clear from the linguistic evidence available that the hand which wrote the first two of the Four Plays in One could not have written the last two. The linguistic criteria that emerge from The Knight of Malta and The Queen of Corinth make it evident beyond any doubt that there are three distinct patterns of language preferences present in both. And The Honest Man's Fortune exhibits linguistic features which guide one at least in evaluating the claims of some of the suggested collaborators.

    Four Plays in One

  • Field: Induction, The Triumph of Honour, The Triumph of Love.
  • Fletcher: The Triumph of Death, The Triumph of Time.

The induction and the first two plays with the connecting link between them seem clearly to be the work of a single dramatist. The last two plays are just as clearly the work of a second dramatist, who beyond any doubt is Fletcher. The linguistic pattern that emerges from the induction and the first two Triumphs I regard as Field's. Here ye is found 27 times, in the presence of 20 occurrences of hath, and 17 of doth. The contraction d' for do appears here 3 times, always in the combination d'ye, a form which may represent a compositorial alteration of Field's d'ee. Similarily, the single occurrence of the combination wi'you may be an expansion of Field's contraction w'ee. There is a single use of ha' for have. In contrast to this linguistic pattern is the


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typically Fletcherian one of the last two Triumphs, with its 60 ye's, and the absence in it of a single occurrence of hath or doth. As has been pointed out, there is nothing to distinguish Field's use of 'em, i'th', o'th', or 's for his from Fletcher's.

The language of the first two of the Four Plays in One is studded with grammatical inversions that generally accomplish the purpose of relegating some form of the verb to the end of the sentence or clause. This feature of syntax is not particularly notable in the more realistic dialogue of Field's unaided comedies, though it does occur in both; an example is such a sentence as "wit's a disease, that fit employment wants," from A Woman is a Weather-cocke (IV, 1); or, from Amends for Ladies: "this same horrid newes which me assaults" (I, 1), and "no one, her foot steps euer more should meete" (II, 3). One might note as well: "he knows himself in poverty lost," and "that his dear father might internment have," both from Field's II, 1 of The Fatal Dowry. In accordance with the higher moral purpose of the first two Triumphs of the Four Plays in One, verse thus embroidered with poetic diction was evidently deemed the appropriate medium of speech. The result is such phrases as the following, from "The Triumph of Honour": "Athens shall stand, / and all her priviledges augmented be" (27a);[9] "O make him such a Captive as thy self / unto another wouldst, great Captain, be" (27a); "let not soft nature so transformed be" (27b); "if your strange secret do no lower lie" (29b); "though thou stronger be" (30a); "ere I so impious prove" (30a); "when . . . we to speak do come" (32a). And similarly, from "The Triumph of Love": "I'll rather silent die" (33a); "heavens goodnesse shall prevented be" (33a); "my fraught of health my sicknesse is" (34a); "my heart a plague hath caught" (35b); "to some remote place move" (35b); "I no joy shall finde" (35b); "I joy they all so happily are pleas'd" (39a). Such stylistic mannerisms as these are to be found in Field's share of each of the following three plays. They do not constitute linguistic criteria of the sort upon which the present study is based, but I have drawn attention to them for whatever corroborative value they might have for substantiating Field's claim to those shares in the plays of the canon that I have singled out as his.

I draw attention as well to another non-linguistic characteristic of Field's which, evaluated with the other criteria here considered, has I think a certain value as authorial evidence. This is Field's fondness for having characters speak in unison. I count 18 instances of speeches headed Omnes in A Woman is a Weather-cocke, and 13 in Amends for


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Ladies. There are three such speeches in the folio text of the Four Plays in One (here they are headed All). One occurs at the end of "The Triumph of Honour" (31b), the other two near the end of "The Triumph of Love" (38b and 39a); both Triumphs I attribute to Field.

The folio text abounds with proper names, forms of address, and nouns used in the vocative. Thus, for example, we have: "I protest (my deer Don)" [25b]; "ask mercie? (Roman)" [27a]; "Can't not be done (Valerius)" [28a]; "For thy blest sake / (O thou infinitie of excellence)" [32a]; "is Rinaldo (brother) / . . ., heard of living?" [35a]; "how oft (forgetfull Lord)" [39b]; "so strict command (Sir)" [43a]; "Thou hast forgot (Desire)" [46a]; "By this we note (sweet heart)" [48b]. This, together with the manner in which the Fletcherian ye is so carefully preserved, leads me to believe that the manuscript behind the folio text was the work of the scribe Ralph Crane, despite the fact that, unlike the usual text derived from a Crane transcript, this one is not divided into scenes.

    The Knight of Malta

  • Field: I; V.
  • Fletcher: II; III, 1, 4; IV, 2.
  • Massinger: III, 2-3; IV, 1, 3-4.

Three distinct linguistic patterns are present in the play. Those respectively of Fletcher and Massinger can be distinguished readily enough by the presence and the absence of ye, and by Fletcher's preference for 'em to them, as opposed to Massinger's preference for the expanded to the contracted form. The third pattern is one which makes use of a scattering of ye's, and employs the third person singular verb forms hath and doth to an extent that is unknown in the work of either Fletcher or Massinger. I identify it as the pattern of Field.

