Shakespearean Prompt-Books
Shakespearean prompt-books of the seventeenth century, vol. 1 (Preface and General Introduction) [a machine-readable transcription] Shakespeare, William Creation of machine-readable version: Electronic Text Center, University of Virginia Library Creation of digital images: Electronic Text center, University of Virginia Library Conversion to TEI.2-conformant markup: University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center. ca. 70 kilobytes University of Virginia Library. Charlottesville, Va. Studies in Bibliography, ShaIntP





Shakespearean prompt-books of the seventeenth century

Shakespearean prompt-books of the seventeenth century, vol. 1 (General Introduction and Padua Macbeth) William Shakespeare Editor G. Blakemore Evans

Issued in portfolios. The prompt-books are reproduced in collotype facsimile.

University Press of Virginia Charlottesville, VA 1960 Print copy consulted: UVa Library call number PR 2757 .E9 1960 v.1 pt. 1-2 Copy 2

Shakespearean prompt-books of the seventeenth century

Prepared for the University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center.

All quotation marks retained as data.

All unambiguous end-of-line hyphens have been removed, and the trailing part of a word has been joined to the preceding line.

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Library of Congress Subject Headings 1960 English drama; prose; non-fiction LCSH 24-bit color; 400 dpi February 1997 corrector Catherine Tousignant
  • Added TEI header
    of the
    Vol. I: Part i
    General Introduction
    Introduction to the Padua Macbeth
    Collations Edited by
    G. Blakemore Evans The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia
    University Press of Virginia, Charlottesville
    The Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia
    Arthur F. Stocker, Chairman
    Fredson Bowers
    John Cook Wyllie
    The production of this volume was supervised by Fredson Bowers and Sears Jayne


    THE Padua Macbeth prompt-book forms the first volume in a series of seventeenth-century Shakespearean prompt-books to be published under the auspices of the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia. The prompt-book is reproduced in collotype facsimile (reduced in size by 10 per cent), accompanied by a critical Introduction and a complete collation and description of all cuts, changes, prompt-calls, property notes, etc. and a detailed comparison of these with later seventeenth- and eighteenth-century acting versions. A General Introduction to the whole series prefaces this first volume.

    Other plays to be issued in the same format will include the Padua Measure for Measure, the 'Nursery' Comedy of Errors, and the Smock Alley Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, Othello, Henry VIII, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Merry Wives of Windsor. The remaining plays (see the General Introduction, pp. 4-5) will, with two exceptions, be presented in a final volume, but without facsimiles of the complete prompt-books. The exceptions, the Padua Winter's Tale and the 'Nursery' Midsummer Night's Dream, will be included in earlier volumes in order to complete the Dering and 'Nursery' groups.

    The following libraries have most kindly granted me permission to publish special materials from their collections: the Folger Shakespeare Library, Washington, D.C.; the Library of the University of Edinburgh, Scotland; the Huntington Library, San Marino, California; and the Yale University Library, New Haven, Connecticut. Further individual acknowledgement will be made as the materials appear in the series.

    Many people have been helpful and unselfish in the preparation of this work, but my gratitude is especially owing to Professor Giordano Orsini for allowing me to trespass on his pioneer work with the Padua First Folio prompt-books; to Dr. L. W. Sharp for his kindness in waiving his first rights in the 'Nursery' and Smock Alley prompt-books belonging to the University of Edinburgh Library; to my friends and colleagues Professor T. W. Baldwin, Dr. Giles Dawson, Professor Harris Fletcher, Professor Sears Jayne, Dr. J. G. McManaway, Professor R. W. Rogers, Professor Arthur Sherbo, Dr. Allan Stevenson, Professor Jack Stillinger, and Professor William Van Lennep, each of whom expended precious time in advice and criticism; to Dr. Arthur Pennell who for four years served indefatigably as my research assistant; and to Professor Fredson Bowers to whom I owe much both in form and substance and through whose sympathetic interest these volumes have been brought to press. It is with the deepest regret that I cannot once again, as always before, thank my old teacher and friend, the late Professor Hyder E. Rollins.

    I should also like to thank Miss Eva Faye Benton, Miss Alma DeJordy, and Miss Isabelle F. Grant, all of the University of Illinois Library, and Mr. C. P. Finlayson of the University of Edinburgh Library. Particular thanks are also due to the Research Board of the University of Illinois for continually generous financial assistance and to the Board of Trustees for sabbatical leave granted to me in 1956 to pursue my studies in England. Finally, I owe a special debt to the Bibliographical Society of the University of Virginia for undertaking the publication of my work in this form.

    G. B. E.
    The University of Illinois

    General Introduction

    I am concerned in the present study with a comparatively small collection of special Shakespeare materials: printed texts of Shakespeare's plays which give evidence of a seventeenth-century theatrical provenience and thus record for us some of the acting innovations, readings, and traditions current on the stage during that period. In general, such texts may be described as prompt-books, though I have included several acting versions which strictly do not fall into this category.

    The complete study will afford a large body of detailed evidence about the text of Shakespeare's plays as they were presented on the stage during the last three-quarters of the seventeenth century. Since the time of Capell and Jennens in the second half of the eighteenth century the textual guesses, sometimes inspired and sometimes not, of a whole army of learned editors have been reverently and meticulously recorded, an accumulation which resulted finally in the Cambridge Shakespeare and the New Variorum of Furness and his successors. Curiously, however, although there are numerous excellent general studies of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century Shakespearean acting versions, both published and manuscript, there is little detailed study or record of the actual texts as such. For eighteenth-century printed theatre versions C. B. Hogan's recent and invaluable Shakespeare in the Theatre, 1701-1800 (1952-57) must be noticed as an exception, though even Mr. Hogan does not pretend to be complete in his lists of cuts and (particularly) textual changes. This study, therefore, is an attempt, using special and generally unavailable materials, partially to fill this gap in our knowledge of Shakespeare in the theatre for the seventeenth century. It should be emphasized, perhaps, that seventeenth-century printed texts such as the 1681 Othello or the 1676 Hamlet, which represent published acting texts, are included only so far as they serve to illustrate the theatre prompt-book under discussion. Since in this study I have aimed at a measure of completeness, every effort has been made to establish the relationship between the seventeenth-century and the principal eighteenth-century acting versions. In order to do this it has been necessary to compare in detail each cut, textual change, setting, etc. with its several seventeenth- and eighteenth-century counterparts and to record the results in the notes to the collations and, more generally, in the separate introductions to each play. Only in this way can the uniqueness or community of a cut or reading in the seventeenth- and eighteenth-century versions be recognized and a picture of the oral stage tradition (for the text especially) begin to emerge. Nineteenth-century acting versions, except for an occasional use of Mrs. Inchbald's British Theatre (1808), I have considered outside the scope of the present study.

