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Notes on Early Editions of Fragmenta Aurea by L. A. Beaurline and Thomas Clayton
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Page 165

Notes on Early Editions of Fragmenta Aurea
L. A. Beaurline and Thomas Clayton

A few new facts about the printing of two early editions of Sir John Suckling's Fragmenta Aurea and the engraved portrait by William Marshall should be added to Greg's account in A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration; namely, that there were not two but three states of the general title-page of the first edition (1646), and that the order of printing of the states was in fact the reverse of what Greg very reasonably supposed it to be; that there are two states of Marshall's engraved portrait, which is found in several of the early editions; and that Francis Kirkman was probably the pirate responsible for a surreptitious reprint of the third edition (1658), a complete copy of which is here recorded as such for the first time.

I. The Three States of the General Title-Page of the First Edition

Greg distinguished two states of the general title-page of Fragmenta Aurea, 1646 (sig. πA2). Recording seventeen copies of the one he identified as (*1) and eight copies of (τ1), he not unreasonably suggested that "it is natural to assume that the less common variant (τ1) was an attempt to improve on the original rather untidy setting" (*1). But it is demonstrable that there were three states, as transcribed below, and that the direction of change was the opposite of the one Greg suggested. The three states, which we designate as (A), (B), and (C), the first corresponding with Greg's (τ1), the second and third with his (*1), are as follows, in the order of their printing:

  • (A) FRAGMENTA AVREA. ∣ A Collection of all ∣ THE ∣ Incomparable Peeces, ∣ WRITTEN ∣ By Sir JOHN SVCKLING. ∣ And published by a Friend to perpetuatehis memory. ∣ Printed by his owne Copies. ∣ LONDON, ∣ Printed for Humphrey Moſeley, and are to be ∣ ſold at his ſhop, at the Signe of the Prin-∣ces Armes in St Pauls Churchyard. ∣ MDCXLVI.
  • (B) Fragmenta Aurea. ∣ [&c. as above] Churchyard ∣ MDCXLVI. [imperfect printing of "d" in "Churchyard"; without period after "d" and rule under date]
  • (C) Fragmenta Aurea. ∣ [&c. as above] Churchyard. ∣ MDCXLVI.
  • Copies: (A) CLU-C1 (1646), CSmH2 (121942), CtY4 (646), DLC, ICN, MiU, NN1 (Jones), NNPM, Bodleian1 (Don.e.15), Pforz2 (996), TxU3 (Hanley), ViU

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  • (B) CSmH1 (110163), CtY3 (646a cop. 3), B.M.1-3 (Grenville, 1076.h.20, Ashley), Bodleian2 (Vet.A.3.e.814), TxU2 (Wh cop. 2), Clayton
  • (C) CLU-C2-3 (1646a cop. 1-2), CtY1-2, 5 (646a cop. 1-2, Elizabethan Club), DFo, IU, MB, MH1-3 (Widener, Houghton B, Houghton A), MWelC, NcU, NjP, NN2-3 (Copley, Crampton), Osborn, Pforz1 (995), TxU1, 4 (Wh cop. 1, Ah)

Greg regarded the direction of the change in the two states he distinguished as uncertain, and it is understandable why it seemed natural to him to suppose that "Fragmenta Aurea" (B-C and *1) preceded "FRAGMENTA AVREA" (A and τ1), since the first is indeed "rather untidy" and the second "less common." We can now be certain, however, that State (A) was the earliest, because it is approximately coincident with an error — eventually corrected in press — on sig. πA3v, which is in the same forme of the preliminary half-sheet as the general title-page. In most copies with (A), "allowred" occurs on πA3v; whereas "allowed" occurs in all — 27 — copies we have examined that have the general title-page in States (B) and (C). It seems possible that the changes in the general title-page (A) that resulted in State (B) were made not during a later interruption but when the pressrun was interrupted to correct "allowred", since two of the four copies in State (A) that have "allowed" on πA3v — TxU3 and ViU — also have dubbed-in title-pages and are in that respect made-up copies (we are uncertain about Bodleian1 and NN1). At any rate, the coincidence of "allowed" with States (B-C) proves beyond doubt that they are later than an (A) that generally coincides with "allowred."

Although indirectly, press-correction also explains the anomaly as well as the order of State (B), in which a period and the rule under the date are wanting. The imprint, in the same setting of type, appears in the special title-pages of The Goblins and Brennoralt, proving, as Greg noted, that the preliminaries as well as two of the three plays included in Fragmenta Aurea came from the same press — Susan Islip's, on the evidence of ornaments used. The special title-pages were printed, as part of their bibliographically independent sections of the book, apparently (as commonly) before the general preliminaries went through the press, since the condition of the same types is worse on the general title-page than it is on the special title-pages. The same rule under the date that was first used in the plays' title-pages appears in the imprints in States (A) and (C) of the general title-page but, anomalously and curiously, not in State (B). In fact, the rule does "appear" — almost invisibly — in State (B), but it did not print, owing to frisket bite. Of a number of copies in State (B) we examined, at least three (Clayton, CSmH1, and TxU2) show grains of ink where the end of the rule should be, and the Huntington copy (CSmH1), which is very crisp, also shows, under high magnification, a clear but uninked impression certainly made by the rule's pressing through the frisket into the paper.