The linguistic forms present in Fletcher's share are what one would expect: 179 ye's, no occurrence of hath, a single use of doth. For 25 occurrences of em' there are but 4 of them. As for other contractions in the Fletcherian portion of the play: there are 6 instances of i'th', 6 of o'th', 2 of h'as.

In Massinger's portion of the play there is a single occurrence of ye, 6 of hath, none of doth, none of 'em, 7 of them. H'as is found a single time, but i'th' and o'th' do not occur. In the two acts which comprise the share of Field, ye appears 11 times, hath 16 times, doth 13 times, 'em 16 times, them 5 times. Here the contractions i'th' and h'as occur once each, o'th' twice. The play's single instance of the contraction w'ee (here spelled 'we) appears in V, 1, a Field scene.

It is probably significant that the character who is first brought on


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the stage (I, 1) with the direction "Enter Zanthia alias Abdella" is referred to as "Zanthia" in speech headings and subsequent stage directions throughout Field's first act, but is designated in speech headings and stage directions as Abdella through the remainder of the play, including Field's Act V. On the evidence of such stage directions as "Oriana ready above" (I, 2), "The Scaffold set out and the staires" (II, 5), "A Table out, two stooles" (III, 4), and "Altar ready, Tapers & booke" (V, 1), the first folio text clearly derives from a prompt-copy, but one in which a rather confusing duplication of names for a single character was allowed to stand in speech headings and stage directions. To judge from the frequent use of parentheses with the vocative in the folio text, the prompt-book was the work of Ralph Crane.[10] The division of the text into scenes, together with the careful manner in which the evidence of ye is preserved, point as well to Crane's work.

The Field scenes in The Knight of Malta have their share of grammatical inversions of the sort that have been singled out in connection with Field's contribution to the Four Plays in One. Thus in I, 1 of The Knight of Malta is found, among others: "this one smile, from Oriana sent" (71a); "thy brands that glow thus in my veines, / I will with blood extinguish" (72a); "are you for this great solemnity / This morne intended?" (72a); "Six fresh Gallies / I . . . / This morne discride" (72a); "I have this answer fram'd" (73a). In I, 3 there is: "If any therefore can their manners tax" (73b); in V, 1: "I would not . . ., this fraile Bark, / . . . no better steeres-man had" (92b), and "my minde doth thy mind kisse" (93a); and in V, 2: "Whilst I obscurely in some corner vanish" (94a), and " 'bout thy stiff neck, we this halter hang" (95a).

The manner in which the characters tend to speak in unison in the Field scenes of the play, but seldom elsewhere, is worth noting. There are 5 speeches headed All in Field's Act I, and an equal number in his Act V. On only one other occasion in the play do we find such a choral response: in Fletcher's II, 5.

    The Queen of Corinth

  • Field: III; IV.
  • Fletcher: II.
  • Massinger: I; V.

That the play is the work of three dramatists is evident from the


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three distinct linguistic patterns which emerge. There is no difficulty at all in identifying two of these. That which prevails throughout the first and fifth acts, and that which is evident throughout the second, represent respectively the patterns of Massinger and Fletcher. The third pattern—one which simultaneously employs ye, hath, and doth— is to be traced through Acts III and IV, and can, I think, be identified as that of Field.

The linguistic forms which comprise the three patterns have been carefully preserved in the extant text of the play; on the basis of linguistic criteria alone, the distinction between the shares of Fletcher and Massinger is as sharply drawn as one could desire. In Fletcher's second act there are 66 occurrences of ye, none of hath, 6 of 'em, a single instance of them, 5 of i'th, 2 of o'th'. Massinger's portion of the play contains no ye's. Hath appears 12 times, 'em once, them 26 times. There are no occurrences of the contractions i'th' or o'th'. Ye is found a total of 17 times in the two acts ascribed to Field. Hath occurs 11 times. Doth, which does not appear in the Fletcher or Massinger portions, is used 3 times. The two occurrences of wi' for with, both of which appear in the combination wi'ye (IV, 1) may represent compositorial expansions of Field's contraction w'ee.

Regarding the Field scenes of The Queen of Corinth, a number of points are worth mentioning that serve to link them with his work elsewhere. There are grammatical inversions of the sort that have been noted in the Four Plays in One and The Knight of Malta. Thus, in III, 1: "your Mother / Did from a private state your Father raise" (10b); "Conons forfeit state / . . . he / Hath from your Mother got restor'd to him" (11a); "what ere he be / Can with unthankfulnesse assoile me" (12a). And in IV, 3: "Our Mother was a Spartan Princesse borne" (16b). The fairly uncommon verb "exquire" ("to search out, seek for") which occurs in this same scene ("How she came by it, yet is not exquir'd"), occurs as well in I, 1 of A Woman is a Weather-cocke ("but first exquire the Truth"). Of the play's four instances of speeches headed All, three are found in scenes by Field (III, 1 and IV, 1). Finally, a passage from Field's IV, 3 of The Queen of Corinth echoes, in a fairly tantalizing way that may or may not point to a single author, similar passages from scenes that I regard as his in the Four Plays in One and The Knight of Malta. The idea set forth in each is the commonplace one that bad deeds blot out good ones. Each conveys this notion in an identical figure of speech: a reader, perusing the records of an individual life, will view with pleasure all that is worthy, but stop in disgust at the account of a single opprobrious act, with the