    The materials may be divided into four groups. (I) Three pre-Restoration prompt-books (Macbeth, Measure for Measure, Winter's Tale) which belong together, being found in a copy of the First Folio now in the University Library at Padua, and may be linked, as I shall try to show, with Sir Edward Dering of Surrenden in Kent (c. 1625-35). (II) Two prompt-books (Comedy of Errors, Midsummer Night's Dream), both from a copy of the First Folio, connected with the Hatton Garden Nursery (c. 1672). (III) Eleven prompt-books (Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry VIII, I Henry IV, Comedy of Errors, Merry Wives, and Winter's Tale), all from a copy of the Third Folio, belonging to the Smock Alley Theatre in Dublin (c. 1676-85). (IV) A prompt-book of Twelfth Night (Second Folio) which, though it is of unknown provenience, is almost certainly seventeenth-century; an incomplete cutting of Merchant of Venice, Second Folio, which, though also of uncertain provenience, is probably seventeenth-century in origin; and three texts (Romeo and Juliet, 1599 quarto; Merry Wives, 1633 quarto;

    Image of Inside Front Board: Padua First Folio

    Image of Inside Back Board: Padua First Folio

    Image of Sig. 3b6v: Padua First Folio

    Image of Sig. 3M4v: Smock Alley Third Folio, Julius Ceasar acting

    Much Ado, 1600 quarto), of which the theatrical provenience is doubtful. Finally, as an appendix, I have included a complete list of the deletions marked in the notorious Collier-Perkins Second Folio.

    Group I: Pre-Restoration prompt-books. The Padua prompt-books, part of a First Folio in the University Library at Padua, have been 'discovered' several times. Attention was first called to them by an 'Occasional Correspondent' in the Scotsman (11 July 1895). Sir Sidney Lee then listed the Padua Folio in the Supplement to his facsimile of the First Folio (Oxford, 1902) and described it as having "early MS. notes, made apparently by an acting manager." It was not until 1932, however, that anyone seems to have paid further attention; in that year G. N. Giordano Orsini published an account of them as part of an article entitled "Nuovi orientamenti della Filologia shakespeariana" in Civiltà moderna (1932, IV, 3-46), an account which contained, as an appendix, a nearly complete list of the textual deletions in the three prompt-books. Giordano Orsini's study seems to have passed almost unnoticed in this country.[1] In 1936, Leslie F. Casson, apparently independently of Giordano Orsini's article, offered a general discussion of all three prompt-books, noting the principal changes (and some of the deletions), and made an attempt to date them by trying to associate the actors' names and initials with particular actors in the Restoration.[2] That Casson was mistaken in his identifications will I think appear from the discussion below. Like Giordano Orsini's, Casson's article passed unnoticed, except for a listing in Studies in Philology. Finally, in 1950, I 'discovered' the Padua prompt-books all over again and was subsequently considerably chagrined to find that I had been anticipated not once, but three times!

    It is not known how or when this copy of the First Folio came into the hands of the University Library at Padua. The volume was accidentally discovered about 1895 "amongst a number of uncatalogued books".[3] My letter of enquiry has received no response, and Casson, though on the spot, was unable to uncover any further information. The book is bound in brown leather, almost certainly its original English binding.[4] A label which reads 'Tutte le Opere di: / Sakespear / Commedie e Tragedie. / manca il Frontispizio' has been pasted on the inside of the front board (the front and back end-papers, sig. A1, and the engraved title-page are lacking). The handwriting is eighteenth-century, or possibly seventeenth, and suggests that the volume arrived in Italy fairly early in its career. Below the label, in the same hand, is written 'F in capsa / ad Læuam' (i.e., ?Folio in the left-hand chest or drawer).[5] The number '385' appears in the upper left corner. On sig. 3b6v another hand has written a phrase of which I can make no sense whatever: 'in / <Som.are> contentum.'. The letters recorded for the second word are very uncertain: 'S' might well be read as 'T', 'm' as 'ui' or 'ni', etc.; and the form 'contentum' should perhaps be read 'contentionem'. Below, on the same page, another hand has added what may be a date 'M'y 6'. The inner back board contains what may possibly be either a library number or acquisition date (?1695), perhaps both (see the reproduction opposite page 4), and a scrawl in English, in yet another hand, beginning 'and one y <.n.> & <ta.n.> <etc>' (all but the first two words badly smudged). Finally, we may notice what appears, when disentangled, to be the name 'joh: B ffort' scribbled down the left margin of sig. F6v in the prompt-book of Measure for Measure. I cannot associate the hand with that in the prompt-book or with any other in the volume.

    The full importance of the Padua prompt-books has not hitherto been recognized; they are, I believe, our earliest examples of Shakespearean prompt-books and should be dated about 1625-35. The evidence for such dating must now be considered in full.

    The Padua prompt-books contain no indication of location or scene setting. Restoration prompt-books, except in unusual circumstances, regularly indicate the set to be used with each change of scene.[6] In Macbeth and Measure for Measure the prompter's calls are not anticipatory (except in one or two cases). This fact at once distinguishes these two Padua promptbooks from Restoration prompt-books and in itself suggests a date in the later 1620's, for, as W. J. Lawrence observes, " . . . so far as the prompter was concerned, the system of advance calls for players, musicians, and properties first came into vogue somewhere in the period 1625-31."[7]

    Other points also serve to support an early date. A 'Senett' is called for at the opening of IV.iv in Macbeth, where the Folio stage direction makes no such provision. By 1660 the technical theatre term 'sennet' seems to have been completely obsolete; indeed the NED records no later use than 1619. The calls 'Bee ready Group II:' (Measure for Measure, IV.iii) and 'Bee ready' (V.i.259) are definitely on a pre-Restoration formula found occasionally in prompt-books belonging to the second and third decades of the century.[8] I have seen no cases of this particular imperative warning in Restoration promptbooks. Again, the complete absence of any attempt to 'modernize' Shakespeare's language immediately distinguishes the Padua prompt-books from most Restoration acting versions, particularly among the tragedies. There is also the evidence of the handwriting. Two quite distinct hands are et work: Hand I, that in Macbeth and Measure for Measure;[9] and Hand II, that in The Winter's Tale. Both hands give the impression of early rather than late seventeenth-century formation, though this is a matter on which it is possible to be badly misled.

