University of Virginia Library

I. Q5 and the Abdication Episode

In 1953 Richard E. Hasker (developing a conjecture by Alfred W. Pollard) demonstrated that, contrary to the prevailing orthodoxy, the


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printer's copy for most of the Folio text of Richard II was Q3, not Q5.[2] The possible influence of the later quarto, he urged, need be suspected in only two passages. The first of these, the abdication episode, or 'deposition scene', is relatively straightforward. As Hasker said: 'Since the "deposition scene" occurs in the section of the play set from Q3, which lacks this passage, leaves could have been taken from the copy of Q5 which supplied the last leaves . . . or a transcript of the lines could have been made when Q3 was compared with the manuscript prompt-book' (p. 69). Although Hasker himself eventually favoured the second of these options, the first has been endorsed by G. B. Evans and Matthew Black.[3]

Hasker did not attempt to analyse spelling evidence in order to determine which of these two conclusions was the right one. Agreement of F with the spellings of Q5 would demonstrate nothing, since the manuscript might well have had many similar spellings; but spelling differences between the two texts are potentially valuable as negative evidence. If the Folio compositor never departs from his own spelling preferences except under the presumed influence of copy-spellings identical to those in Q5, then Q5—or something indistinguishable from it—was apparently his copy; on the other hand, if he repeatedly violates his own preferences against the spelling present in Q5, then he was apparently being influenced by copy spellings different from those in Q5, and hence was presumably setting the abdication episode (4.1.154-318; TLN 2074-2243) from manuscript copy. The following is a list of spellings in the abdication episode for which Folio Compositor A departs from the spelling of Q5, against his own preferences—or his own indifference—elsewhere.[4] (The figures in the third column indicate first how often he set the rejected alternatives present in Q5, then secondly how often outside this passage Compositor A set the form found here in F; 'j' indicates that the spelling occurs in a crowded line, where it may have been affected by the need to justify.)


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Q5   F   Compositor A  
graunt  grant  17; (1j) 
proceed  proceede  10; 1 
bow  bowe  5; 0 
tutor  tuture  4; 0 
haile  hayle  10; 7 
tend  'tend  3; 0 
Mannors  Manors  1; 0 
Reuenewes  Reuenues  1; 1 
read (4)  reade (4)  9; 7(+1j) 
Containing  Contayning  3; 1 
bate  bait  3; 0 
Oh  93(+22j); 66(+10j) 
banckrout  Bankrupt  0; 0; banqu'rout 1 
satisfied (2)  satisfy'd (2)  2; 1 
indeed  indeede  23(+6j); 7(+5j) 
Houshold  House-hold  unhyphenated 5; hyphenated 0 
need  neede  19(+1j); 2(+2j) 
The figures for Compositor A include all of his settings of the word in question. For most of these—those occurring in all of the plays he set from manuscript—we do not know the spelling of the word in his copy. For Richard II and Richard III, however, we can check the spelling in A's known copy, and see whether he altered or retained it. Such qualitative evidence somewhat diminishes the value of five of these anomalies. The only other example of 'proceede' occurs at Richard III 1819, where A's printed copy has 'proceed'. The participle 'Contayning' never appears elsewhere, but two of the three examples of the verb spelled 'contain' occur elsewhere in Richard II, and simply follow Q3; A's apparent preference for the 'contain' spelling may therefore simply derive from the influence of copy. Elsewhere Compositor A followed copy 'O' seventeen times, but he did alter to 'Oh' at least three times (Richard II 1215, 1426; Richard III 710); the odds are, nevertheless, still against printed copy here. The only other example of 'satisfy'd' occurs at Richard III 1958, and departs from copy 'satisfied'. And although A is known to have retained 'indeed' 3 times in setting from printed copy, he also changed it to 'indeede' once elsewhere (Richard III 2434). However, none of the other fifteen anomalies in the table is affected by the available qualitative evidence; and of those which are affected, both 'Oh' and 'indeede' remain good evidence so long as it is understood that all such spelling evidence depends on relative probabilities. This strong spelling evidence against the use of printed copy is reinforced by two other details of the Folio accidentals. Although Compositor A has a strong tendency to add emphasis capitals to his copy, on two occasions here he fails to supply them for words capitalized in Q5 (weau'd-vp, TLN 2151; follyes, TLN 2151).