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result that any subsequent good will go unknown and unapproved. Here is the passage from The Queen of Corinth:
when Posterity
Shall read your Volumes fill'd with vertuous acts,
And shall arrive at this black bloody leafe,
Noting your foolish barbarisme, and my wrong,
(As time shall make it plaine) what followes this
Disciphering any noble deed of yours
Shall be quite lost, for men will read no more.
In Field's V, 1 of The Knight of Malta occurs the following:
Think on the legend which we two shall breed
Continuing as we are, for chastest dames
And boldest Souldiers to peruse and read,
I and read thorough, free from any act
To cause the modest cast the booke away,
And the most honour'd Captaine fold it up.
Beside both these passages should be set this from "The Triumph of Honour," the first of the Four Plays in One:
When men shall read the records of thy valour,
thy hitherto-brave vertue, and approach
(highly content yet) to this foul assault
included in this leaf, this ominous leaf,
they shall throw down the Book, and read no more,
though the best deeds ensue, . . . .
Parallel passages are, of course, notoriously untrustworthy aids to determining authorship. I draw attention to these simply because, so far as I know, they have not been previously noted; and as we have seen, the sections of the three plays in which each occurs are, linguistically at least, of a piece.

    The Honest Man's Fortune

  • Field: I; II; III, 1b (from the entrance of Montague to the end), 2; IV.
  • Field and Fletcher: V, 1, 4.
  • Field and Massinger: III, 3.
  • Fletcher: V, 2-3.
  • Massinger: III, la (to the entrance of Montague).

The play is extant in two texts: that of the 1647 folio, and a scribal transcript preserved as MS. Dyce 9 in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The manuscript is the work of the scribe Edward Knight, book-keeper of the King's Company; at the end of the text is the license


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of Sir Henry Herbert, to the effect that the play, "being an olde one, and the Originall lost was reallow'd by mee this 8 Febru. 1624. Att the intreaty of Mr. [Taylor]." The manuscript title-page states that The Honest Man's Fortune was "Plaide in the yeare 1613," and the list of actors given for the play in the 1679 folio seems to bear this out. Chambers suggests (The Elizabethan Stage, III, 227) that the original performers were Lady Elizabeth's men; but by 1625, the play had passed into the hands of the King's Company, a leading member of which, Joseph Taylor, was soliciting Herbert to re-license it. Herbert's entry in his Office-Book confirms his license at the end of the manuscript: "For the king's company. An olde play called The Honest Man's Fortune, the originall being lost, was re-allowed by mee at Mr. Taylor's intreaty, and on condition to give mee a booke [The Arcadia], this 8 Februa. 1624" (Herbert, p. 30). The manuscript omits one scene (V, 3) present in the folio text, and supplies a different ending in place of the folio's rather indelicate one. The relation of the two texts has been fully discussed by Dr. Johan Gerritsen in his edition of the manuscript.[11] Since the original prompt-book was missing in 1625, the supposition would be that Knight's transcript was made from foul papers; since, however, the manuscript displays a number of theatrical cuts, Dr. Gerritsen considers the copy to have been "foul papers prepared for the stage before the original prompt-book was made" (Gerritsen, p. xlvi). The copy for the folio text he assumes to have been "either the same foul papers or the original prompt-book."

The linguistic evidence to be derived from each text is very much of a piece, a fact which further supports Dr. Gerritsen's belief that both versions of the play "immediately derive from the same manuscript" (Gerritsen, p. ix). The folio displays 32 occurrences of ye; there are 33 in the manuscript. Hath occurs 18 and 20 times respectively in the folio and manuscript texts; doth is found 13 times in each. I'th' occurs 8 and 5 times respectively in folio and manuscript; the folio's three additional instances of the form all appear in V, 3, a scene which the manuscript text omits. The folio's 3 occurrences of h'as are found in this scene as well. The folio's 9 instances of ha' have been reduced to 3 in the manuscript; but apart from this, the chief variation in linguistic practice which the two texts display concerns the use of 'em and them, and this chiefly in the second act. Act II of the folio shows a rather decided preference for the expanded form, with 4 'em's


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as opposed to 14 them''s. In Act II of the manuscript, the preference has all but disappeared as 'em occurs 8 times, them 10 times. Of the folio's three contractions in 'ee, only one appears in the manuscript. Each text displays but a single occurrence of 's for his, and in each case it is the same one (for's, in I, 1).

The play presents one of the most complex authorial problems in the canon. It has been generally supposed to be the work of at least four, and possibly five, dramatists; the candidates for authorship most usually brought forward are Fletcher, Massinger, Field, Tourneur, and Webster.[12] In an attempt to evaluate Tourneur's claim to a share in the authorship of The Honest Man's Fortune, I have examined The Atheist's Tragedy, the one play that is regarded as unquestionably his. The linguistic evidence which it displays is as follows:[13]

ye   y'   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   i'the   o'th'   o'the   h'as   his   ha'  
17  14  10  18  12  15  14  37 
Since none of these forms occurs in any marked degree in The Atheist's Tragedy, the evidence they afford is slight at best; in the case of The Honest Man's Fortune, where Tourneur's work is present, if at all, in no more than some five scenes, it is altogether worthless. That such forms as doth and o'th', which Tourneur uses in The Atheist's Tragedy, do not occur in Act I of The Honest Man's Fortune (the section of the play that has been most often claimed for him), means nothing, for there are single acts in The Atheist's Tragedy in which neither form occurs. On the other hand, the accidence of The Atheist's Tragedy exhibits several rather striking linguistic forms, and if any one of these were found to be at all prominent in either the folio or the manuscript text of The Honest Man's Fortune, the case for Tourneur's presence in the play would be considerably strengthened. In The Atheist's Tragedy one finds, for example, 4 occurrences of the second person singular verb form shat (for shalt); a single use of sha'not (for shall not); 3 instances of the second person singular verb form wut (for wilt). In the folio text of The Honest Man's Fortune (II, 2), there is a single occurrence of wot (wilt in the manuscript).


