University of Virginia Library

The Quarto of 1654: Printer and Compositors

The sole Quarto of Appius and Virginia survives in no fewer than five issues, with successive cancels replacing the original title leaf (Greg, Bibliography, II, 733). The first issue, of which Greg records two copies, was printed for Richard Marriot, to whom it had been entered in the Stationers' Register on 13 May 1654, and is dated 1654, as is the second, of which there are eight copies; the third, extant in a unique copy in the Library of Congress, is dated 1655; the fourth, of which there are eight copies, is dated 1659 and was printed for Humphrey Moseley, to whom the rights had been transferred on 11 June 1659; and the fifth, of which there are four copies, is as late as 1679. The collation is A1 B-H4 I4 (—I4), the text beginning on B1 and ending on I3.

The printer, hitherto unidentified, was almost certainly Thomas Maxey (active 1637-1657), whose name as printer is on the title page of at least seven of Marriot's publications in the period 1651-1655,[2] including Isaak Walton's The Complete Angler (1653, and second edition 1655), Sir Henry Wotton's Reliquiae Wottonianae (1651, and second edition 1654), and John Donne's Essays in Divinity (1651).


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There is little about the Appius Quarto that might serve readily to identify its printer—only an arrangement of nine unusual fleurons on the title page and a double row of small acorn-like ornamental types, of a very common kind, above the head title on B1. Both these forms of ornamentation are, however, found several times in Reliquiae Wottonianae (1654, Wing W 3649) on A3, A5, B1, E2, F7, H1, and many other pages; in Edward Sparke's Scintillula Altaris, printed by Maxey (1652, Wing S 4807) on A3. A4v, A5v, A6v, A7, B2, C1, and other pages; and in Essays in Divinity (1651, Wing D 1861) on A1, A2, and K11v; and the more distinctive appears in The Complete Angler (1653, Wing W 661) on A5; The Complete Angler (1655, Wing W 662) on Q11; Reliquiae Wottonianae (1651, Wing W 3648) on a1, b1, A1, D1, F4, I5, and P4; and Sir Thomas Overbury's Observations upon the Provinces United (1651, Wing O 609), also printed by Maxey, on A4.

Moreover, the Appius fleuron is used on A2v of the Quarto of Henry Glapthorne's Revenge for Honour, which has a publishing history similar to that of Appius, appearing in three issues, two of 1654 "for Richard Marriot," and a third of 1659 "for Humphrey Moseley" (Greg, Bibliography, II, 730). In the second issue, surviving in a single copy in the Pforzheimer Library, a leaf containing an Epistle Dedicatory has been inserted after the title. Greg notes: "While there is no proof that the leaf belongs to the book, there seems no reason to doubt it. According to the Pforzheimer Catalogue the printer of the leaf was Thomas Maxey (1647-57), but the printer of the play is not known." Greg does not say on what basis the Pforzheimer Catalogue assigned the printing of the second issue's additional leaf to Maxey, but that he was in fact the printer of the whole play is strongly suggested by the type ornamentation that the Quarto has in common with Scintillula Altaris (1652), The Complete Angler (both 1653 and 1655), and the other books printed by Maxey. Compare, for example, A2 of Revenge for Honour with A2, A8, and B1 of the first edition of The Complete Angler (1653), and with A2 and B1 of the second edition (1655). Or compare the opening A2v-A3 of Revenge for Honour with the opening 2C1v-2C2 of Scintillula Altaris. The habit of dividing a row of ornamental types by colons links Revenge for Honour with the books known to have been printed by Maxey. In Revenge for Honour, as in Appius and Virginia, only two leaves per gathering are signed, always in the form 'B', 'B2', without stops, and in neither play are lines of verse capitalized. Both Quartos seem to use the same fount of type, of which twenty lines measure approximately 81-82 mm.[3] Thomas Maxey is, then, the probable printer of both Revenge for Honour and Appius and Virginia.

Analysis of the headlines in the Appius Quarto reveals that a single skeleton was used for inner and outer formes of sheets B-E. This skeleton also machined both formes of G and the outer formes of H and I. However, a second


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skeleton was introduced to machine both formes of F and the inner formes of H and I.[4] Tabulation makes the sequence clear:      
This skeleton pattern implies an undisturbed relationship between composition and presswork over the first four sheets, but suggests that the first forme of F may have been prepared for the press before the second forme of E had been released. It would not be surprising to find some change in the compositorial pattern in sheet F.