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As a test of the validity of this evidence, one can examine Compositor A's departures from copy spellings in a passage of identical length which he is agreed to have set from Q3. This control was taken from the 82 lines preceding the deposition scene (4.1.72-153; TLN 1991-2073), and the 90 lines after (4.1.319-5.1.71; TLN 2244-2333).[5] It will be most convenient to treat these separately. For the 82 lines preceding, Compositor A departed from Q3, and his own quantitative preferences, only 5 times:

Q3   F   Compositor A Elsewhere  
Calice   Callis  0; 0; Callice 5 
banisht  banish'd  4; 4 
Appellants  Appealants  0; 2 
breath (noun breathe  1; 22 
kin (2)  Kinne (2)  1; 4 
Two of these are less significant than they appear. Though A set 'banisht' four times elsewhere, on each occasion he simply reproduced the spelling of his Q3 copy (TLN 1201, 1221, 1224); in contrast, one of his other 'banish'd' spellings departs from Q3 (1170). Qualitatively, A prefers the spelling adopted here. Likewise, all three occurrences of 'Kinne' (two here, and one elsewhere) occur in justified verse lines; all four uses of 'kin' in unjustified lines. This leaves only 3 genuine anomalies in the passage preceding the abdication. The last of these ('breathe') occurs 35 lines before the beginning of the abdication episode; though it is conceivable that the use of manuscript copy began here (perhaps at the beginning of a manuscript page), it seems more likely that 'breathe' is in fact a compositorial error, rather than an anomalous spelling. Compositor A elsewhere consistently used 'breath' for the noun (with only one exception) and 'breather' for the verb (with only one exception), and in setting 'Be iudg'd by subiect, and inferior breathe,' (TLN 2048) he might easily have misinterpreted or mis-memorized the last word as a verb.

The second half of the control passage contains five apparent anomalies:

pernitious  pernicious  1; 3 
pitty  pittie  8(+1j); 14(+2j) 
happy  happie  10; 21(+1j) 
he  hee  28(+74j); 604(+82j) 
worthy  worthie  29(+5j); 3(+1j) 
Two of these are in fact not anomalous at all. Though the quantitative figures indicate a preference for 'happy', in the plays where A's copy is


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known he twice alters 'happy' to 'happie' (Richard II 1321, 1424), and three times accepts copy 'happie' (Richard III 676, 1972, 2393); he also twice accepts copy 'happy' (Richard II 1155, 2297), and once alters 'happie' to 'happy' (Richard III 2392). This word is obviously a poor guide to Compositor A's copy. So is 'hee'. On five other occasions A set 'hee' in an unjustified line, where his copy is known; in all of them his copy had 'he' (Richard II 1139, 1456; Richard III 1754, 2023, 3233). As for 'pittie', A never elsewhere departed from copy 'pitty', but he did twice accept copy 'pittie' (Richard III 2567, 2659). He never elsewhere encountered the word 'worthy' in printed copy. The most serious anomaly is 'pernicious' at 2250: on the one other occasion where A encountered it when setting from printed copy, he altered copy 'pernicious' to 'pernitious' (the reverse of the change here). This may be another word where, if we had more evidence, we would see that A is simply inconsistent; but it is possible he was still working from manuscript copy. The interpolated episode ends only five lines before, and the annotator may have continued with manuscript copy until the (unknown) end of a manuscript page. This assumption might also explain the Folio's omission of a necessary 'Manent Westmorland, Carleil, Aumerle' after the 'Exeunt' at the end of the deposition scene (2245). Q3 contains this 'Manent' direction, clearly placed in the left margin opposite 2246-48; although its omission from the Folio may be a mere compositorial error, the omission would be easier to understand if A were working from a manuscript, in which the direction was either missing, or less conspicuously placed.[6] However, direct use of Q3 had clearly resumed by 2251, three lines before the end of this Folio page, where F follows Q3 in omitting 'My Lo:'. The resumption of printed copy thus cannot be related to the casting off of copy for the Folio.

As there are no substantive errors common to Q5 and F in the abdication episode, the compositor's copy can only be determined on the basis of agreements or disagreements in accidentals. For this purpose, we can take as significant all those departures from Q3 which violate A's preferences elsewhere, as defined by quantitative and (where available) qualitative evidence. The 20 such significant disagreements between Q5 and F in the abdication episode (21 if 'pernicious' is included) contrast strikingly with the 4 anomalies in a passage of similar length surrounding that episode (3 if 'pernicious' is excluded). This discrepancy is difficult to explain except on the assumption that manuscript copy was used


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for the abdication episode. This in turn makes it easier to explain the peculiarities at the end of the play.[7]