University of Virginia Library

Search this document 


expand section 
expand section 
collapse section 
expand section 
expand section 
expand section 



Complaints is a quarto collating A-Z4 (no pagination); the first three leaves of each gathering are signed except the title-pages and A3, E2, and T3,


Page 130
with instances of mis-signing at G2, X3, and Y2 (see Johnson for complete bibliographical description and discussion). The significant bibliographical facts for this study follow. Although Complaints contains nine verse texts which are listed in the correct order but with modified title-texts on A1v under the sub-title “A note of the sundrie Poems contained in this Volume,” the volume is sectioned into four bibliographical units by the appearance of four title-pages printed on the recto of the first leaf of their respective gatherings at A1, E1, L1, and T1, with the versos left blank. The four title-pages are printed within the same ornate compartment formed by woodcut borders. The text that is common to all four title-pages is from exactly the same setting of types in all four. The arrangement and spacing of type and ornaments within the compartment accommodate the changes in individual title-texts, which are: A1, “Complaints.| Containing sundrie| small Poemes of the| Worlds Va-| nitie.| VVhereof the next Page| maketh menti-| on.| By ED. SP.”; E1, “THE| Teares of the Mu-| fes.| By ED. SP.”; L1, “PROSOPOPOIA. | Or| Mother Hubberds Tale.| By ED. SP.| Dedicated to the right Honorable| the Ladie Compton and| Mountegle.”; and T1, “MVIOPOTMOS,| Or| The Fate of the Butterflie.| By ED. SP.| Dedicated to the most faire and| vertuous Ladie: the Ladie| Carey.” An ornamental arrangement of four pointing-finger hands appears under the title texts, followed by an invariant setting of the imprint at the bottom of the compartment: “LONDON.| Imprinted for VVilliam| Ponsonbie, dwelling in Paules| Churchyard at the signe of| the Bishops head.” The dates appear in a separate oval compartment in the bottom woodcut. The “1591.” date is set in the same group of types in A1, E1, and L1; the “1590” date in T1 is a different setting entirely.

Johnson lists forty-four copies and notes the probable existence of “25 more sound copies.” The latter reference implicitly differentiates whole copies containing all four sections from “a great many fragments” which contain one or more sections as defined by one of the above titles. The choice of the term “fragments” is unfortunate. It seems clear that the distribution of the nine verse texts into four bibliographical units with first-leaf recto title-pages could have been a deliberate marketing strategy, given the fact that unbound quartos were usually sold as packets of sheets, each folded twice—once along the short axis, and then a second fold along the resulting short axis. The folded sheets were “unopened,” that is, the fold at the top of the sheets had not yet been sliced open (like an unopened envelope) to produce free swinging leaves, and the extremely uneven deckle edges of the sheets were “uncut,” that is, not yet trimmed to produce the smooth even edges of a bound book. The packet of twice-folded sheets was tied around cross-wise with string.[3]


Page 131

We assume that, usually, all of the sections of a book would have been tied up as one unit, but this depends upon the relationship among the sections, and holds true primarily when they are parts of a single work. However, in this instance, each section could have been tied up and marketed as a separate book, or all four could have been purchased for binding into a complete set. Daphnaida could have been included at the same time, as seems to be the case in the Huntington copy. A bookshop browser would have had difficulty in discovering the inaccuracy of the first title-page's text if it were tied up as a separate unit, e.g., “Containing sundrie small Poemes of the Worlds Vanitie.” This first section contains only one work, The Ruines of Time, but the running titles which reveal that fact would have been inaccessible, buried in the top fold of the sheets, unless the prospective purchaser untied the packet to free the folded leaves. The running titles of the outer forme (sigs. 1r-2v-3r-4v) of each gathering would be obvious, but those of the inner forme (sigs. 1v-2r-3v-4r) would be extremely difficult to read in the top folds of the stabbed and stitched gatherings. On the other hand, the title-pages of the other three sections specify a single poem, although each contains additional poem(s), all of which are independent works. The existence of the “great many fragments” consisting of one or two sections suggests the probability that the fragmentation occurred at the point of purchase rather than being the result of the disintegration of previously whole copies, as the term usually suggests. For instance, a copy of a play-quarto which lacks the final act is classifiable as a “fragment” and easily recognized as being incomplete. On the other hand, a “fragment” containing the complete text(s) of a poem(s) will appear complete to the purchaser unless, as is the case with the first section of Complaints, a table of contents establishes that something is missing. Then as now, purchasers probably would ask for the title that most interested them. Teares of the Muses could be understood either to be a part of Complaints or a separate book depending upon the purchaser's knowledge of the relationship between


Page 132
them. Interestingly, in terms of the hierarchy of bibliographical encoding,[4] the first title-page encompasses the lot and hence is taken by bibliographers as the “title” of the whole book, the original intention that is indeed indicated by the table of contents and the sequential signing. But the remaining three title-pages are subordinated only by virtue of physical association, and exactly duplicate the bibliographical encoding of a main title-page, i.e., the elaborate frame constructed by the woodcut borders. A purchaser, understanding this common component of encoding, could easily have believed that each of the three remaining titles pages was a primary title-page for a self-contained work.

Daphnaida is a short quarto consisting of 12 leaves (3 sheets) collating A-C4, the first three of each gathering signed except the title-page. As with two of the sections of Complaints noted above, Daphnaida contains a title-page (A1r) dedication: “Daphnaïda.| An Elegie vpon the| death of the noble and vertuous| Douglas Howard, Daughter and| heire of Henry Lord Howard, Vis-| count Byndon, and wife of Ar-| thure Gorges Esquier.| Dedicated to the Right honorable the Lady| Helena, Marquesse of Northampton.| By Ed. Sp.” The title-page conforms to the traditional austerity of funereal elegies. The text of the imprint differs from that seen in the title-pages of Complaints:AT LONDON| Printed for VVilliam Ponsonby, dwelling in| Paules Churchyard at the signe of the| Bishops head 1591.” Only three copies are extant.