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II. Q5 and Act V

Hasker proposed that Q5 was used again briefly at the very end of the play, from circa 2685 to 2849 (5.5.19-end); this hypothesis has been challenged by J. K. Walton.[8] According to Walton, Hasker's case for Q5 rests on three G5/F1 substantive agreements: euer (2738, for Q1-3 neuer), wer't (2769, for Q1-3 art), and thine (2777, for Q1-3 thy). Walton is right in objecting that these are indifferent variants. But, in the first place, Walton ignores a number of other Q5/F1 agreements in this passage, because he is himself only concerned with dialogue variants. Thus, at 2767 F1 agrees with Q5 on the positioning of the Groom's exit direction; Q3 places it (incorrectly?) after 2773. Then F1 agrees with Q5 on the word strikes in the stage direction at 2779 (Exton strikes him downe), where Q3 has the imperative strike. Then at 2790 F1 and Q5 agree on the necessary direction Exit (which should more properly be Exeunt), which Q3 omits. One must concede at once that these variants are also indifferent, and that the Folio readings could independently derive from the theatrical manuscript which was evidently available for comparison with Q3. One must also grant that the total of indifferent agreements with Q5 is entirely insufficient to establish the use of that quarto throughout the text; Walton persuasively demonstrates, by extensive comparison with other post-Folio quartos, that we should expect a certain number of coincidental indifferent agreements. But though this lateral evidence strongly supports Hasker's own rejection of the earlier orthodoxy (that F was set throughout from Q5), it does nothing to refute Hasker's contention that Q5 was used briefly at the end of the play. Walton can rightly claim that this number of indifferent agreements would be nothing unusual, if spread out over an entire play; but so many indifferent agreements within 53 lines (2738-90) is another matter altogether. We are here dealing with statistical probabilities, and the clustering of variants in close proximity to one another dramatically increases their evidential significance. One need not be a statistician to see this: 6 indifferent agreements within 53 lines are obviously more significant than 6 within 2850 lines. In fact, by even the simplest arithmetic, they are 57 times more significant. It is surely impossible to dismiss this as coincidence.


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However, Walton is quite right in objecting that Hasker's only accidentals evidence for Q5 influence—the Q5/Folio spelling tels (2721, where Q3 has tells)—is not convincing, since B prefers the shorter spelling. In fact, he sets tels 20 times elsewhere, and tells only twice, both in justified lines. Moreover, a comprehensive check of all differences in accidentals between Q3 and Q5 in this portion of the text does nothing to confirm the use of Q5 copy. We list only the significant agreements (i.e. disregarding spellings, or differences in italicization and capitalization, where B simply follows a strong preference). In the final column, we list first the occurrences, elsewhere in B's work, of the spelling found here in the Folio, then secondly the occurrences of the alternative spelling (found here in one or the other quarto).

Q3  F1  Q5  Compositor B Elsewhere  
1. (2694)  kinde  kind---  kind  15; 112 kinde 
2. (2699)  beggar---  Beggar  Begger  12; 54 -er 
3. (2700)  penurie---  penurie  Penurie 
4. (2708)  time---  time  Time 
5. (2723)  bell---  bell  Bell 
6. (2747-60)  horse (4)---  horse (4)  Horse (4) 
7. (2778)  hell---  hell  Hell 
8. (2783)  hell---  hell  Hell 

The accidentals evidence obviously conflicts with the substantive evidence, but the conflict can (we believe) be easily reconciled. Hasker's choice of 2685 (5.5.19) as the starting point for use of Q5 was, by his own admission, somewhat arbitrary, being based not on actual evidence for Q5 from that specific point onward but on the desire to have the Q5 stint begin at the beginning of a Q3 page, on the assumption that the exemplar of Q3 being used as copy lacked its two final leaves. In fact, the actual substantive evidence for the use of Q5 all falls within 53 lines, 2738-90, which include only the accidentals evidence nos. 6-8 above, and exclude four Q3-F1 substantive agreements: eare (2711, for Q5 care), their (2718, for Q5 there), haue (2728, for Q5 hath), and of (2796, not in Q5). In other words, all the Q5/F1 substantive agreements fall within 53 lines, while all the Q3/F1 substantive agreements fall either before or after those lines.

In short, substantive variants pointing to Folio dependence on Q5 cluster inexplicably in a brief passage where the Folio accidentals point to dependence on Q3; this brief passage is surrounded by both substantive and accidentals evidence pointing to Folio dependence on Q3 (as elsewhere throughout the play). The most plausible explanation for this otherwise-inexplicable pattern is that one page was missing from the original theatrical manuscript which was collated against Q3, and that this single missing page had been supplied (at some earlier date, by someone


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other than Jaggard) by a transcript of the relevant portion of Q5.

This hypothesis has the advantage of explaining all the conflicting substantive evidence; it also provides an explanation of the activities in both the playhouse and the printing shop much more plausible than Hasker's. Hasker proposes that an annotated copy of Q3 was itself being used as the promptbook, and that the two defective leaves at the end of that quarto were patched with leaves from Q5. But—in the first place—why should anyone in the King's Men have bothered annotating a quarto, if a manuscript promptbook was already available, and would itself almost certainly have contained, on its final page, the licence of the Revels office?[9] And if there were a gap in either a manuscript promptbook or a promptbook based on Q3, why repair that gap by spoiling an exemplar of Q5, merely for the sake of two leaves? The more so, in that the use of Q5 would necessarily involve—even if we presume a lacuna of only 53 lines—the recto and verso of a single page (K2 and K2v), which would make even cutting and pasting difficult: the small Q5 sheet would have to be inserted whole in the midst of a manuscript almost certainly written on full folio pages. Moreover, are we to imagine that the gap in the manuscript happened to coincide with the beginning and end of two Q5 pages? If not, the scribe repairing the gap would either have to cross out some of his surviving manuscript text, or cross out lines at the beginning and end of his Q5 insert. This would simply add to the messiness of an already messy, unsatisfactory, and implausible arrangement.