    Finally, there is the important matter of provenience. Like a number of others, the Padua prompt-books contain the names or initials of certain minor actors among the prompt-calls, and it is possible, I believe, to identify three of these individuals with persons who took part in an amateur performance of Fletcher's Spanish Curate produced by Sir Edward Dering at his estate, Surrenden, in Kent, between 22 October 1622 (the date on which the play was licensed) and "the summer of 1624".[10] Among the names listed by Sir Edward for The Spanish Curate are 'Jhon Carlile', 'Tho: Slender', and 'Mr. Kemp'. [11] In the Padua Macbeth we find 'Mr Carlile' (and 'Mr Carl'), 'T S', and 'Mr K'. The other three names which appear in Macbeth are 'Mr G', 'E H', and 'Mr H<e>w<it>', none of which occurs in The Spanish Curate list. Trying to link these with Sir Edward Dering is perhaps hazardous. I would, however, suggest that 'Mr G' may be a certain 'Georg Perd' who figures in The Spanish Curate list and who knew Sir Edward well enough to subscribe a letter with 'Thus in hast with my service to your dearr self and <vert>uous Lady in some hast I end Your most affectionate friend Geo: Pearde.'[12] The only 'E H' I can associate with Sir Edward is the well-known Sir Edward Hales and that he should appear as a mere 'E H' seems highly unlikely. The third name, which should prove most helpful, is unfortunately very questionable. Giordano Orsini reads 'H.wit'[13] and Casson 'H<ewi>t', remarking, "This name is difficult to decipher, but is possibly 'Mr. H<ewi>t'".[14] I am fairly sure of two letters: 'H<.>w<. .>'. There are two possible candidates. One is a certain 'Geo: Haule' or 'Cosen Hawle' as Dering calls him.[15] The other is an individual called 'Hugett', an acceptable spelling of 'Hewit'', who figures in a long list of names at the end of Sir Edward's 'pocket-book' for the year 1637.[16]

    That Sir Edward Dering was interested in the theatre and in Shakespeare is apparent from the telescoped version of I and II Henry IV which is now generally known as the Dering MS. This manuscript, the first page of which is in Dering's hand,[17] contains numerous corrections and additions by him. We also hear, in 1619, of nine shillings spent for 'twenty-seven play-bookes'[18] and, in 1637, eighteen years later, Dering was still buying more 'playbookes'. In his pocket-book for that year a list of 'Bookes in print' begins with 'Duche armes in print / Epitaphes. epithalamy's. playbookes / witchery.' and ends with 'Lat. Bible. Septuagint / Tertullian / Shakespeare / <....> <....> painted / virgel and other poets of ye best / qu: de omni modis biblijs / Lat Graec Anglic.'.[19] The exact purpose of this list (mostly crossed through) is not clear, though it most probably represents a collection of books sent to be bound and not necessarily recent purchases. Dates of individual volumes range from 1573 to 1632, and the 'Shakespeare' so temptingly exhibited could be either a First or Second Folio.

    In setting out the evidence for the Dering provenience I have tried to avoid pressing the claim too strongly. The case hangs essentially on one name and two initials and cannot be considered conclusive. Nevertheless, it may, I think, be admitted as at least persuasive, especially as the Dering provenience squares perfectly with the other evidences of date already discussed. One point, however, must now be noticed which may be considered to argue against attaching the Padua prompt-books to the amateur Dering group. This is their apparently professional appearance. In format they give the impression of having been prepared by persons thoroughly familiar with the conventions of prompt-book makers during the later 1620's and 1630's. It might be argued that Dering had procured professional assistance in preparing these copies from the official prompt-book, but this approach seems to be ruled out by the fact that where an actor is named as playing one of the minor roles, the hand is the same in both call and actor's name. Moreover The Winter's Tale, which is cut only up to I.iii, assigns two small roles to 'T S', showing that here at least the roles were assigned as the calls were written in. Various solutions might be advanced, but none could be more than the merest hypothesis.

    But even if we cannot argue very warmly for professional help with the actual preparation of the prompt-books, the question remains of how far Dering's changes, if we accept them as either his or changes made by one of his associates, may be taken to reflect contemporary theatre practice. Considering Dering's known interest in the drama, it seems fair to assume that in some part at least the alterations may be taken to represent what Dering had seen on the professional stage during his visits to London, and it is interesting to notice how often the changes in Macbeth are reflected in the Restoration D'Avenant and Smock Alley versions. Such continuity suggests a professional source, however come by, for some of the changes in the Padua Macbeth, and, by association, in the Padua Measure for Measure and The Winter's Tale. This last argument will hold, of course, even if we refuse to accept the Dering provenience.

    Detailed discussion of the individual prompt-books will be given in the separate introduction to each play.

    Group II: Restoration 'Nursery' prompt-books. These prompt-books of The Comedy of Errors and Midsummer Night's Dream, now preserved in the University of Edinburgh Library, the gift of Halliwell-Phillipps, are our only extant examples of seventeenth-century ?London prompt-books of Shakespeare's plays. Only The Comedy of Errors reached production; Midsummer Night's Dream merely shows evidence of cutting (no prompt-calls, etc.). Both are part of a First Folio, and the cutting in both seems to be the work of the same hand. On the basis of the cast for The Comedy of Errors, which it is possible to reconstruct completely from the prompter's calls, we may with some assurance date these prompt-books c. 1672. A full discussion of the provenience, cast, and dating may be reserved for the separate introduction to The Comedy of Errors.

    Group III: The Smock Alley prompt-books. The eleven prompt-books in this group (Hamlet, Macbeth, Othello, King Lear, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night's Dream, Henry VIII, I Henry IV, Comedy of Errors, Merry Wives, Winter's Tale) have been known since the middle of the nineteenth century and were once in the possession of Halliwell-Phillipps.[20] All but two now form part of the Folger Shakespeare Library collection of prompt-books.[21] The remaining two (Hamlet and Midsummer Night's Dream) are preserved in the University of Edinburgh Library.