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Neither of the other forms is found in either text of the play. The evidence is so slight as to make any pronouncement a necessarily indeterminate one; but such as it is, I see nothing that points positively in the direction of Tourneur's presence in the play.

In the case of Webster, there are three unaided plays to provide a source of authorial evidence: The White Devil (published in quarto in 1612), The Duchess of Malfi (quarto 1623), and The Devil's Law Case (quarto 1623). The linguistic evidence which these present is as follows:[14]

ye   y'   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   a'th'   h'as   his   ha'  
WD  42  17  71  32  11  8[*]   19 
DM  55  28  80  31  20[**]   15 
DLC  55  46  11  11  20 
The discrepancy between the high rate of occurrence of hath and doth in the two tragedies, and the negligible use of the forms in the tragicomedy of The Devil's Law Case, is notable. Apart from this, however, the linguistic practices that are evident in each play, taken together, comprise a pattern of language preferences that is an extremely consistent one. Here the preferences are pronounced; the contracted forms that Webster favors occur in each of these plays with well-nigh equal frequency; forms that appear only in a negligible degree in one play, appear, if at all, in a negligible degree in the others. Thus we find Webster making hardly any use of ye, of the contraction h'as and—most surprisingly of all, perhaps—of the contraction 'em. On the other hand, his use of i'th', o'th' (which often occurs in his work as a'th'), and 's for his in each of his three unaided plays far exceeds the occurrence of these forms in any single play of such other dramatists whose unaided work I have examined as Fletcher, Massinger, Field, and Ford.

A linguistic pattern in which the contractions i'th', o'th', and 's for his loom so large, in which so little use is made of ye, and which displays such an overwhelming preference for them to the contracted 'em should stand forth as a reasonably distinguishable one. Later, in examining what I believe to be Webster's share in another play of the canon, The Fair Maid of the Inn, I will show the extent to which the pattern of linguistic usages characteristic of his work can in fact be singled out from the other patterns present in a collaborated play. Examining the linguistic evidence available in the two texts of The


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Honest Man's Fortune, however, one finds nothing that approximates very nearly the linguistic pattern of Webster as we know it. At best, in the folio text, i'th' occurs but 8 times in the entire play, and five of these occurrences are in the essentially Fletcherian fifth act. There are but 3 occurrences of o'th' in the whole play, and two of these are presumably Fletcher's. Both texts of the play exhibit only a single use of 's for his, and this appears in each case in I, 1, where 'em occurs to the un-Websterian total of 8 times. In no single scene of the play do we find the decided preference for them to 'em that is evident in all of Webster's unaided plays. The evidence of the one scene in the play—the folio version of II, 2—in which them's markedly outnumber 'em's seems less impressive in the light of the manuscript text, where 4 'em's and 7 them's replace the single 'em and 10 them's of the folio. Nor does the occurrence of hath and doth in The Honest Man's Fortune accord well with such evidence as is available regarding Webster's use of the forms; for all the fact that the forms are not notably present in a late play like The Devil's Law Case, they occur frequently in The White Devil and The Duchess of Malfi, plays that are usually dated between 1609-14, and so presumably reflect more clearly Webster's practice at the period when The Honest Man's Fortune was written and "plaide" (1613). Dr. Gerritsen, discussing the authorship of the play (pp. xlviii ff.), finds no satisfactory evidence of Webster's work on the basis of metrical tests and considerations of a more generally literary nature. On the basis of the available linguistic criteria, I find no evidence at all of Webster's work, and the claims to a share in the play's authorship that have been put forward on his behalf can, I think, be safely dismissed.

Although one should, of course, be properly hesitant about oversimplifying a problem so fraught with difficulties as the authorship of The Honest Man's Fortune, it is hard to avoid the opinion that the subject has been needlessly complicated. I am quite certain that there are not five authors present in the play; I am not even sure that there are four. I suspect that there are only three: Fletcher, Massinger, and Field. Nearly everyone who has studied the play is willing to give Field the fourth act. I would give him a good deal more: all of acts one and two, and most of act three. I believe, indeed, that the play is very largely his, though there is no doubt at all that he received assistance from his sometime collaborators: from Massinger in Act III, from Fletcher in Act V. The linguistic evidence for the sections of the play that I would assign to him are what we would expect from his unaided work, and his work in collaboration elsewhere: a fairly regular but


