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If such editorial annotation of Q3's stage-directions, speech-prefixes, and dialogue took place, then several questions about the treatment of the play as a whole arise. One is rather specific and concerns the relining of verse and the alterations from verse to prose or from prose to verse. Such changes are numerous in Folio Romeo and Juliet. In the lower half of gg1b, for instance, the dialogue between Peter and the musicians exhibits various alterations of this sort (IV.v, 2695-2708). Sometimes these changes can be seen as Compositor E's attempts to divide one line at the caesura to fit the verse to his measure, or as another mechanical


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expedient. But often, as with the alterations in IV.v, the nature of the changes suggests the operation of some literary judgment while annotation of stage-directions, speech-prefixes, or dialogue in the area indicates the presence of an editorial hand. These alterations in Rom. are comparable to those in other Folio plays set from known quartos—though not nearly so numerous as those in 1H4, for example—and constitute a specific problem needing further investigation as to their origin and purpose.[31]

Of more general interest are the questions which the editorial annotations of Romeo and Juliet raise about the exact origin of the Folio's readings. Of course such shadowy and elusive matters cannot be explored in a vacuum nor decided in any final way without reference to other plays in F1, for the editing of this particular play was actually part of a larger process which remains somewhat obscure at best. Yet because this play has editorial changes that can be rather precisely differentiated from compositorial error and also exhibits probably the least complicated sorts of annotation found anywhere in the Folio, Rom. offers an unusually good opportunity for inquiring into the origins of the Folio's readings, however brief that inquiry and however provisional its conclusions must be.

The most obvious question is whether or not a playhouse manuscript, specifically the prompt-book, was the source of these annotations. The evidence is far from conclusive either way. Despite the verdict rendered by Greg and others who have followed him, it can be argued that the non-compositorial alterations in Rom. are not unlike those in other plays which have often been viewed as signs of the prompt-book. The attention to and correction of speech-prefixes are remarkable, particularly those changes which eliminate ambiguities that Greg (p. 114) believes would be "intolerable" in a prompt-book (e.g., 'Wi.' to 'La.' at 2221, or 'Appo.', 'Poti.', 'Po.' to 'App.' at 2786ff.). The substantial alterations of the stage-directions are also noteworthy: many of these are business-like, and some are of the imperative kind often cited as theatrical.[32] The


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added 'Fight' (70) is an example, but of especial interest are the shortened stage-directions 'Knocke' in III.iii (1881, 1885); identical parallels to them occur in The Second Maiden's Tragedy, the earliest extant prompt-book of the King's Men, where the "prompter" has added the simple 'Knock' four times in one scene.[33] The provision of two re-entries, for Tybalt and Lady Capulet (1556, 2592), could certainly be traced to a bookkeeper concerned with such details (see Greg, p. 133). One could also assert that the removal of 'Will Kempe' (2680) is evidence of a revival of the play (see Greg, p. 114), and that the censorship found in F1 is likewise a sign of a post-1606 revival, though it is slight and generally not as thorough as in other plays (cf. 1H4, where there are many oaths and consequently many cuts). Finally, there is the rather substantial evidence of the correspondence between the Folio's readings and Q1's, which are often very similar and sometimes curiously so. These agreements range from being substantially to precisely the same, and the simplest way of explaining them would be to postulate a single source—the prompt-book itself.

With this argument there are naturally many difficulties, for the situation is not a simple one and is indeed ambivalent. One difficulty relates directly to Q1. As mentioned, F1 not only fails to incorporate alterations present in Q1, but often varies from it in the alterations that it makes. Some of this variation, presumably from the prompt-book, could as easily be traced to the reporters of Q1 as to the editor of F1, but in other cases—e.g., 'Serving.' > 'a Servingman', '1.Capu. > '3. Cap.', 'Capels' > 'Capulets' (446, 612, 1433)—Q1 supplies what appear to be the authentic readings (i.e., 'Clowne', 'Cap:', 'Capels are') and F1's look like editorial guesses.[34] Moreover, it is of some interest that where Q1 is totally defective F1 continues to exhibit alterations that are of the same general character as those it introduces where Q1 appears to represent a


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theatrical tradition. Some of these Folio changes could be attributed to its sources's superiority over Q1's defects, but the failures of F1 just mentioned suggest that all its alterations might well have been made without reference to Q1's ultimate source—i.e., might not come from the prompt-book.