    Originally there appear to have been similar promptbooks of Julius Caesar and II Henry IV, possibly also of Measure for Measure, The Tempest, and Troilus and Cressida.[22] The copies of Troilus and Cressida and Julius Caesar were presented by Halliwell-Phillipps to the Shakespeare Memorial Library at Birmingham and were there unfortunately destroyed in the fire of 1879.[23] For Julius Caesar, however. a cast (written on the last page of Timon of Athens) has survived, as well as a manuscript couplet scrawled down the right margin of the first page of Macbeth (facing the final page of Julius Caesar). The cast, which can be dated as not later than 1676, gives us important information on the personnel of the Smock Alley Theatre.[24] The cast is as follows:

    • <Jull>ius Cesszer the Acto<rs> naims
    • Flauius Mr Wamsly
    • Murillus Mr Williams
    • Cobler Mr Lysle
    • Carpenter Cotts
    • Ceazer [Mr Richards][25] Mr Cudworth
    • Antoni Mr Smith
    • Calphurnia Mrs Smith
    • Portia Mrs Richards
    • Desius Mr Wamsley
    • Bruttus Mr Richards
    • Cassius Mr Ashbury
    • Caska Mr Baker [26]

    Only two of these actors occur with certainty among the prompter's annotations in the other Shakespearean plays: Walmesley in Othello (I.iii) and Smith in Henry VIII (IV.ii) and Macbeth (V.iii).[27] It is possible, however, that Williams appears pears as '<W>illian' in Hamlet (V.ii) in the role of Laertes.[28] Other actors whose names appear in the Shakespeare promptbooks are: Andrews (Henry VIII, I.i), Barnes (Othello, I.iii), Charles [?Ashbury] (Othello, I.iii; II.i), Farlow (Macbeth, III.i), Freeman (Othello, II.i), (Mistress) Kaine (Henry VIII, V.i), Longmore (I Henry IV, II.i), Totterdale (Henry VIII, IV.i; Macbeth, V.v.; Othello, I.ii), and Trefusis (Hamlet, IV.v, vii; Othello, I.ii; II.i). What may be illegible or mutilated actors' names occur in Othello (I.ii.63), Henry VIII (I.i.161), and Hamlet (IV.v.113; V.ii.153).[29] Barnes and Freeman also appear in the Smock Alley manuscript prompt-book of Wilson's Belphegor (c. 1677 or 1682) and Totterdale in the Smock Alley cast for Fletcher's Night-Walker (between 1670 and 1676).

    The couplet from a Smock Alley production of Julius Caesar which appears in the left margin of the first page of Macbeth reads: poore slavish rome far well: Ceaser now be still
    I Kild not thee wth half so good a will
    Dyes R. C. Bald notes that this couplet first appears, spoken by Brutus, in the so-called D'Avenant-Dryden version of the play published in 1719 and that it seems likely that "the London alterations were known in the Dublin theatre some years at least before they were available in print."[30] This would seem to suggest that Bald does not consider the possibility that the acting list, which may be dated before 1677, and the hand that is responsible for the couplet are contemporary (admittedly they are not the same). Though there is nothing to prove that these two hands are contemporary, there is certainly nothing to prove that they are not. Bald's caution is dictated, I suppose, by Hazelton Spencer's rather categorical statement that the "limits of composition of this version [the D'Avenant-Dryden] are thus 1691 and 1719."[31] But the arguments by which Spencer reaches this conclusion do not seem to me entirely satisfactory, and the appearance of this couplet possibly in connection with a production of the play in the middle 1670's (before the appearance of the 1684 Betterton quarto) at least opens up once again the whole question of D'Avenant's and Dryden's possible implication in producing the 'improvement'.[32]

    Our knowledge of the one-time existence of a Smock Alley prompt-book of II Henry IV we owe to S. W. Singer. In his attack on Collier, The Text of Shakespeare Vindicated (1853), Singer describes (pp. vi-vii) a "tattered copy of the third folio edition of Shakespeare" which "chance has furnished" him ('chance' here being presumably Halliwell-Phillipps). He then gives a list of twelve plays with which he says "the greatest liberties have been taken" in revising them for the stage. This list includes, besides the lost Julius Caesar and ten plays now preserved in the Folger and at Edinburgh, II Henry IV.[33]

    Finally, the possibility that there were also Smock Alley prompt-books of Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, and The Tempest was first brought to light by J. G. McManaway.[34] He was able to trace Halliwell-Phillipps' 'tattered copy' back to the library of John Dent. It was sold at the sale of Dent's books in 1827. The auction catalogue carefully describes the volume and offers four examples of the kind of manuscript corrections it contained: one each from Troilus and Cressida and Measure for Measure and two from The Tempest. Unfortunately the cataloguer was interested only in textual emendations later suggested by either Rowe or Hanmer. McManaway considers these readings as anticipations of Rowe and Hanmer and does not believe it necessary to "postulate the intrusion of an otherwise unknown literary hand" in these three plays in view of the fact that "the various hands (Bald counts six in Othello) in the Folger copies of the plays appear to be connected with performances". But this is an oversimplification of the state of some of the extant Smock Alley promptbooks. In King Lear, Hamlet, Twelfth Night, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Merry Wives it is certain that some hand (described below as Hand H) about the middle of the eighteenth century busied itself (with what purpose is not clear) with incorporating the readings of various editors through at least Hanmer.[35] It is also, I think, significant that Singer, who saw the volume before it was broken up by Halliwell-Phillipps, did not include Measure for Measure, Troilus and Cressida, or The Tempest among those plays "with which the greatest liberties have been taken". In view of these considerations we must, I believe, accept the one-time existence of actual theatre prompt-books of these plays with some caution.[36]

    A particularly difficult problem in the study of the Smock Alley prompt-books arises from the number of different prompt hands. Yet the identification and isolation of these hands is most often the only clue to distinguishing the work of different individuals in the preparation of a prompt-book. Several prompt-books contain as many as five or six principal hands and it is frequently hard, sometimes impossible, to assign to its proper hand each prompt-note or textual change. The difficulty becomes even greater when, under changed conditions imposed by new pens, ink, etc., one tries to identify hands in one prompt-book with those appearing in other prompt-books. As in dealing with the Padua and 'Nursery' prompt-books, I have assigned all readings to a particular hand whenever possible, but with the Smock Alley prompt-books I have more frequently been forced to question the exact identification or to admit defeat.