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never considerable use of ye, the simultaneous use of hath and doth. The play's single instance of the contraction w'ee, which we have noted in Field's unaided work, occurs in his IV, 1. The fact that the parallel forms d'ee and t'ee appear respectively in V, 1 and V, 4 points I think—together with sundry other shreds of evidence—in a direction: namely, that Fletcher is not solely responsible for the fifth act. For one thing, the occurrence of ye is too low; when the form occurs only 16 times in a single scene, as opposed to 65 occurrences of you (in V, 4), or twice, as opposed to 26 occurrences of you (in V, 1), we can be fairly sure that we are not dealing with unaided Fletcher. Then one notes the cluster of speeches headed Omnes; there are five of these in the play's final scene (V, 4). The folio ending of the play, altered in the manuscript, wherein the courtier Laverdine is disabused of his notion that the page Veramour, whom he has been pursuing, is a girl in disguise, has usually been written off as a typically Fletcherian lapse in taste. I doubt that he is responsible for the scene. In addition to the linguistic evidence and the evidence of the speech headings that have been noted, all of which point away from Fletcher in the direction of Field, I think that, judged on purely literary grounds, the scene has a decidedly Fieldian ring. It amounts, in effect, to putting on the stage the sort of situation described by Bould to Well-tri'd in IV, 2 of Amends for Ladies (lines 23 ff. of Dr. Peery's edition). The whole treatment of Veramour is characteristic of Field; when the faithful page declares to his impoverished master, "Ile run (fast as I can) by your horse side" (IV, 1), one is reminded of the Maid's cry to her lover, "Seruant see your mistresse / Turn'd to thy seruant running by thy Horse," in Amends for Ladies (IV, 4). The reference to Bevis' sword "Morglay" (spelled in the folio "morglachs") in I, 1 is paralleled in IV, 3 of A Woman is a Weather-cocke. There are several instances of grammatical inversions to be noted. Thus, in what I regard as the Field portion of III, 1: "Provided I might still this burthen bear" (160b); and in IV, 1: "I have seen you with a trencher waite," and "When like a servant I 'mong servants sit" (164a).

Massinger's share in the play has been much debated. That his work is present here has been denied, as Dr. Gerritsen (p. lxix) points out, by Cruickshank, Chelli, and McIlwraith; and he himself (p. xci) is no more convinced of Massinger's share in the play than of Webster's. To Boyle's collection of Massinger parallels, Dr. Gerritsen (p. xciii) adds several more passages from Act III of The Honest Man's Fortune that approximate in some degree the phrasing of passages from Massinger's unaided work, with the comment that that "is


Page 106
the whole extent of the parallels, . . . ." It is not quite. Two such Massinger phrases as "shipwrack'd on the rocke of war" (The Picture, II, 1) and "sings Encomiums to my virtues" (The City Madam, II, 2) might appear to have come together in this passage from what I regard as the Massinger portion of III, 1 of The Honest Man's Fortune: "It is strange . . . / . . . you, that have made shipwracke / Of all delight upon this Rock cal'd marriage, / Should sing Encomions o[f]'t." The reference to "viandes, / Nourishing not provoking" in the same scene is of a piece with that to "Viands, that prouoke" in The Bondman (II, 1). The line in III, 3: "when I am your wife, / Which as it seems is frequent in the City" uses "frequent" in the sense of "widely current," just as Massinger does in The Roman Actor (I, 1): "'Tis frequent in the Citie, he hath subdued / The Catti, and the Daci." And in the same scene the expression "one that transcends / . . . / A million of such things as you" employs a verb which Massinger uses repeatedly (e.g., in The Duke of Milan, V, 1; Believe as you List, III, 3 [twice]; The Emperor of the East, I, 1; The Renegado, III, 5 and IV, 2; The City Madam, III, 3 and V, 3; The Bondman, I, 3 and II, 3; The Picture, I, 2 [twice]; The Roman Actor, I, 3; The Unnatural Combat, II, 3 and III, 3; The Parliament of Love, III, 2). For our purposes, however, the chief point in favor of Massinger's share in The Honest Man's Fortune is the linguistic evidence; it is, I think, no accident that the contracted forms that are sprinkled so generally throughout the play as a whole—forms which we know Massinger rarely employs—should all be completely absent from the first half of III, 1. This, together with the verbal evidence of parallel phrasings of the sort that I have noted, establishes his presence in the play.

A final point is worth noting in connection with the play's complex authorial problem. On the evidence of purely verbal similarities of phrasing, there is I think reason to believe that the author of I, 1 is present as well in II, 3 and III, 2. In I, 1, the honest Montague cuts short his follower Longueville's well-intentioned efforts to rid him of his creditors thus:

what one example since the time
That first you put your hat off to me, have
You noted in me to encourage you
To this presumption?
In II, 3, Amiens says to the same Longueville, who has taken up his cause in a public brawl:
what weaknesse have you ever seen in me
to prompt your selfe, that I could need your helpe, . . .


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In III, 2, Longueville has occasion to say to Amiens, who has implied doubt of his devotion:
what have you seen
in me or my behavior since your favours
so plentifully showe[r]d upon my wants,
that may beget distrust of my performance?
I doubt that three different authors are responsible for these three speeches. Previous attributions have assigned them, respectively, to Tourneur, Webster, and Massinger. If so, the authors have managed to preserve a single tone to a truly remarkable degree in a collaborated play. Fletcher, it might be observed, employs the same type of rhetorical question in A Wife for a Month (IV, 5), when the heroine asks her lover why he has lied to save her life: "what weaknesse, Sir, / Or dissability do you see in me, / . . . to defraud me / Of Such an opportunity?"