A hint towards differentiation of compositors is given by the spellings of those useful test words do and go. On some pages the spellings do and go are preferred, on others doe and goe. Pages exhibiting a decisive preference for do and go are C1, C2, C4v, D4, E1, F2, F3, F4, G2v, G3, G3v, and I4v; and for doe and goe B2v, C3v, D1, D1v, E2v, E3, E3v, E4, and E4v.[5] When the twelve do/go pages are carefully compared with the nine doe/goe pages, further differences emerge, and these all prove statistically significant beyond the one per cent level, when tested by Yates's chi-square.[6] Table 1 presents these results:

Table 1

12 do/go pages  9 doe/goe pages 
(Compositor A)  (Compositor B) 
do/go   39  do/go  
doe/goe   doe/goe   31 
I'l   15  I'l  
I'le   I'le/Ile   10 
-ness   10  -ness  
-nesse   -nesse  
-l   22  -l  
-ll   -ll   22 


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Figures for -l and -ll endings exclude monosyllabic words (shall, will, well, still, and so on), of which the modern spelling predominates throughout, but the do / go speller, whom I have labelled Compositor A, nevertheless uses the -l ending in a monosyllable 9 times in his twelve pages, whereas the doe / goe speller (Compositor B) never uses it. Compositor A's I'le spelling occurs on a page (F4) on which I'l also appears. Compositor B's anomalous single -l spelling is in the last word of a full line, and is outweighed on the page (E2v) by four -ll endings. Compositor B's uncharacteristic do spelling is also in a full line, and there are eight doe / goe spellings on the same page (E3v).

From Table 1 we may safely conclude that at least two compositors set the text and that the spellings listed there will serve to distinguish them.

When the whole text is examined in the light of these key words, almost every page affords unequivocal evidence (presented in full in Table 2 at the end of this article) of one or other compositor's handiwork. The overall pattern suggests that the doubtful pages in sheet B are probably Compositor B's, those in F-H probably Compositor A's. The change at F in the relationship between composition and presswork, tentatively inferred from the skeleton pattern, is confirmed by Table 2, which shows Compositor A, who had shared equally with Compositor B the setting of sheets C and D, and also set the first two pages of sheet E, now taking over as sole typesetter. Presumably presswork was lagging behind composition, perhaps because the press was partly occupied with some other job, so that Compositor A could comfortably keep ahead of the press on his own.

Some confirmation of the proposed compositorial divisions is provided by the setting of words immediately following speech prefixes. Compositor A often fails to set adequate spacing between prefix and text. Compositor B is more consistent. There is doubtless subjectivity in my criterion of "adequacy" here, but on A's thirty-five unquestioned pages I count fifty-six instances of deficient spacing between prefix and text, whereas B's nineteen unquestioned pages afford only five. B1, B4, and B4v are all perfect in this respect, while F1, F2v, G4v, and H3v have two, two, one, and two examples of inadequate spacing. So my tentative assignment of the doubtful pages in sheet B to Compositor B, and of those in sheets F-H to Compositor A receives some support from this evidence.

Compositor A always sets speech prefixes for Marcus Clodius as Clod. (36 times), except for one Clo. in a full line on D4: the pertinent pages are D2v, D4, D4v, F1, F1v, F2, F2v, F3, G1, G1v, I1, I2v, and I3. Compositor B never sets Clod., but employs a great variety of other prefixes for Clodius. He begins with two instances of Marcus. Cl. on B1v, sets Marcus twice on B2-B2v, changes on B3v from Cl. to Clodius. (twice) and M. Clodius. (3 times), continuing to use M. Clodius. three times on B4. Then he follows one Clodius. on C2 with Clo. twice on C2 and three times on C3, reverting to M. Clodius. (twice) and Clodius. (6 times) on D2. In E2v-E4v he sets a single Clo. at the top of E3, but otherwise wavers between Clodius. (15 times) and Clodi. (5 times). The difference between the two men is striking:


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Speech Prefixes for Marcus Clodius

Clod.   other forms 
Compositor A:  36 
Compositor B:  48 
Three tentative attributions are thus further confirmed—B4 to Compositor B, and F1 and F2v to Compositor A.