It would be much more sensible to replace the missing manuscript page with a new manuscript page, transcribed from Q5. This would repair the gap, without any need to collect and combine four or more actors' parts, but without destroying the exemplar of Q5, or inserting a quarto-sized leaf in the midst of a (presumably) folio-sized manuscript. And the hypothesis of a lacuna-repairing transcript of Q5 would also explain a number of anomalous differences between Q5 itself and the Folio text. If the book-keeper of the King's Men had simply inserted in the promptbook one or more leaves from Q5, why should he have bothered to cross out 'Enter [a] Groome [of the Stable]' (2733), or 'Exit [Groome]' (2767), or '[Heere] Exton strikes him downe' (2779), or 'Enter [Henrie] Percy' (2814)? His other changes to stage directions are more comprehensible: the specific actors called for in 'Enter Keeper' instead of 'Enter one' (2763), and in 'Enter Exton and Seruants' instead of 'The murderers rush in' (2779), perhaps even the specific property of 'with a Dish' instead of 'with meat' (2763). But there is no good reason for the first four changes, in terms of a specific theatrical function which Q5 as it stood did not serve. On the other hand, if the book-keeper were transcribing


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Q5, he might well have fidgetted with some of its wording of stage directions, even when this was strictly unnecessary. If leaves from Q5 were simply inserted in the promptbook, these changes could only have been made by an extraordinary intervention, which would in turn have produced a messier book; if Q5 were being transcribed, they could easily have been made in the course of transcription, without in any way affecting the legibility of the promptbook.

Let us now consider the situation from a publisher's or printer's point of view. If someone was preparing printer's copy for Richard II by collating a manuscript promptbook against an exemplar of Q3, and if that promptbook contained a few leaves from Q5, why damage the promptbook (presumably of some value to the theatre) by taking those leaves out? He already had a printed text for the compositors to use; there would be no need for those Q5 sheets, and the divergence in pagination between them and Q3 would add little to their attractiveness. Equally, if he did retain Q3 as the printer's copy, why should he be tempted to transfer indifferent dialogue variants from one printed text (Q5) to another printed text (Q3)? He might naturally transfer any manuscript alterations to the stage directions of Q5; but why go through the dialogue collating the one printed text against the other? On the other hand, if the book-keeper had (at some earlier date) transcribed parts of Q5, in order to replace a missing manuscript page, then when the collator came to that transcribed page he would only notice, at most, a change of hand, or of paper; he would have no reason to regard the page as of any less importance or authority than the rest of the manuscript.

The most plausible reconstruction of the activities of the King's Men's book-keeper and of the collator who prepared Jaggard's copy would thus lead us to expect that a one-page manuscript gap had been repaired by a transcript of the relevant portion of Q5, and that this portion of the text had then been treated by the collator just as he treated the remainder of the play, comparing the manuscript with Q3, and transferring any manuscript variants which he noticed onto the printed text.

Let us now return to the accidentals evidence. All ten variants in capitalization point to Q3, without any regard to quarto or Folio page-breaks, or to the pattern of substantive agreements. The two pieces of good spelling evidence are adjacent and conflicting; the Q5/F1 spelling agreement comes 44 lines before the first Q5/F1 substantive agreement, during which interval there are three Q3/F1 substantive agreements. Moreover, this agreement occurs in a phrase—'they finde a kind of ease'—where B's preferences may have been affected or confused by rhyme and repetition. The punctuation evidence (not listed above) falls into no significant pattern. Most of the punctuation variants are affected by


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the sense; in context, only twice does the Folio punctuation represent a choice between two equally-acceptable variants:      
Q3  Q5 
(2729)  mad:---  ˜:  ˜. 
(2817)  graue:---  ˜:  ˜; 
Both of these point to Q3—as Hasker himself noticed (p. 68).

In conclusion: Walton is right in contending that Q3 was the compositors' printed base for all of Richard II, and Hasker is right in contending that a short portion of the text at the end of the play (TLN 2738-90; 5.5.70-115) has been contaminated (at some point in its transmission) by Q5. The explanation offered here—that a one-page gap in the manuscript was at some time patched by transcribing the relevant lines from Q5—strongly suggests that the influence of the two quartos stems from two different phases and agencies of transmission: the annotation of Q3 copy for use by Jaggard, and the (earlier) patching of the promptbook by reference to Q5.[10]

This hypothesis also, necessarily, impinges on another aspect of the Folio text—the nature of the promptbook itself. Pollard suggested that the promptbook was a marked-up copy of Q1; Greg, Wilson, Hasker, and Ure all cogently challenged that conclusion.[11] But Hasker, puzzled by the need 'to explain why the copy for the First Folio Richard II should have been a made-up quarto' composed of leaves from two different editions (Q3 and Q5), adopted Fredson Bowers's (private) suggestion that the copy of Q3 used by the Folio compositors was 'itself the official prompt-book of the King's Company' (pp. 69-70). This conjecture becomes superfluous and implausible if our alternative explanation of Q5's local influence is adopted.[12]