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In this copy there is also a minute trace of the ink of the period that follows "Churchyard".[1]

With the aid of this evidence, the printing history of the general title-page becomes clear. The larger capitals in "Fragmenta Aurea" (B-C), which replaced "FRAGMENTA AVREA" (A) with its smaller capitals, resulted in an increase of seven millimeters in the vertical dimension of the area to be inked for printing. Naturally the frisket should have been cut to the larger measure, but apparently it was not, at first, and the result was State (B). Some time after the press-run was resumed, it was interrupted a second time, and during this interruption two changes were made. At the same time the hole in the frisket was enlarged to allow the types suppressed in State (B) to print, as they do again in (C), approximately one-and-one-half to two millimeters of extra white space were inserted between lines five and six ("WRITTEN ∣ By Sir JOHN SVCKLING."). One cannot be certain which of the two changes, if not indeed both, prompted this second interruption, but that there were two changes of the kind described is apparent in the coincident facts that in State (C) period and rule are inked and the inked area of the overall title-page is still longer than it is in State (B), in which they are not inked.

It is of some interest, though little can be certainly extrapolated from surviving copies, that, of the forty copies of the first edition of Fragmenta Aurea we examined, there are thirteen (32.5%) in State (A), eight (20%) in State (B), and nineteen (47.5%) in State (C). Greg was right about the less common of two "major" states, but of course wrong about the least common of three states. A reproduction of State (A) may be found in the Grolier Club's Catalogue of Original and Early Editions . . . of English Writers from Wither to Prior (1905), III, No. 104; of State (B) in the Grolier Catalogue, III, No. 104, and in The Ashley Library (1922-36), Vol. VI, facing page 19; and of State (C) in John Hayward's English Poetry (1950), item 84.

II. The Two States of the Engraved Portrait by William Marshall

William Marshall's engraving, used as a frontispiece in the first (1646), second (1648), and some copies of the third (1658) editions of Fragmenta Aurea, and also in some detached copies of The Last Remains of Sir John Suckling, 1659, shows Suckling turned to the right instead of to the left but in the same attitude and in general much as he appears in the great Van Dyck portrait now in the Frick Collection.[2] We have found two states of


Page 168
this engraving, the later of which shows clear evidence of re-incising, notably in heavy lines around the leaves of the garland (especially pronounced to the right of the face), a bulge in the left sleeve, a short black line to the right of the tie in the garland that was not present in the earlier state, and thicker base-lines in the streamer bearing the inscription "Obijt anno Ætatis suæ 28." From our examination of originals and photocopies, we have identified the state of the engraving in copies of Fragmenta Aurea, 1646, as indicated in the following list. Earlier state: Clayton, CLU-C2-3, CSmH1, ICN, MB, MH1, MWelC, NN2, NNPM, Bodleian2, Osborn, Pforz1, TxU1-2, B.M.1, 3. Later state: CLU-C1, CSmH2, CtY2-5, DFo, DLC, IU, MH3, MiU, NcU, NjP, NN1, 3, Pforz2, TxU3-4.

The almost equal distribution of states between copies of the first edition — seventeen of the earlier, eighteen of the later — makes virtually certain that the plate was re-incised in the course of its printing, which in turn suggests a very large printing of the portrait and possibly, though not necessarily, an equally large printing of the edition for which the portrait was originally intended. A reproduction of the earlier state may be found in Greg's Bibliography, Vol. III, plate CXXXVII; The Ashley Library, Vol. VI, facing page 20; and Gosse and Garnett's Illustrated History of English Literature (1903), III, 25. The later state is reproduced in The Book Buyer, XIX (1900), 575.