    Eight hands appear in more than one Smock Alley prompt-book. The following table will help to establish their interrelationships:[37]

      HAND A:
    • Hamlet (Hand I); Lear (Hand I); Macbeth (Hand I); Twelfth Night (Hand I)
    • HAND B:
    • Hamlet (Hand III); Julius Caesar (acting list); Macbeth (Hand IV); Merry Wives (Hand I); Othello (Hand VI); [Wilson's Belphegor (main prompt hand)]
    • HAND C:
    • Hamlet (Hand II); Henry VIII (Hand I); Macbeth (Hand II); Othello (Hand II); I Henry IV (Hand II)
    • HAND D:
    • Macbeth (Hand III); Othello (Hand I)
    • HAND E:
    • Henry VIII (Hand II); Lear (Hand II); Hamlet (?Hand V)
    • HAND F:
    • Othello (Hand V); I Henry IV (Hand III)
    • HAND G:
    • Hamlet (Hand VI); Merry Wives (Hand III, copyist); [Wilson's Belphegor (copyist)]
    • HAND H:
    • Hamlet (Hand IV); Lear (Hand III); Midsummer Night's Dream (Hand II); Twelfth Night (Hand II); Merry Wives (Hand II). This is an intrusive mid-eighteenth-century hand.

    This listing leaves two major hands, each of which, so far as I can determine, appears in only a single prompt-book: Hand I in Midsummer Night's Dream and Hand I in Comedy of Errors.

    Exact dates for the Smock Alley Shakespeare productions are unfortunately impossible to arrive at. The presence of particular actors in certain of the plays can be useful in setting date limits, but even such evidence may sometimes be ambiguous, the addition of particular actors' names being possible at various times after the first use of the prompt-book. With this warning, however, a few tentative dates may be suggested. Julius Caesar, as we noticed above, can be dated before 1677 and not earlier than 1670; Jeremiah Lisle, who played the Cobble,[38] was not with the Smock Alley players before 1670 and died in 1681, and Richards, who played Brutus, left for the London stage in the summer of 1676.[39] Both Lisle and Richards also appear in the Smock Alley Night-Walker cast (which thus also falls between 1670 and 1676) but they do not appear by name in any of the other Shakespearean productions. This fact would seem to suggest that the other productions are later, but again the nature of the evidence may be somewhat misleading. For both Julius Caesar and The Night-Walker we have more or less complete casts; for the other Shakespearean plays we have only occasional names attached to minor roles. Richards, then, or even Lisle, may well have taken part in some of these other plays; the fact that their names do not occur may simply mean that they did not happen to double in a small part (as Smith probably did in Macbeth, for example) and so were not particularly singled out for mention by the prompter. Even with this proviso, however, it still seems likely that the other Shakespeare productions may be grouped after the Julius Caesar cast.

    The appearance of Henry Smith, who died in August, 1682, in Macbeth (Hand III) and Henry VIII (Hand I) affords us a definite terminal date for these two plays, and the fact that Smith is the only actor there named who also appears in the Julius Caesar cast might be interpreted, always remembering the dangers involved, as an indication of some lapse of time between these plays and the Julius Caesar production. It will be noted, however, that Smith's name occurs in Macbeth in Hand III and may be related to a second state of the prompt-book; in other words the prompt-book may represent an earlier production with which Smith had no connection, a production of the play essentially unaffected by the influence of D'Avenant's version, an influence clearly reflected in the work of Hand III. The presence of Totterdale in both Macbeth (Hand III) and Henry VIII (Hand I), though it links these plays with Othello (Hand V), does not help in fixing an earlier date limit, since, though he is absent from the Julius Caesar cast, he is found in the contemporary, perhaps even earlier, Night-Walker cast. Clark[40] suggests a date between 1674 and 1682 for Macbeth; I would, on the whole, favor the later rather than the earlier limits of this period for both Macbeth and Henry VIII.

    Othello, which gives us a greater number of actors' names than any of the other plays, the Julius Caesar cast excepted, shares Walmesley (Hand V) with the Julius Caesar cast and Totterdale (Hand V), as I noticed above, with Macbeth and Henry VIII. The several new names (Trefusis, Freeman, Barnes, and Charles, all in Hand V) suggest perhaps that we should place Othello after Macbeth and Henry VIII. Unfortunately nothing is known about when any of these new names first put in an appearance at Smock Alley, though Freeman and Barnes figure in the Smock Alley cast of Wilson's Belphegor, a production which may be dated 1677-78 or 1682-83.[41] I would suggest 1680-82 as a probable date for Othello.

    The Hamlet prompt-book mentions Trefusis and possibly Williams (both Hand VI). If the '<W>illian' who played Laertes was indeed the David Williams who figures in the Julius Caesar cast, we may claim a terminal date for this prompt-book in 1679, David Williams having gone to London early in that year.[42] Nor is the appearance here of Trefusis inconsistent with a date prior to 1679; we know nothing of Trefusis' whereabouts before the early 1680's. An early limit for the production is indicated by the strong influence throughout the text of the 1676 actors' quarto of Hamlet. Thus we may, though with proper hesitation, suggest a date between 1676 and 1679 for the Smock Alley Hamlet.

    Although the Smock Alley King Lear mentions no actors' names, it is linked with the prompt-books already discussed by several prompt hands and unquestionably belongs to the same general period. Since, however, it gives evidence of influence from Tate's adaptation, it must be dated after 1681.

    I Henry IV, of which only a fragment remains, must certainly have been produced at Smock Alley some years before 1685, at which date Baker, who played Falstaff, was well received on the London stage for his performance in that role. The only name mentioned in the surviving half-leaf is that of Longmore. It occurs twice: once as 'Longmo' and once as '<>more' in a hand which I have called Hand II. Hand II links this prompt-book with Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, and Henry VIII. Clark on the evidence here of Longmore's name associates him, probably correctly, with Smock Alley before 1685, although any references we have to him as a Smock Alley actor date from the 1690's.[43]

    Using Baker's Falstaff again as an argument for dating, we may also place The Merry Wives prompt-book before 1685. Prompt hand links with Hamlet, Othello, Macbeth, the Julius Caesar cast, and Wilson's Belphegor also support a date in the late '70's or early '80's.