To summarize: I regard the play as primarily Field's, and consider him to be essentially responsible for the whole of Acts I, II, and IV. I think Massinger, who is certainly present in the play, responsible for the first 159 lines of III, 1; and I think that Massinger is present again, to an extent that I would not attempt to determine, in III, 3. As Massinger assisted the author in the third act, Fletcher assisted him in the composition of the fifth. I would regard scenes two and three of Act V as the work of Fletcher alone; scenes one and four contain, I think, the work of both dramatists. This, obviously, is collaboration of a more closely integrated sort than the division by act and scene that we have witnessed in The Knight of Malta and The Queen of Corinth; but this should not make the collaboration the less credible. The joint work of Beaumont and Fletcher is generally more closely interwoven, as we have seen, than the joint work of Fletcher and Massinger tends to be. In the case of The Honest Man's Fortune, we are dealing, I think, with a play that Field had undertaken alone, which was running into the sands by the end of the fourth act—Dr. Gerritsen (p. ciii) speaks of the "sense of anticlimax in the fifth act"—and which was brought to a conclusion with the aid of Fletcher, working alone in V, 2 and 3, and in fairly close conjunction with the original author in V, 1 and 4. The two scenes that Fletcher alone contributed are the sheerest comic padding; V, 3 was omitted from the manuscript text, and so presumably from the revival of 1625. Why the services of Massinger should have been enlisted in Act III is harder to know, and fruitless to conjecture. Whether either dramatist was called in elsewhere is, of course, possible, but beyond proof. There is nothing in the play beyond


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the powers of Fletcher, Massinger, and Field; and only the Baconian sort of scholar should feel the need to attribute portions of the play to additional dramatists. In this respect, the purely literary arguments for Tourneur's authorship of the early scenes seem particularly dubious. As a matter of fact, to argue in purely literary terms, the early part of the play—the treatment of Montague, his encounter with the law, his high-placed and relentless enemy, his faithful friends and his heartless creditors, and the eminent personage who takes up his cause—reminds one of nothing so much as Massinger and Field's The Fatal Dowry.

Dr. Gerritsen (pp. lxx-lxxi) would argue against a single author for Acts II and IV because the character Lapoop is a sea captain in IV, 1 and a land captain in II, 2. I doubt that we should be too straitly guided by such nice details of dramatic consistency in positing the number of authors present in an Elizabethan or Jacobean play. There is always the example of the Duchess of Malfi's eldest son, to say nothing of the children—or the lack of them—of Lady Macbeth.

    The Night Walker

  • Fletcher: I, 7-8; II, 1.
  • Fletcher and Shirley: I, 1-6; II, 2-4; III-V.

In his Office-Book for 11 May 1633, Herbert records the receipt of two pounds for licensing "a play of Fletchers corrected by Sherley called The Night Walkers" (Herbert, p. 34). There can be hardly any doubt that the play was originally a work of Fletcher's sole authorship, but it is equally beyond doubt that the manuscript behind the only substantive edition—the 1640 quarto—represented, not the Fletcherian original, but Shirley's revision.

The texture of the linguistic pattern that is evident in the quarto text of the play is, in most respects, sufficiently Fletcherian with one important exception: the sharp reduction that seems clearly to have taken place in the occurrence of ye. The form occurs but 37 times in the entire play. There are 8 occurrences of hath (somewhat high for Fletcher) but, as is so often the case in his work, there are no occurrences of doth. The Fletcherian preference for the contracted 'em to the full pronominal form them is here as marked as ever: for 37 instances of 'em, there are but 7 of them. As for the other contractions that habitually appear in Fletcher, they are present here at their usual rate: i'th' (24 times), o'th' (14 times), h'as (3 times), 's for his (4 times).

But in addition to such linguistic forms as these, there are present in The Night Walker a group of others of a distinctly un-Fletcherian nature. The most significant of these are the second person singular


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auxiliary verb forms shat and wot (used with or without the subject "thou" for, respectively, shalt and wilt), and the third person singular auxiliaries, used almost always in the negative, shannot and wonnot (for shall not and will not). Single instances of all these forms are to be found sporadically in the work of Beaumont.[15] In Fletcher's unaided work, I record no instances of shannot and wonnot, and but a single occurrence each of shat (in The Island Princess) and wot (in The Mad Lover).[16] The other non-Fletcherian forms which appear in The Night Walker are d'ee and w'ee, which we have formerly encountered chiefly in the work of Beaumont and Field. Finally, the play presents a rather considerable use of the contraction ha' (43 times), again a form that has been previously associated with Beaumont and Field. The contraction is not unknown in Fletcher, but its occurrence in his unaided plays is certainly limited. In the fifteen plays of his sole authorship, ha' appears 4 times (twice in The Loyal Subject, once each in Monsieur Thomas and The Island Princess). As has been observed (above, footnote 6), ha' occurs rather more often in the Fletcher-Massinger collaborations.