III. Francis Kirkman and the Surreptitious Reprint of the Third Edition (1661?)

It seems probable that this reprint is the one W. C. Hazlitt first refers to in his edition of The Poems, Plays and Other Remains of Sir John Suckling (1874), I, lxx, as

a reissue, perhaps a surreptitious one, with the same title, imprint and date [as Fragmenta Aurea, 1658], but with different typographical ornaments, and altogether a distinct setting-up. It is accompanied by a portrait, copied from Marshall's, and without any engraver's name.
And perhaps in his Collections and Notes 1867-1876 published two years later (p. 411) he means to refer to the same reprint when he writes that
The copy here used ends on K, and wants the Additionals named on the title-page. It has an anonymous portrait, very like Marshall's with Stanley's verses beneath it. This appears to be spurious, or at least a surreptitious impression. The copy in the British Museum wants the print.
But one cannot be certain, because Hazlitt's comments are ambiguous. There is now no known "copy in the British Museum" of this surreptitious reprint, although there is a copy of the genuine Fragmenta Aurea, 1658 (shelf-mark 643.c.70), and one of the surreptitious reprint of (1672?) (shelf-mark 1471.aa.22), each of which "wants the print" — and there is a detached print of the copy of Marshall's engraving in the Department of


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Prints and Drawings. "This" may be the portrait, not the book, and "The copy" may be a genuine edition, not a surreptitious. Many a book saluted Hazlitt's hand.

Greg recognized and described his "'1658'" as "a reprint, apparently, of the edition of 1658, the only known copy of which wants all before N1," and, as he went on to note of this fragment in the Bodleian Library (shelf-mark M.adds.37.f.12), "there is, indeed, little in the typography to distinguish it from the genuine edition" (Bibliography, III, 1134). We have been able to identify as such a complete copy of this reprint in the Houghton Library (shelf-mark EC.Su185.646fc), and can therefore add some additional facts and inferences to the ones given by Greg. The complete copy is easily differeniated from the genuine edition of 1658 by the use of different ornaments throughout and, among other details, by substantive differences on the general title-page and in the catchwords of the preliminaries. Moseley's genuine edition reads, above the imprint, "Printed by his own Copies.", in which phrase the reprint reads "Copy.", and where the genuine edition has the catchwords "posthume" and "Stock," on sigg. A2r and A2v, respectively, the reprint has "nor" and "go", for example. Given in the form of Greg's Bibliography, a description of the general title-page and make-up of the reprint as it appears in the two known copies should be as follows:

  • (1661?) [within double rules] FRAGMENTA AUREA: ∣ A ∣ COLLECTION ∣ OF ALL ∣ The Incomparable Peices, ∣ WRITTEN BY ∣ Sir JOHN SUCKLING. ∣ AND ∣ Publiſhed by a FRIEND to perpetuate ∣ his Memory ∣ The Third Edition, with fome ∣ New Additionals. ∣ Printed by his own Copy. ∣ LONDON, ∣ Printed for Humphrey Moseley at the Prince's Arms ∣ in St. Paul's Churchyard. 1658. Collation: 80, π1 A-X8 [possibly but not probably leaving R3 S3 T4 unsigned: both known copies severely cropped], 169 leaves, paged (A5) 9-135 [misprinting 59 as 56 and 133 as 134, and omitting 80-89], (I3v) 8-64 [misprinting 45 as 54 and 50 as 51], (N1-S8 unpaged), (T1) 145-190 [misprinting 157 as 147].
  • Engraved portrait (a copy of Marshall's, omitting "W. Marshall fecit"), facing title-page. General title [&c. as in 1658].

Besides having C3, D3, H3, R3, and (UV)3 unsigned, the genuine edition of 1658 contains a great many errors in pagination, especially on sigg. N1-S8, which are unpaged in the surreptitious reprint perhaps because of the multiple confusion in the original. On the evidence of ornaments, T. Johnson, the printer who performed similar unlawful offices for Francis Kirkman around 1661, would seem to have performed yet one more of such for the same pirate by surreptitiously printing this spurious edition — technically the fourth of the editions — of Fragmenta Aurea, 1658. The large ornament showing dogs licking a man's face (sig. S6) is found in


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Kirkman's piracies of Beaumont and Fletcher's The Elder Brother dated "1637" (Greg 515c) and Kirkman's The Wits: or Sport upon Sport printed for Henry Marsh, 1662. The ornamental "B" (sig. O5) recurs in the piracies of The Elder Brother and A King and No King, 1661.[3] Aside from its interest as a hitherto anonymous piracy that may now take a named place in the colorful and sometimes darkling history of printing, Fragmenta Aurea (1661?) gives further evidence of the strong seventeenth-century interest in Suckling's works that was renewed at the Restoration.



Mr. Lyle H. Wright kindly assisted us in this inspection, and we are grateful to Mr. D. G. Esplin, of the University of Toronto Library, for checking a number of bibliographical details in copies we were not able to see and also for offering valuable advice.


See Thomas Clayton, "An Historical Study of the Portraits of Sir John Suckling," JWCI, XXIII (1960), 105-126, together with plates 14a and 15a, for a full discussion of the models Marshall may have followed and also of the anonymous copy, after Marshall, mentioned below.


For an excellent survey of the evidence for the known piracies of Kirkman, see Johan Gerritsen, "The Dramatic Piracies of 1661: A Comparative Analysis," SB, XI (1958), 117-131.