    The Smock Alley Twelfth Night also almost certainly belongs to this same period. It contains no actors' names, but it is linked with Hamlet, Lear, and Macbeth by a single prompt hand.

    Three Smock Alley prompt-books remain: Comedy of Errors, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Winter's Tale. None of them is strictly speaking a prompt-book and none shows evidence of actual use in the theatre. The Winter's Tale is simply an unfinished cutting (to IV.iv.442) with no markings of any kind except rough circling for suggested deletions. The Comedy of Errors and Midsummer Night's Dream, although they show signs of a good deal of careful preparation, by heavy cutting and rewriting, contain no calls or other prompter's notes. Nor can the reviser's hand in either be associated with any of the revisers' or prompters' hands in the other Smock Alley prompt-books.

    Certain general characteristics of the Smock Alley promptbooks may be noticed here. (1) The usual first step in preparing a play for the stage seems to have been a rough preliminary cutting. Such a step may be seen in the Smock Alley Winter's Tale, Midsummer Night's Dream, and Comedy of Errors, none of which, at least in their present form, ever reached production; the remains of this initial cutting are also clearly marked in the Smock Alley Hamlet, and probably in Macbeth. But even in this initial step differences in approach must be pointed out. The reviser who worked on Winter's Tale did nothing except circle passages for deletion (as did the first reviser, I believe, of Hamlet); the reviser of Comedy of Errors, and particularly the reviser of Midsummer Night's Dream, went much further, not only marking cuts but adding new lines or rewriting speeches, and, in the case of Midsummer Night's Dream, including scene settings. (2) The order of events after the initial cutting of the play is difficult to determine. In some cases, the initial cutting was subjected to a thorough revision (as in Hamlet and probably Macbeth). One hand usually seems to be responsible for the advance calls; another hand for the indication of scene settings (though in King Lear and Merry Wives the same hand is responsible for both). The calls themselves are regularly anticipative, though at no set number of lines in advance. They are, moreover, by character name, not as in the 'Nursery' Comedy of Errors, for example, by actor's name. Where actors' names occur in the Smock Alley prompt-books they are always associated with the character name and they appear only in very minor roles, probably where some confusion might arise from doubling. No calls are made at the beginning of an act. (3) Advance calls for the act break ('Act ready') occur regularly, and in Othello the prompter's note 'ring' is used at the end of the act to indicate the point at which the music should begin. (4) The symbol to indicate 'whistle for a change of scene' appears only in Othello (I.iii; II.i, iv; IV.i; V.ii) and in the I Henry IV fragment (II.ii).[44] The Smock Alley Hamlet warns of a change of scene by an advance call 'scean' about ten or twelve lines before a change is necessary. (5) Point of entry is marked in three of the prompt-books by a slanted and crossed line usually in the margin (Hamlet, Othello, I Henry IV); the same symbol is also used in the 'Nursery' Comedy of Errors, the King's Company Sisters, and the unassigned Twelfth Night (mentioned in Group IV above). The Shakespearean prompt-books do not use indications of the exact point from which an actor enters, though such indications ('E.L.' = East Lower; 'W. up.' =West Upper; 'W.L.'=West Lower; 'E upp'= East Upper) occur regularly in the contemporary Smock Alley Belphegor MS prompt-book.[45] (6) Calls for special properties or sound effects are usually in a hand (or hands) other than those responsible for the scene notations and character calls. The same is true of the sporadic appearance of actors' names; except in Henry VIII, they are in a different hand from that appearing in the character call to which the name is attached.

    One of the most interesting aspects of the Smock Alley prompt-books is the record they a: ford of the scenic resources of this company during the 1670's and early '80's. Particular aspects of the scenery will be discussed in the separate introductions to each play, but it will be useful here to give a complete list of the scenes.[46]

    • 'Anti-chamber', Othello, IV.ii; ? I Henry IV, II.iii
    • 'the baudy house', Midsummer Night's Dream, I.ii
    • 'bed chamber', Hamlet, II.i; Othello, V.ii
    • 'Castle', Hamlet, I.i, I.iv,; Macbeth, V.v; Othello, II.i, V.i
    • 'Caue', Macbeth, IV.i
    • 'Chamber', Hamlet, I.iii, II.i, III.iv, IV.ii, IV.v; Lear, II.i, IV.v, V.vii; Macbeth, (III.iv); Merry Wives, III.iii, III.iv; Othello, III.iv
    • 'Chamber without ye Bed', Merry Wives, I.iv
    • 'Church', Hamlet, V.i.240
    • 'Court', Hamlet, I.ii, II.ii, IV.i, IV.iii, I' '.vii, (V.ii.236); Lear, I.i, II.ii, III.vii; Macbeth, I.ii, I.iv, 1 vi, III.i, III.iv, V.i; Othello, (IV.i); Twelfth Night, I.iii, I iv, I.ii, III.i, III.iv, IV.ii, V.i
    • 'Forrest', I Henry IV, (II.ii); Midsummer Night's Dream, III.i, III.ii.345, IV.i, (IV.i.106)
    • 'Garden', Macbeth, I.v, IV.ii
    • 'Great Forrest', Merry Wives, V.ii
    • 'Groue', Lear, III.i, IV.i,, V.i; Macbeth, III.iii, V.iv; Merry Wives, II.iii; Midsummer Night's Dream, (III.i.206)
    • 'The little wood', Midsummer Night's Dream, II.ii.34
    • 'new scaen', Hamlet, IV.ii, V.ii (probably refers to change of scene)
    • 'new Grove', Midsummer Night's Dream, II.i, (III.i)
    • 'Pallace', Midsummer Night's Dream, I i; Othello, IV.i
    • 'Presence', Othello, I.iii, (IV.ii); Twelfth Night, I.i
    • 'Rock', Macbeth, I.i, I.iii, II.iv, III.v, IV.i
    • 'ye Shipps', Othello, II.i
    • 'Tauern', Merry Wives, I.iii, II.ii, III.v, V.i
    • 'Towne', Hamlet, V.i, (V.ii); Macbeth, (II.iv), IV.iii, V.ii; Merry Wives, I.i, II.i, III.i, III.ii; Othello, I.i; Twelfth Night, I.ii, II.i, IV.i (also Belphegor, III.iv)
    • 'Wood', I Henry IV, II.ii
    • 'Worst Chamber', Merry Wives, (I.iii)[47]

    A full account of each of the Smock Alley prompt-books will be given in the separate introduction to each play.