An examination of four plays by Shirley, the theoretical reviser of The Night Walker, makes it clear that all of these un-Fletcherian forms occur with some regularity in his unaided work. The figures for Shirley's plays and for The Night Walker, based on the original quarto editions, are as follows:

shat   shannot   wot   wonnot   ha'   d'ee   w'ee  
The Bird in a Cage -- Q 1633  52 
The Coronation -- Q 1640 
The Duke's Mistress -- Q 1638  11  18 
The Example -- Q 1637  12  15 
The Night Walker -- Q 1640  43 
I have considered the occurrence of any one of these forms in any scene of The Night Walker to afford evidence of Shirley's revising hand. The manner in which they are to be found throughout the extant text, together with the consistently low occurrence of ye, makes it clear that


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Shirley's revision extended over the whole play, and was not confined to single acts and scenes. It is evident from the four plays of his that I have examined that Shirley had no great regard for pronominal ye, though he occasionally employed forms in y'. Hath, on the other hand, he tended to use with some frequency—more frequently, at any rate, than Fletcher—as the following figures show.          
ye   y'   hath  
The Bird in a Cage  16 
The Coronation  18 
The Duke's Mistress  12 
The Example  18 
There is nothing to distinguish Shirley's use of such contractions as 'em, i'th', and o'th' from Fletcher's.

The occurrence in The Night Walker of language forms which can be shown to point to a distinct linguistic preference that was not shared by the two dramatists affords a remarkably valid index to precisely where and how Shirley altered Fletcher's original work. That his revision went beyond stylistic details is, however, certain. He is evidently responsible for changing the hero's name from "Wildgoose" to "Wildbrain." And the reference to Prynne's Histriomastix (III, 4) must be his. It cannot be Fletcher's, for Prynne's attack on the stage was not published until 1632, seven years after Fletcher's death, and the year before Shirley's revision of the play.

    Wit Without Money

  • Fletcher plus an unidentified reviser: I-V.

All previous studies of the Beaumont and Fletcher canon have included Wit Without Money among Fletcher's unaided plays. It bears all the features of his unaided work except what is, from the point of view of the present study, the most important one: the occurrence of ye. The form is used only a single time in the play, and while I have no real doubt that the comedy is primarily of Fletcher's authorship, I also have no doubt that the final form of the extant substantive edition (the 1639 quarto) is the work of a non-Fletcherian hand. If one is to regard the appearance of ye as a regularly recurring feature of Fletcher's linguistic usage (and all the available evidence indicates that it is), then the absence of the form from such a play as Wit Without Money cannot but be regarded as an indication that, in this respect at least, the linguistic practice that is displayed is not truly Fletcherian.

In every other respect, the linguistic pattern of Wit Without Money is as typically Fletcherian as is to be found. As against 12 occurrences of


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them, there is overwhelming preference for the contracted form, which appears throughout the play as 'um and is used 63 times. The contractions usually associated with Fletcher are present: i'th' (11 times), o'th' (16 times), h'as (5 times), 's for his (twice). There are but 3 instances of hath, and doth does not appear.

I should like to regard the play as a Beaumont-Fletcher collaboration of the sort represented by The Coxcomb, in which the occurrence of ye falls far below Fletcher's normal usage despite the fact that his share of the authorship is the major one. Though Fletcher seems to be responsible for thirteen scenes of The Coxcomb to Beaumont's eight, ye appears but 7 times (SB, XI, 89); despite his relatively small share of the authorship, Beaumont has evidently given the final form to the finished play nonetheless. It is tempting to speculate that that is what has happened here, but there is nothing in Wit Without Money— neither a scene nor a portion thereof—that I can confidently regard as Beaumont's work. The fact that the pronominal contraction 'um appears throughout the play suggests a possible connection with Fletcher's work elsewhere in the canon.[17]

If the play cannot be regarded as a Beaumont-Fletcher collaboration, I can only assume it to have been originally a work of Fletcher's sole authorship that came later, like The Night Walker, to be revised by another dramatist. But where, in The Night Walker, there are present certain definite linguistic forms which clearly betray Shirley's revising hand, there is nothing of the sort in Wit Without Money. The stage history of the two plays is, however, linked together. Chambers (The Elizabethan Stage, III, 229) suggests that Wit Without Money was written for the Lady Elizabeth's Company. The Night Walker would seem to have been written either for the Lady Elizabeth's or the Queen's Revels (Chambers, III, 231). Both plays passed into the repertory of Queen Henrietta's Company, and were performed at the Cockpit. The Night Walker was revived in 1633; it was acted at Court by Queen Henrietta's men on 30 January 1634 (Chambers, III, 231); at the time of its revival it was revised by Shirley, as we have seen. Wit Without Money was revived a few years later; there are records of performances on 10 June 1635 and, at Court, where it was acted by Beeston's Boys, on 14 February 1637 (Herbert, p. 58). By 10 August 1639, both plays were the property of Beeston's Boys.[18] One might speculate that, when it was re-staged, it too was revised, to the loss of


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the Fletcherian ye. That the revision, if any was indeed made, was not extensive is testified (1) by the typically Fletcherian linguistic pattern —apart from the absence of ye—that emerges from the extant text, (2) by the absence of any trace of a second dramatist's work, and (3) by the fact that, unlike the revised version of The Night Walker, it was not deemed necessary to submit the play to Herbert for re-licensing.