More general observations also make the theory of F1's dependence on the prompt-book tenuous. The Folio text of Romeo and Juliet simply lacks any certain sign of its derivation from prompt-copy; it has nothing comparable to 'They sleepe all the Act' or 'Tawyer with a Trumpet before them' found in Folio MND, nor to the music and sounds added to Folio MV, nor even to the new "fly scene" and speeches found in Folio Tit. (also set by E). Beyond this rather negative evidence, there are the errors of commission cited by Greg, some of which suggest not simply tangles that had not been completely resolved but outright ignorance of any source other than Q3. Furthermore, the many changes in the dialogue are not what we have come to regard as sure signs of the prompt-book, whereas Folio Rom. does, for instance, lack attention to props,[35] which the prompt-book presumably would have dealt with. The attempted correction of Romeo's fly speech (1843-45+2) suggests absence of a prompt-book, where the matter should have been resolved if it was given any attention at all (at least, so we have been led to believe). The same may be said of the Folio's failure to deal with the second thoughts and unclear speeches at the end of II.ii and the beginning of II.iii.

It might be possible to explain some of these inconsistencies in Folio Romeo and Juliet by postulating a playhouse manuscript that partook of some characteristics supposedly typical of the prompt-book and of some associated with foul-papers. For instance, a transcript used in mounting the play and containing random notes reflecting decisions made by the actors—including the author, presumably—would help explain some of the annotation of dialogue, the supplying and correction of speech-prefixes, perhaps the excision of 'Will Kempe' (assuming revival after 1602), the slight attention to oaths,[36] and particularly some of the stage-directions (like 'Kils herselfe') added by F1 but, because descriptive, supposedly not typical of the prompt-book or book-keeper.[37]


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Yet even such a written source will not account for some of the more remarkable Folio alterations to Q3, as Greg's verdict against "a playhouse manuscript" suggests (despite his belief that "the printing-house" must have been responsible for the Folio's changes).[38] The errors of commission which he cites—the assignment of a speech to Peter rather than Paris's Page, the substitution of the erroneous 'Enter Servant' for the equally wrong 'Enter Romeo', the deficient exit in II.iv (2924, 568, 1309) —cannot be blamed on any sort of theatrical manuscript (nor even on messy foul-papers, which in this case of course had vanished with the printing of Q2). Moreover, even if the error of omission that Greg mentions (the neglect to alter the erroneous entry in III.v, 2069) is suspect as evidence, F1's failure to amend the glaring inconsistency in the 'grayey'd morne' passages at the end of II.ii and the beginning of II.iii (992ff.) certainly shows the Folio editor was not consulting a manuscript at this point. The fact is that many of the Folio's alterations in stage-directions, speech-prefixes, and dialogue are attributable to an intelligent editor attentively working through Q3 without the benefit of a manuscript. This has been suggested already in the discussion of Compositor E's role and the fact that his manner of setting the play (as well as his own incapacities perhaps) would have prevented him from making changes that require an understanding of the dramatic context. But a number of the changes could have been made by an editor with an eye to clarifying