    Group IV: Each of the five plays in this group offers special problems of provenience, dating, etc., and will be dealt with in the separate introductions.


    1. There is passing comment in Shakespeare Jahrbuch (1933), LXIX, 188, and the article as a whole, with no reference to the prompt-book material, is listed in SP (1934), XXXI, 277.

    2. L. F. Casson, "Notes on a Shakespearean First Folio in Padua," MLN (1936), LI, 417-423.

    3. Scotsman, 11 July 1895, p. 10.

    4. Casson (p. 417) notes that the backstrip is recent. The boards, however, are original and contain on their inner sides a waste sheet (sig. A) of John Speed's The Genealogies Recorded (?undated, in 12o) used as a pastedown or binding reinforcement.

    5. The 'Occasional Correspondent' in the Scotsman reads the words as 'In capsa ad Læons,' though he translates correctly. The error is probably a newspaper garble.

    6. Compare the theatre copies of Shirley's The Sisters (discussed by Montague Summers, Essays in Peto [1928], pp. 103-110), Cartwright's The Lady-Errant and The Ordinary (discussed, with complete collation of all changes, deletions, directions, etc., in my Plays and Poems of William Cartwright [1951], pp. 85-86, 260-262), Marmion's Fine Companion (British Museum, 82.c.25[2]), Wilson's The Cheats (MS in Worcester College, Oxford; ed. M. C. Nahm, 1935), Belphegor (MS in Folger Shakespeare Library), Fletcher's The Night-Walker (Folger Shakespeare Library), and Dryden's Tyrannick Love (Folger Shakespeare Library). Of these all but The Cheats and The Night-Walker indicate scene settings; The Cheats is early enough (1662) to have been acted without change of scene, and its status as a prompt-book is open to question; The Night-Walker does not show evidence of actual prompt use. Of the fourteen Restoration Shakespeare promptbooks, only five are without scene settings (Comedy of Errors and Midsummer Night's Dream, both 'Nursery' plays; Comedy of Errors and Henry VIII, both Smock Alley). Neither Comedy of Errors (Smock Alley) nor Midsummer Night's Dream ('Nursery') ever reached production. The fifth is the prompt-book of Twelfth Night of uncertain provenience and date.

    7. "Early Prompt-Books," Pre-Restoration Stage Studies (1927), p. 406. The partially completed prompt-book of The Winter's Tale employs anticipatory prompt-calls, but it is in a quite different hand.

    8. See W. W. Greg's discussion of the prompt-books of The Welsh Embassador (c. 1623) and Believe as you List (1631) in Elizabethan Dramatic Documents (1931), pp. 217-219, 279-282, 293-300. The several independent additions of 'fflurrish' by the prompter-reviser in the Padua Winter's Tale may perhaps be taken as evidence of a pre-Restoration date. The point will be discussed in the Introduction to that play.

    9. The same hand alters a speech-prefix in Twelfth Night, p. 256.

    10. The evidence for this dating may be found in S. B. Hemingway's Variorum I Henry IV (1936), p. 497.

    11. Professor Hemingway says that nothing further is known of these men (Variorum, p. 497), but I suspect that 'Jhon Carlile' is the same as 'Johannes Carlell', second son of Jonathan Carlell of Barham in Kent (see The Visitation of Kent, Taken in the Years 1619-1621, by John Philipot, ed. Robert Hevenden [1898], Harleian Society, XLII, 30-31), and that 'Mr. Kemp' is the same 'Edw: Kempe' who addressed a letter to Sir Edward Dering '15th Dec: 1640' (British Museum, Add. MS 26,785, fols. 25-26).

    12. From an unpublished letter dated '24th of June 1640' (British Museum, Add. MS 34,195, article 20).

    13. P. 41.'Mr H<e>w<it>' may, of course, be the same person as 'E H'.

    14. P. 421.

    15. See an unpublished letter dated by Dering '2. Octob. 1640' and signed 'Geo: Haule' (British Museum, Add. MS 26,785, fols. 9-10). The name also occurs in an index list in Dering's 'pocket-book' for 1637 (British Museum, Add. MS 47,787) with the spelling 'Hawle'.

    16. British Museum, Add. MS 47,787. The list, which is intended to serve as an index to the volume, has obviously been copied from an earlier 'pocket-book' containing names which Dering expected to figure in the coming year's business. Only a comparatively small number actually achieved a page reference, though the references are by no means exhaustive.

    17. See my article, "The 'Dering MS' of Shakespeare's Henry IV and Sir Edward Dering," JEGP (1955), LIV, 498 503.

    18. Quoted from an entry in Dering's household-book for 1619 by J. O. Halliwell (Works of William Shakespeare, IX [1859], 253)

    19. Pocket-book of Dering's dated '25 Martij. 1637.' (British Museum, Add. MS 47,787, pp. 5-9). On p. [112] at the end of a list of things recently bought, mostly 'Books', we read 'att Charles--122 bookes / att Mrs Taylers--59 bookes / beside paper and playbookes.' I recognize, of course, the danger of identification through names and initials. On the same basis some case might be made out for the group of Cambridge students who performed Peter Hausted's The Rival Friends in 1631/32 (see W. W. Greg, A Bibliography of the English Printed Drama to the Restoration, III [1957], 1274-75) or for the Julius Caesar cast at the Theatre Royal in 1681 (ibid., pp. 1268-69). But neither, I believe, fits all the requirements as well as the suggested Dering association.

    20. All were originally parts of a single copy of the Third Folio, but are bound separately (by Halliwell-Phillipps). The inserted manuscript leaves in Merry Wives are based on the text of the Second Folio. J. G. McManaway ("Additional Prompt-Books of Shakespeare from the Smock Alley Theatre," MLR [1950], XLV, 64) notes that the original volume came from the library of John Dent, whose books were sold in 1827.

    21. R. C. Bald (PMLA [1941], LVI, 369) in his important article on the Smock Alley prompt-books notes that they were "acquired by Mr. Folger from a variety of sources: the majority were bought from a bookseller in Munich, one was purchased in London, and another came with the Warwick Castle collection of Shakespeariana."

