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I am grateful to the Research Advisory Board, University of Guelph, for a grant in aid of my Revels Plays edition of The Roaring Girl, the parent project of the present study.


My thanks are due to Miss Katharine Pantzer of the Houghton Library, Harvard University, for bringing this copy to my attention.


Bowers notes the discrepancy in his "Emendation of Accidentals', p. 109, II.i.372, but without comment.


W. W. Greg, The Variants in the First Quarto of 'King Lear' (1940), pp. 52-55, and F. Bowers, 'An Examination of the Method of Proof Correction in Lear', The Library, 5th ser., 2 (1947), 39 ff.


The dramatists may have changed their plans for the Tiltyards in the course of working out the scene.


A. H. Gomme in his New Mermaid edition (1976) was tempted by his editorial instincts to give the speech to Mistress Openwork, but his edition stops short of emendation: 'Perhaps this speech should be given to Mistress Openwork, to whom the question would be more appropriately put, and from whom the reply would be more pointed' (p. 44, note to II.i.366).


This is noted in my earlier study, 'Some Textual Notes on The Roaring Girl', The Library, 5th ser., 32 (1977), 333-343.


'Notes on Running-Titles as Bibliographical Evidence', The Library, 4th ser., 19 (1938), 16.


Various procedures described by Randall McLeod in 'A Technique of Headline Analysis', Studies in Bibliography, 32 (1979), 197-210, were helpful in serving the needs of the present study.


The sequence runs as follows:

  • Mist. Open.: H4v 27; I1r 2.
  • Mist. Gal.: H4v 29; I1r 5.
  • Mist. Op.: H4v 30; (Mist. Open.) I1r 6.
  • Mist. Gal.: H4v 32; I1r 8.
  • Mist. Open.: H4v 34; I1r 9.
Although the list is not intended to be exhaustive, I have recorded below occurrences of a number of defective italic letters through several formes:
  • 1. M: B2v 34; D1v 33; D3r 27; F3v 12; F4v 33; H4v 30; I1r 6; L1r 27; L2r 6; M2r 23.
  • 2. M: D1v 29; F4r 22; I1v 13; I4v 28; K1r 33.
  • 3. M: C4r 34; D1v 18; D2v 33; E4r 4; F2v 9; G1r 11; I2r 36; K1v 23.
  • 4. M: D4r 29; E4r 31; F2v 3; G1r 24; H4v 21; I3r 26; I4r 32.
  • 5. M: D4v 30; E1v 38; F2v 22; I1r 27.
  • 6. M: F3v 33; G2r 11; H4v 29; I1r 5.
  • 7. A: C2v 22; G2r 31.
  • 8. D: D1v 34; H1r 14; K2r 25; K3r 20.
  • 9. E: D4r 8; E3r 15.
  • 10. k: D4r 26; K2r 28; K3r 14.
  • 11. l: D1v 8; E4r 27; G2v 2; H4r 24.
  • 12. l: D3r 14; E1v 23; F2v 35; G2v 31; H1r 14; K4v 5; L1r 10; M1v 20.
  • 13. l: K4r 3; K4v 7; L1r 10; M2r 20.
  • 14. l: K4r 31; K4v 15; M2v 27.
  • 15. ll: K2v 4; K3v 19; L4r 33.
  • 16. ll: L3r 15; L3v 14.
  • 17. L: C3v 26; D1v 22.
  • 18. st: F3r 30; G1r 32; I1v 30.
  • 19. st: G1v 14; H4v 30; I1r 6.
Many of these are incorporated in speech headings which may be seen to repeat also; but the regular letter forms which accompany them are frequently too difficult to trace with assurance. In addition to instances in which the same letter(s) occurs in both formes of a sheet, transfers between formes of adjacent sheets are of interest: evidently a further reflection of halting progress in the printing of this play.


Distinctive flawed letters occur in the following prefixes; so far as I am able to tell, the whole prefix is involved in each instance.

  • Omnes: B4r 21; ?C1v 31.
  • Mol.: D1v 18; D2v 33 (also E4r 4; the M then appears in Maist.: F2v 9; G1r 11; I2r 36; K1v 23).
  • Mol.: D2v 15; G4v 32; H1r 9.
  • Mist. Gall/l.: F4r 26; G2r 15.
  • Mist. Gal.: F3v 33; G2r 11.
  • Curt.: G4v 29; ?H1r 8.
  • I/Iack.: K2r 28; K3r 14.
  • Trap.: K3r 15; K4r 36.
  • Mol.: K4r 3; K4v 7 (also L1r 10 and M2r 20).
  • Mol.: K4r 31; K4v 15 (also M2v 27).
  • Moll.: K3v 19; K2v 4.
  • Mol.: L1r 27; L2r 6 (also M2r 23).
  • Alla.: L3r 15; L3v 14.
  • Fitz. All.: L3v 11; ?L3r 19.


