University of Virginia Library



See R. Garnett, 'Ben Jonson's Probable Authorship of Scene 2, Act IV, of Fletcher's Bloody Brother', MP, 2 (1905), 489 and Johnstone Parr, Tamburlaine's Malady and Other Essays on Astrology in Elizabethan Drama (1953), pp. 91-92, n. 19. I have no speculations on the authorship of the astrological scene, though I would emphasise that the play was not first printed until almost fifteen years after Fletcher's death—one reason, perhaps, for the corruptions embedded in the received texts. There are two important quarto printings of the play: The Bloody Brother. A tragedy. By B.J.F., London, 1639 (Q1) and The Tragœdy of Rollo Duke of Normandy . . . Written by John Fletcher Gent., Oxford, 1640 (Q2). Both quartos received corrections at press; see Rollo Duke of Normandy, ed. J. D. Jump (1948), pp. x, xii. None of the corrections affected the lines discussed in detail here. The passages in question have been inspected in the following copies: Beinecke Library, Yale; Bodleian Library (Q1: Malone 205(5); Q2: 4° T. 36 Art. and Malone 177 (2)); Boston Public Library; British Library (Q1: Ashley 88 and 161.i.47; Q2: 644.e.2); Dyce Library; Folger Shakespeare Library; Houghton Library, Harvard; Humanities Research Centre, University of Texas (Q1 uncorr.); Huntington Library; and Newberry Library. Except where indicated, quotations are taken from Q2, lineation being taken from the Jump edition.


The matter of independent specification is important for the following reason: the relation of zodiacal signs and astrological houses is not fixed—in the course of twenty-four hours all twelve signs will have occupied all twelve houses. But when once the relation between any one sign and any one astrological house has been established for a particular moment, then the exact relation between all the other signs and all the other houses may be deduced (for a given latitude). The matching-up of signs and houses must therefore be tabulated with some care, or self- contradictions will easily creep in. The scene establishes early on that Libra 24° is in the ascendant ('how are the Cardines? . . . Libra in twenty foure . . .'; lines 162-163), and this is a matching of the two circles upon which all else hangs.


See Cyrus Hoy, 'The Shares of Fletcher and his Collaborators in the Beaumont and Fletcher Canon (VI)', Studies in Bibliography, 14 (1961), 56.


The phrase 'in the Imo cœli' has already been used (line 167).


This correction to the text suggests a further small change. In Q2 the text reads:

Ith' seaventh house, Aries being his naturall house,
And where he is now seated: and all these shew him
To be the Almuter (for 'Almuten'). (lines 175-177)
A casual reading of this would of course lead us to believe Mars is 'now seated' in Aries; but such a supposition is directly contradicted by line 166 ('Mars . . . [in] the third house'), by lines 213-214 ('Mars being | . . . in Capricorne'), and by implication in lines 196-202 (which place Mars 90° away from the moon which is in Scorpio). We must either regard the assigning Mars to the seventh as a momentary lapse, or else delete the second 'and' in line 176:
And where he is now seated: all these shew him . . .
The deletion of the second 'and' will cause Q2's colon to mark an anacoluthon.


The difficulty cannot be resolved by supposing that the 90-degree aspect is read in two directions, one clockwise, the other anticlockwise, since the angular separation between Sagittarius in the third house and Aries in the seventh is 60° too small to allow such a solution.


To illustrate its definition of 'hyleg' the OED quotes this passage, but in the following manner: 'Mars out of the self same house . . . Looks at the Hilege with a quartile ruling'. This quotation leaves the line which follows entirely stranded syntactically. With the deletion of 'ruling', however, it would convey more or less adequately the sense of the passage.