    22. Bald, p. 370; McManaway, p. 64.

    23. Bald, p. 370. A personal search at the Shakespeare Memorial Library in Birmingham has placed the loss of these prompt-books beyond doubt. Also lost in the same fire was an Othello (1630 quarto) which is described in the Catalogue of the Shakespeare Memorial Library, Birmingham (ed. J. 0. Mullins [1873], First Part, Second Section, No. 2498) as follows: "This copy exhibits an immense number of changed and suppressed passages, run through with a pen. The whole piece is overturned, whole scenes and dramatic personæ being cut out. Judging from the ink, it would appear that these incon ceivable mutilations, etc. have been made in the XVIIth Century, probably for the stage, by ignorant players, who have not even hesitated to substitute their own verses for those of Shakespeare" [Extract from the sale catalogue of Libri Collection, Reserved Portion, 1862]. Execrations upon Vulcan!

    24. W. S. Clarke, The Early Irish Stage (1955), pp. 74-75. The actor John Richards left Dublin in the summer of 1676 and acted in London until the union of the companies in 1682. Jeremiah Lisle died in July, 1681 (Allen Stevenson, "The Case of the Decapitated Cast," SQ [1955], VI, 285), and Henry Smith died in August, 1682 (Bald, pp. 371-372; Clark, p. 75).

    25. 'Mr Richards' has been crossed through. The 'Mr' has been inserted above the line in the case of Walmesley, Williams, Lisle, and Richards.

    26. Such scant information as we possess about these actors has been brought together by Bald, p. 372; Clark, pp. 72-77; Stevenson, pp. 275-296.

    27. The appearance of Smith helps to date at least one production of these two plays before 2 August 1682, by which time Smith was dead (Bald, p. 372; Clark, p. 75).

    28. Clark (p. 209) gives 'c. 1676' for Williams as an actor at Smock Alley.

    29. Stevenson (p. 289) lists four reconstructed actors' names for The Merry Wives (I.i.1 10; sig. D2v); close examination, however, reveals these to be part of a canceled call for Falstaff, Bardolph, Nym, and Pistol. Clark (p. 77) also mentions "Kaine, a gentleman in Henry VIII" as well as "Mr. Kaine, the Old Lady in Henry VIII." 'Mr. Kaine' seems to be the result of Bald's inadvertent reference to the 'Kaine' in Henry VIII as a man (p. 373). Both Clark (p. 76) and Stevenson (p. 289) list Smeton as appearing in Macbeth; I can find no such name in the promptbook.

    30. P. 378. The Julius Caesar published in Dublin in 1750 "As it is acted at the Theatre-Royal in Smock-Alley" does not contain this couplet or the other added lines found in the 1719 edition; in fact, it appears to be a reprinting of the Folio text with no lines even marked for cutting.

    31. Shakespeare Improved (1927), p. 368.

    32. In "Shakespeare Julius Caesar--A Seventeenth-Century Manuscript" (JEPG [1942], XLI, 402) I called attention to the implication of an attribution on the first page of the Folger manuscript of Julius Caesar to 'Dyden' [sic], an attribution later altered to Shakespeare'. William Van Lennep ("The Smock Alley Players of Dublin," ELH [1946], XIII, 217) states categorically that the Smock Alley version was the same as that later published in 1719 "as the work of Davenant and Dryden". He believes, however, that D'Avenant, at leaast, could not have had any hand in it since it belonged to the King's Players until after his death.

    33. Singer lists Merry Wives, Comedy of Errors, Midsummer Night's Dream, Twelfth Night, I and II Henry IV, Henry VIII, Julius Caesar, Macbeth, Hamlet, Lear and Othello. There is no doubt that Singer is referring to the Smock Alley Third Folio since he quotes enough (p. vii) from certain changes made in Macbeth

    34. McManaway, pp. 64-65.

    35. See particularly the separate introduction to Lear.

    36. Halliwell-Phillipps did at one time possess a Measure for Measure from the Fourth Folio (1685) which is described as having eighteenth-century stage directions (see A Catalogue of the Books, Manuscripts, . . . Preserved in the Shakespeare Library and Museum in Henley Street [1868], p. 94 [item 512]). The same volume also lists a copy of As You Like It from the Third Folio (1663), p. 94 (item 517), "with some old alterations in manuscript", which may originally have belonged to the Smock Alley volume, though it is not described as coming from the Dent copy. I have found neither of these copies.

    37. I am extremely conscious of the pitfalls of trying to identify and correlate several hands, particularly in this kind of document. The list appears to be much more definitive than I feel. For a discussion of (a) the particular function of each hand within a particular prompt-book and (b) other hands appearing in a single promptbook, see the separate introduction to each play.

    38. Clark (p. 74) leaves a blank below Lisle followed by '= the Soothsayer'; this might be interpreted to mean that he supposes Lisle also played the Soothsayer. The character of the Soothsayer, however, is not even included in the Smock Alley Julius Caesar cast.

    39. W. Van Lennep, 217; Stevenson, p. 285; Clark, p. 75. Dr. Stevenson has been most helpful in correspondence with me on this very difficult matter of dating and I should like to take this opportunity to thank him.

    40. Clark, p. 76.

    41. Clark (pp. 80-83) argues for the 1677-78 date; Stevenson (pp. 290-293) considers 1682-83 in some respects a more satisfactory date, though admitting the possibility of the earlier period.

    42. Clark, p. 77.

    43. Clark, p. 76.

    44. See W. S. Clark, "Restoration Prompt Notes and Stage Practices," MLN (1936), LI, 228-229.

    45. As Van Lennep (p. 221) points out, this means that there were "two proscenium doors on either side of the stage", as in the contemporary London theatre.

    46. See similar, but incomplete lists, in Bald, pp. 375-376 and Clark, p. 74. Other sets used in the Smock Alley theatre at this time may be found in the Smock Alley prompt-book (manuscript) of Wilson's Belphegor (c. 1677 or 1682) in the Folger Shakespeare Library. Canceled scenes are distinguished by parentheses.

    47. G. W. Stone, Jr. ("Garrick's Handling of Macbeth," SP [1941], XXXVIII, 626) notices a scene described as 'Best Chamber' in a late ?eighteenth-century prompt-book of Macbeth in the Folger Shakespeare Library.