'The Manuscript and the Quarto of The Roaring Girl', The Library, 5th ser., 11 (1956), 180-186. My own efforts to sort out stints based on traits other than those considered by Price have produced results which are either self-contradictory or at variance with and weaker than Price's findings. The exercise has, however, tempered my approach to the matter.


Sir Bewt.: K2r 2, 24; K3r 5, 30; K4v 17, 23; L1r 9.


A is given K4v, A2r, A3r, and A3v, which ought to belong to D; and D is assigned A4r and A4v which should fall to A. Price also cites the form 'nere' as distinctive of D and E although, according to my reckoning, with the single exception of 'ne're' on sig. C3v 36, this is the only form in which the word appears throughout the quarto; and it occurs more often in the so-called stints of A, B, and C than in those of D and E; 'bene', aligned with compositor E, appears with greater frequency in the shares of A and D. Also, Price curiously states that 'practically nothing of Middleton's spelling and punctuation stands out in the text' (p. 182)—a claim which takes no account of such forms as 'sh'has', ''has/has' ( he has), ''thad' and the like; and those forms cited as Dekker's preferred spellings are common in Middleton.


In an attempt to avoid confusion I have retained letters assigned by Price to distinguish compositors, conflating B and C (B), and D and E (D); the stints of the three compositors may be set out as follows:

  • A: B1r-B2v, B3r (in part), B4v, D2r, D3r, E1r, E1v (in part), E2v-E4v, F1v-F2v, F3v, A4r (Prologus), A4v (Dramatis Personae).
  • B: B4r, C1r-C2r, C2v-C4v, D1r, D1v, D2v, D4r, D4v, E1v, E2r, F4r, F4v.
  • D: B3r (in part), B3v, D3v, F1r, F3r, G1r, G1v, G2r-G4v, H1r-H3v, H4r, H4v, I1r, I1v, I2r I2v-I3v, I4r, I4v, K1r-K4v, L1r-L2v, L3r-L4v, M1r-M2v, M3r-M3v (Epilogus), A2r (title-page), A3r-A3v (Epistle).
I have retained Price's italics for signatures in which evidence is not strong. Evidence for D's presence in sheets B and D is not overwhelming and may be attributable to some aberration derived from inconsistency, as suggested above.


A pattern of re-use such as that seen in sheet I (also D, K, and L, as described above) is possible but not clearly demonstrable here: again, presumably an indication that another case was used. An instance of an M from inner F repeated in outer F appears to indicate that inner F was distributed before setting of outer F was completed, but the crisp, clear serifs of the M at l. 12 of sig. F3v are blurred in the counterpart at l. 33 of sig. F4v, although the distinctive internal dot is found in both. But perhaps the type was slightly damaged at this point: none of the later appearances preserves the clarity seen until this stage (see above, note 10, no. 1). Other possible candidates (also Ms) occur at l. 26 on sig. F2r and l. 14 on sig. F4v; at l. 36 on sig. F3v and l. 22 on sig. F2v. Although no wholesale transfer of headings such as that in sheet I is apparent, the possibility for it remains, though hidden in the regular forms of undamaged type.


Apparent shortages may be seen on sig. H4r (S) and sigs. K4r to L2r inclusive (I). In neither case does the forme in which it appears or the immediately preceding one reveal a specially heavy use of the letter, and the evidence suggests that the compositor was the same in all.


'Elizabethan Proofing', Joseph Quincy Adams Memorial Studies, ed. J. G. McManaway, et al. (1948), p. 573, n. 6.


See, for example, the Textual Introduction to Match Me in London, The Dramatic Works of Thomas Dekker, ed. F. Bowers, iii, 257. G. D. Johnson in 'The Printing of A Faire Quarrell, Q2', SB, 29 (1976), 288-292, gives an instance of setting by formes in a one-skeleton page-for-page reprint; but I have not encountered studies which claim this as a common practice for setting from manuscript.


'Notes on the Text of Thierry and Theodoret Q1', SB, 14 (1961), 222.


'Printers of the Mind,' SB, 22 (1969), 37 ff.


Chiefly W. W. Greg, op. cit., and the study by F. Bowers (1947) cited above; the first volume of Peter W. M. Blayney's The Texts of King Lear and Their Origins (1982), was not yet available for consultation at the time of writing. A number of other multiple-skeleton books printed by Okes dating from 1615 are noted by R. K. Turner, loc. cit., p. 222, note 6.