Four Plays in One — F 1647

ye   y'   'ee   you   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   h'as   his   ha'   t'  
Induction:  31 
I, i: 
-, ii: 
-, iii:  21 
-, iv: 
-, v: 
TOTAL: I  40 
II, i: 
--, ii:  40 
Dumb Show: 
--, iii:  24 
--, iv: 
Dumb Show: 
--, v:  10 
--, vi: 
TOTAL: II  10  83  11 
III, i:  10  12 
---, ii: 
---, iii: 
---, iv:  25  18 
---, v: 
---, vi:  14  14 
TOTAL: III  51  56  11 
IV, i: 
--, ii: 
--, iii: 
--, iv: 
TOTAL  87  219  20  17  24  15 


Page 113

The Knight of Malta — F 1647

ye   y'   'ee   you   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   h'as   his   ha'   t'  
I, i:  23 
-, ii: 
-, iii:  22 
TOTAL: I  49  11  14 
II, i:  41  27 
--, ii: 
--, iii:  39  13 
--, iv: 
--, v:  29  28 
TOTAL: II  125  77  15 
III, i:  10 
---, ii:  32 
---, iii:  23 
---, iv:  24  33 
TOTAL: III  35  93 
IV, i:  17 
--, ii:  20  17 
--, iii: 
--, iv:  14 
TOTAL: IV  20  50 
V, i:  19 
--, ii:  1[*]   32 
TOTAL: V  51 
TOTAL:  191  320  22  14  41  16 

The Queen of Corinth — F 1647

ye   y'   'ee   you   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   h'as   his   ha'   t'  
I, i:  16 
-, ii:  89  11 
-, iii:  26 
TOTAL: I  131  17 
II, i:  13  11 
--, ii: 
--, iii:  19  20 
--, iv:  33  62 
TOTAL: II  66  95 
III, i:  74  4[*]  
--, ii:  24 
IV, i:  40  3[**]  
---, ii: 
---, iii:  49 
TOTAL: IV  13  97  14 
V, i:  13 
--, ii:  26 
--, iii: 
--, iv:  29 
TOTAL: V  76 
TOTAL:  83  497  23  26  31  10 


Page 114

The Honest Man's Fortune — F 1647[*]

ye   y'   'ee   you   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   h'as   his   ha'   t'  
I, i:  67 
[3]  [69]  [1]  [9]  [3]  [1]  [1]  [1] 
-, ii:  13 
[1]  [14]  [2] 
-, iii:  21 
TOTAL: I  101  10 
[4]  [104]  [1]  [11]  [3]  [1]  [1]  [1] 
II, i: 
--, ii:  64  10 
[66]  [1]  [2]  [4]  [7]  [1]  [1] 
--, iii:  13 
[13]  [1] 
--, iv:  39 
[3]  [40]  [1]  [4]  [2]  [1]  [1] 
TOTAL: II  116  14 
[3]  [119]  [1]  [3]  [8]  [10]  [2]  [2] 
III, i (a):  24 
[24]  [1] 
---, i (b): 
[9]  [1] 
---, ii:  15 
[16]  [2]  [2] 
---, iii:  52 
[1]  [52]  [7]  [2]  [1]  [4] 
TOTAL: III  100  10 
[1]  [101]  [11]  [4]  [1]  [4] 
IV, i:  79 
[79]  [2]  [1]  [5]  [1] 
--, ii:  34 
[34]  [3]  [4]  [2]  [1]  [1][**]  
TOTAL: IV  113 
[113]  [5]  [5]  [7]  [2]  [1] 
V, i:  26 
[3]  [27]  [1]  [1] 
--, ii: 
[2]  [4]  [1]  [4]  [1]  [1][***]  
--, iii: [†]  
--, iv:  16  65 
[20]  [1]  [66]  [2]  [1]  [1]  [1][***]  
TOTAL: V  22  96 
[25]  [1]  [97]  [2]  [1]  [6]  [1]  [2]  [2] 
TOTAL:  32  526  18  13  27  25 
[33]  [1]  [534]  [20]  [13]  [33]  [20]  [5]  [3]  [1]  [3] 


Page 115

The Night Walker — Q 1640

ye   y'   'ee   you   hath   doth   'em   them   i'th'   o'th'   h'as   his   ha'   shat   shannot   wot   wonnot  
I, i:  26 
-, ii: 
-, iii: 
-, iv: 
-, v:  10 
-, vi: 
-, vii: 
-, viii: 
TOTAL: I  15  68 
II, i:  4[*]  
--, ii: 
--, iii: 
--, iv: 
TOTAL: II  22 
III, i:  18  1[*]  
--, ii:  14 
--, iii:  17 
--, iv:  1[**]  
--, v:  28 
IV, i:  24  4[†]  
--, ii: 
--, iii:  19 
--, iv: 
--, v:  47 
TOTAL: IV  102  10  12 
V, i:  23 
--, ii:  51 
TOTAL: V  74  10 
TOTAL:  37  347  37  24  14  43 


Page 116

Wit Without Money — Q 1639

ye   y'   'ee   you   hath   doth   'em   'um   them   i'th'   o'th'   h'as   his   ha'   t'  
I, i:  65 
-, ii:  14 
TOTAL: I  79 
II, i: 
--, ii:  30 
--, iii:  11 
--, iv:  59 
--, v: 
TOTAL: II  105 
III, i:  31 
--, ii:  80  2[*]  
--, iii: 
--, iv:  57 
TOTAL: III  172 
IV, i:  15 
--, ii:  16 
--, iii:  12 
--, iv:  87  18 
--, v:  57 
TOTAL: IV  187  35 
V, i:  25 
--, ii:  27 
--, iii:  37 
--, iv:  28 
--, v:  22 
TOTAL: V  139 
TOTAL:  682  63  12  11  16