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the action and the speeches and with no aid but his own wits. For instance, several of the new entries—e.g., 'Servant', 'Enter Mother', 'Enter Appothecarie' (568, 2592, 2785)—appear to be motivated by a simple attempt to account for the presence of an immediately subsequent speaker, whether rightly (2592) or wrongly (568). A similar motivation probably lies behind some of the speech-prefixes added or corrected—e.g., 'Jul.', 'Pet.', 'Ro.' > 'Juilet.' (1645, 2924, 2087). The merely formal provisions of exits added to the ends of scenes can be put down to a scrupulous editor, as can many of the alterations of dialogue, which show either an inclination to regularize meter or a disposition to clarify speeches that is misguided in its smoothing-out of puns or else is simply mistaken (e.g., 9, 492, 1520-24, 1782, 2153). Then there are the curious alterations introduced for the first time in Compositor B's part-page Gg1, the last page of the play in the Folio as finally published. This part-page, set by B together with Timon of Athens some thirteen working days (and twenty-three formes) after E had finished typesetting the rest of Rom., exhibits two interesting variations in speech-prefixes where E's cancelled *gg3 follows Q3, and it thus affords a rather close view of the editorial process. Both speech-prefixes concern minor characters, Balthazer and Paris's Page, who are designated as 'Balth.' ('Balt.') and 'Boy.' in Q3 and E's *gg3 but as 'Boy.' and 'Page.', respectively, in B's Gg1 (3146, 3155). In an ultimate sense of course B's 'Page.' is correct, but elsewhere in this last scene F1 (set by E), generally following Q3, inconsistently identifies him as 'Pet.', 'Page.', and 'Boy.' (Q3: 'Watch boy.')—which makes the 'Boy.' of E and Q3 quite satisfactory at this point (and in the theater).[39] Perhaps even less called for is the alteration 'Balth.' > 'Boy.' at 3146: F1 (retaining the forms of Q3) elsewhere in Act V has either the speech-prefix 'Man.' or 'Pet.', and Balthazer is named only once in the dialogue (2735). These changes accomplish relatively little, if regularization in accord with the prompt-book is the presumed aim. But they do resemble editorial alterations elsewhere in the text. Moreover, both are curious and precisionistic alterations, and both suggest some general acquaintance with the play. It is now virtually impossible to attribute them to B (who was, incidentally, principally concerned at this time with the rather daunting task of setting Tim. from manuscript), because he seems to have followed his copy's speech-prefixes rather carefully when encountering material anew[40] and had not dealt with Rom. since composing its first page some seventy formes earlier.


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The alternatives are to assume that E overlooked both these annotations—which seems unlikely since other evidence suggests he was overly sensitive, rather than oblivious, to such notations—or that B's copy, whether Q3 or F1's *gg3, was subjected to further[41] annotation before he began typesetting. To make such niggling alterations, whatever their negligible virtues, it seems certain that the editor would not have gone to the trouble of re-consulting a playhouse manuscript. He must have introduced them while quickly looking over printer's copy once again before B began to set the last part-page of the play.

The cancellation of the last page of Folio Rom. has resulted in two new editorial alterations that seem on the whole consistent with the other changes found in the Folio text. But the circumstances themselves are unusual. If such an editor interceded elsewhere in the play, distinguishing his independent alterations from those which he drew from a playhouse source would often prove to be an almost impossible task (a fact that has some interesting implications for Folio texts other than Rom.). This would be true particularly if, as seems likely, the editor was either Heminge or Condell or another playhouse agent. Several features of the text can be taken as evidence of his connection with the playhouse. The Folio changes often exhibit a general familiarity with the play and an understanding of both the on-stage and off-stage action that is rather remarkable. This is true even where the first quarto is unsatisfactory, and where it is essentially sound, F1's frequent identity with or uncanny resemblance to Q1 suggests an editor well schooled in the play as performed. Moreover, ascribing the Folio's changes ultimately to the King's Men would help explain not only their general resemblance to Q1's version but their frequently theatrical nature. Some of the stage-directions are very business-like, and other changes—e.g., the additions of 'Within' (952, 954) that Greg, in one of his rare moments, misremembers and thus suppresses—are theatrically technical. Folio Rom. exhibits not one but two added re-entries, which, Greg remarks, are "exceptional in early texts,"[42] and it is of some interest that Edward Knight adds one to Massinger's carefully prepared fair-copy of Believe as you List.

Whether Knight or Heminge and Condell themselves would actually have annotated the Folio copy can hardly be determined. But even if one of the players was actually the editor, his general familiarity with the work, as distinguished from dim recollection of parts (which would


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come into play only in certain speeches, if at all) would probably have been exhibited chiefly in the stage-directions and speech-prefixes—i.e., those features traditionally relied upon as evidence of a playhouse manuscript. Consequently, we can never be sure whether or not a playhouse manuscript was ever consulted. But it is relatively certain that an editor, rather than a compositor, is responsible for many of the changes introduced in the Folio text of Romeo and Juliet and that he made some of them at least without reference to a playhouse source (not to mention Q4 or Q1). This simple hypothesis will account for virtually all the non-compositorial alterations of Q3 found in F1, even if the question of the use of a theatrical source is in fact irresolvable. The general conclusion seems inevitable that in this Folio play we have an editor who worked through Q3's text with (for his day) considerable care, annotating the printer's copy where it struck him as deficient and relying mainly on the context to do so, though perhaps occasionally—and certainly not often enough—consulting a playhouse manuscript.